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 McMafia, A book of interest
GangstersInc
Posted: May 17 2008, 02:15 PM


David the webmaster
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McMafia: Crime Without Frontiers (Hardcover)
by Misha Glenny (Author)
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: The Bodley Head Ltd (3 April 2008)

Guardian
`Eye-opening account of our criminal planet...A stark illustration of the simple point that underpins Glenny's epic of reportage'

Sunday Times Culture
`Misha Glenny made his reputation as a BBC reporter during the break-up of the Soviet empire and in the Balkan wars. Those experiences introduced him to the murky, bloody, terrifyingly successful operations of the East European mafias, dominated by Russians. For this book, Glenny has extended his researches worldwide. He describes gang operations in Bombay, sex slavery and money-laundering in Israel, the Canadian marijuana trade, Nigerian investment scams, Brazilian cyber-crime and much else. His message is that the global marketplace has empowered criminals on a huge and terrifying scale.... He tells a grisly story very well'

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GangstersInc
Posted: May 17 2008, 02:16 PM


David the webmaster
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ABOUT THIS BOOK

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the deregulation of international financial markets in 1989, governments and entrepreneurs alike became intoxicated by forecasts of limitless expansion into newly open markets. No one would foresee that the greatest success story to arise from these events would be the globalization of organized crime. Current estimates suggest that illegal trade accounts for nearly one-fifth of global GDP.

McMafia is a fearless, encompassing, wholly authoritative investigation of the now proven ability of organized crime worldwide to find and service markets driven by a seemingly insatiable demand for illegal wares. Whether discussing the Russian mafia, Colombian drug cartels, or Chinese labor smugglers, Misha Glenny makes clear how organized crime feeds off the poverty of the developing world, how it exploits new technology in the forms of cybercrime and identity theft, and how both global crime and terror are fueled by an identical source: the triumphant material affluence of the West.

To trace the disparate strands of this hydra-like story, Glenny talked to police, victims, politicians, and members of the global underworld in eastern Europe, North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, China, Japan, and India. The story of organized crime’s phenomenal, often shocking growth is truly the central political story of our time. McMafia will change the way we look at the world.

About the Author

Misha Glenny was educated at Bristol University in England and Charles University in Prague. He is also the author of The Rebirth of History, The Fall of Yugoslavia (which won the Overseas Press Club Award in 1993 for Best Book on Foreign Affairs), and The Balkans, 1804–1999. During the early 1990s he was the central Europe correspondent for the BBC World Service, and in 1993 he won a Sony Award for his coverage of Yugoslavia. He has contributed to most major U.S. and European newspapers and current affairs magazines and is regularly consulted by U.S. and European governments on Balkan issues. Misha Glenny lives in London.


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GangstersInc
Posted: May 26 2008, 08:53 AM


David the webmaster
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Gangsters Without Borders
NY Times

By PETER ROBB
Published: May 25, 2008
Around the time the Soviet Union ceased to exist, I was waiting in the entry queue at Fiumicino Airport in Rome when I noticed a party of several dozen young Russian girls being fast-tracked past a freshly opened control window. By young I mean perhaps 15, and by Russian girls I mean beautiful adolescents with pale gold hair, perfect skin and the figures of child ballerinas. These wide-eyed coltish kids weren’t dancers or on a school trip. They were hustled along by a stocky middle-aged man with a short mustache and a stash of passports in his hairy hand. It was an unforgettable image of lambs to the slaughter — or, more precisely, of children to the brothel. You sometimes glimpse them, older now, dispersed around the world, and how they were engulfed by the criminal universe is one of the things Misha Glenny describes in “McMafia,” his dizzy tour of the forms of global crime born in the late ’80s, when finance capital shook off restraints and the Soviet Union collapsed.

Skip to next paragraph
McMAFIA

A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld.

By Misha Glenny.

Illustrated. 375 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. $27.95.

Related
First Chapter: ‘McMafia’ (May 25, 2008)
'McMafia,' by Misha Glenny: Wiseguys and Fall Guys, Welcome to Globalization (April 11, 2008) After a telling little prologue from 1994 involving a doorstep killing in leafy English suburbia, Glenny — a former BBC reporter who has written on the Balkans — begins his tour in territory he knows well. His reporting from the ruins of the Soviet world and its periphery is engrossingly dense with remembered anecdotal detail. In Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia, Glenny knows dealers on the streets and bosses in the government. He also knows what happens when his new Audi is stolen in Zagreb.

Glenny’s criminal geography centers on the post-Soviet countries, whose influence he sees spreading outward to “countries as far away from one another as India, Colombia and Japan.” He signposts but doesn’t travel a “new Silk Route, a multilane criminal highway” linking the old Soviet periphery with central and eastern Asia. None of this is quite as new as he implies. The distant countries have long and busy criminal histories of their own, and their own international trading links. Heroin was traveling across Asia into Europe in a big way from the time of the Vietnam War, and cocaine was moving north through the Americas and across the Atlantic not long after. Cosa Nostra in Italy and the United States, the Colombian cartels and the Asian crime syndicates were all operating internationally long before the world went global. So was the arms trade. The patterns and the influences were as variable as in the above-ground economy.

Glenny is good on some connections of the gangsters without borders, like the Russia-Israel link. His account of how Israel was colonized by Russian organized crime is memorable, and his fleeting image of the unutterable squalor of Tel Aviv’s brothels, staffed by captive girls from the former Soviet Union and frequented by obese American teenage tourists, is unforgettable. He is grippingly ambivalent about Dubai, the Middle East’s newly created Switzerland, and how it is energized by Indian organized crime and the subcontinent’s Hindu-Muslim violence. After its sections on Eastern Europe and the Soviet fringe of Asia, this is the book’s best part. In Dubai, the former coastal village with a dying pearl fishing industry, we see everyone — “Arabs, Iranians, Baluchis, East Africans, Pakistanis and west coast Indians” — converge.

In his “journey through the global criminal underworld,” Glenny flits from place to place, mostly avoiding Western Europe and North America. Each stopover has a fresh cast of players and a new criminal specialty. The fragmentation obscures some terrible global patterns, like the huge return of slavery as the trafficking of people. Glenny looks at prostitution rackets out of Eastern Europe, indentured labor in the Gulf states and migration rackets out of China — where he sees “the future of organized crime” — but hardly suggests how far people themselves have become merchandise, as indentured laborers, domestic slaves, child thieves, child soldiers, child prostitutes, babies for sale and children for adoption, pharmaceutical guinea pigs or organ suppliers. All move around the world with the collusion of customs, immigration, police, social services, charities and aid agencies.

Traveling through the global underworld and — with the splendid exception of Dubai — flying high over points where the licit and illicit economies meet, Glenny tends to forget that one man’s crime is another man’s legitimate business opportunity. The otherness of the criminal world is, of course, a premise of true crime books, offering readers both thrills and reassurance, but today’s crime is tomorrow’s history. A birth pang, perhaps, of democracy. The criminality in the oil and gas industries gets space in “McMafia,” but in the countries of the former Soviet Union rather than Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria or Angola. And like the rest of history, true crime is written by the winners. “McMafia” runs on the insight that money is a lot easier to move around than it used to be, but doesn’t consider how the first world’s financial systems are linked with the proceeds of the third world’s business horrors — the car bombs, the decapitations, the endless targeted killings, the flayings alive — it describes.

“As consumers, we are all involved,” Glenny frets at the end, calling for “greater regulation in the financial markets” and “strong, well-equipped law enforcement agencies.” But “McMafia” ignores a dense network of complicity in the institutions of the West. Neither, after some vague talk at the outset of “global reach as criminal corporations aspire to penetrate markets the world over,” does it identify a global crime corporation, or explain how its activities might be “mirroring the global goals of legal entities such as McDonald’s.” Glenny coins the term “McMafia” to describe the franchising system of Chechen organized crime, which makes sense, but the notion has nothing to do with the larger story. This is less about a new globalized criminality than the old one of interplay between criminal and political interests. Colombia, Afghanistan and the “war on drugs” might be good places to start telling it.

Skip to next paragraph
McMAFIA

A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld.

By Misha Glenny.

Illustrated. 375 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. $27.95.

Related
First Chapter: ‘McMafia’ (May 25, 2008)
'McMafia,' by Misha Glenny: Wiseguys and Fall Guys, Welcome to Globalization (April 11, 2008) A model for all this remains the Sicilian Mafia, which is ignored here. Mafia is about control on the ground. It maintains order locally, and its reward is a free hand in business. Mafia is government and crime intertwined, and so, below the surface, are most of the instances Glenny describes.

A dozen or more years ago, the mayor of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando, drew my attention to two things about organized crime in Italy. One was Cosa Nostra’s bulwark role in keeping the Italian Communist Party out of power during the cold war decades. When the Soviet world imploded Cosa Nostra no longer mattered quite so much and began, like the politicians it had kept in office for half a century, to feel the rule of law. That, Orlando continued, was when Cosa Nostra globalized its business in a way that made its earlier drug dealings with Asia and South America look rather timid. Now it involved heavy arms, enriched plutonium and toxic waste. Orlando flew to Moscow and was horrified at the faces he recognized in business class.

“McMafia” has great anecdotes but lacks structure and is fatally weakened by global overstretch. There’s no big picture here, no corporate brand, no franchise. In global crime, the structures, the methods, the personnel, the channels, the merchandise, the alliances change even faster than they do in the world of legal business. There are patterns of complicity, however, and closer to home than Glenny’s nightmare settings.


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x-man
Posted: May 28 2008, 02:04 PM


The old wiseguy
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"Orlando flew to Moscow and was horrified at the faces he recognized in business class"

hahaha biggrin.gif funny line......sound very intersting book..david you can post more about orlando visit to moscow?

thanks smile.gif
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beemoe
Posted: Jun 4 2008, 05:31 PM


Consigliere
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I`ve seen this at Border`s recently. Didn`t get a chance to read it in detail so thanks for the review Dave A.
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GangstersInc
Posted: Jun 5 2008, 10:35 AM


David the webmaster
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I haven't finished reading it yet. A good book so far. Will let you guys know when I finish it smile.gif


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MickyS
Posted: Jun 21 2008, 09:31 PM


Made Member


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It's a great book, best I've read in years. It is however NOT about American Mafia, which many are obsessed with. Maybe I should say they are only into that stuff--Nicky Scarfo, Gotti, 'was Genovese a better boss.." This book is timley, informative, and intelligently written and researched. So it won't do well.
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