Sympathy for the devil: State collaboration with criminal organisations

This seminar was recorded on Tuesday 21 May at the Australian National University. Please do not reproduce without permission.

Governments have long relied on non-state actors to assist in the implementation of public policy. Legitimate elements of civil society have become familiar instruments of governance.

States have also engaged criminal actors to this end. This presentation will note examples of state collaboration with criminal interests, including pirates turned privateers during the 17th and 18th centuries; death squads in South Africa and Indonesia; CIA attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro; China’s collaboration with Hong Kong triads; and the patriotic hackers of today in Iran, Russia, and elsewhere.

It will discuss the strategic considerations giving rise to such engagements, the pitfalls that may beset them, and the ethical considerations that might inform the decision by a state to enlist the services of illicit organisations.

About the speaker

Peter Grabosky is Professor Emeritus in the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) at the Australian National University. He holds a PhD in Political Science from Northwestern University. His interests lie in the areas of cybercrime, regulation, policing, and the role of non-state actors in public policy. A former Russell Sage Fellow at Yale Law School, he has received the Sellin Glueck Award from the American Society of Criminology; the Mannheim Prize from the Centre International de Criminologie Comparée, Université de Montréal; and the Gilbert Geis Lifetime Achievement Award, from the White Collar Crime Research Consortium, 2012. He is the author of Cybercrime (Oxford University Press 2016); Crime and Terrorism (2010 with M. Stohl); Lengthening the Arm of the Law: Enhancing Police Resources in the 21st Century (2009 with Ayling and Shearing), and Cyber Criminals on Trial (2004 with R. Smith and G. Urbas). The latter book won the Distinguished Book Award of American Society of Criminology’s Division of International Criminology.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet