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The N-VA presents a 10-point plan for the fight against organised crime and the drug mafia
“Letting the cancer of organised crime fester is a dramatic mistake.” At a press conference, N-VA Chairman Bart De Wever and MPs Sophie De Wit and Yngvild Ingels presented a 10-point plan to step up the fight against organised crime. They are advocating a coordinated international approach, involving not only the supply side but also the user.
The drug problem requires a coordinated national, European and international effort that will have to be many times the current level of effort and that will have to be sustained for a long time.
There is already a threat to innocent people
Because the drug mafia and organised crime cause victims. A lot of victims. We are shocked by the audacity of these people when they dare to threaten and murder people from the upper world. We look at the Netherlands and wonder whether, after the violence within the criminal environment itself, the violence will also spread to innocent family members of the criminals and then to people of the security chain, journalism or the legal world. To ask the question is to answer it. The threats are already here today. Do we really think it will not escalate any further?
Destroyed lives of countless addicts
Moreover, we are only focusing on the tip of the iceberg. Most of the fatalities, of course, already occur in cocaine source countries, where tens of thousands of people per year are violently killed at the hands of the drug mafia. In addition, there are countless addicts around the world addicted to cocaine, opioids, cannabis and synthetic drugs whose lives are destroyed or lost through use.
The social harm of the drug mafia: debt bondage, corruption, slavery
Aside from the violence, the social harm of the drug mafia is far greater than is commonly believed, and that harm is growing dramatically. A business that grosses many billions in criminal revenue eventually poisons the entire society. I am thinking of the young people in our cities who often grow up in difficult socio-economic circumstances and who are seduced at an early age by the lure of fast money. And who ruin their lives permanently this way. I am thinking of the honest traders who no longer have a chance in some neighbourhoods because of the unfair competition from fake shops that the underworld operates as prestige shops and/or front companies. I am thinking of the influx of criminal money into families, associations and communities that make themselves indebted to the criminal clans. I am thinking of the disruption of traditional sectors due to the influx of criminal investment money. I am thinking of the corruption in all sections of mainstream society that is becoming endemic, given the large amounts of money and given the threat of violence, “money or bullets”. I am thinking of the obvious link between the drug mafia and the financing of, and recruitment for, Islamist terrorism. And I am thinking of the diversification of organised crime from drugs to terrible phenomena such as human trafficking (modern-day slavery), illegal prostitution (including of minors) and arms trafficking.
Turning a blind eye is immoral and naive
Many people seem to choose not to see these problems. Often these are political forces that seem to be waiting for the legalisation of drugs as an inevitable outcome of a lost war against the drug mafia. This attitude is naive, as numerous foreign examples prove. “And this attitude is immoral given the horrific consequences of increasing drug use. Incidentally, how some parties can supposedly be so keen to have a healthy living environment and at the same time want to allow drug use is a mystery to me; I don’t get how you add that up,” Bart De Wever says.
Letting the cancer of organised crime fester is a dramatic mistake
The N-VA has made a different choice. We are not naive about the growing embedding of drug use in the whole of society. What parent of growing teenagers can still be naive about that today? But we do not wish to resign ourselves to drug use. The user may therefore also be held accountable for his or her responsibility. The link between what is considered trivial drug use and the bullets that are ultimately fired on the streets must not be covered up. We wish even less to resign ourselves to the cancer of organised crime. We may never be able to eradicate it. But those who allow the disease to fester for that reason are making a dramatic mistake.
Summary of the 10 points needed to step up the fight against organised crime:
- The establishment of a Security Database and a US-style federal police drug agency (Drug Enforcement Administration or DEA) that:
- fights organised crime in a coordinated manner in cooperation with federal and local police, the public prosecutor’s office, the municipality, the Immigration Department, social and tax inspection and investigation services within the structure of a Joint Intelligence Centre and a Joint Decision Centre;
- participates in a European drugs agency;
- is anchored in source countries in cooperation with the UNODC.
- The geographic expansion of the Stroomplan under the direction of the federal prosecutor’s office operating under the mantle of the National Security Council, which permanently monitors a dashboard and provides annual reports to the House of Representatives.
- The establishment of a Dutch-style tax investigation service (Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service or FIOD of the Dutch tax authorities) that, together with the drugs agency, focuses on paralysing the criminal money flows that undermine our economy and society.
- Increased EU pressure on non-EU countries to which criminal money either flows or where criminals themselves hide.
- The expansion of the scope of administrative enforcement. Mayors must be able to conduct an integrity investigation into business operators and, if necessary, close the premises or revoke the permit. In addition, they are also given the ability to effectively enforce administrative measures through an administrative penalty payment and an administrative seal.
- Work on a sound anti-corruption policy both for public administrations and for businesses, along with an occupational ban for suspects (such as the port ban).
- More thorough security checks on trade lines, in cooperation with shipping companies or other transport companies, from the source country to the destination, including the targeted monitoring of goods and personnel.
- Ban on anonymised phones and secret compartments in vehicles.
- Tougher penalties for organised crime analogous to terror.
- The expansion of the capacity of the public prosecutor’s office, the incumbent magistracy and strengthening of coordination by the federal prosecutor’s office.