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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15783 comments Saturday fun.
Although I'm more familiar with Russian mafia type, but national 'pride' aside, I think Cosa Nostra & Ninjas are kinda more famous. Although Cosa Nostra is still pretty real while Ninjas are legendary, who, in your opinion, are the most badass gangsters of them all? Or maybe it's Triad or Yakuza?

message 2: by M.L. (new)

M.L. I prefer the Ninjas because of the air of mystery and the exotic; they are assassins. Wearing all black and covering the face except for the eyes is also cool! I don't know if they are the 'worst' but I think they are more interesting.

message 3: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15783 comments Hope ISIS aren't imitating them -:(
Yep, a distinctive, cool outfit can add a competitive edge to Cosa Nostra -:)

message 4: by Alex (last edited Jul 05, 2016 10:28PM) (new)

Alex (asato) Nik wrote: "Hope ISIS aren't imitating them -:(
Yep, a distinctive, cool outfit can add a competitive edge to Cosa Nostra -:)"


getting tattoos has got to be pretty painful, but being able to give a body part as part of your apology makes you the most badass. mutilation is worse than death.

so yeah, yakuza.

message 5: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15783 comments Who's your champ of the underworld, guys?

message 6: by Michel (last edited May 20, 2017 05:42PM) (new)

Michel Poulin It's a tough choice, really.

On one hand, the Russian Mafia is probably the most heavily armed and ruthless criminal organization in the World right now and is ready to do without remorse or code of ethics about any cruel, inhumane act (human trafficking, drugs, arms trafficking, blackmail, assassinations, etc) to make a fast buck.

The Italian Cosa Nostra is also ruthless, but it follows (generally) certain rules of behavior dating from their first years. It is also more structured than the Russian Mafia, which is a 'dog eat dog' crowd. The Cosa Nostra and its American families are as well a bit more restrained about the use of violence compared to the Russian Mafia, having a more 'business approach' and lately favoring money laundering operations.

The Triads are also quite structured, but can be as cruel and inhumane as the Russian Mafia. They however tend to be less heavy in their use of heavy firepower and 'in your face' violence, and are more discreet in their operations, which now heavily involve drugs and human trafficking.

The Yakuza are kind of apart in all this, in my opinion. They are probably the most structured, hierarchical criminal organization of the lot and follow a rigid code of ethics that is not open to discussion, with 'Honor' being paramount in it. While they can be very ruthless if need be, they are not heavy users of firearms and prefer to operate more quietly, subverting or buying justice and police officials and politicians to keep things smooth. They even cultivate their public image, like when they openly distributed aid to the victims of the Fukushima disaster while the Japanese government was bungling its own aid program.

And let's not forget the Mexican and Central American drug cartels! You want cruelty, bloodbaths and psychopathic behavior? Then go see the Los Zetas! You need to have all the men in a village killed for some reasons? No problem! You need to have a few people tortured to death and then displayed in public to create fear in the population? Again, no problem!

As for the Ninjas, they are/were an organization of assassins created centuries ago to protect the peasants from the excesses of the Samurai class. They didn't delve in money-making criminal activities and they are today more legend than reality.

So, who are the most badass gansters of all? In terms of blood spilled and cruelty, the Russian Mafia and the Mexican drug cartels are pretty much on par and both have huge reserves of cash to finance their operations. The Triads and the Cosa Nostra are also powerful and ruthless but tend to be more discreet and less in your face, with the Cosa Nostra having a more rigid code of conduct than most, save the Yakuza. As for the Yakuza, while they can be ruthless, they are probably the most business-like, code-driven and public image conscious gangsters on this planet right now. If I had to choose, I would rather live in a place controlled by the Yakuza than by the Mexican drug cartels or the Russian Mafia. If you live in a place controlled by the Los Zetas, then I have only one counsel for you: get out of there!

message 7: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15783 comments Michel wrote: "It's a tough choice, really.

On one hand, the Russian Mafia is probably the most heavily armed and ruthless criminal organization in the World right now and is ready to do without remorse or code..."

Wow, didn't expect such a thorough analysis. Well done!

message 8: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin It's my old intelligence analyst side stirring up. Glad to be of help.

message 9: by P.K. (new)

P.K. Davies | 358 comments What about Isil and Boko Harem, or are political/religious extremes exempt?

message 10: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin The way I understood Nik's question, it involved only gangsters who are in it for the money.

message 11: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11532 comments It is just unfortunate that the bad guys neatly summarised by Michel are well known. Something ought to be done about them, but nothing seems to happen. Perhaps the problem is, trading one terror for another. Felix Dzerzhinsky would, in my opinion, sort out any of those. It took him about three days to stop Muslim fundamentalists from throwing stones at women not wearing approved dress, or carrying out any similar "antisocial" behaviour in Uzbekistan

message 12: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin The problem with dealing with such powerful criminal organizations is twofold:

First, they use the legality rules of justice to render it mostly impotent. Knowing that someone is a criminal is not enough. You have to prove it in a court of law. High-priced lawyers can find loopholes in the law and make some key evidence inadmissible, while annoying witnesses can disappear, be bought or have 'accidents'.

Second, many of those criminal organizations don't hesitate to attack police officers, judges, prosecutors and even ministers if that is needed to undo the criminal procedures against them. Look at the number of Italian judges and prosecutors murdered by the Cosa Nostra in order to derail cases against its leaders. Big government officials, despite all their theoretical powers, are often more afraid of mafia lords than the other way around, as they know that their families could be threatened and hurt, while they could be assassinated.

If set against the modern Russian Mafia oligarchs, Felix Dzerzhinsky may have found himself at the bottom of a ditch or river before he could eliminate those oligarchs, even with the protection of his NKVD. Look at how the Mexican drug cartels control the provinces in which they operate.

message 13: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11532 comments The problem for the Iron Felix approach is he needs to know who the Mafia bosses are, or where he can collect a reasonable number of mafia members. My feeling is, oligarchs tend to be rather visible. We cannot know, but the promise of good rewards for information, and the promise that if true, the bad guys will not get revenge, helps to get such information. The Lubyanka or a bullet in the back of the head tended to stop the ability for revenge. If we are sticking with Iron Felix, it would have been the Cheka or the GPU, and he arranged for the deaths of tens of thousands of anti-social activities. I would back him to wipe out the Russian mafia, but I wouldn't approve of the methodology.

message 14: by P.K. (new)

P.K. Davies | 358 comments You guys have now entered the realm of writing; welcome back.
You have analysed good thriller prospects; good v bad; to be good one has to be bad. It equates to a continuing question I ask of international politics; only a few guys start wars. If eleminated; no wars. That's what your criminal examples are; wars. I have never understood the letter of the law regarding Geneva Convention - except where prisoners are concerned. It has turned my gut, and most of my fellow citizens here, to have our soldiers facing criminal trials for what they did in a war zone. When someone uses violence, they step over the dispute line and can only expect violence back. Laws are then obsolete in my opinion. When dealing with the source of violence, even without presentable evidence, like all the criminal establishments mentioned, the only way is the way of organised assassinations; research-identification-elimination. Dare I mention historical examples?
In Ireland during the first 'troubles' the British used this method. They formed a secret unit labelled, The Black and Tans. The B&T eliminated known IRA suspects the same way the IRA eliminated others. It stopped the IRA violence and they have been bleating about the B & T's ever since. Like for Like didn't agree with them.
Take the examples of German occupation in France and Italy. There were several examples of the Nazi's lining up dozens of village men and shooting them because the Resistance had killed some of their own. It solved the problem. A French friend of mine who lived through that time and worked for the Resistance told me that the Resistance did more harm than good to their own kind.
So where does law end and war begin? Of course, there are usually no winners in any sort of war.
Political assassination would work but it is not used because the politicians ordering it would then be targeted themselves in the same way. That takes real courage. Howver it is now working with the use of drones; targeted individuals being taken out from afar, a whole new world. How long before police forces use the same method? A lot of material there, writers.

message 15: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15783 comments Ian wrote: "The problem for the Iron Felix approach is he needs to know who the Mafia bosses are, or where he can collect a reasonable number of mafia members. My feeling is, oligarchs tend to be rather visibl..."

Putin at the time is believed to have gone for the then richest man in Russia - Khodorkovski. Him imprisoned, his business empire dismantled - it was a clear message for all the rest. Don't know whether Khodorkovski's guilt existed, could well be that it did, but many other oligarchs used similar schemes, however they heeded the message and decided to adjust ...
Read that Trump might've suggested to a friendly Mexican nation to extend a helpful hand of US army to get rid of cartels

message 16: by Nik (last edited May 22, 2017 12:48AM) (new)

Nik Krasno | 15783 comments P.K. wrote: "I have never understood the letter of the law regarding Geneva Convention - except where prisoners are concerned...."

Geneva convention might be the only distinguishing feature between armed forces and terrorists.
I believe, targeted killings similar to preemptive strikes may be a justified practice in cases, where delivery of justice is otherwise near impossible and the target poses clear danger/ has evidenced deadly record

message 17: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11532 comments Personally, I don't believe any band of criminals can match a disciplined non-corrupted state force, except somewhere like Bolivia, where the jungle is essentially impenetrable. However, you might have to do away with legal niceties, where drug lords get off through fear and technicalities, and not through innocence. I always find it amusing to note that the American legal system was so well able to be bent that Al Capone could get away with any number of murders, and the only ones who could get him were the IRS

message 18: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15783 comments Michel kindly provided a comprehensive analysis of most mafias, but maybe you've founded something new in the meantime? -:)
Or can it be that cyber crimes retire those old-fashioned dudes with big guns and trained physique? What do you think?

And seeing a score of advisers of one known president being indicted or plea-bargained, can such thing as political mafias exist?

message 19: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11532 comments Nik, I suppose it depends on how you define mafia. If it is a sort of "family" but not necessarily blood relations, maybe politics can be. and the families are not left out - Kennedys. Bushes and Clintons come to mind.

Whether cyber crimes qualify is a matter of opinion, I suppose, but I would have thought they were largely individuals. But fraud, e.g. the banksters might qualify?

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