Trade and Crime
The galaxy is a multifaceted panorama of life, a tangled and intricate web of interactions that join us all together. And upon these webs, stalking in shadows, are the criminal and the corrupt. There are those that are shrouded by an air of suave sophistication, hidden behind suits and corporations as they pull invisible strings. Others are made untouchable by an irresistible mix of a buccaneering spirit and the stun of charismatic celebrity. There are even those who use anarchic brutality to beat their prey into submission with indiscriminate aim, powered by greed and a desire to impose their will.
Crepan Crime Correspondent
The defence against crime and corruption is law, order and morality. However, it often seems like these ideals are upheld with an insipid fist, with criminals fearing little of the consequences of their actions.
Crepan questioned several representatives from major governments about crime in the galaxy, to see how they view and handle crime on a galactic level. Those who replied were the Aurodium Legion, Avance Coalition, Confederacy of Independent Systems, Hapes Consortium, Mandalore, New Republic, Rogue Squadron, Krath Dynasty, Tion Hegemony and Triumvirate Coalition. A small minority felt that there was nothing at all they could do about crime. Most however, said they would deal with any crimes committed in their territory that are reported to them, although some informed Crepan that they have very few crimes to deal with. Nevertheless, there does seem to be a grey area of what constitutes a criminal.
One such example would be the pirate Syn. Prior to her denaturalisation, a Trade Federation spokesperson explained to us, in glowing terms, that her contribution to trade is the only reason they accepted her as a citizen. They were willing to overlook her history of theft, kidnap, extortion and murder for the benefits she would bring their trading profile. In the end, the only reason Syn's citizenship was revoked was due to implications made about their director of trade, instead of the fact that Syn was in the process of outfitting blacklisted pirates with weapons and armour.
We also enquired about Lilith Delcroix's history with Black Sun, an organisation once considered to be a criminal syndicate and is still often plagued by rumours of villainy. The Federation informed us that they will allow former members of criminal organisations to join, but only if they have no criminal record. So it seems that either the Trade Federation is naive enough to believe that an individual in a criminal syndicate in no way aids their enterprise, or they wish to only attract those criminals who were good enough to never be caught. Even then, they will make exceptions for unique individuals, such as Syn.
This would appear to show that the Trade Federation are more concerned about image, rather than any kind of moral conscience. Considering his rapidly rising trading value and his attempted departure from a criminal image, perhaps former Dark Star Hellion Xakic Jix would be Vice Director of Trade had he not been blacklisted for making detrimental remarks about the Trade Federation. Unfortunately for Jix, he has also been marked as someone who may use trade to commit fraud, a crime considered far graver than any other in the galaxy.
However, the Trade Federation are not the only ones who are willing to overlook criminal associations. The Avance Coalition are also content to give and maintain citizenship to members of criminal groups, just as long as they have not broken any of the laws set by the Coalition.
"The organizations themselves may be considered criminal, colloquially, our Houses are generally apart from Avance itself. We do not discriminate for House membership too harshly unless the public view is absolutely detrimental."
Sadly, this would appear to be a common practice for many groups or governments across the galaxy, and these organisations are not the only ones.
Major organisations not holding individuals accountable for their actions or associations can be highlighted with a look at the Centrepoint Market, where criminals are free to sell and buy goods at their leisure without any kind of reprisals. Whether it is those strongly rumoured to engage in iniquitous activity, or even groups and individuals who make no efforts to hide their criminal activity, they are all allowed to trade freely.
One such example is the Alliance Special Operations, an organisation formerly known as Dark Star Hellions and consisting of members who have often openly broadcast their crimes to the galaxy at large. Their trading history shows that they have traded with high ranking officials from across the galaxy. They have been equipped with reconnoissance ships by Corporate Sector Authority leader, Gilbert Reed and JUGANOTH Mining Corporation CEO, Owyn Darklighter. Provided with military grade vehicles by the Akheton Corporation. They have even been funded with credits and supplied with an armed vehicle and ship by Helena Gladio of Cloud City.
This is only a very small portion of trading that has occurred on the Centrepoint Market. Even a quick look through other organisations and individuals with criminal connections will show many more examples of legitimate businesses and figures of authority trading and supplying murderers, thieves and terrorists.
And yet this is unlikely to raise many eyebrows. It has become acceptable to trade in stolen goods, to supply and fund criminals. Centrepoint will argue that their rules are there to promote free trade and that they mark people who use trade fraudulently, but they will not prevent them from trading what they have stolen. On top of that, should an individual murder someone, openly admit to it and gain assets in the process, they will still be allowed to trade those assets freely on their market. Regardless, the amoral rules maintained by Centrepoint do not absolve individuals from whom they trade with. In the end, it is their choice who they finalise deals with.
That being said, there are no real alternatives to Centrepoint's market. While many large organisations provide a market, they are usually targeted at selling their own goods rather than buying or facilitating trade between others, at least on a galactic scale. Another reason may be that the criminal and corrupt hold a sizeable amount of power in trade and credit that most traders could not see a market regulated against criminal enterprise being as profitable.
Given the widespread exchange of stolen goods on legitimate markets, it would seem that at some point everyone who trades will come into possession of stolen goods, or they will find themselves owners of assets once belonging to dead victims. With no real sense of justice or criminal accountability in the galaxy, it seems that galactic law is far more motivated by trade than it is morality. Most major organisations seem to prioritise trading fraud ahead of theft , kidnap, extortion, murder and the funding of pirates and terrorists.
In our next article will tackle the subject of what is being done to fight crime.