Global Security Glossary – M –



Malfeasance: the commission of an unlawful act.

Manual evacuation: the physical removal of people and property by hand to another, more secure location.

Marbling: a preserving treatment applied to the edges of account books. An examination of the marbling pattern may be revealing as to whether pages had been removed or substituted.

Martial law: the exercise of military power to preserve order and ensure public safety in domestic territory in times of emergency when a civil government is unable to function or its functioning would itself threaten the public safety.

Match bomb: an incendiary device consisting of a lighted cigarette placed between the cover of a pack of safety matches and the match heads. When the cigarette burns down and reaches the match heads, a small fire is produced. The match bomb is typically surrounded by highly combustible materials and is often used by arsonist who wants to be well away from the area when ignition occurs.

Matrix organization: any organization using a multiple command system whereby an employee might be accountable to one superior for overall performance as well as to one or more other superiors for specific projects. A contract security guard company can be said to operate on the matrix concept.

Medium risk commodity: relatively expensive consumer product with medium resale potential and of interest to thieves and professional fences. Examples are electric typewriters, calculators, musical instruments, power tools, automotive parts, and apparel.

Middle East connection: a phrase describing the flow of narcotics from Iran and Turkey through local laboratories via Iranian and Turkish traffickers to distributors in Europe, Canada, the U.S., and Mexico.

Mind maps: (a concept devised by Tony Buzan) are a means of representing topics, ideas, projects, tasks, and similar items in a visual format, similar in some ways to Semantic networks but with connections usually extending radially from a central concept or theme. The various elements (including words, images, numbers, and colors) are arranged both informally and intuitively according to the relative importance of the concepts involved. Mind maps may be used for After action reviews, aiding recall, Brainstorming, Briefing and Debriefing, clarifying information, creative thinking, decision making, learning, organizing ideas, Planning, problem solving, revising, summarizing, and taking notes.

Mitigation: limitation of any negative consequence of a particular incident.

Modus operandi: characteristic pattern of behavior repeated in a series of offenses that coincides with the pattern evidenced by a particular single person, or by a particular group of persons working together.

Molotov cocktail: a bottle or other breakable container containing a flammable liquid into which has been placed a wick or similar igniting device, and which bottle or container when ignited and thrown will cause a fire or explosion.

Money clip: a hold-up sensor designed to trigger an alarm when paper money is removed from its special clip causing a contact closure. The clip is typically kept in the drawer of a cash register.

Money Laundering: in money laundering, the proceeds of crime are run through the financial system to disguise their illegal origins and make them appear to be legitimate funds. 

Most often associated with organized crime, money laundering can be linked to any crime that generates significant proceeds, such as extortion, drug trafficking, arms smuggling, and white-collar crime. Although money laundering often involves a complex series of transactions, it generally includes three basic steps.

The first step is the physical disposal of cash. This placement might be accomplished by depositing the cash in domestic banks or, increasingly, in other types of formal or informal financial institutions. Or the cash might be shipped across borders for deposit in foreign financial institutions, or used to buy high-value goods, such as artwork, airplanes, and precious metals and stones, that can then be resold for payment by check or bank transfer.

The second step in money laundering is known as layering, carrying out complex layers of financial transactions to separate the illicit proceeds from their source and disguise the audit trail.

This phase can involve such transactions as the wire transfer of deposited cash, the conversion of deposited cash into monetary instruments (bonds, stocks, traveler’s checks), the resale of high-value goods and monetary instruments, and investment in real estate and legitimate businesses, particularly in the leisure and tourism industries. Shell companies, typically registered in offshore havens, are a common tool in the layering phase. These companies, whose directors often are local attorneys acting as nominees, obscure the beneficial owners through restrictive bank secrecy laws and attorney-client privilege.

The last step is to make the wealth derived from the illicit proceeds appear legitimate. This integration might involve any number of techniques, such as using front companies to “lend” the proceeds back to the owner or using funds on deposit in foreign financial institutions as security for domestic loans. Another common technique is over-invoicing or producing false invoices for goods sold–or supposedly sold–across borders.

Multilevel security mode: a mode of operation that provides a capability for various levels and categories or compartments of data to be concurrently stored and processed in an automated data processing system and permits selective access to such material concurrently by users who have differing access privileges and need-to-know rights.

Multiple points of origin: in arson investigations, two or more unconnected points where fire started. Since accidental fires have only one point of origin, the existence of multiple starting points is strongly indicative of arson.

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