14 March 2006

Call for Papers: Monsters and the Monstrous

4th Global Conference, Monsters and the Monstrous: Myths and Metaphors of Enduring Evil. Monday 18th September - Thursday 21st September 2006 Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom.

This inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary conference seeks to investigate and explore the enduring influence and imagery of monsters and the monstrous on human culture throughout history. In particular, the project will have a dual focus with the intention of examining specific 'monsters' as well as assessing the role, function and consequences of persons, actions or events identified as 'monstrous'. The history and contemporary cultural influences of monsters and monstrous metaphors will also be examined.

Perspectives are sought from those engaged in the fields of literature, media studies, cultural studies, history, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, sociology, health and theology. Ideas are welcomed from those involved in academic study, fictional explorations, and applied areas (e.g. youth work, criminology and medicine).

Papers will be considered on any related theme. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 2nd June 2006. If your paper is accepted for presentation at the conference, an 8 page draft paper should be submitted by Friday 1st September 2000 Full announcement

13 March 2006

Conference: Crime, Justice and Surveillance

A TWO-DAY International Conference hosted by the Centre For Criminological Research, University of Sheffield in association with www.surveillance-and-society.org on Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th April 2006.

In the UK the last decade has seen an unprecedented deployment of surveillance technologies and practices in the name of crime control. Drug testing, electronic monitoring, DNA testing and video monitoring have all expanded rapidly. Actuarial practices based on risk assessment and offender profiling have become central to proactive based policing strategies that ‘target the criminal and not the crime', and intelligence gathering has been put at the heart of policing. In addition multi-agency partnerships, which integrate police, probation, education, social services and health departments in a ‘joined up' approach to crime reduction have led to new practices of information exchange. This is aimed at both identifying potential deviants for pre-emptive intervention and subjecting known criminals to ‘intensive supervision and surveillance' in the community. The criminal record has now been enhanced and expanded with the development of searchable data-base technologies, specialist registers, and facilities to allow access to externally held databases.

These developments are not unique to the UK, and this conference seeks to explore the British experience in the context of developments in Europe and beyond and to consider the social, political and legal issues that arise from the expansion of surveillance. The conference aims to be truly inter-disciplinary and intends to include contributions from sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, criminologists, socio-legal scholars, historians, economists and social scientists researching surveillance practices and technologies.
Full announcement.

09 March 2006

Paedophiles 'trade gold' to hide identities

Paedophiles are using offshore gold accounts as a new method to mask their identities when buying child pornography on the web, an internet watchdog said today.

Individuals are buying gold using specialist websites and then using that as "currency" with illegal websites that have similar accounts.

Read more

AFU has seized billions of rands since formation

More than a billion rands' worth of suspected criminal assets have been frozen since the formation of South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA's) Assets Forfeiture Unit (AFU) seven years ago.

Vusi Pikoli, the NPA national director, has told a parliamentary hearing that this sum indicates the size of what he calls "the criminal economy".

Read the full and related stories

08 March 2006

International Narcotics Control Strategy Report

The 2006 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) is an annual report by the Department of State to Congress prepared in accordance with the Foreign Assistance Act. It describes the efforts of key countries to attack all aspects of the international drug trade in Calendar Year 2005 and was released March 1, 2006.
Volume I covers drug and chemical control activities. Volume II covers money laundering and financial crimes. Full report.

Studying the mafia at university

A course at Roma Tre’s faculty of law on the history and culture of the mafia is proving wildly popular with students

Enzo Ciconte, former member of parliament for the Partito Comunista Italiano between 1987 and 1992, renowned mafia expert, historian and a consultant to the parliamentary anti-mafia committee, is sitting in his small but panoramic office near the Pantheon. In between numerous phone calls, he is vivaciously explaining why running the first course – begun last year – on the birth and development of organised crime in Italy at the faculty of law of the Universit√† di Roma Tre is one of the best things he’s ever been involved in. “I am convinced that the students who take part in the course will bring an anti-mafia approach and a spirit of legality to their profession,” he says. “If students choose a course like this it means they have an ideal or moral motivation that is pushing them, something extra.”
Read the full story.

01 March 2006

Police swoop on DVD gang

Thousands of pirate DVDs have been seized following an undercover police operation in the city. Plain clothes police officers carried out the operation in the Locksbrook Road area, where one officer was offered a pirate DVD for sale. Following this lead, officers raided a house and seized 4,000 counterfeit DVDs with a street value of around £20,000. Police say only a large organised crime operation can be behind producing a haul of this size.

Among the discs police have seized are copies of films which are still at the cinema in the UK and will not be legitimately released on DVD for months. Titles included Final Destination 3, King Kong, The Chronicles Of Narnia and Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. During the raid, officers also discovered a processing room with hi-tech equipment to produce discs.
Alongside this, officers found DVDs packaged and ready to sell illegally. Det Sgt Gary Stephens, from Bath CID, said the operation had been a big success. "The indication from a seizure of this size is that organised crime is involved," he said. "This is one point for us to target organised crime. "It also goes to show that pirating DVDs is not always a cottage industry. "We were astonished by the quantity of DVDs that were recovered. "Other equipment seized included thousands of printed inserts, DVD storage spindles and covers for sealing the finished product. "In total there are 13 evidence bags full of items which we believe were destined to be sold illegally."

The seizure comes just days after a new police unit, dedicated to combating film piracy, was launched in London. The Metropolitan Police's Economic and Specialist Crime Command will work jointly with the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact) to investigate piracy offences. Top of the new unit's list are the large organisations making vast sums of money selling pirate DVDs. Mr Stephens said: "Our investigation will complement the work of Fact, which is working hard to collate intelligence on crime trends and criminal activity in the area of film piracy offences. "This sort of crime can not only be damaging to legitimate film manufacture and distribution but also linked to more serious crime."

Raymond Leinster, director general of Fact, welcomed the police operation and said: "DVD and film piracy is a crime and these arrests show that the organised crime operations behind much of the piracy are targeting towns and cities across the UK, bringing other criminality along with them. "Avon and Somerset police is working with Fact to identify and arrest those responsible for such crimes." DVD piracy is seen as high profit and relatively low risk compared to other crimes. Piracy can also be more profitable that drug dealing. According to a report by Interpol, one kilo of pirated discs is worth more than one kilo of cannabis resin. Three people were arrested following the raid at the house in Bristol. Two have been bailed pending further inquiries and a third will appear in court at a later date.

28 february 2006