26 May 2006

VACANCY: Research Officer, Oxford Centre for the study of Lawlessness and Extra-legal Protection


ACADEMIC-RELATED RESEARCH STAFF GRADE IA: Salary £20,044 - £30,002 pro rata p.a. (subject to review from 1 August 2006 as part of the implementation of the National Framework Agreement for staff in higher education)

Applications are invited for a part-time (50%) Research Officer, to support the Centre Director and other members in establishing the Centre and achieving its aims. The post will be from 1st September 2006, or as soon as possible thereafter, until 30th August 2008 and is funded by a grant from the John Fell Fund.

The mission of the centre is to promote the study of non-state forms of governance and protection in a comparative and historical perspective. The Centre will launch and participate in international research projects, encourage the collection of systematic evidence on criminal and other forms of extra-legal protection, and forge links with policy makers and NGOs,

The Research Officer would be expected to coordinate the drafting of the constitution of the Centre and the formation of its advisory board; supervise the creation of the Centre's website and keep it updated; plan the development of library and archival resources; organise events and interact with potential donors and research funding agencies. The successful candidate will have: a demonstrable interest in areas that fall within the Centre¹s interests; a degree in either sociology, political science, economics, law or related disciplines; excellent inter-personal skills and good organisational skills.

Applications should be sent to (by 12 noon on Friday 9th June), and further information can be obtained from:

Miss Natasha Mihailovic'
Administrative Assistant, Department of Sociology,
University of Oxford,
Manor Road, Oxford OX1 3UQ,

Please quote reference number CY06006.
Interviews will be held on Friday 23rd June.

23 May 2006

Summer School on Crime, Law and Psychology

To shed some light on understanding of crime, law and psychology…
The Center for Public Policy is pleased to invite students to:
Summer School on Crime, Law and Psychology 2006 (CLP2006)!
July 1-7, Prague

The organizer of European Summer/Spring Institute, Center for Public Policy, has teamed up with professors from the University of Aberdeen and Warwick University to launch a summer course for international students interested in application of psychological approaches and research methods to criminal justice system. The program aims to invite students of different backgrounds (psychology, legal studies, and criminology), who are interested in interrelatedness of crime, law and psychology and are willing to combine the challenging academic environment with the holiday fun.
Students of CLP2006 will not only have an opportunity to listen to professors from the UK’s best Universities, but will also share their ideas and interests with practitioners during the guest lectures and site visits. Last, but not least the participants of CLP2006 will have a great possibility to meet new friends and explore the magnificence of Prague during special events organized by the CLP2006 staff.

Final Application Deadline: May 30, 2006 See the website.

19 May 2006

Riots reveal organized crime power in Brazil

Last weekend, Brazilians living in the greater Sao Paulo metropolitan area witnessed one of the country's largest prison riots in the past five years, organized and orchestrated by Sao Paulo's largest criminal faction, the First Capital Command (PCC in Portuguese).

When Sao Paulo state authorities transferred some 756 PCC leaders, the PCC criminal enterprise, led by Willians Herbas Camacho (a.k.a. Marcola), implemented its plan to start riots in dozens of prisons in Sao Paulo and around the country. They took advantage of the unusually lax security environment over the weekend when some 10,000 prisoners were given a day pass to visit families on the outside for Mother's Day, and thousands more civilians entered prisons to visit inmates on the inside.

As one prison after another fell under the control of rioting inmates, the hostage count rocketed into the hundreds. Meanwhile, organized attacks on police stations around Sao Paulo kept security forces busy defending themselves. At the same time, masked gunmen commandeered city buses, ordering them evacuated before burning them to the ground.

The weekend's total included over 250 separate attacks on police stations, stores, and other establishments. There were 115 people killed, including 32 policemen and prison guards and 71 gang members. Another 49 people were injured. Some 215 hostages were taken in 73 prison riots that occurred in prisons across Sao Paulo, Parana, Matto Grosso do Sul, Brasilia, and Bahia, according to Brazilian daily Folha de Sao Paulo. Over 80 public transport buses were burned and one metro station was attacked, leaving over five million people without public transport. On 15 May, as millions of people fled home in the early afternoon, Sao Paulo became a city of gridlock spanning 203 kilometers of roadways.

Over the weekend, as the violence raged on, Brazilian Justice Minister Marcio Thomas Bastos offered the service of 4,000 soldiers, part of a National Force trained to help contain the security problems in Brazilian states. But Sao Paulo Governor Claudio Lembo, filling in for presidential candidate Geraldo Alckmin, refused to accept federal help. Bastos made the trip from Brasilia to Sao Paulo to again offer federal assistance during a close-door meeting on Monday, 15 May. But again it was refused.

By 16 May, as quickly as the violence had started, it ended, and most prisons were back in the control of state authorities, and policemen were no longer the target of random attacks. The Sao Paulo daily newspaper, O Estado de Sao Paulo, reported on 16 May that the state government had reached an agreement with the PCC. Government officials continue to deny that claim, but it is possible such negotiations were a last-resort option for state officials clearly caught off guard by a highly organized criminal network, one many believed had been dismantled years ago.

Brazilian organized crime

The PCC began to take shape in 1993, when prisoners incarcerated in Taubate state prison in Sao Paulo organized themselves to fight against deplorable living conditions and more rights within the prison system. Over the past 13 years, this organization has grown into one of the country's most powerful prison criminal networks, controlling activity within dozens of prisons in Sao Paulo and around the country, as well as important sales points and transport routes for drugs and guns flowing into Brazil from source countries such as Paraguay, Bolivia, Colombia, and Suriname.

The PCC became more active outside prisons in 1999, when Rio's top criminal organization - the Red Command (CV in Portuguese) - formed an alliance with PCC members who lived in Heliopolis, a shantytown located in the southeastern zone of Sao Paulo, according to a Rio de Janeiro Federal Police officer who asked to remain anonymous. Through this alliance, the CV sought to shift some of its drug trafficking activities from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo. In Rio, CV leaders had been constantly harassed by police who exacted an extortion tax for allowing favelas (shantytowns) to be used as drug sales centers and contraband transshipment points. Additionally, the PCC in 1999 was a large criminal organization with more manpower than economic activity. Its alliance with the CV increased earnings for the PCC in Sao Paulo, while opening a new pool of man power for the CV to defend its turf from rival gangs in Rio de Janeiro.

Together, the two gangs control the drug trade in Brazil's two largest cities. They operate gun smuggling routes out of Paraguay and purchase weapons from corrupt policemen and military soldiers in Sao Paulo and Rio. High-level members of these gangs, especially the CV, continue to conduct a weapons-for-cocaine barter with members of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) based in the Colombian Amazon.

As recently as 30 April, three Colombians opened fire on a Brazilian patrol on the Rio Negro, a branch of the Amazon river that begins in an area of the Colombian Amazon reportedly controlled by the FARC. Brazilian authorities claim that the rifles were stamped with the Brazilian military coat of arms. The men were followed to the Colombian city of San Felipe, where their arms were confiscated. Brazilian Federal Police investigators told ISN Security Watch that they believe the arms were part of a cache of weapons to be traded for cocaine that traffickers would transport to Sao Paulo and Rio.

Red Command leader Fernandinho Beira-Mar is considered to have been one of the first Brazilian criminals to trade weapons for cocaine with the FARC. He was arrested by Colombian authorities in April 2001 and immediately extradited to Brazil. Yet the recent incident on the Brazilian-Colombian border in the Amazon indicates that five years later, this criminal exchange program still continues to supply the CV and the PCC with pure, Colombian cocaine.

Brazilian organized crime is just as powerful within the prison system as it is on the outside. And as the battle continues to dismantle these criminal networks, the occasional mega-rebellion reminds Brazilian authorities and civilians that the security sector here has a long way to go before it has any significant control over organized crime. These rebellions also highlight the superior communication networks operated by Brazilian organized crime.

Communication is fundamental

When Fernandinho Beira-Mar was transferred from his prison cell in Rio de Janeiro after he orchestrated a prison riot there in September 2002 to mask the assassination of rival gang leaders, authorities found a number of luxury items including silk pajamas. But what surprised them more was the number of abandoned cell phones. Reports from Rio de Janeiro daily, O Globo, claim that Beira-Mar used up to a dozen cell phones to communicate with lieutenants and other subordinates in his black market network of guns and drugs shipments and sales.

In a similar fashion, leaders of the PCC use cell phones to communicate with one another between prisons and between prisoners and gang members on the outside. Both the Civil Police and the Federal Police operate listening posts, which enable security officials to piece together actionable intelligence on plans for rebellions and other gang operations. However, the use of two-way radios has made that task much more difficult.

In both Rio and Sao Paulo, two-way radios are used by criminals to relay messages to other incarcerated gang members and members on the outside. In some cases, one prisoner calls via cell a subordinate on the outside who uses a two-way radio to transmit the message to a third individual who then uses another cell phone to pass along the message to its recipient in another prison, reports O Globo. Each node on the communications chain may use any number of cell phones or two-way radios, making tracking the signals very difficult.

Attempts to block cell phone signals in Rio and Sao Paulo have been ineffective.

In the middle of the Mother's Day weekend riots, requests to shut down cell phone towers used by criminals to relay signals were presented to Brazil's telecommunications regulatory body when Marco Antonio Desgualdo, the head of the Sao Paulo state Civil Police, met with this body, called Anatel, on 15 May. The Folha de Sao Paulo reported that after the meeting Desgualdo announced that authorities would not be able to shut down cell towers without the acquiescence of telecommunications companies.

These same companies - Vivo, Tim, Telefonica, Embratel, and Nextel - complain that shutting down the towers would mean an unacceptable disruption of service for their law-abiding clients. Nothing short of a court order would shut down the towers, a legal instrument that takes too long to obtain.

In some prison systems, cell phone signal blockers are used, but they are quickly rendered obsolete by the rapid pace of technological advancement in cell phone systems.

The battle between Sao Paulo authorities and the cell phone companies to shut down towers in the event of security needs began in February 2001, when PCC members used cell phones to orchestrate simultaneous riots in 29 prisons across Sao Paulo. Security officials failed to win the battle then, too, but no one knew that such decisions five years ago would eventually facilitate the most violent uprising of Brazilian organized crime in years.

Corruption and politics

Even as blocking cell signals and other methods to impede communication between criminals evolves into what may become a viable solution, many believe that such time is wasted on treating a problem that is not central to the real reason why the PCC was able to orchestrate such a widespread reign of disorder and rebellion. Corruption and politics, two of the usual suspects behind systemic dysfunction in democracies, are at the center of Brazil's security problems.

Bribes paid to security officials at all levels keep leaders of the PCC and the CV well informed of official planning. When authorities planned to move over 700 of the PCC leaders to a more secure prison environment to avoid what they learned was a planned Mother's Day rebellion, the PCC reacted by launching its rebellion two days early, disrupting the prisoner transport and a host of other activities planned to prevent the rebellion.

Low salaries exacerbate corruption because policemen and some lower-ranking members of the military are more likely to sell weapons from poorly organized stock piles to make ends meet. Over 70 per cent of the weapons used by Brazilian organized crime were made in Brazil. Many of them are sold to Paraguay where they enter the black market before returning to Brazil. Yet a significant amount are sold to criminals directly from stockpiles of seized weapons.

When budgets must be prepared, politics dictate who gets what slice of the pie. From 2004 to 2005, the Brazilian federal government reduced resources for the country's Penitentiary Fund by 37 per cent. This fund oversees the overall improvement and maintenance of Brazil's prison system. Meanwhile, the government of Sao Paulo state diverted from public security spending some US$81.3 million in the last five years. It was a decision in the reduction of security spending at the Sao Paulo state level that was likely made after the 2001 prison riots in that state.

Commenting on the event, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva said it was a demonstration of the power of organized crime in Brazil. His comments underline the fact that Brazilian organized crime is a force that has grown to threaten Brazilian cities as well as the nation. With links to organized crime in Paraguay and Suriname, and a thriving barter system with Colombia's FARC soldiers, the PCC and CV may soon become internationally known as a criminal network that has grown too big for Brazil's security system to handle.

(ISN Security Watch (18/5/06))

12 May 2006

CALL FOR PAPERS: International Journal of Cyber Crimes and Criminal Justice

International Journal of Cyber Crimes and Criminal Justice (IJCCCJ) is a peer reviewed interdisciplinary journal published biannually and devoted to the study of cyber crime, cyber criminal behavior, cyber victims, cyber laws and cyber investigations.

IJCCCJ will be both print (published by Serials Publication) and online (open access) Journal. IJCCCJ will focus on all aspects of cyber/computer crime: Forms of Cyber Crime, Impact of Cyber crimes in the real world, Policing Cyber space, Cyber-terrorism, International Perspectives of Cyber Crime, developing cyber safety policy, intrusion investigations, information security, Cyber Victims, Cyber offender behavior, Cyber Geography,cyber crime law, Cyber Pornography, Physical Computer Security, Privacy & Anonymity on the Net, Internet Fraud & Identity Theft, Mobile Phone Safety, Online Gambling, Copyright and Intellectual property Law, Detection of Distributed Denial of Service Attacks, Firewall Testing and Digital Forensics. As the discipline of Cyber Criminology approaches the future, facing the dire need to document the literature in this rapidly changing area has become more important than ever before. The IJCCCJ will be a nodal centre to develop and disseminate the knowledge of cyber crimes to the academic and lay world. The journal publishes theoretical, methodological, and applied papers, as well as book reviews.

For information on the submission on manuscripts please visit the website.

Please send completed manuscripts by email to
Dr. K.Jaishankar
Editor-in-Chief, IJCCCJ,
Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Manonmaniam Sundaranar University
Abishekapatti, Tirunelveli 627 012
Tamil Nadu India
E-mail cybercrimejournal@gmail.com
Website: http://www.cybercrimejournal.co.nr

11 May 2006

May issue of the newsletter

We have just published the May issue (pdf) of our newsletter. The topic of this issue is Terrorism and Organised Crime and we are happy to present several original short articles, an extensive readinglist and various announcements.

Enjoy reading.

The editors

10 May 2006

RCMP can't dent organized crime

OTTAWA - The RCMP cannot afford to fight the majority of organized crime activity in Canada, Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli said yesterday.

"At this point in time, our best guess is that we're able to tackle maybe a third of what we know is out there, in terms of serious organized crime," he said, adding that is probably a generous estimate. "And remember, when I say one-third, that's of what we know."

Although the Mounties' budget has doubled over the past seven years, Commissioner Zaccardelli told the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence he still has "serious issues to deal with, in terms of resources."

Foes of the force include outlaw motorcycle groups and Italian, Russian and Asian organized-crime organizations, many with a well-established presence at Canada's vulnerable land, sea and airports.

Committee chairman Colin Kenny pressed the commissioner to explain why Canada has only about 100 Mounties to cover 89 airports across the country and just 30 officers patrolling its 19 marine points.

Commissioner Zaccardelli responded the force has adopted intelligence-led policing tactics to identify and target the most dangerous organizations, but "given the resources we have and our limitations, we know there are groups that we can't go after."

That terrorist groups appear to be increasingly involved in organized crime activities makes the issue all the more troubling, he suggested.

"There clearly is more and more indication that some terrorist groups are clearly getting some of their finances by either directly supporting some criminal activity, or indirectly being fed resources that are the product of illegal activities," he explained. "That is a trend that we're watching and monitoring and has the potential to cause serious problems."

Yet despite his complaints about lack of resources, Commissioner Zaccardelli told the committee he was "very pleased" with the federal budget last week.

The Tories pledged $37-million to expand the RCMP's training facilities in Regina, and $161-million for more police officers and federal prosecutors. According to budget documents, the funding "will enable the RCMP to to fill 1,000 vacancies by 2010."

But testimony yesterday revealed that is an optimistic target.

Department of Justice officials are expected to take about $25-million for new lawyers, leaving $136-million for police.

"We're looking at about $192,000 for a fully operational police officer at the federal level, so when you start doing the math ... it tells you," Commissioner Zaccardelli said.

The math says 1,000 new officers would cost $192-million, $56-million more than has been committed. The commissioner said he was under the impression the initial pledge was "to start getting us up there," however.

While the commissioner's testimony raised many questions, he brushed by reporters following the hearing without answering them.

Mr. Kenny said in an interview the fact the RCMP can only touch on one-third of known organized crime in the country is a "big-time" concern.

"What about the other two-thirds?" he asked. "We've come out with reports on ports and airports and on the border, and time and time again we come back to the question of: We don't have enough cops. Bottom line."

He also expressed concern regarding terrorist involvement in organized crime.

"[Narco-terrorists] come and they distribute drugs through Canada and get a hell of a lot of dough for it," he said. "We have an incredible distribution network that would put UPS to shame in terms of how drugs are distributed across the country."

Commissioner Zaccardelli was spared questions regarding the recent decision to arm Canada's border guards, a move he strongly opposed in the past.

He told a Senate committee last spring that while the border is a dangerous place, "having a customs officer run out of his hut and shoot after" criminals was the wrong move.

The comment enraged border union officials, who have long been lobbying for more protection.

Mr. Kenny said the plan will be very costly to implement, however, noting his first choice would have been to boost RCMP presence at Canada's frontier.

"To do it is going to be very complicated," he said. "At the end of the day, you're going to have a more expensive border guard as well."

(National Post Tuesday, May 09, 2006)