31 March 2008

Lehman sues over £177 million fraud

An interesting principle. If people claiming to be your "employees" [or even your employees] sell a fraudulent product, are you responsible for the losses suffered by the victim? Caveat Emptor really is dead and buried as a principle here. At least Lehman are suing in a Japanese court. they'd have won hands down in Manhattan...which begs the question. Why are they suing in Japan? Answers on a postcard please to Marubeni.

Monographs from Drug Policy Modelling Programme: Australia

Look like an interesting series of research papers and literature reviews from the University of New South Wales, including drug markets and calculating social costs per gram and per user of illegal drugs. Please add some comments on the quality of the papers if you get a chance to read them.

The Next Collapse Will be Russia's Last

Not at first apparent, the thread running through this Moscow Times article is that the rule of law is a necessary precondition for democracy and that there is a process by which this will emerge. I think Milton Friedman finally admitted that the rule of law should have preceded "shock therapy" in Eastern Europe...but somewhat too late. Those sharp-suited young idiots from Stanford with no experience of the world screwed it up for the populations of the former Soviet Bloc and handed the resources over to criminal groups instead. This article still centres on a form of economic determinism which needs needs to be thought through carefully.

Barroso slams Bulgaria over Corruption

President of European Commission tells Bulgarian government to take more of the initiative in fighting organised crime and corruption and to stop waiting for EU instructions before acting.

Call for papers: special issue of Global Crime

Global Crime invites contribution to the special issue “The Economics of Organized Crime”. The topic is purposely broad in scope, and hope to attract researchers from a diversity of fields. We welcome empirical studies which focus on the economic activities of organized crime groups, whether licit or illicit, or papers using economic theory or economic tools to analyze a specific activity or issue relating to organized crime. While all papers on the economic aspects of organized crime are welcome, three themes are of particular interest:

1. The circumstances where violence can be used by organized crime groups to control illegal or legal markets
2. Studies and analysis of new organized crime groups or new areas of organized crime ‘business’
3. The extent to which organized crime and terrorist groups overlap and the implications for the study and control of these groups.

The deadline to submit papers is September 15th, 2008. Guidelines for authors can be found at http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/authors/fglcauth.asp

Articles should be submitted electronically to one of the special issue Editors:

Martin Bouchard, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, Canada, V5A 1S6, mbouchard@sfu.ca

Dr. Chris Wilkins, PhD, Senior Researcher at Centre for Social Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation (SHORE), Massey University (NZ), c.wilkins@massey.ac.nz

29 March 2008

50 arrests in police operation in South Devon

Looks as though there may have been a national operation going on against crime networks. Would be great if readers could send links to any local press reports of this sort. It follows on from the North London operation against loose networks yesterday. This one is called operation Toledo and brought in Avon and Somerset officers as back up. Burglary, vehicle crime, handling stolen goods and drugs were the offences listed

EU borderless zone expands at airports

Malta and 8 Eastern European EU states complete their joining of Schengen. It includes 22 EU member states, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland will join shortly. Uk and Ireland remain outside in name, although both have implemented over 85% of relevant measure in a piecemeal way. Ireland cannot join, because it has an open border with the UK. UK wont join because it wishes to present itself as having control over its borders for domestic political reasons.

Thieves leave car steal catalytic converter!

Platinum, palladium and rhodium in your catalytic converter. In an era of mineral shortage, they're much more valuable then gold. Yet another thing to worry about!

Report on Fraud Against Charities Suggests Huge Losses

New York Times article on report by four academics on fraud in the charitable sector. Overall cost of $40 billon in 2006, ie 13% of $600 billion donated. I will search for a link to full report.

28 March 2008

Hundreds of Police Stage North London Raids

Part of an operation targetting loosely connected networks. Blackstock Road, close to Finsbury Park Mosque was suspected to be a venue for criminals of Algerian descent, with 19 businesses alleged to be involved. Drugs, stolen laptops and telephones the commodities traded. Maybe they'll find those missing databanks at last!
Dawn raids had also taken place at a number of premises across London.

27 March 2008

EU data protection chief criticises fingerprint plan

The splendidly named Mr. Hustinx, criticises the European Commission, which failed in its legal obligation to consult him on its proposal for a centralised fingerprints database. The Commission also proposed minimum standards for biometrics in passports, which is not objectionable in itself, but the European Data Supervisor should have been consulted.
I must find the link to the report on the Commision's previous desires for centralised databases. National databases, but a legal structure for data sharing with judicial supervision, please!

Tracking Hate Crimes a Tricky Business

A form of organised crime never properly discussed or integrated into the literature. I mentioned the possibility of ideology being a variable in the analysis of organised crime, and here's a clear example. Right wing attacks get away without being called terrorism, because they use lower forms of violence. Fists and clubs rather than guns. Equally, they escape monitoring in some countries because they are not seen as worthy of a particular category. Yet the incidence of hate crime is an important indicator in predicting public disorder.
In the 1980s, there were links between hate crime groups and the import of violent pornography, according to Searchlight [ http://www.searchlightmagazine.com/ ] The article also refers to Human Rights First an NGO monitoring hate crime in OSCE countries [among other things] http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/

26 March 2008

The Street Review: A Review of Interoperability between the AFP and its security partners

We could do with lots of these. Preferably not just: have they ticked the boxes, but: have they really been successful and do we remember what the goals were?
This one is a bit too much oriented to more powers, more committees, and no comment on regular review of information stored to ensure gossip doesnt become a means of keeping someone in jail or deporting them. I dont see a review of the case of that poor doctor who found himself deported, for example.
Reliablity of source, corroboration from other sources and review of data protection. Intelligence is not evidence, after all.
Ive only glanced through it so far. Bit bureaucratic really, but given the membership, what else could it be?

25 March 2008

Toilet paper, Spam and a Political Hit

Some great stories in the Moscow Times. This one raises questions about the crimes of the powerful and the use of semi-official youth groups to keep the media compliant. The story is about a hacking campaign against Kommersant and the question of who is behind it and why the police don't intervene to stop these clearly criminal activities.
But the headline is a joy!

Crackdown on the Caviar Smugglers

Identification of a problem, but no discussion of the organisations responsible. Classic problem: cheap to obtain in countries of origin, expensive on the fat cats' plates.
Caspian Sea said to be the source of the best, but whitefish roe and North Atlantic Salmon roe too every bit as good, says Wikipedia.
So are we talking Russian Mafias, Chechens, Ukranians, Azerbaijanis or good old fashioned English crooks here? Even Iranians are possible candidates. Trade in caviar was effectively banned in 2006, so classic case of social labelling here.
2002 Telegraph article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2002/08/29/wcav29.xml
describes "mules" being used to deliver it to New York. Organised by a "Russian" called Tsimbal.
2005 story from Caucaz: http://www.caucaz.com/home_eng/breve_contenu.php?id=131
Trade centres on the city of Siyezen, in Azerbaijan, halfway between Baku and Dagestan.
Aha! Under Soviet rule, there were fish-breeding farms, closed down since collapse of Communism. The local chief of police now demands $1,00 a month form boat captains and dealers. Classic crime story: create a shortage, get the idiots to criminalise it and then clean up! [Discuss]

Robin Hood is alive and well and working in India

Little changes in the world. A "take from the rich, give to the poor" figure with his band of supporters operates deep in Madhya Pradesh. If he is doing half of what is attributed to him, he must have quite a financial network too, unless his money is kept in cash under a tree somewhere. Half modern, half mediaeval. I wonder if that is the full story. Unusual piece for the Washington Post.

24 March 2008

More on the drug traffickers submarines

We have seen this story before, but here's a little more detail for those of you who suspected there might have been some exaggeration involved.

23 March 2008

Why Radical Islam Just Won't Die

Thoughtful op-ed piece from the New York Times. Yet again, the moderates are being squeezed between a rock and a hard place. I wonder if there is a research piece on ideology and organised crime to be written? Must also do a comparison of 60s Marxism and anarchism with contemporary extremism. Not for content, but for the different directions schism took and takes.

22 March 2008

In New York, a Turf War in the Battle Against Terrorism

Washington Post piece ilustrating the problems of competing national and local agencies not sharing intelligence. You would think someone somewhere would have learned by now. But the battle for resources id much more bitter than the battle with terrorists...Discuss [Oops, i did it again!]
Is this problem worse for the US than for other countries, given the decentralised nature of policing there? Or is it just that the FBI, having muscled its way abroad and competing with the CIA and the DEA just doesnt want anyone else on its patch.
Are our policing, security and intelligence services appropriately organised to delivery security and respect privacy and other human rights? There's the super-discuss question for the day, children.

FATF Terrorist financing report

Has some estimates of costs in it, which are always useful. I havent had time to go through it in detail, but it isnt just about compliance with FATF directives, for a change. Some useful stuff in here which will have to be engaged with by anyone writing on terrorist financing.

Italy, toxic waste, the Mafia and Mozarella

Independent winding up the middle classes on a Saturday morning. This is the big cover story.

"Of course we don't know for sure scientifically, but the high rate of dioxin is most likely linked to what the buffaloes ate,"an unnamed Italian "expert" is quoted as saying...

OK there is a crisis of rubbish collection in Naples. OK, the Camorra are linked [and they arent the local "branch" of the Mafia, Indy editors. Theyre an independent loosely organised bunch, who may do the odd deal with the Sicilian Mafia, the N'drangheta in Calabria, or even the back from the dead Corona Sagrada of Puglia, but there ain't no Weberian hierarchy here]. They may even all just be brand names.

There is a follow-up article here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/europe/modern-mafia-operates-at-every-level-of-italian-society-799290.html
It is awfully broad brush and clearly the Indy must be having circulation trouble, or expects all its readers to be waiting for planes to Chiantishire for their Easter break.

Still at least the paper recognises there is life beyond la Manche!

CNN presents a calmer view of the mozarella crisis here: http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/03/21/italy.cheese.ap/index.html

21 March 2008

FBI Opens Probe of China-based hackers

Attacks on a group campaiging to save Darfur. The cui bono test can only point to the Sudanese government or to China. Article refers to what it calls a "near decade-old pattern of cyber-espionage and cyber-intimidation by the Chinese government against critics of its human rights practices, experts said". No expert named or quoted. The Chinese say the allegation is false.

Presumably we can expect lots more anti-China stories in the run-up to the Olympics. Previous post suggests free-lancers certainly exist in China. Must check out what western ex-hackers claim is going on. Time to check out the Cult of the Dead Cow [oh, yes, I'm afraid so! OK, try the Legion of Doom if you prefer it. The Wikipedia site for them is one of the funniest Ive read in a while]

Wikipedia says that the Cult of the Dead Cow worked with the Hong Kong Blondes in the 1990s to disrupt computer networks in China for the purpose of allowing access to censored content. They have since severed contact. This is all part of "Hacktivismo"

if you want to pursue the subject, the Cult's Home page is at: http://www.cultdeadcow.com/
If youre a bit of a wimp on these issues and afraid of being hacked, stick to the Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult_of_the_Dead_Cow

Something is going on in webworld, and academics will be getting grants to research it before too long. Even looser networks than usual are involved.

Struggling for solutions as Opium Trade Blossoms

Washington Post article about Uruzgan province Afghanistan. Beware the production figures. Not too long ago, the DEA site actually showed Burma well out-producing Afghanistan. It's only since the West decided to try to stop opium production that the figures have increased logarithmically.
Either: the West has the worst policies in the world for drug eradication, that do the opposite of what is intended
Or: the figures are complete inventions.
Or: organised crime took over the military a long time ago.

Make up your own explanation, but there is something wrong somewhere. The figures are the most likely to be manipulated, using Occam's razor to find the simplest explanation.

20 March 2008

International Copper Theft

This piece contains the immortal line: "Theft of metal has been described as the most serious threat to Britain's railways apart from terrorism."

Now managerial incompetence, poor maintenance, the absence of investment in high-speed trains and john Major's weird choo-choo fantasies from his childhood are far more serious in my real world...But copper theft really is taking place out there.

And, believe it or not, it's all China's fault! Not India's, not organised crime, but the Olympics. There is a story here, but the people who wrote this piece have gone for the same old line. I'm surprised they didnt blame Putin as well while they were at it.

Anyway. Someone is stealing metal in an organised way. That's the kernel of this Guardian excuse for a piece of analysis. Lazy journalism.

5 suspected skinheads held in Raids

I would have thought you were either a skinhead or you weren't. Fairly easy to tell.
Members of neo-Nazi group suspected of hate crimes including murder arrested in Moscow. Gives figures for numbers killed by skinheads [allegedly, presumably]

After a decade at War with West, al Qaeda still impervious to Spies

The trouble is, the intelligence agencies would say that anyway, if they had an agent in place, and would sy they did if they didnt, too! Smoke and mirrors eh? A few agents in the Pakistani ISI might prove just as advantageous....
Treatment of captured insurgents was key according to Kitson. You have to turn them. Torturing them isnt a good way of doing that, chaps! Nor is executing them. Imagine if Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had been turned into an asset rather than half drowned.
Bet ya Mossad has some roads in...
But does the article show a total misunderstanding of al Qaeda's disorganised organisation. It seems theyre still looking for Weberian bureaucracies rather than networks. There is some recognition in this piece of the importance of family and tribe within the network, but the analysis remains Weberian in approach.
As long as you think of al Qaeda as an army, you won't defeat it. [Today's final exam discuss topic]

Art Forgery Operation broken up by joint FBI-Spanish operation

This is the Guardian version. An "art forgery ring" it calls it. How about "An organised crime gang of counterfeiters". Let's not mince our words here, just because it's art! Art dealers in Chicago and Florida sold forged artwork supposed to be Picassos Dalis and Warhols to gullible customers. Ebay was also used. At least $5million was made by the enterprise. FBI, the Mossos d'esquadrs or autonomous Catalan police [not the "Spanish" Guardian editor please note!] and the Italian carabinieri [ignored by the headline writer] launched a joint operation in 2006.
I'll add links to the American end of the story when I find them.

19 March 2008

Super Spy Agency in the Works

Russian government about to create a Russian equivalent of the FBI...but the small print makes it look awfully like the return of the KGB....with powers over criminal investigation as well as security. Hmmmmmmm...plus ca change....

30,000 ruble hospital bill tips off police to Beria hoax

The headline is irresistible and once you've read it, then the necessity for the next post becomes clear

Trade in stolen Iraqi treasures funds al Qaeda

You have to say, these must be the world's richest terrorists. They deal in oil and art! Look guys, you have an organised crime problem. Stop pretending you haven't!

18 March 2008

Brazilians look to regional force to root out death squads

Easy to set them up. Damn difficult to get rid of them. Set up to combat Marighela 40 years ago, units within the police still offer murder for hire. They also offer "protection". "offer"? One of those you cant refuse. Comparison could be made here with the Russian "krysha" system. But it might be somewhat risky for an academic to do so! Links between police, local business and "high officials"...Organised crime nationalised, you might say.

Lack of Uniform Policy for terror blacklist

720,000 names on the terror "watch list". No uniform procedures by which agenicies place people on the list. What idiot gave the supervisor body the acronym TREX? [T-REX presumably, not the obsolete brand name for cooking fat...ie lard] Terrorist Review and Examination Unit...if as much thought went into legal procedures as went into acronyms, the world might be a safer place.

If Osama bin Laden really had 720,000 troops, we would be seeing rather more action than we do at present...Anybody heard of proportionality?

Still, "privacy advocates" are having an effect, which does give some hope that democracy is functioning, despite bureaucratic efforts to smother it.

Dare I suggest an annual review and the removal of names that cannot be justified...with someone acting as advocate for the names concerned? No, sorry, that would be due process. Silly me!

17 March 2008

The Cannabis industry in Canada

Extract from Misha Glenny's book: the McMafia, one of two in the Guardian this week. Looks like good anecdotal stuff.

Australian Crime: Facts and Figures 2007

This is recorded crime.
Anyone know where to get similar reports for France, Spain and even Germany? Te Italian press is great for articles on organised crime, particularly down South, but regular reading of French and Spanish papers make the countries appear crime free. Suggestions as to where to delve would be most welcome

AIC research report on carjackong

Comparison of literature from Australis, UK, US and South Africa.

A rare insight into small time gun trafficking

Washington Post article on the ways guns get into the hands of criminals in DC. Apparently they are either stolen or bought by intermediaries.

Gongadze murder; three found guilty, but the bosses escape

Three former police officers found guilty of murder of an investigative journalist in the Ukraine, but finger of suspicion points higher up the hierarchy.

16 March 2008

Drug Trade Tyranny on the Border

This contrasts with yesterdays piece on how successful border monitoring was pushing people towards the Pacific. Looks more like the iron grip of the drug cartels and their oversight of all illicit cross-border traffic might be just as important. This Washington Post article paints a picture of private armies in a firefight with police and military. Of course the organisations interpenetrate each other, cops demanding pay-offs and trafficking themselves, military up to all sorts of stuff, but occasionally disarming cops. Citizen security sounds as though it comes very low on the list of priorities. But in the cocaine trade, money comes first.
There is a suggestion that part of the problem originates with the decline of the Arellano Felix cartel. Tighter border security post 9/11 has led to the development of a local market too. Lots of figures in the piece, but as usual a shifting focus in what is quite a long article.

Iraq Insurgency Runs on Stolen Oil Profits

Well, there is an insurgency, and oil is being siphoned off into the black market, but the vast majority of those profits are going to corrupt officials and businessmen, my money says. In the small print, the article says:
"Nor is the skimming limited to the insurgency; illicit earnings from the Baiji refinery also flow to criminal gangs, tribes, the Iraqi police, local council members and provincial officials who also smuggle fuel, Iraqi officials say."
But the insurgency is a better headline.
The role of organised crime in the Iraqi state and economy needs to be analysed. Equally, why does crime erupt the minute an authoritarian regime is overthrown? Why did the Sicilian and other Mafias reappear so rapidly after the overthrow of Mussolini? [hmm there was US involvement in that, mum] after the overthrow of communism in Eastern Europe? In Vietnam? Is it the Milo Minderbender factor from Catch 22? And where can I get the necessary research grant?

Parmalat trial: alleged £11 billion fraud, 34,000 witnesses

One of those scandals that Italy specialises in. Compare and contrast our own UK potato scandal at: http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/retailing/article3559475.ece
A mere £3million in bribes alleged, as opposed to the astronomical Italian figure. But the point is: it does happen in the UK too. Food is big business and where there's brass, there's fraud, to paraphrase the old Yorkshire saying: where there's muck there's brass...and conversely, where there's brass there's muck...[for the benefit of our non-dom readers]

MI5 after power to know everything

Someone in MI5 needs to start asking , "and might we be doing exactly what the terrorists want us to do?" There is an unholy alliance against aspects of democracy between the security services and Osama bin Laden to create an authoritarian society. Here, a weird article knits together the desire to profile every movement of an individual to see if the computer thinks you look like a terrorist, with the fear of the "cyber war".

There is a very simple answer to cyber warfare of the type described: an emergency back-up system or two. It does not require further asaults on civil liberties of the vast majority. The purpose of this campaign is to save democracy from the assaults on it by jihadists and others, not to ally with them in that assault [another one of those finals "discuss" questions I keep producing.]

Grappling with global terror conundrum

Big conference of the "experts". The journalist didnt seem to notice any academics there! It came down to: US thinks terrorism a form of war, Europeans think it's a form of crime. There is also a debate about whether its global terrorism or global insurgency that's going on out there.

15 March 2008

Extract from Misha Glenny's new book "McMafia"

Looks like a "must read", "McMafia: Crime without frontiers" Published by Bodley Head.

Improvements at Land Border push smugglers to the Pacific

Headline a bit misleading. Actually described is a single incident, which sounds like a first-stage, amateur operation in human smuggling. The degree to which this can actually be considered displacement is low. But the police oficer's comments suggests that displacement may be taking place because of higher security further East.

14 March 2008

Heroin use in UK jails overtakes cannabis

Results of a random drug testing programme. This will be a problem that will return to the community after prisoners are released and suggests a different kind of organisation developing inside the prison system. Used to be "tobacco barons", but heroin can be used to recruit people to your organisation for later "employment".

Boiler room scam on UK pensioners

A father and daughter team scammed $70 million out of British pensioners, selling worthless shares. There were two of them, so that just about counts as organised crime.

13 March 2008

Arrest of the alleged "head of the Arellano Felix cartel" in Mexico

Some details about one of the Mexican drug cartels in this BBC article. The individual concerned will be handed over to US authorities where he is already wanted by the FBI.

Call for more powers to extradite criminals

The Chief Constable of Merseyside calls for the Eurowarrant to be extended to suspects the police wish to interview. Also says low-cost flights make life easier for criminals. Argues that "second-division" criminals now hiding out abroad. The problem goes back a long way. Many European countries do not allow arrest for interrogation. You have to charge amd permit the suspect to have the protection of the law.

Maybe the Chief Constable would accept judicial control of investigation and we could start from there? Then we would be more in line with the overwhelming majority of our continental cousins.

12 March 2008

Foes of Sex Trade Are Stung By the Fall of an Ally

I have refrained from commenting on Governor Spitzer, but this piece discusses some of the contradictions at the heart of the sex trade and the problems for NGOs in fighting it. Cui bono? Especially from tougher laws? The research suggests that new laws against drugs simply push up the price. Is there any research on the role of laws in the sex trade?

11 March 2008

Forget the Rolexes. Now they're faking Ferraris

There are of course, two sides to this type of crime.Where the fake is as good as the real thing, then the cause of the criminality is excessive profit making, but where the "fake" is as they say "fake fake" ie it is not of the same quality, then aeroplanes crash, people smoke wood chippings and die because medicine is not medicine at all.

Lots of issues in the counterfeit trade.

Rules Issued forOversight of Fraud Cases

The gist of this article seems to be that if youre a corporate fraudster, you can avoid prosecution so long as you employ a former Attorney General to say that you have cleaned up your act...Hmmmm...I smell a rodent here. Lots of technical language, but white-collar crime and the crimes of the powerful at their best.

Bulgaria and Romania Unruffled by Brussels' Corruption Criticism

There is also criticism of Bulgaria on organised crime. There is a link to the previous article on the report itself. This is the reaction to it....

10 March 2008

Chinese hackers: no site is safe

More problems for those of us conceptualising organised crime. the hacker community is a deliberately individualistic one, and doesnt always seek profit. It seeks to know that it can! Venn diagrams required, but the activity is certainly illegal, though not a business, although services may be sold at times. Concepts please.

Reporter pleads not guilty in case linked to police bugging

This is a very murky prosecution indeed. Private Eye has run a couple of articles on it. The Eye alleged abuse of power. Will find links to the relevant articles. Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?
Private Eye 1120 article by Ratbiter
Press Gazette article
Google Murrer Kearney and find the full, curious story. Kearney is the cop who claims he objected to the bugging of the M.P.

Will it all come out in Court? Especially since there has now been declared to be nothing wrong with the bugging. Hmmmmm

09 March 2008

Shopkeepers Revolt against Sicilian Mafia

Interesting idea: a supermarket that sells goods from enterprises that refuse to pay protection money. Best of luck to them!
Bottom-up approaches are always better than top-down ones. The question is: how best can the police support such initiatives?

Saudi therapy for ex-jihadists

Actually, these programmes have been underway around the world for some time. Malaysia has one, certainly and there have been attempts in Western prisons, although they have created conflicts with existing prison staff. Would be wonderful to see a proper independent research evaluation of them all...but don't hold your breath. This is politics, not criminology!

How a tiny West African country became the World's first Narco-state

Observer article on Guinea-Bissau. Actually it's the UN that calls it "Africa's first narco-state" if you read on. If it were a competition I can think of Latin American countires that have fitted the bill in the past and may simply have changed their presentation in recent years.
It's very much a Sunday papers article. Lots of fluff and little about how it all works. Could do with finding the UN Reports.

07 March 2008

Notorious Arms Dealer Arrested in Thailand

I've deliberately chosen the Moscow Times for the story, because at least it means you dont have to read the DEA press release disguised as journalism. Belgium have wanted him since 2002 for arms dealing in Africa. The DEA got the Thais to arrest him by pretending to be FARC [confused yet?]...which sounds awfully like entrapment.
Our man is Uzbek born but a Russian national, and is alleged to have inspired the "Lord of War" character in the 2005 Nicholas Cage film [Times story here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3504284.ece]
and here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3498795.ece
Serious allegations in the latter about his role in the Sierra Leone conflict.
The story raises the problem: you cant be a one-man arms dealer, so who makes these arms, who sells them to him, apparently he does have a transport fleet, and who handles the money?
Well, the allegation is that he is ex-KGB, so it can't be anybody in the West, can it??? Watch this space as usual, although he's likely to be stuck in a Thai jail for a while yet.
Oh yeah...Why was the DEA engaged in this operation?

06 March 2008

Organised crime turning to mortgage fraud

Ridiculously brief piece from the Independent. UK mortgage fraud totalled £700 million last year and involved crooked solicitors and surveyors laundering money by overvaluing properties....Longer piece on ACPO Website here: http://www.acpo.police.uk/pressrelease.asp?PR_GUID={7F278B1E-CA47-4C00-AFD2-CC599E4BA786}
Unfortunately it's marked restricted so only a few members of ACPO and individuals in the finance industry will ever read it. Why? AH OK, lets be fare here for once. Because it contains details of how to do it! That's reasonable...But is the finance industry really a safe place to send it then?
It is true that it was until the credit crunch ridiculously easy to take out a bank mortgage and the report asks for checks. But it also mutters darkly about ethnic groups and terrorists.

Fascinating stuff, but frustratingly small amount of information

UK children rescued from worldwide sex abuse ring

Paedophiles organise their criminality increasingly and there have been hints that "mainstream" organised crime has been getting involved. A ring of 2,500 downloaders described here in 19 countries. 400,000 images. It's big business, sadly.

van Buitenen strikes again

Anyone who can expose Neil Kinnock as an overblown old fraud is a mate of mine [well, apart from Michael Heseltine and various members of the Conservative Party that is.]
Without van Buitene, no Santergate...Keep it up, even when you're wrong old fellow...and Neil, you should have supported him!

2008 US National Victim Assistance Academy

3, 4 and 5 day courses. Worth bringing to attention of students looking for careers in the area

Criminal Victimisation in International Perspctive

Key findings of the ICVS conducted 2004-5. Just published. Should be set reading.

FBI Chief Confirms Misuse of Subpoenas

But they don't do it any more. So that's alright then.

Hidden away...Building trust with prisoners is a good idea...and they cite...wait for it...Saddam Hussein! Is Jay Leno writing this stuff? Hey talk to us and we'll hang you!

Wait for the headlines on misuse of national data warehouses...coming to a newspaper near you [but not the Fox Channel].

National Dragnet is a click away

US Justice Department creating a National Data exchange...Would that be a recreation of PNC1 then? If it is really a national intelligence exchange then there's a lot more work to be done than they appear to realise. Will they be copying the UK National Intelligence Model? [Dont tell me, we copied it from them???]
Don't fear children, it's only to get the nasty terrorists!
Actually, two pages of this article are about the hardware and the software and a lot more interesting than the first one which is just "kindly old Uncle Sam is watching the bad guys to keep you safe at night". Dont see much discussion of data protection issues or nature of the intelligence: how reliable is the source etc... Ho hum.

05 March 2008

2007 INCB Report

Actual text of the report. Be interesting to check how American the input to it is.

Drug Cartels Running Rampant, says UN

International Narcotics Control Board's annual report. Small voice of criticism at foot of article. This is the report that has been seized on as blaming "celebrities" for drug taking by certain sections of the media.

04 March 2008

Home Office Report on levels of crime and disorder. Evaluating the impact of the 2003 Licensing Act

Not really organised crime, but if there is anybody out there, the full report is here, assuming you have been exposed to the variable spin from the newspapers and TV. The truth is that the impact has been marginal apparently. Or is it just that the evaluation has been difficult to do?

US seeks terrorists in web worlds

Let's see now....we couldnt find Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora...so let's invade the privacy of all the geeks in those virtual reality worlds. Let the spooks define "normal" behavior and then snoop around anything abnormal. I kid you not....that's what it says!

Oh don't worry...the innocent will have nothing to fear...Just the non-normals. I thought criminology and psychology gave up on concepts of "normal" decades ago...and "deviant".

Suppose they will be profiling the blogs too. Swivelling eyes good, critical abnormal...and they say we defeated the Soviet Union! Looks awfully like Stalin won to me!

'Ndrangheta, maxisequestro di bene alle famiglie della strage di Duisburg

Big seizure here. There's a lot happening in Italy right now. Pity it is all likely to stop once the government changes.
English version reached the BBC a day later: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7278427.stm
They must have had to take it to the local restaurant to get it translated after work... World Service has been badly cut!

New York Times Editorial on US Immigration policy

Could easily describe the European Union too.

Ecoterrorism suspected in Seattle fires

Just what we all needed! A new form of terrorism...first narcoterrorism, now ecoterrorism. The Earth Liberation Front [ELF] has been around for a while apparently...Elf, get it? Little green chaps and chapesses creating lots of carbon emissions. I wonder if they ever consider the carbon footprint of their acts? Now there's a counter-terrorist strategy for you!

03 March 2008

Identity Fraud and Theft in Australia

New publication in AIC Crime facts series. Results of a survey into awareness and experience of Identity Fraud.

Raising Public awareness of consumer fraud in Australia

New paper in Australian Institute of Criminology series. It measures the impact of a fraud prevention programme on consumer reporting of fraud

Hells Angels, Jagger and Altamont

I will try to find the Radio 4 programme, but in the spirit of the European Consortium for Political Research, I would like to put the odd non-English language piece into this blog. We will Europeanize you!
Oh, alright. English account here: http://music.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,2261672,00.html

Berlin seeks EU move against tax havens

Don't say I didnt warn you! Been predicting this at the Cambridge Symposium for the last few years. Ho hum!

BoNY fails in bid to have judge replaced

I hadnt noticed this case trundling on in Moscow. It raises some interesting issues. Given that Manhattan courts claim jurisdiction over just about every financial transaction in the world, what will happen when this case in Moscow comes to judgement. Theyre only after a cool $22 billion. Hmmm...any connection here with attacks on Russia as not a proper democracy...Nah, I'm being cynical again.

Warning over " toxic" cigarettes

Mind you, the Scots have their own problems. But I bet this is also going on in the North of England and further South. Trade patterns?

Major Crackdown on Gang Violence

The Scots appear to be doing something. Unfortunately, the BBC article is very light on specifics. England and Wales have never been that good at learning from the Scots either! Odd, when we have lots of Scots in Government...

Officials warn of terrorist links to prison gangs

This article in the Guardian connects to those warnings from the US about illegal immigrants creating links to existing gang culture in jails. Somebody should have known this might happen, but where are the plans for deradicalisation and to break down gang culture in prisons?