30 September 2008

Fraud investigators raid BAE agents home

Austrian police carry out raid on behalf of SFO. Although the Guardian has pursued this case with determination, the story still only describes allegations, in this case to do with a deal involving the Czech Republic.

Scottish Crime "lowest since 80s"

Will London actually study what the Scots have done....If only! A week ago, they announced new offences: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/7627335.stm is this a precedent for South of the border?

27 September 2008

Gaza's Smuggling Tunnels

One can only admire human ingenuity

26 September 2008

We can no longer afford to fund the corrupt

Comment piece by Camilla Cavendish, a journalist with a wealthy person's name, so she should know! Bit of a neo-con piece, but the Times is in the Murdoch stable, after all! It remains true, however, that a lot of aid money disappears into overseas bank accounts long before it reaches the poor, as she argues.

Terrorist chic or debunking of a myth?

Film about the Baader-Meinhof gang/ Red Army Faction causs controversy.

Somali pirates "seize 30 tanks"

A Ukranian ship carrying T 72s to Mombassa. The pirates operate out of Eyl in Puntland where they are holding a dozen ships. Suppose all they need now is fuel.

24 September 2008

Key Finance Firms probed by FBI

20 large financial firms allegedly under investigation for deceiving investors as to the strength of their institutions. We shall see whether anything ever comes of this.

22 September 2008

Number of fake £1 coins doubles

Sounds like another puff for a BBC programme. One of those "is anything really happening?" sort of stories. Probably about time the crime correspondent came up with something to justify his salary.

Alex Schmid revisits his definition of terrorism

Alex Schmid is revising his academic consensus definition of terrorism and is asking for feedback before publishing his handbook of terrorism research.

17 September 2008

MEPs call on EU states to list Hezbollah as Terrorist Group

For the moment this is a campaign by a group of MEPs and not yet the policy of the European Parliament. At present, only Israel, the US, the Netherlands and Canada consider Hezbollah a terrorist group. the UK and Australia list its military wing as a terrorist group.

Witness Ties Colombian General to Paramilitaries

Bet he wont be designated and have his assets seized! All allegations of course, but then so were yesterday's against the Chavez aides. Demonstrates another dimension to that designation....Timing! "A plague on both your houses" is the only way to run a counter=insurgency campaign long-term...and a counter organised crime strategy. Try to use people one against the other and you end up used yourself. [Is that a "Confucius he say" sort of statement? Far too early to be setting this year's exam paper.]
The witness, however, is somewhat tainted, if you read to the end of the piece. Unfortunately, so is everybody else!

Galina Brezhneva: the soap opera

The Russians have made a TV series out of Brezhnev's daughter's life. A must-see for all us old Soviet hands! The article from the Moscow Times doesnt mention the allegations of diamond smuggling and other early forms of corruption that those around her were accused of. If anyone gets the DVD, please let me know! [Yeah, in Russian would be perfect!]

Duma to vote on limits to inspections

In a move to cut opportunities for bribe taking, Russia's parliament moves to remove inspections of small and medium sized businesses. This may or may not be a step in the right direction! Keep an eye on the number of fires that follow!

11 dead after clash between Hamas and "criminal gang"

This from the Guardian. BBC more circumspect, saying that only "elements of the Doghmush clan are involved in criminality. What is interesting is that Hamas and the clans/gangs appear to be falling out. So what is the larger agenda?

Take the Masterpiece and run- the Growing Problem of Art Theft

FBI estimate art theft worth $6 billion a year. But this piece in the Times is mostly a review of a book called "Stolen" by Jonathan Webb. It claims that most art is stolen to raise money for further crime.

16 September 2008

U.S. Links Three Chavez Aides to Guerillas

3 individuals accused of assisting FARC trafficking in cocaine and arms smuggling are designated so that assets can be frozen. There's a conflict developing here. The ante is definitely being upped!

2008 Corruption perceptions Index to be released on September 23rd

Details on the website. Initiative of University of Passau and Transparency International.

Turkmenistan says gang neutralised

Shoot out in Ashkabad. Not sure if it was with a radical Islamic group, drug traffickers or both. Will keep an eye out for reemergence of story.

15 September 2008

Fears over Privacy as Police expand surveillance project

Data to be kept for 5 years, which is at odds with EU rules. It's all in the name of counter-terrorism [and everyday crime, in the small print]. Access obviously the big issue, especially since local authorities linked in. More green bin surveillance? Of course not! It will crack down on uninsured drivers...and deter criminals [that's what it sats, folks, so it must be true!]

2012 "scam" dupes foreign workers

Actually a puff for a BBC TV programme. 550 Slovaks handed over £600 to be accommodate on 3 cruise ships in the Thames in order to work on the 2012 Olympics site, according to the programme.

12 September 2008

Google Cuts Data Retention after EU Privacy Warning

Google moves to 9 months, after cutting from indefinitely to 18 months. The Commission wants anonymisation of data after 6 months.

Fraud victims "lucky" to get help

Actually, it says lucky to have the crime investigated. Whatever happened to the notion of deterrence?

11 September 2008

How Putin and his ex-KGB pals took over the Russian economy

Fortune article courtesy of CNN on Putin and his St. Petersburg associates. Basically the article grudgingly admits that Yeltsin and his mates were an economic disaster and Putin's boys have improved things. Now, however, their nationalism may start to scare off further investment. They have cleaned out the oligarchs, but the oligarchs were in bed with foreign firms and the renegotiation of deals such as the one with BP is causing concern. Corruption under Yeltsin and Putin are different, but still corruption.

Failed Afghan Drug Policy Harming Us, say Iran

Here's a twist. British authorities acknowledge that Iran is a major victim of increased Afghan drug production. Apparently we [the UK] cooperate with them in counter-narcotics.

The Players' Player

Interview with Kirk Dawes, the ex-cop who mediates between Birmingham gangs. Good to know that mediation is an option. Worrying to know that government funding is under threat. Leads to me wondering whether we need mediators to work between governments and "international terrorist groups"?? Job spec anyone?

10 September 2008

Revealed: the Truth about Brothels

Big Brothel: a Survey of the Off-street Sex Industry, commissioned by the Poppy Project. Lots of statistics. Depressing reading.

Italy: Mafia linked to mystery death of doctor

An unpleasant little story. Allegations that a doctor was killed after operating on a Mafia Don on the run.

Anti-Morales Insurgents threaten Bolivian Pipeline

Not sure that this is organised crime or terrorism yet, but it's distinctly problematic! A harbinger of things to come and a new phase in the development of Latin American conflict? Who is funding what here?

09 September 2008

Prosecutors may move to Ministry

Short article from Moscow Times that I suspect has mammoth implications. Investigative Committee of Prosecutor's Office in Russia may move to Ministry of Justice and absorb investigative branch of Ministry of Interior. Suppose this is someone flying a kite. But watch this space.

EU investigates corruption allegations against trade official

Sunday Times journalists posed as lobbyists. What then happened will eventually reach a court somewhere or other.

Developing World Drug Abuse "Up"

UNODC Report that synthetic drugs like ecstasy and amphetamines on the rise in East and South East Asia and the Middle East. Full text at: http://www.unodc.org/documents/scientific/ATS/Global-ATS-Assessment-2008-Web.pdf

"Astonishment" at terror verdicts

Unfortunately, we only have the newspapers to rely on, but the trial seemed to me one of a series in which the charges were an exaggeration of the evidence. But I suspect there's going to be a retrial, because no government agency is going to be able to accept that the ban on liquids etc on aircraft is a little over the top [and a way of forcing you to spend money at the airport shops]...as is the old shoes removal business [but it immortalises Richard Reid as the "shoe bomber"!]. We shall see. Another problem from the Blair-Blunkett period come back to haunt poor old Gordon. Anyway, there will be lots of links from this piece to other relevant sites, so it has to be on the blog.
Nice to note that our boys are blaming the Americans for making them act too soon! I would love to hear some real scientists debate whether this stuff could really have worked. But it isn't going to happen!
Please note: I'm not saying whether the threat was or was not real. I am simply saying that the evidence didn't hold up and I note that the jury felt the same way.

The Town that took on the Yakuza

Vicious turf war sparks civil challenge. Where's Yul Brinner and the boys when you need them? Police figures for number of mobsters given. No-one expects much to change, since the police have no criminal law basis to smash the gangs.

08 September 2008

Israeli PM "should be indicted"

Recommended charges, according to the BBC are: bribery, fraud, money laundering and breach of public trust. There go the peace talks!

Mail and Phone Scams Catch out 3 Million

£3.5 Billion pounds lost and less than 1 in 20 report it. Royal Mail refuses to act. Claims it has a legal obligation to deliver all mail...what? Is there no offence of abuse of the postal system? Is it the US that has that?
Could it be time to start a campaign here?

EU gives blessing for Italy's Roma Fingerprint Scheme

No it doesn't. The Commission does. This too will one day reach the Court. Fingerprinting on purely ethnic grounds a highly dangerous precedent. Is it criminal to be a member of an ethnic group? Next, as Pastor Niemoller said, it will be a religious group, then an ideological group, and finally...You! [Unless you protest]
O tempora! O mores!

EU Terror Blacklist Suffers Judicial Blow

Decision to freeze al Barakat assets overturned. You cant freeze assets without telling people why, the Court holds. Seems reasonable.

3 ships evade Pirate Attack off Somalia

Piracy seems to be spreading. Are we insured?

Police Identify Criminals from Texts

God help us! "Language scientists"! Another gravy train arriving too late for me! Havent they heard of predictive texts?

Bribe to illegally seize a firm put at $30,000

Oh and the cost of getting a court ruling? $35,000. How utterly depressing. Report on business in Russia by the National anti-Corruption Committee and the Phoenix Group with Transparency International. OK, OK. I'll find the URL for you! Just back from the Symposium on Organised and Economic Crime at Jesus College Cambridge. Recovering!

05 September 2008

How the terror cells link up

Cute little interactive Venn diagram on the links between the al Qaeda operatives in britain have emerged from the court cases that have already happened. Not sure whether all these cases have finished, so some of this material needs to be treated as "alleged" al Qaeda operatives....How many are actually "self-professed"? Cave journalism...but I wish i could create these myself!

03 September 2008

How books changed mafia Man's Life

review of Louis Ferrante's book on his life in the Mafia. "I was 17 years old. I liked girls. I liked to drive fast cars. I liked hamburgers and French fries.

"And I'd just realised that I liked to hijack trucks".

02 September 2008

Italy's Dead Man Walking

Roberto Saviano, his book on the Camorra and his consequent death sentence fom the gang.