30 October 2008

Deadly Bomb Blasts rock North East India

firstly: we should always worry about the next problem coming over the horizon. Is India it? Secondly: on the cui bono test, could elements from the ISI be expanding a destabilisation campaign? It would be interesting to know if the technological signature is similar to those around Bangalore not so long ago.

Antiviral Scareware

Story of what appears to be a Russian business that may have many aspects.

28 October 2008

Captured in a hail of bullets, drug lord who left trail of severed heads

Eduardo Arellano Felix captured. One of seven brothers who founded the Arellano Felix cartel which is a major force in cross-border smuggling into the Southern US

27 October 2008

Cartel reportedly infiltrated Mexican Attorney General's Office

Also the US Embassy. Drug cartel thus had advance notice of operations.

22 October 2008

Russian Economic Official Abruptly Freed from Jail

Finance Minister Kudrin obtains the release of an ally, deputy mimister Storchak in the battle between Kremlin liberals and the silovki, according to the Washington Post.
Moscow Times broadly agrees: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/600/42/371832.htm

21 October 2008

86 on trial in Turkey Coup Case

Ive been avoiding posting news about this trial until I could find an American link. The issue of Turkey's admission to the EU is too prominent in the EU to get a sensible article. Essentially, the Turkish prosecutors seem to be alleging that there was a group called Ergenekon who were similar to the Gladio network in Italy and other West European countries, using destabilasation tactics against the Islamist parties in the same way these tactics were used against Communist parties. The trial has a long way to go.
BBC story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7679158.stm

UN cites $20 million in fraud

Washington Post article on corruption fraud and mismanagement in UN's own contracts. Report of UN taskforce on procurement fraud. Involves cases in Congo, Kenya Greece and New York.

Garzon frees 10 "jihadists"

More from el Pais. Clearly the Spanis jihadist story is not cut and dried. Ministry of the Interior locking up lots of alleged jihadists, but here's our controversial friend, Baltasar Garzon, the judge who wanted to prosecute Pinochet, letting them out again, if I read the Spanish correctly. Lots of names in this article.
CNN published an English version of this story the following day: http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/10/21/spain.terror.arrests/index.html

"Hemos eliminados a 25 infieles"

Judge Ruz investigating and putting on trial a gang of robbers on Costa del Sol funding killings in Mauretania and Algeria. Gang was formed in prison Topas in Salamanca where much recruitment took place between 1999 and 2002. Leaders: Mohammed Achraf and Abdelhakim Fekkar. Lots of information in this piece and in general in el Pais. I will have to stop reading cambio16's successor paper!

Spain Seeks Arrest of Duma deputy

article from Moscow Times. Baltasar Garzon issued proceedings in connection with investigation of Gennady Petrov, alleged Russian crime boss arrested in Mallorca. Vladimir Reznik is head of the Dumas Financial markets Committeeand was allegedly sold a villa in Mallorca by Petrov. Duma Speaker Boris Gryzliv has defended Reznik.

20 October 2008

Silence of the damned

In depth article on the Camorra in Naples. Very depressing, but some useful stuff on organisation. Argues the Camorra consists of warring clans and is not centralised.

Espana es objetivo y cantera de al Qaeda

Interesting piece in el Pais. Security Force in Spain on maximum alert. They see Spain as a target and a transit camp for terrorists heading for Iraq and Afghanistan. Judge Baltazar Garzon is running an investigation into jihadist networks in Spain, which led to a major police operation last week. Al Kalaa [Fortress of the warriors] was the name of a base in Barcelona for preparing activists to go to Iraq. [please excuse any hiccups in translation here!]

Mohamed Moghrabi Drives to Germany

I just came across this as part of a series of articles in OMNI [Oh My News International] written by Ludwig de Braeckeleer. It appears to be trying to document an alternative explanation of the Lockerbie disaster. I present it for general interest.

Drugs worth £1 million seized in UK cruise ship raid

Cocaine seized in raid on cruise ship Arcadia in Southampton. Breaking news at the time of posting.

Waves of Smuggled Russian Cigarettes Flood Europe

This is a piece about a particular brand, Jin Ling, manufactured by the Baltic Tobacco Company in Kaliningrad, allegedly from Brazilian tobacco sold it by BAT [British American Tobacco]. There is a link to a report by the Washington based group: International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

19 October 2008

FBI Struggles to Handle Wave of Financial Fraud Cases

Hmmm. So Osama bin Laden has unintentionally assisted white collar crime in the US by conning the FBI into transferring a third of its agents to terrorism and intelligence duites. Yeah, sure. As you get to the end of the article it becomes clear that senior figures in the Bush Administration thought the FBI investigations in this area were anti-business. But you can blame anything on the Tora Bora pimpernel! [discuss]

Al Qaeda Web forums Abruptly taken Off-Line

Washington Post piece on web conflicts between Sunni and Shia, interference by Western security agencies and possible attacks by individual hackers. Something going on out there. Not clear quite what, but the effect has been to take the majority of al Qaeda propaganda off-line.

Response to 9/11 was "huge overreaction" says ex-MI5 Chief

Stella Rimington interviewed by Guardian...I think for the release of her latest book. Full interview at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/oct/18/iraq-britainand911
Ms. Rimington wonders aloud whether the Press continue to pursue an old myth about how the secret services work. Since they do in every other field, it shouldnt really surprise us...

Stone Age man took drugs, say scientists

The Sun will have a better headline than this tomorrow. Another factor to be taken into account in studies of Neolithic trade routes.

Crime maps "will guide criminals"

At first sight, it's the Chair of the Police Federation sounding off in Luddite fashion. He does, however, have a point. Intelligence can be used by both sides in unpredictable ways.

The Baader-Meinhof Group: First Modern Terrorists?

Very thoughtful review by Bryan Appleyard of new Baader -Meinhof film. Stefan Aust's book is to be republished in updated form next month. It's a must-buy!

Passports will be needed to buy mobile phones

So when are they going to introduce bicycle licenses...and registration plates? I suppose it will happen once CCTV has become ubiquitous. I can remember John Alderson years ago, as his opening joke, suggesting tongue in cheek that one day there would be a female Labour Home Secretary that would empower police officers to check whether male testicles were adequately supported...

Wine Frauds Leave Buyers in the Red

Fraudsters flod panicking investors wine as investment opportunities...As Satnam Tumani, SFO investigator says: 'The question people need to ask themselves is, why are they being asked for money? If these companies can really make 200 per cent returns in a year, why aren't they simply going to the banks and borrowing the money to buy the wine themselves?'

Jamaica puzzled by theft of beach

I suppose if theres a monetary exchange value for it, someone will nick it...Or is that being neo-liberal?

Belgium seizes "people smugglers"

Indian men from Punjab being smuggled to UK via Moscow and Belgium. Two of those arrested alleged by prosecutors to be the core of the network, controlling lots of little groups, sometimes playing them off against each other.

17 October 2008

Government condemned for Failure to Tackle Bribery

Lets see now...a country that has failed to guarantee the political independence of its anti fraud investigative agency, has failed to implement the OECD Convention against corruption....any other country but the UK would find itself blacklisted by a majority of international organisations. Why havent we done it?

Link between hardore child porn and terrorism discovered

Times headline a little lurid. Child porn images being used to transmit messages, police have discovered. Some in jihadist groups, some in right wing groups, some in groups unnamed. The comments below the story are also interesting.

70 guns discovered in Belfast house

Allegedly linked to the UVF. Story still developing.

Fraudsters' Website Shut in Swoop

The website was used by criminals to buy and sell credit card details and bank logins. 60 people arrested so far. According to FiveLive, the website included tutorials on how to commit fraud.

16 October 2008

Tupman on the Exeter bombing

Well, I didnt expect to be the sole "expert" interviewed! Hope the local police are still talking to me!

Mob Muscles its way into politics in Bulgaria

New York Times piece blaming the EU for organised crime in Bulgaria. Not wholly fair. The organisations sprang as much out of "shock therapy" and then saw possibilities in grabbing EU aid programmes. Once you get past the outdated neo-liberal ideology of the authors, however, there is a lot of information in the piece and it refers to an OLAF report, bits of which have leaked, on organised crime in Bulgaria.

Man admits Restaurant Bomb Attack

This update to yesterday's story fills in a lot more of the details, more, I must admit, than I expected. ACC Debbbie Simpson is quoted as saying the police do not think anyone else helped him to assemble the bombs. He was groomed by extremists he met in Plymouth. He was in contact with two individuals overseas through his YouTube page.

15 October 2008

Security Services want personal data from sites like Facebook

Ah me! Once we used to say that the continental police were surveillance agents of the state and our police were servants of the public. Remember how recently the state was supposed to be reducing its role and even withering away? Another victory for the enemies of democracy, or the unholy alliance of spooks and terrorists. [Discuss]

Study says terrorists pay with credit cards

Full report available at: http://www.shift4.com/pdf/s4-wp0806_terrorism-and-credit-card-information-theft.pdf

Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania sign trilateral agreement on combatting organised crime

Seems like a good idea. As long as it isnt just an excuse for big dinners masquerading as cooperation. Drugs and cigarettes the prime targets, but trafficking in human beings also a problem.

Man admits restaurant bomb attack

This is the story of the unexpected explosion in an Exeter restaurant. Leaves many unanswered questions, which appears to be the way the authorities want it.

US shuts down global spam gang

Well actually they've seized the assets of an alleged couple of members of the HerbalKing gang who are responsible for all the sex drug messages you get each day. It wont immediately reduce the amount of spam in our inboxes. The gang controls a botnet of 30,000 zombie computers. This sends out 10 billion messages a day. Keep scanning your system!

13 October 2008

Newsletter of the Standing Group on Organised Crime

The latest issue of our Newsletter is now out.

Prostitutes "hidden" on Eurobanknotes

This had to come from the Telegraph. Part of a campaign to warn Ukrainian women of the dangers of seeking black market employment in the West.

Man Cleared of £26.5 million bank robbery

I missed this in last week's news. This is the Northern Bank robbery in Belfast of which the IRA have been accused and Sinn Fein have denied involvement. Evidence against an individual alleged by prosecutors to be the "inside man" turns out to have been circumstantial and open to a totally different interpretation, so prosecution withdrawn and he has been declared innocent.

Muslim gangs "force inmates to convert"

Chief Inspector of Prisons singles out Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire as having a particular problem with an extremist group pressurising othe Muslims, but also non-Muslims.

Lotto scam "fuels Jamaica crime"

Jamaican version of advanced fee fraud, but Jamaican police say that a high proportion of funds defrauded are being used to buy high-powered weapons.

Environment Criminals build $10 bn Empire on ivory, timber and skins

Article also mentions banned gas refrigerants...presumably CFCs? Report from the Environmental Investigation Agency. http://www.eia-international.org/ This is a UK-based charity.

Bank Turmoil Fuels Phishing Boom

Makes sense. So many people with no clue as to what's going on, or who they bank with are all going to be easier to convince to send their details and passwords in response to an email.

07 October 2008

Kazakh Crisis Blamed on Crime

Let me see now...theyre going to hand over control of construction projects that are in trouble to the banks??!! Havent they been reading the papers?

Poker-game Execution as Italy Declares War on Mafia

Intimidatory shooting of the Uncle of a man who had turned state's evidence in a Camorra trial. Looks like the Independent has a correspondent based in Italy for a while, so we should get more of these stories.

A chance to crack down on Africa's loot-seeking elites

Curious little comment piece that starts by comparing the criminal opportunities involved in running a chip shop and running a bank. Argues that the banking crisis [lets stop calling it the credit crunch. My grandfather used to call such incidents a "banker's ramp"] provides an opportunity to bring the banks under proper scrutiny. Dream on!

Animal Activists in International Plot, Jury Told

Trial of alleged SHAC members for their campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences has begun. Nasty business, involving targetting individuals in their homes in a campaign of intimidation. Used the names of the Animal Liberation Front and the Animal Rights Militia for some of their activities.

French Elite on Trial in $791m Angola arms case

Sale of old Soviet weapons 1993-1998 to President dos Santos to use against Unita. Loads of allegations and lots of individuals named, but sounds awfully like one of those cases in which verdicts prove impossible to reach. With a new round of negotiations coming up over access to Angolan oil, my money would be on a brushing under the carpet. Two central suspects and a cast of about 42 linked in one way or another. Most interesting name against whom allegations are being made is Charles Pasqua, former Minister of the Interior. Second most interesting for UK readers will be Arkady Gaydamak, whose son owns Portsmouth FC. Oh and Mitterand's son is in there too. We shall see, said the old cynic.

Croatia "mafia hit" spurs sacking

Prime Minister of Croatia sacks Interior Minister, Justice Minister and Chief of Police after mafia hit on daughter of lawyer defending general accused of embezzling $5million worth of jewels to use to make deals during Croatia's war of independence. The latest in a series of incidents, apparently.

06 October 2008

Taliban split with al Qaeda seek peace

Hmmmm....Story from CNN, attributed to "sources". lots of rumours that Saudi Arabia is trying to broker a peace deal with the Taliban and clear signals coming from the military that clear victory unlikely. At least Gulbadin Hekmatyar had a representative present. Now what would such a peace do to the border areas with Pakistan and the Taliban-style militants there...not to say the al Qaeda headquarters, which must be on the move as we write?

Police Raids Uncover Cannabis Factories in Rented Houses in Exeter

A little bit of local news I spotted at the weekend. This is clearly going on all over the country. There have been entries on the blog from Belfast and Scotland. Presumably other local papers are reporting their own local stories. Vietnamese and Chinese gangs have been blamed elsewhere, but no-one was found at the scene in sunny Exeter. So what is the nature of the organisation here exactly? Is it individuals or is there a loose organisation, with central capitalisation and marketing?

Fraudster's "pop-star" lifestyle

Article is a bit breathless, but it seems to come down to 21 people being jailed for a £138 million carousel fraud involving VAT on non-existent mobile phones. The journalist has focussed in on the alleged launderer of the group. Ah, OK..it's a puff for the Donal MacIntyre programme broadcast on FiveLive Sunday 5th October. I should realise by now that the intention of these pieces is to get you to listen or watch. Better go download!

Drug Cartel Bloodbath on Mexican Border Claims 50 lives

Actually, if you read down, it's 3,500 lives so far this year. That's 40% up on 2007, which itself was a record. Getting close to something that could really be called "narco-terrorism". But having got this far, the government has to fight on.

05 October 2008

Pin-up Girl Tells How she Spotted Suitcase Stuffed with cash

All very odd. Trial in the US over events that took place in Argentina and involve Venezuela and Argentinian Presidents. The female security officer became a Playboy nude model...

Reports Link Karzai's Brother to Heroin Trade

Fascinating story. But why is it breaking now? Apparently it has been around quite a long time. What other weird and wonderful allegations will emerge as the Bush regime sinks slowly into the sunset?

Uighur Detainees may be released to US

This will not make the Chinese authorities terribly happy! Slowly, Guantanamo Bay refugees are being released, the political need for them gone. What a sorry episode in the history of democracy.

Allegations that the most famous bottles of wine ever sold were forgeries

Ah! Schadenfreude [if that's the right spelling!] The story of the unlikely find of Thomas Jefferson's wine cellar in Paris and the people who bought the bottles. Article by the author of "the Billionaire's Vinegar". Lots of allegations and court cases are ongoing.

Spies take war on terror into cyberspace

Misleading headline. Article about setting up websites to counter jihadist propaganda sites.

On the East African Coast, Piracy is the Only Buiness that pays

If youve got a boat and you cant make money out of fishing, then you will find other ways to make money out of your boat. People and weapons smuggling make a start. Eyl is the modern Tortuga, Henry Morgan's pirate capital, says the author of this article. I used to tell students that a dissertation on piracy wasnt a good idea, because there was little written. Sudenly there's loads.

01 October 2008

Spain holds 121 over Child Porn

Long term investigation with a Brazilian angle. 18,000 further IP addresses in the network, which ill be pursued via Interpol.

Mexico's Calderon targets drug traffickers

Not sure whether this is putting the cart before the horse or shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. Regular readers of this blog will know that the US strengthened its Southern border, causing displacement of drug trafficking Westward and destroying stable arrangements between gangs, leading to shoot-outs and murders, intervention by the Army, fights with the police and now....comes the plan! let me see now. The time for the plan would have been the moment the US announced its border strengthening plan...ah, ma~nana [there must be a better way to put the tilde on top of the "n" too.]

A blood feud made to order

Yulia Latynina speculates as to who shot Ruslan Yamadaev. A murky tale of Chechens and silovki...or not.

Medvedev Soldiers on in Corruption Battle

Legislation to come before the State Duma later this week. The Moscow Times reports much scepticism.

Police Arrest 100 as war declared on Naples Mafia

Not sure whether the crime correspondents or the police have just got back from their holidays, but suddenly, crime stories are appearing in the media again. This initiative aimed at the Casalesi clan of the Camorra after they were alleged to have killed 7 people on 18th September.

Fighting the Scourge of Scareware

Attorney General's Office in the US finally launching suits against spyware and scareware pop-ups. Policing the Internet is increasingly irresistible. End of a Brave New World.