28 February 2009

Reforming the UK police

"Centre-right" think tank Reform has a number of recommendations for reforming the UK police. Just found it as Match of the Day starts. Will try to return to some of the recommendations tomorrow, because they need to be discussed.

25 February 2009

Arms dealer jailed for 30 years

Monzer al Kasser found guilty of conspiring to sell arms to FARC...but actually, it was a sting! The US has been after him for quite a while.

Report urges European Finance watchdog

Not wholly about organised crime, but relevant to a lot of phenomena that are linked. The victims of white collar carelessness are legion...When does causing the majority of the public to lose money become a criminal act? Another one of those finals questions...

US holds 750 in drug cartel raids

Targeting the Sinaloa cartel from Mexico. But the figure includes many arrested earlier.

Former Belgo executive Tim Power convicted of insider dealing

odd little article. Bloke supposed to have benefited found not guilty...how does all that add up then?

Exclusive: Army is fighting British jihadists in Afghanistan

Exclusive? There's an earlier post on this blog from 21st Feb from the Telegraph reporting identical information that was supposed to have been given to Miliband on his recent visit. Not a lot of new stuff in this piece, but the comments are particularly bizarre.

23 February 2009

China fears tremors as jobs vanish from coast

This doesnt just describe the seed bed for political protest. it describes the conditions in which organised crime flourishes. Merton, where are you? Presumably, identical things are happening in India, just as they are in Eastern Europe and Mexico.

Crime went global years ago, even before licit business. Jihadism went global more recently. Are the far left and right following suit? How would we tell? By the fact that Ministries of the Interior and cops are getting jumpy?

Relative deprivation or absolute deprivation. Which curve are we on?

French School Trip Targeted by deadly Cairo bomb

The Times spin on the attack brings out the stark stupidity of it all. A bunch of French schoolkids doing last minute shopping. Le Monde's more measured response here: http://tinyurl.com/ahb42g

Britain facing a Summer of rage - police

Supt Hartshorn, apparently head of the Met public order unit predicts a heady brew of middle class rebels, activists, far left, far right and environmentalists. od little piece. Wonder if it was the Guardian's idea or his? But if the police go in hard, they certainly will have trouble. Wonderful act of idiocy recently, cancelling a football match in Liverpool in order to have more resources to police a BNP demo. How to win friends and influence people...

22 February 2009

Kidnap on Britains streets

Unpleasant little stories of kidnap and torture. The majority involving drug addicts and petty criminals, but a problem that the BBC believes is on the increase. I would like to hear the police comment.

Stanford investigations: FBI allegedly looks at possible links with Mexican drug gang

This is more or less the same story that has appeared in different parts of the UK media, so these "sources" must have given an off the record press conferencs, although all of the boradsheets claim its exclusive...but that would be typical of sports journalism, which is what we have here. The libel lawyers must be going crazy! Quote from DEA: "I think we'll find that any possible drug-related trail and SEC priorities are not all in the same frame."

Death threat to Greek media as terrorists plot bomb havoc

The Sect of Revolutionaries, thought to be a breakaway from an earlier group, revolutionary struggle, nearly detonates an enormous car bomb in Athens. Who's training them and how are they funded? is this a return to 6os and 70s groups or something different?

Mobster makes offer on French Connection Case

Anthony Casso, former Lucchese family underboss, serving the equivalent of 455 years for murder, offers to clear up some mysteries from the past in return for some sort of plea bargain, or even just a day outside. New York Times article includes details of how many individuals who offered to talk ended up dead.

21 February 2009

British Muslims providing Taleban with parts for roadside bombs

Yeah, yeah, typical Torygraph piece on "the enemy within".

there are two pieces of data here: one is that electronic bits and pieces "originating in the UK" have been found in bombs in Afghanistan...now UK electronics does sell all around the world, Torygraph editors. Secondly, militants with Yorkshire and Midlands accents had been heard speaking on the radio. All this stuff fed to little David Miliband. It's possible, but its not evidence, milord. Chain of evidence, please before you start stirring up domestic conflict.

Crime Scene Imperfections

U.S. National Academy of Sciences casts doubts on TV version of forensic evidence. So-called scientific methods actually depend on "expert" interpretation and "experts" can say different things at different times about the same piece of evidence. it subjective. All those white coats dont make it scientific.

19 February 2009

Time Catches up with Global Gangster

Ricardo Fanchini, allegedly a major figure in the growth of organised crime after the fall of Communism. Born Katowice, Polish mother, Italian father from Naples....Linked to Pruszkow gang, to Mogilevich and to Bout. He has now agreed a plea bargain in the US. The book will be interesting if and when it comes out!

Cocaine price "set to fall more"

International Narcotics Control Report for 2008 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/18_02_09_undrugsreport.pdf
West Africa and Balkans rout becoming major problems. Price of cocaine has halved in 10 years. So much for the "War on Drugs". Time for a new strategy Mr. Obama!

Cricket promoter Allen Stanford linked to drugs investigation

Please not that this is essentially a sports story. I hope the chief Sports Reporter remembered to check with the libel lawyers! ABC news is the source for this story. Oh my Hornby and my Barlow long ago...

For the field is full of shades as I near the shadowy coast,
And a ghostly batsman plays to the bowling of a ghost,
And I look through my tears on a soundless clapping host,
As the run-stealers flicker to and fro, to and fro :
O my Hornby and my Barlow long ago!

[time for a bit of class]

17 February 2009

Met police suspends nine officers in corruption enquiry

All from Enfield Crime Squad. There have been no arrests and the investigation , into "mishandling of property" is ongoing.

Stanford accused of $8bn fraud by SEC

This is the cricket entrepeneur. Seems a shame really. Assets frozen, so sponsorship of all sorts of sporting activities are in question. Another case to watch.

David Mills found guilty

Doesnt seem to have made it to the BBC website, but this Guardian piece covers the main consequences likely for tomorrow's newspapers. Mills will appeal.

Verdict due in Mills bribery case

Tessa Jowells estranged husband. If he is found guilty, Berlusconi has passed a law giving himself immunity. Will give the Press a chance to bash Labour for sleaze whatever.

Plane crew held over cocaine haul

5 kilos of cocaine found on South African airways flight. Second case of its kind this year.

Ministers using "fear of terror"

Dame Stella Rimington attacks Government for using fear to restrict civil liberties. She points out that the Government is actually doing the terrorists job for them. Pity its taken her so long to come out with this, and that it is in the Daily Telegraph, which would like to restrict voting to rich males...To be fair, she has spoken out before, against Government attempts to extend powers of detention. I also note that the Daily Mail is attacking ACPO, apparently on the grounds that it has privatised itself...I thought that's what Tories wanted?

16 February 2009

Getting Outswindled by a swindler

Another fascinating piece from Yulia Latinina. Ros Ukr Energo, linked to alleged arch criminal Semyon Mogilyevich, she argues may have been conning the kremlin into thinking Yushchenko was in his pocket. Byzantine "just suppose" tale.
There have been problems with the Moscow Times site of late, with some articles demanding subscription. This week, they arent. Who knows what will happen next week. This one was part blocked last week but is OK to read now. Odd, eh?

Nighthawks hitting historic UK sites

Groups removing objects from scheduled ancient monuments. Illegal but punishments unlikely to deter anyone.

15 February 2009

Fund Manager Arthur Nadel arrested in Madoff-style scheme

Florida-based business known as Scoop with ramifications further afield. Going to be a lot more of these. Greed facilitates fraud. It's that simple, bankers.

Ecstasy Ensnares Upper-class Teenagers in Brazil

Nothing really specific to Brazil. A story that could be told of anywhere in the world, except for the business of bribing the police to get a lesser charge. Two upper class E dealers tell how prison affected them. They also warn that putting the upper classes in jail leads to their recruitment by organised crime with all the subsequent networking opportunities. But we knew that anyway. Its just the policy-makers who dont seem to have it clear in their heads. Prison is a recruitment agency for extremists, criminals and all sorts of odd-bods. It needs rethinking.

Inquiry on Graft in Iraq focusses on US officers

Article in New York Times alleges that investigation is taking place of two senior US officers. Claims are being made by other accused of bribe taking somewhere in the reconstruction and procurement offices. The nature of the evidence is, naturally, problematic.

14 February 2009

Fraud police arrest City trader

GFX Capital markets customers allegedly victims of a possible British Madoff?

A vintage crime

This will be in the Torygraph tomorrow and the Turkish restaurants of London and the South east will be invaded by braying idiots sniffing the corks of the house wine. Could be a superb piece of marketing. A Turkish folksinger conning French vineyards out of wine worth £200 a bottle, then selling it at £60 a case...Dogan Arslan, you are a true character..and very wicked!

California's Crowded prisons

Some rare sane thoughts on US prison policy: it doesnt work, its too expensive and it actually violates the few human rights the US allows prisoners and aliens. California's own court orders the State to reduce the prison population by 55,000 or one third.
The UK Home Office continues slavishly to imitate US models, most of which even the US recognises have failed. Maybe one year we might have some ideas of our own! Well, of course, UK academics and even its own researchers have been telling the Home Office its got it wrong for years..Jack Straw and the Ministry of Justice? same old, same old.

12 February 2009

India Welcomes Mumbai Admission

Pakistan accepts that at least part of the conspiracy took place on its territory and seeks to prosecute 8 members of Lashkar-e-taiba. Major development in a return to good relations between the two, but also signals important changes in attitudes generally in Pakistan.

EU court to deliver Judgement on data retention

Lot of legal issues here. Two years, three years and under which aegis can legislation be drafted. does such a law require unanimity or majority vote. is it subject to parliamentary scrutiny. Court to declare on some technicalities, but the issue will be back.

Keeping up with Criminals

Not quite sure what this is about...but the podcast may make it clearer. Journalist discovers male ritual of heavy drinking, drug taking and staying apparently untouched...Could be a number of institutions that I'm far too cool to name, Laurie....

"Hitmen" held over Mexico murders

Members of los Zetas, a group of ex-soldiers working for drug traffickers and the Gulf Cartel...which sounds awfully like an oil company, but clearly isnt. Mexico following the "Obshak" model, but shifting towards the "Krysha", here. Not just a Russian phenomenon at all!

UK fraud probe begins at AIG arm

focused on the AIG Financial Products division apparently. Always check up on the foreigners, but dont touch the City. Sounds like a motto for the SFO.
Semper alios investigare, noli Civitas tangere. Ah the joys of a good education!

10 February 2009

Obituary for Reverend Roy Magee, Presbyterian Minister who worked hard to bring Ulster loyalists into the peace process

Much has been written about the IRA, but much less about the loyalist paramilitaries. This excellent obituary to Roy Magee not only reminds readers of the importance of his life and work, but jogs the memory of the violence from the Protestant side in the Troubles. The Protestant paramilitaries killed many more than the Catholic paramilitaries and peace was impossible without bringing at least some of them on-side. A timely reminder of the difference between media views of a conflict and reality. The problem now is dismantling the crime groups that remain.

09 February 2009

Rare piece on Corsican nationalism

From le Monde...in French, of course! I must admit I didnt know there were two FLNCs, FLNC UC and FLNC 22nd October. I had heard of links with organised crime, but only from a postgrad's essay. Anyway, useful documentation for those of us who like to know what's going on out there!

Swiss vote to open borders to Bulgarian and Romanian workers

Surprise result in a referendum. Switzerland recently joined Schengen too. So it's possible to get Europeans to vote sanely in a referendum.

£250m VAT fraud suspect arrested in Hungary

The fifth of ten targets for Captura 2 to be arrested. Programme aimed at suspects thought to have fled abroad.

No Outcry over Russian Killings

BBC Moscow correspondent's powerful article about the reality of Russian politics; not a new Soviet state, just an oligarchy determined to preserve their own wealth and position. No grand conspiracy, just a security apparatus at the beck and call of powerful individuals.

Seven-nation anti-drug patrol seizes 40 tonnes of cocaine

Marine Analysis and Operation Centre-Narcotics [MAOC-N] coordinates the intelligence and resources. Based in Portugal, commanded by a Briton, it enables UK, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands to place liaison officer under one roof to ensure that action can be taken quickly on intelligence. Europol also represented, but kournalist doesnt mention Eurojust.

05 February 2009

Single White Female

More from the Moscow Times crime blog. This time the real estate agent who searched for look alikes on social networking sites, then murdered them in order to sell their apartments. Financial crime plus homicide...apparently there's a lot of it about in Russia.

UK fraud office halts Kenya probe

SFO blames Kenyan government. Promises to look again at case if evidence provided by Kenya. Involves use of offshore accounts in Jersey and Guernsey to transfer funds to Apex Finance on behalf of a phantom company called Anglo Leasing Finance which won a contract to provide sophisticated passport equipment, ships for the navy and forensic kit for the police, none of which was ever delivered.

Japanese Business man arrested for alleged £1bn fraud

Kazutsugi Nami and 21 executives from L&G arrested after bankruptcy of company. Allegations of a pyramid scam.

01 February 2009

Concern over white heroin return

First signs that white rather than brown heroin is coming in from Afghanistan. A purer form, it will lead to overdose related deaths if it becomes widespread.

Cybercrime threat rising sharply

Panel of "experts" in discussion at Davos. Nothing new. Identity theft, theft of goods, money, denial of Service attacks, government screw-ups and censorship...and no answers!

Archer and Black to be Ousted from Lords

Another of Tony Blair's great failures. Why couldnt he complete reform of the Lords and give the UK an elected Upper Chamber? Could it be that his heart wasnt really in democracy? Convicted criminals at last to be removed from the Lords. Wonder why Murdoch has it in for the Lords? Id love to think its something to do with Republicanism, but I suspect theyre blocking something he wants...Oh cynical, cynical! Come back in a year's time and see if the man of Straw has actually done anything...like incorporating the ORCD Convention on Corruption into UK law, for example...

She came, she saw, she scythed through the SFO

March 2007, Jessica de Grazia invited to review the SFO. Sunday Times has seem her draft report, which it claims is damning.