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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.

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.

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.]

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.

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.

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.

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