News

YEMEN AND US DISAGREE ON COUNTER-JIHADIST STRATEGY

Thought-provoking New York Times article. Frank Kitson’s counter-insurgency strategy was always to try to turn captured insurgents to make them work against their old partners. US counter-terrorist strategists have always been into “punishment” as the only acceptable strategy.
Describes ” al hiwar al fikri”: an intellectual dialogue to deradicalise jihadists, with religious scholars arguing with them that Islam, properly understood does not condone terrorism. This approach has been taken up in many parts of the world. The article does not present the approach as a panacea, presents criticisms of it and discusses the emergence of a new generation of younger jihadists, less susceptible to the approach.
Well worth a read.

FIVE FOUND GUILTY OF £53 MILLION ROBBERY

Biggest robbery in UK history. BBC page has lots of links to other aspects of the case, including the money trail. Two of the five are Albanians, but there are still individuals who are wanted by the police. Some of the money is alleged to be in Northern Cyprus and Morocco.

Big cash robberies much less common than they used to be, it is argued because there are lower risk ways of stealing money…like fraud. The other recent cause celebre was the big robbery in Northern Ireland.

EL PAIS SAYS THAT EXTREMISTS PLOTTED ATTACKS ACROSS EUROPE

Well, I suppose we’re learning that just because a paper or a politician says it, it isnt necessarily true. Nevertheless this CNN piece summarises all the allegations made against the people arrested in Barcelona last week. Read the piece and draw your own conclusions. Then go back to the post on the Romanian child traffickers from last week and note how the story there has already changed. This is an informant -based story.

COUNCIL OF EUROPE CRITICISES TERRORIST BLACKLISTING PROCEDURES

Council of Europe attacks the procedures by which individuals and organisations are blacklisted, noting that there is no right to a hearing or an appeal and even if you can find a court that will take your case, you cant get off a blacklist anyway. Principles of natural justice and human rights do not appear to be relevant.

Direct link to the report:
http://www.assembly.coe.int/Mainf.asp?link=/Documents/WorkingDocs/Doc07/eDOC11454.htm

LATEST ON DUBLIN GANG FEUDS

Interesting article on the interface between organised crime and paramilitaries, in this case the INLA. There will presumably be more in the Irish Press on Monday. “The Viper” v “the Whacker”. Irish Times photo here: http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/breaking/2008/0127/breaking17.htm

THE JIHADIST NEXT DOOR PART 1

Jason Burke’s investigation into “home grown” terrorism in the UK. On the net in two parts. His title was: “Omar was a normal British teenager who loved his little brother and Man Utd. So why at 24 did he plan to blow up a nightclub in central London?”

The article argues many things: the role of the radical mosque has been exaggerated; the average age of individuals is 29, older than commonly thought; and images from the mainstream media are as important as “terrorist propaganda ” in radicalisation. Worth a read. Burke is European editor of the Observer and a respected journalist.

MOGILEVICH ARRESTED

If youve never heard of Mogilevich then you havent been studying organised crime.
Here’s Der Spiegel hinting that he controls Gazprom’s partner RUE http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,394345,00.html
and here’s the FBI wanted poster [nb, they spell it without the “y”]: http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/alert/mogilevich_s.htm
He has his own Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semion_Mogilevich
and here’s a useful piece from the Village Voice:
http://www.villagevoice.com/news/9821,friedman,203,1.html

Its a pity he’s been arrested in Moscow, as the trial wont add to our knowledge, I suspect.

THE JIHADIST NEXT DOOR PART 2

Jason Burke discusses different types of candidates for radicalisation. This is the second half of the article, the title is taken from the cover of the original magazine, published last Sunday [20th January].

POLICE RAID “FAGIN GANGS” OF TRAFFICKERS

Police raids on gangs trafficking Romanian children to become pickpockets in the West End. Sounds like a tabloid editor’s dream. The court case should be worth waiting for. Possibly the most interesting thing to happen to Slough since John Betjeman wrote a poem about it.

GUN CRIME UP, BUT OVERALL CRIME DOWN

Home Office quarterly figures out today as are British Crime Survey figures. I will add direct links to the two documents when I can find them. In the meantime the link is to a Guardian article.

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