Newsletter

AFTER A DECADE AT WAR WITH WEST, AL QAEDA STILL IMPERVIOUS TO SPIES

The trouble is, the intelligence agencies would say that anyway, if they had an agent in place, and would sy they did if they didnt, too! Smoke and mirrors eh? A few agents in the Pakistani ISI might prove just as advantageous….
Treatment of captured insurgents was key according to Kitson. You have to turn them. Torturing them isnt a good way of doing that, chaps! Nor is executing them. Imagine if Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had been turned into an asset rather than half drowned.
Bet ya Mossad has some roads in…
But does the article show a total misunderstanding of al Qaeda’s disorganised organisation. It seems theyre still looking for Weberian bureaucracies rather than networks. There is some recognition in this piece of the importance of family and tribe within the network, but the analysis remains Weberian in approach.
As long as you think of al Qaeda as an army, you won’t defeat it. [Today’s final exam discuss topic]

ART FORGERY OPERATION BROKEN UP BY JOINT FBI-SPANISH OPERATION

This is the Guardian version. An “art forgery ring” it calls it. How about “An organised crime gang of counterfeiters”. Let’s not mince our words here, just because it’s art! Art dealers in Chicago and Florida sold forged artwork supposed to be Picassos Dalis and Warhols to gullible customers. Ebay was also used. At least $5million was made by the enterprise. FBI, the Mossos d’esquadrs or autonomous Catalan police [not the “Spanish” Guardian editor please note!] and the Italian carabinieri [ignored by the headline writer] launched a joint operation in 2006.
I’ll add links to the American end of the story when I find them.

INTERNATIONAL COPPER THEFT

This piece contains the immortal line: “Theft of metal has been described as the most serious threat to Britain’s railways apart from terrorism.”

Now managerial incompetence, poor maintenance, the absence of investment in high-speed trains and john Major’s weird choo-choo fantasies from his childhood are far more serious in my real world…But copper theft really is taking place out there.

And, believe it or not, it’s all China’s fault! Not India’s, not organised crime, but the Olympics. There is a story here, but the people who wrote this piece have gone for the same old line. I’m surprised they didnt blame Putin as well while they were at it.

Anyway. Someone is stealing metal in an organised way. That’s the kernel of this Guardian excuse for a piece of analysis. Lazy journalism.

SUPER SPY AGENCY IN THE WORKS

Russian government about to create a Russian equivalent of the FBI…but the small print makes it look awfully like the return of the KGB….with powers over criminal investigation as well as security. Hmmmmmmm…plus ca change….

BRAZILIANS LOOK TO REGIONAL FORCE TO ROOT OUT DEATH SQUADS

Easy to set them up. Damn difficult to get rid of them. Set up to combat Marighela 40 years ago, units within the police still offer murder for hire. They also offer “protection”. “offer”? One of those you cant refuse. Comparison could be made here with the Russian “krysha” system. But it might be somewhat risky for an academic to do so! Links between police, local business and “high officials”…Organised crime nationalised, you might say.

LACK OF UNIFORM POLICY FOR TERROR BLACKLIST

720,000 names on the terror “watch list”. No uniform procedures by which agenicies place people on the list. What idiot gave the supervisor body the acronym TREX? [T-REX presumably, not the obsolete brand name for cooking fat…ie lard] Terrorist Review and Examination Unit…if as much thought went into legal procedures as went into acronyms, the world might be a safer place.

If Osama bin Laden really had 720,000 troops, we would be seeing rather more action than we do at present…Anybody heard of proportionality?

Still, “privacy advocates” are having an effect, which does give some hope that democracy is functioning, despite bureaucratic efforts to smother it.

Dare I suggest an annual review and the removal of names that cannot be justified…with someone acting as advocate for the names concerned? No, sorry, that would be due process. Silly me!

THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY IN CANADA

Extract from Misha Glenny’s book: the McMafia, one of two in the Guardian this week. Looks like good anecdotal stuff.

News Paper | Newsletter