Thursday, December 31, 2009

Serbia - "Half of sports clubs led by mafia"

Serbia - Half of sports clubs led by mafia:
Interior Minister Ivica Dačić says 'every criminal in Serbia owned one or more clubs' and wonders how fans can be expected to be 'better than club managements'.

Greek ship captured by Somali pirates is carrying U.S. cargo | News | Professional Mariner, Journal of the Maritime Industry, Maritime Industry News

Greek ship captured by Somali pirates is carrying U.S. cargo | News | Professional Mariner, Journal of the Maritime Industry, Maritime Industry News

According to Wikipedia:
Nowadays, Greece has the largest merchant fleet in the world, which is the second largest contributor to the national economy after tourism and forms the backbone of world shipping


  1. Greece is undergoing an economic crisis.
  2. Shipping is one of Greece's major industries.
  3. Somali pirates are attacking Greek ships.

QED: The Somali pirates are contributing to the Greek economic crisis.

Globalization and Informal jobs in Developing Countries - Free eBooks, Free Magazines, Free Magazine Subscriptions

Globalization and Informal jobs in Developing Countries
Globalization has had a limited effect in reducing labour market vulnerabilities in many developing economies...

Over the past decade, world trade has expanded significantly. By 2007, global trade had reached more than 60 per cent of world GDP, compared with less than 30 per cent in the mid-1980s. Few would contest that increased trade has contributed to global growth and job creation.

However, strong growth in the global economy has not, so far, led to a corresponding improvement in working conditions and living standards for many. Absolute poverty has declined, thanks to the economic dynamism of recent years, the efforts of private companies, migrant workers and their remittances and the international development community.

Nevertheless, in many instances, labour market conditions and the quality of employment growth have not improved to the same degree. In many developing economies job creation has mainly taken place in the informal economy, where around 60 per cent of workers fi nd income opportunities. However, the informal economy is characterized by less job security, lower incomes, an absence of access to a range of social benefi ts and fewer possibilities to participate in formal education and training programmes – in short, the absence of key ingredients of decent work opportunities. ...

East Africa: The Most Corrupt Country - The New York Review of Books

East Africa: The Most Corrupt Country - The New York Review of Books:
According to the United Nations, the average Kenyan makes $777 a year. Yet members of Kenya's parliament are among the highest paid in the world, with a compensation package of $145,565 (most of it tax-free). That is 187 times more than the country's average income and would be the equivalent of an American congressman making $8.5 million a year. And this is simply what is earned legally.

Greece Pulled Down by Deep Corruption - BusinessWeek

Greece Pulled Down by Deep Corruption - BusinessWeek:
The debt crisis in Greece—which could even threaten the euro zone—has highlighted the country's entrenched culture of fakelaki bribes and fraud

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Corruption is Drowning Spain | Marbella | Guide to Marbella

Corruption is Drowning Spain | Marbella | Guide to Marbella

A backgrounder in Spanish corruption.

Albania continues to be the main source of drugs to Greece, according to a report

10.22% of the total quantity of heroin seized in Greece, 8.7% of cocaine and 69.32% of crude cannabis were originated from Albania. 41.51% of seized heroin was by Turkey.

International drugs gang smashed in Spain | Radio Netherlands Worldwide

The cocaine was being flown out of the Dominican Republic on tourist flights.

More evidence of the role of the Dominican Republic in the drug trade.

Europe Bids to Halt Tide of Art Smuggled to America - Wooden Dolls Houses - Wooden Dolls Houses

Europe Bids to Halt Tide of Art Smuggled to America - Wooden Dolls Houses - Wooden Dolls Houses:
The global trade in illicit art is worth billions and relies on networks of dealers as well as auction houses which, though in good faith, provide an unwitting point of sale. ‘We often find stolen items in major galleries or in the auctions at London or New York,’ said Lembert. ‘The main demand driving the market is from private collectors and, to a lesser extent, museums.’

Information Dissemination - The Force Structure Excuses Grow Old

Information Dissemination - The Force Structure Excuses Grow Old
Our high tech navy cannot or will not respond to 21st Century commerce raiding.

The Standard | Online Edition :: Drug barons storm Kenya

Kenya is fast becoming a key hub for trafficking of drugs from Afghanistan to the rest of the world.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Goldman Threatens to “Move” 20% of UK Staff to Spain to Escape Bonus Supertax

Goldman Threatens to “Move” 20% of UK Staff to Spain to Escape Bonus Supertax .

One of the classic themes of recent British history is the flight of British criminals to Spain, to the Costa del Sol, the "Costa del Crime," or the "Costa del Gangster."

Now we see that Goldman is joining them in this flight.

Any questions?

Leftist group claims responsibility for bombing Greek insurer

Leftist group claims bombs Greek insurance company.

Greeks apparently have a very different relationship with their insurers than do Americans.

IThe Effects of Cargo Theft in a Down Global Economy

The Effects of Cargo Theft in a Down Global Economy

Cargo theft 101: How cargo theft disrupts the JIT inventory system.

Third World Money Laundering

Nigerian banks do no know their customers:
In Nigeria this procedure has been turned into a nightmare for the banks. Everyday Nigerians are swearing to false affidavits and forging documents without anybody paying the price. The resultant effect is that the banks have to resort to actual visitation of customers’ locations and premises in order to ascertain that they exist.

AFP: G.Bissau's former navy chief back in country: govt

AFP: Guinea Bissau's former navy chief back in country: govt
He had been living in exile in Gambia after having been accused of plotting a coup.

He also has been accused of involvement in last year's assassination of Guinea Bissau's chief of staff of armed forces as well as being involved in the cocaine trade.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Deutsche Bank to German Economy: Play honest or just cheat - but do NOT waffle

According to the Deutsche Bank, countries that have either scrupulously followed all the rules, on the one hand, or those which have embraced the shadow economy, on the other, have faired reasonably well. Those in the middle have suffered, however.

Empirically, though, it seems quite obvious: countries with a very high or very low share of activity in the shadow economy appear to be much less affected by growth fluctuations in the world economy than countries displaying a more or less average intensity of shadow market activity.....

This apparent relationship suggests several conclusions may be drawn. First of all, it looks absolutely advisable to decide for one side of the coin or the other.

EUobserver / Europeans see corruption as major problem

EUobserver / Europeans see corruption as major problem:
More than three quarters of Europeans agree that corruption is a major problem for their country, mostly due to the links between business and politics, a survey by Eurobarometer, the bloc's pollster shows.

The British connection: Italian mafia finds UK good for doing business | World news | The Observer

The British connection: Italian mafia finds UK good for doing business
London firms act as fronts for drug-dealing and money-laundering and provide hideouts for fugitive gunmen, says anti-mafia investigator

Friday, December 25, 2009

Mafia groups unite to take on Rome - Telegraph

Italy's four main mafia organisations have put aside their deadly differences to form a new and dangerous "fifth mafia" in Rome, a report has warned:
In a disturbing trend, godfathers have struck up alliances with Chinese, Russian, Albanian and Romanian organised criminals operating in Rome, with the capital now 'the promised land for foreign mafias'.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Colombia declares social emergency over failing healthcare system

How are we going to provide healthcare when the insurance companies go broke?

This is happening in Columbia right now:

Colombia declares social emergency over failing healthcare system:
According to Finance Minister Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, the contry's healthcare system needs at least a US$400 million stimulus to be healthy again. Without this money, health authorities fear that insurance companies will not be able to pay the hospitals.

Anticorruption Agency: 150 Fraud Cases, 0 Trials ::

Anticorruption Agency: 150 Fraud Cases, 0 Trials ::
Burim Ramadani, general secretary of the opposition Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, said the government is not interested in fixing corruption, as they are involved.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Drugs czar warns of Dominican Republic’s “Mexicanization" -

Drugs czar warns of Dominican Republic’s “Mexicanization" -
Marino Vinicio Castillo said the process the country is going through, 'leads us to that, but for us faster because we are weaker' (than Mexico), where several police chiefs have died at the hands of drug traffickers, and where the situation has been coming for a long time.

Yet another report that the Dominican Republic is facing a crisis.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Circumstantial Alliances and Loose Loyalties in Rebellion Making: The Case of Tuareg Insurgency in Northern Niger (2007-2009)

Circumstantial Alliances and Loose Loyalties in Rebellion Making: The Case of Tuareg Insurgency in Northern Niger (2007-2009)
Coping in the desert requires a wide range of idiosyncratic competences – of which survival often depend - that Tuareg pastoralists learn over the years: knowing the routes through the dunes and the mountains, knowing where to find water, where to find wood for the evening’s fire (and knowing which wood to select), knowing how, where and when to hunt, how to identify and where to find medicinal plants, anticipating bad weather conditions... This specific knowledge is of crucial importance for anyone carrying out long-distance business in the area.

Both these skills - the knowledge of routes and where to find water, etc. - and the underlying physical reality - the routes themselves and the water holes, etc. - are as much a part of the Tuareg network as the individuals involved or their social relationships.

Latin American Herald Tribune - Top Dominican Narc Target of Murder Plot

Latin American Herald Tribune - Top Dominican Narc Target of Murder Plot
The Dominican Republic's DNCD anti-drug agency confirmed Monday that it uncovered a plan to assassinate its chief, Maj.-Gen. Rolando Rosado Mateo.

A topic everyone is ignoring: the Dominican Republic is being directly attacked and subverted by drug traffickers.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Earnings inequality and the informal economy: evidence from Serbia

Earnings inequality and the informal economy: evidence from Serbia
We analyse the extent and evolution of informality and inequality in the Serbian labour market between 2002 and 2007, using data from the Living Standard Measurement Surveys (LSMS). Two surprising results emerge. First, the level of informal employment has risen significantly over the period, despite strong economic growth and the introduction of a range of market-oriented reforms. Second, the level of inequality in earnings seems to have remained more or less constant over the period, in contrast to the experience of other countries at a similar stage of transition. We show that informal employees earn significantly less than those in the formall sector, controlling for a range of other variables, and informality plays an increasingly important role in explaining earnings inequality.

BBC News - The risks of women drug mules in Brazil

BBC News - The risks of women drug mules in Brazil

The typical drug mule is somebody in financial difficulty.

Interview: Balkans, Islam and security - International Analyst Network

Interview: Balkans, Islam and security - International Analyst Network:
Of course I cannot predict that a conflict is underway, but I am pretty certain that the political situation in the Balkans cannot be considered as stable and everything is on the table.

In some areas, such as Kosovo, organized crime is more stable than the state. Interestingly, one topic where inter-ethnic cooperation does exist is amongst various organized crime groups.

Boom time for forensic accountants as frauds rise - Times Online

Boom time for forensic accountants as frauds rise - Times Online

This article, which applies solely to Britain, cites the economic downturn, greater regulatory activity, and new anti-corruption laws as factors leading to burgeoning business for forensic accountants.

Party’s over for Greek graspers - Times Online

Party’s over for Greek graspers - Times Online

Overview of corruption and malaise in Greece.

The Piigs (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain) all appear to be in economic trouble.

Mexico's Zetas gang buys businesses along border in move to increase legitimacy | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Headline | International News

Mexico's Zetas gang buys businesses along border in move to increase legitimacy | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Headline | International News

They have even taken over a dog track.

One way to overcome heightened US-Mexico border security is to blur the border; and such blurring is essentially what this article is describing.

Prosperity In New Chile Nourishes Drug Trade -

Prosperity In New Chile Nourishes Drug Trade

Not surprisingly, given the neighborhood it inhabits, Chile is becoming a cocaine smuggling and money laundering hub.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Greeks refuse sacrifices to escape fiscal crisis

Greeks refuse sacrifices to escape fiscal crisis

The declining moral authority of the nationstate:
Almost two-thirds of all Greeks refuse to make personal financial sacrifices to help their government find a way out of fiscal crisis, an opinion poll showed yesterday.

Selling Drugs to Fund Terror: Al Qaeda Linked to Cocaine Trafficking // Current

Selling Drugs to Fund Terror: Al Qaeda Linked to Cocaine Trafficking // Current

Meanwhile, al Quada in the Islamic Magrhreb, which is related to but distinct from Osama bin Laden's organization, is active in the West African cocaine trade.

West Africa Becomes Route for Heroin Trade -

West Africa Becomes Route for Heroin Trade -

Not only cocaine but also heroin is proceeding through West Africa.

Friday, December 18, 2009

FT Alphaville | Are Chinese banks massaging their losses?

Are Chinese banks massaging their losses?

According to this post, appearance and reality may be two different things so far as the financial status of Chinese banks are concerned.

Greece Weakness Batters Euro - MarketBeat - WSJ

Greece Weakness Batters Euro - MarketBeat - WSJ

War Without Borders - Mexican Cartels Look to Turn Border Agents — With Some Success - Series -

War Without Borders - Mexican Cartels Look to Turn Border Agents — With Some Success

Increasingly, customs inspectors along the U.S. / Mexican border are being corrupted by Mexican drug cartels.

  • The proceeds from enabling even a few shipments dwarf an inspector's $70,000 salary.
  • The federal government lacks sufficient funds to conduct proper background checks on applicants for customs inspector jobs.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jamaica is the new hub for drug distribution...! - Over The Limit Entertainment!

Jamaica is the new hub for drug distribution...!

35 Arrested in Major Bosnia Drug Bust ::

35 Arrested in Major Bosnia Drug Bust ::

One of those arrested was a border police officer.

Brazil Acting to Halt New Trafficking in Cocaine -

Brazil Acting to Halt New Trafficking in Cocaine -

Brazil is growing in importance as a hub for cocaine activity.

Note that both Brazil and Guinea Bissau speak Portuguese. For those of you interesting in likely future trafficking developments, note that Angola, which already has deep ties with Guinea Bissau, also speaks Portuguese.

Organized Crime in Classical Antiquity

Organized Crime in Classical Antiquity (Sponsored by the Division of International Criminology) authored by Bowman, Blythe.:
POSTER ABSTRACT Organized crime is generally regarded as a relatively modern phenomenon, and as such most histories take as their focus the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries with the Italian Mafia as the standard against which other forms of organized crime are compared. But is organized crime really the modern threat that we think it is? The purpose of this poster is to trace the evidence for organized criminal activity in classical antiquity by means of an historiographic approach. Forms of organized crime in ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Byzantium will be emphasized. This poster will contribute to the body of literature on organized crime by broadening and refining our understanding of its nature and origins. More generally, it also adds to the criminal justice enterprise in that it engenders a distinctly interdisciplinary perspective on the modern organized crime phenomenon.

FEATURE: ‘A New Accra for a Bitter Ghana’ | Features |

FEATURE: ‘A New Accra for a Bitter Ghana’ | Features |
Ghana suffers from an unemployment rate of 20-percent, according to 2008 World Factbook reports. With a decline in the economic growth rate over the past year, this figure is likely to have risen. Government claims they do not have the revenue needed to support welfare grants such as unemployment insurance, thus making it essential for Ghanaians to generate their own income in any way possible, simply to survive. Speaking to street traders at Kaneshie and around Accra, it becomes evident that trading in the informal sector is often an option of ‘last-resort’.

The Health Care Situation

Like everyone, I am amazed at the current status of the healthcare bill.

I have emailed both my senators and my congressman numerous times. I have signed I don't know how many petitions. I have written a letter to the editor of my local paper. I have posted countless scores, maybe hundreds, of blog comments about it.

As a result of all this, I have concluded that my opinion - so far as the political process is concerned - is not worth a bucket of warm spit.

Alas, dear reader, neither is yours.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Funds derived from drug trafficking and Swiss bank policy, banking system and banking secrecy information

Funds derived from drug trafficking and Swiss bank policy, banking system and banking secrecy information

This link provides you with a "Numbered Swiss Bank Accounts for Dummies" backgrounder.

Jain used Albania drug traffickers

Jain used Albania drug traffickers:

Naresh Jain, a major hawaladar who recently has been arrested, reportedly helped the Albanian mafia launder drug proceeds out of Italy into a financial network based in the United Arab Emirates.

Taliban offer alternative justice

Asia Times Online :Taliban offer alternative justice

Bribery and corruption are so rampant in Afghanistan that reportedly Afghans are turning to the Taliban instead for justice.

Hunt of the Sea Wolves - Blog Archive - Pirate attacks increase in Nigeria, navy fails to respond to calls for help

Pirate attacks increase in Nigeria, navy fails to respond to calls for help
"Unlike Somalia, Nigeria has an effective central government and the strongest navy in the region. What is worrying is that there appears to be no political will to combat the problem of piracy off their coast, despite the country being a major oil exporter and the country's economy being heavily reliant on imports of other goods."

Italy's 'coexistence' with the mafia | Roberto Mancini | Comment is free |

Italy's coexistence with the mafia
From this brief explanation, you can see that the 'white mafia' – through the use of unlimited funds of fraudulent origin and the application of 'pressure' – can considerably alter the rules of free competition in a market economy. An entrepreneur who is also a member of the mafia never has cashflow problems. All he has to do is sell a shipment of cocaine, whereas an honest businessman is obliged to get into debt with banks and pay interest on loans. And once established in legal activities, the mafioso builds up privileged links with political and financial institutions, influencing them by lawful and illicit means, corrupting or threatening.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

EU Anti-Piracy Mission May Need to Extend Range, Commander Says -

EU Anti-Piracy Mission May Need to Extend Range, Commander Says -

The Atalanta mission costs about $736 million a year.

Coca eradication goals fall short due to lack of funds

Coca eradication goals fall short due to lack of funds:
Colombia’s government ran out of money to support manual eradication of coca crops, meaning a 48-percent reduction in eliminating the illicit crop compared to last year.

Assurance of security in maritime supply chains �

Assurance of security in maritime supply chains |
Today’s article reflects on security in maritime supply chains: Assurance of security in maritime supply chains: Conceptual issues of vulnerability and crisis management by Paul Barnes and Richard Oloruntoba from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, suggests that the complex interaction of ports, maritime operations and supply chains creates vulnerabilities that requires analysis that extends beyond the immediate visible.

Do rules and regulations work?

A critical factor for international business is the assurance of security across maritime trading systems and a number of initiatives, first and foremost ISPS, CSI and C-TPAT have been put in place to reduce or avert maritime terrorism, but are these initiatives actually working as intended and are they even having a negative impact on competitiveness ?

Hackers declare war on international forensics tool • The Register

Hackers declare war on international forensics tool • The Register

Apparently hackers have gotten inside law enforcement's OODA loops.

Blog Them Out of the Stone Age › Why the Civil Rights Movement Was an Insurgency, and Why It Matters

Blog Them Out of the Stone Age › Why the Civil Rights Movement Was an Insurgency, and Why It Matters
Most Americans fail to appreciate that the Civil Rights movement was about the overthrow of an entrenched political order in each of the Southern states, that the segregationists who controlled this order did not hesitate to employ violence (law enforcement, paramilitary, mob) to preserve it, and that for nearly a century the federal government tacitly or overtly supported the segregationist state governments. That the Civil Rights movement employed nonviolent tactics should fool us no more than it did the segregationists, who correctly saw themselves as being at war. Significant change was never going to occur within the political system: it had to be forced. The aim of the segregationists was to keep the federal government on the sidelines. The aim of the Civil Rights movement was to “capture” the federal government — to get it to apply its weight against the Southern states. As to why it matters: a major reason we were slow to grasp the emergence and extent of the insurgency in Iraq is that it didn’t –and doesn’t — look like a classic insurgency. In fact, the official Department of Defense definition of insurgency still reflects a Vietnam era understanding of the term. Looking at the Civil Rights movement as an insurgency is useful because it assists in thinking more comprehensively about the phenomenon of insurgency and assists in a more complete –and therefore more useful — definition of the term.

BBC News | Education | Archaeologists want anti-looting organisation

BBC News | Education | Archaeologists want anti-looting organisation:
The delegates will discuss the loss of historical evidence through the destruction of finds by looters and the links with an international black market in illegally-acquired antiques.

The research centre, which monitors looting and the trade in antiquities, says that this growing illegal industry has been the key factor behind 'the large-scale plundering of archaeological sites and museums around the world'.

It’s a Fake! New Exhibit on Forgeries to Launch in Toronto | Heritage Key

It’s a Fake! New Exhibit on Forgeries to Launch in Toronto | Heritage Key:
new exhibit that will look at forgery in ancient and modern art is going to be hitting the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) this January.

The museum released details about it in a press release today. It’s called Fakes & Forgeries Yesterday and Today and it runs from January 9 to April 4, 2010.

There are going to be four sections that will examine the ancient world:

IRIN Africa | GUINEA: Ripe for international “protection” force? | West Africa | Guinea | Conflict | News Item

IRIN Africa | GUINEA: Ripe for international “protection” force? | West Africa | Guinea | Conflict | News Item:
Diplomats and African leaders are calling for an international civil-military force in Guinea to protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian assistance, but a junta official has warned such a deployment would be seen as a “declaration of war”.

Costa Rica latest stop for Mexican drug gangs | Reuters

Costa Rica latest stop for Mexican drug gangs | Reuters

Gen. Petraeus learns the lingo in the Middle East | FP Passport

According to Gen. Petraeus learns the lingo in the Middle East, and now can talk to Arabs in their own idiom.

It is indeed gratifying that American soldiers, after a mere eight years, can now mimic Arabic patterns.

Seeing has how the greatest present threat to the United States is actually Mexico while the most rapidly growing threat is in sub-Saharan Africa, I'm sure our hard won mastery of Arabic idioms and rhetorical commonplaces will also prove useful in those venues.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Traffickers ratchet violence as Dominican Republic wages all out war -

Traffickers ratchet violence as Dominican Republic wages all out war -
The use of public force and the acquisition of equipment to fight organized crime and reduce the consumption of and international traffic of drugs toward the United States and Europe, again failed to keep drug trafficking’s violence and influence from impacting all structures of Dominican society in 2009.

Yemen Headquarters for Drug Traffickers- Yemen Post English Newspaper Online

Yemen Headquarters for Drug Traffickers- Yemen Post English Newspaper Online:
The onetime conservative country of Yemen is suddenly falling apart morally as poverty, greed, and power is forcing thousands of Yemeni youngsters to turn to drugs for a better future.
Yemen is considered today the hub for drugs trafficked to the Gulf, as drug lords today feel it is easier to send drugs to others parts of the world through Yemen than any other country.

The Sahel Region; The Future Ground Zero

The Sahel Region; The Future Ground Zero:
If the recent flurry of activities by the Moroccan Military on the border regions where Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania meet is any indication, the Sahel region is the future ground zero for the fight against extremists groups operating in North Africa. Despite the ongoing war of words between Morocco and Algeria over the issue of the Western Sahara, Algiers and Rabat are warily looking at the recent activities of several different groups operating a number of illicit activities on the tri-borders. Even though some of this activities are typical of any border region in the world, the presence of armed groups linked to outside international militancy groups that are known of embracing violence is intensifying the pressure on the Moroccan and Algerian governments to forgo their differences and increase their security cooperation; it is going to be a matter of survival for both countries.

GRIP Report Implicates Bulgaria in Weapons Trafficking: GRIP Report Implicates Bulgaria in Weapons Trafficking - - Sofia News Agency

GRIP Report Implicates Bulgaria in Weapons Trafficking: GRIP Report Implicates Bulgaria in Weapons Trafficking - - Sofia News Agency:
Bulgaria is supplying arms to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) group, which is considered a terrorist organization by the European Union. The report points out that 27% of the weapons used by AUC come from the EU while Bulgaria is the top EU supplier with nearly 19% followed by Belgium - a distant second with 7,23%.

Economic terrorism network against India

Economic terrorism network against India:
The network begins in Pakistan where the notes are printed. The Maler Cantt security press in Karachi is especially noteworthy for printing fakes, which are harder to detect and thereby command a higher price. Available inputs also show that good quality notes are also being printed in Quetta, Lahore and Peshawar.


The currency is routed through Thailand and the UAE, with Dhaka, Kathmandu and Colombo acting as the major transit points.

The D-company then brings in the ‘money’ to India via air, sea and land routes. This gets ensured due to certain porous border areas as well as India’s lack of adequate FICN (Fake Indian Currency Network) detection facilities. Among the slack points in our system are some seaports and airports. In fact, the role of some Indian as well as some international airlines is also under scanner

Perspectives on Terrorism - Somali Piracy: The Next Iteration

Perspectives on Terrorism - Somali Piracy: The Next Iteration:
The article describes the escalation of acts of maritime piracy emanating from the coast of Somalia, comparing them to the wave of aerial hijackings in the 1960s and 1970s in terms of demands, including political demands. The advantages for the pirates to gang up with land-based al-Shabaab terrorists are discussed and likely developments sketched.

Managing container shipping risk in a downturn |

Managing container shipping risk in a downturn |
The global nature of shipping makes it vulnerable to social, political and economic upheavals around the world and creates unlimited risks for shipping companies. Let us examine a range of risks and uncertainties that carriers should anticipate to avoid causing any damage to their operating environment. For an industry that carries almost 90 per cent of the world trade, the ups and downs in the global economy can be highly detrimental. The 2008 US financial crisis that spread to Europe and Asia triggered one of the worst trade slumps in container shipping’s history, the effects of which are expected to be long and deep.

Informal sector flourishing in Morocco

Informal sector flourishing in Morocco

Informal production units are increasing by 40,000 per year.

AdelaideNow... Cocaine cartels target Australia

AdelaideNow... Cocaine cartels target Australia:
AUTHORITIES are bracing for a flood of cocaine as drug cartels target Australia as the world's most lucrative market - and Adelaide is identified as a growth area.

Infiltrated: Drug cartels' sway on U.S. politics rises, expert says - El Paso Times

Infiltrated: Drug cartels' sway on U.S. politics rises, expert says - El Paso Times:
Cartels send representatives to U.S. cities to buy legitimate businesses, such as strip malls, restaurants, auto dealerships and used-tire shops. Then they invite local politicians and police to receive free meals and discounts, until they can develop relationships with influential people.

African Agriculture: Malian farmers fear being pushed out by foreign investors

African Agriculture: Malian farmers fear being pushed out by foreign investors:
In Mali the government has approved long-term leases for outside investors to develop more than 160,000 hectares of land. Government officials say the country could not develop its cultivable land otherwise, but local farmers say they fear being pushed out.

Panama Bank Secrecy Laws |

Panama Bank Secrecy Laws |
Today Panama has become the Switzerland of Latin America. There are 150 banks in Panama many of which have their name on a 40 story modern skyscraper. Panama is often touted as having the best banking secrecy laws in the world. This author believes this to be true and we will address the bank secrecy laws of Panama in depth.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Experts worry that Greek unrest will spread | Centro di media indipendenti Napoli

Experts worry that Greek unrest will spread | Centro di media indipendenti Napoli:
Greek experts warn that a tanking economy, an abundance of black-market weaponry and the unchecked inflow of maltreated Muslim immigrants on the traditional fault-line between Christianity and Islam are coming together in a perfect geopolitical storm in Greece.

How Mafias Migrate: The Case of the 'Ndrangheta in Northern Italy | Law & Society Review | Find Articles at BNET

How Mafias Migrate: The Case of the 'Ndrangheta in Northern Italy | Law & Society Review | Find Articles at BNET

The features of a local economy that make it ripe for a Mafia-type organization to transplant into it:
  • significant sectors of the economy unprotected by the state which therefore demand criminal protection.
  • a local rather than an export orientation.

The Cocaine Mafia

Explores Europe's cocaine use, focusing on Nigerian immigrants in South Italy:

Friday, December 11, 2009

Al Jazeera English - Africa - Guinea military round up suspects

Al Jazeera English - Africa - Guinea military round up suspects:
Troops who took part in, or witnessed, the failed shooting of de facto president Captain Moussa Dadis Camara are allegedly being hunted down and some shot dead.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cross-border rice smuggling – A big hole in Ghana’s revenue kitty | The Ghanaian Journal

Cross-border rice smuggling – A big hole in Ghana’s revenue kitty | The Ghanaian Journal:
But the evidence was far more damning than can simply be swept under the carpet. Audio-visual attachments of smuggling transactions showed the voluntary connivance of uniformed public officials in smuggling transactions involving convoys of truck-loads of rice about to be shipped into Ghana – free of tax and free of VAT.

Cocaine and Microfinance � Kiva Stories from the Field

Cocaine and Microfinance � Kiva Stories from the Field:
CIDRE’s office in Chimore, the middle of Chapare’s coca-producing zone, offers significantly lower interest loans to farmers who pledge to forfeit their coca crop. Other incentives are thrown in: cheap or even free seeds for growing alternatives. But they aren’t handing out seeds for a crop that will give returns in several years; CIDRE’s loan officers grew up in Chapare and have learned what works and what doesn’t. They incentivize farmers with these low-interest, rewards-abundant loans from a perspective that they know is sustainable because they work in one-on-one relationships with the farmers to make it so. They want these farmers to be a part of a legal market; one that doesn’t risk being burned to the ground in an instant by the government or DEA. The loan officers also personally travel to these farms and walk around the hectares to ensure that there is no longer any evidence of coca production once the loan has been disbursed.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Guinean Official Calls on Army to Remain United -

Guinean Official Calls on Army to Remain United -
The speech, which was carried by state television, appeared to be aimed at trying to snuff out reports of deep divisions in the army since the attack.

Global cities – global gangs | openDemocracy

Global cities – global gangs | openDemocracy:
Traditional criminology has focused on street gangs in the granular, turf-gang model. However, in recent years criminologists have recognized that gangs have become global enterprises. In 2007, prominent criminologist John Hagedorn released a seminal compilation titled Gangs in the Global City (See John Hagedorn, Gangs in the Global City: Alternatives to Traditional Criminology). Utilizing the ‘global city’ framework developed earlier by Saskia Sassen, Hagedorn and his colleagues argued three points diverging from traditional criminology: gangs are institutionalized in social environments, gangs are globalized and can be found in increasingly globalized urban spaces, and gangs are ‘social actors’ whose identities are formed by identity-based repression, participation in the underground economy, and constructions of gender.

Standard & Poor's--"We are revising the outlook on the Kingdom of Spain to negative from stable"

The following is a press release from Standard & Poor's: --

We are revising the outlook on the Kingdom of Spain to negative from stable: ", and affirming the 'AA ' long-term and 'A-1 ' short-term sovereign credit ratings. -- Compared to our expectations when we lowered our rating on the sovereign in January 2009, we now believe that Spain will experience a more pronounced and persistent deterioration in its public finances and a more prolonged period of economic weakness versus its peers. -- In our opinion, reducing Spain's sizable fiscal and economic imbalances requires strong policy actions, which have not yet materialized.

Moody's reviews UAE and Abu Dhabi GRI ratings for downgrade

Moody's reviews UAE and Abu Dhabi GRI ratings for downgrade:
Moody's Investors Service has placed the ratings of government-related issuers (GRIs) in the UAE on review for possible downgrade. This includes all GRI's that are owned by either the federal UAE government, or the government of Abu Dhabi. The review was prompted by a need to re-validate, and possibly reconsider our support assumptions following Dubai's recent decision to explicitly segregate its direct obligations from those of its GRIs, following which a decision was subsequently made to pursue a debt restructuring at Dubai World.

Egypt's Suez Canal revenues drop 13% in November

Egypt's Suez Canal revenues drop 13% in November

The article does not state whether the Somali pirates have been a factor, but clearly they have not helped.

BBC News - Honduras anti-drug chief shot dead by gunmen

BBC News - Honduras anti-drug chief shot dead by gunmen:
On Monday, Gen Aristides had presented a report about drug trafficking through Honduras and voiced concern about the number of landing strips in Honduras that traffickers were using.

He said land owners who allowed their property to be used could face charges of involvement in drug smuggling.

Logistics Efficiency Degrades Security

Our analysis supports the contention that as they seek the holy grail of operational efficiency, businesses often compromise the safety and security of their cargo. Somalia: Pirates Conduct Low-Key Maritime War Off Coast (Page 1 of 1) Somalia: Pirates Conduct Low-Key Maritime War Off Coast (Page 1 of 1):
[P]irates are using military-grade weaponry to attack ships...

Guinea: Manhunts and indiscriminate tortures begin - : Africa news, Maghreb news - The african daily newspaper

Guinea: Manhunts and indiscriminate tortures begin
Check-points, rampant vehicular searches, violent raids, arrests, summary executions… Loyal junta forces in Guinea are leaving no stone unturned as they seek to lay their hands on lieutenant Aboubacar “Toumba” Diakite, the man who, reportedly, shot and gravely wounded the junta leader, Moussa Dadis Camara in the head, last Thursday. The military’s reign of terror in the West African country has reached unprecedented levels.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Human Rights Watch: Police Routinely Resort to Lethal Force in Brazil

(Rio de Janeiro) - Police officers in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo routinely resort to lethal force, often committing extrajudicial executions and exacerbating violence in both states, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 122-page report, "Lethal Force: Police Violence and Public Security in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo," examined 51 cases in which police appeared to have executed alleged criminal suspects and then reported the victims had died in shootouts while resisting arrest.

Rio and São Paulo police together kill more than 1,000 people every year in such alleged confrontations. While some of these "resistance" killings by police are legitimate acts of self-defense, many others are extrajudicial executions, the report found.

"Extrajudicial killing of criminal suspects is not the answer to violent crime," said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. "The residents of Rio and São Paulo need more effective policing, not more violence from the police."

Unlawful police killings undercut legitimate efforts in both states to curb criminal violence, much of which is carried out by heavily armed gangs. In Rio, these gangs are largely responsible for one of the highest homicide rates in the hemisphere. In São Paulo, despite a drop in homicides over the past decade, gang violence also poses a major threat.

Human Rights Watch obtained credible evidence in 51 "resistance" cases that contradicted police officers' claims that victims died in a shootout. For example, in 33 cases, forensic evidence was at odds with the official version of what took place - including 17 cases in which autopsy reports show that police shot their victims at point blank range. The 51 cases do not represent the totality of potential extrajudicial killings, but are indicative of a much broader problem, the report concluded.

The report also draws upon extensive interviews with more than 40 criminal justice officials, including top prosecutors who view extrajudicial executions by the police as a major problem in both states.

Official government statistics support the prosecutors' assessment that the problem is widespread:

The Rio and São Paulo police have killed more than 11,000 people since 2003;
The number of police killings in Rio state reached a record high of 1,330 in 2007 and in 2008, the number was third highest at 1,137;
The number of police killings in São Paulo state, while less than in Rio, is also comparatively high: over the past five years, for example, there were more police killings in São Paulo state (2,176) than in all of South Africa (1,623), a country with a much higher homicide rate than São Paulo.
The high number of police killings is all the more dramatic when viewed alongside the comparatively low numbers of non-fatal injuries of civilians by police and of police fatalities.

The São Paulo Shock Police Command killed 305 people from 2004 through 2008 yet left only 20 injured. In all of these alleged "shootouts," the police suffered one death;
In Rio, police in 10 military policing zones were responsible for 825 "resistance" killings in 2008 while suffering a total of 12 police fatalities;
Rio police arrested 23 people for every person they killed in 2008, and São Paulo police arrested 348 for every kill. By contrast, police in the United States arrested over 37,000 for every person they killed in alleged confrontations that year.
"Police officers are permitted to use lethal force as a last resort to protect themselves or others," Vivanco said. "But the notion that these police killings are committed in self-defense, or justified by high crime rates, does not hold up under scrutiny."

In addition to the many "resistance" killings each year by police on duty, officers kill hundreds more while off-duty, often when they are acting as members of militias in Rio and death squads in São Paulo.

Police officers responsible for unlawful killings in Rio and São Paulo are rarely brought to justice. The principal cause of this chronic failure to hold police to account for murder, the report found, is that the criminal justice systems in both states currently rely almost entirely on police investigators to resolve these cases.

Human Rights Watch found that police officers frequently take steps to cover up the true nature of "resistance" killings. And police investigators often fail to take necessary steps to determine what has taken place, helping to ensure that criminal responsibility cannot be established and that those responsible remain unaccountable.

"So long as they are left to police themselves these executions will continue unchecked, and legitimate efforts to curb violence in both states will suffer," Vivanco said.

The report provides recommendations to Rio and São Paulo authorities for curbing police violence and improving law enforcement. The central recommendation is the creation of specialized units within state prosecutors' offices to investigate "resistance" killings and ensure that officers responsible for extrajudicial executions are brought to justice.

The report also details measures that state and federal authorities should take to maximize the effectiveness of these special units. These include:

Requiring police officers to notify prosecutors of "resistance" killings immediately after they take place;
Establishing and strictly enforcing a crime scene protocol that deters police officers from engaging in false "rescues" and other cover-up techniques;
Investigating potential police cover-up techniques, including false "rescues," and prosecuting officers who engage in them.

Shadow Economy in Ukraine Nearly 50% of GDP - CIPE Development Blog

Shadow Economy in Ukraine Nearly 50% of GDP

Reuters AlertNet - Somalia chaos making E.Africa a crime, drug hub-UN

South American cocaine is being swapped for Afghan heroin in Africa's Sahel, according to the head of the Vienna-based U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa.

They have become a kind of currency, he added.

US DOJ: Art Crime Linked to Other Illicit Activities

US DOJ Cultural Property Crimes Program:
The annual dollar value of art and cultural property theft is exceeded only by the trafficking in illicit narcotics and arms. The illegal trade of works of art and cultural property is as dangerous as these crimes. The criminal networks that traffic in the illicit sale of Works of Art and Cultural Property are often times the same circles that deal in illegal drug, arms dealing, and other illegal transactions. It has also been found recently that many insurgent and terrorist groups fund their operations through the sales and trade of stolen Works of Art and Cultural Property.

Is Greece Going to Default?

Video: Fitch downgrades Greece to BBB as violence erupts - Credit Writedowns

Besides its economic and political woes, Greece suffers from large amounts of human trafficking by Asians seeking entry into the Eurozone.

Interview: Cocaine trade in the Balkans - International Analyst Network

Interview: Cocaine trade in the Balkans - International Analyst Network:
The bulk of the cocaine arriving in ports of Montenegro is destined for European markets and the local Balkan ones. The Kosovo territory plays an important role because shipments are gathered there and then are distributed in the north from Bosnia or Serbia to Croatia and Hungary and then to Western-Central Europe.

Other shipments travel to the South through FYROM-Albania and Greece and then to Western Europe mainly through vessels."

Monday, December 7, 2009

Remember Pearl Harbor

Battleship Arizona explodes.

Rogue security firms blocked from bidding for public contracts | Scotland | STV News

Rogue security firms blocked from bidding for public contracts | Scotland | STV News

Scotland now is taking formal steps to prevent security firms which have ties to organized crime from bidding on public contracts.

Assuming that where there's smoke, there's fire, apparently Scotland presently therefore does have problems with mobbed up security firms working on public projects.

Guinea junta leader operated on, alleged shooter at large

Guinea junta leader operated on, alleged shooter at large

The situation in Guinea remains as mysterious as it is apparently unstable.

Moontown � Blog Archive � Crime’s curse on the Caribbean

Moontown � Blog Archive � Crime’s curse on the Caribbean:
Why levels of crime should have risen so rapidly is the subject of debate, but primary among the causes is the manner in which the narcotics-trafficking networks and those that support them have exploited urban deprivation and middle-class greed.

The consequence is that not only has the Caribbean become a key transit point for a commodity that vastly exceeds in value the entire legal economy of the region, but such sums have made it increasingly possible to suborn youth at one end of the spectrum, to judicial systems, police forces, politicians and legitimate business at the other.

Bulgaria: Justice Minister Attacks Politically Supported Crime in Bulgaria - - Sofia News Agency

Bulgaria: Justice Minister Attacks Politically Supported Crime in Bulgaria - - Sofia News Agency:
"In Bulgaria there are no trained modern investigative criminal police, and this is due to organized crime and corruption, which enjoy political support," she said in a Sunday interview on Bulgarian National Radio (BNR).

Yemen teeters on brink of failure --

Yemen teeters on brink of failure

Corruption, unemployment, child malnutrition, water shortages, and shrinking oil reserves.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Jamaican state: failed or fixable?

The Jamaican state: failed or fixable?:
The markets are jittery about Jamaica as they are about Dubai. Barclays’ Capital Bank credit analyst issued warnings that Jamaica ’is approaching the point of no return and that it will take more than fiscal adjustments to regain sustainability for the long term’. Barclays’ experts anticipate a decline in output of 5.5 per cent which would make it difficult for Jamaica to meet its revenue targets.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Assasination Attempt on President of Guinea

The president of Guinea faced an assassination attempt by his aide de camp, Aboubacar Toumba Diakité.

Guinea's military recently massacred political protesters.

Many witnesses to the September 28 massacre in Conakry, carried out by members of the presidential guard when suppressing protest against the military, singled out Aboubacar Toumba Diakit�as the commander who ordered the shooting.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cronaca: Looted antiquities, organized crime, money laundering, and terrorism

Cronaca: Looted antiquities, organized crime, money laundering, and terrorism:
There is a growing body of evidence that connects the trade in looted antiquities with organised crime.
Rodolfo Ronconi, director of Italy's international police co-operation services department, says the antiquities trade is also - like that in stolen art - often linked to money laundering. Irving Finkel of the British Museum says that antiquities often move in parallel with drugs.

Somali militants training pirates

Somali militants training pirates:
>The Somali militant group Al-Shabab has been arming and training pirates in exchange for a share of their spoils, says a newly released Canadian intelligence document.

Go-Jamaica :: Transparency International warns that Jamaica faces state capture :: News

Go-Jamaica :: Transparency International warns that Jamaica faces state capture :: News:
The term is used to describe a situation where powerful individuals, institutions, companies or groups within or outside a country use corruption to influence policies, the legal environment and economy to benefit their own private interests.
The extensive drug and arms trade and associated gang operations in Jamaica, which fuel corruption through bribery, extortion and payoffs were highlighted.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Alwaleed Says ‘Mature’ Banks Made Wrong Assumptions on Dubai -

Several days ago, I stated that while the Dubai default was bad news, it should have been no surprise.

At least one commentator agrees
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the billionaire Saudi investor, said banks that loaned money to Dubai World can’t claim to be victims of the emirate’s debt crisis because they should have understood the risks.

Holograms: A Cure For Counterfeiting Goods?

Can firms use holograms to control their supply chains enabling them to distinguish genuine goods from gray market counterfeits?

This article argues, yes. In any event, it describes the problem firms now have in controlling their global supply chains.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The West Fiddles While Bosnia Burns

If you are wondering how nation building might work out in Afghanistan, then considerhow it has not worked out in Bosnia.

Drug trafficking takes its toll on Dominican authorities -

Drug trafficking takes its toll on Dominican authorities -
The sheer number of drug trafficking cases and the recent investigations have exposed a fierce struggle between the law enforcement agencies and criminal persecution entities.

Somali sea gangs lure investors at pirate lair | U.S. | Reuters

With today's uncertain financial markets, investors everywhere struggle to find worthwhile investments.

Where is the smart money going?

Consider investing in Somali piracy.

Financiers now can purchase shares of Somali pirate ventures.

This is not just for fat cats; small investors are welcome:

Piracy investor Sahra Ibrahim, a 22-year-old divorcee, was lined up with others waiting for her cut of a ransom pay-out after one of the gangs freed a Spanish tuna fishing vessel.

'I am waiting for my share after I contributed a rocket-propelled grenade for the operation,' she said, adding that she got the weapon from her ex-husband in alimony.

'I am really happy and lucky. I have made $75,000 in only 38 days since I joined the 'company'.'

To the best of your humble blogger's knowledge, neither Moody's nor Goldman Sachs has weighed in on the value of these investments.

AQIM Suffering Financially

According to Douglas Farah, the recent discovery of a downed Boeing aircraft, which apparently had been transporting cocaine, into Mali, where Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is active, suggests that Latin American drug lords are now collaborating with AQIM.

Whatever truth Farah's thesis may have, AQIM currently faces financial difficulties

The organization is strangled financially, especially in Algeria, and is unable to achieve its goals of recruitment....

Monday, November 30, 2009

Rio's drugs war | Jon Lee Anderson | Society | The Observer

A gripping description of Rio's favelas:
The state is almost completely absent in the favelas. The drug gangs impose their own systems of justice, law and order, and taxation – all by force of arms. A black market in guns from other countries has abetted a mind-numbing level of violence. As in Mexico, many of Brazil's illegal weapons come from the United States; but Russian arms have begun to show up in recent years, and the weapons have been getting more powerful. Rio's gangsters have been caught with military-issue machine guns and anti-aircraft weapons. Semi-automatic assault rifles and hand grenades are commonplace.

Shooting Down a Drug Smuggler

A Colombian Air Force T-27 Tucano With the American help from an Inteligence and Survilance aircraft and using a Brazilian made Tucano shoot down a drug smugglers aircraft over the Amazon jungle.

African Smuggling Routes

Commenting on the recent crashed Boeing 727, found in Mali and apparently used to transport cocaine,Douglas Farah notes:
...[T]here could be a growing role of at least some branches of al Qaeda or other Islamist terrorist groups now willing to help move or protect the drugs as they move north. The crash indicates the cocaine was not going to be moved to Europe via boats, as it was far inland. The Tuareg and other groups that control the smuggling routes north through the Sahel will be making much more money as they move into the cocaine protection and movement business, much as the FARC in Colombia found itself awash in cash when they did.

To learn more about smuggling routes in the Sahel, read, Organized Crime and Irregular Migration from Africa to Europe.. Since smugglers probably now use the same routes to smuggle cocaine as they have been using to smuggle humans, these are:

Smuggling routes from Mali proceed to Mediterranean ports in Morocco or in Tunisia and Lybia.

While this pattern could confirm Farah's thesis that FARC, Venezuela, and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)are linked, it also could confirm the thesis that cocaine smugglers are opportunistically developing new routes as circumstances indicate.

Since the routes end on the Mediterranean, the transshipments we now observe heading toward the Balkans make sense.

Hunt of the Sea Wolves � Blog Archive � Piracy in the South China Sea

South Sea pirates, feeling that countries don't patrol the sea enoughare now venturing 1800 km out. Somalia: Are Pirates Really in Pursuit of High-Value Loot? (Page 1 of 1) Somalia: Are Pirates Really in Pursuit of High-Value Loot? (Page 1 of 1):
European security experts claim expanding range and other factors indicate a shift in pirate strategy towards more violent pursuit of fewer but higher value targets.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

In Guinea, Fear and Hopelessness After the Massacre - TIME

In Guinea, Fear and Hopelessness After the Massacre - TIME

Among other items, there are rumors - unconfirmed so far - that South African and Israeli mercenaries are training the government's soldiers.

Serious Risk of Mafia Infiltration in Europe

Serious Risk of Mafia Infiltration in Europe:
Italy is rife with widespread Mafia activity which is branching out into the European Union and spreading like a disease to the rest of the world.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dubai Debt: Bad News But Should Be No Surprise

While Dubai's seeking to suspend debt repayments is undoubtedly bad news, the emirate's financial problems have been reported for some time now. Simply survey numerous articles in Emirates Business, for example.

While these articles may be news to John Q. Public, financial experts, we are told, keep on top of such things. And we are further told that these experts, foreseeing such risks, should have already factored them into the financial markets. So the actual news that Dubai was going to default should not have had that great of an impact.

But it did.

Which means that our financial experts are not as on top of things as they should be. Nor are the markets functioning as they are supposed to.

British court orders Liberia to pay ‘vulture fund’ debt : Ghana Business News

A British court has ordered Liberia to pay a debt equalling five percent of its government's budge this year to two unknown "vulture funds."
Nick Dearden, of Jubilee Debt Campaign, said: “Currently these companies don’t have to tell us anything about themselves because they’re registered in tax havens – they can just turn up in London and sue one of the poorest countries in the world.”

Who is to police the police?�|�Sierra Express Media

Sierra Leone's police have been involved in armed robbery and gun renting.
When news of police involvement in armed robbery in Lungi and other parts of the country started reaching the Sierra Leonean public, many questions were raised, chiefly, who is to police the people of Sierra Leone? But today, it seems as if that armed robbery issue has metamorphosed into a well established syndicate where some unscrupulous members of Police Force are said to be involved in gun-renting. Who is to police the police is a puzzling question which has not been answered by any Sierra Leonean, not even the Acting Inspector General of Police, Morie Lengor can answer it.

Abstract Border Reigons

Lew Irwin, in the Autumn, 2009, edition of Paramaters article, Filling Irregular Warfare’s Interagency Gaps, provides an interesting counterpoint to Border zones and insecurity in the Americas by John P. Sullivan and Adam Elkus.

According to Sullivan and Elkus, the border regions between various nationstates are growing increasingly unstable. Meanwhile, according to Irwin, various United States government agencies, confronted with challenges that demand both their skills, experience difficulties coordinating their joint responses.

The relationship is that not only geographic but also intellectual border regions exist. The United States government, or any bureaucratic organization, has been set up to respond to different subsets of problems with different agencies. Military response to military problems, diplomatic response to diplomatic, treasury response to economic problems, and so forth.

However, in the so-called War on Terror, which is prima facie a military task, requires on to address money laundering, which would be more Treasury's department. and money laundering can involve art fraud, which would be more the National Endowment of the Arts or the Smithsonian's department.

So we are discussing realistic scenarios which could very well involve the Marine Corps coordinating its operations with the National Endowment for the Arts. The left hand would be unlikely to know what the right hand is doing.

These gaps between various fields of established expertise are precisely those which terrorists can exploit. Experts in various potentially responsible agencies know only part of what they would need to respond effectively. Customs agents may be able to determine that widgets, which sell for ten cents each, are over invoiced at ten dollars each. But how about antique widgets, highly desired by collectors everywhere? And are these "antique widgets" genuine or are they fake?

These gaps are intellectual border regions analogous to the geographic border regions. Governmental control is particularly ineffective at them; and they are points of weakness which can most easily be penetrated.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Mayflower Compact 1620

Agreement Between the Settlers at New Plymouth : 1620
IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience.

IN WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape-Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Domini; 1620.

Mr. John Carver
Mr. William Bradford
Mr Edward Winslow
Mr. William Brewster
Isaac Allerton
Myles Standish
John Alden
John Turner
Francis Eaton
James Chilton
John Craxton
John Billington
Moses Fletcher
John Goodman
Mr. Samuel Fuller
Mr. Christopher Martin
Mr. William Mullins
Mr. William White
Mr. Richard Warren
John Howland
Mr. Steven Hopkins
Digery Priest
Thomas Williams
Gilbert Winslow
Edmund Margesson
Peter Brown
Richard Britteridge
George Soule
Edward Tilly
John Tilly
Francis Cooke
Thomas Rogers
Thomas Tinker
John Ridgdale
Edward Fuller
Richard Clark
Richard Gardiner
Mr. John Allerton
Thomas English
Edward Doten
Edward Liester

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hawala 103

Here is another overview of Hawala.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Serbia: Cheap drugs and corruption fuels mafia expansion - Adnkronos Security

Serbian organized crime is growing in the interational drug trade.:
Fatic said the Serbian mafia was using two major routes to import large quantities of cocaine from South America.

The first route ran from Uruguay and Argentina via South Africa to Northern Italy and Montenegro and a second route from Colombia via central Africa and Turkey to Montenegro.

Fatic rejected suggestions that the Serbian mafia was overtaking the reach of Italian mafia such as the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta, and instead said they worked together.

William S. Lind: 4GW Within the United States

In what appears to be his last posting on the regretfully closing D-N-I website, William S. Lind discusses the emergence of 4GW within the United States.

Citing a Washington Post article about COIN operations in Salinas, CA

The Salinas COIN operation is largely a response to Mexican drug gangs:
The gang problem dates back decades in Salinas, headquarters of the northern California network known as La Familia or Norteños. Organized in regiments, the gang operates more coherently in Salinas than its rival, the Mexican Mafia based in Southern California, according to Sgt. Mark Lazzarini, a Salinas police officer. He briefed the Monterey contingent and calls it a "godsend."

For nearly two generations now, American polity has been a response to the 1960's. Proponents of the Afghan and Iraq war are largely persons who believe that Vietnam could have been won; while opponents are largely persons who instead believe it should not have been fought. Music, sex, drugs, religion, civil rights - you name it - positions today largely reflect positions adopted back in the 1960's.

This framework - the entire debate on both sides - poorly fits today's world. It has become a cliche - quite frankly a bore.

Mexico simply does not fit into this over-worn 1960's dichotomy. It was not part of that debate; and you simply cannot fit it into any hippie vs. redneck refrain.

And Mexico has its own dynamic. This dynamic is flowing into Salinas, right now, as Lind describes. It is flowing into Europe, as so many posts on this blog have described. It poses a challenge the 1960's framework cannot account for and which we can no longer ignore. The results will be chaotic - hopefully exciting, potentially disruptive, perhaps violent, but certainly not boring.

Monday, November 23, 2009

International Transport Workers' Federation: Pirate-infested seas 'not fit for seafarers'

International Transport Workers' Federation: Pirate-infested seas 'not fit for seafarers'
The ITF today threw down the gauntlet to those flag states and shipowners who have not taken action to fight Somali piracy to act now, before the threat makes it virtually impossible for seafarers to pass through the ever-widening danger area.

The Federation stated that: "save in exceptional circumstances, ships should not transit the (affected) area. The risk of attack is now so great that putting seafarers in harm's way amounts to a breach of the shipowner's duty of care." It went on to describe a motion adopted by its Fair Practices Committee as a statement of intent that flag states and shipowners have to assess the risks and act definitively to combat them, or risk finding themselves outside the law.

ITF Maritime Coordinator Steve Cotton explained: "There are countries actively fighting piracy and there are owners training and supporting their crews to resist it. Then there are others who are shirking responsibility and as good as accepting its steadily growing menace, which has now brought us to the point where one of the world's great trading routes is now almost too dangerous to pass through."

He continued: "Today's statement reflects the frustration of all those who work at sea at the dire situation we've reached. One where pirates act virtually unmolested and, even if intercepted, with virtual impunity from arrest. It calls into question the very legality of continuing to send ships through much of the Indian Ocean. It is therefore imperative that not only must protective escorts be used but that flag states immediately decide on the protective measures that they must recommend for the ships that are flying their flag and that those ships' operators comply with them."

He concluded: "We, and many others, also want to see the end of what's virtually an open secret in shipping – that many of the world's largest ship registers have provided not one vessel to patrol an ocean that can only be made safe by an increase in the number of warships needed to aggressively patrol and police it. I am not aware of a single flag of convenience country that is acting in this way to protect the ships that are supposedly their responsibility."

The ITF statement on piracy released today after being adopted by the Fair Practices Committee (a joint decision making committee of seafarers' and dockers' unions which, among other duties, considers war risks) is as follows:

"Statement on Piracy

The ITF Seafarers Section having assessed the growing problem of piracy in the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Somalia and now in the wider Indian Ocean has determined that save in exceptional circumstances ships should not transit the area. The risk of attack is now so great that putting seafarers in harms way amounts to a breach of the shipowner's duty of care.

The exceptional circumstances relate to:

* having close active protection from naval forces or being in a convoy which has an adequate naval escort; or
* the ship can be classified as low risk and has a proven level of protection measures in place.

The ITF also considers that seafarers should suffer no detriment from refusing to take ships into these high risk areas. Seafarers have a right to refuse to put themselves in harms way and the right to be relieved before the ship enters a high risk area. The ITF calls on flag States and shipowners to uphold seafarers' rights in this regard.

The ITF re-affirmed the position that seafarers should not be armed.

The ITF call's on the wider shipping industry to support this position and to take all measures to ensure the protection of seafarers by not putting them in harms way."



Q. Is the ITF recommending stopping all movements across the entire Indian Ocean unless they are in convoy or escorted by a warship? But surely there aren't enough of either for all ships, nor do they cover all the routes.

A. There are currently insufficient naval forces to escort more than a small proportion of essential vessels, however only a third of flag states are actively contributing to vessel protection and there is much more that littoral states can do to police their coastal areas.

Q. How many convoys are travelling now, how does a vessel join them or get protection, what about cases of ships told they can't have that protection?

A. There is protection through the transit zone offered by EU NAVFOR (EU Naval Force) through MSC HOA (Maritime Security Centre, Horn of Africa), with which ships should - but don't always - register. There are also convoys offered by some naval forces to their own flag vessels. This leaves a massive area where vessels have limited protection. It is estimated that there are 25 to 30 naval vessels operating in the area at any one time. It has also been estimated that it could take nearer 400 vessels to do the job properly.

Q. What's a 'low risk' vessel given the range of types attacked so far, and if high risk ones disappeared from the area wouldn't the low risk ones be attacked anyway?

A. Pirates have attacked both low and high risk vessels, but EU NAVFOR has stated that 80% of ships taken fall into the high risk category. This assessment is based on speed, freeboard (height of the ship's sides), manning levels, and training and protective measures onboard. The pirates have changed their tactics constantly so no vessel can be certain of being safe from attack, but with appropriate naval support it can be considered a reasonably safe vessel.

Q. Does the ITF believe that next month or next year there will be a real reduction in ships using the Indian Ocean unless they're in a convoy our under close escort?

A. There are already many companies that divert their vessels around the Cape and we expect that, given the current increase in successful acts of piracy, more companies will make this choice.

Q. Wouldn't it be simpler to target and arrest pirates or blockade their ports?

A. Blockading is unrealistic given the way a number of pirate gangs work. Targeting mother ships has already has some effect but there are thousands of small boats that are or claim to be fishing, and only become pirates in the eyes of the law when they attack. Undoubtedly more aggressive action against pirates, especially by arresting them, would give more protection to vessels, but it would, of course, have to be done in a lawful manner.

Q. Is anywhere in the Indian Ocean safe?

A. The High Risk area is well known. But unless new and effective measures are introduced urgently to protect vessels from piracy attacks the risk level will rise across much wider areas of the Indian Ocean. This is a massive area to police and current actions and policies by naval forces will need to be reviewed.

Q. How are ship owners likely to view the ITF's position?

A. The ITF is aware that many ship owners and operators are similarly frustrated at the current situation and are looking for mechanisms to solve the problem of Somalia piracy, Ultimately the responsibility for the crews' welfare lies with the flag state and owner, and if the situation continues to deteriorate and their legal 'duty of care' for seafarers cannot be assured the owner will need to reevaluate the possibility of vessels passing through these areas. We have made an objective decision of the current levels of risk and we hope and expect that owners will act similarly and then fulfil their legal and moral obligations. It is also essential that they get guidance from the flag states whose responsibility it is to protect the ships flagged to them.

Q. What effect does this have on designated war zones and the IBF? (The IBF is a forum that brings together the ITF and employers' groups. For more details see

A. The expanding area of pirate operations will be raised at the IBF, which already recognises specific 'high risk' areas off Somalia in addition to the universally agreed war zones - however the danger zone is rapidly increasing.

Q. Are ships actually going to stop using the Indian ocean because the ITF says it's dangerous?

A. The ITF position is that vessels should not transit these areas if protection of the seafarers on them cannot be assured. We accept that while this is our position the actions of the seafarers and owners must be subject to their own risk assessment, however we would stress to them that recent events have shown that very few ships can be classified as safe.

Q. Are you leaving it to flag states and ship-owners to decide whether to divert ships away from the danger areas?

A. Ultimately flag states and ship owners will make their decision, just as seafarers will make the decision as to whether the risk is unacceptable and they wish to be discharged. The issues of duty of care however are likely to become increasingly important and the judgement of the owners on whether to put their seafarers at risk will come into question in the near future.

Q. What effect would a necessary avoidance of the danger areas (ie by rerouting around the Cape) have on world trade and on the littoral states?

A. Potentially, a huge effect on the littoral states.

Q. The ITF statement says seafarers should not be armed. What is the ITF's position on armed non-seafarers on board merchant vessels?

A. The unions' and industry's firm position is that seafarers should not be armed, and that there should be no arms onboard, not only because they introduce massive legal and liability issues but also because they can potentially raise the level of violence used by pirates and further endanger seafarers. However the decision on whether or not to carry armed personnel is the prerogative of the flag state and the owner. Unions are keeping the situation vis a vis arms on ships under constant review.

ENDS | New force for organized crime | New force for organized crime:
In its 2009 report, Europol, the European Union’s criminal intelligence agency, has warned that the global economic crisis means that international organized gangs could be looking to make money from usury in Greece.

Europol also sees Greece as a “crossroad” for international gangs involved in the smuggling of immigrants, drugs and women for sexual exploitation.

The agency also warns that if Greece does not take action soon to stem the tide of this criminal activity, it will soon be overwhelmed by it.

An Eastern European island getaway - BUSINESS NEW EUROPE

Cyprus is becoming a major money laundering center.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Shift in Terrorist Strategy Threatens Italian National Security - The Jamestown Foundation

A Shift in Terrorist Strategy Threatens Italian National Security - The Jamestown Foundation:
Prisons play a major role in the recruitment of cell members by providing a suitable place for indoctrination and propaganda activities, particularly among prisoners from North Africa. [1] The main basin of recruitment consists of those individuals frustrated and alienated by their inability to integrate into their new territorial and cultural reality.

CARIBBEAN VIEW: Commonwealth in Danger: Action Needed in Trinidad - Huntington News Network

CARIBBEAN VIEW: Commonwealth in Danger: Action Needed in Trinidad - Huntington News Network:
As the world has moved increasingly to globalisation and trade liberalisation, the majority of small states, which were from the very outset only marginally capable of economic survival, have found themselves overwhelmed by new challenges such as sea-level rise, drug trafficking and attendant high rates of crime, high migration of their best educated people, and a lack of capacity for negotiating the integration of their societies into larger trading blocs and the new global trading system. While bigger countries have similar problems, they have the resources and flexibility to address these problems, unlike the small states.

Dominican Republic, Haiti main drug bridge to U.S., Europe, U.S. official says -

The Dominican Republic and Haiti have become the main drug bridges to theU.S. and Europe, according to David T. Johnson, Under Secretary of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

Pirates Widen Range Off Somalia, Straining Naval Patrols -

Pirates Widen Range Off Somalia, Straining Naval Patrols -

The Somali pirates are providing a model for 21st century commerce raiding.

The costs they create include not only direct costs, such as ransoms, and higher insurance rates but also the costs of maintaining the international armada off Somalia which is intended to deter them.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bosnia’s Continuing Chaos | Foreign Policy

Bosnia’s Continuing Chaos | Foreign Policy:
The killing may have subsided, but the mess in the Balkans lingers on.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hawala Banking And Currency Controls Part I

Hawala 102:
I thought I would respond by fleshing out what kinds of transactions take place in a hawala system and then answer the biggest question by far; how do I find a hawaladar?

How cross-border Hawala trades executed-ET Slide Shows-Features-The Economic Times

Hawala 101: A backgrounder on how this informal money transfer system operates.

What follows is a polished variant of the age-old hawala deal.

Step 1. Give cash to a big hawala operator in Mumbai.

Step 2. His business partner in Europe credits an equivalent amount to a newly-floated Dubai company; this could happen in 2-3 transactions, called layering in money laundering parlance.

Step 3. The Dubai entity can either invest the money anywhere in the world or bring it back to India a few years later by investing it at a hefty premium in a FDI-compliant project. This project is sponsored by a front company of the person who gave cash to the hawala operator (in Step 1).

Step 4. A year later, the same person buys back the company at Rs 10 a share from the Dubai company.

Regulators rarely track these small, unlisted firms outside their radar. All transactions are within foreign exchange regulations as the money that comes in (through a premium payment) is much more than the money that is paid to the ‘foreigner’. No rules are broken, no one traces a link.

AfricaNews - Mali: Crashed cocaine loaded plane found - The AfricaNews articles of KingsleyKobo

AfricaNews - Mali: Crashed cocaine loaded plane found - The AfricaNews articles of KingsleyKobo:
'This is the first time as far as we know that South American drugs lords have used a plane of such capacity, rented for the occasion, to smuggle cocaine to Africa,” Smidt added.

Is Ghana a lawless state? -

Is Ghana a lawless state? -
It has now become common to see individuals or group of people openly brandishing guns, and firing them under the least provocation.

Think Again: Africom | Foreign Policy

Foreign Policyprovides a backgrounder on Africom, the U.S. Africa Command, which so far has generated much controversy without having any apparent impact on the drug-trafficking and other Africa-related topics reported on this blog.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Howto Detect Illegal Trading

This description of a Dubai money laundering operation describes how illegal trading can be detected:
The US Commodities Exchange says the illegal trades stood out clearly - the sales of gold, gas, oil and copper were agreed for totally unrealistic prices and at very unusual times of the day.

Cocaine Siezure Causes Violence in Ireland

A massive drug bust off Ireland last year has caused Irish gangs to resort of violence as they seek to repay their Columbian suppliers:
Another motive driving the kidnappings is that one of the biggest drugs gangs in Dublin fell into hock with a Colombian drugs cartel over the massive seizure of 1.5 tonnes of cocaine off the west coast of Ireland in November last year. It is understood the gang owed the cartel €50m and is still struggling to pay off a large portion of the debt.

Much of the cocaine, which had a potential final street value of €700m, was destined for the British market, where the Dublin gang has close associations with English and Scottish gangsters who they met through social contacts on the Costa del Sol. This massive drug debt also drove the gang to begin killing minor dealers in Dublin who owed debts as a lesson to others.

The violence being meted out down the supply chain has led to the suicides of a number of minor dealers fearing severe retribution from the gangs they were indebted to. Three killed themselves in the space of three weeks at the start of the year.

Jamaica Gleaner News - Dancehall disgrace - News - Sunday | November 15, 2009

A rivalry between two Jamaican lyricistsis provoking violent clashes between their respective fans..

Drug Shipments to Guinea Bissau are Now Arriving By Sea, Not Air

Perhaps in response to Venezuela's recent installation of radars that can track trans-Atlantic airfilight, drug shipments to Guinea Bissau now are arriving by sea rather than by air.:
"Our concern now is that the traffickers are changing their modus operandi," said Mendes, deputy director of the judicial police. "They used to bring drugs in by plane, but now it's ships at sea. This is a big problem for us. We don't have the means to control our coast."

Something violent in state of Denmark

A gang war between bikers and immigrantsis breaking out in Copenhagen.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Poetic Combat: My Response

As I have clearly stated, I do not take iambic pentameter lightly - much less a full blow Petrarchan sonnet.

Accordingly, I have responded:

A Sharp Remark Upon Petrarch
A Certain Sunday Sonnet

I found your sonnet to be taxin’
For I prefer the Anglo-Saxon.
Though some would think it quite a lark
To take a spin with old Petrarch.
But that’s not how I talk.

Though some may find it very nice
To measure words, thereby to spice
Into some precious verbal quince
A dainty potion for some prince.
But is that how they talk?

It might be fine in old Italian
To marshal words in some battalion
To parade with words as smooth as satin
In handy, dandy, demi-Latin.
Perhaps that’s how they talked.

But let me show you what I mean.
“Giuseppe Verdi” translates: “Joe Green.”
Our poems, sir, are out to lunch
Unless they smack a certain punch.
For that is how we talk.

From Beowulf to Mother Goose
Our words are tart; our manner loose.
To mince with words – That’s far too pallid.
Instead, let’s have a Border Ballad.
For that’s how we should talk.

Poetic Combat: The Challenge

I drive about with a bumper sticker stating "I Hate Iambic Pentameter/Petrarch Sucks!"

Therefore, last Sunday, a friend presented with this Petrarchan sonnet:

At Expressed Distaste For Iambic Pentameter

Repository of belief - by tongue
in cheek or otherwise - displayed in bold
relief, the bumper sticker pride has tolled -
iambic pentameter - despised and wrong -

from civilized considerations. Thus
the telling is allowed for every eye
along the high way to observe. To try
this grinding tryst in words is to nonplus.

Protested humor - so reported - wells
into apparent courtesies to flood
imagination with a sonnet's plea:

to court iambic schemes that play with dwells
that properly anticipate the thud
of five fold accents teasing humor's lee