Friday, August 28, 2009

Macedonia's Grey Economy Is Five Percent Of Its GDP

This means that roughly 5 per cent of Macedonia’s GDP circulates in grey market transactions, the CEA says. As a result, it looses about 320 euros per year in tax revenues.

Drug Smuggling In Brazil

Since both speak Portuguese, trafficking between Brazil and Guinea Bissau is particularly feasible.

Here is a report on smuggling in Brazil:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Macedonian Border Guards Arrested For Bribery

Part of the cost of doing business for smugglers in the Balkansis bribing border guards.

Twenty-two Macedonian police officers, employed at their country’s main border crossing with Serbia, were arrested early Tuesday on suspicion of taking bribes from travellers.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Guinea-Bissau's Problems Persist Despite Recent Elections

Barely a month after Guinea-Bissau held a peaceful election, death threats against a top prosecutor and the heavy-handedness of its military are dampening hopes of an end to decades of instability.: ""

14 Years After War's End, Ethnic Divisions Once Again Gripping Bosnia -

The Washington Post detailsBosnia's rising ethnic tensions, restating themes already familiar to this blog's readers.

Jamaica Observer: It's Our Turn To Be Selfish, Hypocritical and Arrogant

Given America's agricultural import restrictions, apparently Jamaica's remaining available export is narcotics, according to the Jamaica Observer.

How Will the Pirates Respond to This?

Merchant sailors and shippers have adopted new defensive tactics.

Africa Needs Global Guerrillas

If nationalist insurrections are the cause of Africa's problems, then perhaps transnational movements could solve them.

According to George B.N. Ayittey, presidente of the Free Africa Foundation:

The implosion starts when a politically excluded group, fed up with the rotten status quo, mounts a rebel insurgency. Africa's rebel leaders do not seek to redraw artificial colonial boundaries; they want power and head straight to the capital city. The ensuing wars cause wanton destruction and horrific carnage. Rebel leaders seize power but often they are worse than the despots they replaced. Then the cycle begins again. As Africans often say: 'We struggle very hard to remove one cockroach from power, but then the next rat comes to do the same thing.'

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Guinea Bissau's Attorney General Receiving Death Threats

Guinea-Bissau's attorney general has received death threats

Guinea Bissau's president and army chief were murdered in March of this year.

Guinea Bissau has become a transit hub for distributing cocaine from Latin America into Europe. The value of this cocaine is estimated to exceed the country's GDP.

The March murders are believed to be drug related.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

INTERPOL creates online access to global stolen works of art database to reduce illicit trade

INTERPOL creates online access to global stolen works of art database to reduce illicit trade

INTERPOL has established direct online access to authorized users via a secure website to its international database on stolen works as part of its fight against the illicit trade of stolen cultural property.

Online access will not be limited to the law enforcement community but will be open to all interested users who first have to apply for access to the database, which features the latest information on some 34,000 works of art stolen worldwide. Interested parties wishing to access the database will first have to complete an application form in order to obtain an individual password for database access.

With direct access to the database, which will be continuously updated as and when the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon receives new information on stolen works of art worldwide, authorized users of the database will be provided with real-time access to the latest information recorded in the database. The available information will not include nominal data, but strictly object-related information such as descriptions and photographs of stolen cultural goods.

The co-ordinator of INTERPOL’s Works of Art (WOA) department, Karl Heinz Kind, said contribution and access to the database represented ‘an important tool to counter the traffic in cultural property effectively’. He said that increased reporting activities by INTERPOL’s 187 member countries would be expected so that all member countries could take full advantage of the benefits of information sharing, as with all types of crime reporting.

“Accessibility to stolen art information is a vital contribution to creating public awareness on the protection of cultural property,” said Mr Kind.

“The inclusion of a stolen cultural property item into INTERPOL’s stolen works of art database, and extensive online access to the database, therefore represent an important barrier to the illicit trafficking of a stolen cultural object by making its sale more difficult,” added Mr Kind.

As access to the database will not be limited to law enforcement agencies, but will also be offered to all concerned cultural and professional bodies (including Ministries of Culture, museums, auction houses, art galleries, foundations, collectors), it will also be made that much more difficult for a seller or purchaser to claim not having had the opportunity to check whether an item was recorded as stolen.

Online access to the database replaces the “INTERPOL – Stolen Works of Art” DVD previously made available upon application.

US Army Prepares For Nigeria’s Possible Break-up

While the US Army doubtlessly also has contingency plans to deal with Canada's possible break-up, it recently has been dealing with Nigeria's possible break-up.

Garrisons: The Frankensteins of Jamaican Politics

Jamaican olitics and ganges are intermingled in urban regions known as garrisons, according to"The Politics of the Garrison in Jamaica: Electoral Manipulation Through Patronage and Violence", by Peter Wright.

Wright provides the followng Takeaways:

  • The term "garrison" describe an area where there is a fanatic loyalty to one political party.
  • The garrisons must be removed from the political process to truly have free and fair elections.
  • The politicians who created the garrisons no longer control them but have some influence over them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

American Chemical Society: Up to 90 percent of U.S. paper money contains traces of cocaine

According to the American Chemical Society,up to 90 percent of U.S. paper money contains traces of cocaine:

You probably have cocaine in your wallet, purse, or pocket. Sound unlikely or outrageous? Think again! In what researchers describe as the largest, most comprehensive analysis to date of cocaine contamination in banknotes, scientists are reporting that cocaine is present in up to 90 percent of paper money in the United States, particularly in large cities such as Baltimore, Boston, and Detroit. The scientists found traces of cocaine in 95 percent of the banknotes analyzed from Washington, D.C., alone.

Presented here today at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, the new study suggests that cocaine abuse is still widespread and may be on the rise in some areas. It could help raise public awareness about cocaine use and lead to greater emphasis on curbing its abuse, the researchers say.

The scientists tested banknotes from more than 30 cities in five countries, including the U.S., Canada, Brazil, China, and Japan, and found “alarming” evidence of cocaine use in many areas. The U.S. and Canada had the highest levels, with an average contamination rate of between 85 and 90 percent, while China and Japan had the lowest, between 12 and 20 percent contamination. The study is the first report about cocaine contamination in Chinese and Japanese currencies, they say.“To my surprise, we’re finding more and more cocaine in banknotes,” said study leader Yuegang Zuo, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth.

Zuo says that the high percentage of contaminated U.S. currency observed in the current study represents nearly a 20 percent jump in comparison to a similar study he conducted two years ago. That earlier study indicated that 67 percent of bills in the U.S. contained traces of cocaine.

“I’m not sure why we’ve seen this apparent increase, but it could be related to the economic downturn, with stressed people turning to cocaine,” Zuo says. Such studies are useful, he noted, because the data can help law enforcement agencies and forensic specialists identify patterns of drug use in a community.Scientists have known for years that paper money can become contaminated with cocaine during drug deals and directly through drug use such as snorting cocaine through rolled bills. Contamination can spread to banknotes not involved in the illicit drug culture because bills are processed in banks’ currency-counting machines.

Previous studies on cocaine in banknotes, however, had several drawbacks. They often were based on sampling only a small number of banknotes, for instance. Some tests destroyed the currency.

In the new study, Zuo and colleagues describe use of a modified form of a standard laboratory instrument termed a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer. It allows a faster, simpler and more accurate measurement of cocaine contamination than other methods, without destroying the currency. The researchers used the method to analyze banknotes of several different denominations from the five countries surveyed.

The U.S. had the highest levels. The scientists analyzed a total of 234 banknotes from the U.S. and found that up to 90 percent of the banknotes contain traces of cocaine. Amounts ranged from .006 micrograms (several thousands of times smaller than a single grain of sand) to over 1,240 micrograms of cocaine per banknote (about 50 grains of sand). For comparison: A grain of sand weighs approximately 23 micrograms; there are one million micrograms in a gram and 28 grams in an ounce.

The scientists collected U.S. banknotes from 17 U.S. cities and found that larger cities like Baltimore, Boston, and Detroit had among the highest average cocaine levels. Washington, D.C., ranked above the average, with 95 percent of the banknotes sampled contaminated with the drug. The lowest average cocaine levels in U.S. currency appeared in bills collected from Salt Lake City.

The researchers studied 27 banknotes from Canada and found that 85 percent were contaminated with cocaine, with amounts ranging from 2.4 micrograms to over 2,530 micrograms of coke per banknote. The researchers analyzed 10 banknotes from Brazil and found that 80 percent were contaminated with cocaine, still high but lower than the U.S. and Canada.

China and Japan had the lowest levels. The researchers analyzed 112 banknotes from China and found that about 20 percent were contaminated with cocaine. Of the 16 banknotes analyzed from Japan, only about 12 percent were contaminated with cocaine, the researchers say.

Despite the high percentage of cocaine-contaminated banknotes, Zuo points out that the amount of cocaine found on most notes was so small that consumers should not have any health or legal concerns about handling paper money.

“For the most part, you can’t get high by sniffing a regular banknote, unless it was used directly in drug uptake or during a drug exchange,” Zuo said. “It also won’t affect your health and is unlikely interfere with blood and urine tests used for drug detection.” This study was partly funded by the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ghana Now Able to Produce Cocaine Precursor

Citing it use in water treatment, a Ghanese chemist has announced a new technique to produce potassium permanganate domestically in Ghana.

Potassium permanganate is also a precursor chemical used in the manufacture of cocaine.

The United Nations has recently noted that West Africa appear to be evolving from a transit hub for narcotics distribution into production center for creating narcotics.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bosnia on the Brink

Bosnia is on the brink of collapse and chaos, according to England's Conservative Party shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague:

'People think the Balkans are what we debated in the 1990s and now we can forget about it. In fact, it's a crucial area in foreign policy in the next five to 10 years...'", he said.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Flow of Cocaine From Curacao to Jamaica

Jamaicans are smuggling relatively inexpensive cocaine from Curacao back to Jamaica.

The most common means of transporting the drugs, police say, are strapping it on the body, swallowing pellets, stashing the drugs in false compartments in luggage and hiding it in rectangular parcels inside equipment.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Latin American Herald Tribune - Guatemalan President: Drug Traffickers Behind Police Corruption

Latin American Herald Tribune - Guatemalan President: Drug Traffickers Behind Police Corruption.

Corruption Rampant Amongst Bulgarian Border Officials

Blatant corruption, fraud, and administrative abuse rampant on Bulgarian borders..

Report Public Corruption

As Mexican cartels begin to make inroads into American society, they will depend upon corrupt public officials to assist them.

Report Public Corruption is a website dedicated to following any such corruption amongst American officials.

Berlusconi's TVA

Berlusconi announces plan to address southern Italy's social problems.

Which gives rise to the question of whether this plan will solve these problems or, rather, present Italy's organized crime with new opportunities to make money.

Backgrounder on Jamaica

A major cocaine transit point, Jamaica has social issues apparently caused by lack of trust.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Daily Express | Express Yourself :: The terrifying rise of loan sharks

Loan sharks are on this rise in Britain, according to the Daily Express:
“It’s worsening because of the credit crunch,” he says. “We’re coming across more and more victims of loan sharks who aren’t the typical low earners they usually target. They’re driving around in Jags and Bentleys but are struggling financially and can’t get help from the banks. It’s a new type of victim that we wouldn’t have seen a year or so back.”

Anti-drugs Agency reports 1st drug airdrop on Dominican north coast (Update) -

Anti-drugs Agency reports 1st drug airdrop on Dominican north coast (Update) - Airdrops previously have been made on the southern and eastern shores.

Drug dealers instill fear in Dominican Republic’s south region -

Drug dealers instill fear in Dominican Republic’s south region -
Azua’s inhabitants live in panic after reports surfaced that the heads of the drug trafficking networks are members of the National Police itself, while the violence their deals unleash has led those provinces’ inhabitants, for fears of reprisals, to choose silence.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

VOA News - Discovery of Possible Drug Labs Leads to Clean Up in Conakry

West Africa has become a transit zone for moving narcotics into Europe.

The recent discovery of drug processing chemicals in Guinea Conakry suggests a new development:

Traffickers have already started to think about using West Africa for processing narcotics,: " United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime's Representative for West and Central Africa, Antonio Mazzitelli said.

It could be possible to cultivate coca in West Africa.

They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

Here is the current American healthcare system, in all its sick, corrupt glory:

More Guerrilla Healthcare

Another drug gang uses Robin Hood tactics to advance itself:

Residents of a poor Guatemalan town have rallied around a family sought by the United States for drug trafficking but respected at home for handing out food, jobs and medicine to people in need.

Serbia's President: Terroirst "Triangle" Growing in Balkans

Serbia's president Boris Tadićciting the rise of transnational organized crime in the Balkans stated that Serbia faces Albanian terrorism in the south of Serbia.

Apparently he thereby means not only Kosovo but also southern portions of what is generally recognized as Serbia proper, where a great deal of gun smuggling has recently been reported.

Waiting In Line is For the Little People

With stuff like this going on, will someone give me one good reason - just one - why we put put drug dealers in jail:

Laura Blankfein [wife of Goldman Sachs boss, Lloyd Blankfein] and her friend Susan Friedman, wife of another Goldman honcho, Richard Friedman, caused a huge scene at Super Saturday in the Hamptons last weekend when they arrived at the event before the noon start time and balked at waiting in line with the other ticket-holders.

'Their behavior was obnoxious. They were screaming,' said one witness. Blankfein said she wouldn't wait with 'people who spend less money than me.'

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Money Laundering Overview

A good, concise overview of money laundering:

Money Laundering in A Changed World by Sam Vaknin.

Bulgarian Moroccan Connection

Cocaine has come into Europe via West Africa and via the Balkans.

At least some of the time, Africa and the Balkans are directly connected:

The Bulgarian gang's drugs were coming from Morocco, through Spain to Italy, Austria and France, Italian newspapers reported Wednesday.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Kosovo: Europe's Mafia State

Russina perspective on Kosovo. Obviously biased but also presents information:

After Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed its independence, there were many discussions concerning the legality and political consequences of this act. But one more important aspect of the in Kosovo problem are the extensive links of the Kosovo leadership with organised crime. To talk about this problem, our guest today is the former Head of the Russian Interpol bureau, Vladimir Ovchinsky.