Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dubai Becoming Major Center For Drug Smuggling | AHN

Dubai Becoming Major Center For Drug Smuggling | AHN:
“Traffickers use the modern and accessible facilities in the emirate, such as the airports and ports, trying to move narcotics from their home countries to their destinations,” Gen. Abdul Jalil Mahdi, director of Dubai Police’s anti-narcotics department told The National, an Emirates-based newspaper.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Good Governance Article -

Good Governance Article -
'Corruption is a very crucial element in human smuggling because it makes the process smooth ... you can easily get false documents and pay bribes to move from one place to another,' Raviv told TrustLaw in an interview.

Raviv said IOM’s research -- based on interviews with over 800 illegal migrants -- had revealed alleged corruption and complicity between human smuggling rackets and migration officials in most east and southern African countries.

“The journey is made possible because of limited border controls all the way to South Africa,” Raviv added.

Corruption Weaknesses in Kosovo Pinpointed ::

Corruption Weaknesses in Kosovo Pinpointed ::
The weakness of public procurement officers, politically motivated appointments to the boards of publicly owned companies, the lack of funding and support for anti-corruption authorities and the struggling judicial system are pinpointed as the key areas of concern in the fight against graft.

Procurement officers, responsible for the spending of around 20 per cent of Kosovo’s GDP through public institutions’ tenders, are particularly vulnerable to political pressure, according to the draft report by the Kosovo Stability Institute, IKS, seen by Balkan Insight.

The analysis, Untying the Knot, which is to be published later today, reveals that procurement officers have been physically intimidated by politicians and that their precarious position within institutions means they are easily swayed by pressure.

Friday, June 25, 2010

AFP: Guinea-Bissau president names mutiny leader as army chief

AFP: Guinea-Bissau president names mutiny leader as army chief:
"Guinea-Bissau's president has named as army chief General Antonio Indjai, who led a mutiny and threatened to kill the prime minister in April, a source in the presidency said Friday.

Monday, June 21, 2010

BBC News - Why West Africa cannot break its drug habit

BBC News - Why West Africa cannot break its drug habit:
Traditionally it was Latin Americans doing the deals but now Russians, Ukrainians, Dutch, Lebanese and Moroccans are thought to be involved, with many more acting as middlemen and agents on the ground.

There are also reports that Nigerians, who use their infamous international criminal networks to disperse the drugs once in Africa, are now working direct with the drug producers in Latin America.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Private security firms in the Balkans harbor corruption, observers say | World | Deutsche Welle | 19.06.2010

Private security firms in the Balkans harbor corruption, observers say | World | Deutsche Welle | 19.06.2010:
Organized crime in southeastern Europe often operates under cover of private security companies. International groups warn that the EU should be cautious about letting Balkan countries into the bloc too quickly.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Art forgeries: does it matter if you can’t spot an original? - Telegraph

Art forgeries: does it matter if you can’t spot an original? - Telegraph:
Some argue that it is irrelevant who painted a picture, it’s the quality that counts. But, as a fascinating new exhibition sets out to explore fakery in art, Martin Gayford begs to differ.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Organized crime has globalized and turned into a security threat

Organized crime has globalized and turned into a security threat

A new UNODC report shows how, using violence and bribes, international criminal markets have become major centres of power

VIENNA, 17 June (UN Information Service) - "Organized crime has globalized and turned into one of the world's foremost economic and armed powers," said Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) at the launch of a new UNODC report on The Globalization of Crime: A Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment. The Report, released today at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, looks at major trafficking flows of drugs (cocaine and heroin), firearms, counterfeit products, stolen natural resources, and people trafficked for sex or forced labour, as well as smuggled migrants. It also covers maritime piracy and cybercrime.

Work on the Report was initiated following concerns expressed by UN countries, the Security Council, the G8, and other international organizations about the threat posed by transnational organized crime, and the need to counter-act it. Producing the report was a challenge due to the fact that evidence on the subject has thus far been limited and uneven. "Despite the intrinsic difficulty of doing research on crime, UNODC was able to document the enormous power and global reach of international mafias," said Mr. Costa.

The Report shows the extent to which illicit flows affect the entire world. "Today, the criminal market spans the planet: illicit goods are sourced from one continent, trafficked across another, and marketed in a third," said Mr. Costa. "Transnational crime has become a threat to peace and development, even to the sovereignty of nations," warned the head of UNODC. "Criminals use weapons and violence, but also money and bribes to buy elections, politicians and power - even the military," said Mr. Costa. The threat to governance and stability is analysed in a chapter on "Regions under Stress".

The UNODC report on features a number of high-impact maps and charts that illustrate illicit flows and their markets. "Illicit trades involve all major nations: the G8 and BRIC countries alike, as well as regional powers. Since the world's biggest economies are also the biggest markets for illicit trade, I ask their leaders to help the United Nations fight organized crime more effectively. At the moment there is benign neglect towards a problem that is hurting everyone, especially poor countries that are not able to defend themselves," said Mr. Costa.

The Report's main findings are that:

* There are an estimated 140,000 victims of human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation in Europe alone, generating a gross annual income of US$3 billion for their exploiters. "World-wide there are millions of modern slaves traded at a price not higher in real terms than centuries ago," said Mr. Costa.
* The two most prominent flows for smuggling migrants are from Africa to Europe and from Latin America to the US. Around 2.5-3 million migrants are smuggled from Latin America to the United States every year, generating US$6.6 billion for smugglers.
Europe is the highest value regional heroin market (US$20 billion), while Russia is now the single largest national heroin consumer in the world (70 tons). "Narcotics kill 30,000-40,000 young Russians per year, twice the number of Red Army soldiers killed during the invasion of Afghanistan in the decade of the '80s," said Mr. Costa.
* The North American cocaine market is shrinking, because of lower demand and greater law enforcement. This has generated a turf war among trafficking gangs, particularly in Mexico, and new drug routes. "Along the entire Atlantic coast of Latin America cocaine is trans-shipped into Europe via Africa," said Mr. Costa. "Under attack, some west African nations risk failing."
* The countries that grow most of the world's illicit drugs, like Afghanistan (opium) and Colombia (coca), receive the most attention and criticism. Yet, most drug profits are made in the destination (rich) countries. For example, out of a global market of perhaps US$55 billion for Afghan heroin, only about 5 per cent (US$2.3 billions) accrues to Afghan farmers, traders and insurgents. Of the US$72 billion cocaine market in North America and Europe, some 70 per cent of the profits are made by mid-level dealers in the consumer countries, not in the Andean region.
* The global market for illicit fire-arms is estimated at US$170-320 million per year, which is 10-20 per cent of the licit market. Although the smuggling of arms tends to be episodic (i.e. related to specific conflicts), the amounts have been so large, to kill as many people as some pandemics.
* The illegal exploitation of natural resources and the trafficking in wildlife from Africa and South-east Asia are disrupting fragile eco-systems and driving species to extinction. UNODC estimates that illicit wood products imported from Asia to the EU and China were worth some US$2.5 billion in 2009.
* The number of counterfeit goods detected at the European border has gone up by a factor of ten over the past decade, for a yearly value of more than US$10 billion. As much as half of medications tested in Africa and South East Asia are counterfeited and substandard, increasing, rather than reducing the chance of illness.
* The number of piracy attacks off the Horn of Africa has doubled in the past year (from 111 in 2008 to 217 in 2009), and is still rising. Pirates from one of the world's poorest countries (Somalia) are holding to ransom ships from some of the richest, despite the patrolling by the world's most powerful navies. Of the more than US$100 million annual income generated by ransom, only a quarter goes to the pirates, the rest to organized crime.
* More than 1.5 million people a year suffer the theft of their identity for an economic loss estimated at US$1billion, while cybercrime is endangering the security of nations: power grids, air trafficking and nuclear installations have been penetrated.

These are just a few examples of the wealth of new evidence included in the UNODC Report that also makes a number of suggestions on how to deal with the threats posed by the globalization of crime.
In the first place, Mr. Costa called for "disrupting the market forces" behind these illicit trades. "The breaking-up of criminal groups per se does not work, as those arrested are immediately replaced," he said. He cautioned that "law enforcement against mafia groups will not stop illicit activities if the underlying markets remain unaddressed, including the army of white-collar criminals - lawyers, accountants, realtors and bankers - who cover them up and launder their proceeds. The greed of white collar professionals is driving black markets, as much as that of crime syndicates."

The Report insists that, since crime has gone global, national responses are inadequate: they displace the problem from one country to another. It calls for global responses on the basis of the UN (Palermo) Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) which was adopted in 2000. "Crime has internationalized faster than law enforcement and world governance," said Mr. Costa. "The Palermo Convention was created precisely to generate an international response to these trans-national threats, but is often neglected," he said. "Governments that are serious about tackling the globalization of crime should spur the nations that are lagging behind in the implementation of the Convention," said the head of UNODC.

He also called attention to the difference between countries being unwilling rather than being unable to fight organized crime, appealing for more development and technical assistance to reduce vulnerability of poor nations. "When states fail to deliver public services and security, criminals fill the vacuum," said Mr. Costa. "Reaching the Millennium Development Goals would be an effective antidote to crime, that in itself is an obstacle to development," he added. He also called for greater attention to criminal justice in peace-building and peace-keeping operations: "since crime creates instability, peace is the best way of containing crime," he said.

"Criminals are motivated by profit: so let us go after their money," said Mr. Costa. "We must increase the risks and lower the incentives that enable the bloody hand of organized crime to manipulate the invisible hand of competition," said Mr. Costa. He called for more robust implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, more effective anti-money laundering measures, and a crackdown on bank secrecy.

* *** *
For further information contact:
Walter Kemp
Spokesman and Speechwriter, UNODC
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5629

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bulgarian Police Head Busted for Blackmailing | Bulgaria

Bulgarian Police Head Busted for Blackmailing | Bulgaria:
The Head of the Unit for Combating Organized Crime (GDBOP) from the Bulgarian city of Pazardzhik has been arrested in a police operation.

Gambia: Editorial: Jammeh Selling Ten Tons Of Cocaine??

Gambia: Editorial: Jammeh Selling Ten Tons Of Cocaine??:
If the President is not engaged in cocaine trafficking or shady business practices, how on earth he (Mr. Jammeh) is able to amass such a wealth in a span of 15 years?

Italian mafia’s fortunes confirm trash is good business

Italian mafia’s fortunes confirm trash is good business:
The biggest growth in revenues (from 3.9bn to 5.2bn euros) came from the handling and disposal of trash, such as spent computer parts which were sent to Africa or East Asia.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Report: Drug trafficking via Turkey on the rise

Report: Drug trafficking via Turkey on the rise:
İstanbul, Çanakkale straits new pathways for smuggling cocaine

All of the cocaine smuggling operations busted by Turkish security forces took place in İstanbul. Police say that the İstanbul and Çanakkale straits are the routes of choice for cocaine smugglers, who opt to utilize Bulgarian and Romanian-flagged ships, which have the right of free passage through the straits, to transport cocaine shipments to Russia.

Police teams said that in 2009 over one ton of cocaine was seized in Greece, noting that in connection with this, cocaine was smuggled through the Turkish straits and out through the Black Sea.

Sahara is Fertile Ground for al-Qaeda - Grendel Report

Sahara is Fertile Ground for al-Qaeda - Grendel Report:
The northern halves of Mali and of neighboring Niger, the eastern part of Mauritania and the southern tip of Algeria are now 'red zones' banned for travelers by the French Foreign Affairs Ministry, which maintains close ties to the region — a French colony until the 1960s. American and British authorities have also issued strong terrorism warnings.

Monday, June 14, 2010

It may be impossible to protect the North American grid against catastrophic events | Homeland Security News Wire

It may be impossible to protect the North American grid against catastrophic events | Homeland Security News Wire: "Making sure the North American grid continues to operate during high-impact, low-frequency (HILF) events -- coordinated cyber and physical attacks, pandemic diseases, and high-altitude nuclear bomb detonations -- is daunting task; the North American bulk power system comprises more than 200,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines, thousands of generation plants, and millions of digital controls; more than 1,800 entities own and operate portions of the system, with thousands more involved in the operation of distribution networks across North America.

Transnational ‘land grabbing’ now a global concern

Transnational ‘land grabbing’ now a global concern:
Transnational “land grabbing” has become a global concern, prompting organizers of the world’s largest conference on the rice industry this year to place it on the agenda.

Reputed mafia bosses in Bulgaria acquitted | Earth Times News

Reputed mafia bosses in Bulgaria acquitted | Earth Times News:
The trial began four years ago and is, so far, the largest involving reputed mafia in the country. The court verdicts came just weeks before the next European Union report on Bulgaria. Bulgaria, which joined the EU in 2007, has been repeatedly criticised for having an ineffective judicial system.

The Mafia likes the Netherlands Dutch news | Expatica The Netherlands

The Mafia likes the Netherlands Dutch news | Expatica The Netherlands:
“Holland is at the centre of Europe’s cocaine routes. This is largely thanks to the Port of Rotterdam and the proximity of Germany. The Netherlands is also a favourite place for the criminals to invest their illicit profits or to go to ground. It’s not like they’re in the country just to traffick cocaine. They also need to do their money laundering.”

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jamaica’s assertive gangs symptom of deeper crisis

Jamaica’s assertive gangs symptom of deeper crisis:
The lands of the Caribbean archipelago are in crisis, perhaps their worst ever, a condition that stands in stark contrast to thriving South America. The Caribbean economies have been unable to find a niche in a globalized world economy. Jamaica’s debt-to-GDP ratio is 130 per cent, one of the highest, and its unemployment rate is 14.5 per cent. Even Puerto Rico, once the most prosperous of all islands, is bankrupt.

Since its inception, the Caribbean has been the most globalized region in the developing world — in terms of the powers that made it, the populations that formed it and its integration into the world economy as “King Sugar” financed several European empires. After independence, the islands latched onto special access and privileges in the markets of the old and new colonial powers.

Yet with globalization and liberalization, these privileges evaporated (the banana regime with the EU comes to mind; tax havens may be next), and Caribbean nations have been left holding the bag. Even tourism, hailed as the region’s last best hope, is succumbing to global trends. As the airfare share of a travel package gets lower, a Thai vacation can be cheaper than a Jamaican one.

Globalization embraces some and tosses out others. The Caribbean is being tossed out.

BBC News - Two tons of cocaine seized in The Gambia

Two tons of cocaine seized in The Gambia:
At least two tonnes of cocaine with a street value estimated at $1bn has been seized in The Gambia, bound for Europe

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Uganda airport fights increasing drug trafficking - : Africa news, Maghreb news - The african daily newspaper

Uganda airport fights increasing drug trafficking - : Africa news, Maghreb news - The african daily newspaper:
Police at Entebbe International Airport said Monday that they are worried about the increasing number of drug traffickers from the region and other parts of the world using Entebbe airport as their conduit.


The impoverished nation of the Gambia is gradually becoming a safe-haven for drug cartel networks—notably drug dealers from South America, Guinea Bissau, and the country’s indigenous local citizens who used the West African country to traffic cocaine and other dangerous drugs, the Freedom Newspaper can report

Monday, June 7, 2010

Nile is our God given right!

Nile is our God given right!:
“Broadly speaking, the conflict of interest exists between the seven upstream and two downstream nations. Egypt and Sudan want to maintain the status quo of the monopoly of the utilisation of the Nile waters as per the agreements of colonial powers of the 1929 and 59, while the seven upstream nations insist on equitable utilisation of the water resources,” Dr. Yacob added.

The East African: �- News�|Egypt furious over new Nile Water deal threatens legal, 'other' action

The East African: �- News�|Egypt furious over new Nile Water deal threatens legal, 'other' action:
The upstream countries want to be able to implement irrigation and hydro-power projects in consultation with Egypt and Sudan, but without Egypt being able to exercise the veto power it was given by a 1929 colonial-era treaty with Britain.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mafia’s waste disposal business flourishes in Italy in 2009

Mafia’s waste disposal business flourishes in Italy in 2009:
The mafia’s waste disposal and illegal dumping business in Italy continued to flourish in 2009, defying the global economy’s woes, environmental organisation Legambiente said on Friday.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pambazuka - Plugging Africa's leak

Pambazuka - Plugging Africa's leak:
Illicit flows have been a consistent and crippling problem in African countries. The Global Financial Integrity study found that illicit funds from the continent have continued to ratchet upwards every decade since the 1970s at an average rate of 12 per cent per year. In fact, Africa is a net creditor to the world – it ‘gives’ back to the world through illicit capital flight at least twice, and in some regions thrice, the amount of capital it receives in external assistance. No wonder, then, that this staggering loss of capital seriously hampers Africa's efforts at poverty alleviation and economic development, decade after decade.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Guinea Bissau drops treason charge against Bubo Na Tchuto

Guinea Bissau drops treason charge against Bubo Na Tchuto:
Guinea Bissau has dropped charges against controversial former navy chief, Rear Admiral Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto, a notorious drug baron who fled to Gambia after been accused of attempted coup plot in 2008.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Al Qaeda's No. 3 believed killed in Pakistan -

Al Qaeda's No. 3 believed killed in Pakistan -

Actually, he was al Qaeda No. 3.5.

Caribbean re-emerges as a drug corridor | GlobalPost

Caribbean re-emerges as a drug corridor | GlobalPost:
Five Dominicans killed for knowing too much about a drug lord. Spiking murder rates in Puerto Rico. Shootings in the normally paradise-like islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Long before Kingston, Jamaica, erupted in violence last week, the Caribbean was already becoming an increasingly dangerous way station for drug traffickers.

With the United States and Mexico working to tighten their border, which is the preferred drug trafficking route, the Caribbean is “re-emerging as a corridor” for South American drugs to get to the U.S., said Dominican security expert Lilian Bobea.

Editorial: Who is in control in Guinea Bissau?

Editorial: Who is in control in Guinea Bissau?:
Already the issue of drug trafficking remains a domineering subject in international discourses; and anytime it is raised Guinea Bissau is sure to be mentioned. Its military leaders are in the middle of it. Clearly both Gambia and Senegal are getting their fair share of the problem there - for the former in the form of drug issues and the latter in the form of rebel incursions and probably also drugs.