National security wrap

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The Beat

New report: rhino poaching and law enforcement

Wildlife is a highly profitable commodity for transnational organised crime groups. Last week, The Global Initiative released a two-part report examining law enforcement responses to international rhino horn trafficking syndicates and the legal loopholes and institutional lapses that allow the illicit trade to grow. Part I looks at the trade in South Africa, through Czech nationals and Vietnam while Part II assesses the trade through Zimbabwe, Mozambique and the role of dodgy diplomats from North Korea. Global Initiative has also uploaded a six-minute video summarising the key points of the report.

The future of police body cams

Since the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager in the US in 2014, companies in the body cam business have grown and sales have risen. Bloomberg has recently published an article on the industry leader in body cams, Taser International, looking at the evolution of the technology and where it might go in the future. Taser has envisioned body cams that live-stream footage, which is then analysed through facial recognition software in real-time to give police officers instant information about individuals they encounter.

CT Scan

Terrorism in France: options for CT

Last week, a truck was driven through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France. While links between the driver, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, and Daesh haven’t yet been established, the attack has been described as terrorist in nature. A piece over at Slate has looked at the issue of terrorism in Europe—and France in particular—arguing that the most likely reaction after the Nice attack will be tighter security but also greater hostility towards European Muslims. An article from NPR looks at lone wolf terrorism and recommends that community support should be central in prevention strategies.

Over on The National Interest, a career CIA officer has argued that France should establish its own version of the American National Counterterrorism Centre (NCTC) to serve as a focal point for all terrorist threat reporting—and that other European nations should consider doing the same. This article on Foreign Affairs suggests that creating a NCTC wouldn’t be a panacea and France needs to revamp its approach to intelligence.

CVE literature update

In countering violence extremism literature, two recent pieces are worth reading. From RUSI, this article (PDF) examines the multilateral approaches that have been taken to tackle violent extremism and posits that subnational stakeholders—like local government and civil society—need to be incorporated into CVE. The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in The Hague has published a report pushing for a narrow approach to defining CVE programs, focused on disengagement and the disruption of recruitment.


Israel and Jordan shore up borders

The Israeli Government plans to establish a new section of fencing along its Jordanian border due to concerns over cross-border terrorism attacks and to prevent the infiltration of jihadists. Israel and Jordan have had a troubled relationship that’s been made worse by their proximity to the Syrian conflictwith concerns that the bilateral may become increasingly volatile. In order to stem the flow of Syrian refugees and to protect a US base, the Obama administration has contributed half a billion US dollars to build an electronic fence along Jordan’s eastern and northern borders to help shore up ‘Fortress Jordan’.

A good time to be in the cement business?

A new report suggests that a Mexican cement manufacturer could be winner if US presidential hopeful Donald Trump gets his way with the construction of a wall at the US-Mexico border. The reportproduced by research firm Sanford C. Bernstein and Co.analysed which companies would benefit most from the construction project and found Cemex SAB may come out on top. While on the topic of Mexico, the US Border Patrol released data this week showing that 264,185 people were apprehended along the Southwest border during the first six months of 2016, with 49.6% from Mexico.

First Responder

Older Japanese most resilient post-disaster

A new study (PDF) looking at the aftermath of the triple disaster in Fukushima in 2011 has found that older Japanese citizens displayed the most resilience post-disaster. A team from the University of Edinburgh and Masaharu Tsubokura from the University of Tokyo studied 400 diabetic patients who were treated at a public hospital near the Fukushima nuclear power plant. They compared how the patients managed their blood sugar levels before and after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown, in order to determine their susceptibility to ill-health. The results showed age was the most significant factor in determining resilience, followed by locationurban dwellers were more likely to see deterioration in their health than their counterparts in the countryside.

New global resilience practice

Catastrophe risk modelling firm AIR Worldwide announced on Monday that it’s forming a new global resilience practice. The group’s initiatives seek to support risk reduction and resilience through improved community disaster preparation, assistance for organisations looking to apply catastrophe modelling to disaster risk financing, new alliances with organisations that provide data for modelling efforts, and stronger relationships with regulatory bodies and rating agencies. AIR currently works with a number of agenciesincluding the UN and the World Bankto provide risk models on natural disasters, pandemics and terrorism.