National security wrap

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The Beat

Gaming body tackles corruption

A newly formed video gaming industry body, the eSports Integrity Coalition (ESIC), aims to combat fraud and cheating in competitive video gaming. On Tuesday ESIC integrity commissioner Ian Smith warned against organised crime and match fixing in the growing global e-Sports market, which generates approximately US$500 million annually. Mr Smith estimates that regulated gambling on e-Sports will grow to $20 billion by 2020, while grey and black market betting will net between $200–300 billion. ESIC is pushing for industry-wide adoption of its anti-corruption code of conduct, but so far only two major gaming leagues, ESL and Dreamhack, have signed on. On a related note, the UK Gambling Commission recently released a discussion paper highlighting the risk of in-game products and virtual currencies facilitating money laundering.

Philippine–Indonesian policing cooperation

The Indonesian and Philippine governments have announced a cooperative investigation into an organised crime syndicate trafficking Philippine passports to Indonesian pilgrims. On Thursday 18 August, Philippine immigration police arrested 177 Indonesians at Manila’s main International Airport for carrying unauthorised passports. The Indonesians were en route to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Both governments are keen to stop those exploiting the Hajj visa quota system, which has a shorter waiting list in the Philippines than in Indonesia.

CT Scan

FARC deal

The Columbian government and FARC agreed on a peace accord last Wednesday after 52 years of fighting. The narco-insurgent group’s known for kidnapping and attacks on both key infrastructure and security personnel. There’s still a ways to go to implementation, and some analysts predict fresh violence over control of the drug trade.

The long war

The Taliban have overrun Jani Khel in Eastern Afghanistan, a district that sits on a major route to Pakistan. ISW’s latest map (PDF) shows the group’s expanding influence. CSIS’s Anthony Cordesman highlights the need for a serious review of US strategy in Afghanistan in his latest report (PDF).

Telling stories

Last Thursday the New York Times released a 2013 study of Saudi textbooks by the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy. The report, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, notes that, while some reform has occurred, the books still contain intolerant passages that incite violence. The Saudi monarchy’s no stranger to criticism over its links to an extremist narrative—criticism that’s been flowing freely over the past few weeks.

On the counter-narrative front closer to home, Hedaya released its follow up report to Australia’s Regional Summit to Counter Violent Extremism on Tuesday, titled Undermining Violent Extremism Narratives in South East Asia: A How-To Guide (PDF).


Le Touquet deal here to stay—for now

On Tuesday UK Home Minister Amber Rudd and French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve met to discuss Calais-to-Dover border controls and growing problems in the so-called Calais ‘Jungle’. The French have grown dissatisfied with the 2003 Le Touquet treaty, which imposes ‘juxtaposed controls’ that allow British authorities to conduct immigration checks in Calais rather than in the UK. The growth of large migrant camps in Calais—over 7,000 individuals, most without housing—has sparked appeals for a renegotiated deal. Despite inflammatory commentary preceding the meeting (including Nicolas Sarkozy’s demand that Britain shoulder a greater part of the migrant burden) and Brexit, both parties emerged pledging ‘close co-operation’ on securing the Channel Tunnel and Calais port.

SA port finds more asbestos

Hundreds of South Australian workers at Port Pirie may have been exposed to asbestos fibres in Chinese imported equipment. SA Deputy Premier John Rau revealed the discovery last week, criticising the federal government’s border security efforts and calling for urgent talks between state and federal authorities. The disclosure is the latest in a string of imported asbestos incidents and adds to pressure for further investigations—including Senator Nick Xenophon’s call for a re-convened senate inquiry and a full audit of all imports potentially containing asbestos.

First Responder

World at risk

Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft and UN University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security released their 2016 WorldRiskReport (PDF) last Thursday. The report assesses the disaster risk for 171 countries based on exposure to natural hazards, susceptibility (based on infrastructure, nutrition, poverty, and economic capacity), and a country’s coping and adaptive capacities. Australia performs well in the index, ranking 121, however many of the south-west Pacific Islands are some of the most at-risk (PDF) with Vanuatu, Tonga, Solomon Islands, PNG, and Timor-Leste all in the top 15—climate change and rising sea levels are a huge challenge for the region.

Energy diversity

Calls to re-think Australia’s energy security are becoming more (PDF) frequent (PDF). ASPI’s Anthony Bergin had an excellent piece here on The Strategist this week looking at diversifying the RAN’s fuel supply, as well as Australia’s broader energy resilience strategy (or lack thereof).

In Europe, NATO’s Energy Security Centre of Excellence tested a ‘Deployable Modular Hybrid Power Generation & Management System’ with the Lithuanian Armed Forces in the August ‘Strong Hussar’ military exercises. The generator limits the environmental impact of deployments, incorporating conventional fuel sources with renewable energy.

And finally, a new app—‘Windyty’—lets you track meteorological phenomena across the globe.