National security wrap

The beat

Women and policing

The 2017 International Women and Law Enforcement Conference is coming to an end today in Cairns. The gathering focused on ‘enhancing and supporting women in law enforcement and other community protection roles’, touching on the themes of Indigenous policing, the changing role of women in law enforcement, managing domestic and family violence, modern-day slavery, and policewomen in peacekeeping. AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin received a Special Contribution Award for his support to the advancement of women and to the Australasian Council of Women and Policing.

Golden visas

Hundreds of people have gained Cypriot (and therefore EU) citizenship through a ‘golden visa’ scheme. The government’s ‘Scheme for Naturalization of Investors in Cyprus by Exception’ allows people who invest €2.5 million in the country via real estate, business and government bonds to apply for citizenship. Among the beneficiaries are several Ukrainian and Russian businessmen, and also a cousin of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad—though his citizenship was revoked after the war in Syria broke out.


Twenty-five journalists have been killed so far this year, and 259 were imprisoned in 2016, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The number in prison has been increasing, particularly due to developments in Turkey, but also due to a recent case in Palestine: Hamas sentenced Hajer Harb to six months in prison and a fine, after she published an investigative report on corruption in the health system in the Gaza Strip.

CT scan

AUSTRAC to block regional terror financing

Minister for Justice Michael Keenan has announced a $4.6-million investment in countering terrorism financing in Southeast Asia. The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre–led initiative will engage regional governments and industry partners and encourage them to ‘use non-traditional approaches’ to address the problem. In the media release, Minister Keenan stressed the importance of regional cooperation in combatting terrorism and preventing ISIS from developing a significant foothold in the region. The announcement comes as the Australian Federal Police sends officers to train Philippine counterterror forces.

US ups the ante with Operation Inherent Resolve

The US-led air campaign against ISIS has gone up a notch in recent months. Greater ‘delegation of command authority’ from the Trump administration seems to have been a significant factor in the increase. In August, 5,075 bombs were dropped as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the most during any month of the three-year campaign. More bombs have been dropped on Iraq and Syria in each month of 2017 than were dropped in any month of the campaign’s preceding years.

ISIS in Europe

The Institute for the Study of War this week released research showing an increased incidence of ISIS attacks and attempted attacks in Europe in the past few months, despite (or perhaps because of) the group’s territorial losses.


Thousands of Oromos displaced from Ethiopia

Violence has broken out between the Somali and Oromo ethnic groups living in Ethiopia’s Somali region. There’s a history of conflict between the two groups, and tensions have been building over the past year. Reports suggest that the latest violence has resulted in more than 50 deaths and approximately 55,000 displaced Oromos. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission is currently investigating the violence.

People smugglers find new route

The Romanian Coast Guard has revealed that 475 people have used a dangerous route across the Black Sea from Turkey to Romania in the past month. Frontex, the EU agency in charge of the border patrol, notes that the route hadn’t been used since 2014 and says that the recent surge may represent an attempt to revive the crossing.

Rohingya nightmare continues

Reuters has released a video capturing the distressing journey of Rohingya Muslims who have been forced to flee violence in Myanmar to seek refuge in Bangladesh. Earlier this week, Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi broke her silence on the recent events, appearing to defend the violence. Suu Kyi has been condemned for her leadership during the crisis, and some have even called for the revocation of her Nobel Peace Prize.

First responder

Mexico City earthquakes

At least 248 people have died after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit central Mexico, near the capital Mexico City, on Tuesday. Strangely enough, that day also marked the anniversary of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake. Touching footage of a successful dog rescue has emerged from the disaster (video).

Climate Chancellor

The Guardian’s George Monbiot released an article critical of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s record on pollution. According to Monbiot, Merkel’s ‘fatal weakness’ is her ability to be swayed by German industry. He details Merkel’s long history of folding to industry pressure, all the way back to 1994.

Firefighters needed in Antarctica

The United States Antarctic base, McMurdo Station, is currently hiring firefighters. Firefighting is a more necessary skill in Antarctica than many would think. One fire destroyed 70% of Brazil’s Antarctic station in 2012. The firefighters need to spend five months in one of the most beautiful, isolated and cold environments in the world. Social butterflies shouldn’t write off McMurdo’s social scene just yet, as the base features three bars, dormitory housing, yoga classes, and hiking trails. If that sounds good to you, here’s the full list of jobs available.