This week on The Beat, we look at the fast-tracked treaty concerning MH17, the Silk Road conviction, more cybercrime, collaboration to counter organised crime and transnational terrorism, the US National Security Strategy and developments in the Adnan Syed/’Serial’ case.
Treaty fast-tracked following MH17
The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties has released its report into an Australia–Netherlands treaty that was fast-tracked following the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in July 2014. The treaty allowed personnel from the Australian Federal Police and Department of Defence to be deployed quickly while undertaking Operation Bring Them Home. The action was allowed under the National Interest Exemption, which has been invoked only seven times since treaty reform in 1996. The report’s available on the Committee’s website.
Global initiative against Organised Crime
Last week we mentioned the latest figures of foreign fighters who have joined IS. Those figures were included in the 2015 Munich Security Report released on 26 January, which details trends in international security policy. Collapsing Order, Reluctant Guardians? also includes analysis of the crisis in Ukraine and developments in jihadist extremism.
‘Five Eyes’ national security meeting
Attorney-General George Brandis was one of the representatives at the Five Countries Ministerial meeting on national security held in London on February 6. Agenda items included how the group can collaborate to counter violent extremism, address extremist use of online platforms, and exchange approaches to assist in the identification and management of radicalised individuals. The communiqué can be found here.
Still in London, the NED (Cyber Network and Defence) Forum met last week for their summit What Can we Learn From The Darknet? McAfee’s Chief Technology Officer Raj Samani argued that at $445 billion the estimated impact of cybercrime is underdone, and that job losses of 150,000 in Europe alone might be a more accurate way of measuring the damage. Introducing a set of diverse metrics may indeed be what’s needed to further reinforce the significance of the threat posed by cybercrime
Further information on cybercrime in Australia can be found at the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).
Silk Road verdict
Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht has been convicted of all seven charges against him, including drug trafficking, criminal enterprise computer hacking and money laundering. Ulbricht, now facing a minimum 20-year prison sentence, argued that the founder of now-defunct Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, one Mark Karpelès, was responsible for the enterprise. Meanwhile, the closure of Silk Road hasn’t stemmed the online drug trade as law enforcers would’ve liked. Instead, dozens of new crypto-markets have cropped up in its place, selling similar illicit goods and services and demonstrating incredible sophistication and resilience.
US National Security Strategy
How does the US view the world? The latest iteration of the US National Security Strategy (available here) begins with a sense of optimism but a range of new challenges. Focus is on a new battle in the Middle East, expanded challenges in Africa, and a resurgent challenge in Europe. Some fundamental changes to the US position are flagged, including its new status as an energy power and its economic recovery.
Some interesting news for fans of the Serial podcast this week, with the Maryland Court of Special Appeals granting Adnan Syed leave to appeal his conviction for murdering ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999. The appeal will focus on the performance of Syed’s now-deceased attorney, Cristina Guttierez, who failed to pursue a plea or contact witness Asia McLean, who stated she was with Syed at the time of the murder. The appeal’s scheduled for June 2015.
On the back of recent events in Ottawa, Sydney and Paris, the Washington Summit on Countering Violent Extremism will take place on 18 February. It’ll be interesting to see what commitments are made in the counter-radicalisation space.
Clare Murphy is an intern working within ASPI’s Strategic Policing and Law Enforcement Program. Image courtesy of Flickr user marceau rouvre.