The Beat and CT Scan
Fight corruption!

This week in The Beat, alarming rates of corporate corruption in Australia, the UN Crime Congress in Doha, and the Boston bomber’s guilty verdict. And this week in CT Scan, terrorism cheat sheets, Saddam’s ties to Islamic State, and jihadi playtime.

The Beat

Deloitte Corruption Report

Business advisory firm Deloitte have released their Bribery and Corruption Survey 2015 Australia & New Zealand, examining corruption in the Australasian private sector. About 23% of the 250 Australian and NZ organisations surveyed reported one or more instances of domestic corruption in their organisation over the last five years.

This highlights the need for a federal anti-corruption body to maintain the integrity of Australia’s private sector so we remain an attractive destination for international investment. Controversies aside, NSW’s ICAC is a good model.

UN crime congress

The United Nations’ 13th Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice has wrapped up in Qatar. The Congress resulted in adoption of the Doha Document, calling on delegates to implement specific initiatives that covered comprehensive and inclusive national crime prevention and criminal justice policies and programs; gender and youth-related concerns in criminal justice efforts; corruption and transparency in public administration; and the growing threat of cybercrime.

Boston marathon bombing: a new take on justice

Two years after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, Dzokhar Tsarnaev has been found guilty of all charges laid against him. Attention now turns to sentencing, with the death penalty remaining on the table.

Noah Feldman discusses the notion of whether families of victims should have some input in determining the sentence for such crimes, which raises interesting questions about the application of the justice system. Whilst victim impact statements and monetary compensation for victims are commonplace, it isn’t easy to determine whether the harms caused from crimes like murder or terrorism is public or private.

Meanwhile, survivor Rebekah Gregory managed to cross the finish line of the 2015 course with her prosthetic leg, demonstrating resilience at its best.

CT Scan

Your quick guide to terrorism

Need some quick guides? The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism has released a cheat sheet on foreign fighters, ‘A Quick Overview for People with Little Time’, while The Soufan Group published an overview of key terror trends.

Islamic State: the state of terror

Leaked files have shown a former spy for Saddam Hussein penned the ‘blueprint’ that paved the way for the rise of Islamic State. Previously, only scattered sources provided information about the group. Details of the structure of Islamic State’s leadership, the part that Saddam Hussein’s officials played in its formation and how the group managed to take over Syrian land are available for the first time.

Add Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger’s new book, ISIS: The State of Terror, to your reading list. Stern and Berger utilise both classified and open sources to explain Islamic State’s history, strategies and impact. See here for a review and here for an interview with Berger, courtesy of War on the Rocks (56 mins).

ANU Research Fellow Haroro Ingram thinks that the Western media’s focus on Islamic State has inadvertently strengthened the organisation’s control of the Syrian conflict’s narrative, drowning out the voices of Syrian FM radio channels.

On a lighter note, Foreign Policy ran a story about three Palestinians who created a spoof video mocking the group that garnered over 2 million hits. In the video, the lives of prisoners hinged on whether they could correctly name the colours of that infamous dress. ‘I swear it’s blue and black’, protests one captive before he’s dragged off for beheading.

What do jihadis do in their spare time?

Terrorism expert Thomas Hegghammer argues that studying jihadi’s non-military activities could ‘shed important new light on how extremists think and behave’.

According to Hegghammer, there’s more to military life than fighting, and jihadi groups often have practices that are strangely ‘soft’ (including poetry recitals, talks about dreams, ritualistic weeping)—practices that help inform our understanding of ‘jihadi culture’.