The Beat, CT Scan and Checkpoint

Lion Toy

The Beat

Organised criminals target Australia Post

The Australian Federal Police are expected to charge a Melbourne criminal syndicate formerly contracted to Australia Post with fraud, conspiracy to influence a Commonwealth official and dealing with proceeds of crimes. Fairfax reports that the group is alleged to have offered international students Australian visas for a hefty fee, sub-par training and work in contravention of visa conditions, with Australia Post warned about the group’s underpayment of workers as far back as 2012. This highlights the need for government departments to bolster their protections against exploitation from sophisticated organised criminal networks.

Mob museum realises new goal

Finally, arrests of FIFA officials have exposed deep links between organised crime and sport. While the investigation is ongoing, it hasn’t stopped the National Museum of Organised Crime and Law Enforcement in Las Vegas from launching a FIFA exhibit. The ‘Beautiful Game’ Turns Ugly examines the corruption which has brought the football body into disrepute. It will open on September 1.


CT Scan

Boko Haram laying down arms?

Several Nigerian news sources (here, here and here) have reported that Boko Haram has approached Nigeria’s Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC) about the possibility of opening a dialogue with the country’s federal government. While there are some understandable hesitations, CCC has reported President Muhammadu Buhari’s willingness to negotiate with ‘credible’ members of the group.

For a different look at Boko Haram, be sure to read the eyewitness account of Gerida Birukila, a UNICEF public health specialist, on the state of the health and wellbeing of women and girls recently liberated by the Nigerian military from the terrorist organisation.

‘Death cult’: juvenile or justified?

ABC Radio National investigated the politics of fear in its recent Sunday Extra program. On the back of Tony Abbott’s rhetoric about the ‘death cult’ ‘coming after us’, Professor David Cole of Georgetown University stated that with such inflammatory language, leaders are ‘playing into the terrorists’ hands’. Rather than adding undue credibility to extremists’ cause, policymakers and spokespeople would do better to respond to terrorists’ threats with reason and realism, rather than fearmongering. For the full podcast, listen here.

Shamming al-Sham

Some members of IS have recently joined the long list of romantic hopefuls who have realised that not everything is as it seems when looking for love online. Three Chechen women have cheated IS fighters out of thousands of dollars by posing as ‘wannabe jihadi brides’ on social media. By claiming that they need to be wired cash before they could reach the Caliphate, the women received over US$3,100 from IS Casanovas before being caught by Chechen police.



Buckle-up: hunting trophy-free airlines 

The global outrage sparked by the assassination of Cecil the Lion at the hands of an American recreational hunter in Zimbabwe has now led American, Delta and United Airlines to join an industry group that will no longer ship hunting trophies that come from lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceroses, and buffaloes. While the decision hasn’t been welcomed by Zimbabwe’s tourism industry, it’s being praised by animal conservation organisations.

Although Australian carriers haven’t yet decided to follow their US counterparts, it is hoped that such moves will have an impact on the illegal trade of wildlife and natural resources, which last year amounted to nearly US$213 billion.

Indian–Bangladeshi border dispute resolved 

Last Saturday India and Bangladesh officially began the exchange of 162 enclaves at their long-disputed border, ending a 70-year dispute. The disputed territory made difficult for over 50,000 people doing simple things, like visiting the markets. This Washington Post article illustrates the strange situation whereby enclave residents had to illegally pass into foreign lands to obtain a visa so that they might legally visit at a later date.