The Beat, CT Scan and Checkpoint

Berlin WallThe Beat

Ticket to fraud

Fraudsters have taken advantage of a new target connected to our daily transactions—the troubled public transport ticket system Myki. Public Transport Victoria have refunded $4.2 million to international credit card holders whose details were stolen and used to purchase Myki cards which were sold on the black market.

Crime and terrorism

We were asked at the launch of our recent paper, A Web of Harms, about the connections between crime and terrorism. This report from Ireland about the fate of the IRA in the Republic and the North isn’t new, but it demonstrates the persistence of this problem even if it’s in a different guise.

Serial update

Serial podcast fans will know about the case against Adnan Syed, convicted of murdering his teenage girlfriend, rests on records from cell phone towers determining his location. Syed’s lawyer C Justin Brown this week filed a motion in court with a document from phone company AT&T stating that ‘outgoing calls only are reliable for location status. Any incoming calls will NOT be considered reliable information.’

Brown claims that this evidence should be grounds for a post-conviction hearing, with the court currently deliberating and Syed maintaining his innocence.

War on cheese

Look away, cheeseophiles! Russian officials have been filmed destroying a surprising contraband product: cheese. The Kremlin have seized as estimated 470 tonnes of imported cheese as part of a crackdown on imported foodstuffs in response to Western sanctions. Amidst economic crisis, tens of thousands of Russians have campaigned against mass food wastage by law enforcement. Cheese lovers are bound to have something to say about it, too.

CT Scan

Attempted attack on Paris-bound train

A 25 year old Moroccan man named Ayoub El Khazzani has been charged with attempted murder of a terrorist nature after last week’s failed attack on a high-speed train in France. Despite Khazzani’s claim to be ‘dumbfounded’ by the terror charges, prosecutors have cited evidence that he had watched a jihadi video on his phone minutes before launching the attack and questioned how the suspect, who claims to be homeless, could have afforded a first class train ticket. Investigators have also pointed to the large number of weapons and ammunition in his possession and revealed El Khazzani had travelled to Turkey in June.

Indian counterterrorism village

The Indian Army has unveiled plans for a model counterterrorism training village. The Economic Times reports that the village would be complete with a mosque, church, school and mannequins of villagers. The model village would be at the Indian Army’s officers training academy in Gaya and would train troops in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations by replicating combat missions.

China, Xinjiang and counterterrorism

An interesting read this week is How Xinjiang Has Transformed China’s Counterterrorism Policies over at The National Interest. Julia Famularo delves into the security situation in China and explores the Chinese government’s current counterterrorism strategies and policies in dealing with internal and external terrorist attacks.


Migration to Europe

Nearly two thousand migrants, many of whom are Syrian refugees, have now been allowed into Macedonia after trying to force their way into the country on the weekend. While Macedonian Police didn’t have much success in stopping the flow coming from Greece, the UNHCR has urged for the crossing at the border town of Gevgelija to remain open and for police to handle the situation calmly. With migrants fearing that fences could be rapidly built across Macedonia’s southern border, the region is expected to see an increase in migration flows towards via Macedonia over coming months.

The US–Mexican border: a 2016 election issue

Following the announcement of Donald Trump’s plan to secure American borders, one of his closest contenders, Ben Carson, this week said he’d be willing to use drone strikes to help protect the United States’ southern border. Rather than ordering direct strikes to kill undocumented immigrants, he would instead target caves and underground tunnels that have been used to smuggle people across the border—the use of which continues to concern American authorities.

The border fact 

Finally, did you know that the world now has more border walls than were constructed when the Berlin wall came down in 1989? It is believed 65 are either planned or erected in the world.