The Beat, CT Scan and Checkpoint

Finding people in Nepal

The Beat

AFP front the press following executions

Following the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran last week, the Australian Federal Police discussed their operations around the Bali 9‘s 2005 arrest. While the AFP ‘agonised’ over their decision to inform Indonesian authorities, they’ve reaffirmed they didn’t have sufficient information to arrest the suspects in Australia. AFP guidelines, last updated in 2009, require that ministerial approval be sought when passing on information to another jurisdiction where the death penalty may be applied.

New crime taskforce

Treasurer Joe Hockey has announced a Federal Government taskforce to combat tax avoidance, identity offences and superannuation and investment fraud. The Serious Financial Crime taskforce will combat serious and organised crime by involving various agencies and departments, including the AFP, Australian Taxation Office, Australian Crime Commission, Attorney-General’s Department, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. More details on the $127 million taskforce will be announced in next week’s budget.

Crimes against fashion

Queensland’s Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller was caught by the fashion police wearing a fake Louis Vuitton belt at the Labour Day march in Brisbane. Buying or using counterfeit products is a not a crime in Australia, but selling or importing them is. Intellectual property lawyer Julian Swinson said it wasn’t a good look for the Minister, who should be aware of the link between counterfeit goods and organised crime.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Illicit Trafficking of Counterfeit Goods and Transnational Organised Crime Report outlines the links between counterfeiting and organised crime, as well as the consequences of selling counterfeit goods. The incident in Queensland serves to remind us how ingrained organised crime is in our daily activities—whether we’re prepared to admit it or not.

CT Scan

Boko Haram: Limits of military action

RUSI‘s latest report discusses the evolution of Boko Haram, arguing that the Nigerian government’s focus on militaristic tactics isn’t the best way to address this ‘elusive and resilient opponent’. Former American Ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell agrees in this report for the Council on Foreign Relations. He suggests that the US must go beyond military action and tackle discrimination against Nigerian Muslims.

Foreign fighters

The Foreign Policy Research Institute points out the uncanny parallels between foreign fighters and ants. The authors suggest that Ant Colony Optimisation—the way in which ants maximise the efficiency of finding food—could potentially help to model and even counter the flow of foreign fighters.

France has passed broad new surveillance laws in response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks, including the power to tap into communications without permission from the courts. Meanwhile, the nation’s also announced that it’s establishing rehabilitation centres for returning fighters.

Why did Breivik do it?

Asne Seierstad’s new book ‘One of Us’ explores the psychology of Anders Behring Breivik, the man behind the 2011 Oslo attacks. Notably, Seierstad doesn’t think that Breivik’s motivation was a hatred of Islam. Instead, she thinks that he—as with other terrorists—simply wanted to take on a black-and-white view of the world and punish ‘traitors’ who violated it.


Price-based immigration

How much would you be likely to pay to become an Aussie? An exploratory paper submitted by the Productivity Commission has suggested a price-based migration scheme could bring tens of billions of dollars into the economy, while reducing the costs of sustaining Australia´s immigration system. In a similar vein, the government of Vanuatu is looking to boost its coffers in the wake of Cyclone Pam by selling citizenship to up to 100 people at $162,000 a pop.

´Stop the Boats´ will save Australians $500m

With less than a week to go until the next Federal Budget is handed down, Prime Minister Tony Abbott is looking to highlight some of the savings that have accrued thanks to the government’s refugee polices. According to the PM, ‘stopping the boats’ has allowed for thirteen immigration detention centres (PDF) to be closed and has slashed the number of ‘charter flights taking illegal boat arrivals all around the country and the region’. Next weeks’ budget will show $500 million worth of savings for the coming financial year.

Nepal´s earthquake survivors targeted by human traffickers

Over 7,500 people have lost their lives in Nepal—but earthquake survivors still aren’t safe. The Indian Government fears that in the quake’s aftermath, human traffickers seized the opportunity to smuggle women and children across the border with the intention of involving them in the illegal sex trade.

In the wake of the disaster, the estimated 7,000 annual victims of this crime smuggled into India are expected to soar. The Indian Immigration Department has tightened its security along its border with Nepal and in international airports in order to deter the threat.