Dismantling people smuggling networks
With the current number of refugees arriving in Europe unseen since the end of WWII, European police are using social media to piece together people smuggling networks, utilising similar methods to those used to monitor terrorists. A Bulgarian report reveals that profits made from people smuggling now rival those made from drugs and arms trafficking, with Europol estimating there are currently 30,000 individuals involved in people smuggling gangs.
Local financial crime findings—and (legitimate) career opportunities
A new Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement report into financial crime says that the risks of financial related crime are ‘expanding exponentially due to the higher reliance on electronic means to pay for goods and services as well as transfer money.’ The report includes recommendations concerning the roles of law enforcement agencies and regulators, potential legislative weaknesses and a focus on financial crimes against indigenous communities.
In a similar vein, ASPI is seeking to hire a financial crime analyst within its Strategic Policing and Law Enforcement program.
The AFP’s Cyber Crime Operations unit is investigating a Twitter account falsely claiming to be Justice Minister Michael Keenan. Individuals convicted of impersonating a Commonwealth official can be sentenced to up to two years in prison, although this doesn’t apply to clearly-defined satirical accounts.
Ironically, Minister Keenan launched the Identity Crime and Misuse in Australia 2013-14 report this week, which reveals the economic impact of identity crime to exceed $2 billion.
This isn’t the first time a politician has been duped on social media; John Howard was recently surprised to learn that he’d been falsely impersonated by a rather convincing Facebook account.
Syria strikes confirmed
Australia’s government have confirmed plans to conduct air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria. Wednesday’s Coalition party room conference elicited approval for air strikes, as well as plans to accept 12,000 Syrian refugees.
France is also contemplating whether to expand their air campaign against ISIS into Syria, and completed reconnaissance flights over Syria on Tuesday to identify potential targets. French president François Hollande has ruled out deploying ground troops into Syria, describing the prospect as ‘inconsequential and unrealistic.’
CT controversy in Israel
A controversial new counterterrorism bill passed its first reading in the Israeli Knesset late last week. The bill consolidates and modernises several pre-existing counterterror laws, and increases punishments for various terror-related crimes. Critics of the bill have argued that it broadens the definition of ‘terrorism’ to an extent that conflicts with existing criminal law. The bill will go before the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee for rewording before further readings.
Egyptian insurgent violence
Egyptian military forces in the Sinai region claim to have killed 29 members of ISIS-affiliated group, Sinai Province. Violence in the region has been relatively frequent since the military ousted former president Mohammed Morsi in 2013.
Israel’s new border fence
Amidst calls for taking in Syrian refugees, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the construction of a 30km fence along Israel’s border with Jordan, fearing illegal migrants and terrorist activist could reach his country. The fence, budgeted at US$71 million, will stretch from the cities of Eilat to Timna, and will replicate what’s been done on the Egyptian border where a 394 km fence was built to keep out illegal migrants from Africa. Tel Aviv has insisted Israel has neither the geographic nor demographic depth to deal with refugees, migrants, potential terrorist threats or the loss of control of its borders.
European migrant crisis needs a global response
The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Peter Sutherland, has stressed the need for a global response to the European migration crisis, insisting that history will harshly judge how states respond to it. Amid the conservative UN estimates that indicate 850,000 people are expected to cross the Mediterranean in 2015 and 2016, Sutherland is aiming to find a method to gain specific commitments from states to take in refugees and to standardise an international definition of the term ‘refugee’.
The border fact
The Australian Government will create 12,000 permanent places for Syrian and Iraqi refugees, and provide $44 million to the United Nations to ease the European migrant crisis, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced yesterday.