The Beat, CT Scan and Checkpoint


The Beat

AFP Future Directions

AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin used his first meeting with new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to draw attention to the AFP Future Directions Project; the first blueprint setting the agency’s future in its 35-year history. This comes at a time when the AFP are facing diverse challenges in Australian communities, like complex fraud and radicalisation, and are discussing how to best allocate resources to ensure various capabilities, such as countering terrorism, organised crime and global conflicts, are maintained.

Criminals implicate public servants

Victoria’s anti-corruption body has expressed concerns about organised criminals grooming public service employees via social media to enable their activities.

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission’s chief executive Alastair Maclean has noted increasing evidence of criminals attempting to take advantage of public servants with access to valuable or sensitive information to further illegal activities without being detected. Social media’s role in facilitating the work of criminals was referred to in the Attorney-General Department’s recent report on identity crime.

Irish audit on crime and terrorism 

Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan of the Garda Síochána—the Irish police force—has ordered police chiefs across the republic of Ireland to compile reports on suspected republican activists and former IRA members, and any current involvement in criminal activity. Concerns over links between terrorism and organised crime are currently causing political upheavals across the border in Belfast.

CT Scan

United Nations divided on Syria

A 100-member counterterrorism summit led by Barack Obama convened at the UN on Tuesday to discuss multiple topics, including the Syrian regime, ISIS and foreign fighters. Russia has criticised the summit as unnecessary, since the UN has its own anti-terror framework, and sent only a low-level diplomat to the talks. Iran was excluded from the talks, as the US still designates Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism. This follows a meeting between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin at the UN on Monday, where the leaders disagreed on whether a political solution in Syria should include Bashar al-Assad stepping down as president of Syria.

Hollywood help on CT

The Daily Beast is reporting that the US State Department has consulted with social media, the US film industry and HBO to brainstorm ideas for countering ISIS and jihadist propaganda. Attendees apparently included executives from HBO, Snapchat and Mark Boal, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker. Counterterrorism expert Will McCants expressed cynicism about such efforts, stating that they result in ‘cringeworthy ideas.’ However, no partnerships or plans to produce any media have been established as yet.

ISIS’ early strategy

McCants has also shared an article on ISIS’ strategic blueprint published back in 2010. The blueprint’s authors highlight the strategic opportunity presented by the impending American withdrawal from Iraq. The article is a sample of ISIS history, which McCants outlines in his recent book, ISIS Apocalypse.

Terrorist’s Canadian citizenship revoked

Canada’s government formally revoked the citizenship of a convicted terrorist for the first time last week. Zakaria Amara was arrested in 2006 as the ringleader of the Toronto 18 plot to detonate bomb trucks in downtown Toronto. Amara was sentenced in 2010 with no chance of parole until 2016, although if released from prison he could now be deported to Jordan.


ASEAN to renew commitment to fight cross-border crime

This week, the 10th ASEAN conference on transnational crime is expected to adopt the Kuala Lumpur Declarations on Transnational Crime and Irregular Movement of People, renewing its commitment to tackle cross-border crime as first outlined by the 1997 Manila Declaration. Several new forms of crime will be recognised by ASEAN, including wildlife trafficking, logging and people smuggling.

Nepal´s new constitution sparks cross-border crisis

Following last week’s approval of the Nepalese Constitution, southern Nepalese minority protesters blocked two of the main border crossings from India, shutting off vital supply lines into the country. The protests also led Indian security personnel to prevent cargo trucks from crossing the border, pushing Nepal to enforce rationing to cope with the worsening shortage of oil and other commodities. The turmoil will likely increase Nepal’s heavy reliance in Indian trade.

The border fact

EU leaders will send €1.1 billion to international agencies helping refugees at camps near their home countries to ease the refugee crisis. The money will go towards food programs and basic living conditions for people in need.