The Beat, CT Scan and Checkpoint
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The Beat

Australian Crime Commission heads East

Members of the Australian Border Force and Australian Federal Police have been joined in Hong Kong by a transnational crime expert from the Crime Commission to help counter organised criminal activity in the region. The appointment comes at a time when seizures of crystal methamphetamine are hitting records highs in the region.

A large amount of illicit drug seized are bound for Australia where buyers pay a premium—often up to six times more than in other countries. ASPI’s latest Special Report, Methamphetamine: Focusing Australia’s National Ice Strategy on the problem, not the symptoms, further outlines disruption strategies for tackling ice use.

Project Wickenby results

The result of a federal government task force investigating serious financial crime indicates that it’s already paying for itself after three months of activity. An update from the Assistant Treasurer on the final results of Project Wickenby yesterday revealed that almost $1 billion in unpaid taxed has been recouped, with 46 individuals convicted and sentence for various crimes.

Project Wickenby will now be replaced by the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce, comprising AFP, ATO, AFP and Austrac investigators among others, to continue maintaining tax integrity.

CT Scan

Life of spy

A former analyst with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has released a book on home-grown terrorism entitled The Threat From Within. Phil Gurski worked in the Canadian intelligence community for 30 years, and he’s channelled his expertise into the book which is due to be released later this month. The Globe and Mail have published a condensed interview with the author, covering topics including jihadist narratives, fundamentalist preachers and life in the Service.

Smuggling Syrian artefacts

Jihadology’s latest entry in The Archivist series casts some new light on ISIS’ internal economics and laws. Particularly interesting is the prospect that ISIS has arrested people who have tried to smuggle ancient artefacts out of ISIS territory for profit. This contradicts some analysis that argues that ISIS profits directly from the sale of antiquities, and indicates that corrupt ISIS officials are responsible for the sales and the group as a whole profits indirectly through taxation. The piece also notes that a lot of media coverage of ISIS overstates the share of revenue that oil represents for the group.

Syrian voices on Syrian conflict

Washington DC-based think tank Atlantic Council have launched a new blog called SyriaSource which features analysis of and reporting on events in the war-torn country. A piece for the new blog, written by a freelance Syrian journalist, examines the new Russian presence in the country’s North-West regions like Latakia and Hama.


The future of border security     

What if the whole process of crossing borders was standardised and run by a single organization? This Gizmodo’s podcast provides a sneak peek into the future of border security and reasons to believe that private companies and technology could shape the way borders are secured and who by. For one step further, check out Alex Tabarrok’s piece for The Atlantic, where he argues that we should get rid of borders completely and allow people to move freely about the earth.

Aviation safety

In an odd timing, the Dutch Safety Board confirmed (PDF) on Tuesday that a surface-to-air missile took down MH17, just as Russian missile strikes in Syria triggered a long-range missiles alert to airlines flying in Iraq, Iran and over the Caspian Sea. While the idea of equipping commercial aircrafts with anti-missile systems isn’t new, the financial costs suggest this new chapter in aviation security is still some time away. This Policy Forum piece examines why the push to make airlines more competitive and affordable for travellers could also mean that safety is compromised.

Non-radicalised Rohingyas in India

While last week, The Diplomat suggested that global attention to the Rohingya issue is rising, but not necessarily for the right reasons.  Indian Government officials have this week denied reports regarding the radicalisation of over 5,000 Rohingya Muslims settled in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. Amnesty International explains here why Rohingyas remain the world’s most persecuted refugees.