The Beat, CT Scan and Checkpoint
Young public servants use social media

The Beat

Social media and public service risk

There’s a new niche market potentially targeted by identity criminals: young public servants on social media. Australian Crime Commission Chief Executive Chris Dawson has identified increasing use of social media amongst public servants, along with a lack of discretion when posting personal material, as ‘providing organised crime groups greater visibility of public sector officials who may be susceptible to corruption’. The ACC submitted to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity that an emerging generational risk of younger public service employees also posed a potential corruption risk.

New Irish court to tackle serious crime

We’ve examined recent concerns about links between organised crime and former terrorist groups in Northern Ireland. Across the border, the Irish government is set to establish a new Special Court to deal with terrorist and criminal gang matters.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald says a second non-jury Special Court will address current unacceptable delays in trials on organised criminal cases, and that efforts were being made with Taoiseach Enda Kenny to reduce cross-Border crime. The news comes after a Garda police revealing €28 million in assets had been seized from 50 individuals with connections to the Provisional Irish Republican Army.

CT Scan

Stopping pre-terrorists

Is it possible to stop terrorists before they become terrorists? A new article on The Atlantic takes a look at the fictional dystopian future of The Minority Report, in which no crimes are committed but ‘would-be’ criminals are imprisoned on mass. 1984 thought-crime much? The author, Kristin Bell, argues that we already live in this kind of world to a certain extent thanks to Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs, which, while may not lock up would-be terrorists, often targets those who have broken no law.

How to make friends and influence people, the Islamic State way

A new article from the Combating Terrorism Centre at West Point looks at the steps Islamic State recruiters take to groom IS recruits. The process, eerily similar to the tactics paedophiles use to groom victims online (check out ASPI Senior Analyst John Coyne’s recent article on the topic), consists of first making contact, creating a micro-community, shifting to private communication, and then encouraging pro-Islamic State action.

SMS-funded foreign fighters

In Foreign Affairs this week, Elizabeth Braw looks at the non-Halal ways potential jihadists are funding their work. One of the ways foreign fighters are funding themselves is through SMS loans, easy to get loans that applicants apply for via SMS.


Israeli–Palestinian border and the knife attacks surge

Since 1 October, at least 59 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israelis at the scene of mostly knife attacks. Understanding why there is so much tension and violence in Palestine and Israel isn’t easy. But, this beginner’s guide gets you around the long-running conflict. The New Yorker also analyses whether the so-called ‘knife intifada’ is a new Palestinian uprising, incited by a weakened, opportunistic Palestinian Authority (if not directly led by underground Hamas cells)or  a passing expression of rage by Palestinian youth.

Refugee crisis in Southeast Asia

Last week, Amnesty International (AI) revealed Rohingyas attempting to flee persecution in Myanmar earlier this year were killed or severely beaten by human traffickers if their families failed to pay ransoms. The report, Deadly journeys: The refugee and trafficking crisis in Southeast Asia, also noted that the deaths may be in the thousands instead of 370, as UN estimates suggest.  Foreign Policy’s examination of the crisis points at new evidence of the Myanmar government’s role in promoting anti-Muslim hatred. Myanmar’s first fully democratic election following decades of military rule, that is just weeks away (8 November), brings hope for a turning point to the crisis.

Climate change-induced refugees?

The phenomenon of climate-induced migration took another turn this week. On Monday, this study published at Nature Climate Change, forecast that temperatures in the Persian Gulf will exceed a threshold for human adaptability by the end of the century. As the European refugee crisis urges a revision of the refugee definition, United Nations migration experts have pressed for incorporating climate-related migration in the forthcoming Paris agreement on global warming.