Australian–Chinese taskforce policing ice
The Australian Federal Police and the Chinese National Narcotics Control Commission have launched a new initiative to counter the trafficking of illicit drugs. Joint Taskforce Blaze, which will be based in Guangzhou, aims to collate intelligence on concealment methods, trafficking routes and syndicates facilitating methamphetamine imports from China into Australia. It’s understood that the National Ice Task Force recently found that 70% of total weight of ice detected at Australian borders since 2010 came from China.
Rising terrorism financing in Australia
Austrac has revealed the number of suspicious cases likened to terrorism financing has risen by around 300%. The financial intelligence agency is currently monitoring over 100 Australians suspected of supporting terrorism financially. The report comes a month before Australia and Indonesia will host the first Asia-Pacific Regional Counter-Terrorism Financing Summit in Sydney.
Regular readers of the Beat would be well aware of our four-legged friends’ contributions to law enforcement. But police dogs are serving another vital purpose as police strive to counter mental illness amongst officers. Assistance Dogs Australia has been training dogs, including Jimmy, to provide vital support for officers dealing with PTSD; it has also opened up conversations amongst police seeking support.
New thoughts on ISIS
Foreign Affairs magazine has released their November/December issue entitled ‘The Post-American Middle East.’ In this issue, Stephen M. Walt discusses the potential of examining ‘ISIS as a Revolutionary State,’ claiming that it bears striking similarities to earlier revolutionary state-building projects such as the Russian, Cuban and Iranian experiences. In the digital space, Jared Cohen proposes a ‘Digital Counterinsurgency’ strategy that uses methods including targeted (as opposed to broad) social media account bans to reduce ISIS’ footprint online. Other articles of interest to CT enthusiasts include Daniel Byman’s piece that calls for Washington to develop a Middle East strategy that extends ‘Beyond Counterterrorism.’
CVE in NSW schools
Closer to home, the NSW government have announced the creation of new specialist support teams to work with schools on countering student radicalisation. Up to five teams will be formed to work with ‘identified schools.’ The program has a $15m funding arrangement, which is part of a broader $47m commitment to counter violent extremism in the state.
Trick or treat
A US soldier in North Carolina caused a stir over the weekend by dressing up as a suicide bomber for Halloween. The soldier reportedly tried to enter the Fort Bragg military base in costume, including what appeared to be an explosive vest, prompting an emergency response.
The Arctic route to Europe in two wheels
This week, The Guardian reported that a bicycle shortage is stemming the flow of refugees from the Middle East with Russian visas using Russia’s remote border with Norway. The refugees switched to the land transport as a safer and cheaper alternative to boats on the Mediterranean. But why bikes? It’s a legal loophole because Russia bans foot traffic across that border and Norway fines drivers for transporting migrants. To follow the journey from Nikel in Russia to Kirkenes in the northernmost part of Norway listen to this PRI vodcast or read this story on The Quartz.
The Global Anti-Poaching Act
Poaching and illegal animal trade have been placed in the same category as drug and weapons smuggling by a new law in the US. The Global Anti-Poaching Act passed by the US House of Representatives on Monday aims to ‘support global anti-poaching efforts, strengthen the capacity of partner countries to counter wildlife trafficking, and designate major wildlife trafficking countries’. Although the list is yet to be seen, the Corruption Perception Index could provide some insight, as corruption remains an enabler of wildlife and forest crime, said Executive Director of UNODC Yury Fedotov and Secretary-General of CITES John Scanlon in a joint statement this week.
What brought down the Russian Metrojet flight over Egypt?
Despite possible explanations of the cause of the plane crash (see The Independent here, The Atlantic here, and The New York Times here), Islamic State (ISIS) released a video yesterday in which they claim responsibility for the attack. US intelligence sources also told NBC News that there is significant evidence that it was a terrorist attack. Russia Direct provides two reasons why ISIS claims to have downed the Russian airliner.