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THE LIVINENKO FILES: WAS HE REALLY MURDERED?

Odd long article, referring to another article by Edward J. Epstein in the New York Sun March 19th [ http://tinyurl.com/5epx7t ]. I dont think the case is made with proper academic rigour…in fact I’m not even sure what the case is, but it seems to allege involvement in the smuggling of nuclear material. Demonstrate the existence of purchaser and seller and I might be more convinced. But it’s one of those articles that will become seminal, even if only for the conspiracy theorist. What does it tell us about organised crime? That it’s often extremely disorganised, as we have long suspected.

NEW MILITANT GROUP THREATENS ULSTER PEACE

18th Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission which reports on the progress of the peace process has just been published. It identifies Oglaigh na hEireann as a serious threat to the lives of members of the security forces. I don’t suppose I should find it odd that the Guardian article has nothing to say about the IMC’s comments on Protestant paramilitaries…Or why it refers to the report as the 17th when it is the 18th Report that is published today. All reports available at: http://www.independentmonitoringcommission.org/
They are well worth reading, surveying the attitude to wards ceasefire of all the paramilitaries and the fluidity with which dissident movements come and go. They also cover involvement with criminal activity.

AL QAEDA “GREATEST THREAT TO US”

Actually, the story is that the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Terrorism are out. http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/2007/
Iran is named as the most important and active state sponsor of terrorism. I havent had time yet to dig behind the press release level. There may be more interesting stuff in there. It’s all a bit catch 22. “Failed” states provide the havens for terrorism and by definition cant be state sponsors of terrorism, so the variables and assumptions are wrong here. The problem of the US model is that it requires a “public enemy number one”, and hasnt yet got the idea that we are dealing with a hydra, not a superhero [discuss].

BRITAIN’S OVERSEAS TERRITORIES OPEN TO FRAUD AND MONEY-LAUNDERING

Ah. The Public Accounts Committee have finally noticed. I do believe the Americans have been pointing this out for years. They’d also like London to clean up its act, but since whoever wins the London election for mayor today has no power over that mystical beast the City of London, they’d better not hold their breath.

D.C. FORGING SURVEILLANCE NETWORK

At last! Something the UK has taught the Americans! Stick loads of cameras up everywhere and you will always be able to close the stable door after the horse has bolted!
Something gone wrong with my daily feed from the Washington Post. This different system is plagued with even more rubbish adverts. Just keep clicking the close button top right.

IN FRANCE, PRISONS FILLED WITH MUSLIMS

Earlier posts documented the spread of prison gangs back to Central America from US jails. This sounds like a disaster in the making. 60-70% of inmates in France are Muslims, though they are 12% of the population. Information from an Open Society Institute Report given in the article about other European countries. There are so many opportunities for radicals to exploit this situation. But watch the growth or Islamic organised crime groups as well. We’re in danger of watching the wrong ball. Fear of terrorism is all very well, but organised crime will last many generations longer…That’s another discuss question, or even a PhD topic.

THE BILLION POUND SHARE SWINDLE

Increasingly difficult to distinguish between real news on the BBC and puffs for it’s programmes. Wasn’t there a quote about the media not being the news? All is changed, changed utterly…some rough beast slouching towards Broadcasting House.
Anyway, this piece is about the threat from Spain [yes, not France for once]. Boiler room frauds. This is a real problem, but how big, no-one knows and this is a “scare” article. There must be a joke coinable involving Rafael Benitez and dodgy Spanish investments, but I leave you to invent your own. [Overseas readers please note: Benitez is the Spanish manager of Liverpool football club who were kicked out of the European Cup by Russian billionaire-owned and Israeli managed Chelsea last night. It’s English yumor…]

FEARS OF SNOOPING ON SOCIAL NETWORKS

Looks like everybody is under surveillance in Russia…and are we really surprised? But the threat to privacy is as much from private enterprise as it is from the FSU. The Moscow Times doesnt seem to have any human rights lawyers to interview on the protection of people’s privacy. Anti-Kremlin activists are, however, quoted. Presumably if “THEY” are nosing through Russian social networking sites, they’re at it over here too. So too will organised crime be. Ah well. One day, they will have nothing to fear but the press!

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