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High risk regions for Terrorist Financing

The activities of terrorists and terrorist groups puts every country at risk. As result, each country has to have a proper understanding of the nature of the exposure to such risks and improve its counter-terrorist-financing regime and the extent to which its financial system is connected to those higher risk jurisdiction.

Europe

Homegrown terrorists still represent the principal threat to European countries. These individuals are radicalized online, consult online tutorials and possibly connect with other radical elements through encrypted Internet applications. They do not require contact with the ISIL core or its authorization to claim attacks in its name.

It is reported that European foreign terrorist fighters in the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq continued to provide an income stream for ISIL through a financing network across Europe. Financing from relatives was regularly observed, including through intermediaries based in Turkey. No observed large-scale organized fundraising in Europe on behalf of ISIL or Al-Qaida. Funds entering the ISIL core area often arrive in Turkey through money service businesses and then reach beneficiaries via hawala or cash courier. 

Despite weaknesses in the current structure, the threat of a planned complex attack in Europe, especially by former expert operatives who have the ability to operate independently, is assessed to persist. Al-Qaida has also shown interest in large-scale attacks against symbolic European targets. In this regard, HAD is assessed to have a global agenda, including international attack planning and the establishment of clandestine structures.

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Report: INTERNET ORGANISED CRIME THREAT ASSESSMENT 2019

Europol Report: INTERNET ORGANISED CRIME THREAT ASSESSMENT (IOCTA) 2019

This annual assessment of the cybercrime threat landscape highlights the persistence and tenacity of a number of key threats.

Ransomware maintains its reign as the most widespread and financially damaging form of cyber-attack, while criminals continue to defraud e-commerce and attack the financial sector. Criminals target and exploit vulnerable minors across the globe. All of these crimes seriously impact the physical, financial and psychological safety, security and stability of our society and require a coherent and coordinated response by law enforcement.

A crucial priority reported by both EU Member States and the private industry is Business Email Compromise (BEC). This scam exploits the way corporations do business, taking advantage of segregated corporate structures, and internal gaps in payment verification processes. Such attacks vary by the degree of technical tools used. Some attacks can successfully employ only social engineering, while others deploy technical measures such as malware and network intrusion.

While using ransomware to deny an organisation access to its own data may be the primary threat in this year’s report, denying others access to that organisation’s data or services is another significant threat. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks are yet another datafocused threat to cope with. Of all the motivations behind such attacks, those with an extortion element were overwhelmingly the most prevalent.

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Books: Something Will Turn Up

Books: Something Will Turn Up, by David Smith

The Sunday Times economics editor David Smith presents a readable, informative history of the British economy since World War II.

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Great Britain was the first leading manufacturing country. Even as late as 1950, it produced 25% of the world’s manufacturing exports. It generated a trade surplus in manufactured goods that amounted to as much as 10% of its gross domestic product (GDP).

Until the 1970s, the United Kingdom’s West Midlands manufacturing region maintained wage levels just slightly lower than those of the prosperous and diversified southeast region around London. That stands in marked contrast to today’s large income disparity between the regions. When the trade surplus in manufactured goods disappeared in 1982, never to return, it took many well-paid blue-collar Midlands jobs with it.

As the British Empire became the Commonwealth, its countries maintained strong trade links with the United Kingdom, underpinned by continuing preferential trade agreements. In the 1950s, the UK traded 40% of its exports and 35% of its imports with Commonwealth nations. Given the damage World War II had inflicted on mainland Europe’s economy, the captive markets of the Commonwealth gave the UK a postwar advantage. But that contributed to complacency and a lack of investment in British manufacturing; Britain took the Commonwealth markets for granted.

While Europe – and especially Germany – recovered its manufacturing capability in the postwar period, Britain’s manufacturing continued to decline. It suffered from low investment, a “failure to modernize,” inflation and poor industrial relations. High interest rates decimated the sector during the “strong pound recession” of the early 1980s. Four million manufacturing jobs disappeared between 1973 and 1983.

The volume of manufactured goods peaked in 1973 and didn’t regain those heights, in real terms, until 2010. Specialized manufacturing still matters to the United Kingdom. Japanese-owned automobile plants have returned the UK to its status as a net car producer, but other sectors of the economy have since become more important than manufacturing.

AML EU framework

5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (Amendments to the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive)

​The 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive, which amends the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 19 June 2018. The Member States should have been transposed this Directive by 10 January 2020.

These amendments introduce substantial improvement to better equip the Union to prevent the financial system from being used for money laundering and for funding terrorist activities.

These amendments will:
– enhance transparency by setting up publicly available registers for companies, trusts and other legal arrangements;
– enhance the powers of EU Financial Intelligence Units, and provide them with access to broad information for the carrying out of their tasks;
– limit the anonymity related to virtual currencies and wallet providers, but also for pre-paid cards;
– broaden the criteria for the assessment of high-risk third countries and improve the safeguards for financial transactions to and from such countries;
– set up central bank account registries or retrieval systems in all Member States;
– improve the cooperation and enhance of information between anti-money laundering supervisors between them and between them and prudential supervisors and the European Central Bank.

 

Here you can find the factsheet on the main changes of the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive

 

Polaris project and modern human slavery

What human trafficking is…and isn’t?
Human trafficking is the business of stealing freedom for profit. In some cases, traffickers trick, defraud or physically force victims into providing commercial sex. In others, victims are lied to, assaulted, threatened or manipulated into working under inhumane, illegal or otherwise unacceptable conditions. It is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to 24.9 million people around the world.

Globally, there are two general categories of human trafficking: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Sex trafficking is the crime of using force, fraud or coercion to induce another individual to perform commercial sex. Common types include escort services, pornography, illicit massage businesses, brothels, outdoor solicitation. Labor trafficking is the crime of using force, fraud or coercion to induce another individual to work or provide service. Common types include agriculture, domestic work, restaurants, cleaning services, and carnivals.

Polaris project it is an American nonprofit organization that stands on global fight to eradicate modern slavery, focused mainly on US cases.

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Telling the refugee crisis with Muhammed Muheisen

Telling Their Stories – behind the lens with Muhammed Muheisen

Muhammed Muheisen is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist. He has been documenting the refugee crisis around the world for over a decade and is the founder of Everyday Refugees Foundation.

As the former Associated Press Chief Photographer for the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan he covered conflicts across the region as well documented major events in Europe, Asia, Africa and the U.S. He spent four years in Pakistan as AP’s Chief Photographer for the region, and for the last several years has been documenting the refugee crisis across Europe. Most recently his work has focused on the issue of stranded unaccompanied refugee minors for the National Geographic Magazine.

George Friedman despre Europa

Notițe de lectură despre strategia politică a SUA in Europa, descrise de George Friedman în “Următorul deceniu: de unde venim … și încotro ne îndreptăm” (2011): Capitolul 8-9.

Majoritatea acestor ţări[din Europa de Est] nu au fost independente până când Primul Război Mondial nu a dus la prăbuşirea imperiilor austro-ungar, rus, otoman şi german. În general, au fost împărţite, subjugate şi exploatate. În cazul Ungariei, spre exemplu, presiunea nu a fost prea mare. În alte cazuri, a fost de-a dreptul brutală. Dar toate aceste naţiuni ţin minte ocupaţia nazistă, şi apoi pe cea sovietică, iar acele ocupaţii au fost monstruoase. Este adevărat că regimul german şi cel rus de astăzi sunt diferite, dar epoca ocupaţiei este încă proaspătă în amintirea est-europenilor, iar urmările faptului de a se fi aflat în sfera de influenţă germano-rusă le-au marcat caracterul naţional. Acea amintire va continua să le modeleze comportamentul în deceniul următor.

Europa contemporană este în căutarea unei ieşiri din infern. Prima jumătate a secolului XX a fost un măcel, începând cu Verdun şi terminând cu Auschwitz. În a doua jumătate, europenii au trăit sub ameninţarea unui posibil război nuclear ruso-american, purtat pe pământ european. Epuizată de vărsarea de sânge şi de neliniştea continuă, Europa a început să-şi imagineze o lume în care toate conflictele erau de natură economică şi gestionate de birocraţii de la Bruxelles. […] În cei douăzeci de ani de după prăbuşirea Uniunii Sovietice, părea că îşi găsiseră utopia, dar acum, viitorul este mult mai puţin sigur. Privind înainte spre următorii zece ani, nu văd o întoarcere a tranşeelor şi a lagărelor de concentrare, dar întrevăd o creştere a tensiunilor geopolitice la nivel continental şi, alături de ele, rădăcinile unor conflicte mai serioase.

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Europol: Terrorism situation 2019

TERRORISM SITUATION AND TREND REPORT 2019 (TE-SAT)

Europol issued Report on EU Terrorism Situation & Trend Report (Te-Sat) 2019, where it comes with the last updates on terrorism in EU area, which continued to constitute a major threat to security in EU Member States. Horrific attacks perpetrated by jihadists like those in Trèbes, Paris, Liège and Strasbourg killed a total of thirteen people and injured many more. In addition, one terrorist attack by a right-wing extremist in Italy and numerous arrests of suspected right-wing terrorists for attack-planning across the European Union (EU) indicate that extremists of diverging orientation increasingly consider violence as a justified means of confrontation. Terrorists not only aim to kill and maim but also to divide our societies and spread hatred. We need to remain vigilant if we are to protect our citizens and values in the face of attempts to use violence for political aims.

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Canada Terrorist Financing Assessment: 2018

Canada Terrorist Financing Assessment: 2018

Please see below some notes from the document:

The document examines Canada terrorist financing risks related to jurisdictions that meet one of two criteria:
– exposure to terrorism and terrorist activity; or
– role in the global financial system and their degree of financial connection to Canada, measured by the volume of reporting to FINTRAC and their overall trade and economic relations with Canada.

Although Canada does not have significant financial connections to certain jurisdictions, the general state of their counter-terrorism-financing regimes and the proliferation of terrorist actors mean that even limited financial exposure may lead to significant risks for Canadian financial entities.

At the same time, while some jurisdictions face lower risks of terrorist violence, features of their financial systems or their financial and economic role in a particular region creates a higher risk for terrorist financing activity.

The extremist traveller phenomenon has posed the primary terrorist financing risk to Canada over the past several years, drawing approximately 190 individuals with a nexus to Canada to conflict zones all over the world. While the phenomenon predates the creation of Daesh, the most recent conflict in Syria and Iraq has drawn thousands of individuals from across the globe to Daesh-controlled territory. As of 2017, approximately 60 individuals had returned to Canada from global conflicts.

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GEORGE FRIEDMAN DESPRE GEOGRAFIA POLITICĂ ÎN ORIENTUL MIJLOCIU

Notițe de lectură despre strategia politică în regiunea Orientului Mijlociu descrise de George Friedman în “Următorul deceniu: de unde venim … și încotro ne îndreptăm” (2011): Capitolul 6.

În 1453, turcii cuceriseră Constantinopolul şi până în secolul al XVI-lea o mare parte din teritoriul care fusese odată cucerit de Alexandru cel Mare. Cea mai mare parte din Africa de Nord, Grecia şi Peninsula Balcanică, precum şi zona care se întinde de-a lungul ţărmului nordic al Mării Mediterane, s-a aflat sub control otoman din vremea lui Columb şi până în secolul XX.

Toate acestea s-au sfârşit în momentul în care otomanii, care se aliaseră cu Germania, au fost învinşi în Primul Război Mondial. Prada a ajuns în mâna învingătorilor, aceasta incluzând provincia otomană numită Siria.[…] Împărţirile ulterioare au dat naştere nu numai Siriei moderne, ci şi Libanului, Iordaniei şi Israelului.

Francezii doreau să reprezinte o influenţă în regiune încă din epoca lui Napoleon. Făcuseră, de asemenea, o promisiune să apere creştinii arabi din zonă împotriva majorităţii musulmane a populaţiei. […] în anii 1920, când francezii au ajuns în sfârşit să deţină controlul, au transformat regiunea predominant maronită (creştină) a Siriei într-o ţară separată, denumind-o după elementul topografic dominant, munţii Liban. Ca stat, Libanul nu avea nici o realitate anterioară. Singura trăsătură care unea populaţia era o anumită afinitate faţă de Franţa.

Zona britanică din sud a fost împărţită în mod similar prin nişte linii arbitrare[în funcție de interesele și promisiunile britanicilor]… După ce britanicii s-au retras în 1948, Transiordania a devenit Iordania de astăzi, o ţară care, precum Libanul şi Arabia Saudită, nu a existat înainte

Nici una dintre aceste frânturi nu era o naţiune, în sensul deţinerii unei istorii sau identităţi comune, cu excepţia Siriei, care îşi revendica o descendenţă ajungând până în remurile biblice. Libanul, Iordania şi Palestina erau invenţii franceze şi britanice, menite să le aducă avantaje politice. Istoria naţională nu ajungea decât până la domnul Sykes şi domnul Picot şi la câteva înşelătorii britanice în Arabia.

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