Monthly briefing from the Open Briefing intelligence unit on developments in remote-control warfare. This month: The dangers of fully-autonomous weapons discussed at World Economic Forum for first time; UK government’s draft surveillance legislation threatened by European Court of Human Rights ruling and parliamentary committee criticism; UAE and Saudi Arabia pledge special forces to confront Islamic State and support Syrian armed opposition; and more.
Islamic State is the richest terrorist group in the world, with an estimated annual turnover of between $2 billion and $3 billion. The groups control over substantial territory allows it to generate considerable amounts of money from organised crime, including the smuggling of oil and antiquities and taxing those smuggling drugs and people, as well the through levying taxes and fines on the populations of the areas it controls.
This briefing sets out the general risk environment within which personnel from Western NGOs and foundations will be operating in Russia. The operating environment for human rights defenders and civil society activists in Russia has become even more constrained. Many activists have been subject to harassment and violence. Furthermore, the Russian president has repeatedly expressed his fear that Western countries use NGOs to manipulate Russian public opinion in order to stir up popular discontent.
Approximately 12 million Syrians have fled their homes as a result of the civil war in their country. Nearly eight million are internally displaced within Syria, and more than four million have sought refuge in nearby countries. Many are making the perilous journey to Europe in search of a better life, and over 500,000 Syrians have applied for asylum in EU countries. Not all who attempt the journey to Europe survive it. There were 4,800 known drownings of people attempting to cross the Mediterranean between October 2013 and April 2015 alone. These tragedies are being facilitated by the organised crime groups that peddle their lucrative trade in smuggling human beings.
Monthly intelligence briefing on transnational organised crime from Open Briefing. This month: the attack on tourists in Port El Kantaoui highlights threat of terrorism and organised crime in Tunisia; organised environmental crime continues to threaten the Amazon region; people smuggling and human trafficking through Bulgaria and Romania is likely to increase; and more.
Russian forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine have significant advantages over Ukrainian forces in the area of electronic warfare. Russian forces are effectively able to nullify the Ukrainian communications and GPS signals in the regions they are deployed to. The advantages the Russians are enjoying in this area are directly contributing to the losses suffered by the Ukrainian armed forces. Western supporters of Kiev might consider supplying the Ukrainians with defensive capabilities, including electronic countermeasures.
Monthly intelligence briefing on transnational organised crime from Open Briefing. This month: the Australian Crime Commission has highlighted the links between terrorism and organised crime; the World Health Organisation has called for an end to the global illicit tobacco trade; the Criminal Justice Inspectorate of Northern Ireland has reported on how organised crime groups are becoming increasingly involved with ‘waste crime’; and more.
Monthly intelligence briefing on transnational organised crime from Open Briefing. This month: fighters from the Caribbean region are travelling to fight with extremists in Syria and Iraq; how law enforcement agencies must develop an understanding of the business structures of organised criminal gangs if such organisations are to be effectively undermined; political corruption and money laundering in Nigeria; and more.