Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Amarni bikies make billions from drugs

The beautifully stylised Nomads bike pack,
parked in Kings Cross in July 2004
Suit-wearing bikies working within the corporate system are committing major international fraud to establish money-laundering networks to process billions of dollar profit made mainly from methamphetamines.

And while the police know about it, they are too wary of the bikies to do anything about it, because the gangs use better counter-surveillance techniques than the police to identify undercover officers and target their families with threats.

This is the alarming scenario presented in a new book, Above the law by Ross Coulthard (also spelt 'Coulthart' on the bookselling websites) and Duncan McNab.

One of the scams involved the identity theft of all the customers of an Australian mortgage broker. These identities were then used to buy and sell properties, resulting in drug profits being cleansed into legitimate money.

Nothing has been done about this operation.

The new book, sequel to Dead man running by the same authors, describes how the bikies have become a major international franchise underpinned by massive drug profits and the ability to intimidate rivals and police with extreme violence.

But, as usual, the elephant in the room, prohibition, is not mentioned in any of the online blurbs or in an interview with the author broadcast today by Deborah Cameron on the 702 Morning Show.

The bikies are clearly the Al Capones of modern times but the media remain unable to make that link explicit, throwing their hands up in helplessness against a threat that incidentally makes them millions in book deals and dramatic headlines.

The idea that repealing prohibition would stop the income-generating engine of the world's biggest criminal threat just does not make an appearance. The availability of cheaper, cleaner, regulated and controlled drugs, would put the bikies out of business and probably not increase use of the drugs.

The bikies had teamed up with Lebanese criminal gangs who, according to Mr Coulthard, style themselves as bikies because they know the police leave those groups alone. This would explain why the Parramatta Nomads lost their bikes and became Notorious, a gang closely associated with Kings Cross and the Ibrahim brothers – these Nike bikies were not hardcore devotees, but were more into style than bike culture.

Blurbs on the bookseller sites describe the sheer scale of the illegal enterprises:
Far surpassing the threats posed by the Mafia, Russian syndicates, Chinese Triads and Japanese Yakuza, outlaw motorcycle gangs are now being acknowledged as the greatest current organised crime threat. Their international empire is both sophisticated and bloody and brutal. It is also both strategic and opportunistic - where they cannot dominate, they broker alliances.
While such books are valuable sources of well researched information, they are part of the problem so long as they present it as an eternal cops vs robbers battle without pointing to the real foundation of the problem -- prohibition.

Such analysis would make it crystal clear to uninformed politicians and people that the harms of prohibition are indeed worse than the harms of drugs.

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