What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


This is what I've just bumped into, entirely by accident, trying to chill out while otherwise in the middle of working on an assignment focusing on the drugs trade from Afghanistan, and the territorial extent of its impact.
"Officers of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBŚ) have busted a dangerous criminal gang based in Warsaw.
Twenty members of the dangerous group were detained, a spokesman for the police chief Mariusz Sokolowski said. Among them are four gang leaders. CBŚ officers and an anti-terrorist squad raided 25 homes in and near Warsaw this morning, detaining crucial figures for the so-called Mokotów gang. The group specialised in attacks on trucks, arms and drug trade, also on the international scale, and money laundering."
It was a major raid. What I originally bumped into was a TV report of the police razzia, and the images were reminiscent of Iraq or you say what else. A really hard knock - and the anti-terror squad's commandos were obviously well-prepared for the possibility of a counter-ambush. It's a pity I can't insert here a video to show you.
This was of course just one group - albeit a powerful one - of the large number of networks profiting from the drugs trade. The short article doesn't say what drugs the gang was involved with. But perhaps it's not particularly wild speculation to assume that heroin from Afghanistan could have figured in their portfolio.
I remember Mokotów as a calm place. I passed through it a couple of times while I spent time in Warsaw. This is kind of illustrative, maybe.
Update five minutes after the original posting: Using my awesome Polish language skills I managed to google my way to this video of the raid on the home of one member of the grupa mokotówska. I see now that what I saw on TV was quite a slick cut - this video doesn't look so extraordinary (for a raid by an anti-terror squad at least). You can imagine which two seconds of this footage they showed on TV. Still, the point I made I think is valid. You think your calm street has nothing to do with Afghanistan. And then - knock-knock - it turns out you have to think again.
Update again: I found one news source (in Hungarian) which said that the police decided to carry out the raids because the Mokotów gang was preparing to kidnap police detectives and prosecutors involved in their case.

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