Thursday, November 23, 2006
GS(3) Intel Briefing 11-24-06: Updates on Open Society, Geopolitics, Energy Security, Human Rights, Alternative News Media and More!
Photo: Apollo 17, 12/72, NASA
GS(3) Intelligence Briefing 11-24-06: Updates on Open Society, Geopolitics, Energy Security, Human Rights, Alternative News Media and More!
Edited By Richard Power
Life on this planet is a Oneness. And although this Oneness is rich in bio-diversity and a myriad of human cultures, the truth of it is increasingly difficult to escape.
Looking out for the 21st Century health and evolution of this Oneness demands a bold, holistic approach to security and risk.
GS(3) Intelligence explores the interdependence of security, sustainability and spirit.
This briefing provide insights on important global issues and trends, including geopolitics, governance, energy security, human rights, freedom of the press, corruption and cyber crime.
It consists of highlights from a collection of nine news stories and op-ed pieces from nine diverse and international sources: EU Observer, Telegraph, Eurasianet, Reuters Alternet, Inter Press Service, Reporters Without Borders, IDG News Services and Dong-A Ilbo.
The items are organized by region, excerpted with links to the full text, and introduced with analytic overviews.
Customized analysis is provided for clients.
EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA
The USA’s tragic downward spiral into fascism may or may not have been thwarted by the recent significant but vulnerable victory in the mid-term elections. But either way, the role of the EU experiment, which was already central to a future of planetary peace and prosperity, is of do-or-die importance.
US billionaire financier and liberal political activist George Soros has said the EU should "shelve" its planned constitution and instead take concrete steps to effectively promote a "global open society"...Soros hailed the EU as an "inspiring" example of what he calls an "open society," with none of the member states dominating and with human rights prevailing. "To my mind the EU embodies the principles of an open society," Soros said also referring to the "step by step" building process of the union since the 1950s, with Europe's founding fathers gradually exploring new forms of co-operation while being aware of their "imperfections".…But while praising the EU's record on democracy and liberalism, Soros also called upon the EU to shelve its proposed constitution, which was rejected in France and the Netherlands in referendums last year. Mark Beunderman, Boost global role and forget constitution, Soros urges EU, EU Observer, 11-21-06
The president of Slovenia has given up his palace for a mountain hut and habitually decks himself in leaves to celebrate nature. Adopting a New Age existence after being diagnosed with cancer, Janez Drnovsek, 56, has moved from the presidential palace in Ljubljana to the village of Zaplana, where he lives alone with his dog on a vegan diet of organic fruit and vegetables, while he bakes his own bread. He has even been known to "greet the trees" by dressing up in cloaks of leaves. Mr Drnovsek appealed this week to his fellow countrymen to join him in embracing the simple life in the hope of averting a world catastrophe. In a new self-help guide, The Essence of the World, a follow up to his best-selling The Thoughts of Life and Awareness, the politician describes the spiritual transformation he has undergone since renouncing the trappings of presidential life.
Kate Connolly, New Age president lives alone in a hut, Telegraph, 11/17-06
Straddling the intersection of Europe, the Middle East and Asia, Turkey is one of the lynchpins of global security and order. The impetus for Turkey’s entry into the EU has largely dissipated (both in the EU and in Turkey). The unresolved issue of Cyprus threatens to become a flashpoint for renewed conflict, not only between Turkey and Greece, but -- if circumstances continue to deteriorate -- between Islam the Western world. The Anglo-American invasion and occupation of Iraq has aroused justifiable animosity and suspicion. Are both democratic progress and secularism in danger in Turkey?
On a positive note, Eurasianet reports that Turkey is looking East and talking Commonwealth with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
The results of the November 17 summit of the leaders of Turkic-speaking nations exceeded the expectations of many diplomats and political analysts. The presidents of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey took the first steps toward the creation of a Turkic commonwealth, giving an enthusiastic endorsement to efforts aimed at strengthening energy and security ties....The participants signed a declaration committing the Turkic states to strengthen economic and transport ties, while stressing “the importance of the joint fight against terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, drug smuggling, weapons smuggling, human smuggling and other organize crimes.” The statement also endorsed the concepts of Turkey’s accession to the European Union, and a peace settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that leaves the territory under Azerbaijan’s control....The four leaders underlined both the “increasing importance of the Caspian Basin for the energy security of Europe” and the “strategic importance of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan [BTC] oil pipeline opening and the [expected] completion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum [BTE] natural gas pipeline.” They also stressed the importance of the possible addition of trans-Caspian transportation routes to both the BTC and the BTE... Mevlut Katik, SPIRIT OF COOPERATION DOMINATES TURKIC SUMMIT, Eurasianet, 11-20-06
Meanwhile, in another troubled region farther east, Burma’s gangster regime is being underwritten by the great nations’ thirst for energy resources”
"Why is there severe malnutrition in this Garden of Eden?" asks Medecins Sans Frontieres physician Frank Smithuis of Myanmar, a country with worsening poverty, a collapsed education system and rampant AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria rates, according to the New York Times.
The country is ruled by an oppressive military junta, but Myanmar's neighbours aren't rushing to condemn it. According to the newspaper, the reason for this lies in the country's reserves of a precious natural resource: gas. China and India are already signing deals with the Myanmar regime (and we're talking billions here) to build new ports and pipelines. Meanwhile, citizens use paraffin and wood for their lighting and heating once they've used up the two hours of electricity a day they get from the government....Thailand hands over $1.2 billion a year to Myanmar's government for natural gas. The list goes on.
This kind of trade might be easier to defend if the revenues benefited Myanmar's people….The New York Times also reports that health workers are coming across children in urban areas with severe malnutrition for the first time. Meanwhile, the wedding of junta leader Than Shwe's daughter cost estimated $50 million, according to Australia's Age. Nina Brenjo, China's love affair with Myanmar, Reuters Alternet, 11-20-06
The medium is still the message. Radio and TV are influence warfare – whether the goal is to enlighten, engage and empower people or to distract, mislead and mollify them. Here are two stories about how Latin America’s emerging alternative news media is both contributing to internal political debate within countries and impacting regional geopolitics.
When the project emerged three years ago, it involved communication between indigenous communities within one Argentine province, but it rapidly grew into a larger network that broadcasts their voice from more than a hundred community and commercial radio stations in the north of the country.
"At first it was a project just for ourselves, but we soon realised that we had to expand our audience to be able to exert influence and have our problems addressed by the political agenda," Germán Díaz, a member of the Toba indigenous community who is head of production and co-host of one of the programmes, told IPS….The indigenous organisations involved have expanded from two to nearly 60, and where there was a single non-indigenous group providing support, there are now 70, many of them linked to churches and community media. The large commercial radio stations, their vehicle, offer them free air time.... Marcela Valente, Indigenous People On the Air, Inter Press Service, 11-21-06
Reporters Without Borders has protested against the arrest and questioning in Bogota of Freddy Muñoz, correspondent in Colombia for the international Latin-American channel Telesur, for “rebellion and terrorism”. The organisation called for his release.
Muñoz, 36, was seized on 19 November 2006 by Colombian intelligence agents from the Administrative Department for Security (DAS) after he landed in Bogota on his return from the Venezuelan capital Caracas where he had attended a training workshop. He had left a week earlier with no trouble....
“The arrest of Freddy Muñoz is a simple case of misuse of power,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “If it turns out that it was indeed linked to be the broadcast a year ago on Telesur of interviews with the guerrillas, then the Colombian government has made itself guilty of a press freedom violation. How can a journalist interviewing an alleged terrorist become a terrorist in his turn? If this is the argument, it is absurd and dangerous. Freddy Muñoz must be released,” Reporters Without Borders said.
Teleshttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifur correspondent wrongly detained for "rebellion and terrorism," Reporters Without Borders, 11-21-06
As sweeping, ongoing investigations of the US Congress and the White House illustrate, corruption is one of the paramount issues in the health of democracies everywhere.
“Corruption traps millions in poverty,” said Transparency International Chair Huguette Labelle. “Despite a decade of progress in establishing anti-corruption laws and regulations, today’s results indicate that much remains to be done before we see meaningful improvements in the lives of the world’s poorest citizens.”
The 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index is a composite index that draws on multiple expert opinion surveys that poll perceptions of public sector corruption in 163 countries around the world, the greatest scope of any CPI to date. It scores countries on a scale from zero to ten, with zero indicating high levels of perceived corruption and ten indicating low levels of perceived corruption.
A strong correlation between corruption and poverty is evident in the results of the CPI 2006. Almost three-quarters of the countries in the CPI score below five (including all low-income countries and all but two African states) indicating that most countries in the world face serious perceived levels of domestic corruption. Seventy-one countries - nearly half - score below three, indicating that corruption is perceived as rampanthttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif. Haiti has the lowest score at 1.8; Guinea, Iraq and Myanmar share the penultimate slot, each with a score of 1.9. Finland, Iceland and New Zealand share the top score of 9.6. 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index, Transparency International, 11-6-06
Here are two stories from that virtual territory where the shadow side of the human psyche intersects the shadow side of cyberspace.
Adrian Ringland, 36, of Ilkeston, Derbyshire, admitted to sending Trojan horse applications through Microsoft Corp.'s instant messaging program to the girls, which then allowed him to control their computers, according to a Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) spokeswoman. The girls, who Ringland met through chat rooms, were between 13 and 16 years old.
He demonstrated his control of the girls' computers by remotely opening and closing the disc drive or turning off the monitor, while pressuring his victims to send naked photos of themselves.
Having obtained the photos, he then threatened to disclose them to the girls' friends and family using contact information he had stolen from the machines, unless they sent further photos. Jeremy Kirk, Hacker who targeted teens sentenced to prison, Trojan-transmitting blackmailer will serve 10 years, IDG News Services, 11-10-06
Employers of phone sex companies have been arrested on charges of taking the personal information of 8,420,000 customers from rival companies and sending about 100 million lascivious text messages to them.
The Cyber Terror Response Center of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency arrested phone sex company officials, including Nam (38, female), and a hacker, Lee (33), and indicted four others without detention. They are charged with taking the personal information of customers (a violation of the Information and Communications Law) such as security numbers and cell phone numbers from other phone sex companies by hiring a professional hacker.
According to police, Nam and Kang (33), president of another firm, let Lee, who is a professional programmer, break into servers for clients of their 67 competitors and steal 8.42 million personal information items.
The suspects used Daepo phones established in other names, such as those of homeless people whose resident registrations have expired and credit delinquents, and duplicated cell phones in order to send text messages. As a result, they have yet to pay the fees for sending the text messages, which come out to 30 won for one message and approximately three billion won for the 100 million messages in total. Police Break Phone Sex Hacking Ring, The Dong-A Ilbo, 11-10-06
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Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and http://www.wordsofpower.net. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.wordsofpower.net
George Soros, Janez Drnovsek , Freddy Munoz, Medecins Sans Frontieres, Reporters Without Borders, EU, Burma, Myanmar, China, India, Central Asia, Environmental Security, Turkey, Cybercrime, Geopolitics, Open Society, Energy Security, Telesur, Corruption, Venezuela, Columbia, Argentina, Transparency International, Turkic Commonwealth