Thursday, November 15, 2007

GS(3) Intel Brief 11-15-07: Five Risk-Related Stories You Might Overlook

Image: Yves Tanguy, The Dark Garden, Le Jardin sombre. 1928.

GS(3) Intel Brief 11-15-07: Five Risk-Related Stories You Might Otherwise Overlook

By Richard Power

Life is a oneness.

In the 21st Century, this perennial truth is more palpable than ever before.

In the 21st Century, you cannot achieve national security without global security, and you cannot achieve any security without sustainability. Our planetary circumstances demand radical changes in how we live and do business.

These radical changes will not be achieved without political will, and this political will can only be marshaled through a spiritual awakening. The spiritual awakening required must be non-sectarian, humanist, mystical, universal, rational, scientific, i.e., embracing the best in all the world's religious traditions while rejecting the worst in them.

In the 21st Century, global security, sustainability and spirit (GS3) are interdependent.

The GS(3) Intelligence Briefing is an exercise in 21st Century mind. (See also GS(3) Intel Brief 8-27-06: Close Your Eyes, Listen, Feel the Planet, and then Live from Inside that Truth)

Here are excerpts from five risk-related stories you might otherwise overlook, one for each of five realms, along with some analysis.

Europe, Middle East and Africa

There is a great impetus to see nuclear power as integral to the effort to survive and prevail in this era of drastic climate change. And, of course, the longer it takes for the human race to respond collectively and meaningfully, it will be harder and harder not to rely on nuclear power. But it is vital that the risks of nuclear power plant proliferation be understand. And as I have emphasized before, the greatest risk may not be from "terrorists" but from organized crime using nuclear terror for blackmail and extortion.

Two armed gangs made simultaneous attempts last week to break into South Africa's main nuclear research facility, an official said on Tuesday.
Rob Adam, chief executive of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa), said that a guard had been shot and wounded during one of the break-ins at the Pelindaba plant, west of Pretoria.
Another group of would-be intruders fled after a second member of security opened fire at them.
A computer was taken during the course of the first raid. The victim is now in a stable condition.
"My sense is that it must have been co-ordinated but there is no evidence of that yet," Adam told the Sapa news agency.
Adams denied that any nuclear installation at the site, including the research nuclear reactor, had been compromised by the breaches of security.
But Necsa had suspended the people managing security at the facility pending the outcome of an internal investigation, Sapa added.
Agence France Press, 11-13-07

Asia Pacific

The serious sustainability and economic security issues raised in the rush to bio-fuels highlight the real problem, i.e., the prevailing mentality in business, the prevailing model of business, and their lack of connectedness to the web of life. It is not as simple as shutting down the oil rig and jumping into a tractor.

Greenpeace has blocked a tanker carrying more than 30,000 tonnes of palm oil from leaving an Indonesian port to protest against forest destruction blamed on plantations, the environmental group said on Thursday.
The protest came less than three weeks before a U.N. climate change meeting on the resort island of Bali, where delegates from 189 countries will debate ways to slow down global warming, including the impact of dwindling tropical rainforests.
The group's Rainbow Warrior ship dropped anchor next to the MT Westama, which was set to leave for India from Dumai in Sumatra island, one of the Southeast Asian nation's main ports handling palm oil. ...
Environment groups have blamed palm oil companies for driving the destruction of Indonesia's forests and peatlands.
In a recent report, Greenpeace said that clearing forests that often grow on the country's thick carbon-storing peatlands released more than a billion tonnes of greenhouse gases a year.
The report said the surging demand for palm oil in food, cosmetics and fuel was putting pressure on a ticking "climate bomb".
Reuters, 11-15-07


This story is a reminder about where the emphasis would be in a real strategy to defeat violent religious extremists who use terror as a tactic. As I have written in numerous posts, thwarting military conflict with Iran is the greatest priority for sane people of the left, right and center in the US body politic; not because the Iranian mullahs are not dangerous. They are misogynistic, homophobic and hateful. But because brute force is not the way to undermine or overcome them. The way to defeat them is through intelligence, law enforcement and special operations on the one hand, and offering a viable, vibrant alternative model to the impoverished masses of the Middle East on the other hand. One fight is waged on the back streets, the other is waged on the air waves. If such a course had been pursued in the aftermath of 9/11, we would have the heads of Bin Laden and Zawahiri, and the USA would not be stuck in the Mega-Mogadishu of Bush-Cheney's foolish military adventure.

Interpol rejected Wednesday a request by the government of Iran to drop arrest warrants against six leading Iranians, wanted by Argentina for their alleged role in a 1994 bombing that killed 85 people and left hundreds injured.
Delegates at the world police body's annual general assembly in Morocco voted by a two-thirds majority to uphold a unanimous decision taken in March by Interpol's executive committee to issue "red notices" against the five. Of the 146 member states attending the gathering, 78 voted to uphold Interpol's earlier decision, 14 voted against it and 26 formally abstained.
The list of arrest warrants includes Iran's former intelligence chief Ali Fallahian; the former head of the country's Revolutionary Guards, Mohsen Rezaei; Cultural Attaché in the Iranian embassy in Buenos Aires Mohsen Rabbani; Third secretary Ahmad Ashgari; head of QUDS forces Ahmad Vahidi and Imad Moughnieh, head of foreign operations from the Lebanon located Hezbollah movement.
Merco Press, 11-7-07


These ideas are like those of a drug addict who takes vitamins to stay healthy; but worse really, because it not only avoids the real issue (i.e., the burning of fossil fuels), it will probably produce unwelcome and potentially catastrophic consequences of its own (especially if pursued in haste).

Countries gathered under an international accord on maritime pollution have warned against offbeat experiments to tackle climate change by sowing the sea with chemicals to help soak up airborne carbon dioxide (CO2).
Parties to the London Convention and London Protocol declared that they hold authority over such experiments, and “large-scale operations” of this kind “are currently not justified,” according to a statement issued on Monday.
Several controversial experiments have been carried out or are being planned to “fertilize” areas of the sea with iron or urea to see whether this encourages the growth of plankton. ...
Defenders of fertilization say that carbon pollution is so far out of control that a swift fix is needed to avert catastrophe for the climate system.
By accelerating plankton growth, carbon could be massively sucked out of Earth’s atmosphere, reducing the warming effect of this greenhouse gas, they argue.
But marine biologists and climate scientists say the experiments are hedged with environmental peril, such as the risk that runaway algal growth could starve swathes of the ocean of oxygen.
Agence France Press, 11-13-07


Who watches the watchers? Who investigates the investigators? It is an age-old problem.

John Kenneth Schiefer admitted he used botnets to install malware on
more than 250,000 computers and steal online banking credentials.
Schiefer, who was employed as a security professional, will plead guilty to four counts of fraud and wiretap charges; he could face up to 60 years in prison and a fine of US $1.75 million if he is convicted of all charges against him. The plea is the culmination of an investigation started in 2005; several co-conspirators were named in court documents.
Schiefer has agreed to pay more than US $19,000 in restitution; he made that amount from a Dutch company that believed he was installing their adware on computers with users' consent. He instead uploaded the software to the computers that make up his botnet. He will be arraigned on December 3.
The Register, 11-9-07

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