Event: 24 Jun 2010, Wash DC – Can You Help Me Now? Mobile Phones and Peacebuilding in Afghanistan (Also Webcasted)

Corruption, Mobile
Event page

Can You Help Me Now? Mobile Phones and Peacebuilding in Afghanistan

Smart Tools for Smart Power II

Please note: This event will be webcast live beginning at 9:00am EDT on June 24, 2010 at www.usip.org/webcast.html

Location: U.S. Institute of Peace, 2nd floor, conference room 1200, 17th St, NW Washington, DC 20036

Mobile phone technologies are the subject of considerable enthusiasm in the peacebuilding sector. In the past few years, they have been used in connection with campaigns to restrain election violence, reduce corruption, develop the news media, and support counter-insurgency to name just a few. Success has been significant, but mixed. Yet little has been done to evaluate systematically the factors of success or failure in the use of mobile phones for peacebuilding.

So to best understand the true potential of these increasingly powerful tools, USIP — in partnership with cell phone pioneer Mobile Accord (who raised a record sum of over $37 million within three weeks of Haiti’s earthquake crisis with their “Text HAITI to 90999” campaign), the National Defense University, the United Nation’s-mandated UPeace, and TechChange — will bring together experts on international peacebuilding and mobile phone technology to focus on the use of mobile phones in one of the most difficult conflict environments today: Afghanistan.

Using techniques pioneered in the 2009 Smart Tools for Smart Power program, we will evaluate the reality of cell phone deployments along three vectors:
  • Improving governance –  rule of law and anti-corruption
  • Countering extremism – media development and counter-insurgency
  • Delivery of essential services – education, health, agricultural development, commerce

Agenda

  • Amb. Richard HolbrookeOpening Remarks
    Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan
  • Sheldon Himelfarb, Moderator
    Executive Director, Center of Innovation for Science, Technology, and Peacebuilding
    United States Institute of Peace

Panel 1: Mobile Phones for Tackling Corruption and Improving Governance

Panel 2: Mobile Phones for Countering Extremism and Counter-insurgency

Panel 3: Mobile Phones and Essential Service Delivery

Panelists will include innovators from the DoD, Department of State, UN personnel, World Bank, Internews, and NGOs (US and European) like ICT4Peace, Ushahidi, FrontlineSMS, and Mobile Active.

Afghanistan War Wealth + Corruption Cycle (Opium, Hashish, Minerals, Past Pipeline Attempts)

01 Agriculture, 01 Poverty, 03 Economy, 05 Energy, 07 Other Atrocities, 08 Wild Cards, 10 Security, Afghanistan, Corruption, Geospatial, Government, Military

Talk of wealth from minerals by US geologists and Pentagon personnel add to the darkening view that those involved in war, corruption and disregard for the people of Afghanistan (and sacrificed soldiers + more to be sacrificed) will prosper…

+ Opium = supplies 90% of crop source for heroin (president Karzai’s brother links to heroin trade)

2005-2007 production (source: U.N.) Click to Enlarge

+ Hashish = April 2010 report: Afghanistan Hashish, (not only opium) Declared World’s Largest Producer

Income from cannabis per ha (gross/net) US$ 3,900 / US$ 3,341 | Income from opium per ha (gross/net) US$ 3,600 / US$ 2,005 | Income from wheat per ha (gross/net) US$ 1,200 / US$ 960

+ Minerals = US geologists, Pentagon, Indian firms claim 1-3 trillion dollar value of mineral wealth in Afghanistan
and “Afghanistan’s resources could make it the richest mining region on earth” and more importantly, this being ‘known’ in 2007. (direct: USGS link) and that the Soviets were aware of mineral wealth during their Afghanistan occupation.

+ Gas Pipeline attempts = 1998 Congressional record related to Unocal/U.S. interests in Central Asia & November 2001 Asia Times article about the book “Bin Laden, la verite interdite (Bin Laden, the forbidden truth)” mentioning the US government’s main objective in Afghanistan was to consolidate the position of the Taliban regime to obtain access to the oil and gas reserves in Central Asia.

past pipeline planned

BBC in 2002 mentions Unocal (Unocal.com is now Chevron.com) and others abandoning pipeline plans due to U.S. missile attacks in 1999. Reports on Enron attempts to make a deal with the Taliban (this 2002 CounterPunch article too). Encyclopedia of Earth also has a short mention of this topic

+ HistoryCommons.org Unocal profile timeline on their Central Asia activities
+ HistoryCommons.org timeline of president Karzai (election organized by the United Nations).

+ Corruption in Afghanistan = Transparency International ranks Afghanistan 179th of 180 countries.  And Afghan corruption has doubled since 2007 (IntegrityWatch survey).
Pre-existing plan to attack Taliban before 9/11 was even posted in the BBC and a variation of this was posted at MSNBC in 2002.

“To be truthful about it, there was no way we could have got the public consent to have suddenly launched a campaign on Afghanistan but for what happened on September 11”
-Tony Blair (London Times, 7/17/02)
originally at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-358038,00.html but no longer at that URL

Related:
+ Karzai Aide in Corruption Inquiry Is Tied to C.I.A. (Aug 26, 2010)
+ Corruption Suspected in Airlift of Billions in Cash From Kabul (WSJ: June 25, 2010)
+ Event Report: 20 Nov 09 NYC, Counterinsurgency–America’s Strategic Burden
+ (Book) Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia by Ahmed RashidMar. 1, 2001
+ Afghan War Diaries Explorer
+ UN/World Bank Afghanistan Drug Industry Report (2006)
+ SourceWatch: Opium economy in Afghanistan
+ GlobalSecurity.org: Afghanistan Opium cultivation
+ Wkipedia: Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline
+ Free Book: “The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia by Alfred W. McCoy

The Mexico + American Narcosphere (Calling Carlos “Slim” Helu)

01 Poverty, 02 Diplomacy, 03 Economy, 04 Education, 06 Family, 07 Health, 07 Other Atrocities, 08 Immigration, 09 Justice, 09 Terrorism, 10 Security, 10 Transnational Crime, 11 Society, Audio, Civil Society, Commerce, Corruption, Government, Law Enforcement, Media, Military, Mobile, Research resources, Videos/Movies/Documentaries

Excellent May 31, 2010 New Yorker article by William Finnegan called Letter from Mexico, Silver or Lead which is unfortunately only available by subscription only (click here for link to abstract also pasted below) The most telling two words of the article = “state capture.”

ABSTRACT: LETTER FROM MEXICO about La Familia Michoacana and the pervasive power of drug traffickers in the country. Writer visits the hill town of Zitácuaro in the Mexican state of Michoacán. On the morning before his arrival, the dismembered body of a young man was left in the middle of the main intersection. It was an instance of what people call corpse messaging. Usually it involves a mutilated body and a handwritten sign. “Talked too much.” “You get what you deserve.” The corpse’s message—terror—was clear enough and everybody knew who left it: La Familia Michoacana, a crime syndicate whose depredations pervade the life of the region.

Mexico’s president, Felipe Calerón declared war—his metaphor—on the country’s drug traffickers when he took office, in December, 2006. It was a popular move. Although large-scale trafficking had been around for decades, the violence associated with the drug trade had begun to spiral out of control. More than twenty-three thousand people have died since Calderón’s declaration. La Inseguridad, as Mexicans call it, has become engulfing, with drugs sliding far down the list of public concerns, below kidnapping, extortion, torture, unemployment, and simple fear of leaving the house. The big crime syndicates still earn billions from drugs, but they have also diversified profitably. In Michoacán a recent estimate found eight-five per cent of legitimate businesses involved in some way with La Familia. Among Mexico’s drug trafficking organizations, La Familia is the big new kid on the block. It first gained national attention in September, 2006, when five severed heads rolled onto the dance floor at a night club in Uruapan, Michoacán. A senior American official in Mexico City told the writer, “La Familia is looking more and more like an insurgency and less like a cartel.” Mentions one of La Familia’s leaders, Nazario Moreno González, who is also known as El Chayo, or El Más Loco (the Craziest). Writer discusses La Familia’s activities with a local politician and relates how the cartel has, in some places, filled the vacuum created by public distrust of the police and the courts.

The overwhelming growth of organized crime in Mexico in the past decade is often blamed on multiparty democracy. Until 2000, the country was basically a one-party state for seventy-one years under the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Drug trafficking flourished, but its practitioners enjoyed stable relations with officialdom. Describes how the election of Vicente Fox in 2000 changed the status quo between drug traffickers and government. Writer gives a survey of other significant Mexican drug cartels, including the Sinaloa cartel, and the Zetas, who had previously occupied Michoacán. Tells about the rise of La Familia in 2006 and its expansion into nearby states. Discusses U.S.-Mexico relations and the drug trade. Writer visits a drug-rehabilitation center in Zamora. Describes acts of kidnapping and extortion perpetrated by La Familia.

Links Connecting Police Corruption + Narcosphere + U.S. + North Mexico/Chihuahua/Juarez & Beyond: Continue reading “The Mexico + American Narcosphere (Calling Carlos “Slim” Helu)”

Unsolicited Very Credible Comment

10 Security, Budgets & Funding, Corruption, Cyberscams, malware, spam, InfoOps (IO), Intelligence (government), Methods & Process, Misinformation & Propaganda, Politics of Science & Science of Politics, Power Behind-the-Scenes/Special Interests, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, True Cost

I’ve got to tell you — Clapper scares me.  I have access to lot of stuff that his people write and it’s scary.  USD(I) is trying to stick its nose into tents where they aren’t wanted.

See Also:

Journal: Obama To Name Retired General To Top Spy Post

Journal: Obama To Name Retired General To Top Spy Post

04 Education, 10 Security, Corruption, Government, Methods & Process, Military, Misinformation & Propaganda, Money, Banks & Concentrated Wealth, Policy, Politics of Science & Science of Politics, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Strategy, Technologies, True Cost
Marcus Aurelius Recommends

Probably not an inspired choice.

MA

New York Times June 5, 2010 Pg. 1

Obama To Name Retired General To Top Spy Post

By Peter Baker and Eric Schmitt

WASHINGTON — President Obama has picked Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper Jr. as director of national intelligence, tapping a retired officer with decades of experience to improve coordination of the nation’s sprawling spy apparatus amid increasing threats at home and escalating operations abroad.

Mr. Obama plans to announce his choice in the Rose Garden on Saturday, two weeks after forcing Adm. Dennis C. Blair out of the spymaster job, according to administration officials, who insisted on anonymity to disclose the decision before the formal ceremony.

FULL STORY ONLINE

 
 
 
 

Sheep in Wolf's Clothing

See also:

He has been nicknamed “the Godfather of HUMINT” — using human contacts for gathering intelligence in addition to high-tech methods like satellite imagery or intercepting communications.

Phi Beta Iota:  This alone–a farce on top of a farce–makes him unsuited to the position.   Obama and Gates know what they want: to continue Grand Theft Intel as the same time that Grand Theft Pentagon continues the looting of the public treasury.  If Congress can rediscover its integrity and invite former Senators such as David Boren (D-OK), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Bob Graham (D-FL) as well as Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA), they might discover the universal condemnation of “business as usual,” which is precisely what this nominee represents.  Whatever claims are made about transformation or revolution will at best be pap and at worst a deliberate breach of trust in lying to the Congress.  Dick Cheney would be proud of what passes for leadership in the Department of Defense today.

Reference:  Human Intelligence (HUMINT): All Humans, All Minds, All the Time

Earlier Posts on DNI Self-Destruction:

Journal: With No Successor In Sight, Intelligence Czar Departs

AFIO Selected Headline Links with Phi Beta Iota Comments

Intelligence Headlines of Note

Reference: Strategic Asymmetry–with Comment

BP’s Corrosive History in Alaska Spill, Safety Fraud, Destroying Whistleblowers, and Bush Re-Election Campaign

03 Environmental Degradation, 05 Energy, Corporations, Corruption

Smart Pig:
BP’s OTHER Spill this Week

by Greg Palast for Buzzflash.com
Friday, May 28 2010

With the Gulf Coast dying of oil poisoning, there’s no space in the press for British Petroleum’s latest spill, just this week: over 100,000 gallons, at its Alaska pipeline operation. A hundred thousand used to be a lot. Still is.

On Tuesday, Pump Station 9, at Delta Junction on the 800-mile pipeline, busted. Thousands of barrels began spewing an explosive cocktail of hydrocarbons after “procedures weren’t properly implemented” by BP operators, say state inspectors “Procedures weren’t properly implemented” is, it seems, BP’s company motto.

Few Americans know that BP owns the controlling stake in the trans-Alaska pipeline; but, unlike with the Deepwater Horizon, BP keeps its Limey name off the Big Pipe.

There’s another reason to keep their name off the Pipe: their management of the pipe stinks. It’s corroded, it’s undermanned and “basic maintenance” is a term BP never heard of.

How does BP get away with it? The same way the Godfather got away with it: bad things happen to folks who blow the whistle. BP has a habit of hunting down and destroying the careers of those who warn of pipeline problems.

Continue reading “BP’s Corrosive History in Alaska Spill, Safety Fraud, Destroying Whistleblowers, and Bush Re-Election Campaign”

Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan & Her Actions to Protect Saudi Royal Family from 9/11 Lawsuits

09 Justice, 09 Terrorism, 10 Security, 9/11 research, Corruption, Government
raw story link

(from Rawstory.com citing NY Times 2009 article) Elena Kagan, President Barack Obama’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court, helped protect the Saudi royal family from lawsuits that sought to hold al Qaeda financiers responsible in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The suits were filed by thousands family members and others affected by the Sept. 11 attacks. In court papers, they provided evidence that members of the Saudi royal family had channeled millions to al Qaeda prior to the bombings, often in contravention of direct guidance from the United States. But Kagan, acting as President Obama’s Solicitor General, argued that the case should not be heard even if evidence proved that the Saudis helped underwrite al Qaeda, because it would interfere with US foreign policy with the oil-rich nation. She posited “that the princes are immune from petitioners’ claims” because of “the potentially significant foreign relations consequences of subjecting another sovereign state to suit.”

Related:
+ Secret Saudi Document Shows Kingdom Linked with Al-Qaeda Terror
+ OpenSecrets.org profile of Elena Kagan

profile link

Corruption is Non-Partisan: New Documentary “Casino Jack” shows US Gov’s Legalized Bribery through Jack Abramoff & the Story of Human Failure.

Corruption, Government, Videos/Movies/Documentaries
movie info

Good quotes from the movie:
+ Jack Abramoff was the “perfect marriage of idealism and corruption.”
+ “Campaign finance is a system of legalized bribery.” What also comes to mind is Danny Schecter saying “I used to think of Wall Street as a financial center, now I think of it as a crime scene.”

One interesting part of the movie mentioned a court order that was issued just to force the Bush administration to hand over copies of photos of Bush & Abramoff in Malaysia. Video clips of George W Bush show him lying about not knowing Jack Abramoff.

Conclusion:
Corruption has become normal in Washington DC politics. Parasitic behavior of lobbyists such a Abramoff (despite him being “one of a kind” as far as his deceptive charismatic mastery was concerned) are the result of relationships with “willing hosts,” politicians open to bribery and betrayl of public service, perpetually seeking more money and more power.

On an interesting note, this documentary has a segment on the Mariana Islands when they were a loophole for textile manufacturers. Abramoff had links to their government and industry and became a bridge between them and US politicians willing to deny inhumane treatment of workers. The day I saw this documentary (May 7) I received a text message from the twitter feed of the Government Accountability Office mentioning the Mariana Islands immigration issue.

Related:


Journal: British Petroleum (BP) Lies, US Government Knows It, but Congress and Administration Go Along Anyway…

Corruption

Slick Operator: The BP I’ve Known Too Well

Wednesday 05 May 2010

 

photo

I’ve seen this movie before. In 1989, I was a fraud investigator hired to dig into the cause of the Exxon Valdez disaster. Despite Exxon’s name on that boat, I found the party most to blame for the destruction was … British Petroleum (BP).

That’s important to know, because the way BP caused devastation in Alaska is exactly the way BP is now sliming the entire Gulf Coast.