Reference: NUCLEAR FAMINE – A BILLION PEOPLE AT RISK Global Impacts of Limited Nuclear War on Agriculture, Food Supplies, and Human Nutrition + Eugenics RECAP

01 Agriculture, 01 Brazil, 02 China, 03 India, 04 Indonesia, 04 Inter-State Conflict, 06 Russia, 07 Health, 07 Other Atrocities, 07 Venezuela, 08 Proliferation, 08 Wild Cards, 11 Society, Earth Intelligence, Government, Military, White Papers


Global Impacts of Limited Nuclear War on Agriculture, Food Supplies, and Human Nutrition

Ira Helfand, MD
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
Physicians for Social Responsibility

Credits and Acknowledgements
The publication of this briefing paper was made possible
thanks to the generous financial support of the Swiss Federal
Department of Foreign Affairs.

Executive Summary

Over the last several years, a number of studies have shown that a limited, regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan would cause significant climate disruption worldwide.

Two studies published this year examine the impact on agricultural output that would result from this climate disruption.  In the US, corn production would decline by an average of 10% for an entire decade, with the most severe decline, about 20% in year 5. There would be a similar decline in soybean production, with, again, the most severe loss, about 20%, in year 5.

A second study found a significant decline in Chinese middle season rice production. During the first 4 years, rice production would decline by an average of 21%; over the next 6 years the decline would average 10%.

Continue reading “Reference: NUCLEAR FAMINE – A BILLION PEOPLE AT RISK Global Impacts of Limited Nuclear War on Agriculture, Food Supplies, and Human Nutrition + Eugenics RECAP”

Mini-Me: Cuba-Venezuela Unite the South – CELAC

01 Brazil, 07 Venezuela, 08 Wild Cards, Advanced Cyber/IO, Commerce, Commercial Intelligence, Counter-Oppression/Counter-Dictatorship Practices, Cultural Intelligence, Government, Military, Policies, Strategy, Threats
Who? Mini-Me?

Gringos?  We don’t need no stinkin’ gringos…

A Union is Born: Latin America in Revolution

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)

by Eva Golinger

Global Research, December 8, 2011

While much of the world is in crisis and protests are erupting throughout Europe and the United States, Latin American and Caribbean nations are building consensus, advancing social justice and increasing positive cooperation in the region. Social, political and economic transformations have been taking place through democratic processes in countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil throughout the past decade, leading to a massive reduction in poverty and income disparity in the region, and a substantial increase in social services, quality of life and direct participation in political process.

One of the major initiatives of progressive Latin American governments this century has been the creation of new regional organizations that promote integration, cooperation and solidarity amongst neighboring nations. Cuba and Venezuela began this process in 2004 with the founding of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), that now includes Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Dominica, St. Vincent’s and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda. ALBA was initially launched in response to the US government’s failed attempt to impose its Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) throughout the region.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Today ALBA is a thriving multilateral organization with member nations that share similar political visions for their countries and for the region, and includes numerous cooperation agreements in economic, social and cultural areas. The fundamental basis of trade amongst ALBA nations is solidarity and mutual benefit. There is no competition, exploitation or attempt to dominate amongst ALBA states. ALBA even counts on its own currency, the SUCRE, which allows for trade between member nations without dependence on the US dollar.

In 2008, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) was formally established as a regional body representing South American states. While ALBA is much more consolidated as a unified political voice, UNASUR represents a diversity of political positions, economic models and visions for the region. But UNASUR members share the common goal of working towards regional unity and guaranteeing the resolution of conflicts through peaceful and diplomatic means. UNASUR has already played a key role in peacefully resolving disputes in Bolivia, particularly during an attempted coup against the government of Evo Morales in 2008, and has also successfully moderated a severe conflict between Colombia and Venezuela, leading to the reestablishment of relations in 2010.

Two hundred years ago, South American Independence hero Simon Bolivar, a native of Venezuela, dreamed of building regional unity and creating a “Patria Grande” (Grand Homeland) in Latin America. After achieving independence for Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia, and fighting colonialists in several Caribbean nations, Bolivar attempted to turn this dream of Latin American unity into reality. His efforts were sabotaged by powerful interests opposing the creation of a solid regional bloc, and eventually, with the aid of the United States, Bolivar was ousted from his rule in Venezuela and died isolated in Colombia several years later. Meanwhile, the US government had proceeded to implement its Monroe Doctrine, a decree first declared by President James Monroe in 1823 to ensure US domination and control over the newly-freed nations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Nearly two hundred years of invasions, interventions, aggressions, coup d’etats and hostilities led by the US government against Latin American nations shadowed the 19th and 20th centuries. By the end of the 20th century, Washington had successfully imposed governments in every Latin American and Caribbean nation that were subordinate to its agenda, with the exception of Cuba. The Monroe Doctrine had been achieved, and the US felt confident in its control over its “backyard”.

The unexpected turn at the beginning of the 21st century in Venezuela, formerly one of Washington’s most stable and subservient partners, came as a shock to the US. Hugo Chavez had been elected President and a Revolution had begun. A coup d’etat attempt in 2002 failed to subvert the advancement of the Bolivarian Revolution and the spread of revolutionary fever throughout the region. Soon Bolivia followed, then Nicaragua and Ecuador. Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay elected socialist presidents, two of them former guerrilla fighters. Major changes began to occur throughout the region as the peoples of this vast, diverse and rich continent assumed power and made their voices heard.

Social transformations in Venezuela that gave voice to people’s power became exemplary for others in the region, as did President Chavez’s defiance of US imperialism. A powerful sentiment of Latin American sovereignty and independence grew stronger, even reaching those with governments aligned with US interests and multinational control.

On December 2-3, 2011, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was born and the overwhelming force of a continent nearly 600 million strong, achieved a 200-year dream of unity. The 33 member nations of CELAC all agree on the unquestionable necessity to build a regional organization that represents their interests, and that excludes the overbearing presence of the US and Canada. While CELAC will take time to consolidate, the exceptional commitment evidenced by the 33 states present at its launching in Caracas, Venezuela, cannot be underestimated.

CELAC will have to overcome attempts to sabotage and neutralize its expansion and endurance, and the threats against it and intents to divide member nations will be numerous and frequent. But the resistance of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean who have resumed this path of unity and independence after nearly two hundred years of imperialist aggression, demonstrates the powerful force that has led this region to become an inspiration for those seeking social justice and true freedom around the world.

Phi Beta Iota:  Emphasis added.  This is largely a Cuban G-2 puff-piece, but it also represents real potential.  A great deal will depend on whether Cuba and Venezuela get serious about creating the M4IS2 capabilities needed to harmonize internal spending while shutting out predatory external influences.  We would not be surprised to find CIA Stations shut down across Central and South America in the next few years, as these governments stop tolerating incompetent but active spy units operating from official installations.

Click on Image to Enlarge

See Also:

CELAC Image Archive


CELAC Fulfills Dreams of Bolivar, Marti, Morazan

New non-U.S. Latin America group points to Washington’s waning influence

CELAC: Speaking for Latin America and the Caribbean

Latin America’s Pacific bloc may actually work

Haiti – CELAC: U.S. and Canada, Personae non gratae

Did Hugo Chavez derail CELAC summit?

Cuba Strengthens Regional Ties

The 33-nation CELAC grants full support to Argentina in the Falklands’ dispute

2011: Inteligencia Empresarial y Estrategia Competitiva en Mercados Internacional – Contexto y Desafio [Commercial Intelligence and Competitive Strategy in International Markets – Context and Challenge]

2010 M4IS2 Briefing for South America — 2010 M4IS2 Presentacion por Sur America (ANEPE Chile)

Cynthia McKinney: Fidel Castro Makes Sense, Slams Barack Obama for “Gibberish” and Moral Hazard

04 Inter-State Conflict, 05 Civil War, 06 Genocide, 07 Other Atrocities, 07 Venezuela, 08 Wild Cards, 09 Justice, 10 Security, 11 Society, Corruption, Counter-Oppression/Counter-Dictatorship Practices, Cultural Intelligence, Director of National Intelligence et al (IC), DoD, Government, IO Deeds of War, Military, Officers Call
Cynthia McKinney

Fidel Castro calls Obama UN address ‘gibberish’

Tuesday, 27 September 2011 14:28

“Who understands the gibberish of the president of the United States before the General Assembly?” Castro asked.

AFP – September 26, 2011
HAVANA – Cuba’s Fidel Castro blasted Barack Obama’s speech to the United Nations as “gibberish” on Monday, saying the US president used a rambling address to justify the “unjustifiable.”

In his first published column since July, the 85-year-old revolutionary icon slammed US and NATO intervention in Libya as “monstrous crimes” and said Obama — whom he called the “yankee president” — used a bully pulpit at the UN General Assembly last week to try and sway global opinion.

Fidel, who handed the presidency to his younger brother Raul Castro in 2006 due to a health crisis, has laid low in recent months, and his column published in state media was his first since July 3.

In Monday’s piece he came out swinging, saying Obama distorted the situations in Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Afghanistan, North Korea, Libya and the Palestinian conflict, and that the US leader used “a long rant to explain and justify the inexplicable and unjustifiable.”

“Who understands the gibberish of the president of the United States before the General Assembly?” Castro asked.

Castro also took issue with the “fascist methods by the United States and its allies to confuse and manipulate global opinion,” and said he was heartened by the “resistance” of his key allies Hugo Chavez and Evo Moralez, presidents of Venezuela and Bolivia, respectively, who criticized US and UN policy in their speeches.

“Has any nation been excluded from the bloody threats of this illustrious defender of international peace and security?” Castro said of Obama, whose UN quotes he cited extensively in his column.

“Who gave the United States such privileges?” Castro said.

He said countries must consider taking a stand at the General Assembly against the “NATO genocide in Libya,” an action Castro described as one of many “flagrant violations of principles.”

“Does anyone want it to be recorded that under their direction, the government of their nation supported the monstrous crimes by the United States and its NATO allies?” he said.

Washington and Havana are Cold War adversaries who have brought their mutual dislike and distrust into the 21st century, and Castro routinely makes political attacks on his ideological foe.

Snapshot: Venezuela

07 Venezuela

Washington’s war on Chavez

By Stephen Lendman, Tehran Times, May 30, 2011

Since George W. Bush took office in January 2001, efforts to oust Hugo Chavez failed three times.

. . . . . .

Nonetheless, disruptive activities continue, including malicious propaganda, CIA subversion, funding opposition forces, sanctions, and militarizing the region, notably in Colombia as well as gunboat diplomacy by reactivating the Latin American/Caribbean Fourth Fleet for the first time since 1950 despite no regional threat.

Chávez’s star wanes

By Benedict Mander in Caracas, Financial Times, May 29 2011

When the Colombian pop star Shakira vigorously denied press reports that she had lavished President Hugo Chávez with an autographed red guitar during a recent tour of Venezuela, it was one more sign of how toxic the controversial leader’s image has become.

. . . . . .

Nevertheless, Mr Chávez’s central dream of achieving regional unity in order to stand up against the US “empire”, has seen some advances. He has spearheaded the establishment of the Union of South American Nations, and now the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, both of which exclude the US.

Arturo Valenzuela Quits–US Ignoring South

01 Brazil, 07 Venezuela, 08 Wild Cards, Corruption, Government, IO Impotency, Money, Banks & Concentrated Wealth, Peace Intelligence, Policies, Power Behind-the-Scenes/Special Interests, Strategy, Threats
Arturo Valenzuela

The head of the U.S. State Department’s Latin American and Caribbean will resign this summer.

Arturo Valenzuela announced he will leave his post of Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs to return to Georgetown University, where he taught before his appointment by Barack Obama in 2009.

The United States currently doesn’t have ambassadors in Mexico, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. There are only rudimentary diplomatic relations with Cuba.

No Difference

Phi Beta Iota: As with Anne Marie Slaughter, he no doubt has a two-year limit or he loses tenure.   It does not really matter who is in the office.   Those of us who care about the Caribbean, Central, and South America have known since 2008 that there is no difference between the policies or lack thereof of the Bush-Cheney Administration, and those of the Obama-Clinton Administration.  When Huge Chavez handed Barack Obama a copy of Open Veins of Latin America–Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent it became the duty of every person of integrity to read that book.  Evidently Barack Obama chose not to read it, and just as he misled all US citizens into thinking that he represented change, so also has he failed the entire Southern Hemisphere.

See Also:

Reference: Empire of Lies & Secrecy

Guest Post: Analysis of the Global Insurrection Against Neo-Liberal Economic Domination and the Coming American Rebellion

Review: SAVAGE CAPITALISM AND THE MYTH OF DEMOCRACY–Latin America in the Third Millennium

Oil, Food, Middle Class Down = Long Emergency

01 Brazil, 02 China, 03 Economy, 03 India, 04 Indonesia, 05 Energy, 06 Family, 06 Russia, 07 Venezuela, 08 Wild Cards, 11 Society, Civil Society, Commerce, Commercial Intelligence, Corruption, IO Sense-Making
John Robb


I gave a little talk at a financial conference (Casey Research) that included the following very simple economic scenario:

  • Oil prices are going up (inexorably). China + Peak Oil + Financial diversification. Oil doesn’t stop going up until GDP goes down. It’s an inexorable force until then.
  • The US middle class is broken.  A hollow husk unable to withstand the slightest gust.  Regardless, it’s the ultimate source of demand for the global economy. It’s an immovable barrier.
  • When oil hits ~$150 a barrel the impact occurs between inexorable force and immovable barrier. The combo of higher prices at the pump and for everything else (food and other essentials) starts to crush middle class budgets and force defaults.  The economy shrinks until the price of oil goes down enough to be affordable again (for those still left in the middle class).

We keep repeat the pattern above until we’re in the second depression (D2).  Long term low demand.

Phi Beta Iota: This is precisely why the BRICS (now including South Africa) and a new coalition, perhaps led by Cuba and Venezuela since Chile is refusing to lead, should focus on the immediate challenge of creating infinite free renewable energy–the foundation for global non-zero advances.  Such a strategy would be inherently ethical, legal, citizen-centered, and non-violent as well as non-intrusive on any conceivable concept of sovereignty or indigenous privilege.

From BRIC to BRICS–Sanya Declaration

01 Brazil, 02 China, 03 Economy, 03 India, 06 Russia, 07 Other Atrocities, 07 Venezuela, 08 Wild Cards, 09 Justice, 10 Security, 11 Society, Earth Intelligence, Government, IO Multinational, Reform, Strategy

Full text of Sanya Declaration of the BRICS Leaders Meeting 2011-04-14 21:58:57

SANYA, Hainan, April 14 (Xinhua) — Leaders of five BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, released on Thursday a joint document, Sanya Declaration, at the BRICS Leaders Meeting in south China’s resort city of Sanya.

The following is the full text of the document.

Sanya Declaration

(BRICS Leaders Meeting, Sanya, Hainan, China, 14 April 2011)

Read full text (nine screens)–videos and photos in sidebar.

Continue reading “From BRIC to BRICS–Sanya Declaration”

Journal: Bribes from US Okay, from Venezuela Not OK

07 Other Atrocities, 07 Venezuela, 08 Wild Cards, Corruption
Marcus Aurelius Recommends

Nicaragua Government Took Bribes From Drug Traffickers, Cable Says

December 9, 2010

Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega’s government accepts bribes from drug traffickers, harbors terrorists and attempts to endear itself to Iran, according to leaked U.S. diplomatic cables.

By Samuel Rubenfeld

U.S. diplomats accused Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s government of taking bribes from drug traffickers in exchange for freeing suspects, in cables released by Wikileaks.

The bribes formed a kind of “judicial ‘campaign finance’ machine” in return for not-guilty verdicts, according to a May 5, 2006, cable from the U.S. Embassy in Manangua, Nicaragua. It says the ruling Sandinista party regularly accepted cash from drug traffickers, “usually in return for ordering Sandinista judges to allow traffickers caught by the police and military to go free.” The scheme, the cable said, was run by the director of the state security service and overseen by Supreme Court judges, including Rafael Solis and Roger Camillo Arguello.

Read full article….

Phi Beta Iota:  What US diplomats don’t get is that CIA lies to them all the time, and very often is also paying the same people while sanctioning the drug trans-shipments.  Similarly, DEA and the FBI cut deals.  The single best known case with respect to Nicaragua and the CIA destroying an entire black population in the USA dealt with Contra leader Blandon, a strategic-level (massive) drug exporter.  This is told inReview: Dark Alliance–The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion.  Hark back to Panama and General Noriega, who regularly received warm assurances (as well as serious cash payments) from CIA, in some cases from Bill Casey personally, to the effect that as long as he allowed CIA support for the Contras out of Panama, all drug-related matters were “off the table.”  It was an ambitious attorney general in Florida that actually undid that deal.  What CIA has done in our name–what the Pentagon and Special Forces have done in our name–is reprehensible.  Tim Wiener has it right in Review: Legacy of Ashes–The History of the CIA and so do General Smedley Butler, USMC (Ret) in Review: War is a Racket–The Antiwar Classic by America’s Most Decorated Soldier and James Carroll in Review: House of War.  ENOUGH!

See Also:

Journal: CIA and the Culture of Corruption

Journal: Nato’s Secret Armies (It’s Not Terror if CIA Pays and Locals Do the Dirty….)

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Corruption

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Dereliction of Duty (Defense)

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Disinformation, Other Information Pathologies, & Repression

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Empire as Cancer Including Betrayal & Deceit

Worth a Look: Impeachable Offenses, Modern & Historic

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Intelligence (Lack Of)

NIGHTWATCH Extract: US, Venezuela, Libya…

02 Diplomacy, 03 Economy, 04 Education, 04 Inter-State Conflict, 07 Other Atrocities, 07 Venezuela, 08 Wild Cards, 09 Justice, 10 Security, 11 Society, Civil Society, Commerce, Commercial Intelligence, Cultural Intelligence, Earth Intelligence, Government, Law Enforcement, Military, Officers Call, Peace Intelligence

Venezuela- US: For the record. The Caracas government seized two factories owned by U.S.-based glass maker Owens Illinois, because it caused “environmental damage and exploited workers,” Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on 25 October. Today Venezuelan soldiers took possession of the factories.

Venezuela-Middle East: President Chavez said his government and Libya are creating a $1 billion joint investment fund to pay for projects the two countries will pursue together, according to a report by The Associated Press. Chavez also announced a $100 million joint fund with Syria, which will be used on projects such as aid in the construction of an oil refinery and to establish an olive oil processing plant.

NIGHTWATCH Comment: Chavez invariably goes out of his way to make questionable deals with countries that tend to have strained relations with the US. None of his new allies are in a position to help Venezuela in the event of trouble, which calls into question the wisdom of the investments, the utility of the associations and the soundness of Chavez’ judgment.


Phi Beta Iota: We beg to differ with our esteemed colleague.  The US is so over-extended in its elective wars and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq as to call into question its ability to be effective anywhere else, including against Somali pirates.  Furthermore, the passing of time and the accumulation of public knowledge has a “truth” effect that may not lead to reconciliation but will lead to more and more expropriation of ill-gotten gains by predatory capitalists who in the past were able to call in the US Marines to enforce unethical, illegal, and unjust seizures of property.  Just as Australia is now getting serious about Native Title, so also is the rest of the Southern Hemisphere going to get serious about expropriating back into indigenous possession those lands acquired through illicit or unethical means.

The next President, and the next Director of National Intelligence (DNI), are going to have to lead a 180 degree change in how the US “does” intelligence.  Instead of producing 4% “at best,” the DNI is going to have to lead the integration of education, intelligence, and research so as to meet 96% “at worst” of the needs of the Nation in both restoring domestic prosperity and in achieving truth & reconciliation abroad.  Absent such a redirection, the US will not survive in its present form to 2025…in our always humble opinion.  This will require leaders with integrity who place the public interest foremost.

See Also:

Review: The Naked Capitalist

Review: War is a Racket–The Antiwar Classic by America’s Most Decorated Soldier

Review: Open Veins of Latin America–Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent

Review: SAVAGE CAPITALISM AND THE MYTH OF DEMOCRACY–Latin America in the Third Millennium

Review: Killing Hope–U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II-Updated Through 2003

Review: Overthrow–America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq (Hardcover)

NIGHTWATCH Extract: Russia, Venezuela, Economy, Arms

06 Russia, 07 Venezuela, Strategy

Venezuela-Russia: Russia does not plan to cut military-technical cooperation with Venezuela, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said on 15 October Interfax reported. He spoke at a press conference following talks with Venezuelan President Chavez. Medvedev called changes in the economic sphere “very serious and of a tectonic character,” and includes nearly all sectors of mutual interest. This includes real investment, primarily in the energy sector, he said.

Prime Minister Putin announced that Russia has sold 35 tanks to Venezuela. That is enough to equip a Russian-style battalion.

NIGHTWATCH Comment: Chavez justifies a more than $4 billion arms spending spree since 2005 based on the threat of a US attack. He intends to purchase Kilo-class submarines and S-300 air defense missiles. Russia canceled its longstanding contract for similar missiles with Iran. A major concern is that Venezuela will be a conduit for Russian arms to reach Iran because of the closeness of Chavez’ connection with Ahmadi-Nejad in opposing the US.


Phi Beta Iota: What is really important about the above is the Russian reference to “tectonic character” of the economic shift.  Neither the Russians nor the Chinese are stupid, and they will murder, kidnap, and/or torture Wall Street executives and their families if selected “corrections” are not made.  The era of US “empire” is not only over, the irresponsibility of the last eight years has deprived the USA as a whole of a more measured transition.  In Latin America, the USA has disgraced itself and lost a century of opportunity.

See Also:

Journal: $750 Billion Wall Street Scam, Russian Anger, Chinese Intent, We are NOT Making This Up!

Review: Open Veins of Latin America–Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent

Review: SAVAGE CAPITALISM AND THE MYTH OF DEMOCRACY–Latin America in the Third Millennium

Journal: Colombia-Venezuela Denounce Each Other within OAS–US is the Loser, Cuba Spins Up OAS Alternative Without the North

07 Venezuela, 08 Wild Cards, Cultural Intelligence, Government, Military, Peace Intelligence

While the US watches another CNN story on rape, Latin America has been watching CNN Espanol where  the Ambassador of Venezuela to the Organization of American States (OAS), has just delivered a phenomenally detailed, articulate, and persuasive denunciation of the US and its regional allies, particularly Colombia.

Hugo Chavez has then come out, breaking relations with Colombia (with great sadness), while offering Guyana the oil it needs, and calling again for a regional organization, the only thing “missing” in t he Bolivarian reconstitution.  He anticipates that the incoming government of Colombia will restore rational and reasonable relations.

Off to the side, Cuba is re-presenting its proposal for an OAS without the US and Canada–a regional organization that goes beyond UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) to include the Carribean and Central America.

What one notices from the South is that nothing has changed in the US between the Bush and Obama Administrations.  The Ambassadors are the same, the policies (if they can be called policies) are the same, the military mumblings about Hugo Chavez are the same.

Central America Becomes World’s First Landmine-Free Region

02 China, 02 Diplomacy, 03 India, 04 Education, 05 Civil War, 05 Iran, 06 Russia, 07 Health, 07 Other Atrocities, 07 Venezuela, 08 Wild Cards, 10 Security, 10 Transnational Crime, 11 Society, Government, Military, Non-Governmental, Peace Intelligence
Full article

Press Release — Embargoed until 18 June 2010, 9:00 am Managua Time (GMT-7)

Managua, 18 June 2010 — As Nicaragua celebrates completion of its mine clearance activities, Central America becomes the world’s first landmine-free region, said the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) today. North and Central America, from the Arctic Circle to the Colombian border, are now free from the threat of landmines. This success demonstrates that with sustained efforts a mine-free world is possible.

“Communities in the region that suffered from conflict in recent history are now free from the threat of mines and can move on with rebuilding their lives,” said Yassir Chavarría Gutiérrez of the Instituto de Estudios Estratégicos y Políticas Públicas, the ICBL member in Nicaragua. “As Central America emerged from conflict, over a decade of mine clearance served as a regional confidence-building measure and embodied the Mine Ban Treaty’s spirit of openness, transparency, and cooperation.”

Central American governments, the Organization of American States (OAS), and international donors showed significant political will and demonstrated the importance of international cooperation and assistance in mine action.

Of Central America’s seven countries, five used to be mine-affected: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica (the other two being Belize and Panama). All have met their mine clearance obligations under the Mine Ban Treaty, which requires that all known mined areas be cleared within ten years. Nonetheless, residual mine clearance capacity will still be needed in the region, including in Nicaragua, as there are still likely mines in weapons caches or emplaced in unknown areas.

“The job is not done now that all the mines have been cleared. Landmine survivors, their families, and communities require lifelong assistance. Government funding that previously supported clearance should now be channeled to victim assistance initiatives,” said Jesús Martínez, Director of the Fundación Red de Sobrevivientes, the ICBL member in El Salvador, and a mine survivor himself.

is among the world’s states most affected by antipersonnel mines and Chile will likely meet its 2012 treaty-mandatory mine clearance deadline. Ecuador and Peru have made slow progress despite the relatively small amount of land remaining to be cleared, and Venezuela has yet to clear a single mine from six contaminated military bases.

In the past, more than 50 countries have produced antipersonnel mines, both for their own stocks and to supply others. Cheap and easy to make, it was said that producing one antipersonnel mine costs $1, yet once in the ground it can cost more than $1,000 to find and destroy.

As of 2008, 38 nations have stopped production, and global trade has almost halted completely. Unfortunately, 13 countries continue to produce (or have not foresworn the production of) antipersonnel mines. For the latest updates see Landmine Monitor.

Nine of the 13 mine producers are in Asia (Burma, China, India, Nepal, North Korea, South Korea, Pakistan, Singapore, and Vietnam), one in the Middle East (Iran), two in the Americas (Cuba and United States), and one in Europe (Russia).

At the same time some non-state armed groups or rebel groups still produce home-made landmines such as improvised explosive devices.

Full article here

+ Video: Sniffer Rats Take Over Mozambique’s Landmines

23 Worst Tyrants/Dictators (Yes, there’s more than 23) and Oops, there’s Saudi Arabia..

01 Poverty, 02 China, 04 Inter-State Conflict, 05 Civil War, 05 Iran, 06 Genocide, 07 Other Atrocities, 07 Venezuela, 09 Terrorism, 10 Transnational Crime, Civil Society, Corruption, Government, Law Enforcement, Military

The Worst of the Worst


Foreign Policy link

Millions of lives have been lost, economies have collapsed, and whole states have failed under brutal repression. And what has made it worse is that the world is in denial. The end of the Cold War was also supposed to be the “End of History” — when democracy swept the world and repression went the way of the dinosaurs. Instead, Freedom House reports that only 60 percent of the world’s countries are democratic — far more than the 28 percent in 1950, but still not much more than a majority. And many of those aren’t real democracies at all, ruled instead by despots in disguise while the world takes their freedom for granted. As for the rest, they’re just left to languish. Although all dictators are bad in their own way, there’s one insidious aspect of despotism that is most infuriating and galling to me: the disturbing frequency with which many despots, as in Kyrgyzstan, began their careers as erstwhile “freedom fighters” who were supposed to have liberated their people. Back in 2005, Bakiyev rode the crest of the so-called Tulip Revolution to oust the previous dictator. So familiar are Africans with this phenomenon that we have another saying: “We struggle very hard to remove one cockroach from power, and the next rat comes to do the same thing.

1. KIM JONG IL of North Korea (yrs in power: 16) Visa says no info
2. ROBERT MUGABE of Zimbabwe (yrs in power: 30) US embassy
3. THAN SHWE of Burma (yrs in power: 18) US embassy
4. OMAR HASSAN AL-BASHIR of Sudan (yrs in power: 21) US embassy
5. GURBANGULY BERDIMUHAMEDOV of Turkmenistan (yrs in power: 4) US embassy
6. ISAIAS AFWERKI of Eritrea (yrs in power: 17) US embassy
7. ISLAM KARIMOV of Uzbekistan (yrs in power: 20) US embassy
8. MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD of Iran (yrs in power: 5) Iran c/o embassy of Pakistan + Canadian embassy
9. MELES ZENAWI of Ethiopia (yrs in power: 19) US embassy
10. HU JINTAO of China (yrs in power: 7) US embassy
11. MUAMMAR AL-QADDAFI of Libya (yrs in power: 41) US rep
12. BASHAR AL-ASSAD of Syria (yrs in power: 10) US embassy
13. IDRISS DÉBY of Chad (yrs in power: 20) US embassy
14. TEODORO OBIANG NGUEMA MBASOGO of Equatorial Guinea (yrs in power: 31)
15. HOSNI MUBARAK of Egypt (yrs in power: 29) US embassy
16. YAHYA JAMMEH of Gambia (yrs in power: 16) US embassy
17. HUGO CHÁVEZ of Venezuela (yrs in power: 11) US embassy
18. BLAISE COMPAORÉ of Burkina Faso (yrs in power: 23) US embassy
19. YOWERI MUSEVENI of Uganda (yrs in power: 24) US embassy
20. PAUL KAGAME of Rwanda (yrs in power: 10) US embassy
21. RAÚL CASTRO of Cuba (yrs in power: 2) “Cuba interests section”
22. ALEKSANDR LUKASHENKO of Belarus (yrs in power: 16) US embassy
23. PAUL BIYA of Cameroon (yrs in power: 28) US embassy

Comment: We are uncertain why FP stopped at 23, why they list Hugo Chavez over Blaise Compaore’ (who they claim murdered an opponent, while Chavez’ gov was the 1st to respond to the Haiti crisis), and what their view is of Saudi Arabia whose known to fund the notorious Pakistani Intelligence Service (ISI) who are connected to terrorist operations, and Saudi Arabia was well-known to be pro-Taliban and they were recently revealed to be funding terrorism in Iraq. Also check out the History Commons timeline associated with the Saudis and Taliban connection.

Non-genius idea for FP: link information sources that backup your list.

UPDATE: Jan 31, 2011 they added this article America’s Other Most Embarrassing Allies

Handbook: Democide–Internal Murder by Regimes
+ 2004 Palmer (US) Achieving Universal Democracy by Eliminating All Dictators within the Decade
+ Review: Breaking the Real Axis of Evil–How to Oust the World’s Last Dictators by 2025
+ Postcard from Hell: The Failed States Index 2010 (Foreign Policy)

Journal: Cuba Makes Its Move–Hasta La Vista OAS?

07 Venezuela, 08 Wild Cards, Cultural Intelligence, Government, Strategy
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There is no reason why Latin America and the Caribbean should not have their own body of political consensus

Boys on the Beach

Speech by General of the Army Raúl Castro Ruz, president of the Councils of State and Ministers, at the plenary session of the Summit of Latin America and Caribbean Unity, February 23, 2010

The decision that we have just adopted to create the Community pf Latin American and Caribbean States is of great historical significance.

Cuba considers that the conditions are present to rapidly advance toward the constitution of a purely Latin American and Caribbean regional organization, comprising and representing the 33 independent nations of Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Journal: Chavez versus CIA–No Contest

07 Venezuela, Cultural Intelligence, Ethics, Government

Chavez Calls Sentence in CIA’s Online Almanac “A Declaration of War” Against Venezuela

If you’ve ever been curious to know any country’s GDP, literacy rate, languages, etc., at a glance, the CIA’s online World Factbook is the place to start.

And evidently Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been Googling his own country lately, because he’s taken serious issue with the sort of government-issue Wikipedia’s summary description of the South American nation.

From the CIA World Factbook:

“…For most of the first half of the 20th century, Venezuela was ruled by generally benevolent military strongmen, who promoted the oil industry and allowed for some social reforms. Democratically elected governments have held sway since 1959. Hugo CHAVEZ, president since 1999, seeks to implement his “21st Century Socialism,” which purports to alleviate social ills while at the same time attacking globalization and undermining regional stability. Current concerns include: a weakening of democratic institutions, political polarization, a politicized military, drug-related violence along the Colombian border, increasing internal drug consumption, overdependence on the petroleum industry with its price fluctuations, and irresponsible mining operations that are endangering the rain forest and indigenous peoples.”

The text above constitutes, according to Chavez this past week, “a declaration of war.”

Phi Beta Iota: Chavez is right, CIA is wrong.  A World Factbook is not the place for subjective politicized “judgments,” and if one wishes to speak about the Open Veins of Latin America–Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, the CIA should cut its own throat first or to use another metaphor, not throw stones when it lives in a glass house.    CIA is no longer the destructive monster it used to be, but perhaps worse, Clowns in Action or Contractors in Action, take your pick.  CIA should remove the offending words and surprise Venezuela with a printed corrected copy of the book, and a letter of apology–and it can apologize for its last bungled coup attempt while its at it.  Newsflash for CIA:  imperial globalization bad, indigenous self-determination good.  Duh.

See also:

Continue reading “Journal: Chavez versus CIA–No Contest”