Tag Archive: Sudan

Laws are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made: Mercenary Guidelines for a Better World

Guidelines for a Better World

Sausages

Sausages

Laws are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made.  Perhaps I should re-phrase this as:

The Rules of Law and International Diplomacy are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made

It’s a strange world out there.  Two recent political events have brought two previously unlinked ideas to my mind.  The events are:

Wikileaks disclosures
Innocents Killed In Iraq

Innocents Killed In Iraq by US gunship

For the Wikileaks disclosures, I see them as a highly embarrassing thing for those involved, but an empowering thing for us mere mortals who are divorced from the diplomatic process.  Normally, all the guts of the process are hidden.

In the case of the cover-up of the turkey shoot of unarmed civilians by US helicopter crews, it is something of which we should all be aware, no matter how discomforting for us.

In truth, we need better leaders in the West, people of real morals and guts so that we do not have to see the guts of innocents sprayed on the streets ever again to realise how crap the current bunch are.

Mercenary Forces

Mercenary forces I see as a fact of current and historical life, the old colonial powers especially – indeed, the UK has its own dirty hand in this.  For nigh-on 200 years the UK has even had its own full-time mercenaries, the Gurkhas, typically used in near-suicidal conflict situations.  Also, currently, from the standpoint of an Afghan tribesman, the British Army in Afghanistan could be seen as little more than mercenaries in the employ of a puppet king, Hamid Karzai.  For the tribesman, little has changed – there’s money about but he sees none of it whosoever is in charge.

Diplomacy

Click to see Sausage Making process from the inside.

Sausage Making

In the meantime, we have diplomacy.  For the West, this is a world of essentially astute well educated  folk, usually adept in law not technology, that seek to make deals with not-so-nice folk for our own country’s benefit.

 

Because these deals are done at the guttural level, like sausage-making, it’s an unpleasant process to stumble upon – which is exactly what we’ve seen with the Wikileaks Diplomatic Cable exposures.  Naturally we are aghast that such things go on in our name.  For me, it seems to be a wholly unpleasant process in our current world and something I’d wish to eliminate.

Earth in an oil drop

Taking the current crisis in Libya;  for the previous three years the Blair/Brown Labour Government has made overtures with Libya, sold arms and even SAS training, but all with the aim of ensuring Libya kept it’s hands off the nuclear button.  Seems good-ish.  Laudable aims, jaw-jaw nor war-war and all that.

This process, now revealed, is ugly – but no more so than our current Prime Minister Cameron sucking up to some Gulf Arabs who, like Libya, run a similar kind of oligarchic, autocratic, nepotistic state, full of outlandish greed and luxury with no voice for the inhabitants!  Seems pretty bad.  ………   It is bad.  Really bad.  It’s the same process as before, and we only do it because we need their oil.   Forget about Grand Prix cars and World Cup Football – it’s all about the O. I. L.  – OIL.

So What to Do?

Use Oil?  Sell Bullets.

Most of the recent interventions of the West’s (let’s call them wars should we – after all, thousands have died?), have been into countries that maintain a nice, steady flow of oil to us rich, lazy, westerners.  We think nothing of flying the globe or motoring to the shop for a cheap item that has most probably already crossed the globe once on its way from China, so yes, it’s important we can do this, right?…

On the other hand, our presence in places like Sudan, Rwanda or Congo has been notable by our absence.  Millions have brutally died.  (a.k.a. we don’t care as you’ve no oil.)

Meanwhile our presence in places like Nigeria or Bhopal, India has been notable for our poisoning of the local inhabitants without a trace of remorse or compensation by those involved.

Not Use Oil?  Don’t Sell Bullets.

  • Self-sufficient city planned near Seoul

    A Planned Self Sufficient Korean City

    Consider our own little part of the world.  It’s a place that many people in the world aspire to live because we are essentially free and most material things in our lives can be satisfied.

  • Consider how bright and technologically advanced we consider ourselves to be.

Now consider a world where we eliminated our dependency on chicken dictatorships – a world where we used our technological prowess to eliminate the consumption of oil and our addiction to the making and selling of arms, mostly to these self-same oil rich oligarchies. It’d be a world where we, the citizenry,  didn’t have to look on aghast as all our tax money was spent on bribing simple crooks to talk to us nicely.

Surely, like Egypt & Tunisia, those sort of oligarchies would collapse if we stopped buying their oil and stopped selling them our finest weaponry?

And if they didn’t, so what? There’d be no need for us as a nation to be thrown into hypocritical situations and taking ghastly actions for which we’d later be thoroughly ashamed.  Those areas of the world could take their own destinies into their own hands.

Green Shoot Of Peace

Green Shoot Of Peace

And Diplomacy? For us, we should see more not less of the words and processes done in our name.  We are not children and sooner or later, if the diplomats have fucked it up, we’re going to find out anyway, much as we did after WW1, WW2 and anywhere else our sons and brothers get killed in someone else’s war.

  • We need a proper, ethical, foreign policy.
  • We need diplomats of guile and courage, just like now,  to promote it.
  • And really, we really, really, need to be self-sufficient for all our needs and not rely on corrupt tin-pot states that have not left the Middle Ages in outlook.  This single thing is the most important thing for us and the peaceful futures of our immediate descendants.
  • We need a bit of courage to do this – to wean ourselves off this drug-like dependency on crooks of no substance who happen to sit on stuff we just happen to need, now.  Lets use our technological nous and make the current now a thing of the past – like stone axes and bronze swords, historical curiosities.
  • Mercenaries have courage – after all, if caught they’re usually the first one’s strung up.  See Dead Mercenary Taken to Tripoli Morgue, Libia Protests 2011.   But if the mercenaries have a proper home – what then?  There’d just be the few psychos like there’s always been, because you know, most people, even young hotheads, don’t want to wind up in an early grave.

Remember;

Courage is Contagious.

Get the t-shirt!

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Technical Xenophobic BBC Air Crash Reports

Introduction

You may not have noticed the co-incidence yesterday, but an Iranian aircraft crashed and the US Space Shuttle took off.  the co-incidence was in  the strange reporting that envelops such events.

Iranian Crash

Fly home, AF447

Fly home, AF447

This, as air crashes go, was pretty ordinary – something went wrong, it crashed, everyone died.  You’d expect some reasoned discussion, bearing in mind that one of the most modern and newest planes in the sky plummeted into the South Atlantic little over a month ago.

This is what the BBC said about it near the end of the piece:

The plane was built in Russia in 1987.

It was the third deadly crash of a Tupolev Tu-154 in Iran since 2002.

The BBC’s Jon Leyne says Iran’s civil and military air fleets are made up of elderly aircraft, in poor condition due to their age and lack of maintenance.

Since the Islamic revolution of 1979, trade embargoes by Western nations have forced Iran to buy mainly Russian-built planes to supplement an existing fleet of Boeings and other American and European models.

West v East technology

This is all well and good, but the deadly tone with an emphasis on old and/or Russian aircraft makes a bad taste in the mouth, does it not?…  Why?

A.  Because there’s very little technical difference between the Russian and Western aircraft.

challenger

Challenger

Indeed, on the very day that the Shuttle takes off, I’m reminded of the technical superiority of Russian astronautics and space exploration.  While not putting a man on the moon,  they pragmatically put a robot there instead, paving the way for the robots we now have placed on Mars & Venus, etc.

They have a long and distinguished history of space “firsts”…  But the ultimate irony is that the much vaunted Space Shuttle has had very public catastrophic failures in the past and is soon to be retired.  And until the US gets a new launch vehicle, for the next 4-6 years they will be relying on the Russians to put men in space!

Actual Crashes

So much for balance!  The BBC article then continues in a box-out,

IRANIAN PLANE CRASHES

Feb 2006: Tupolev crashes in Tehran, kills 29 people – E
Dec 2005: C-130 military transport plane crashes near Tehran, kills 110 – W
Feb 2003: Iranian military transport plane crashes in south of country, kills all 276 on board – E
Dec 2002: Antonov 140 commuter plane crashes in central Iran, kills all 46 people on board – E
Feb 2002: Tupolev crashes in west Iran, kills all 199 on board – E

Looks bad doesn’t it?

A Russian airliner that crashed near a city in the Urals, killing all 88 people on board, caught fire in mid-air, reports say.  The Boeing-737-500, belonging to a branch of the national airline Aeroflot, was on a flight from Moscow to Perm, near the Ural mountains.   One witness said the blaze lit up the whole sky

A Russian airliner that crashed near a city in the Urals, killing all 88 people on board, caught fire in mid-air, reports say. The Boeing-737-500, belonging to a branch of the national airline Aeroflot, was on a flight from Moscow to Perm, near the Ural mountains. One witness said the blaze lit up the whole sky

Compare and contrast this to this little list of large plane crashes (from the BBC article, but as a link), and count the relative abundance of Eastern versus Western manufactured planes…..

2009

15 July: A Caspian Airlines Tupolev plane crashes in the north of Iran en route to Armenia. All 168 passengers and crew are reported dead. – E

30 June: A Yemeni passenger plane, an Airbus 310, crashes in the Indian Ocean near the Comoros archipelago. Only one of the 153 people on board survives. – W

1 June: An Air France Airbus 330 travelling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashes into the Atlantic with 228 people on board. Search teams later recover some 50 bodies in the ocean. – W

20 May: An Indonesian army C-130 Hercules transport plane crashes into a village on eastern Java, killing at least 97 people. – W

6 April: An Indonesian army Fokker-27 crashes on landing near Bandung, West Java, killing 24 people. – W

25 February: A flight from Istanbul to Amsterdam crashes short of the runway at Schiphol international airport. Of the 135 people on board, nine are killed and at least 50 injured. – W

Forty-nine people were killed when a flight from Newark to Buffalo crashed in Clarence Center, a suburb of Buffalo, in New York state. One person was also killed on the ground.

Forty-nine people were killed when a flight from Newark to Buffalo crashed in Clarence Center, a suburb of Buffalo, in New York state. One person was also killed on the ground.

12 February: A passenger plane crashes into a house in Buffalo, New York, killing all 49 people on board and one person on the ground. – W

8 February: A passenger plane crashes into a river in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, killing 24 people, most of whom were from the same family. – W

2008

14 September: A Boeing-737 crashes on landing near the central Russian city of Perm, killing all 88 passengers and crew members on board. – W

24 August: A passenger plane crashes shortly after take-off from Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, killing 68 people.- W

20 August: A Spanair plane veers off the runway on take-off at Madrid’s Barajas airport, killing 154 people and injuring 18.- W

Wreckage of the Spanair MD82, 21 August 2008 [Pic: EFE]

Three days of mourning was declared after the Madrid air disaster

2 May: South Sudan’s defence minister is among 22 people killed after engine trouble causes a plane carrying a military delegation to crash about 400km (250 miles) west of Juba. -N/A

15 April: Some 40 people die when a DC-9 skids off the runway while attempting to take off in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo city of Goma during heavy rain, smashing through a wall and into a busy residential area.- W

24 January: Nineteen people die when a Polish Casa C-295M military transport plane crashes in the country’s north-west, carrying officials who had attended an air safety conference.- W

Conclusion

For 2008 to 2009, I make the totals, as reported by the BBC, 1 unknown, 12 (W)estern manufacture, 1 (E)astern manufacture.

Now do you see the technological xenophobia that I’m talking about?

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Georgia: Disaster looms for the West while it Watches the East

People in the town of Gori, close to Tskhinvali, studied lists of the wounded to find the names of friends and family.

If the nation is destroyed and people’s homes are wiped out, then where can one flee for safety? If you care anything about your personal security, you should first of all pray for order and tranquillity throughout the four quarters of the land, should you not? – Nichiren Daishonin / On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land – WND1, page 24

In a previous post here I warned about the impending chaos in Georgia.  Now the walls are shaking, the ground is trembling and the people are quaking under the onslaught of modern weaponry from both sides.

So is it about tanks and guns and independence and freedom?  Possibly.

How will it affect the West, and thus the rest of the world?

_44905628_d9867d03_6f68_44f7_ad3d_43ffc98647fe_1_

Two tanks burn after being hit in the fierce fighting in the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia, where Georgian troops have been attempting to regain control from rebels.

In this Times article,  they say,

More than a thousand civilians were reported to have been killed and large parts of Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, were reduced to ruins as a conflict with potentially global repercussions erupted after months of rising tension (…)  Georgia has said that it was withdrawing half of its 2,000 troops from Iraq as it ordered an all-out military mobilisation.

The country is the West’s strongest ally in the region (…) and a vital conduit for Western oil and gas supplies from Central Asia.(my emphasis)

Georgia lies at the heart of the Caucasus, a volatile region through which through oil and gas flow from Asia to Europe. The conflict has been exacerbated by the race for control over the pipelines in the Caspian region (Riza Ozel/AFP/Getty Images)

This pipeline is one of many running through the area.

The fact that an increasingly belligerent Russia, striving to prove itself as a major power again after a decade or so in the doldrums, may control the taps on the pipelines supplying the West, isn’t the immediate problem.

The fact that supplies can be interrupted at any moment is the problem.

Because when a major source of energy is broken, prices increase to reflect the reduced supply.

So the West and the rest of the World, China, India, Japan etc will all have to argue and pay more for their fuel.

This could be the trigger the economists have been waiting for to tip the world into a depression.

And we are all captivated, looking East at the Olympics, while an ethnic, political and economic crisis with potential effects much worse than those in Kosovo, Ruanda or Sudan, develops like an infected boil on the back of the neck of a beautiful woman.

Bizarrely, for China and America who have been so worried about who’s thunder might drown out the other’s trumpeting over the last few months, may find that this conflict might escalate to overshadow the human rights abuses of both countries or the self-publicity machine that is the Olympics.

The Olympics might just become a side show on a much wider stage.  Which would be sad.

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