Monday, November 26, 2007

On casualties of the militarized race for oil

At first, I read Swedish Construction as Sexism in Ecuador as "just" another sad story about prostitution. But within it is the story about casualties of the militarized race for our remaining non-renewable energy resources; in this case Ecuadorean women and girls.

Skanska, with the operational responsibility of 5,000 oil wells in Latin America, is raping the earth as well as the women of the region. [...] Oil companies like Texaco and Shell arrived in the Amazon region of Ecuador in the 1950s, and with the help of the military they stole indigenous lands. The region is now constantly militarized and the military has repeatedly been deployed against the local population during demonstrations. [...] The role of the military in the oil state of Ecuador is clear – it is under direct order of the oil companies. The local population is forced to pass the oil companies’ military check points in their own villages, and outsiders must seek permission from the companies to visit the areas, and must state their relation to the company while travelling. [...] Prostitution is further institutionalized in the Ecuadorian military since all military personnel receive a ticket to buy sex from one of the military’s own sex workers. The women mainly come from the coast to live on the military base while they work there. Each month, an obligatory five dollars is deducted for prostitution from each military’s $100 salary. The militarization of indigenous territory has also led to the military raping local women.

Absolutely insane. Prostitution is one of barbarianism's fingerprints, and the oil industry is increasingly looking like a war party.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Nature: Is this what the world's coming to?

With climate change placing increasing pressure on environmental resources, it is now being viewed as a threat to national security.

History is littered with lessons from once-budding civilizations that crashed from their peak of prosperity. From the Anasazi of the southwestern United States to the Mayans of Mesoamerica1 and the ancient dynasties of eastern China2, environmental change has sounded the death knell throughout time for once-thriving civilizations already stressed by factors including high population growth, overexploitation of resources and excessive reliance on external trade. In many cases, severe drought or extreme cold has been enough to push societies to the brink of civil unrest, mass migration and warfare.

Meta note: Although I check out every now and then (continuously with RSS, of course) Dr. Saleem H. Ali got to it first and indirectly notified me by posting it to his blog at which I also subscribe to. Web 2.0 galore.

Monday, November 19, 2007

"We may well see warfare erupt, and it should not be that big a surprise"

"Our basic model is that deviations in temperature can hamper crop production. [...] We found that anecdotes [of climate changes leading to conflict] seem to fit a broader pattern."

This is a global follow up to the recent Chinese study linking changes in climate to conflicts. Hopefully soon to turn up for free from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, but for now New Scientist has this story.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

'Geneva Convention' needed to protect environment from war

"Although some positive outcomes can occur, such as when a vacated area becomes enriched with wildlife and vegetation, this is weighed against the destruction of social networks, systematic atrocities and the collapse of workable government. Future success after the conflict period may rely on natural resources and their careful management. Safeguarding natural resources in a conflict zone during the conflict itself makes sound social and economic sense for future stability."
- Dr Richard Pagett

"We also need to acknowledge that fighting occurs where resources are scarce due to over population, meaning we need sensible population policies. We must treat the environment and each other with more respect."
- Nick Reeves, CIWEM

Actually, the Geneva Conventions already does address the environment:

Methods or means of warfare that are intended or may be expected to case widespread, long-term and severe damage to the environment are prohibited.
- (Protocol I, Art. 35, Sec. 3)

Attacks against crops, livestock and agricultural areas needed for food production for the civilian population are prohibited. [...] Attacks against civilian drinking water installation and irrigation works are prohibited.
- ( Protocol I, Art. 54 , Sec. 2)

(Quotes from

Monday, November 05, 2007

“The Age of Consequences”

AP / Climate Affects Security
Climate change could be one of the greatest national security challenges ever faced by U.S. policy makers, according to a new joint study by two U.S. think tanks.

Center For American Progress: Global Warning - The Security Challenges of Climate Change (press release)
During the course of the past year, a high-level working group of foreign policy experts, climate scientists, historians, and other specialists has met regularly to investigate the national security and foreign policy implications of climate change. Many of the key findings of this task force, which was directed by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Center for a New American Security, are presented in the new report.


  • Intensifying intra- and inter-state competition for food, water, and other resources, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa.

  • Heightened risk of state failure and regional conflagration.

  • Increased U.S. border stress due to the severe effects of climate change in parts of Mexico and the Caribbean.

  • Strain on the capacity of the United States—and in particular the U.S. military—to act as a “first responder” to international disasters and humanitarian crises due to their increased frequency, complexity, and danger.

  • Growing demand for international institutions to play new and expanded roles in the management of refugee crises and in providing forums for the negotiation of climate agreements.

A War Game Supposes Scarce and Risky Oil

New York Times report from a role-playing game about US national security and oil dependency. Roles played by former White House staff.

The military advisers urged redeployment of the bulk of America’s naval and air power to the Persian Gulf in anticipation of war, and urged reinstatement of the draft for young men and women.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Australian man killed in water-rage attack

A man has been charged with murder in Australia after an elderly man who was watering his garden was bashed to death in an apparent case of suburban water-rage.

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