Shadow Globalization – Bazaars of Violence

Andrew’s Note: Today we return to our crystal ball…or at least the closest thing that the Department of Defense (DOD) has to it…namely the Joint Operating Environment (JOE) 2010. The JOE is the DOD’s keystone document used to project the world in which it will operate up to 25 years into the future.  As I’ve mentioned previously, it’s a sobering read for the prepper and likely to turn the non-prepper into one.  The following is excerpted from PART IV: THE IMPLICATIONS FOR THE JOINT FORCE, War in the 21st Century.  Links have been inserted by me to provide additional reading for context.  Read on to learn what the Department of Defense thinks about Shadow Globalization: “Bazaars of Violence”:

Shadow Globalization: “Bazaars of Violence”

The globalization of trade, finance, and human travel across international boundaries in the commercial world has an analogous dark side as well.  Criminal and terrorist networks are intermingling to construct their own “shadow globalization,” building micro markets, and trade and financial networks that will enable them to coordinate nefarious activities on a global scale. The ubiquity and ease of access to these markets outside of legal structures attract shadow financing from a much larger pool, irrespective of geography.  In these markets, rates of innovation in tactics, capabilities, and information sharing will accelerate and will enable virtual organizational structures that quickly coalesce, plan, attack, and dissolve.  As they grow, these markets will allow adversaries to generate attacks at a higher level of rapidity and sophistication beyond law enforcement’s capability to interdict. For example, we have seen Somali pirates hiring indigenous spotters to identify ships leaving foreign harbors as prime targets for hijackings. We should expect shadow globalization to encourage this outsourcing of criminality to interface increasingly with insurgencies, such that actors in local conflicts will impact on a global scale, with perhaps hundreds of groups and thousands of participants.

The line between insurgency and organized crime will likely continue to blur. This convergence can already be seen in the connections between the FARC and cocaine trafficking, MEND and stolen oil, and the Taliban and opium production. This convergence means that funding for violent conflicts will interplay and abet the growth of global gray and black markets. The current size of these markets is already $2-3 trillion and is growing faster than legal commercial trade; it has the potential to equal a third of global GDP by 2020.    (more…)

The Prince of Sealand is Dead, Long Live the Prince

Even though I don’t have the financial resources to participate in the micro-nation or sovereignty movements I’ve followed the attempts and developments with interest for several years.  This week those movements lost their most successful practitioner and one of the founding fathers monarchs; Prince Roy, born Paddy Roy Bates of The Principality of Sealand.  For his love of liberty, contributions to both the sovereignty and micro-nation movements and entrepreneurial spirit we induct Prince Roy into Prepography’s Virtual Wall of Honor.  The Prince of Sealand is Dead, Long Live the Prince (Roy’s son, Prince Michael).

We’ve mentioned Sealand briefly before in our article on another budding micro-nation but Sealand is both the most successful and the most micro of micro-nations…the history of Sealand is really Prince Roy’s story as well.

Before founding and becoming the Prince of Sealand on several abandoned World War II anti-aircraft platforms in the North Sea, Prince Roy had already

  • Fought in the Spanish Civil War as a volunteer at age 15 in the International Brigade
  • Fought his way throughAfrica, theMiddle EastandItalyin World War II
  • Survived a plane crash and being taken as a prisoner of war (POW) where he narrowly escaped execution by firing squad
  • Been promoted to Major in the British Army as an Infantry Officer
  • Numerous war wounds including a grenade explosion
  • Established and run several businesses
  • Founded a ‘Pirate’ Radio station named Radio Essex to broadcast Rock & Roll music to Great Britain during the years it was banned in the 1960’s

(more…)

News to Know

Situational awareness is a key element of survival and today, situational awareness must be global.  Today we present news to know from the past week with a dab of commentary:

Security Threat News:

DHS Admits It Is Unprepared for EMP Threat:  The Department of Homeland Security says that our electrical grid is even more vulnerable to an Electromagnetic Pulse attack than we were a few years ago.

Al-Qaeda blamed for Europe-wide forest fires:  If true, Al-Qaeda has found an extremely efficient and low risk way damage Western society.

‘Killing Is The Solution,’ Gang Member Tells Walter Jacobson:  A disturbing look inside the thought process of a street gang member.  Give some thought to what’s between your family and people like this…then take appropriate steps.

Communication News:

Britain in talks on cybersecurity hotline with China and Russia:  In all the old movies the nuclear hotline phones are red…what color will the cyberhotline phone be…hope it’s not an IP phone.

Financial News: (more…)

News to Know

Situational awareness is a key element of survival and today, situational awareness must be global.  Today we present news to know from the past week with a dab of commentary:

News that could be ripped from the pages of an Ian Fleming Novel:

Security Threat News:

Gault’s Gulch, the Micro-Nation and Honduras

There have been a number of attempts in the last few decades to create micro-nations by those who desire more freedom and less taxation than is currently available in more established nations.  The most successful and famous of these is the Principality of Sealand…although Sealand was only mildly economically successful before its devastating fire several years back.  Sealand’s success was largely in the form of cyber-freedom after the entire ‘country’ (built on a group of World War II anti-aircraft platforms in international waters off the coast of England) was turned into a server farm.  Not so much as a Gault’s Gulch as a steel decked Gault’s Island.

In recent years the proposed creation of micro-nations has moved from maritime endeavors (no unclaimed land left and floating cities have never caught on) to semi-autonomous city states within established nations.  Not micro-nations in the true sense but these economic enclaves provide many of the same benefits without the drawbacks associated with maritime endeavors.  There are even successful models (of a sort) by comparing the economic engines of Hong Kong and Macau ‘Special Administrative Districts’ to the rest of China. (more…)

Tomorrow When The War Began – A Review

I actually started Tomorrow When the War Began as a book a few years ago and it was just a little too ‘Judy Bloom’ for me.  I have no issues with an inner monologue, but John Marsden’s running dialog straight from his main character’s (a teenage girl) head was a little much for me.  I just looked the author up…a guy wrote that book?  Anyway, I get my more than my share of teenage angst with all the teen girls in my family…so I never finished the book.  However, I still thought that it sounded like a great story if I could get past all the inner monologue and straight to the story.

The story itself sounded like an Australian Red Dawn…and I liked the movie Red Dawn.  Did I mention that Tomorrow When the War Began is a juvenile novel…so are many of Heinlein’s greats so I don’t prejudge…wish I had with the book though.  The book is actually the first of the very popular ‘Tomorrow’ series.

So…back to Tomorrow When the War Began, the movie…even though the book wasn’t for me, I was still interested in the story line so when Tomorrow When The War Began came out on Netflix I jumped at the chance to watch it.  The movie is a beautifully filmed and well acted Australian production about a group of Australian teens that go camping and return home to discover that an unnamed military force has invaded Australia and taken all their families hostage.

[MINOR SPOILERS ALERT] (more…)

The Drums of War, Israel, Iran and the Logistics of Oil

The Drums of War…the most strategic piece of oil real estate in the world is being threatened and our leaders believe that Iran has the capability to block the strait of Hormuz.  I believe it’s just a matter of time before the Judeo-Persian War.  Iranian leaders have stated that they will wipe Israel from the face of the map, Israeli leaders have said they won’t tolerate a nuclear Iran…at this point it’s just a question of who will strike first.

If you’re an Ian Fleming fan read a little about the what’s been happening to Iran’s dwindling pool of nuclear scientists in recent years…the spymaster himself couldn’t have come up with more interesting plot devices including limpet mine attacks on cars…hmm, wonder who’s behind that? (more…)

Today’s Top 10 Prepping Motivators

September is Preparedness Month.  Here are 10 headlines from the past few days on diverse topics to help keep you focused on your prepping:

  1. Yosemite doubles scope of hantavirus warning to 22,000; third death confirmed:  Many diseases including hantavirus can be prevented through proper pest control and sanitation (personal and environmental).  Stock what you need and know what to do.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) information on preventing hantavirus can be found here.
  2. Drug shortages down overall, but some linger longer:  Stocking the medicines your family needs to stay healthy is important for both mundane ‘drug shortages’ as well as societal upsets that could potentially break down the medical or drug distribution systems.  Make sure you stockpile legally by talking with your doctor or hiring a new one like Dr. Bob Olson.  Until recently Dr. Olson conducted his consultations by telephone to help preppers safely and knowledgeably stockpile critical medications.  The State of Missouri actually changed its law to close down Dr. Olson’s tele-practice.  You can still visit him in person or find a like-minded medical provider in your area.
  3. Rescuers told to keep at it after China quake kills 80:  Nature’s fury can strike anywhere at any time.  Keep on prepping and if you want to see a map showing 2.5 Magnitude or greater quakes for the last week…check out this map at the U.S. Geological Survey (as of this writing the earthquake map looks a lot like the Pacific’s Ring of Fire…it usually does).
  4. Yet another pig flu virus infects peopleZoonotic diseases (capable of cross species transmission) aren’t just creepy…they’re also scary because of their ability to mutate.  We wrote about this particular flu strain earlier this summer in Beware the Fair. (more…)

The Pentagon’s New Map – A Critique

Andrew’s Note:  I have seen our national dialog once again turn to and contemplate military intervention in the Middle East.  This time it’s Syria (I’ll leave Iran for another day as it actually poses a threat to the U.S. through its pursuit of and stated policy of intending to use Weapons of Mass Destruction).  Last year I wrote a critique of one of the foundational articles used to justify our military intervention in Iraq.  I am an Iraq war veteran and am proud of my service and our military forces, but I think that Dr. Thomas Barnett’s article, “The Pentagon’s New Map” attempts to rationalize a particularly dangerous collection of ideas.  I encourage you to decide for yourself if policing the world is the appropriate use of our power.  Dr. Barnett expanded on the ideas presented in this article and published a book of the same title…my critique only addresses the original article from Esquire magazine.  Here is that critique:

Dr. Thomas Barnett states in his 2003 article “The Pentagon’s New Map” that countries and regions of the world that are disconnected from the benefits of globalization represent a significant danger to the United States and other globalized nations.  He proposes that we should globalize those “Non-Integrating Gap or Gap” nations at the point of a gun if necessary when he states that we must “begin the systematic, long-term exportation of security.”  Barnett’s goal of “shrinking the Gap” by further integrating the world’s backwaters and rogue nations into a productive community of nations is laudable and would undoubtedly improve security and prosperity.  However, the scope and mechanisms Barnett proposes to achieve worldwide globalism and a stable security environment is simply not affordable. (more…)

Tax the Rich to Avoid Social Unrest?

Britain which has seen an influx of wealthy European Union migrants in recent months who are fleeing excessive taxation on the continent (France has proposed up to a 75% rate) have found a way to welcome their wealthy, fellow Europeans…tax the rich!

As part of the global push to tax the rich, Britain is now debating an “emergency” wealth tax. But the idea has hit fierce opposition from conservatives, who say the “politics of envy” hasn’t made the country rich.

Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal-Democrat Party, has proposed a one-time tax on the wealth (rather than the incomes) of high-net-worth Britons. The details aren’t clear, but Clegg says the country is facing an economic war caused by a prolonged recession, and needs to tax the rich in order to avoid social unrest.

via ‘Emergency’ Tax on the Rich Roils Britain – U.S. Business News – CNBC.

A one time tax on wealth sounds remarkably like something else to me…at least a thief won’t tell you that he’s taking your hard earned assets for your own good. (more…)

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