Posts filed under ‘Iraqi Civil War’

Global Corruption Index

Global Corruption Survey Results
Mike Cohen, PNC Correspondent 27.SEP.07
9:39 a.m. Transparency International, the global international anti-corruption ‘watchdog,’ released its latest findings today in Germany. “The 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index looks at perceptions of public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories – the greatest country coverage of any CPI to date – and is a composite index that draws on 14 expert opinion surveys.”

The yearly report, is used as a baseline by business in trade and investments as guide to global corruption, the report, “scores countries on a scale from zero to ten, with zero indicating high levels of perceived corruption and ten indicating low levels of perceived corruption.”

This years survey shows, “A strong correlation between corruption and poverty continues to be evident. Forty percent of those scoring below three, indicating that corruption is perceived as rampant, are classified by the World Bank as low income countries.”

The report goes on to say some countries are falling further behind. “Somalia and Myanmar share the lowest score of 1.4, while Denmark has edged up to share the top score of 9.4 with perennial high-fliers Finland and New Zealand.”

Global corruption scale:

Scores are significantly higher in several African countries in the 2007 CPI. These include Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa and Swaziland. These results reflect the positive progress of anti-corruption efforts in Africa and show that genuine political will and reform can lower perceived levels of corruption.

Other countries with a significant improvement include Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Dominica, Italy, FYR Macedonia, Romania and Suriname. Countries with a significant worsening in perceived levels of corruption in 2007 include Austria, Bahrain, Belize, Bhutan, Jordan, Laos, Macao, Malta, Mauritius, Oman, Papua New Guinea and Thailand.

Eastern Europe improving war zones problematic:

The concentration of gainers in South East and Eastern Europe testifies to the galvanising effect of the European Union accession process on the fight against corruption.

The concentration of gainers in South East and Eastern Europe testifies to the galvanizing effect of the European Union accession process on the fight against corruption.

At the same time, deeply troubled states such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar, Somalia, and Sudan remain at the very bottom of the index. “Countries torn apart by conflict pay a huge toll in their capacity to govern. With public institutions crippled or non-existent, mercenary individuals help themselves to public resources and corruption thrives,” said Labelle. The divide in perceived levels of corruption in rich and poor countries remains as sharp as ever, according to the 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), released today by Transparency International, the global coalition against corruption. Developed and developing countries must share responsibility for reducing corruption, in tackling both the supply and demand sides.

Executive overview:

“Despite some gains, corruption remains an enormous drain on resources sorely needed for education, health and infrastructure,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International. “Low scoring countries need to take these results seriously and act now to strengthen accountability in public institutions. But action from top scoring countries is just as important, particularly in cracking down on corrupt activity in the private sector.”

* Developing countries should use aid money to strengthen their governance institutions, guided by national assessments and development strategies, and to incorporate strengthened integrity and corruption prevention as an integral part of poverty reduction programs.

* Judicial independence, integrity and accountability must be enhanced to improve the credibility of justice systems in poorer countries. Not only must judicial proceedings be freed of political influence, judges themselves must be subject to disciplinary rules, limited immunity and a code of judicial conduct to help ensure that justice is served. A clean and capable judiciary is essential if developing countries are to manage requests for assistance in the recovery of stolen assets from abroad.

* Governments must introduce anti-money laundering measures to eradicate safe havens for stolen assets, as prescribed by the UNCAC. Leading banking centers should explore the development of uniform expedited procedures for the identification, freezing and repatriation of the proceeds of corruption. Clear escrow provisions for disputed funds are essential.

* Wealthy countries must regulate their financial centers more strictly. Focusing on the roles of trusts, demanding knowledge of beneficial ownership and strengthening anti-money laundering provisions are just a few of the ways that rich governments can tackle the facilitators of corruption.

* The world’s wealthiest governments must strictly enforce the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, which criminalizes the bribery of foreign public officials. Lack of compliance with the convention’s provisions continues to hinder corruption investigations and prosecutions.

* The boards of multinational companies must not only introduce but implement effective anti-bribery codes, and ensure that they are adhered to by subsidiaries and foreign offices.

Click here to read the entire report

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September 27, 2007 at 12:48 pm Leave a comment

Tacurong blast – reports say JI behind bombing

Police in the Philippines think a earlier attempt to bomb a police station on April -and – The suspect they have in that failed attack on a Police Station is behind todays bombing of a billard hall at the Tucurong City market

Police are hunting down is id ntified as Edris Sabal for the failed bombing. Sabal is suspected of having links to the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists from Indonesia led by Umar Patek and Dulmatin – both men are on the US governments most wanted terrorist lists.

Today’s bombing followed the discovery of another explosive in Banga, South Cotabato on Friday.

As well as a Bomb being dellivered exploding on a motorcycle as would be bombers tried to transport it. two men were killed in the blast.

The blast Tuesday comes six days before the Philippine midterm elections and two weeks after the US, UK, and Austalian embassies in Manila warned its citizens to avoid going to public areas in Mindanao after it received information of an imminent terrorist threat.

JI terrorists, politics could be behind Tacurong blast – report
GMA news.tv, Philippines – Meanwhile, as of 9:30 pm Tuesday, there had been no travel advisory from foreign embassies in the Philippines due to the blast. – GMANews.TV.

» (Update) Bomb blast kills 4, injures over 30 others

» AFP: 3 dead, 30 hurt in Tacurong explosion

Tacurong has been targeted by bomb attacks in recent years,

In January 2003, eight people were killed while 33 others, two of them children, were critically wounded after an unidentified man hurled a grenade at the city’s plaza filled with New Year revelers. Two months later, another blast in Tacurong killed a man and wounded two others. In October 2006, two people died and at least four people were injured when a bomb went off at a public market in the city.

Five killed in bomb attack in southern Philippines Reuters AlertNet
At least three dead in bomb blast in southern Philippines (Roundup) Monsters and Critics.com
Five Killed in Bomb Attack in Southern Philippines Javno.hr
all 19 news articles »

It is known as part of area called the ‘classroom’ by counter terrorism experts in Asia. A majority Christian city that was built on the outskirts of large American agribusiness plantations of Dole and Del Monte – aside from successful bomb attempts over 70 foiled attempts have been foiled and items recovered show a roadmap of bomb making that reaches Iraq, Afghanistan, and, Indonesia – based – on bomb designs. A large number of IED R&D design work is done in the area which is about a two hour drive from a major rebel conflict zone.
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May 9, 2007 at 12:18 am Leave a comment

Global Terrorism: Attacks increase 25% – 20,498 killed in 2006

In a report by the US Department of State to the US congress has revealed that terrorism has increased over 25% year on year and fatalities have increased by forty per cent.

The figures put into perspective the figures and deaths that while often inder reproted in media there i a major conflict on at World War Level that many in media often chose to ignore. Some 74,543 civilians were targeted.

[]”… In the annual report to Congress includes analysis from the National Counterterrorism Center, a U.S. intelligence clearinghouse, which found only a slight increase in the overall number of civilians killed, injured or kidnapped by terrorists in 2006. But the attacks were more frequent and deadlier, with a 25 percent jump in the number of terrorist attacks and a 40 percent increase in civilian fatalities from the previous year.

In 2006, NCTC reported, there were a total of 14,338 terrorist attacks around the world. These attacks targeted 74,543 civilians and resulted in 20,498 deaths. …”[]

Iraq: Center of global terrorism action 

The report clearly shows that the center of the attacks is Iraq: ” Violence in Iraq accounted for 45 percent of the overall attacks counted by NCTC and 65 percent of worldwide terrorism deaths.  Terrorist incidents in Iraq nearly doubled from 3,468 in 2005 to 6,630 in 2006. ”

It went on further to say : “Although kidnappings declined by 50 percent internationally, Iraq experienced a 300 percent increase, according to NCTC.” an indication as shown by experience here in the Philippines that KFR and terrorism are linked. Kidnapping for Ransom is often used by terror groups and in some cases insurgents as means to both ensure community ‘cooperation’ and also a means to raise revenue.

The Philippines: ” the ‘Success’ story in war vs. terror’

The 2006 US State Department global report on counter terrorism praises  the country  citing “‘the Philippines” as among others in the region who are, ” playing leading roles in confronting threats from groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf.”

[] ” Philippines
The Philippines, one of the earliest supporters of the War on Terror, continued its bilateral and multilateral counterterrorism efforts. In August, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) launched “Operation Ultimatum”, a concerted effort to capture or kill the top Jemaah Islamiya (JI) and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) operatives on Jolo Island in the South. The operation has been highly successful to date as a number of ASG and JI members have been captured or killed since its inception. Philippine forces recently eliminated both Khadaffy Janjalani, the nominal leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group, and ASG spokesperson, Abu Solaiman. Operation Ultimatum is one feature of a U.S.- assisted strategy to strengthen the rule of law in the Sulu archipelago. Joint U.S.-Philippines military exercises know as “Balikatan” supported the Philippine government’s campaign to separate terrorists from the general population and diminish support for their cause. The Antiterrorism Task Force arrested, captured, or killed 88 suspected terrorists, and seized over 900 kilograms of explosive materials. Philippine authorities also made some progress in tracking, blocking, and seizing terrorists’ assets.

Despite some successes, major evidentiary and procedural obstacles in the Philippines continued to hinder the building of effective terrorism cases. A large and growing case backlog and the absence of consistent trials against terrorists were impediments to the prosecution of suspected terrorists. Despite plans dating back to 2001, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had yet to introduce a digitized, machine-readable passport. While the Philippines cooperated with U.S. requests for prosecutions for persons who had tampered or altered travel documents, the prosecutions carried low-level penalties for those convicted of such fraud. In addition, there was a reluctance to investigate or charge vendors or users of false documents. Under current Philippine law, the suspect must present the fraudulent document to a Philippine government authority in order for a crime to have been committed. At year’s end, a counterterrorism bill approved in April by the House of Representatives remained in the Senate.

The Philippines experienced 93 bombings, ranging from improvised explosive devices and grenades to landmines, including:

  • In February, the bombing of a karaoke bar located near a Philippine military base in Jolo left one dead and 22 injured.
  • In March, a bomb exploded at the Sulu Consumers Cooperative in Jolo killing nine people and injuring 20.
  • In June, a roadside bombing in Shariff Aguak killed three people and injured eight.
  • In August, two bombs exploded almost simultaneously in Kidapawan City injuring three people.
  • In September, a bomb exploded at a public market in General Santos City killing two people and injuring six.
  • In October, a bomb exploded near the headquarters of the Sulu Philippine National Police in Jolo injuring two persons.
  • In a separate October attack, three bombs exploded in Tacurong, Sultan Kudurat; Makilala, North Cotabato; and Cotabato City killing eight people and injuring over 30.

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) was empowered by the Philippines Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 (AMLA), as amended in 2003, to investigate and prosecute money laundering. The AMLC is the lead agency responsible for implementing the asset freeze measures called for by the UN Security Council 1267 Sanctions Committee. Under current law, however, the AMLC cannot take direct action against suspected terrorists or those supporting terrorism, but must apply for a court order to inquire into bank accounts and direct the freezing of assets and transactions. The AMLC sometimes needed several months to issue the relevant resolution to the Court of Appeals after receiving information about a newly-listed terrorist entity and circulating it to the financial institutions. The AMLC has 91 cases pending in various stages with the courts, including 34 for money laundering, 24 for civil forfeiture, and the rest pertaining to freeze orders and bank inquiries. The slow judicial process hindered efforts by the AMLC to see these cases through to conclusion; a trial can take up to seven years to complete. In April, a bilateral U.S.-Philippines Security Engagement Board (SEB) was inaugurated to address non-traditional security issues, including counterterrorism and maritime security. The SEB set the stage for the “Kapid Bisig” (Shoulder-to-Shoulder) counterterrorism framework that focused on civil affairs, capability upgrades, and support for AFP operations. The United States assisted the Philippines in establishing an interagency intelligence fusion center in Zamboanga City to support both maritime interdictions against transnational criminal/terrorist organizations, and the “coast watch” system in Mindanao, established with Australian assistance. ” []

AFGHANISTAN & South Asia attacks up: 

The report also found a 50 percent increase in terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, from 491 incidents in 2005 to 749 in 2006. To defeat the resurgent threat, the report urges the international community deliver promised assistance and continue working with Afghans to build counterinsurgency capabilities, ensure legitimate and effective governance and counter a surge in narcotics cultivation.

” NCTC reported that the majority of terrorist attacks remain centered in the Middle East and South Asia, but noted that overall attacks in South Asia declined by 10 percent. ” so says the State department press release.

Child victims of attacks increase 80% increase in casualties:

Children were increasingly the victims of terrorism in 2006, with 1,800 killed or injured in attacks, an 80 percent increase from the previous year.  As in 2005, government officials, teachers and journalists remain the leading professionals targeted by terrorists, according to the report.

VENEZUELA: Hugo Chavez: possible state Sponsor?

The report also claims that Venezuela’s leader may be seen as major figure in state sponsored terrorism soon, ” President Hugo Chavez has strengthened ties with Cuba and Iran and has allowed terrorist groups and drug traffickers from neighboring Colombia to cross its borders.  ” says US State Department in its press release.

However looking over the report at length it did cite the cooperation of Venezuelan police in protecting the US Embassy. ” An individual claiming to be a member of an Islamic extremist group in Venezuela placed two pipe bombs outside the American Embassy in Caracas on October 23.” But went on to say, ” Venezuelan police safely disposed of the two pipe bombs and immediately made one arrest.”

The report also cited that. “The investigation by Venezuelan authorities resulted in the additional arrest of the alleged ideological leader of the group. At year’s end, both suspects remained in jail and prosecutors were pressing terrorism charges against them.” yet in other  areas of ideological  conflict Venezuela  still supports or so the US State Department report says – Narco Terrorism and leftist rebel groups who have engaged in terror attacks versus Americans and American companies.

[] “… President Hugo Chavez persisted in public criticism of U.S. counterterrorism efforts, deepened Venezuelan relationships with Iran and Cuba, and was unwilling to prevent Venezuelan territory from being used as a safe haven by the FARC and ELN, effectively flouting UN Security Council Resolutions 1373 and 1540, which form part of the legal basis of international counterterrorism efforts.

Chavez’ ideological sympathy for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) limited Venezuelan cooperation with Colombia in combating terrorism. FARC and ELN units often crossed into Venezuelan territory to rest and regroup with relative impunity. Splinter groups of the FARC and another designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, the United Self- Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), operated in various parts of Venezuela and were involved in narcotrafficking.

It remained unclear to what extent the Venezuelan government provided material support to Colombian terrorists. However, limited amounts of weapons and ammunition — some from official Venezuelan stocks and facilities — have turned up in the hands of Colombian terrorist organizations. The Venezuelan government did not systematically police the 1,400-mile Venezuelan-Colombian border to prevent the movement of groups of armed terrorists or to interdict arms or the flow of narcotics.”[]

The full text of Country Reports on Terrorism 2006 is available on the State Department Web site.

May 1, 2007 at 7:01 am Leave a comment

Sulu: renewed fighting threatens peace efforts

Renewed fighting in the southern Philippines has raised tension anew in many parts of Mindanao’s Sulu province where the Military has renewed efforts to crush group’s attempting to derail the peace process and also provide aid and shelter to members of Jemaah Islamiah and the abu sayyaf.

Caught in the crossfire are rebels believed to be causing problems in some areas.

press release;

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza has described as “unfortunate” the recent renewed skirmishes in Sulu between the military and some elements of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) headed by renegade Ustadz Habier Malik.

Dureza said the military action was not directed at the MNLF as a whole but only against the group of Malik, who was responsible for a series of attacks on Panamao town where there were several civilian casualties and private properties destroyed.

The peace adviser said he is confident most MNLF elements in other parts of Mindanao, who now live peaceful and productive lives, will not condone the violent acts of Malik.

He disclosed that a few days prior to the attack by Malik, some channels were opened hoping to convince Malik not to pursue his announced plans of launching an attack. Even the military forces in Sulu were asked to take only defensive action at that time, he stressed.

Dureza urged Malik and his group to stop the violence. At the same time, he called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to exercise “due restraint” and be mindful of the adverse effects on the civilians whenever military operations take place.

He likewise called on the local goverments and the national agencies to immediately respond to the plight of the evacuees and the affected families.

The government signed a final peace agreement with the MNLF in 1996 and has since worked with various organizations, including the donor community to improve the lives of the former combatants in areas affected by conflicts.

April 16, 2007 at 3:59 am Leave a comment

The Apple Irack

Good well made satire always makes one think – it’s about brands and more of whats in a name there’s also a strong commentary of today’s events as name hints – very well made and interesting.

enjoy:

March 22, 2007 at 11:42 am Leave a comment

Left Coast goes Gaga over Apple spoof ad hitting Hillary

There are several groups – looking at the New Vision of politics that is on the web and powered by YOUTUBE. Here in Asia being bashed on youtube means a political figure is noticed – so a Tube or two even a critical one is still a tube.

To those on the right wing of things who have been bashed and battered for the last few years on google videos, youtube, grouper, and others – the posting of a video versus the demcrats fronts runner seems to bring little more than a shrug and a ‘welcome to the club’ responce.

But to California’s media see’s it as a heracy of sorts a attack on what ‘they’ feel will set things ‘left’ of center anew in the White House and bring back the good old days of ‘Bubba’ back to 1600 Penn Ave.

Already under the influence of a San Francisco speaker and with congress firmly back in the groove – soon some hope on the left the days of sex, drugs, and rock and roll at the white house will be back.

Reading the headlines of west coast papers one sees editors – and reporters – if you want to call them that – putting a huge headline spin and some even seeing grand conspiracy theory over a short Internet video – built on a old apple Macintosh advert from the 1980’s redone with perhaps simple home editing software and recasting Hillary in a ominous role of evil ruler.

Hillary’s Politics are sooo 1984 [Video]
AlterNet, CA – 4 hours ago
A video spoof lays bare the artificiality of Hillary Clinton’s attempt to run her campaign as a one-way “national conversation.”
Who is the person behind the Clinton attack ad?
San Francisco Chronicle, CA – 5 hours ago
(03-19) 17:53 PDT — Just who is “ParkRidge47” – the mystery figure who introduced an Internet political attack ad that has stirred the press and political
Big Sister Clinton (2.0)
New York Times, NY – 5 hours ago
By Patrick Healy. Wondering what this presidential campaign might look like in the world of “Web 2.0” social networking sites?

Obama supporter casts Clinton as Big Brother
Independent, UK – 6 hours ago
By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles. It is the most striking, perhaps most powerful advertisement to come out of the US presidential campaign to date: a

In the advert – which is based on a George Orwell novel about a fictional state of total control – ironically put Hillary – in the mold of ‘ruler’ in total control. Unlikely casting – I mean she couldn’t even keep Bill in check in the governors mansion or the white house – so ruling with a iron fist seems unlikely.

Mystery YouTuber slams Hillary in name of Obama
Boston Herald – By Jesse Noyes. A 74-second ad painting Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton in a pale-blue Orwellian light, while praising rival Barack Obama, is making waves on video sharing site YouTube.
The YouTube Effect (Part XIII) Washington Post
Obama fan targets rival Hillary with internet clip Unison.ie (subscription)

Most likely it was some ids class project – a simple cut and past edit using any number of off the shelf software could do it.

In responce the pack of pro-hillarites are out in force and producing the videos to bash the likely suspects. Seems a lot of effort for what might be afterall something put out by Hillary supporters in strange – backlash styled PR campaign used commonly by those seeking sympathy.

Seems this is going to be the YOUTUBE election.

Here in the Philippines this type of thing has been going on for about three years now on youtube and other video sites. I’ve seen an interesting similar clip done showing the current philippine president posted in satire over the movie ‘V for vendetta’ -and other films – redone using a simple screen overlap.

While the Politics of the US is as all politcal throery domeistic in focus – it is interesting to note on YOUTUBE and using spoofs and technology have the Phgilippines on equal or even ahead of the game on youtube political satire.

March 20, 2007 at 2:13 pm Leave a comment

Iraqi Insurgents using “Chlorine truck bombs”

Iraqi Insurgents have raised the stakes in two recent attacks that took place in the ongoing civil war of sunni’s versus shia in Iraq. Putting near WMD chemical weapons into the warfare and risking more lives that might be affected in the fallout of chemical truck bombs.

Using trucks that were laden with clorine gas canisters the recent attacks this last week threaten more than just bomb damage but chemical poisoning as well.

The chlorine trucks bombs could also infirm or cause death by chlorine poisoning.

NEW ‘DIRTY BOMB‘ FEAR
Gulf Daily News, Bahrain – Feb 22, 2007
BAGHDAD: Iraq insurgents are fighting with deadly new tactics, including poison gas attacks. Medics were treating dozens of patients poisoned by chlorine

Iraqi Militants Use Second Dirty Bomb
FOX News – Feb 22, 2007
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Insurgents exploded a truck carrying chlorine gas canisters Wednesday — the second such “dirty” chemical attack in two days — 

While these insurgent groups actions seem more linked to the Iraqi baathists than Al Qaeda types – the attacks do bring a fear of an excalation. Tons of VX and other poisons were produced during the Saddam area as well as other weapons based on Nerve agents – the fear in the region is if some stockpiles missed could fall into the insurgent or terrorist hands the scope and strength of those attacks might produce tragic consequences,

Some media outfits during the start of this conflict equip-ted their NeWS teams with Biological and Chemical warfare basic survival suits. Most of these have been set aside and are rare even among coalition or Iraqi army  troops.

The worried minds of security experts is the shift towards new more devestating types of terror based attacks might be considered now that insurgents have begun to shift to crude dirty bombs.

February 26, 2007 at 7:11 pm Leave a comment

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