Saturday, June 26, 2010

Central America Wants the US to Help Them

Central American countries each have their own reason to ask for help.  Basically, they are just overwhelmed with the task at hand.  For example: El Salvador is the most dangerous country in the world. Their murder rate is 71 murders per 100,000 people, well above the world average of 9.6 per 100,000. This year alone, 12 Salvadorans have been killed every 24 hours.

 Technology has been one of the reasons.  By using cell phones to make threats to Salvadorans at home and in the U.S., last year gang members managed to bring in between $750,000 and $800,000 dollars into prison and they use these illicit profits of extortion to corrupt the correctional system from within.

Efforts to block all cellular calls from the prisons have been circumvented by complicit prison officials. 1855 cell phones were confiscated last year, yet many more find their way in, sometimes stashed in soccer balls skillfully kicked over the prison walls to inmates waiting within.  - Is that a goal?

The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) also includes Honduras and El Salvador.  Two and half years ago CICIG began work as an independent investigative team with unprecedented judicial power, the result of an agreement between the United Nations and the Guatemalan government. The CICIG has forced the removal of 2000 police officers as well as several prosecutors and Supreme Court judges. Its work has also facilitated the prosecution of high-ranking officials including former President Alfonso Portillo.

In search of such a comprehensive solution, Funes and his counterparts in Guatemala and Honduras have called for international support. They want Washington to help finance the expansion of CICIG.

I am not sure if another mission is afoot - but it is good to keep an eye out for it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

General McChrystal and Rolling Stone

I believe that there is more afoot than some not so nice comments about the Obama administration by General McChrystal. He seems to be short of insubordination, but the Obama administration has crucified (politically) anyone they can that says anything negative about his administration.  (I used to wonder what it was like living under a dictator, now we all know what it is like.)  Back to my views on this.

I believe there is a a mini-conspiracy to boost sales of Rolling Stone and readership online.  It my be the way that General McChrystal gets off of the sinking ship without "quitting."  This can only be a win-win for General McChrystal as he is not going to lose his rank or retirement and whatever he has accomplished is intact.  Come a few years, being 'fired' by Obama will probably be valuable political points down the road if he has such leanings.

How this affects advisors is yet to be seen, but any time there is a "change of the guard" there is usually repercussions felt by the contractors - because the "new sheriff" has to show he is boss.

Whatever happens - Stay Safe!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

UN Peacekeepers Will Be Leaving Chad

The UN Security Council  made it official on Tuesday, there will be a gradual withdrawal of 3,300 troops down to 1,900 in Chad. These troops arrived last year.  Is it "mission accomplished"?  Not exactly.  The Security Council really did not have a choice as Chad is asking them to leave.  In case you are unaware,  UN peacekeepers cannot enter a country without the host nation's permission. The government is saying that their people are "trained" now and they can handle the situation.

Whatever the real reasons are - the UN must go, and it is not their call.  The Security Council stated some things that Chad "must do" after the UN leaves, but there is no means of enforcement.

Withdrawal of the remaining 300 UN civilian police begins on Oct. 15 and they are supposed to be gone by Dec. 31.  "Happy New Year"

Of course, I know this cannot be all that important when the first images on Google Search for Chad are of Chad Michael Murry.  Such is the internet.  :)

Stay Safe!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Georgia Mission Still Up in the Air

The chance of a new mission with international police is still far from taking place.  There are talks, but Georgia and Russia cannot agree on what is to happen.  I am not sure why Russia has a say in it as Serbia did not have much of a say about Kosovo after they were "duped" by resolution 1244 which stated that Kosovo would be a sovereign part of their country.

Anyway, back to the story at hand -

"Participants of the talks (on June 8th) from Georgia, Russia, United States, as well as from breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia are taking part in the discussions in an individual capacity without identifying the entities they are representing – the format agreed since the second round in November, 2008 to avoid differences on the status of negotiators, in particular of representatives from the breakaway regions...

The draft offers signing by Tbilisi, Sokhumi and Tskhinvali separate letters, addressed to the president of the UN Security Council, stating unilateral non-use of force pledges, according to the report. Russia itself refuses to sign such document, as it does not consider itself party into the conflict."  (see I told you Russia should not have a say-so)

more:   “No problem, Georgia is ready to sign it with Russia anytime, anyplace,” Vashadze said on April 19. “But Russia does not want to sign that agreement; Russia wants us to sign it with representatives of those regimes in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali and this is out of question, because of two reasons; first: their [referring to authorities in the breakaway regions] signature do not have and will not have any legitimacy, they do not exist; second: if somehow we make this mistake and sign this agreement, not with the Russian Federation, but with so called states, then we are adding to their legitimacy and we are not prepared for that.”

The whole story is here.

It looks like if you have Georgia on your mind - you may have to wait a bit.  It also looks like the whole Kosovo thing opened up a big can of worms.

Whatever you do - stay safe! 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Trouble in Mitrovica - Some Things Never Change

Some of the same old troubles are persisting in Kosovo.  Apparently it took police and soldiers to take control of the Ibar River bridge linking the ethnically divided Mitrovica.  They were trying to prevent violence from escalating. About 2000 ethnic Albanians were protesting Sunday's bi-elections in the Serb-dominated section of the town.  They had attacked a group of assembled Serbs on the north bank.

Kosovo police (KPS), along with members of the international police and the military from Eulex and KFOR, in full riot gear, had to fire tear gas when ethnic Albanians and Serbs were throwing stones at each other.  There was some automatic gun fire but there were no reports of injuries.

KFOR and KPS eventually assumed control of the bridge and closed it to traffic.

The K-Albanians were protesting local elections in the Serb-held north of Kosovoska Mitrovica and nearby Novo Brdo. These municipal elections are supported by Serbia, but the EU mission in Kosovo has said it will not recognize the results of "parallel structures."

Same old "news"  I guess -

Stay Safe!

Online Computer Training Available For Ex-Pats

For those expats that are interested in online training courses - including pretty much everything from Microsoft, you have easy access.  The only shortcoming is they require credit card payments - so you Paypal guys are out of luck.

The training is certified and the Training Center has been online for over 20 years.  This is just to keep you informed of what is available.

The UN Will Add More Police in Haiti

The UN has decided to "beef up" its peacekeeping force in Haiti.

The resolution adopted unanimously by the 15-member council will add 680 additional police "as a temporary surge capacity" to help rebuild the Haitian National Police.

The total international police force will be 4,391. (Note - the UN never operates at 100%)  The number of military personnel in the peacekeeping mission will remain at the level it is currently — 8,940 troops.

Looks like more cops in Haiti...

Remember,hurricane season began this week and hundreds of thousands of Haitian earthquake victims have only tarps or Make-shift tent-shacks which will not likely protect them in a major storm. There has been very little progress on clearing rubble so people can return to their neighborhoods or build sturdier homes.

Housing will likely be an issue...
Stay Safe!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

DynCorp and The Whistleblower

Well, the ex- DynCorp employee Kathryn Bolkovac is back in the news.  There is a movie about her called "The Whistleblower"  This is not the same as the one starring Michael Cain.  It is about when she worked for "a corporation" which is not named, at least in the promos.

Rachel Weisz in WhistleblowerA bit about the movie:

"Based on the true story of Kathryn Bolkovac, who traveled to Bosnia in 1999 as a U.N. peacekeeper, Whistleblower chronicles the trials of a female cop (Weisz) from Nebraska who serves as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia and exposes a United Nations cover-up of a sex trafficking scandal. Weisz will obviously be playing the female cop.Plot: Kathryn Bolkovac is a Nebraska cop who is thrust into the gravelly snake pit of UN regulated Bosnia. She works as part of a private corporate army, training Bosnian police to restore order to the war-torn country. As she begins to get the lay of the land in her new environment, she starts to see signs of a terrible underground industry whose patrons are not only from within the corporation but from within the United Nations as well."

...from Filmofilia.

I know it doesn't say DynCorp - but we know it is.

A bit of the true story part can be found here

It is not a good thing for DynCorp.  Now I have nothing against DynCorp myself.  I have worked for them before and would again if the situation was right.

Tell me your thoughts about this.