For the Global Thinker

Friday, July 30, 2010

China overtakes Japan as No.2 economy

China overtakes Japan and is on course to become the World's largest economy in less than 3 decades...

China has overtaken Japan to become the world's second-largest economy, the fruit of three decades of rapid growth that has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.

Depending on how fast its exchange rate rises, China is on course to overtake the United States and vault into the No.1 spot sometime around 2025, according to projections by the World Bank, Goldman Sachs and others.


Also if you haven't seen the documentary "Chimerica: A Financial History of the World." You can watch it here...


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Jungle Law

An inspiring story of an Ecuadorean peasant-turned lawyer-who took on Big Oil.

In 1972, crude oil began to flow from Texaco’s wells in the area around Lago Agrio (“sour lake”), in the Ecuadorean Amazon. Born that same year, Pablo Fajardo is now the lead attorney in an epic lawsuit (among the largest environmental suits in history) against Chevron, which acquired Texaco in 2001. Reporting on an emotional battle in a makeshift jungle courtroom, the author investigates how many hundreds of square miles of surrounding rain forest became a toxic-waste dump.

Read more: http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/05/texaco200705?currentPage=all

Watch an excellent documentary about the whole situation:
CRUDE a film by Joel Berlinger


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Three Videos To Warm The Soul

Three outstanding works...Enjoy. (Full screen HD Highly recommended)

Drivelapse by Tom Lowe


Born That Way by Tony McNeal


Masr by Javier Morgade


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Afghanistan War Logs

Absolutely stunning....hope you got a couple of hours to even start to take it all in....
Afghanistan war logs: Massive leak of secret files exposes truth of occupation
A huge cache of secret US military files today provides a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency.

The disclosures come from more than 90,000 records of incidents and intelligence reports about the conflict obtained by the whistleblowers' website Wikileaks in one of the biggest leaks in US military history. The files, which were made available to the Guardian, the New York Times and the German weekly Der Spiegel, give a blow-by-blow account of the fighting over the last six years, which has so far cost the lives of more than 320 British and over 1,000 US troops.
The Guardian:

The New York Times:


Der Spiegel


WikiLeaks----The primary source....



AAF - Anti Afghanistan forces (Taliban)
AC-130 - Spectre gunship (heavily armed seek and destroy aircraft)
ANA - Afghan National Army
AWT - Advanced weapons team
CJSOTF – Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force
EKIA – Enemy killed in action
EOM - End of message
ETT - Engineer training team
EWIA – Enemy wounded in action
FF - Friendly forces
HIMARS - High mobility artillery rocket system
ISAF - International Security and Assistance Force
JEL - Joint Effects List (low priority capture/kill list)
JPEL - Joint Priority Effects List (Special Forces kill/capture list)
KAF – Kandahar Air Field
KIA- Killed in Action
MEDEVAC – Medical evacuation
NC - Non combatants (Civilians)
NOFORM - Not for release to foreign nationals
OBJ - Objective or target
RPG – Rocket propelled grenade
RPK - Soviet made light machine gun
SAF - Small arms fire
TB - Taliban
TIC - Troops in contact
WIA - Wounded in action
Z – Zulu time. This refers to GMT which is standard for Nato military forces

A Simple Case

Paiko had been waiting for his girlfriend to have sex with her last client when the police raided the brothel. “You will soon be released,” the Sergeant had kept telling him. So why was he now standing before the President and Commander in Chief of the Jungle Republic, the kangaroo court in Area F, which had “the worst torture chamber in the whole of this country”? And could the power of his storytelling save him?

A wonderful tale from Nigeria....read more here:


Friday, July 23, 2010

BP's Sordid History

1. How British (Really) is BP?
Certainly to anyone knowledgeable about its past operations in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and the Americas, BP is as British as warm beer.

Nor is there anything new about complaints that BP is secretive in its operations and given to doubletalk in responding to valid criticisms in host countries. This is certainly not the whole story, but these very negatives are deeply embedded in its corporate DNA.

Read a short history of BP here:


2. BP`S Caspian Disaster---2003

The tale of how Britain gained full access to Azeri oil is a sordid one. There are several reports of how BP executives working for Lord Browne spent millions of pounds on champagne-fuelled sex parties to help secure lucrative international oil contracts. The company also worked with MI6 to help bring about changes in foreign governments, according to an astonishing account of life inside the oil giant. Les Abrahams, who led BP’s successful bid for a multi-million-pound deal with one of the former Soviet republics, today claims that Browne - who was forced to resign as chief executive recently after the collapse of legal proceedings against The Mail on Sunday - presided over an “anything goes” regime of sexual license, spying and financial sweeteners. Read More

3. BP Under Criminal Investigation for Alaskan Oil Spill ----2006
The oil giant BP is under criminal investigation in the US for a big oil spill in Alaska in March that has raised fresh questions about the company's safety record.

4. Lockerbie bomber 'set free for oil'

5. Out-of-Sight, Out-of-Mind

"...a fundamental question lingers like the petrochemical smell over the gulf: Is Corexit doing more harm than good? Dispersants, all agree, do not lessen the amount of oil in the environment. Rather, they break it into tiny drops that have different, but not necessarily less toxic properties.

"[Dispersants] make the oil more soluble in water, so it won't just sit on the surface," Jackie Savitz, senior scientist with Oceana told CNN. "Whether that's good or bad depends on whether you're a fish or a seabird."

But whether or not the dispersants work as promised, they are effective in other ways, critics charge. By breaking the peanut-butter thick sludge into tiny droplets, Nalco's Corexit has made the oil less visible, thereby disguising the full environmental impact of the spill, and helping BP limit its legal and financial liability."
Read more here:


6. BP oil spill: company accused of 'buying academic silence' in new legal row

BP has been accused of “buying” the silence of some of the world’s leading scientists and academics to help build its legal defence against litigation after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.


7. BP admits it 'Photoshopped' official images as oil spill 'cut and paste' row escalates

here's the latest...

8. BP's Lockerbie Controversy

July 16, 2010

BP admits it pressured the British government to speed up the release of prisoners in order to protect its drilling deal with Libya.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

White House shifts Afghanistan strategy towards talks with Taliban

Photograph by Lucian Read
Ewen MacAskill in Washington and Simon Tisdall The Guardian

Any negotiations with the Taliban would be conducted largely in secret, through third parties, Washington sources reported.

The White House is revising its Afghanistan strategy to embrace the idea of negotiating with senior members of the Taliban through third parties – a policy to which it had previously been lukewarm.

Negotiating with the Taliban has long been advocated by Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, and the British and Pakistani governments, but resisted by Washington.

The Guardian has learned that while the American government is still officially resistant to the idea of talks with Taliban leaders, behind the scenes a shift is under way and Washington is encouraging Karzai to take a lead in such negotiations.

"There is a change of mindset in DC," a senior official in Washington said. "There is no military solution. That means you have to find something else. There was something missing."

That missing element was talks with the Taliban leadership, the official added.

The American rethink comes in the aftermath of the departure last month of General Stanley McChrystal, the top US commander in Afghanistan.

Barack Obama, apparently frustrated at the way the war is going, has reminded his national security advisers that while he was on the election campaign trail in 2008, he had advocated talking to America's enemies...



Sunday, July 18, 2010

Stephen Hawkins: ALIENS

Watch an amazing video of a UFO in China:

Second UFO sighting baffles China

Another Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) has been reportedly detected in Chongqing province.

Read More here:


Don’t talk to aliens, warns Stephen Hawking

THE aliens are out there and Earth had better watch out, at least according to Stephen Hawking. He has suggested that extraterrestrials are almost certain to exist — but that instead of seeking them out, humanity should be doing all it that can to avoid any contact.

The suggestions come in a new documentary series in which Hawking, one of the world’s leading scientists, will set out his latest thinking on some of the universe’s greatest mysteries.

Alien life, he will suggest, is almost certain to exist in many other parts of the universe: not just in planets, but perhaps in the centre of stars or even floating in interplanetary space.

Hawking’s logic on aliens is, for him, unusually simple. The universe, he points out, has 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars. In such a big place, Earth is unlikely to be the only planet where life has evolved. Hawking believes that contact with such a species could be devastating for humanity.

He suggests that aliens might simply raid Earth for its resources and then move on: “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.”

He concludes that trying to make contact with alien races is “a little too risky”. He said: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”

Watch Stephen Hawkins' 50 minute documentary here:

Part One:


Part Two:


Part Three:


Part Four:


Part Five:


Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Cove

Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary of 2009, THE COVE follows an elite team of activists, filmmakers and freedivers as they embark on a covert mission to penetrate a remote and hidden cove in Taiji, Japan, shining a light on a dark and deadly secret. Utilizing state-of-the-art techniques, including hidden microphones and cameras in fake rocks, the team uncovers how this small seaside village serves as a horrifying microcosm of massive ecological crimes happening worldwide. The result is a provocative mix of investigative journalism, eco-adventure and arresting imagery, adding up to an unforgettable story that has inspired audiences worldwide to action.

Watch the documentary here:

Official movie site:
Add Image

Schools Kill Creativity

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.


Watch more of Ken Robinson's talks here...


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Drone Warfare

Grim Reaper, with 4 Hellfire Missiles, 2 sidewinder air to air missiles, and 2 GBU Paveway laser guided bombs, can fly at 60,000 feet, controlled from Nevada, USA by computer.

The US has stepped up it's use of drones in Pakistan's tribal region. The drone program is run by the CIA, Special forces units and various civilian contractors. Deeply unpopular among Pakistani residents because of the high civilian death toll, the drone program operates in a theater without oversight or accountability. What's interesting here is that right now a new realm of warfare is quickly unfolding before our eyes. Pakistan could be a microcosm of the future of war in which robot replaces soldier. Already, the US is working on NANO Drones...which are the size of birds or insects.

Jane Mayer’s “The Predator War” in the current New Yorker is a must-read addressing an essential issue... have our accountability and oversight mechanisms kept track with technological developments? The answer seems equally clear: no.

UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Philip Alston said the US needs to be more up front, ‘otherwise you have the really problematic bottom line that the CIA is running a program that is killing significant numbers of people and there is absolutely no accountability.’

All told, as many as 10 militant leaders fell to the drones in 2009, in addition to hundreds of lower-level militants and civilians.

The killing of civilians in drone attacks is an important and politically charged issue in Pakistan. The strikes are quite unpopular among Pakistanis, who view them as violations of national sovereignty; according to a Gallup poll from August 2009, only 9 percent approved of such attacks. Statistics compiled by Pakistani authorities in early January 2010 indicated that more than 700 civilians were killed by the drones in 2009 alone.

At the other end of the spectrum, an anonymous U.S. government official told the New York Times in early December that “just over 20” civilians and “more than 400” fighters had been killed in less than two years.

Other commentators have suggested that the civilian death rate from the drone attacks in Pakistan is 98 percent, while one study claims it is only 10 percent. Trying to ascertain the real civilian death rate from the drone strikes is important both as a moral matter and as a matter of international law, which prohibits indiscriminate attacks against civilians.

Compounding the issue is that the civilians who die in these strikes are the citizens of a U.S. ally, and just as it has become a core doctrine of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan that civilians must be protected, so too it should be across the border in Pakistan.

Read more here...

The Predator War

What are the risks of the C.I.A.’s covert drone program?


Death From Above, Outrage Down Below.


The Secret US War in Pakistan

At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, "snatch and grabs" of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigation by The Nation has found. The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help direct a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus.


The Year of the Drone

An Analysis of U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan, 2004-2010


Here's a documentary about the future of Drone warfare:


BBC ---Mapping the Drone Attacks: A Special Report...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Please Vote For Me

PLEASE VOTE FOR ME captures many elements of life in China today missed by all the magazine cover stories and astounding growth statistics. This story unfolds far from the giant factories, crowded markets, or even picturesque villages. These classrooms are state-of-the-art and the children’s homes look remarkably like middle class urban homes in the West. The film provides a private view of a microcosm of contemporary Chinese culture.

It is also a classic election drama, albeit with 7-year-olds. The three candidates, two boys and a girl, are chosen by the teachers, but they conduct real campaigns and are chosen in a free election. Ironically their goal is to become the student charged with maintaining order and reporting rule violations to the teachers. Director Weijun Chen travels home with the candidates, each a product of the one-child policy, where over-eager parents coach and cajole their child. They even participate in a little preelection gift-giving in an effort to manipulate the race so their kid will win! Systems of government may differ broadly, but human nature not so much...

Thanks for the link bro!
Watch the full movie here:


Read or learn more about the film here:


Monday, July 5, 2010

Nigerian Nightmare

Jeffrey Tayler describes a death-defying bus adventure across Nigeria.

Excerpt from the article:

"He don't delay," said Rotimi. "He go to Kano now. Half-price of the bus and just as fast."

We parted and I got out. The seller took my arm and pulled me through the crowd.

"Here de bus."

Ahead of me, listing to the left, stood a ramshackle blue Toyota minibus whiskered with two green-white Nigerian flags. A pair of pasted-on eyebrows raised in alarm -- stickers proclaiming, cryptically, "GOD DEY!" -- graced the upper corners of the windshield. The bumper mouth was covered with a splattering of crushed bugs and sparrow carcasses. The skin-thin tires seemed to be of various sizes, and all were as smooth as a baby's behind. A wavy white line resembling the EKG of someone in acute cardiac distress ran down the sides. Across the brow, I noticed, was the lettering UNCLE AYOS EXPRESS. Seven hundred miles to Kano, I thought with a shudder. Involuntarily I stepped back and found myself shaking my head in denial. Where was Rotimi?

Read More at...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dead Eagle Trail

DEAD EAGLE TRAIL - Portraits of the American Cowboy
Since 2006 Jane Hilton has 'collected' this series of cowboy portraits, from the buckaroos of Nevada to the cowpunchers of Arizona and Texas. They have all been photographed in their own homes, which they have filled with western artefacts. The need to hold on to their heritage and culture is clearly visible: stuffed animals, belt buckles, spurs, John Wayne memorabilia, guns, boots, and saddles, it's all there. There's a craving to collect and preserve their way of life as the ranches struggle to survive in the face of new technology, and the rising costs of feed and petrol. Dead Eagle Trail is a document to the cowboy of the twenty first century.

This is only one of Jane Hilton's subjects others include, abandoned casinos, prostitutes, neon lights, nudists and other Americana....Check them all out here, enjoy....