Saturday, February 11, 2006

BLOG WATCH Episode 1 Mark Humphreys

The first in another occasional series, this time drawn from Dobber's rambling excursions into the outside blogosphere. Here Dobber will highlight various opinion blogs that have caught his eye.

Number One in this series comes from an Irishman named Mark Humphreys, whose wonderings "Writings on Politics and Religion" were apparently named "Best Overall Blog, Freedom Institute Irish Blog Awards 2005". Mark describes his blog as an "informal collection of links, information and opinion on religious, philosophical, political and other controversial topics". This should be wholeheartedly encouraged and digested. However Mark has enthusiastically created a bizarre skewered universe of clearly baseless irrational ideas despite spending considerable data-transfer usage castigating the rest of the world for just that.

Mark's world is "full of folly and brutality" where the "fundamental points remain that the west is the best part of planet earth - everywhere else is worse". We are guided through a labyrinth of links. He proves that America is the oldest democracy in the world and proudly states that although he is Irish he does not identify primarily with Ireland, or with Europe. He regards himself as a member of The Free World, and the U.S. military is his army. Mark rails against the traditional right wing bugbears of the media and Hollywood bemoaning that "The bad guys are never Islamists". Last year Mark bravely announced the French Intifada following the Paris riots and carefully compares notes with the non existence of riots by whites, Jews or Asians (non-Muslim) in the West over the last 40 years.

The site is a cornucopia of fantastically absurd and yet slightly disturbing logic. To openly challenge any of Mark's points with reason or rationale would seem churlish and fruitless, the site works best as a reverse catalyst for our internal development. By being confronted with such detailed wrong headedness it helps solidify genuine rational arguments and concepts. Tuck in.

Friday, February 10, 2006

WAR AND THE QUEST FOR OIL PT 2 Japan and United States 1941-5

The Battle for Indonesian Oil

Crude Oil was first extracted from the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) in 1885. The industry was subsequently developed by the Royal Dutch / Shell Group growing uninterrupted until the Second World War. With The Netherlands under German occupation, the US and Japan had rivalling intentions of exploiting the resource to serve their individual expanding ambitions. Whilst Japan had already implemented large-scale plans to control East China, the US had already exerted influence in the region having secured Guam and The Philippines at the turn of the century.

As tensions deepened in South East Asia between the two nations the US introduced a crippling oil and scrap iron embargo on Japan. They refused Japan further US oil exports and closed the Panama Canal to Atlantic trade. In a provocative gesture to enforce the embargo the US also moved it’s large Pacific Naval fleet from San Diego to Pearl Harbour in Hawaii. With Japan’s burgeoning Empire heavily dependent on their dwindling oil reserves the government viewed these steps as a threat to the nation's survival. Japan's leaders responded by resolving to seize the resource-rich Dutch territories of Indonesia to avert economic disaster.

Six months after the embargo was implemented the Japanese struck a devastating blow to the US naval fleet in Hawaii. Having temporarily neutralised the US threat Japan proceeded to occupy Indonesia and the oil resources until defeat and submission at the end of the war. The death toll in Japan was of course devastating. Following Japanese withdrawal Indonesia immediately declared independence, sparking further armed conflict when the Dutch attempted to regain control of the region. The United States pressured the Netherlands to surrender and by 1962 had sealed its influence over Indonesian exports under negotiated terms known as the "New York Agreement".

WAR AND THE QUEST FOR OIL PT 1 Nigerian Civil War 1967-70

Dobber unfurls the first in an occasional series! – brief thumbnail readings of combat scenarios through the lens of resource control. In particular incidents of combat that have involved a quest for oil. Dobber aims to look at a number of conflicts from around the globe since the 1940's to highlight the grim and violent historical consistency associated with exploitation of Oil.

Whilst almost all conflicts are historically rooted in a need to appropriate or consolidate resources it is pertinent in todays unstable climate of dwindling Oil reserves to reflect on the role the energy resource has played in previous violent disputes. If the past is read in this sense the future looks increasing dangerous. Alternative options must be sought to avoid an escalation of the horrors that have cost the lives of many millions.

The present day conflict in Iraq is in part a further extension of this "Great Game". The position here is consistent with the predictions of former US President Coolidge in 1924 that "It is even probable that the supremacy of nations may be determined by the possession of available petroleum and its products."

Another factor which is also consistent is the cloaking of the resource issue. As Dobber's series intends to suggest, the need for Oil as a catylist for combat has traditionally been concealed beneath more dramatic explanations. It is the one justification for war which remains unannounced. It is the Elephant in the room that everyone notices but no one brings themselves to mention.

Part One Nigerian Civil War 1967-70

Ethnic, religious and political differences were accelerated by the discovery of oil in the Biafran region of Nigeria in 1956. On May 27 1967 The military governor of the largely Christian Igbo population of Biafra, Lieutenant Colonel Ojukwu declared the region a sovereign and independent republic. Soon, fighting broke out between federal Nigerian and Biafran forces with officers and politicians from the mainly Muslim North attempting to bring the delta oil fields back under greater Nigerian control.

Although being openly aided by Portugal and covertly assisted by France, Rhodesia and South Africa, Biafra was ravaged by the war. Despite attempts by the Organisation of African Unity to end the civil war hostilities continued until 1970. The new Biafran Republic lasted only three years. Amid the economic and military collapse, Ojukwu fled the country and the rest of the republic's territory was re-incorporated back into Nigeria. At least a million people are thought to have died in the conflict, mostly through starvation and illness. As current President Olusegun Obasanjo recently stated, "the Biafran war was caused by resource control".