Tag Archives | Civil Unrest

Pentagon Developing Plan To Deal With Mass Civil Unrest

PDLarge-scale civil unrest across the world… to develop “warfighter-relevant insights“...determine “the critical mass… of social contagions…”

Sure. Sounds fine. Whats on TV?

A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term “warfighter-relevant insights” for senior officials and decision makers in “the defense policy community,” and to inform policy implemented by “combatant commands.”

Launched in 2008 – the year of the global banking crisis – the DoD ‘Minerva Research Initiative’ partners with universities “to improve DoD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US.”

Among the projects awarded for the period 2014-2017 is a Cornell University-led study managed by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research which aims to develop an empirical model “of the dynamics of social movement mobilisation and contagions.” The project will determine “the critical mass (tipping point)” of social contagians by studying their “digital traces” in the cases of “the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey.”

Twitter posts and conversations will be examined “to identify individuals mobilised in a social contagion and when they become mobilised.”

via Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | theguardian.com.… Read the rest

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Rioting Video Game Allows You To Fight The Police

Atlantic Cities describes the 8-bit-style smartphone game RIOT, a thought-provoking attempt to capture the liminal state which occurs during uprisings when order breaks down. I'd rather have my kids playing this than a game which makes them Navy SEALs:
"Riot" is a developing project in Italy that's led by film-and-game director Leonard Menchiari, who previously did cinematography for "Half-Life" creator Valve Corporation. The atmospheric little simulator of bedlam, which runs on iOS or Android phones, is inspired by real-life political turmoil from around the globe. There's a hefty element of strategy involved, with the player taking on either the role of the agitators or the truncheoned legions of police trying to maintain order. The developers have received modest funding so far on their Indiegogo page. If they collect enough cash, they hope to enrich the simulator by traveling to the sites of recent uprisings in Greece, Egypt and Italy to interview people involved in the conflicts.
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Apocalypse Tao: Austerity Hits the Export Economies

Seventh SealAgence France-Presse, via MSN News, calls our attention to the typically under-stated way in which the 2nd trumpeter plays his solo*:

Large-scale strikes have hit China in recent weeks, as workers resentful about low salaries or lay-offs face off with employers juggling high costs and exports hit by lower demand from the debt-burdened West.

Politburo member Zhou Yongkang said authorities needed to improve their system of “social management”, including increasing “community-level” manpower.

“In the face of the negative impact of the market economy, we have not formed a complete system of social management,” Zhou said in a Friday speech to officials reported by the state Xinhua news agency at the weekend.

“It is urgent that we build a social management system with Chinese characteristics to match our socialist market economy.” China’s economy grew by 9.1 percent in the third quarter, down from 9.5 percent in the previous quarter.  Manufacturing — a key engine of growth — slumped to its lowest level in nearly three years last month, amid slowing demand from the European Union and the United States.

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UK May Block Facebook And Twitter To Quell Riots

riotsFollowing another night of disorder in a country beset by deep inequality, corruption in the halls of power, and scant opportunity for young adults, the conservative regime in Bahrain has threatened to cut off access to social networking websites until the unrest subsides. Oh sorry — this is the news from England. Via Raw Story:

In a move that calls to mind the start of the most serious unrest in nations across the Middle East over the last year, David Cameron, Britain’s prime minister, told Parliament Thursday that authorities may shut down social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, in hopes that it would return calm to their streets.

The remarks came one day after British authorities discussed turning off the messaging function on BlackBerry phones, which they suggested may remove a tool protesters and rioters were using.

“Everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were organized via social media,” Cameron told Parliament.

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Austerity And The UK Riots

riotsAre the riots that have engulfed North London and elsewhere linked to the recent slashing of funds for education, social services, and youth centers? The London Review of Books blog says, duh, yes:

Anyone who says the riots don’t have anything to do with the cuts should have a read of ‘Austerity and Anarchy: Budget Cuts and Social Unrest in Europe 1919-2009’, a discussion paper issued under the auspices of the Centre for Economic Policy Research’s international macroeconomics programme and currently doing the rounds on Twitter, which looks at the relationship between budget cuts and civil unrest across Europe since the end of the First World War:

The results show a clear positive correlation between fiscal retrenchment and instability. We test if the relationship simply reflects economic downturns, and conclude that this is not the key factor.

So much for ‘criminality pure and simple’.

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Saudi Police Open Fire At Protest – What Next?

Source: Norman Einstein (CC)

Source: Norman Einstein (CC)

Did shit just hit the fan? Those keeping up with the Middle East protests and oil prices are well aware of the powder keg that is Saudi Arabia.

Yahoo News reports:

CAIRO – Saudi police opened fire Thursday to disperse a protest in the mainly Shiite east, leaving at least one man injured, as the government struggled to prevent a wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world from reaching the kingdom.

For full article, see Yahoo News.

“Oil will go up ‘ballistically’ if unrest shifts to Saudi Arabia, says Marc Faber”. Business Intelligence Middle East reports:

Brent crude futures could hit US$200 a barrel if political unrest spreads into Saudi Arabia, Societe Generale said on Monday.

Under what the bank called Geopolitical Scenario 3, “unrest spreads to Saudi Arabia and threatens Saudi crude exports and any remaining spare capacity. Brent price range of US$150-US$200 a barrel,” it said in a research note.

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