George Friedman despre Europa

Notițe de lectură despre strategia politică a SUA in Europa, descrise de George Friedman în “Următorul deceniu: de unde venim … și încotro ne îndreptăm” (2011): Capitolul 8-9.

Majoritatea acestor ţări[din Europa de Est] nu au fost independente până când Primul Război Mondial nu a dus la prăbuşirea imperiilor austro-ungar, rus, otoman şi german. În general, au fost împărţite, subjugate şi exploatate. În cazul Ungariei, spre exemplu, presiunea nu a fost prea mare. În alte cazuri, a fost de-a dreptul brutală. Dar toate aceste naţiuni ţin minte ocupaţia nazistă, şi apoi pe cea sovietică, iar acele ocupaţii au fost monstruoase. Este adevărat că regimul german şi cel rus de astăzi sunt diferite, dar epoca ocupaţiei este încă proaspătă în amintirea est-europenilor, iar urmările faptului de a se fi aflat în sfera de influenţă germano-rusă le-au marcat caracterul naţional. Acea amintire va continua să le modeleze comportamentul în deceniul următor.

Europa contemporană este în căutarea unei ieşiri din infern. Prima jumătate a secolului XX a fost un măcel, începând cu Verdun şi terminând cu Auschwitz. În a doua jumătate, europenii au trăit sub ameninţarea unui posibil război nuclear ruso-american, purtat pe pământ european. Epuizată de vărsarea de sânge şi de neliniştea continuă, Europa a început să-şi imagineze o lume în care toate conflictele erau de natură economică şi gestionate de birocraţii de la Bruxelles. […] În cei douăzeci de ani de după prăbuşirea Uniunii Sovietice, părea că îşi găsiseră utopia, dar acum, viitorul este mult mai puţin sigur. Privind înainte spre următorii zece ani, nu văd o întoarcere a tranşeelor şi a lagărelor de concentrare, dar întrevăd o creştere a tensiunilor geopolitice la nivel continental şi, alături de ele, rădăcinile unor conflicte mai serioase.


The work environment for people, by Google

Laszlo Bock on how Google is changing the nature of work

We spend more time at work than we do anything else in our lifetime. What if we could improve the experience of work, even just a little, for everyone?

Bock offered a glimpse into Google’s own approach. Google starts with the belief that people are good and will do the right thing. From there, it’s easy to give employees freedom, access to information, and autonomy, which allows them to go out and create amazing things.

Drugs smuggling on US – Mexico corridor

By Land, Sea or Catapult: How Smugglers Get Drugs Across the Border

The majority of illegal drugs enter the United States in an assortment of vehicles, with drugs hidden in secret compartments in door panels or the roof, gas tanks, tires and even engines.

Smugglers also dig cross-border tunnels, primarily to move large volumes of marijuana. While many tunnels are rudimentary, others have lighting, tracks and ventilation systems, even elevators. As of March 2016, a total of 224 tunnels were discovered on the Southwest border since 1990.

Cargo trains, tractor-trailers and passenger buses have been used to move illegal drugs. Trucks and trains carrying fresh produce such as watermelons, limes and other fruits and vegetables have been used to bring in narcotics. Drug shipments are often painted green and hidden within crates with fake watermelons or limes. Cocaine has been found in tomato crates.

More in NY Times article

Another method used by smugglers: Coast Guard Intercepting Submarine Carrying $181 Million In Drugs

The Coast Guard Cutter Stratton crew seizes bales from a self-propelled semi-submersible submarine interdicted in international waters off the coast of Central America, July 19, 2015. The Coast Guard recovered more than 6 tons of drugs from the 40-foot vessel.


Notițe de lectură despre strategia politică a SUA aferentă Israelului, descrise de George Friedman în “Următorul deceniu: de unde venim … și încotro ne îndreptăm” (2011): Capitolul 6.

Statele Unite au recunoscut independenţa Israelului în 1948, dar cele două ţări nu au fost aliate în nici un sens al cuvântului. În timp ce SUA au recunoscut întotdeauna dreptul Israelului de a exista, acest lucru nu a constituit niciodată subiect cu adevărat important în politica Statelor Unite. În 1948, atunci când Israelul a devenit realitate, interesul american principal era limitarea influenţei Uniunii Sovietice, iar atenţia Americii se concentra în primul rând asupra Turciei şi a Greciei.

Problema strategică a Israelului consta în faptul că necesităţile sale de securitate naţională depăşeau întotdeauna propria bază industrială şi militară. Cu alte cuvinte, având în vedere ameninţările din partea Egiptului şi Siriei, şi posibil şi a Iordaniei, ca să nu mai vorbim despre Uniunea Sovietică, nu putea produce armele de care avea nevoie pentru a se apăra. Pentru a asigura o sursă stabilă de armament, avea nevoie de un protector străin important.


Human Trafficking: It Happens Here

Human Trafficking: It Happens Here

Although slavery is commonly thought to be a thing of the past, human trafficking still exists today at the global level. Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others. There are an estimated 21 million men, women, and children who are victims of labor and sex trafficking worldwide.

What is Bitcoin?!

Bitcoin or the cryptocurrencies are rapidly becoming a popular buzzword nowadays. Everyone heard about folks that are millionaires in bits. But what is the bitcoin?

Stack of cryptocurrencies

An interesting article from NY Times “What Is Bitcoin, and How Does It Work?” gives us some useful explanations:

A Bitcoin is a digital token — with no physical backing — that can be sent electronically from one user to another, anywhere in the world. A Bitcoin can be divided out to eight decimal places, so you can send someone 0.00000001 Bitcoins. This smallest fraction of a Bitcoin — the penny of the Bitcoin world — is referred to as a Satoshi, after the anonymous creator of Bitcoin.

Unlike traditional payment networks like Visa, the Bitcoin network is not run by a single company or person. The system is run by a decentralized network of computers around the world that keep track of all Bitcoin transactions, similar to the way Wikipedia is maintained by a decentralized network of writers and editors.

The record of all Bitcoin transactions that these computers are constantly updating is known as the blockchain.


FinCEN Issues Advisory on the Iranian Regime

FinCEN Issues Advisory on the Iranian Regime’s Illicit and Malign Activities and Attempts to Exploit the Financial System

Release: October 11, 2018

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an advisory to help financial institutions better detect and report potentially illicit transactions related to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“This advisory lays out in great detail the extent to which the Iranian regime uses deceptive practices, including front companies, fraudulent documents, exchange houses, seemingly legitimate businesses and government officials, to generate illicit revenues and finance their malign activities. Iran’s deceptive practices have been orchestrated not only by elements of their government such as the IRGC-Qods Force, but also by Central Bank of Iran officials who were at the highest levels. Any country that allows its Central Bank to be involved in deception in support of terrorism requires the highest levels of scrutiny, particularly when the country itself is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism,” said Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

“Governments, financial institutions of all types around the world, and other companies need to be on high alert to the types of schemes described in this advisory. More than that, as we expect Iran to continue to attempt to engage in wide scale sanctions evasion while simultaneously using its resources to fund a broad array of malign activity, financial institutions should continue to sophisticate their compliance programs to keep these actors from exploiting them.”

For example, the Iranian regime has masked illicit transactions using senior officials of the CBI, who used their official capacity to procure hard currency and conduct transactions for the benefit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and its terrorist proxy group, Lebanese Hizballah. Accordingly, financial institutions are advised to exercise appropriate due diligence when dealing with transactions involving exchange houses that may have exposure to the Iranian regime and/or designated Iranian persons, and the advisory details examples of exchange house-related schemes. Iran-related actors use front and shell companies around the world in procurement networks through which the Iranian regime has gained goods and services related to currency counterfeiting, dual-use equipment, and the commercial aviation industry.

The advisory further warns financial institutions to be on the lookout for possible evasive practices involving Iranian shipping companies. Financial institutions should also be aware of possible Iranian abuses of virtual currency and precious metals to evade sanctions and gain access to the international financial system and to conceal their nefarious actions.

More on: news release Full Advisory in pdf format

Movie: Human Trafficking (2005)

A movie about one of the biggest problems today – modern slavery and sex trafficking. A female agent gets deep into a world-wide slave trafficking ring to catch the head of the organization and break this criminal chain.
“Hundreds of thousands of young women have vanished from their everyday lives-forced by violence into a hellish existence of brutality and prostitution. They’re a profitable commodity in the multi-billion-dollar industry of modern slavery. The underworld calls them human traffic”.


This 2018 edition of the annual TESAT report issued by EUROPOL provides an overview of the nature and volume of terrorism that the EU faced in 2017.

“The human suffering and the threat of terrorist attacks still remains high in Europe. In 2017 European countries were again hit by terrorist attacks and there were many innocent victims of this indiscriminate violence. It therefore goes without saying that combatting terrorism remains a top priority for Europol.”