bp vs. the cia

September 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

every now and again a story worthy of a film plot breaks in the media exposing a covert intelligence operation. last night, that happened.

the setting: tripoli, libya

the spy: douglas oriali

  • known citizenships: canadian, australian, irish
  • cover story: he’s an archaeologist visiting libya on holiday, some reports say he claimed to be warning bp about the environmental impact of a drilling operation on the libyan coast

the mission: according to libyan authorities, to gather intelligence on behalf of canadian intelligence and ultimately for the cia to ensure the failure of planned bp drilling operation in libya

the point of failure: oriali was surveilled by libyan authorities and was seen meeting with a us diplomat suspected of being a cia operative

the consequences: oriali is currently being detained in his hotel room. he has given up his bank details and details of his email conversations under questioning. his mobile phone and laptop have been confiscated. also (speculation), if oriali really is a canadian/contract spy, his career is definitely over.


while it’s certainly normal for archaeologists with three passports to meet with american diplomats on holiday in a dictatorship, perhaps next time the cia could arrange for the actual meeting to take place outside of libyan jurisdiction.


let the speculation on why the cia is sabotaging bp begin. wouldn’t it be great if the motive was a gulf of mexico adaptation of this?


diplojibe hall of fame (cont’d)

September 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

add these from the fp site to the list.

notes verbale have never been more exciting

September 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

the OO has written, read, and despatched more than his fair share of notes verbale, but never has the word triggered so much excitement as it did when he read the new note verbale blog. written by an ir student at the OO’s favourite institution of higher learning, note verbale presents ‘thoughts and discussion on the un, international law, and international relations’. the blog premieres with a great inaugural post and a thought-provoking followup. find it from the link above or from the OO’s own blogroll.

how to escalate a sectarian crisis

September 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

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9 days ago, the OO wrote about bahrain authorising its security forces to shoot citizens suspected of plotting against the state on sight. the saga continues. bahrain is an often-forgotten but extremely crucial flashpoint in the middle east cold war between side iran-shi’a arabs-relevant insurgent groups and side  sunni arabs-usa-relevant insurgent groups (a far less united batch of allies of convenience). while bahrain has, in the last decade, mostly been famous for loving michael jacksonhating michael jackson, and banking, the khalifa monarchy decided to up the ante today in bahrain’s struggle for  its citizens’ souls. the primarily sunni government revoked the citizenship of, and will presumably deport, the country’s top shi’a cleric, ayatollah hussein mirza najati. on the plus side, he can probably take the 2 hour boat ride to iran, where the OO has it on good authority that ayatollahs get treated pretty well.

bahrain fun fact: bahrain has the honour of having one of the coolest country names in all of ir. its official name, ad-dowlat al-bahrain, is arabic for ‘the state of the two seas’. warning: this becomes less cool when one realises that bahrain is an island surrounded entirely by one sea.

how to dodge like ahmedinejad

September 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

the international campaign for human rights in iran has released a guide for reporters on ‘how to interview iranian officials on human rights issues’. it teaches journalists how to use the canned answers the iranian foreign ministry teaches its diplomats against them. indeed, a guide like this one created secretly and passed confidentially to  journalists is any government communications office’s worst nightmare. fortunately for the various establishments that continue to run the world (for better or for worse), particularly in this case that of iran, ichri’s guide is freely available online, allowing sharp iranian officials to study, prepare, and counter.

get a pdf of the guide here.

in a recent interview, ahmadinejad's spin tactics left george stephanopoulos stumped.

how to compromise your own national security

September 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

question: where is the worst place for tajikistan to locate a prison in which it detains violent islamic extremists?

answer: near the border with its relatively lawless, violent islamic extremist-ridden neighbour, afghanistan.

because first this happens. then this happens.

the aftaj border, where you can hide out for months and launch attacks from any number of discreet caves/mountain passes

downsides to rosetta stone

September 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

the economist online writes a great piece on the downside to rosetta stone language learning.

overall, the OO highly recommends language-lovers to read the johnson blog.

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