domingo, 8 de fevereiro de 2009


Of the 42 countries designated as Not Free, eight have been given the survey’s lowest possible rating of 7 for both political rights and civil liberties. Among the eight worst-rated countries, one, North Korea, is a one-party Marxist-Leninist regime. Two, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, are Central Asian countries ruled by dictators with roots in the Soviet period. Libya is an Arab country under the sway of a secular dictatorship, while Sudan is under a leadership that has elements both of radical Islamism and of a typical military junta. The remaining worst-rated states are Burma, a tightly controlled military dictatorship; Equatorial Guinea, a highly repressive regime with one of the worst human rights records in Africa; and Somalia, a failed state.
There are two worst-rated territories: Tibet, under Chinese jurisdiction, and Chechnya, where a repressive pro-Kremlim regime continues to struggle with a guerrilla insurgency.
An additional 11 countries and territories received scores that were slightly above the worst-ranked countries, and received ratings of 6,7 or 7,6 for political rights and civil liberties: Belarus, Chad, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Laos, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Zimbabwe, South Ossetia, and Western Sahara.

Freedom in the World 2009 Survey Release

Freedom in the World 2009: Freedom Retreats for Third Year

On January 12, Freedom House released the findings from the latest edition of Freedom in the World, the annual survey of global political rights and civil liberties. According to the survey’s findings, 2008 marked the third consecutive year in which global freedom suffered a decline. This setback was most pronounced in Sub-Saharan Africa and the non-Baltic former Soviet Union, although it affected most other regions of the world. Furthermore, the decline in freedom coincided with the onset of a forceful reaction against democracy by a number of powerful authoritarian regimes, including Russia and China.

Freedom in the World 2009 reflects developments that took place in the calendar year 2008. The full survey, including the individual country reports, will be available in late spring 2009.

Press Release

Freedom retreated in much of the world in 2008, the third year of global decline as measured by Freedom House's annual survey of political rights and civil liberties which released today. Sub-Saharan Africa and the former Soviet Union saw the most reversals, while South Asia showed significant improvement.

"The advance of freedom in South Asia was a rare bright spot in a year that was otherwise marked by setbacks and stagnation," said Freedom House Director of Research Arch Puddington, who pegged the start of the global downturn to the period directly following the "color revolutions" in Europe. "Powerful regimes worldwide have reacted to the 'color revolutions' with calculated and forceful measures designed to suppress democratic reformers, international assistance to those reformers and ultimately the very idea of democracy itself."

Freedom in the World 2009 examines the state of freedom in all 193 countries and 16 strategic territories. The survey analyzes developments that occurred in 2008 and assigns each country a freedom status — either Free, Partly Free or Not Free based on a scoring of performance in key freedoms.

The overview includes an analysis of changes during the Bush Administration and suggests priorities for the incoming Obama Administration and the leaders of other established democracies. The survey firmly rejects the premise that engaging with authoritarian leaders means ignoring their policies of domestic repression.

"At a time when democracy's antagonists are increasingly assertive and its supporters are in disarray, the new administration must focus on the need to protect fundamental freedoms and support the frontline defenders and advocates," said Jennifer Windsor, Freedom House executive director.

The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy will host an event on the survey's findings in Taipei, Taiwan January 13 at 9 a.m. at the Far Eastern Plaza Hotel. Taiwan was chosen as the locale for the release because of its strategic position in Asia, not only geographically and economically, but also as one of its most vibrant democracies.

Although setbacks in 2008 did not represent substantial declines for most countries, setbacks were numerous and affected most regions. Overall, 34 countries registered declines in freedom and 14 registered improvements.

Three countries saw declines in scores that resulted in status changes: Afghanistan, which moved from Partly Free to Not Free; Mauritania, Partly Free to Not Free; and Senegal, Free to Partly Free. Three countries, all from South Asia, moved from Not Free to Partly Free: Pakistan, Maldives and Bhutan. Two countries in Western Europe—Italy and Greece—experienced modest declines.

Key global findings include:

Free: The number of countries judged by Freedom in the World as Free in 2008 stands at 89, representing 46 percent of the world's countries and 46 percent of the global population. The number of Free countries declined by one from 2007.

Partly Free: The number of Partly Free countries is 62, or 32 percent of all countries assessed by the survey and 20 percent of the world's total population. The number of Partly Free countries increased by two.

Not Free: The report designates 42 countries as Not Free, representing 22 percent of the total number of countries and 34 percent of the world population. Nearly 60 percent of this number lives in China. The number of Not Free countries declined by one.

Electoral Democracies: The number of electoral democracies dropped by two and stands at 119. Developments in Mauritania, Georgia, Venezuela and Central African Republic disqualified them from the electoral democracy list, while Bosnia-Herzegovina and Bangladesh became electoral democracies.

Key regional findings include:

Worst of the Worst: Of the 42 countries designated Not Free, eight received the survey's lowest possible ranking for both political rights and civil liberties: North Korea, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Libya, Sudan, Burma, Equatorial Guinea and Somalia. Two territories are in the same category: Tibet and Chechnya. Eleven other countries and territories received scores that were slightly better: Belarus, Chad, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Laos, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Zimbabwe, South Ossetia and Western Sahara.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Twelve countries and one territory—about one-fourth of the regional total—experienced setbacks in 2008. In addition to Senegal and Mauritania, declines were also registered in Burundi, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Namibia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Somaliland. The region's downturn comes after several years of modest improvement. Positive developments include gains in Zambia, Comoros, Angola and Cote d'Ivoire.

Asia: The most significant progress occurred in South Asia, where several countries saw improvements linked to elections. In addition to significant improvements in Pakistan, Maldives and Bhutan, some progress was also seen in Nepal, Kashmir, Malaysia and Thailand. Declines were registered in Afghanistan, Burma, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and Tibet. China increased repression instead of delivering human rights reforms pledged in connection to hosting the Summer Olympics.

Former Soviet Union/Central and Eastern Europe: Non-Baltic countries of the former Soviet Union continued their decade-long decline, now ranking below Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East on several survey indicators. Russia and Georgia, which went to war over South Ossetia, were among the region's notable declines, as well as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova. Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe remains strong, despite setbacks in Bulgaria and Macedonia.

Middle East/North Africa: After several years of modest gains earlier in the decade, the Middle East/North Africa is now experiencing stagnation. Iraq is the only country to show improvement because of reductions in violence, political terror and government-sponsored Shia militias, although it retains its Not Free status. Jordan, Bahrain, Iran, the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli-Occupied Territories also declined.

Americas: The region managed to maintain its democratic character despite economic concerns, an increase in violent crime in some countries and the rise of populist demagogues. Paraguay and Cuba saw improvements in 2008, although the Castro government continues to be one of the world's most repressive regimes. Colombia, Nicaragua, Mexico and Venezuela were among the countries registering declines.

Western Europe and North America: The region continues to earn the highest scores in Freedom in the World. The election of Barack Obama as U.S. president could lead to reforms of problematic counterterrorism policies. Two European countries experienced declines in 2008: Italy and Greece. The survey also voices concern about potential threats to freedom of expression in Canada and Great Britain.

Freedom House, an independent nongovernmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world, has been monitoring political rights and civil liberties worldwide since 1972.

Freedom matters.

liberdade, liberdade

A Freedom House , organização não governamental que estimula a expansão de liberdade no mundo, e que monitora direitos políticos e liberdades civis desde 1972, divulgou no dia 12 de Janeiro de 2009,o relatório Freedom in the World 2009. De acordo com o relatório, 2008 foi o terceiro ano consecutivo de declinio da liberdade global. Isso foi mais evidente na região do Sub-Sahara africano, algumas regiões da antiga União Soviética e também na China.

Foram pesquisados 193 paises e 16 territorios, classificados nas categorias “Livre”, “Parcialmente Livre”, e “Sem Liberdade”. O relatório inclui uma analise do governo Bush e sugere prioridades de ação para Barack Obama e os líderes de outras democracias estabelecidas. O documento rejeita com firmeza a premissa de engajamento oportunista com líderes autoritários, ignorando suas ações de repressão e cerceamento de liberdades civis.

Embora os retrocessos em 2008 não tenham representado decadencia substancial de liberdades para a maioria dos paises, foram mais numerosos e afetaram mais regiões. No total, 34 paises apresentaram declínio e 14 mostraram ganhos de liberdades.

Três paises mudaram de status em função de retrocessos: Afeganistão e Mauritania, passaram de “Parcialmente Livre” para “Sem Liberdade”, e o Senegal, de “Livre” para “Parcialmente Livre”. Outros três paises, todos do sul da Asia, passaram de “Sem Liberdade” para “Parcialmente Livre”: Paquistão, Maldivas e Butão. Na Europa, Itália e Grecia apresentaram discreto declinio.

O número de paises considerados livres em 2008 pela Freedom in the World são 89, representando 46% dos paises do mundo e 46% da população global.
Enquanto isso, 62 paises foram considerados parcialmente livres. Eles representam 32% dos paises pesquisados e 20% da população mundial.

O relatório apontou 42 paises sem liberdade, representando 22% do número total de paises analisados e 34% da população do mundo. Cerca de 60% dessas pessoas vivem na China.

Na classificação de “democracias eleitorais” encontram-se 119 paises. A Mauritania, Venezuela e Republica Centro Africana foram desqualificadas dessa lista, enquanto a Bosnia-Herzegovina e Bangladesh ganharam destaque como exemplos de democracias eleitorais recentes.

De uma maneira geral as Americas tiveram boa pontuação nesse quesito, apesar do aumento da criminalidade em alguns paises e a manutenção de lideranças populistas. Paraguai e Cuba mereceram menção por melhorias no processo político, apesar do regime cubano continuar sendo um dos mais repressivos do mundo. Colombia, Nicaragua e Mexico, além da já citada Venezuela estão entre os paises que registraram declinio nos direitos politicos e liberdades civis.

Na categoria “Piores dos Piores” estão 42 paises classificados como sem liberdade. Desses, oito receberam a pior pontuação da pesquisa: Coreia do Norte, Turquemistão, Ubzequistão, Libia, Sudão, Burma, Guiné Equatorial e Somalia. Dois territórios estão na mesma situação: Tibete e Chechenia. Onze outros paises e territorios receberam notas apenas um pouco melhores: Belarus, Chade, China, Cuba, Eritreia, Laos, Arabia Saudita, Siria, Zimbaube, Ossetia do Sul e Sahara Ocidental.

Para ler o relatório integral da pesquisa realizada pela Freedom House com mapas, graficos, tabelas e descrição da metodologia clique aqui

The Faroes support the right over natural resources

The government of the Faroe Islands supports the Western Sahara people's right to self-determination over its natural resources.

In January, a Norwegian news service discovered that a company from the Faroe Islands was involved in the exploration of natural resources in occupied Western Sahara.

The Faroese company Thor Offshore is using one of their vessels as a supply vessel for the Norwegian company Fugro-Geoteam in the search for oil exploration. Such Moroccan oil exploration is in violation of international law as long as the people of Western Sahara is against it. Morocco has occupied the major part of Western Sahara since 1975.

After the issue of Thor Offshore has been covered on Faroese TV and national newspapers for several days, on the 2nd of February, the Faroese Ministry of Foreign Affairs published the statement below on its homepages, which supports the interpretation of the UN.

"In light of the ongoing international debate about the legal status of Western Sahara, the Government of the Faroes has issued the following statement:

The foreign policy of the government of the Faroes is based on the fundamental view that all nations should strive for cooperation and harmony in their relations with each other.

The primary aim of the United Nations is to maintain international peace and security and the Government of the Faroes recognises that all nations have an equal right to exercise their right to self-determination.

The United Nations recognises that the people of Western Sahara have the right to self-determination and the Government of the Faroes supports their desire to exercise this right in practice.

The Government of the Faroes supports United Nations resolutions stating that the natural resources of Western Sahara should only be exploited and utilised when this is in accordance with the common will of the people of Western Sahara."

Here is the Faroese version.
"Fráboð um støðuna í Vestursahara

Uttanríkispolitikkur Føroya byggir á hugsjónina um, at samljóð og samstarv skal vera millum heimsins tjóðir. Tær eru javnar í metum og skulu sýna virðing og hóvsemi sínámillum.

Fremsta endamál Sameindu Tjóða er at tryggja heiminum frið og tryggleika. Føroya landsstýri viðurkennir týdningin av áhaldandi royndunum at tryggja heimsins tjóðum javnbjóðis rætt at útinna sjálvsavgerðarrætt sín.

Sameindu Tjóðir viðurkenna, at fólkið í Vestursahara hevur rætt at skipa seg sjálvt, og landsstýrið stuðlar ynskjum teirra at fremja henda rætt í verki.

Landsstýrið stuðlar samtyktunum um, at náttúrutilfeingi bert skal útvinnast, um hetta er í tráð við fólksins vilja í Vestursahara."

The Faroes is an autonomous province of Denmark.

War profiteers

Irishmen Bryan Benitz and and Paul Griffiths are leading a company that is planning to profit from an occupation.

The Irish oil company Island Oil and Gas is working for Moroccan authorities in occupied Western Sahara, despite that UN has said it is illegal. The Sahrawis are protesting it, it is after all their country. No state recognise Morocco's claims to Western Sahara.

But the Irish company keeps planning operations in the occupied country.

On 28 January 2009, their 2008 annual report was launched. The report contains presentations of the 2 illegal licences.

It shows that Island as operator of the Tarfaya Licence, has currently completed a review of prospectivity and will now embark upon a seismic reprocessing programme to high-grade prospects for new infill seismic acquisition in order to define potential drilling locations.

It is also hinted in the report that the reconnaissance licence for the Zag basin might have been converted to an exploration licence in December 2008. Fugro Robertson have been finalising analysis of the Zag basin in occupied Western Sahara in 2008. The Fugro NV subsidiary Fugro Robertson was also engaged in Western Sahara in the period around 2004.

None of the letters that WSRW has sent Island Oil and Gas have ever been responded. Despite their insistence on violating international law and fundamental ethics, they claim in the annual report to be "responsible". The UN stated oil exploration in Western Sahara would be illegal if the local people was against it.

This is cut from the annual report:
Onshore Morocco, Tarfaya Permit
The Tarfaya Exploration Licence is located in Southern Morocco and covers an area of 13,434 square kilometres. It is located onshore and borders the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. The Exploration Licence was awarded by ONHYM in November 2007 and is effective from 14 January 2008 for an eight year term divided into three work phases. ONHYM has the right to exercise a back-in option of up to 25%, reducing Island’s net interest to 30% if ONHYM were to exercise its back-in option to the maximum extent. State participation is carried only through the exploration phase with no
reimbursement for exploration costs.

The Phase 1 work programme for the licence is of 30 months duration and requires the acquisition, processing and interpretation of 500 kilometres of 2D seismic data and to conduct geochemical modelling. A drill or drop decision will be made at the end of the initial period.

Based on the existing seismic and well database in the Licence area, 15 exploration leads have been identified and mapped. There are two primary play types related to Mesozoic age reservoirs: Jurassic marine carbonate platform sediments and Triassic continental fluvio-deltaic red bed clastics. These occur at between 2,500 and 4,000 metres and 4,000 to 5,200 metres respectively. Fault- and dip-closed structures and anticlinal folds with four-way dip closure have been identified to date.

On-trend discoveries include the offshore Cap Juby Field and fields in the Essaouira Basin. Cap Juby is the nearest oil field on trend with Tarfaya and lies only 40 kilometres offshore from the Tarfaya Licence. The field was discovered in 1969 by Esso with the drilling of the MO-2 well. The well flowed 10 to 12 degrees API oil at a rate of 2,377 bpd from an Upper Jurassic fractured limestone at a depth of 2,076 metres subsea. A subsequent appraisal well on the flank of the structure encountered a small amount of light 38 degrees API oil from an older Jurassic limestone reservoir, thus proving the light oil potential of the area. Oil migrated and was trapped in the Cap Juby structure during the Middle to Late Cretaceous, however the structure was deeply eroded at the beginning of the Tertiary at which time the oil was biodegraded.

The Cap Juby field has not been monetised to date due to the heavy nature of the oil and the complex reservoir distribution. However, this proven oil play extends onshore into the Tarfaya Licence where the influence of Tertiary erosion is much less and the potential for the preservation of light oil in the
Jurassic is very high.

A total of seven discoveries in the Triassic and Jurassic intervals were made in the onshore Essaouira Basin, north of the licence area, including one oil field and two gas and gas-condensate fields.

The principle structural leads in the Tarfaya Licence are the Daora Structure, covering a probable area of 23 square kilometres and prospective for multiple targets in the Jurassic and Triassic; and the J North Structure, covering a probable area of 105 square kilometres with a primary reservoir target in
the Trias.

Netherland, Sewell and Associates have produced a Competent Persons’ Report for San Leon Energy Ltd, one of Island’s partners in the Tarfaya Licence, as part of that Company’s AIM Listing requirements, which gives, as of 1 May 2008, gross unrisked ‘Probable Prospective’ oil in place for the Tarfaya exploration leads of 2,511.5 mmb and gross ‘Probable Prospective Oil Resources’ of 711.3 mmb. It quotes gross unrisked ‘Possible Prospective Oil Resources’ of 3,878.6 mmb. For the J North Triassic Structure Netherland, Sewell and Associates prepared unrisked economics for the unrisked ‘Probable’ (‘Best Estimate’) development case of 156 mmb of gross oil resources. Using an oil price of US$80/barrel, this gave a gross unrisked value of approximately US$708 million discounted at 10% NPV. Netherland, Sewell and Associates have risked the chances of success for the J North Structure as 0.09%.

Island, the operator of the Tarfaya Licence, has currently completed a review of prospectivity and will now embark upon a seismic reprocessing programme to high-grade prospects for new infill seismic acquisition in order to define potential drilling locations.

Island will continue to prudently manage its exposure to the potential cost of the Phase 1 work commitment through farm-outs or the sale of equity interest in the Licence in order to accelerate drilling activity in this very prospective Mesozoic basin. As part of this process, and in order to secure an interest in this potentially valuable licence, in January 2008, during which time Island’s business growth strategy was constrained by the terms and conditions of Island’s outstanding debt facility with RMB, Island agreed with its partner in the Tarfaya Licence, Longreach Oil & Gas Ventures Limited (‘Longreach’), that Longreach would carry Island’s share of the Bank Guarantee (US$400,000), required to be put in place at the time of execution of the Tarfaya Licence, based on certain agreed terms and conditions as follows:

# Carry Longreach’s share of all costs incurred in relation to the Tarfaya Licence up to an amount equivalent to US$420,000 plus interest at 2% above Federal Reserve Rate;
# Grant Longreach an overriding royalty of 0.2% of gross monthly production, attributable to the Island interest, in any FSU licence it acquires jointly with its Moldovan partner Valiexchimp. In the event that none of these projects in the FSU were executed within one year of putting in place the Tarfaya Bank Guarantee, then Island would grant Longreach an overriding royalty, attributable to the net Island interest, of 0.4% of gross monthly production in the Tarfaya Licence and of 0.2% of gross monthly production in the Zag Reconnaissance Permit.

Onshore Morocco, Zag Basin
The Zag Exploration Reconnaissance Licence is located in Southern Morocco and covers approximately 21,807 square kilometres. The Licence was awarded on 12 December 2006 for an initial 12 month period. ONHYM subsequently granted a 12 month extension valid until December 2008 at which time a decision will be made to convert the Reconnaissance Licence to an Exploration Licence.

The current work programme includes reviewing existing studies; conducting geological field studies and a geochemical study; acquisition, processing and interpretation of aeromagnetic data; and the interpretation of satellite image data. The integration of these data will aid in high-grading areas for acquisition of a future 2D seismic survey to delineate leads and prospects.

The Zag Exploration Reconnaissance Licence lies within the Zag-Tindouf Basin of Southern Morocco and Western Algeria and is the westernmost of the prolific hydrocarbon-producing Palaeozoic Basins of North Africa. The Palaeozoic and Triassic reservoirs contain some 43% of known oil and 84% of the known gas resources of the entire North African region, with more than 460 billion barrels of oil equivalent of recoverable hydrocarbons discovered in 350 separate accumulations. The Zag-Tindouf Basin is predominantly a gas-prone hydrocarbon system. As a result of this the basin is poorly explored because historically it was considered remote and lacking production and transportation facilities. Large gas discoveries in Algeria and Libya, planned export gas pipelines to the European market together with the potential to transport gas to Morocco’s Atlantic Margin for conversion to LNG and export to the United States market, the lack of a strategic gas reserve and gas storage facilities in Morocco, the renewed political focus on security of supply issues, have revitalised industry interest in the Zag-Tindouf Basin, as demonstrated by the fact that Petro-Canada holds acreage immediately to the north of and adjoining Island’s licence interest.

The Zag-Tindouf Basin contains in excess of 8,000 metres of sediments and therefore the central parts of the basin have the potential to contain mature hydrocarbon source rocks. Despite this only eight exploration wells have been drilled in the Zag Basin, between 1961 and 1965. There is no indication that seismic data were ever acquired in this basin. Two wells encountered gas shows in the Palaeozoic. The Morcba-1 well, drilled in 1965, was classified as a gas discovery after testing 0.3 million cubic feet of gas per day (‘mm cfgpd’) from Silurian reservoirs at 650 metres.

The Zag-Tindouf Basin extends into Western Algeria and shares a common tectonic and sedimentary history with the Reggane Basin of South-Central Algeria. The Reggane Basin has been more extensively explored between 1957 and 2005. Gas has been tested from Ordovician, Lower Devonian and Carboniferous reservoirs, at depths between 1,500 and 4,500 metres subsea, at rates varying from 1.17 to 33 mm cfgpd. B.P. made two gas discoveries in 1980 and Sonatrach drilled ten exploration wells from 1995 to 2005 in the Reggane Basin. Estimates of discovered gas-in-place up until 2003 are 1.4 tcf (Petroconsultants). Repsol is reported to have drilled 13 exploration wells since 2003 in the Reggane Basin and to have made 5 gas discoveries with proved and probable resources in the order of several tcf.

From the available well data and surface rock outcrops, the Zag-Tindouf Basin is interpreted to contain the same prolific Silurian source rocks that are present in the Algerian and Libyan hydrocarbon-producing basins and to have sourced the gas discovered to date in the Morcba-1 well drilled in 1965.

The Zag Basin is in the earliest stages of exploration with drilling prospects yet to be identified. Initial geological studies by the Operator, San Leon Energy Ltd, have been completed and have demonstrated the presence of an active petroleum system. A 19,750 line-kilometre aeromagnetic survey will be acquired, processed and interpreted during the latter part of 2008. The objective will be to delineate deep basin structures over which 2D seismic will be acquired, subject to converting the Reconnaissance Licence into an Exploration Licence, to further assess the potential for the presence of fault block and folded anticlinal traps similar to those containing the hydrocarbons in the Palaeozoic oil and gas fields of Algeria and Libya. The Zag Basin in Southern Morocco has the potential to be a significant source of gas in North-West Africa, close to the European Market, in future years. Post year end, (October 2008) Fugro Robertson has completed for the Zag licensees a scoping economic analysis and feasibility study for a potential gas development in the Zag Basin. The results are positive and support the potential for the Zag Basin to make a significant contribution to the development of indigenous gas resources in Morocco in the event that future exploration drilling proves successful.