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Old 04-07-2017, 07:43 PM   #41
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Default Re: International Relations and Implications of US Supersoldier Experiments in 2017

I think you need to look at two separate issues, here. Firstly, of course, is a Latin American country that has had a difficult relationship with the United States, and as such has a government not willing to kow-tow to Los Estados Unidos. However, they also need enough of an economy that they can weather some pressure from Uncle Sam.

Secondly, I think you look for a country that has a problem that super soldiers, in particular, might be admirably suited to solve, in a way that more conventional weapons systems are not.

So, according to the Drug Policy Alliance, the three main producers of cocaine are Columbia, Peru and Bolivia, while Mexico and the Caribbean act as transportation corridors (Panama used to be the most important transportation corridor, but the U.S. scotched that, in the 1980s.)

So, Mexico is out for entirely too many reasons, as you already mentioned. They're right next to the U.S. border and they don't need any more headaches with the U.S. government than they already have. The cost-benefit analysis just doesn't work out, for them.

The Caribbean nations are all pretty friendly to either the United States, Britain, or European nations who are our allies -- except Cuba, which is its own thing. Cuba, as a general rule, isn't a huge transportation hub for drug trafficking to the U.S., and I'm not sure your Col. Ortiz would ever agree to work for the Castros, in any event.

(Wild-ass idea: would Col. Ortiz be the kinda guy who might think he could make himself indispensable to the Cubans, learn everything he could about how they operate, and then take over the place in a violent coup? I'd call that highly unlikely, since the Cubans, generally, like their country reasonably well, but as a plot it's pretty killer, even if it turns out that Ortiz is deluded.)

Anyway, that leaves Colombia, Peru and Bolivia as primary candidates.

The relations between the U.S. and Peru have been intermittently problematic, and the most recent low point occurred in 2000, following the tainted election of Alberto Fujumori in 2000. However, they've improved, since then and now the two countries work cooperatively on drug interdiction and economic development efforts.

Colombia remains problematic, not only because of the drug cartels, but also because so many leftist radical insurgents fund their revolutions with cocaine. Significant progress was made as the government negotiated an accord with the FARC guerillas, but a bit more than half the voters refused to support the peace treaty. However, after re-negotiation, a peace deal was struck and the FARC fighters began to disarm, a couple of months ago.

There are other insurgent groups in Colombia, but FARC were the biggest deal.

As for Bolivia, that may offer some potential. The country was long divided between a majority indigenous population and a minority criollo (Spanish descendants) group which controlled most of the economy. That started to change in the late 20th Century, following decades of violent conflict.

In 2005, socialist Evo Morales won election as president with an absolute majority of the votes in Bolivia -- which was unprecedented -- and his Movement for Socialism won a two-third majority in the both houses of the Bolivian National Congress. He immediately raised taxes on Bolivian petroleum companies (Bolivia is very rich in mineral wealth, of all sorts) and began to focus on social spending programs primarily geared toward helping the indigenous majority.

He also talks a lot about support for socialist ideology, and has voiced considerable criticism of classical liberalism, but his actual policies have actually followed a center-left approach to a mixed-economy capitalism with a strong social safety net. As such, the leftists in Bolivia criticize him for betraying the revolution, even though he strongly supports other leftist organizations throughout Latin America. Meanwhile, the traditional laissez-faire capitalists who formerly ran the country hate him for what they call his policies of wealth redistribution.

On top of all that, his family were poor farmers who made ends meet by growing coca, and Morales continues to advocate for the broad legalization of coca agriculture. The fact that he doesn't crack down on production of coca means many accuse Morales of tacitly supporting the cocaine trade as a way for poor indio farmers to make a decent living.

Any overt move by the United States to depose Morales would likely blow up in their faces, because he is that popular with the majority of Bolivians. However, anyone who owns a mine or an oil field in Bolivia has spent many sleepless nights since his election, worrying that he might do to Bolivia what Hugo Chavez did to Venezuela (even though Morales' policies are far more moderate than his rhetoric).

If Col. Ortiz is a reactionary, he may think the current U.S. administration isn't doing enough to overthrow Morales, who any "Real 'Murrican" would consider just another Latin American Commie bound to ruin his country, just as Chavez did. Under those circumstances, Ortiz may not be working for the government of Bolivia, but he may be working for the well-heeled oil companies and mine owners in Bolivia.

Conversely, if Col. Ortiz has a strong indio heritage in which he takes considerable pride, he may actually have chosen to support Evo Morales in his efforts to create what he considers social stability and economic justice to people of Bolivia.
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Old 04-07-2017, 08:25 PM   #42
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Default Re: International Relations and Implications of US Supersoldier Experiments in 2017

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How would Brazil suit Col. Ortiz and his men?
Mostly in that it's a strong economy and good enough industrial/medical base to suit whatever needs he may have (founding a school, establishing a mercenary company, living the good life, etc), and more than corrupt enough to hide in with worrying too much about extradition (which is still a worry, but only if he pisses of the local policia or criminals too much). Also Brazil is big enough that the US won't just send in operatives under the cover of darkness to "deal with him" if they unofficially learn he is there.

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Vargas deserted in the year 2000.
Sorry I meant Col. Ortiz. I keep getting the confused in this thread.
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Old 04-07-2017, 08:25 PM   #43
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Default Re: International Relations and Implications of US Supersoldier Experiments in 2017

I'm going to argue for Colombia. If Ortiz is only bugging out now, in 2017, and has been an active part of US military operations up until now, the three governments he knows best are Honduras, El Salvador and Colombia. If he's not looking to retire on the beach into obscurity, but to spread Truth, Justice and the Ortiz Way, those are his most plausible options by far. Honduras and El Salvador are small countries with fewer people whose ideals are likely to appeal to Ortiz; if he wants to make a difference, Colombia has more to offer him. Particularly since it is not lacking in expertise and infrastructure regarding drug production. Were I in Ortiz' position, I would lay a false trail to Honduras or El Salvador and head for Colombia. Anywhere else, he has had significantly fewer opportunities to make and keep fresh contacts and allies. It's also a pretty factionalized government which lets ortiz use it as a poison pill (if he operates at that high a level); removing Ortiz' allies means handing the country over to Trotskyites or narcofascists, so the US must use the scalpel, not the sledgehammer. (with the usual caveats of no 'friends' when you operate at this level, the core problem here is that the people the US government wants to work with and the people Ortiz wants to work with are pretty much the same people).

So. All of Ortiz' options are violent places. But Colombia offers him the most allies and the most resources. Depending on how paranoid he is, places like Bolivia may look good from a distance, but he'll be fleeing to people he knows personally and has worked with intensively. That's probably Colombia.
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Old 04-07-2017, 09:03 PM   #44
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Default Re: International Relations and Implications of US Supersoldier Experiments in 2017

Those are all excellent points. Thanks for a thought provoking post. I'll address issues in it point by point tomorrow, as I'm too tired now, but I thought I'd try to define Alejandro Ortiz better, to help forumites to speculate what he might do.

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Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
If Col. Ortiz is a reactionary, he may think the current U.S. administration isn't doing enough to overthrow Morales, who any "Real 'Murrican" would consider just another Latin American Commie bound to ruin his country, just as Chavez did. Under those circumstances, Ortiz may not be working for the government of Bolivia, but he may be working for the well-heeled oil companies and mine owners in Bolivia.

Conversely, if Col. Ortiz has a strong indio heritage in which he takes considerable pride, he may actually have chosen to support Evo Morales in his efforts to create what he considers social stability and economic justice to people of Bolivia.
Colonel Alejandro Ortiz was born on the 28 of June 1971, in Goliad, Texas. At least some of his ancestors were aristocrats, real limpieza de sangre hidalgos, and all of his ancestors were Tejanos before the United States existed.

Politically, Ortiz would be either a hawkish liberal or a compassionate conservative, depending on who's defining. Ortiz is against the forcible redistribution of wealth, class warfare or any form of intergroup hatred, but in favour of voluntary redistribution of wealth, strong safety nets and laws that ensure equal opportunity for all.

By upbringing, Ortiz disapproves of premarital sex, but he disapproves of it by indulgently encouraging favoured proteges to get married so they'll stop living in sin. And while he sternly admonishes his nieces and nephews to avoid sin and temptations, he was surprisingly cool about it when Chase Taylor (PC) dated his favourite niece for a while. It's pretty clear that Ortiz is a lot more open-minded about modern sexual mores than he pretends to be. Also, that no one in his family is at all bothered when he pretends to be a stern patriarch and his nieces and nephews seem quite willing to discuss their love-lives with him and ask his advice.

Pretty much the same seems to apply to the issue of same sex relations, as Ortiz theoretically considers it a sin, but practically, dotes on his gay nephew just as much as any of his other relatives and even had some choice words with his brother-in-law when that worthy had some trouble with accepting his son as he was. A case could even be made that Ortiz has never married and forms very close relationships with favoured subordinates...*

Ortiz has a strong sense of noblesse oblige** and is much more likely to have sympathies with the working poor than the established elite class. He hates bullies and bigots. He joined the US Army Special Forces because he believed wholeheartedly in their motto, 'De oppresso liber' ('From (the state of) oppressed (man), to (the state) of free (man)' or more colloquially, 'free the oppressed').

Ortiz is in favour of using military force for regime change, but only when this serves the cause of human rights by preventing worse harm, such as by removing leaders who massacre and victimise their own people or pose significant risks of destructive war to their neighbours.

I strongly suspect that Col. Ortiz has a very low opinion of Hugo Chavez and his presidency of Venezuela, but that wouldn't necessarily translate into a distaste for all leftist politicians. Indeed, he admires many leftist figures, such as Antonio de Montesinos, Lourenço da Silva de Mendouça, Toussaint Louverture, Abbé Grégoire, Miguel Hidalgo, Simon Bolivar, Vicente Guerrero, Leo Tolstoy, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King and Gabriel García Márquez.

Ortiz probably saw Chavez as a hypocritical failed terrorist*** more concerned with his image than his people. And an utter incompetent, which for someone who seeks such absolute power is pretty much unforgivable, as only being better for his people than any alternatives makes the exercise of that kind of power legitimate in the eyes of Ortiz.

It wouldn't matter to Ortiz what political dogma someone claimed to believe if they were honest, capable and trustworthy.

*As far as our characters know, there is not even a hint that Ortiz ever behaved inappropriately toward any soldier in his career. Of course, that might be a sense of morality, due to the power inequality, and not lack of interest. Ortiz's proteges do tend to be handsome and charming. It wouldn't shock me if it turned out that Ortiz had been carrying a torch for some of them. It wouldn't shock Chase Taylor (PC), either, unless, of course, it turned out that Ortiz felt that way about him. Wouldn't that be an interesting complication?
**Though his family is not fantastically wealthy, by any means. They are simply respectably middle-class and his relatives tend to be hard-working, with a strong respect for education and a tendency to gravitate to careers where a sense of professional fullfilment is more likely than extreme wealth. A lot of his forefathers and -mothers have been soldiers, priests, sherrifs, doctors, nurses, politicians or activists.
***Not a value judgment or any kind of political commentary. It is simply an undisputed fact that Chavez planned and carried out assassinations and the taking of hostages for political purposes. He admitted this and spent a year in prison, but was later pardoned for his crimes.
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Old 04-07-2017, 09:58 PM   #45
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Default Re: International Relations and Implications of US Supersoldier Experiments in 2017

I may be showing my ignorance of South America here, but what is wrong with Argentina or Chile as possible destinations?
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Old 04-08-2017, 06:29 AM   #46
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I really want to hear more about how that was supposed to work.

EDIT: Was it bone pointing? I so want there to have been a government spec ops bone pointing program.
It was one of those projects that had to have born out of the people designing the project being on heavy psychedelics themselves:

Concept: The aboriginals believe that all dreams are connected, and that skilled individuals can walk between them.

???

Conclusion: We can train nightmare operators to go make bad dreams for our enemies!
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Old 04-08-2017, 07:09 AM   #47
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I may be showing my ignorance of South America here, but what is wrong with Argentina or Chile as possible destinations?
As far as I know, both are possibilities. On the other hand, my knowledge of both places in the modern day is pretty much confined to their national football teams. I've no idea about their modern politics or relations with other countries after the days of Perón and Pinochet.
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Old 04-08-2017, 07:19 AM   #48
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In my campaign there has been a Super Enhanced Marine unit, Ranger Unit and something mysterious in Delta force.

European armies have been experimenting psoldiers. Telepathy has worked well in stealth exercises and recon.

Chinese and Japanese forces have been working on Qi energy and nullfields.
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Old 04-08-2017, 07:22 AM   #49
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Hacking network-connected computers wouldn't yield anything truly useful.

It might serve to make foreign intelligence agencies curious, but frankly, I'd guess that most who saw emails or other secure communcations about supersoldiers and drug trials would either assume that they'd been detected by someone with a sense of humour or that they'd stumbled across a pet project by a senior bureaucrat with crazy pseudoscientific beliefs, like the Trojan Warrior Project or the Stargate Project.

Any actual evidence is probably not kept on networked computers. For one thing, it's evidence against a lot of senior officers in the US Army about falsification of records for Project Jade Serenity. They are probably trying to keep it from their own government, let alone others. Other factions of the conspiracy seem to be holding on to any potential evidence, possibly for leverage. No one is actually filing scientific data about test subjects of Project Jade Serenity into government computers, where all sorts of people might take official note of it.
That would be a HUGELY significant deviation from our modern world. Nothing is kept 'off computers', and it would be basically impossible to study the effect using above TL 6 technology and techniques (Or create a VERY significantly 'interesting' blip as you start resurrecting the TL7 tech that has been completely supplanted by superior TL8 stuff. I mean, if this is an issue of 'oh god we accidentally made supermen, lets pretend this never happened' that's one thing, but I can't see any situation where running at least one of the participants head to toe through an FMRI is not something like #1 on the list, immediately followed by a full gene sequencing, a prion sequencing (is the secret of superpowers in protine folds instead of genes?), full spectrographic bloodwork, whole body high contrast x-rays, microwave backscatter imaging. All of these peices of equipment are useless without the computers to analyze them, and many of those computers are networked, some of them HAVE to be networked (gene sequencers rely on connecting to massive databases in order to work). If you are buying an offline version of one, your generating significant 'blips' of interest to an intelligence analyst.

Further compounding things is that no one produces these high end pieces of equipment in america- they are a mixture of german/japanese/israli components, build from chinese parts, assembled in germany, japan, france, or america, and they are all private industries- which means at some point in time money needs to be transfered from an american government organization to one of the producers, digitally, over open networks.

Even if you can somehow stop anyone from mentioning the SUPER SECRET AND AWESOME project on public networks (Int op: "jade serenity- wasen't that the failed super-drug project form the 2000's, why is it getting mentioned more often than any other project this month?"),

Further its not like physically separated networks are actually secure, just harder to penetrate by casual hackers ( https://arstechnica.com/security/201...audible-sound/ )

On top of that, there have been THREE FBI directors THAT WE KNOW ABOUT, who could not exercise enough restraint to not download porn and malware on their work computer. You think those three DIRECTORS of the FBI who can't stop themselves from downloading porn can stop themselves from mentioning the super-soldier project they are supposed to keep tabs on?

You think that military medics and doctors being posted every two years and routinely getting drunk at local bars are not going to have a slip up and talk about the 'guy who can bend metal'.

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I don't think that anything worth selling came from Project Jade Serenity. The drug experiments were discontinued as a failure in the year 2000 and while the former subjects have developed powers many years later, no one knows exactly what about the many experimental drugs they took had those effects.

Even as far as the scientists who took part knew, it was an embarrassing professional failure which damaged their careers, not something which yielded actual marketable results.
That's not normally how research works. The researchers would still be following there patients for 30+ years to look for adverse side effects. Once they started observing counter-indicators they'd talk with their peers about it to see if its something they have encountered (even if they can't say 'I injected a guy with nutropics for a year', they might ask 'so, have you ever seen any long term results from nutropic xyz?'- if after making inquiries like that they suddenly STOP asking questions, that's suspicious).

Unless the emergence of the superpowers was explosive, potentially literally, with no slow ramp up.

As far as criminal groups- they want salable product, and the demand for working nutropics is high 'Yea man, these drugs totally make you better, US government was doing it'. If they find out they give you super-powers they'll be selling 'super-poweres in a jar' (likely trying to cut corners on costs by using cheaper and more unstable drugs, with who knows what effects)

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Theoretically possible, but none of these polities are likely to value their security partnership with the US lightly enough to consider providing asylum to fleeing test subjects who will be branded deserters and traitors.
[/quote]
The 5 eyes community would, in theory, be informed of the result of the reasearch so that they would share there own research into similar projects. I was considering willing sharing of information between the US and those other countries, not some sort of asylum seeking situation.


Another note I came up with- Russia and China likely have there own supers from roughly the same time period. If jade serenity was not an impossibly well kept secret than likely china (having a huge population base to experiment on) would have done the same regime 'just in case', russia would only have done it if seemed the americans were investing significant funds into it.
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Old 04-08-2017, 08:34 AM   #50
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Well, here's some options from this business insider article I found.
Thanks. This is great.

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Brazil, Switzerland and France have all made a fuss about extradition in the past, but being branded a terrorist might be more of a big deal than merely being a murderer or tax evader.
Depending on how well the extraction is handled, any charges of terrorism might be refutable. What Col. Ortiz and his men will actually be guilty of is the exact same thing as Edward Snowden. Their prefered plan will not include any violence, they'll just be deserting from the US Army and taking with them classified material that includes evidence of senior DoD officials breaking the law and a subsequent cover-up.

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Ecuador is currently protecting Assange, so they're plausible too.
Ecuador is one of the places I'd like to know more avout, to see if they are a good choice. Could they plausibly set up a research program to learn more about Project Jade Serenity if they have access to the test subjects? Could they protect them, both in terms of secrecy and security?

What are their relations with other countries like? Their stategic situation?

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Iceland is plausible given they offered to protect Assange and Bobby Fischer, as well as that talk about Snowden last year.
Absolutely no chance. Talk is cheap, but we don't have any of the capabilities we'd need to get Col. Ortiz and his men here. Let alone protect them from extraordinary rendition or assassination. Not to mention that everyone would know their whereabouts and keeping pretty much anything to do with this out of the media would be impossible.

The only thing there is any tradition of secrecy about here are mistakes that bureaucrats make and that is a reflex shared by senior officials in all countries. There is no hope we'd be able to offer any aid to a group of ten to fifty people without politicians from all parties having to discuss it, which means the media would be reporting it even before a decision was reached.

Anything Ortiz told Icelandic Foreign Ministry officials (or whoever) to try to convince them of the reality of their unique status would probably be in the news shortly. Which, in turn, would probably bring attention from a lot of other powers. It's unlikely we would risk the allegiance with the US for something most of the politicians wouldn't believe in the first place and would not know what to do with even if they did.

Besides, any nation state could remove a group of people by force from Iceland without us being able to prevent it. Hell, many private companies or criminal organisations could probably do it, in case an aging billionaire or criminal oligarch decided that this sounded like something that could yield a new lease on life for them if they could have some biolab reverse engineer it.

Ortiz will realise that going public with the whole story might provide a measure of protection from US shenanigans, but will also expose them to threat of kidnapping by pretty much any group with the resources to consider setting up their own research project. That is, assuming that they go public with evidence that will convince a significant fraction of people.
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