"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Rove, liveley lawyer, Gold Bars and how to deal with Uncle Sam

This caught my eye ... turd blossom's antics often do.

Word Blossom
by Ryan Lizza

Post date 07.14.05 | Issue date 07.25.05
In at least one Washington law firm this July, the summer associates are earning their keep. Their boss is one of the lawyers involved with the Rove-Plame scandal, and he's keeping them busy with a surprisingly thorny task: Tracking the public comments of Robert Luskin, Karl Rove's attorney. Over the last two weeks, Luskin has flummoxed Washington's Fourth Estate with spin and legalisms. He has embarrassed reporters who ran with the cleverly worded denials he dished out. He has contradicted himself, sometimes within the same news article.

The Belktway law firm in question ? Patton Boggs

On their Website they push a handy new newsletter ...Dated September 9th
Patton Boggs Launches Innovative Middle East Contracting Newsletter
September 7, 2005

Washington DC-Patton Boggs LLP is pleased to announce publication of an informative newsletter, Middle East Contracting: Contracting with the U.S. Government in the Middle East. The quarterly newsletter launching September 1, 2005, will offer useful information for readers wishing to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities available to contractors in a variety of sectors in the Middle East region.

The publication focuses on business growing out of the U.S. and allied governments’ large programs of expenditures in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other areas in the region as they promote a new community of local suppliers of goods and services. It will also provide coverage of how local economies are being transformed by the continuing demand for energy resources, real estate expansion, banking, insurance and tourism sectors.
Pdf file of newsletter available here (This is a must read)

Details of mind boggling contract are given … but the game is given away here for the slavering money grubbers in the cleint base …

Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2005

Following the $87 billion supplemental appropriation for military operations and
reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan in FY 2004, Congress approved another emergency supplemental appropriations bill in May 2005. The bill, which also included funds for tsunami relief, was not as large regarding reconstruction funds as the FY 2004 bill, but it contains significant procurement and construction funds nonetheless. For instance, it provides $897 million for Army construction, $140 million for Navy/Marine Corps construction, and $141 million for Air Force construction. Additionally, the bill appropriated $592 million for construction of a sprawling U.S. Embassy complex in Baghdad.

So Karl Rove is in charge of Gulf Coast Redux - his lawyer is Patton Boggs Partner, Robert Luskin .... expect a new newsletter any day from Patton Boggs Gulf Coast Contracting: Contracting with the U.S. Government in the Gulf Coast.

Robert Luskin, Harvard Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 1979 Harvard College, A.B., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Rhodes Scholarship, 1972 who wore an earing to the Supreme Court .. and won. Well if you want to learn about his colourful career including being paid in Gold Bars for his fees, (which he had to pay back to the Feds - he didn't realise it was tainted) by a Colombia drugs Money launderer (US$60Mn a month was handled for years) who has another 653 years of his sentence to run.

Go here and scroll down to July 11th 2005 for the whole story of how Karl Rove's lawyer got paid in cash, swiss wire transfers, etc.,

The Hunchback of POTUS leaves NOLA

The New York Times's Elisabeth Bumiller, acting as pool reporter, informed colleagues yesterday that all the lights and generators needed to create the desired effect were flown in by the White House.

Reporters were not allowed out of their vans while the president spoke, but they demanded a quick tour of the area beforehand.

"Bobby DeServi and Scott Sforza (Wag the Dog Productions Inc.) were on hand as we drove up handling last-minute details of the stagecraft," Bumiller wrote. DeServi is the White House's chief lighting designer; Sforza is in charge of visuals."

"Bush will be lit with warm tungsten lighting, but the statue [of Andrew Jackson] and cathedral will be illuminated with much brighter, brighter lights . . . like the candlepower that DeServi and Sforza used on Sept. 11, 2002, to light up the Statue of Liberty for Bush's speech in New York Harbor."

Postman Patel - TV Megastar in the making ? Apparently not

"Postman Pat is to return to children’s television in a new series that will feature an Asian character,” announces The Times.

Apparently this is some kind of attempt to make the programme more relevant or modern, or something.

“Research was done into an appropriate name for the Asian characters,” says a spokesman for Entertainment Rights, the go-ahead company that paid £5.1m for the rights.

“We didn’t want a stereotype like ‘Patel’.” Indeed not. And although the chosen name – Mr Bain – doesn’t do much for the TV site MegaStar, they are delighted by his distinctive appearance. Especially the hook.

Building roads, building bridges ?

TARIN KOWT, URUZGAN, Afghanistan - Back 'home,' away from the war, it was the Labor Day holiday, but here in Afghanistan is was another day of labor, especially for the newly trained platoon of Afghan National Army engineers working on the Tarin Kowt road.

“We were impressed with the young ANA platoon sergeant and his soldiers who cut over 13 kilometer of road in the past two weeks,” said Holleran, a postal carrier from Brooksville, Ken., and project noncommissioned officer in charge. “The platoon sergeant motivated his soldiers to take pride in their work. In days, they were operating bulldozers, graders, scrappers, rollers, and rippers (rock remover) like old pros.”
While at the site, visiting General Paolozzi, general observed his soldiers cutting culverts on the side of the road that would provide flood drainage. He congratulated them for their diligence and encouraged them to continue to serve their nation.

“These ANA engineers are making history,” concluded Gnl Paolozzi, from Ithaca New YorkTask Force Pacemaker and 864th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy).
“They are the first ANA road crew. They’re sowing seeds of cooperation and victory. We engineers throughout the world are the same. We may wear different uniforms or speak different languages, but we all know our building mission encompasses hours of hard dirty tireless work.”

CENTCOM sent me this ... perhaps they could send these evidently highly trained guys over to the Gulf Coast with that kit, all that enthusiasm, Davis - Bacon kicked into touch and immigration documentation sidelined they could be a helpful ( and very cheap) addition to Halliburton's workforce.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Small man, Big ideas. Big Talk.

Karl Rove was behind the curtain, when the blue collar worker, George stood in Jackson Square, an eerily lit, silent, trompe l'oeil Disneyland fantasy Palace background, absent of any audience except the few unquestioning Press Corps. The White House generators hummed in the heat.(Pic from Blondesense)

The centrepiece of the Square is the famous equestrian statue, Glorifying Andrew Jackson, seventh President and as “Old Hickory” famous Civil War terrorist, who decisively beat the British at the Battle of New Orleans in 1812, after defying orders to disband his men.

Without union, our independence and liberty would never have been achieved; without union they never can be maintained. ... The loss of liberty, of all good government, of peace, plenty, and happiness, must inevitably follow a dissolution of the Union.
--Andrew Jackson, Second Inaugural Address, 1833

The speech was a carefully constructed and crafted compilation, Demagoguery by Numbers. Bush the Compassionate Christian Conservative, a man of faith rediscovering poverty. He sounds generous until you realize his friends, Pioneers and Rangers are the winners - Patria est ubicumque est bene. Their 'homeland' is wherever they can turn a fast buck. Cicero.

Bush the Resolute the Rebuilder of New Orleans and the whole Gulf Coast no matter the cost. The Titanic will be re-built and gee wait till you see the new ballroom !

Bush the Ideologue of the Right endorsing congressional Republican plans which will turn the Gulf Coast and the Crescent City into some sort of giant Enterprise Zone . Entrepreneurs will thrive - de-regulation will flourish, (Davis-Bacon controls on wages removed, pronto) taxpayers dollars flow like a busted levee.
(President Bush today, in a little noticed appointment, nominated Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. to be an Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health . Foulke's position as Chairman of the Greenville Country, South Carolina Republican Party was not mentioned in the President's press release, nor was the fact that Foulke was a Bush Pioneer which means that he pledged to gather $100,000 for the 2004 Bush campaign.) he believes in, “ limited government, lower taxes, a strong national defense and personal responsibility.”)

Bush the Pork barrel King ;

"The Shaw Group, a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate, is headed by Jim Bernhard, the current chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party. Bernhard worked tirelessly for Democrat Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco's runoff campaign and served as co-chair of her transition team. Another Shaw executive was Blanco's campaign manager. Bernhard is back-scratching chums with Blanco, whom he has lent/offered the Shaw Group's corporate jets to on numerous occasions."

Bechtel, Blackwater, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton,CenterPoint Energy, former Reliant, Kenyon International Emergency Services, The Shaw Group (see above) ,Latts – the cronies are already in play. By funneling money through Homeland Security / FEMA , Bush / Rove ensure an ever open spigot of military funny money that can be laundered under NOLA / Gulf reconstruction costs - follow the oil slicks. Expect cost overruns tomorrow and the next day and the next day...he's already talking another US$200Bn.

Bush the Reborn, a man of simple Christain Faith, Religion was relentlessly mentioned, a sort of operatic leitmotif, trying to shore up his base - classic Rove style.

Conspicuously missing, of course, was Bush the Contrite admitting mistakes and accepting responsibility notably no talk of an enquiry. Wouldn’t be prudent … gee, get on with the job in hand.

Bush the Political Opportunist, using unimagineable disaster to push one's pre-existing agenda farther than anyone would have believed possible. Caught off guard by your audacity, your opponents will be disarmed. Defeat is a Springboard for Victory.

Go on… admit some errors, and use that good will to push through billions of dollars in patronage funds. Turn a crock of shit into the largest bonanza a politician ever dared dreamt of, and maintain complete control over its distribution through FEMA and it’s embedded cronies.

Bush the Bold. Anyone who would oppose the plan is just as unpatriotic as anyone who might oppose the Iraq war. ..."It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces -- the institution of our government most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment's notice."

Does Bush have a strategy for rebuilding the Gulf Coast? If so, could he come up with a strategy for rebuilding Iraq?

How did I do ? Very good George. Yes ... you can go to the bathroom now.

My White House has many bathrooms ......

“I passed by and that was actually when I saw [Secret Service Uniformed Officer] Lew Fox, who was on duty outside the Oval Office, and stopped and spoke with Lew for a few minutes, and then the President came out and said, oh, hey, Monica...come on in... And so we spoke for about 10 minutes in the [Oval] office. We sat on the sofas. Then we went into the back study and we were intimate in the bathroom. K.Starr Rpt. to Congress Sept. 1998"

....he is said to have turned to secretary of state Condoleezza Rice for advice. "I think I may need a bathroom break? Is this possible?" a Reuters news agency photographer caught him writing in a note to Rice.

Gary Hershorn, a picture editor for Reuters admits he is responsible for zooming in on the note, using Photoshop to bring out the words and deciding to transmit the photo.

UAV's a USAF overview

On September 13th 2005 the USAF provided a press briefing at Keesler AFB Biloxi, Missouri – whoise radars had been used to help out battered Civial Aviation Control during and after Katrina hit the area.

There was discussion about Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and the Commander of Air Combat Command, General Ronald E. Keys gave some background on the current usage of these autonomous vehicles for surveillance (ISR) and offensive operations.

Vehicles such as the Global Hawk and the MQ-1 Predator are increasingly important, as fast as the UAVs are being built they are being put downrange.

The Predator’s role has expanded beyond its original concept and can now be weaponised. "They are one of those things where if you had 1,000 of them, I don't think you'd have enough," General Keys said. Interestingly the Predator B variant ALTAIR used by NOAA for scientific experiments is the first remotely piloted aircraft that will meet aviation authority requirements for unmanned flights in National Air Space. (has Afghanistan / Iran / etc etc., approved it's use in their air space ?)

Increasingly the aim is to distribute information in real time streaming video to troops on the ground on the combat zone. " .. let them know what's around the corner before they go around the corner," the General said.

The Global Hawk is still in operational testing, with about 4,000 combat hours. It is in high demand in the Central Command / Middle East operations, it is expected to be used increasingly in conducting ISR over huge areas of the Pacific region. (Which is near China)

"The staring, ruthless persistence these UAVs bring to us, make them particularly suited to that," General Keys said. (Except when they fall out of the sky says Ckicken Licken)

UAVs also make ideal missions for Guard and Reserve units apparently they can be mobilized locally, conducting most of the flying and ISR portions of the mission from their home station in the US. Only a small contingent of Airmen would need to be sent forward.

Sounds ideal for Dubya who never really saw much action as a pilot in the National Guard – perhaps he could have a terminal to play with on his desk in the Oval Office, next to his guitar. However with his record of falling off bikes and hi tech scooters he might need to read a few user manuals before he tries it out – we wouldn’t want rogue missiles fired at the Pentagon.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

UAV's, they should be code named ICARUS

Mastery of the skies in the Middle East is obtained by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles – UAV’s, and at a huge cost in development and lost aircaft,

On 16 February 2000 Northrop Grumman Corp. of San Diego CA was awarded a $71,999,635 modification to a cost-plus-award-fee contract, MDA972-95-3-0013, to provide for two prototype( advanced concept technology demonstration (ACTD) Global Hawk (pic) unmanned aerial vehicles, associated system modification, and engineering support. Expected contract completion date is March 31, 2002.

Global Hawk No. 2, valued at approximately $45 million, crashed at the South Range at China Lake Naval Weapons Center, Calif. When it crashed, there was no fire, the plane was a write-off and China Lake personnel secured the site.

In March, 1999, a Global Hawk vehicle, with its sensors, went out of control and was destroyed.

As of March 2002 the Air Force inventory consisted of three Global Hawk Air Vehicles. Of the six that had been built, three were known to have been lost in lost in mishaps.

Air Vehicle Seven was scheduled for delivery late in 2002, and AV seven and eight were to follow in 2003. As of early 2002 plans were under way to accelerate production to two aircraft in 2004, four in 2005 and six in 2006. Each one of these ACTD vehicles is a one of the kind development project.

Global Hawk is the most expensive UAV currently available. As of mid-2002 the estimated unit costs had tripled over the original estimate of $15 million apiece. The aircraft costs about $48 million with a full sensor quite, or about $70 million each if development costs are included. By contrast, the smaller Predator costs about $4.5 million. Production line vehicles have been tested but not deployed in combat yet. Total costs of the project exceed US$ $2 Bn.

Which is just as well because some 2 months ago a Global Hawk RQ-4A, launched from Abu Dhabi, flamed out the Rolls Royce engine died and control was lost. In a “dead stick” recovery it was landed in Afghanistan. This is the third engine failure reported within recent months.

Which is just as well because it is the only Global Hawk in area.

However production has commenced and air trials undertaken on the new RQ-4B Global Hawk which is larger than the currently deployed Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrator Global Hawk systems and the RQ-4A version. It carries 50 percent more payload and provides two and a half times the available onboard power for carrying multiple sensor systems and weaponry. They are going to be based at North Dakota's Grand Forks Air Force Base. The Air Force decided to put UAVs at the base after initially planning to recommend its closure.

The Army A160 Hummingbird, (originally developed by Boeing Frontiers Systems, Irvine CA - remember every branch of the military have to have their own toys) unmanned aerial vehicle made its first test flight as part of a Boeing $50 million ceiling-priced indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract, recently from an airfield near Victorville, CA.

The successful 80-minute test included both hovering and forward flight. The gasoline Subaru 300 hp auto engine powering it, shut down prematurely during the approach phase following a successful long-endurance flight.

The accident wrecked the prototype but a further prototype is already being built. There are plans to change plan to change to a gas turbine engine of 500 shp of ‘an existing commercially available powerplant’. Rolls Royce have previously announced they are developing a 400 shp version of the Allison –250 series for an “unnamed customer”. However the Pratt and Whitney Canada PW200/55 powerplant has been named as has a Sonex diesel engine.

The A160 is an unmanned helicopter, with hingeless fixed rotor blades 36feet diameter is 35 feet long and designed to fly 2,500 nautical miles with endurance in excess of 24 hours and a payload of more than 300 pounds an estimated top speed of 140 knots at ceilings of up to 30,000 feet.

The aircraft that crashed had flown a set pre-planned course course in the Victorville area at 4,000 ft at about 60 knots of about 1200 miles in total said to be the longest known unmanned helicopter flight to date.

It has also been said that another Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA ) project for a Canard Rotary wing (CRW) is under development to research a stopped rotor, propulsive forward flight approach to combining hovering and high speed capabilities. The first prototype crashed on it’s second flight.

NOLA Times Picayune back in business

Operating from a college dorm the New Orleans based Times Picayune are publishing on line. Take a look they have some amazing stories.

Here is one of 1,000's of pictures covering, before / during / after Katrina passed through.

A Texas Game Warden at the ready.

Amazingly Picayune (Pronunciation: pik"ē-yOOn'), means trivial, petty, trifling from the Provencal Fr. for a small coin. (Webster)

Yes ! WE sell less more expensive Bananas.

Chiquita claim prices for their bananas in EU, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland were 16% higher this summer, on 9% lower volumes.

Chiquita claim this is due to higher sales of premium-label volumes in eastern Europe, competition for import licenses, and a reduced supply of bananas from protected sources (the so called APC countries of the ex French / Portuguese and UK Empire in the Caribbean etc.,) plus the effect of higher delivery costs for fuel and shipping.

The company announced last week after Katrina passed through their Gulfport terminal that, "While we are still assessing the situation, it is clear that we will need to relocate our services from Gulfport for the foreseeable future."

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Cheney in charge ? Oiling the wheels of industry ?

Shortly after Hurricane Katrina roared through South Mississippi knocking out electricity and communication systems, Dick Cheney’s office at the White House ordered power restored immediately to a pipeline that sends fuel to the Northeast.

Dan Jordan, manager of Southern Pines Electric Power Association, said Vice President Dick Cheney's office called and left voice mails twice shortly after the storm struck, saying the Collins substations needed power restored immediately. The first call the night of Aug. 30 and the 2nd the morning of Aug. 31. Southern Pines supplies electricity to the substation that powers the Colonial pipeline.

Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Mike Callahan said the U.S. Department of Energy called him on Aug. 31. Callahan said department officials said opening the fuel line was a national priority.

Callahan said getting the pipelines flowing would be difficult. there was a chance the voltage required to do so would knock out the system - including power to Wesley Medical Centre in Hattiesburg.

With Forrest General Hospital operating on generators, Wesley was the only hospital operating with full electric power in the Pine Belt in the days following Katrina.
"Our concern was that if Wesley went down, it would be a national crisis for Mississippi," Callahan said. "We knew it would take three to four days to get Forrest General Hospital's power restored and we did not want to lose Wesley."

Compton, though, followed the White House's directive.

Go here to read the full incredible story how the White House kept the gas pumpin' from hattiesburgamerican.com

Sharon not .... Eyeless in Gaza

If you live in Gaza you might want to take a close look at this picture. This strange looking plane a Machatz 1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), although you might not see it very easily overhead, as it can fly at 30,000 feet for over 40 hours, performance way in excess of any other such airborne system. Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) has received a supply contract from the Israeli Air Force for over US$50Mn for an unknown quantity of this latest spy in the sky.

Machatz 1, can carry multiple sensors such as maritime patrol radar, a synthetic aperture radar (SAR), COMINT and ELINT systems, etc. The system has automatic launch and recovery and all-weather capabilities.

It is said that the Chinese would be very interested to purchase such leading edge surveillance technology – which would not of course please Uncle Sam.

Last week Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and Elbit Systems announced a joint US$150 Mn 3 year contract, for the Turkish Armed Forces UAV systems.

IAI also demonstrated the Bird-Eye 400 Mini-UAV, at the 2005 Paris Air Show with a take off weight of 4.1 Kg a range of 15 Km at 500/1000 above ground, and flight duration of 80 minutes, using silent electric propulsion .To be operated in a tactical reconnaissance mode for two soldiers with a wingspan of 2 metres and 2.6 metres in length is equipped with two cameras.

Thinking out loud, Gaza could prove to be an ideal testing ground and "live" demonstration area for likely customers – but of course Palestine is a sovereign territory and so they wouldn’t overfly would they ?

To be a pedant the 3rd hand quotation comes originally from Milton's "Samson Agonistes"

Eyeless in Gaza, at the Mill with Slaves,
Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke ...

Aldous Huxley took up the title "Eyeless in Gaza" for his 30's novel, using the allegory of the deranged and blinded Samson bringing the Temple down, which was of course situated in Gaza.

Getting it off your Chest

Cafe Press (a US outfit) offer T shirts bearing the above legend. Perhaps it might make sense to offer instead "Fuck you SO 19" etc.,

Guantanamo Hunger strike gains momentum

There are 502 “enemy combatant” from 40 countries detained in Guantanamo Bay US Naval base on Cuba. Hunger strikes , defined in true military fashion as, ”anyone who passes up nine meals over 72 hours” started protesting five weeks ago on August 8th and there are now 128 prisoners on strike with 18 being "force fed".

They all demand that they be freed or put on trial, some complain of assaults by guards and continue to allege that there has been desecration of Muslim religious items.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, a New York legal advocacy group quoted prisoner Shaker Aamer, a Saudi who later moved to London and was captured by allied forces in Afghanistan, saying that the hunger strike was triggered when authorities placed some detainees who belonged to a "prisoners council" in isolation cells. Picture shows UK citizen Moazzim Begg who was released early this year at an election meeting for Craig Murray in Blackburn.

Maj. Jane Boomer, a Pentagon spokeswoman assigned to the Office of Military Commissions, said that the Military Commissions were being held in abeyance, awaiting a decision on whether the Supreme Court would grant a challenge to the legality of the process, which is expected by the end of September.

The "extra legal" procedures of "special rendition" and imprisonment without trial of "enemy combatants" are a breach of all Human Rights, in breach of the Geneva Concentions and the US Constitution. They are also undertaken without demur by HM Government and it's servile Ministers who act as Bush's lickspittles.


Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
You know the nearer your destination, the more you slip sliding away

Whoah God only knows, God makes his plan
The information's unavailable to the mortal man
We're workin' our jobs, collect our pay
Believe we're gliding down the highway, in fact we're slip sliding away

Paul Simon © 1977
pic (Mannie Garcia/Reuters)

"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government, …. I take responsibility.'' POTUS Bush White House.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Zionist apartheid at work in Gaza

You can smell the sea but the Israeli's blocked access to it. For the children of Rafah, the beach was a dream and the ruins of homes bulldozed by the Israeli army their only playground.

Nine-year-old Warda Abu Armaana could smell the sea from her home, her first house was razed to the ground. Her family had to leave their second home because it was too vulnerable to the Israeli soldiers' frequent pot shots.

She remembers going to the beach once, but it was in the north of the narrow 45-kilometre-long territory, because the southern coast near Rafah is part of the Rafah Yam settlement.

Mahmoud Barbakh and Mohammed Jaroun grew up just a few minutes from the Mediterranean, but had never been to the beach. On Monday 12th September 2005, with thousands of others they skirted the massive coils of barbed wire and waded into the waves with their jeans rolled up, then abandoned all caution and threw themselves into the surf. "It was the sweetest thing in the whole world," said 15-year-old Mahmoud.

Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip made their fun possible. In southern Gaza, Israeli settlements took up the beachfront for three decades, and Palestinians in that area were barred by Israeli troops from reaching the Mediterranean.

After the last Israelis left Monday, Palestinians, many for the first time, including many giddy teenagers, enjoyed the water. One used a refrigerator door as a makeshift surfboard.

Mohammed Deir, 41, said he closed his building supplies store in celebration. "The only job I have today is to go to the beach and the border," he said. Offshore an Israeli navy boat patrolled the coast.

Scrunchhhh !

The British shopper is fickle, planning to meet their tastes is a hazardous enterprise.

UK apple sales are down, again. The Commercial director at Capespan, Martin Dunnett, believes the UK market is experiencing a long term change.

“It is becoming ever more apparent that there is competition to apples from summer fruits,” he said. “The whole season is changing and there is definitely a longer window for summer fruit.”

As a result there is an overhang on the market of Southern hemisphere fruit which results in home grown “Discovery”, which with a short shelf life, is struggling for shelf space and sales, against stocks of new Zealand “Braeburn” which are selling wholesale at 2/300 pence per 18 Kg carton = approx 9p per lb!

"There is going to be a lot of Discovery unsold this year," said Robert Rendall, managing director of Plantsman Ardleigh Storage. “We have one more week left of the crop and we are grading it for the School Fruit & Vegetable Scheme, and the rest will go to juice. It’s a tragedy, because it’s fantastic apple, but there has been an overlap with southern hemisphere fruit and therefore not enough shelf space or support for the variety.”

Apples are a source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber such as pectin actually helps to prevent cholesterol buildup blood vessel walls linings, helping reduce the chances of atherosclerosis and heart disease. Insoluble fiber in apples provides bulk for the intestinal tract, holding water to cleanse and move food quickly through the digestive system.

Eat apples with their skin. Half of the vitamin C content is just underneath the skin. Eating the skin also increases insoluble fiber content. The apple's fragrance cells are concentrated in the skin and as they ripen, the skin cells develop more aroma and flavor.

Sweet deals for Mandy ?

Peter Mandelson, debonair EU commissioner for trade, after dubious triumphs (?) in the Chinese “bra wars” has turned his attention to dealing with Brazilians waving their bananas at him.

Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela the so-called Most Favoured Nation (MFN) suppliers have all been aggrieved (or at least the major US owned fruit companies operating there – Chiqita, Del Monte et. al), that preferential access to the EU was afforded to Caribbean bananas as part of the UK shedding it’s Empire.

This involved a complicated joint tariff / quota system - The WTO ruled against the practice and the EU ignored the ruling, now the European Commission has presented a revised proposal of € 187 a tonne for most favoured nation (MFN) suppliers of bananas. From January 1st 2006 the new tariff is intended to replace the existing regime based on tariffs / quotas for MFN.

Mandy says, "The Commission's new proposal confirms Europe's commitment to ending this longstanding dispute. We have been careful to ensure that preferential access for our ACP partners is maintained.” – Hence the stormy scenes with his Brazilian friends.

Meanwhile the EU is to dump 2 Mn tonnes of sugar on world markets, which will screw Third World producers. This will be the result of current EC proposals, to meet a WTO ruling, that will reduce the price of sugar from beet by 39% , accompanied a hugely expensive voluntary restructuring scheme that will offer aid and benefit the largest producers, sugar factories and growers who leave the industry.

A one off payment to third world producers of by the EU of 40 million euros in 2006 will be a one-off compensation payment to sugar producers in ACP countries - former colonies of Britain, France and Portugal.

Consequently countries like Mauritius are hit with a double – whammy, the Chinese are destroying their European market for the textile manufacturing industry and they will (after the one off payment) see lower prices for a vital export – which is the only crop they can grow to survive their tropical storms and hurricanes.

Meanwhile Mandy is in Washington this week with EU agriculture commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel to talk with their US counterparts in Washington to discuss the WTO round of trade liberalisation talks prior to the Hong Kong WTO ministerial meeting in 2 weeks time.

Man of Mystery heads back to Britain

In a test of the European Union’s new cross-border arrest warrant, which is designed to speed up extradition proceedings, Ethiopian born, Hamdi Isaac (AKA Osman Hussein etc.,) the Sheperd’s Bush tube “bomber” appears to be heading for the UK in the next 10 days.

He will face charges relating to the “bombings” on London Transport on 21st July (to which he has admitted involvement) , despite the best efforts of the glamorous court appointed Italian lawyer Maria Antonietta Sonnessa, who unsuccessfully argued that her client risked receiving an unfair trial in the UK because British public opinion had been whipped up as a result of the 7/7 bombings and failed attacks in London.

Italy’s highest appeals court, the Court of Cassation’s ruling “entirely rejected” Mr Issac’s appeal against a lower court’s order in August that he should be extradited according to the UK’s representative Paolo Iorio. The Court’s decision cannot be challenged.

Hamdi / Hussein boarded Eurostar in London, without being apprehended, and reached his brother in Milan via Paris and was tracked by the use of his mobile phone at the same time as Met. Chief Ian Blair was assuring the British public that the “bombers had not escaped abroad”.

See Previous post about Hamdi Isaac “Man of Mystery”

Miami Fireman promoted to interim leadership of FEMA

R. David Paulison was appointed director of the Preparedness Division of the Emergency Preparedness & Response Directorate/FEMA, in the newly created Department of Homeland Security in 2003. This highly qualified and experienced native of Miami (see pic of Dubya's buddy Joe Allbaugh swearing him in as Fire Chief) has been appointed as Interim Director to replace Brown, who has resigned.

As director of the Preparedness Division, Mr. Paulison was responsible for administering a broad range of programs designed to reduce injuries / death due to disasters, strengthen states / communities and prevent / reduce damage to public and personal property.

As he told the House Science Committee Field Hearing "The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program: A View From Upstate New York" on June 21, 2004 …

Each year, fire injures and kills more Americans than the combined losses of all other natural disasters. Death rates by fire in the United States are among the highest in the industrialized world. Each year, fire kills more than 4,000 people and injures more than 22,000. Home safety means smoke alarms, education, and sprinklers. Annual property losses due to fire are estimated at nearly $10 billion. And, firefighters pay a high price. In 2003, 109 firefighters died while on duty.
Paulson has also responsible for enhancing state and local emergency preparedness, training federal, state, and local emergency managers, and conducting a nationwide program of exercises.

As head of the U.S. Fire Administration, Mr. Paulison also supports state and local fire service programs and oversees programs to reduce life and economic losses due to fire and related emergencies in partnership with fire protection and emergency service communities. He was responsible for FEMA developing a training program to prepare regional Incident Management Teams (IMT) to provide support for major incidents prior to, or in lieu of, the arrival of a Federal IMT. Simultaneously, FEMA has been developing training for the Federal Incident Management Teams Program.

As of June 9, 2004, FEMA had made over 30,000 grants payments totalling more than $800 million for the Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program from FY 2001 to FY 2003.

Before joining FEMA, Mr. Paulison, who has 30 years of fire rescue services experience, was chief of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department. In that position, he was responsible for 1,900 personnel with a $200 million operating budget and a $70 million capital budget. He also oversaw the county's emergency management office.

A man with all the right connections and evidently experienced – now we’ll see what happens to the mayor of NOLA and the Governor of La. who seem to have been the main stumbling blocks to planning, and a prompt response to the foreseeable and widely foreseen disaster that was simple waiting to happen.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Brownie ..you DID a heck of a job !

"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job", said President Bush during his first of three tours of Louisiana on Friday September 2nd referring to the previously much unheard of Arabian Horse fancier and staunch republican, Under Secretary Michael D. Brown Head of FEMA

Now Under Secretary Michael D. Brown Head of FEMA has handed in his lunch pail and resigned. His resignation comes three days after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff removed Brown from federal relief efforts in the Gulf Coast and sent him back to Washington.

Criticism of the hapless Brown have been bipartisan - ``It's very appropriate that Michael Brown step down,'' Representative Jim Kolbe, an Arizona Republican, (see pic with POTUS in Tucson) said in a Friday Sept. 9 interview...... ``Clearly, FEMA's response has been weak and inadequate.''

If you go to Jim’s website you will find he must have anticipated the resignation because he carries this message -

My deepest sympathies go out to the victims of hurricane Katrina. While we are saddened by this tragedy, our compassion in this time of adversity will prevail. I am confident the spirit of community and generosity will be seen from across the country as we begin to clean up and rebuild from this horrible disaster.

Hey wait a minute – you can with profit read what Drownie Brown had to say to the 2004 National Hurricane Conference, Orlando Florida, April 7, 2004 (in Spanish)

He spoke at length about the work of FEMA and it’s relevance to handling Hurricane Isabel which had savaged the Atlantic Coast. I’m not a hurricanologist, but the work they do at FEMA – consisting of many, many sincere hard working, well qualified, dedicated people, sounds impressive, here are some samples – but read it for yourself – it’s very instructive and makes it more puzzling why the whole post Katrina effort was such a fuck – up.

He spoke about forecasting ...
Southern and Gulf Coast states are well aware of the need to be ready for hurricane season, and serve as a model of preparedness and risk reduction against these powerful storms.

The importance of both timely and accurate hurricane forecast information provided by the Tropical Prediction Center in Miami was again demonstrated. A special thanks to Max and the dedicated staff at the Center for all your continued hard work and exceptional forecasting.

Co-ordinating activity by the best means available....

During Hurricane Isabel, we conducted twice-daily video tele-conferencing among the states, the National Hurricane Center, Hydrometeorological Prediction Center, SE and Mid-Atlantic River Forecast Centers to ensure they had the best available storm forecast information. This is an expansion and increased frequency from previous response efforts - made possible by the Strategic Communications Resource (SECURE) Initiative.

We’ll continue to reap the benefits of this real-time communication during future incidents because Homeland Security has installed secure videoconference capabilities in the emergency operations centers of all 50 states and the District of Columbia and secure communications equipment in all state governors’ offices.

Of preparations before landfall - remember Katrina hit Florida Thursday / Friday 25/26 August .... NOLA on Tuesday.

We crafted an expedited declaration policy for this storm which was communicated to the states in advance of landfall to ensure they understood how to obtain access to federal resources and to assist with cost recovery for their readiness actions.
We pre-positioned newly developed "shelter packs", containing equipment/supplies needed to support shelter operations -which weren't requested - previously our equipment/supplies for this mission were not packaged for mission-specific tasks.
One of our response enhancements include our pre-positioned National Disaster Medical System teams and equipment in strategic areas. This enables FEMA to respond faster if medical units are needed in an effort to reduce the loss of life in affected areas.

He spoke of the importance pre-positioning disaster supplies and of sustaining communications in case of failure

For this Hurricane season, FEMA’s logistic centers located throughout the country, have been restructured to prepare the disaster supplies so the they can be immediately shipped to a disaster area and better protect life and property.

Another area where we are leaning forward to help our partners in the states is through our mobile communications. During Hurricane Isabel, we sent mobile communications assets – before impact – close to emergency operations centers and other coordination sites to be readily available to supplement state emergency communications, if their resources were affected by the hurricane.

Pre-positioning Urban Search and Rescue teams to strategic locations ...

And, last year while making preparations for Hurricane Isabel, we pre-deployed Urban Search and Rescue teams to strategic locations so they would be able to immediately mobilize in case rescue efforts were needed just after the hurricane made landfall.

Software developments are continuing to aid planning and critical decision making for evacuations ...

All of us are aware of the importance of these tools like HURREVAC -- available on-line to the state and emergency management community. HURREVAC is a critical decision assistance aid for state and local officials, who can use this tool to track a storm event and make informed, timely, decisions on critical activities like emergency evacuations.

I understand that this year we are expanding HURREVAC to provide forecast information on inland flooding, which is one of the serious hazards associated with hurricanes and tropical systems.

He stressed the resulting deaths from flooding .....

Since 1970, more than 60% of the hurricane-related deaths have resulted from freshwater inland flooding.

There were even more tools that aided decision making and pinpointing evacuation zones for vulnerable people...

Besides the Hurrevac, we also have Storm Surge Mapping. Local Emergency Managers utilize storm surge mapping to aid in determining hurricane evacuation zones showing populations vulnerable to these life-threatening hazards.

FEMA, in cooperation with NOAA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has developed hurricane evacuation tools and products in 21 coastal states and in the Pacific and Caribbean Territories. Effective evacuations are dependent on both the knowledge of the storm surge that can be expected and the extent and magnitude of the winds.

He stressed the multi hazard approach FEMA adopted to deal with Flood / Fire / Winds / Tornadoes / Space Shuttles / Fires / Power Blackouts etc.,.... multi - tasking (must have had some women in the planning there then)....

FEMA responded to numerous significant disasters including the Space Shuttle accident, Hurricane Isabel, the California Fires, the May 2003 tornado outbreaks in the Midwest, the northeast power blackout, and many other storms and flooding events and provided planning support to the Winter Olympics and other special events.

President Bush and Secretary Ridge believe in this all-hazards approach. President Bush has witnessed first hand with me the devastation to the Midwest last May after being ravaged by tornadoes.

He ends – (Vomit Alert!) ….

Because of President Bush’s vision and leadership, we’re stronger and better prepared today than we were a year ago from all-hazards.

Now all this extremely sophisticated planning (and costly) just adds to my belief that the fuck-up was not accidental. Go read it for yourself.

BREAKING NEWS ! Our Sponsor Mr Murdoch displays wisdom at last.

Thanks to Blondesense

Sunday, September 11, 2005

FEMA , Florida, funding the floods and pork barrels.

Here is an article you must read - FEMA Chief Brown Paid Millions to Florida Residents Unaffected by ‘04 Hurricane to Help Bush Win State by Jason Leopold - www.dissidentvoice.org - September 10, 2005

Hurricane Frances hit Hutchinson Island, Florida about 100 miles north of Dade County on September 5, 2004. Miami-Dade officials described damage there from heavy rain and winds of up to 45 mph as “minimal”.

By May 2004 stories of excessive payments and arguments about National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather reports prompted a complaint from Democratic Sen. Robert Wexler and a call for Brown’s resignation. The Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) investigated and reported in May about overpayments to Miami-Dade residents. His report was damning.

“The review found waste and poor controls in every level of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's assistance program and challenges the designation of Miami-Dade as a disaster area when the county “did not incur any hurricane force winds, tornados or other adverse weather conditions that would cause widespread damage.”

Senator Susan Collins, Rep -Maine, Blackberry addict and chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, (who called for management changes to DHS in Jan 2005) said during May committee hearings that Brown “approved massive payouts to replace thousands of televisions, air conditioners, beds and other furniture, as well as a number of cars, without receipts, or proof of ownership or damage, and based solely on verbal statements by the residents, sometimes made in fleeting encounters at fast-food restaurants.”

“It was a pay first, ask questions later approach,” Collins said. “The inspector general's report identifies a number of significant control weaknesses that create a potential for widespread fraud, erroneous payments and wasteful practices.” (pic Collins in Kuwait 2004 meets the Army)

The most serious charge was that Brown speeded up payments in Florida by purposely bypassing FEMA’s lengthy review process for distributing funds - to help Bush secure votes in the state during last year’s presidential election.

For example –

The DHS audit report found that, under Brown, FEMA erroneously distributed to Miami-Dade residents:

$8.2 million in rental assistance to 4,308 applicants in the county who “did not indicate a need for shelter” when they registered for help. In 60 cases reviewed by auditors, inspectors deemed homes unsafe without explanation, and applicants never moved out.
Etc., etc., to the tune of $31 Mn taxpayers dollars.

Drownie Brown may have left the bodies floating in Louisiana but he knows where the bodies are buried in Florida – what’s the betting he keeps the job ?

So how hard did Katrina hit Florida ?

Interestingly Force 10 TV reports on Sept 8th Gov. Jeb Bush requested the assistance from FEMA on Aug. 26. FEMA said on 31st August that individual assistance was not eligible for residents in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties . On Tuesday FEMA approved eight more counties to receive public assistance. The counties were Bay, Collier, Escambia, Franklin, Gulf, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton.

W. Craig Fugate
, Florida Division of Emergency Management Director, said in a letter to Michael Brown, (with other letters from county officials detailing damage) that the Federal government did not fully consider "the severity, magnitude and impact of the disaster and erroneously analysed the need for assistance to individuals..."

(In awarding the Florida National Guard's Distinguished Service Medal to Fugate earlier this year for the impressive handling of 4 massive hurricanes which hit the Sunshine State last year, Gov. Jeb Bush said: "Director Fugate gave the Guard exceptional flexibility in the way Florida mobilized our 6,000 soldiers to meet the needs of those affected by the storms. This sustained flexibility and his unique leadership allowed us to have soldiers in the right places at the right times in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane." – this man will go far - keep an eye out for his name)
Frances Marine, a FEMA spokeswoman confirmed that the appeal was received.
"I'm sure that it will be evaluated and we look forward to continue to aid Florida," Marine said.

The county governments are eligible for public assistance programs, which would help pay to repair damaged roads and bridges, public buildings and parks and recreational areas , the state will be fully reimbursed for aid its providing to other states struck by Hurricane Katrina. That would include search and rescue teams, security and shelters.

Interestingly the Congress award of $50 Bn for Katrina (all of it for FEMA to spend) specifically included Florida for assistance…. So it goes on.

Fox News reported damage from the 80 mph winds (gusting 97) in Southern Florida on Friday as Six dead , 3 by falling trees, 2 people were found dead in Davie from Carbon mnonoxide poisoning from running a petrol powered generator in the living room. ) 1.3 million without power which Florida Light and Power had running by Monday.

Street flooding after 11 inches of rain, leading to a boiled water alert and the need to use bottled water. There was no evacuation plan put into operation and 500 people used shelters on Friday. The fruit and plant nursery and tropical fish farm industry was hit by winds and floods, avocado growers lost 50% of fruit and claim 2 days of standing water can destroy trees, DOA officials put total damage at $400 Mn.

Three mobile home parks were damaged with one person trapped in Davie. Ports and airports shut for 24 hours but were re-opened Friday. Schools closed Friday as a precaution but were open again Monday.

Finally and most worrying, MTV called off the pre-awards festivities for the Video Music Awards – however it went ahead as scheduled on Sunday night in Miami – Green Day cleaned up 7 awards out of 8 nominations …. The show must go on.

Tony Benn's Armed Police protect Nuclear plants

It was Tony Benn - then Mr Anthony Wedgewood Benn, who responsible for nuclear power as Energy Minister under Harold Wilson introduced powers to provide a separate Civil Nuclear Constabulary, with arms.

The Observer reports Armed Civil Nuclear Constabulary officers are now patrolling Sizewell A and B near Leiston. Nuclear plant security was reviewed, along with plants throughout the country, following 9/11 London bombings on July 7th and 21st 2005. Sizewell B director Mark Gorry, spoke about the policy at a Sizewell A and B stakeholder group meeting on Friday. He said the move was intended to boost confidence and act as a deterrent.

On January 16th 2003, 30 Greenpeace campaigners joined by pretty and petite Daily Mirror reporter, Rosa Prince and photographer Phil Harris, who scaled the dome (pic) containing the pressurised water reactor at the Sizewell B plant to highlight the station's poor security and vulnerability to attack.

At the time when told of the break-in at Sizewell, which houses tons of plutonium waste, Mr Blair called on the Atomic Energy Agency to "learn the lessons".

He said: "I'm sure those in charge of security will look at the situation carefully. There is a continuing threat. That is why this is so important."

Outraged (then) Shadow Home Secretary Oliver Letwin protested: "It's amazing that this can have happened. What is going to be done to make this impossible in the future?"

Greenpeace volunteer Rob Gueterbock speaking from the reactor dome said (what a byline !) , "Sizewell is easier to get into than a Norwich night-club".

Mr. Crispin Blunt the Conservative MP for Reigate quizzed The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Nigel Griffiths about the raid the following day , who nonchalantly replied : "At 6 o'clock yesterday morning, Greenpeace activists illegally entered Sizewell B nuclear site and carried out acts of protest. From the initial incursion at the perimeter fence, site security was at all times monitoring the intruders and their actions. At no time did they enter sensitive areas such as the control room or the reactor building, which remained secure throughout. To avoid unnecessary risk to both protestors and security staff, no action was taken to remove protesters from the roof of facilities. Suffolk constabulary were in attendance..... " there would be an enqury, which would of course be secret .... etc., etc.,

So they have moved quickly then .......

PS John Large, an engineer offered a paper, "The Implications for the Nuclear Industry" on September 11th 2002 , to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) for publication in its scientific journal. His paper spells out in simple engineering terms why an attack on a nuclear installation is a serious threat post-September 11. It never appeared. The IME ultimately rejected the paper, after having allowed it to be covertly distributed around government departments without his knowledge. Three months of consideration of the paper brought no quarrel with his findings, but a simple statement that it was not the sort of material the IME published.

Large was upset about the decision and under the Data Protection Act made an application for files on himself revealing emails and correspondence between the magazine, the HSE, the DTI and government security services. There were written requests not to inform the author of the "discussions", the IME's magazine group received an email from the HSE saying, "We are advised not to publish this paper".

Large believed that for a country on the brink of war with Iraq, and acknowledged to be a terrorist target, it is not healthy to pretend threats does not exist.

He protested to the IME president, John McDougall who, although having colluded in his deception, said he was distressed that the paper was passed to government bodies without the author's permission. "This should not have happened," he said, adding that he had "not been able to discover who was precisely to blame for the distribution around government".

(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish