US Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez sent this helpful letter letter to Bill Frist on January 19, 2006. Quoted in its entirety:
The Honorable William H. Frist
United States Senate
Washington. D.C. 205 10
Dear Mr. Leader:
As the President recently described, in response to the attacks of September 11th, he has authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to intercept international communications into or out of the United States of persons linked to al Qaeda or an affiliated terrorist organization. The attached paper has been prepared by the Department of Justice to provide a detailed analysis of the legal basis for those NSA activities dcscribcd by the President.
As I have previously explained, these NSA activities are lawful in all respects. They represent a vital effort by the President to ensure that we have in place an early warning system to detect and prevent another catastrophic terrorist attack on America. In the ongoing armed conflict with al Qaeda and its allies, the President has the primary duty under the Constitution to protect the American people. The Constitution gives the President thc full authority necessary to carry out that solemn duty, and he has made clear that he will use all authority available to him. consistent with the law, to protect the Nation. The President's authority to approve these NSA activities is confirmed and supplemented by Congress in the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), enacted on Septembcr 18, 2001. As discussed in depth in the attached paper, the President's use of his constitutional authority, as supplemented by statute in the AUMF, is consistent with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and is also fully protective of the civil liberties guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.
It is my hope that this paper will prove helpful to your understanding of the legal authorities underlying the NSA activities described by the President.
What this means as far as this non lawyer can tell is that the Pres. will do whatever he wants ... after all who is going to rein him in ? Certainly not Congress.
Friday, January 27, 2006
US Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez sent this helpful letter letter to Bill Frist on January 19, 2006. Quoted in its entirety:
Defence Secretary "Dr" John Reid met some of the troops due to die (We expect to take casualties)in Afghanistan. In a nationwide 2 bases *Salisbury Plain , Dittingham Norfolk, and Otterburn) exercise 3 Para are part of 3000 3,300 army personnel are due to go to the lawless southern region of the country.
They will help provide a "stable environment for reconstruction and help the government gain control of the more troubled areas" it says on this press release here.
Dressed in a combat jacket, watched as two Apache attack helicopters, two Lynx helicopters and a Chinook carried out a simulated medical evacuation. Soenmthing they will need get used to. Of course the AGED Chinooks are ill equipped to cope with the territory (remember the last batch were delivered incapable of operating in cloud).
The Apache gun ships with their newly trained pilots enter their first attack roles, prey for the welter of Stinger missiles given by the CIA to the sons of Bin Laden, not to mention the Russian hand held SAM's which have surfaced in Bagdhad shooting down experienced US pilots only ten miles from Baghdad last week.
Earlier, he paid tribute to the soldiers due to travel to Afghanistan and said they were playing an important role in ensuring global security.
"They are performing a vital task on behalf of the nation," he said. "We will never allow Afghanistan to go back into the hands of the terrorists." Brave words bravely soken... as much of the country is in the hands of the bloody handed war Lords like Dostum they are also redundant.
Mr Reid conceded that they would face danger but said the risk to international security would be far greater if the troops did not act.
It is evident that the Armed Forces are VERY reluctant to go, so confusing is their NATO / US role and Command structure...chasing terroists, eradicating the deadly poppies ?
Sweeping up the shit for the US ? For as long as the horizon stretches... at least six years or until we runout of troops and patiemce.
perjaps we cpuld set up a thermometer of the street price of heroin on the Streets of London in a prominent place in Trafa;gar Square to evaluate how successful the poppy eradification program is ?
BiBi Natanyahu wil be delighted with the result of the Palestinian elections, as this article detailing Hamas' history helps us understand. 'Hamastan' cannot be controlled, dealth with and is nothing but a bunch of terrorist thugs .. meanwhile Olmut declares the ultimate ideology... The Zionist really want to create an Apartheid state.... free of the Palestinian Islamofascist Arabs, to whom he refuses to talk.
Expect Likud to rise in the polls. ...Don't be surprised if the Washington gangsters start shouting , Perle, Feith (Pere et Fils), Kristol, AIPAC (whose spy Franklin has just got banged up), NDL, JINSA. NEI etc., etc.,
Hamas is a Creation of Mossad ... by Hassane Zerouky
January 27, 2006
GlobalResearch.ca (Who ask for re publishing by all and sundry)
Originally published in French by L'Humanité, translated by Global Research, this article originally appeared in Global Outlook, No 2, Summer 2002.
Thanks to the Mossad, Israel's "Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks", the Hamas was allowed to reinforce its presence in the occupied territories. Meanwhile, Arafat's Fatah Movement for National Liberation as well as the Palestinian Left were subjected to the most brutal form of repression and intimidation
Let us not forget that it was Israel, which in fact created Hamas. According to Zeev Sternell, historian at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, "Israel thought that it was a smart ploy to push the Islamists against the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO)".
Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of the Islamist movement in Palestine, returning from Cairo in the seventies, established an Islamic charity association. Prime Minister Golda Meir, saw this as a an opportunity to counterbalance the rise of Arafat’s Fatah movement. .According to the Israeli weekly Koteret Rashit (October 1987), "The Islamic associations as well as the university had been supported and encouraged by the Israeli military authority" in charge of the (civilian) administration of the West Bank and Gaza. "They [the Islamic associations and the university] were authorized to receive money payments from abroad."
The Islamists set up orphanages and health clinics, as well as a network of schools, workshops which created employment for women as well as system of financial aid to the poor. And in 1978, they created an "Islamic University" in Gaza. "The military authority was convinced that these activities would weaken both the PLO and the leftist organizations in Gaza." At the end of 1992, there were six hundred mosques in Gaza. Thanks to Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad (Israel’s Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks) , the Islamists were allowed to reinforce their presence in the occupied territories. Meanwhile, the members of Fatah (Movement for the National Liberation of Palestine) and the Palestinian Left were subjected to the most brutal form of repression.
In 1984, Ahmed Yassin was arrested and condemned to twelve years in prison, after the discovery of a hidden arms cache. But one year later, he was set free and resumed his activities. And when the Intifada (‘uprising’) began, in October 1987, which took the Islamists by surprise, Sheik Yassin responded by creating the Hamas (The Islamic Resistance Movement): "God is our beginning, the prophet our model, the Koran our constitution", proclaims article 7 of the charter of the organization.
Ahmed Yassin was in prison when, the Oslo accords (Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government) were signed in September 1993. The Hamas had rejected Oslo outright. But at that time, 70% of Palestinians had condemned the attacks on Israeli civilians. Yassin did everything in his power to undermine the Oslo accords. Even prior to Prime Minister Rabin’s death, he had the support of the Israeli government. The latter was very reluctant to implement the peace agreement.
The Hamas then launched a carefully timed campaign of attacks against civilians, one day before the meeting between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators, regarding the formal recognition of Israel by the National Palestinian Council. These events were largely instrumental in the formation of a Right wing Israeli government following the May 1996 elections.
Quite unexpectedly, Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered Sheik Ahmed Yassin to be released from prison ("on humanitarian grounds") where he was serving a life sentence. Meanwhile, Netanyahu, together with President Bill Clinton, was putting pressure on Arafat to control the Hamas. In fact, Netanyahu knew that he could rely, once more, on the Islamists to sabotage the Oslo accords. Worse still: after having expelled Yassin to Jordan, Prime Minister Netanyahu allowed him to return to Gaza, where he was welcomed triumphantly as a hero in October 1997.
Arafat was helpless in the face of these events. Moreover, because he had supported Saddam Hussein during the1991 Gulf war, (while the Hamas had cautiously abstained from taking sides), the Gulf states decided to cut off their financing of the Palestinian Authority. Meanwhile, between February and April 1998, Sheik Ahmad Yassin was able to raise several hundred million dollars, from those same countries. The the budget of The Hamas was said to be greater than that of the Palestinian Authority. These new sources of funding enabled the Islamists to effectively pursue their various charitable activities. It is estimated that one Palestinian out of three is the recipient of financial aid from the Hamas. And in this regard, Israel has done nothing to curb the inflow of money into the occupied territories.
The Hamas had built its strength through its various acts of sabotage of the peace process, in a way which was compatible with the interests of the Israeli government. In turn, the latter sought in a number of ways, to prevent the application of the Oslo accords. In other words, Hamas was fulfilling the functions for which it was originally created: to prevent the creation of a Palestinian State. And in this regard, Hamas and Ariel Sharon, see eye to eye; they are exactly on the same wave length.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
The BBC carries a report of the UK's Corax (Raven) UAV Said to result frpm 2 years work. This is the last of a long line of over 20 years work based at Aberporth in West Wales.
The UK is Light years behind the US / Israel / Japan in developing such vehicles ... some urgency has been injected into calling this "Project Churchill" recalling the 12 month period in the 2 nd World War which saw the development of the Churchill heavy Tank.
The project has suffered like the Forward Light Airborne Vehicle (FLAV) of the early nineties based on transport in the Hercules. Now all progresss has been halted after nearly 15 years as the ageing and unreliable Herc's are phased out with their narrow low load carrying capacity.
The UAV is another black hole down which MOD millions disappears into the pockets of BAE shareholders and their workers, with precious little result for the UK Armed Forces.
Meanwhile Qinetic await flotation to enrich the Carlyle shareholders (Prop G Bush Snr and family plus the Bin Laden's and ex British Prime Ministers not to forget MI6\s mouthpiece Dame Neville Jones ... about to spearhead the Conservative Party Think Tank on defence).
Little has come out of their magic involvement judging by the Press releases that fly past me, expect an inhenious road blanket with spikes to arrest speading cars that wraps round axles - tyres etc., ... Oh and a simulation package for how wind farms interfere with Military radar .. another boost to the fast collapsing UK wind energy industry (Shhhhhh don't mention this now we are on our 7th Labour Energy Minister) on which Tony B relied so much before finding the wonderful benefits of nuclear power.
You may have first heard about the Israeli Stealth Boat here, this is another report with information from manufacturers Rafael. This is one of the many weapons in use to make Gaza into the worlds largest prison enabling the Israeli "Defence Force" to shoot Palestinians like fish in a barrel.
World's first speedboat drone keep seas, sailors and shorelines safe
By David Brinn January 22, 2006
A critical problem for any country's navy is figuring out how to patrol its territory and protect its nation's shore without putting its vessels and seamen at excessive risk of enemy attack. And no country is more aware of the problem than Israel.
Israel has long been a world leader in keeping territory on the ground safe by using unmanned aerial vehicles. Some of these aircraft, according to foreign reports, are equipped with offensive weapons used to target Palestinian terrorists. The Israeli military has also begun deploying remote-controlled vehicles along the security fence in the West Bank.
That's why it's not surprising that an Israeli company - Rafael Armament Development Authority Ltd. - has developed a novel solution that identifies infiltration and terrorists while safeguarding the lives of troops on the seas. The solution is called the 'Protector' and it represents the world's first speedboat drone, operated without any personnel on board. One of the first systems is already headed to the US for evaluation, following the signing of a cooperation agreement with US giants Lockheed Martin and BAE System.
The 30-foot-long 'Protector' boat can reach speeds of up to 43 miles per hour and is fitted with a radar system, cameras that can identify targets, and a light machine-gun.
Long a leader is developing unmanned vehicles and aircraft, the Israeli-developed Protector is a natural progression based on the success of autonomous remotely controlled surface vehicles. Rafael, which designs, develops, manufactures and supplies a wide range of advanced defense systems including naval, air and ground precision weapons, and electro-optic systems, is one of the world leaders in its field.
According to Udi Netzer, Rafael's corporate vice president and general manager of the systems division, the integrated naval combat system can conduct a wide spectrum of critical missions, without exposing personnel and capital assets to unnecessary risk,
"We started the development of the system back in 2001 - it was our own initiative, there were no requests for us to develop it. It just came out of our understanding of future fleets and what they would look like," he told ISRAEL21c.
"We spent a couple years using our own R&D funding with the idea that the focus of the boat should be on anti-terror capabilities, and self protection of big ships, as well as harbor protection and oil rigs."
The Protector's anti-terror mission module payload includes sensors and weapon systems. Each boat is equipped with at least four cameras, as well as a sonar or radar system, and electro-optics capable of providing a three-dimensional image. The machine gun on board is a mini-Typhoon type, also developed by Rafael. The Typhoon system allows the gun to stay on target as the unmanned surface vehicle (USV) bounces across the waves.
According to Dr. Noam Brock, who was in charge of the Rafael team that developed the Protector, the boat operates well at night and can cope with very rough sea conditions. Its systems are so advanced that they can track the flight of a single bird, (?) he told a conference in Tel Aviv University, the Israeli paper Ma'ariv reported.
Netzer says that the Protector can be used for military, naval and homeland security applications.
"There's only one similar development in the world - in the US - but their application is geared for underwater to prorect subs and against mines. But we decided that the anti-terror and shore protection applications are more relevant to the current needs of the world," said Netzer.
As soon as the Israeli Navy, as well as navies around the world, heard about the plans for the speedboat drone, Rafael began receiving inquiries.
"There's been big interest worldwide. It's more like customer education. In many senses, we're more advanced in operation culture than the navies themselves," Netzer said.
"In the middle of 2004, we were approached by a foreign country - in the Far East - who said they wanted to buy a Protector immediately. And by the end of that year we delivered the first complete ship. Right now there are two fully operational systems. If there's a customer that wants a boat immediately, we can provide it."
He disclosed that the Protector bought by the Far East country is currently being deployed in the Persian Gulf as self-protection for a mother ship, circling between three and five nautical miles around the home base.
"The Protector was taken on board, all the command control data link communication were programmed, and when it got to the designated area, it was launched, it circles the mother ship giving early detection of any possible infiltration," he explained.
At a demonstration late last year for reporters in Israel, the sleek stealthy boat was able to quickly maneuver around the harbor of a navy base, while controlled by a civilian operator inside a control room.
Rafael is delivering the first Protector to the Israeli Navy this month, which will be used for operational evaluation. The Navy plans to deploy it for dangerous tasks, such as monitoring the coast for suspected infiltrators. Palestinian terrorists have detonated themselves a number of times next to Navy patrol boats, and the Navy has long sought a safer way to approach suspicious sea craft. Developers also said the Protector could be used to ferry commandos, as well as contribute to anti-terrorist protection.
"The Israeli Navy has been big supporters from the first time we met with them in 2004," said Netzer.
The development by Rafael appears to be riding the crest of a wave. According to an American study reported by Ma'ariv, by the year 2020, a third of the US war fleet will consist of unmanned vessels. The study added that the world market for unmanned ships like the Protector could reach $1.8 billion by the year 2011.
"The next step for the future will be to equip the system with greater attack capabilities," said Netzer.
He added that the development agreement with Lockheed Martin and BAE is a sign that the US takes the Protector and what it represents to the safety of American interests very seriously.
"There'll certainly be a time soon when the Protector will be protecting US ships,"
No doubt about it, when it calls upon human intelligence to make things that kill people they are in a class of their own.
The 5 week old results from the Iraqi elections were predictable and no doubt heavily massaged.
I was delighted the Yazidi who are said erroneously to worship Satan, gained one seat. This curious, peaceful and shade dwelling Islamic ofshoot believe in angels and pray especially to the peacock. (Said to be up to 130K of them in Iraq on borders with Kurds)
Anyone who prays to peacocks gets my vote... although I was astonished when I first saw these flightles and clumsy birds in Sri Lanka (AKA Ceylon) climbing in trees and making their famous din.
ROBERT H. REID of Associated Press reports a little noted incident leading to many deaths following the crash of the U.S. Army AH-64 Apache near Mishahda, 25 miles north of Baghdad last Monday 16/1/06 which killed the two US Pilots.
American and Iraqi forces cordoned off part of a highway N of Baghdad after the crash and traffic was directed onto narrow dirt roads, insurgents turned the area into a killing field. By setting up makeshift checkpoints, they grabbed motorists and slaughtered about 40 over a two-day period.
A local tribal leader, Mohammed al-Khazraji, said he saw dozens of corpses strewn over the ground Wednesday, victims of the insurgents' culling.
Thirty people were dragged from their cars Wednesday and shot dead execution-style in farming areas in Nibaei, a town near Dujail, about 50 miles north of the capital, said police Lt. Qahtan al-Hashmawi.
"Most of the victims were Iraqi policemen, soldiers or commandos," he said.
Another 11 men were killed in similar fashion Tuesday and dumped about a mile from Nibaei, said another policemen, Capt. Ali al-Hashmawi.
In the boldest attack, gunmen opened fire on a convoy of the mobile telephone company Iraqna, killing six security guards and three drivers in the Nafaq al-Shurta district of western Baghdad.
In Basra, two American civilians were killed in a roadside bombing. They worked for the Irving, Texas-based security company DynCorp (whose nose was pushed out by MOD sponsored Aegis whose "trophy video" was being examined by the company ... with no results to date) and were training Iraqi police. A third American was seriously wounded in the attack, said the U.S. Embassy from their Baghdad Palace.
DynCorp spokesman Gregory Lagana identified the dead as Richard Thomas Hickman, 52, of Cave Spring, Ga., and Roland Carroll Barvels, 42, of Aberdeen, S.D.
In Manchester a radiologist apparently misread 17 mammograms out of 2500 over a 3 year period ... a failure rate of 0.6%.
Now suspended and vilified, it appears from the spokesman a Dr Campbell that this resulted from disagreements at a regular weekly review meeting. So if failure there was, it was shared and the checks and balances worked imperfectly.
Let us wake up to the fact that such a failure rate in any medical procedure is perfectly acceptable. I am no oncologist although have studied Cervical smear programs in the UK to whom such a failure rate would be understandable. Inadequate smears , damaged or ruined smears in staining account for over 5% of samples requiring a worrying recall.
Mammogram reading is not a perfect or objective matter ( God knows why some automatic reading technology isn't used to support medical decisions) yet the patient is fed the belief that doctors are never wrong. My Blood sugar tester made by Johnson and Johnson has a declared error reading rate of 20% which everyone accepts.
There have been major advances in the UK breast cancer program which resulted from the realisation that wether treatment was chemical, radiological, or surgical depended more upon your specialists training hosital than the evidence he saw.
As a result, we have far better results, use of less intrusive surfery, and widespread use of tamoxifen which was identified (against all expetcations) as the most successful method of treatment for many cancers.
The treatment of this un named and now suspended man (yes it has to be a man) is scandalous.
Why don't medical authorities take more time telling the patient how limited their tools are and spend less time bragging about golden bullets and magic cures ?
The spooks have been using these for over 20 years and first saw ligth as remote data collection sensors in Northern Ireland, having been developed at Martlesham Heath GPO (as was) research centre and East Kilbride.
Further developed using "burst" transmissions which were prototype "Bluetooth" .. a protocol which handles wireless transmission using frequency shifting 79 random frequencies 1600 times per second. The early technique was top use a stationary car with a drive by user tramsitting / receiving.
Eventually batteries run out so removeable rock was used to top up the YASU batteries. hence the massive batteries exposed in the bugs in the IRA offices gerry Adams presented to the Press last Christmas.
Main item used these days is not a pam computre but housed in a mobile. Which explains why you are relieved of yours when entering a UK building overseas or often in the UK. Using "Blue snarfing" they can retrieve your addres book contacts etc.,
If you meet anybody in an Embassy / Consulate expect them to carry a mobile they place on the table, it will be wired for sound which will be transmitted to a silent listener. The best thing is to ask for a jug of water and drop it into that.
Of course anyone using a mobile is a mug, if they want to keep secrets.
Why did the Risskis show this fillum.
1. To explain how antique the UK surveillance is.
2. To highlight the role of NGO's ... just why are so many located with Head Offioces in St James's (see here) in London and in SW1 ?
3. Putin is putting on a bold front, Ukraine , Georgia, new secretly introduced legilslation 2 weeks ago re NGO funding etc.,
Again another Straw in the wind as the world wakes up to US / UK impotence and the whole energy balamce and geo political nexus.
Diplomatic Gossip says the 4 are well out of town now.
I am puzzled. A Swiss gent tells us that rendition DID occur, an EU citizen was kidnapped (apparently in error by the rror prone CIA ... probably too much Asti Spumante on the Credit card ?) and and Egyptioan cleric kidnapped.
CIA sponsored planes zig zag Europe like Snipe landing hither and thither yet nobody stops to ask them..."Hey buddy what you got on board your plane ?" ... although TB memorably said WE CANNOT GO ROUND SEARCHING EVERY PLANE. Why this sudden incuriosity ?
WEll it was Diplomatic baggage in the form of "rendered" persons issued with diplomatic passports, no doubt energetically waved in the faces of any interfering local Plods. Now why doesn't anyone ask if this is what happened?
Christ knows I have spent a lot of time telling every News Organisation I can contact about it, Liberty, MP's .. why the collective silence ?
"D" Notice anyone ?
Bad news all round. Famous War Criminal lands to continue with partition of Cyprus in which (watched by the US 6th Fleet and the UK forces who stayed in their SOVEREIGN Bases) Turkey in 1974 grabbed 60% of the land produced 200K refugees and imported 200K destitute Turks) the EU now want to formalise.
Similiarly they want to usher in Croatia, whose Ustashe forces (Fascist in WW2)cleansed Kranje Luka of Serbs, with the aid of overflights and data obtained from USAF Predator aircraft.
Meanwhile suspicious bits of a dead Turkey (The edible sort) and a chicken from avillage only a few miles from Dhekelia (The East Sovereign Base Area ESBA). UK troops from Lancs 2nd Battalion Fusiliers (of Daily Mail hocus pocus photo fame)are manning border checkpoints and (probably illegally) searching vehicles entering Cyprus and Cyprus Government Vets are disinfecting vehicles.
The Cyprus Greek Government appear well up to speed on precautions and planning , having banned duck shooting (reported here before .. which seems to be being obeyed). Two local ornithologists report dead uneaten sparrows found which is remarkable as they are rarely roadkill due to small size.
If proven to be the appropriate R2D2 virus is this a portent of the visit from Bush's washroom assistants friend to carve the island up to hurry along the Turks into Europe ?
First published on www.williambowles.info for those with an interest in blown up gas pipelines and what happens and what plans the UK should anyone use such crude diplomacy. Copyright ... Forth Coming UK Energy Deficit FCUKED.
Note that it is 12 months today that T Blair first discussed the need for building nuclear power stations...see here
04/08/04 The Economic Consequences of the War on Terror
THE BIG BANG THEORY – The Bigger the Bang, the Louder the Silence by Edward Teague
Late sleepers in Ath, 30 km SW of Brussels were woken by a massive explosion at 8.55 am on Friday July 30th 2004. Fire and Emergency crews had been called earlier at 8.30 am to the Ghislengien Industrial Estate to investigate the strong and persistent smell of gas in the area but no evacuation of workers or local residents had been started.
Days after this massive explosion which left a crater said to be dozens of metres deep, reports are confused and totally lacking in detail. A huge incendiary fireball (”a mini Hiroshima” a resident described it), with a massive, soaring thick black reeking cloud, was in or near a cardboard box factory. A nearby motorway was closed. Between 12 and 16 people died immediately and some 200 were injured of whom 35 who suffered massive burns (many of them emergency service staff) and are not expected to survive.
A natural gas pipeline from Zeebrugge on the Belgian coast to Lille in France had exploded, possibly resulting from physical damage caused by local building work at the adjacent Diamant Boart plant which finished on 16th July. Several insurance companies are involved and lead insurer Assuralis estimate damages to be in the order of 100Mn Euros – approximately the annual retails sales of Nestle Kit-Kat in the UK.
The appointed examining magistrate Gerard Bresnoux has set up 2 resident experts on site.
Beyond these simple facts, and notification of the hurried arrival from holiday of the King of the Belgians and the Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt who promised an “inquiry”, the World's press – judging from all available Web Press searches – has nothing further to add since Saturday July 31st.
The local newspaper La Dernier Heure and the Carrefours supermarket chain has set up a disaster fund for victims and their families which will close on August 20th 2004.
The UK media offered no comment or analysis on this massive and lethal incident and turned to the important issues of the day, Cherie Blair's swimwear, Lady Di's non-functioning fountain and the endless sex sagas of the denizen's of London's Soho Square.
Silence. A silence induced by an unwillingness to either rule out the possibility of terrorist action or even identify how such an accident (if that is what it is – and nobody is saying yet) punches a hole in the alleged UK “Energy Policy”.
DASHING FOR GAS
Consequent with the smashing of the coal miners and their Unions and the coal pits which fed the electricity power base of the UK, Margaret Thatcher encouraged the building of gas fired power stations in a so-called, “dash for gas”. Gas, a by-product of the North Sea Oil industry was abundant and, more important for the Balance of Trade, free, excepting extraction costs.
The old “Town Gas” produced as a by-product of coal has been replaced with North Sea Gas. This arrives via the world's longest undersea gas pipeline, 474 kilometres from the Shearwater and Elgin North Sea Fields – the SEAL Interconnector that arrives at Bacton. For years we have been shipping gas (what we economists call exporting) through the Interconnector, a 235 kilometre 1 metre diameter pipe to Zeebrugge. However SEAL production is declining alarmingly and we now have to operate a so called “reverse flow” (what we economists call “importing”) from time to time, this takes over a day to reverse directions and due to lack of pressurisation can only import gas at one third the rate we use to export it. Zeebrugge is planned to install 2 compressors by the end of 2005 and 4 by the end of 2006 and more after that so we can in future years import gas almost as fast as we have been exporting it. (Importing at a higher cost, naturally, than we previously exported it.)
The Zeebrugge terminal also receives Liquified Gas by boat that is fed into their “Huberator” operated by the Belgian company Fluxsys. France has two pipelines feeding gas from the North Sea one from the Zeebrugge Huberator (the now severely damaged pipe, which Fluxsys have elaborately but successfully by-passed) and another direct from Norway's Statoil via their Zeepipe both feeding Gaz de France. This belt and braces policy has thus ensured French national supplies, at least during the low consuming summer months.
However beyond the massive local damage, deaths, injuries and dislocations to the area, the blast can also damage pipelines forward and backward as massive pressure surges through the system. To fully establish the extent of the damage, repair costs and time schedule for repairs will take some time.
Examination and evaluation is being undertaken now. Whatever the news is, it will not be good. But don't expect to learn too much, like the investigation into the power cuts in London last autumn, the reports will remain “commercially confidential”. The last thing anyone in Government (UK or Belgian) wants, is for a public discussion about the safety and security of gas supplies, especially in the UK.
This is not to say the Mandarinate do not think about such matters. Since July 2001 a Joint Energy Security and Supply Working Group (JESS) has been examining the issues involved and has produced four reports, the last in May this year.
True to the fashion of such Inter-Departmental committees they take minutes, spend years and say nothing and always gloss over the really tricky bits. They consider both the “short term” and the “long term issues”, they seek market liberalisation, diversity of sources, the political realities etc., and of course they wonder about “physical unplanned interruptions” – which probably means something like the Big Bang last Friday in Belgium. (And now the Russians blowing up Georgian Power Lines are switching of the taps in Ukraine 25-1-06)
Long on evaluation, short on horizons, fuzzy with facts, they effortlessly fudge their Inter Departmental futures, safe that another annual report gets them 12 months closer to their Pension. No doubt somewhere in Whitehall shelves are groaning with Emergency Plans covering any “physical unplanned interruptions”, which they previously had no doubt prepared for CJD, Foot & Mouth, Immigrants legal and illegal, weaponry, body armour, equipment, required to fight in Iraq, etc., etc.,
ONE YEAR AGO IN ARIZONA
The Belgian explosion is mirrored trans-Atlantically in a little reported incident last year in Tucson. On June 30th the 8", 47 year old mild steel gasoline pipeline carrying 60,000 barrels per day of refined gasoline from El Paso to Phoenix Arizona, burst at the junction of Grant Road and Silverbell Drive due to “stress corrosion cracking”.
The pipeline operated by Kinder Morgan Partners who have $21Bn of pipelines and storage tanks throughout the USA, eventually made good the repairs, but not before the pump price for gasoline in Phoenix reached a price gouging $4 a gallon as supplies had to be trucked in from California.
There were two refineries shut down in California due to breakdowns and the late summer Labor Day weekend was looming.
Nationwide gasoline prices soared and they hit new highs in Canada. Refinery shutdowns for maintenance were hit by the massive power outage and plants shut in Ontario, Detroit and Joliet, Illinois.
Mr Kinder (Ex CEO Enron and friend of Kenny Lay) and Mr Morgan (also ex Enron) had to spend $10Mn repairing their pipeline, however they had had a good year previously. They improved Earning per Share by 29% and they had “reviewed the dividend in the light of recently enacted Federal Tax Legislation on dividends “ . That was Kenny Lay's friend Dubya who removed double dividend taxation, which meant they could (and did) boost the dividend by 167%.
With gas prices hovering around $2 gallon (3.8 litres in the US gallon compared with 4.6 litres in UK gallon) and over winter natural gas prices up 30% now hovering at $6 per 1,000 British Thermal Units up from last year's $4 the American consumer is facing big and bigger energy bills.
Energy is a fundamental requirement and cost to homes and industry in the US, Europe and Japan. In the OECD demand for gas is scheduled to rise from 250 Billion Cubic Feet (BCF) with 200 BCF produced within the OECD to a total demand by 2030 of 900 BCF, the growth in supply will come from outside the OECD from Russia, the Caspian, the Middle East and North Africa with some spectacular increases also from Bolivia and Peru.
This involves longer supply chains, more vessels to carry Liquified Natural Gas, (LNG). It is calculated that the world fleet of LNG carriers will rise in 25 years from a current 128 to 450 and that 60% of that gas will be used in power (electricity) generation. Many LNG terminals will have to be built both for export and import, potentially and lethally explosive real estate on the maritime coasts of the US and Europe.(Noe the worries now arsing from building 2 YES that is TWO LNG terminals in Milford Haven Harbour and the failure to disclose the Safety Reports etc.,)
The National Weather Service in the US expects a major Hurricane every 70-80 years. One is overdue. If a Force 4 or 5 step Saffir Simpson hurricane force scale hits the Gulf of Mexico this year, the impact on gas and gasoline supplies in the US will make 9/11 look like a tea party in terms of economic cost to the US economy. An economy already saddled with massive and rising double deficits on trade and internal budgets. Interest rates will rise, the dollar dive further and electors will freeze in their November homes, just when they are about to go out and vote. Alex, the first in the new season's Atlantic alphabetic tagging, a puny 90 miles per hour hurricane started the season rather late this week off the Carolina coast – keep watching!
The Belgian Big Bang, a modest blip in gas supplies (as far as we know), the Tucson pipe failure, are simply straws in the harsh winds blowing about increasingly scarce resources with almost unlimited world wide demand. They point up the concerns of a steadily rising crude oil price (Over $44 a barrel today / $20, 18 months ago) piggy backed by a rising natural gas price, fragility of extended trading routes, and ever increasing geo-political problems in the source countries. Live in the Northern States of the US? – get the wood burning stove serviced and go out into the forest and get those logs chopped. Live in the UK? Well JESS says the 2004/5 winter season is “indicating tightness of natural gas supplies”, but adds parenthetically and cautiously, (as Mandarins do) this is based on, “ a calculation of theoretical demand not a projection from actual demand”. Use gas to heat the home? Get the chimney swept and go buy some woodland.
Nobody commented when Chavez and Castro built up the anti-US alliance as they visited Iraq, Libya, Indonesia, and Iran in 2000. Nothing was said when in late 2000 the UN let Saddam selling his oil in Euros and not dollars and Chavez was doing deals with Castro. The silence was tangible.
Systems breaking down, pipelines blowing up – silence. Nobody listening? Or nobody talking?
First published on www.williambowles.info for those interested in background to Chubais and GAZPROM as well as US frantic diplomacy. Putin prefers bombs.
24/11/03 Georgia, Velvet Underground in Overdrive by Edward Teague
I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
50 year old Russian Oligarch, Alexander Smolensky must have pondered this when typesetting the Bible for illegal distribution in Russia. An offence for which the KGB ordered a prison sentence of 2 years, but of which he endured but one night.
Now his Stolichny Bank aka SBS/AGRO is at the centre of many of the enterprises spawned by buyouts or "privatization" of Russian State assets in the wake of the Berlin wall’s reduction to dust and souvenirs. An interest free loan of US$3Mn to the Leningrad based academic and state Bureaucrat Anatoly Chubais has certainly helped provide him with bread and riches.
Elevated to the Deputy prime ministership under Chernomerdyn, Chubais has seen a meteoric rise to the head of RAO (Unified Energy Systems) which controls more than 70% of the CIS electric power capacities, and output of more than 70% of electricity in the country. Now he seeks to extend this control from Moscow over the Southern republics "The political implications of the UES’s economic expansion are obvious," Yevgenii Arsyukhin wrote recently in the Russian government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta and "Since we are not talking about the sale of cold drinks – electricity supply being vital for the people to have a normal life – Moscow is set to gain control over key economic sectors [in Armenia and Georgia], and over their overall existence in general."
Articulate, energetic and pragmatic, Chubais used to be the golden boy of Russia's emerging market. But the days when Western investment banks showered him with money and Western politicians and newspapers parroted his opinions are long gone.
Initially dismissed by Yeltsin, Chubais later landed on his feet. The Yeltsin government promptly made him general director of UES. It is a position of extraordinary power. Chubais now presides over most of Russia's biggest power plants and the bulk of the national transmission grid. Since UES also has major stakes (49% on average) in all but two of Russia's regional utilities, he calls the shots in most local markets as well.
In May, Gazprom signed a deal to manage natural-gas routes in Georgia (1/7th the size of California with 5Mn population. GDP per head US$2000) without disclosing many contract terms, American diplomats were so alarmed that US President George W. Bush’s top Caspian adviser hastily flew to Tbilisi to warn that the deal could harm American-backed efforts to develop natural gas resources in Azerbaijan. "These negotiations between Gazprom and the Georgian Ministry of Fuel and Energy are not, in my opinion, sufficiently transparent," said Steven Mann, Bush’s Caspian-energy envoy, told Rustavi-2 television. He also cautioned that the Gazprom agreement could "significantly weaken Georgia’s position along East-West energy transportation routes."
Mann’s visit a few days after Richard Miles the US Ambassador’s expression of "concern" that Gazprom’s plans for piping gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field to Erzurum, at the Georgian-Turkish border. would hamper the development of the Shah Deniz BP/Statoil pipeline. On October 18th Anatoly Chubais was in Yerevan signing up a deal with Armenia.
These diplomatic developments highlight the geopolitical motives behind energy-sector deals in the Caucasus. Gazprom is closely allied with the Kremlin. Russian leaders have long sought to increase their economic leverage in former CIS states, including Georgia, in the belief that stronger commercial ties enhance Moscow’s political influence. Conversely, the United States has long sought to reduce Russia’s economic dominance of countries on the Caspian Basin.
After his meeting with Shevardnadze, Mann stressed that the Gazprom deal is "not yet final."
However, elsewhere things were moving. After the collapse of Enron, AES who had bought into the Georgian electricity industry saw their shares plummet from US$73 to a little over a dollar. On May 1st 2003 AES announced Richard Darman as new Non Executive Chairman. A busy man. Ex-manager of the Office of the Budget, famous for saying that George Bush as Presidential candidate did not say "No more Taxes", it was "just something he read in a speech". MD of the shade loving Carlyle group whom he joined in 1993, Darman is also on the hugely influential and secretive Council of Foreign Relations, as is Philip Odeen, ex-chairman of huge DoD contractor TRW who joined AES at the same time (also one time aide of Henry Kissinger).
On May 8th 2003, PA Government Services Inc. (PA), part of the PA Consulting Group, (We are proud that our clients say 'PA makes it happen') announced in a little noticed Press release, an interim management contract with the Republic of Georgia, to manage the United Distribution Company for a period of approximately 18 months, with funding to be provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
The United Distribution Company (UDC), they said, was formed in 2002, as an amalgamation of several regional electricity companies. It is estimated to have approximately 660,000 customers, close to 5,000 employees and a service area covering 70% of the country, much of it being rural. It is also a company in very serious difficulty, characterized by dismal financial performance, huge payables, inadequate business systems, all of which combine to make the UDC unable to provide reliable electricity supplies to its customers.
Then, unexpectedly on August 6 2003 (surprisingly Anatoly Chubais was in Tblisi that day) RAO/UES announced the purchase of a 75 percent stake in Georgia’s AES-Telasi joint venture from AES Silk Road, a subsidiary of the US-Arlington based AES Corp. for an undisclosed purchase price (AES paid US$35Mn in 1999 and claim to have spent a further US$250 since). "The Georgian government will take all the steps necessary to convince AES to stay," Georgian Energy Minister David Mirtskhulava Business Week quoted as saying. "AES's presence is important for the future investment climate. This gave UES a virtual lock on Georgia’s domestic electricity market.
On July 31, 2003 the US Embassy made a public statement, "The US is sorry that AES Corporation of Arlington, Virginia, has decided to sell its assets in Georgia". A brilliant film by Paul Devlin "Powertrip" shown at the Berlin Film Festival Feb 2003 detailed the problems AES had including machine gunning of their Georgian executives.
On August 18th there was a complete blackout throughout Georgia – unremarked in the West and whose causes are still subject to wild speculation. Fuel and Energy Minister Mamuka Nikolaishvili, enjoying his first day in office said "We know only that an emergency shutdown occurred. Power was off from 7.00 am to 10.00pm." Prior to this there had been some surprising and influential visitors to President’s Shevardnadze's office. US frustration with Georgia has been mounting, as second largest per capita recipient of US aid after Israel, the US has given US$778 Mn roughly 5 times that of neighbouring Azerbaijan.
So in early July, interrupting his Independence Day weekend celebrations, in flew former US Secretary of State, James Baker, acting as a special Bush Administration envoy, to discuss the problems of the president's cronies ponying up the proceeds of the sale amongst themselves and to seek assurances about the conduct of the forthcoming elections.
On September 24, a US State Department official responsible for aid-related issues in the former Soviet Union, Thomas Adams, announced that Washington’s assistance to Tbilisi would decline in 2004 from the roughly $100 million that Georgia is receiving this year.
This was followed by another high powered US delegation -- including John Shalikashvili, the former chairman of the US military’s joint chiefs of staff, along with Strobe Talbott, a former deputy secretary of state during the Clinton administration and head of the Brookings Policy Research Institute to monitor developments after Baker’s plan and attempt to defuse the confrontational mood then enveloping domestic politics. Even Republican Arizonan Senator John McCain turned up to put the heat on the most famous Georgian after Stalin – but with no success.
A letter from the President on October 31st when his fellow countrymen were celebrating Hallowe’en failed to win Shevardnadze to control the excesses expected in the election 2 days away.
It’s evident that after the shambles of the election with missing ballots, dead voters and all the other paraphernalia of fraudulent elections (something the US President is intimately acquainted with), that Russia and the United States, rivals for control over the Caspian Sea's enormous oil wealth, set up a pragmatic deal to protect their joint interests and ensure a smooth transfer of power.
Half Georgian Igor Ivanov, Putin’s representative flew in and saw Shevardnadze and eventually spoke to Colin Powell after Shevardnadze had twice refused to take calls from Jim Baker. In a move which could exaggerate tensions over the former Soviet state between the US and Georgia's neighbour, Russia, US national security adviser Condoleeza Rice rang her Georgian counterpart Tedo Japaridze (who has six aides paid for by USAID) after the election confirming that the US was "ready to help Georgia, and support it in transition". Senior western diplomats confirmed separately that the US and EU are keen to assist.
Evidently Moscow and Washington saw their own interests were best met by engineering a peaceful exit for long-time and mortally weakened President Eduard Shevardnadze.
Russia doesn’t need more problems on its sensitive southern border to allow militants to step up attacks on Russian forces in rebel Chechnya.
The US, whose main interests are currently elsewhere don’t want local political unrest to disrupt construction of oil and gas pipelines that cross Georgia to bring Azerbaijan's huge energy reserves to Western markets via Turkey.
So fast forward to today. The "velvet" revolution (nice sound bite PR bullshit line from the Czech revolution ) has ripped a few doors off the parliament building, Shevardnadze has gone home, (spurning fleeing to Germany where Gerhardt Schroeder has invited him to spend his retirement at his $11Mn villa) Nino Burdzhanadze , smart, tough and classy lady who was the last elected speaker of the country's parliament, is temporary President until elections early in January and the opposition is led by ambitious and well connected Harvard educated lawyer and ex-Justice Minister Mikhail Saakashvili. "We feel like a plane taken over by hijackers," he said last year.
The White House has not expressed preferences for the incoming President, but said it would support "free and fair elections."
Unified Energy Systems have announced they are close to acquiring stakes in a number of Ukrainian utilities, a company spokesman confirmed Friday Nov 22nd.
The UES statement comes amid speculation that a deal worth up to $100 million has already been sealed.
In the Washington Post on Saturday Dean White, a senior partner at PA Consulting Group is quoted as saying of the Georgian electricity system "It's just a big dysfunctional web."
As has been said elsewhere concerning the US obsession with exporting democracy,
"Military might is a sign of strength, but the US military is not invincible world-wide. America's use of force as both first and last resort is a sign of profound systemic weakness."
Paranoid Obsessive November 24th 2003