"“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, February 25, 2006

Ricin found in Austin Texas female dorm

Ricin Found in University of Texas Dorm ! is the headline in the University of Texas in Austin student newspaper Daily Texan.

The story is picked up with extra, excellent photos by local blogger Texas Rain Maker

Two female students from Moore-Hill dormitory were still being treated late Friday for Ricin exposure after coming into contact with the toxin Thursday afternoon, law enforcement and UT officials said.Students began evacuating the dorm shortly after 11 p.m. when University Residence Hall resident assistants began knocking door-to-door evacuating residents...

The toxin was first discovered around 2:30 p.m. Thursday when one of the students who received treatment discovered a white powder after opening a roll of quarters from a non-local bank to do laundry on the first floor, Spalding said. The quarters had been in her dorm room on the second floor for several months, Spalding said. The powder fell out on the student's hands, which she washed immediately before reporting the incident to the UT Police Department, Spalding said.

The substance was sent to Atlanta for testing (HQ of Centre for Disease Control ?).

A blog from a student living in the same block.Gateway Pundit has more of this tosh

"I guess you can say I was just weirded out," said Kelly Heinbaugh, a freshman kinesiology major. "It seemed out of place ... I figured I'd rather be safe than sorry."

Before you ask ....ki·ne·si·ol·o·gy Audio pronunciation of "kinesiology" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (k-ns-l-j, -z-)
1. The study of the anatomy, physiology, and mechanics of body movement, especially in humans.
2. The application of the principles of kinesiology to the evaluation and treatment of muscular imbalance or derangement.

This sounds like a lot of bollocks, apparently "further" tests required. Now Rice could tell you about sleepovers at the Gubernatorial Mansion in Austin ... that WAS scary.

Recent blogs on same topic here

Samarra - specialist demolition - Minister says

Published: 2/24/2006 Agence French Press
The bombing of a revered Shiite shrine containin gthe tombs of Hazrat Imam Hasan Askari and Imam Ali Naqi and which sparked a wave of violence in Iraq was the work of specialists, Construction Minister Jassem Mohammed Jaafar said on Friday He gave details of the way the explosives had been placed saying that it must have taken at least 12 hours.

"According to initial reports, the bombing was technically well conceived and could only have been carried out by specialists," the minister told Iraqia state television.

Jaafar, who toured the devastated thousand-year-old shrine on Thursday a day after the bombing which brought down its golden dome, said "holes were dug into the mausoleum's four main pillars and packed with explosives."

"Then the charges were connected together and linked to another charge placed just under the dome. The wires were then linked to a detonator which was triggered at a distance," the minister added.

To drill into the pillars would have taken at least four hours per pillar, he also estimated.

Damage to the mausoleum, holding the tombs of the 10th and 11th Shiite Imams, was extensive.

"The dome was completely wrecked and collapsed on the tombs which were covered over by debris. The shrine's foundations were also affected as 40 percent of the power of the blast was directed inwards," he added.

"It's a historic site, a symbol of Iraqi culture and must be treated as such," he said, adding that he would call on Iraqi officials and on UNESCO to help rebuilt the golden mosque.

Jaafar said he survived a double bomb attack while returning from Samarra when blasts went off in front of his convoy and behind it.

AP has reported: "A Western official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said discussions were under way to rebuild the shrine as quickly as possible because the shattered structure would serve as a "lasting provocation" until it was reconstructed. Italy announced Thursday it was offering to rebuild the dome to help battle "fanaticism."

Pic. The dome was being repaired after previous damage hence the scaffolding which can be seen in post bomb pics but is not mentioned in any mainstream stories.

Cormorant UAV for Navy - is it a bird is it a plane ?????

A submarine launched missile carrying unmanned plane ... step over Dick Tracy, Lockheed Martin famous for U-2 and Blackbird spy planes has a new plane that starts flight underwater - toys for the boys in blue now.

The Cormorant, is stealthy, jet-powered, and "could" be outfitted with either short-range weapons or surveillance equipment - it is (will be?) launched from, Trident missile tubes in some of the U.S. Navy’s gigantic Cold War–era Ohio-class submarines. The subs are redundant now ( The one's the US Navy have run by the Royal Navy don't even have targets - that's official) their now-vacant tubes could provide another unmanned option for spying on or destroying targets near the coast.

Lockheed's Skunk Works’s have designed a four-ton airplane (that's nearly two Hummer Cs's) with gull wings that hinge around its body to fit inside the missile tube. Made from titanium to resist corrosion, empty spaces are filled with plastic foam to resist crushing. The rest of the body is pressurized with inert gas. Inflatable seals keep the weapon-bay doors, engine inlet and exhaust covers watertight.

An arm-like docking “saddle” guides the craft out, sending the Cormorant floating to the surface. As the drone pops out of the water, the rocket boosters fire and the Cormorant takes off. After completing its mission, the plane flies to the rendezvous coordinates it receives from the sub and lands in the sea. The sub then launches a robotic underwater vehicle to fetch the floating drone.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding tests of some of the Cormorant’s unique systems, including a splashdown model and an underwater-recovery vehicle. The tests should be completed by September (200?), after which DARPA will decide whether it will fund a flying prototype.

For more pics to goggle at while you take time off from playing Thunder Zoom Armageddon Baby III go here Pic is Empty Williams famous Dick Tracy villain, maybe Condi caught him om in the White House washroom ?

Recent blogs on same topic here

Dubai Ports ... the lawyers and lobbyists smell money

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey filed suit in a New Jersey Superior Court Friday to try to block Dubai Ports World, a company under Government control from the United Arab Emirates, from taking control of several United States ports. The Port Authority also sent a letter Friday to P&O asserting that the British company has violated its lease, which the authority now considers to be terminated. Citing security concerns, the Port Authority claimed that DP World violated its lease by not getting consent for its pending acquisition of Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. (P&O), a London based company. The lawsuit asks the court to halt DP World's acquisition of P&O, and the court set a hearing date for March 3…. The day the deal was arranged to be completed.

After their normal Monthly meeting On Thursday, Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia said the U.S. Treasury Department had not responded to the bistate agency's request for details about how the federal government determined it was safe to allow Dubai Ports World to buy the British company.

"We as owners of that facility should be made comfortable that whoever operates that facility is capable of it," Coscia said.

The state of New Jersey has filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the Bush administration, claiming that the administration's approval of DP World's acquisition encroaches on the sovereignty of the states in violation of the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution. The governors of New York and Maryland have also threatened similar court actions against the takeover.

In addition, Miami-based stevedoring company Eller & Co. asked London's High Court Friday to block DP World from taking over P&O by withholding court approval of the $6.8 billion takeover. DP World has volunteered to postpone its takeover while the Bush administration tries to convince lawmakers to support DP World's acquisition. Several senators have threatened to introduce legislation to block the deal and Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) has said that administration's approval of the ports takeover was illegal ."Is there not one agency in this government that believes this takeover could affect the national security of the United States?" the Michigan Democrat asked at a Senate Armed Forces committee briefing. (see pic of Carl in Iraq)

Meanwhile, Dubai Ports World hired a team of lawyers to try to save the deal, including former US Sen. Bob Dole Dole, husband of Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., (who opposes the deal) said he won't lobby Congress and will limit his involvement to discussions with Bush administration officials and efforts to "help the American people understand the real facts." (Should make for interesting times at breakfast in the Dole household)

To try to clarify matters Deputy Secretary of Treasury Robert Kimmitt insisted to the Senate Armed Sefvices committee that no national security concerns had been raised during a three-month review by the multiagency panel and said that the Bush administration interprets the statute as allowing discretion to decide whether to conduct an extended review. Kimmitt also said that the panel's decision to ratify the deal allowing DP World to takeover operations would only be reconsidered if the there is evidence that DP World officers provided false, inaccurate or misleading information during the review process.

Carl Levin
, (more on his website) raising his voice at the briefing, told Kimmitt, "If you want the law changed, come to Congress and change it, but don't ignore it."

Kimmitt responded: "We didn't ignore the law. Concerns were raised. They were resolved."

Committee Chairman John Warner (R-VA) said that he would ask US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to prepare a memorandum outlining the administration's interpretation of the law and Warner also cannily called for a separate review by the Senate's legal counsel.

Levin also questioned the UAE's past record on terrorism matters, saying the country backed the Taliban and allowed financial support for al-Qaida. He said the UAE has an "uneven history" as "one of only a handful of countries in the world to recognize the Taliban regime in Afghanistan." He added that millions of dollars in al-Qaida funds went through UAE financial institutions.

Levin at one point noted that a special commission that investigated the terror attacks against the United States on Sept. 11, 2000 concluded that "there's a persistent counterterrorism problem represented by the United Arab Emirates."

"Just raise your hand if anybody (at the witness table) talked to the 9-11 commission," commanded Levin. There was no response among the handful of administration representatives.

Former New Jersey governor, Republican Thomas H. Kean,who chaired the commission that examined the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, has spoken aginst the port deal, telling the Associated Press "it should never have happened."

"We're in a no-win situation," Kean said, referring to the United Arab Emirates. "There's no question that two of the 9/11 hijackers came from there and money was laundered through there."

Bush, talking to reporters at the conclusion of a Cabinet meeting earlier Thursday, said that "people don't need to worry about security."

Under secret conditions of the agreement with the administration, the Dubai company promised to cooperate with U.S. investigations as a condition of the $6.8 billion deal, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Critics in Congress, before Thursday's hearing, noted London-based P & O which previously operated these ports, is a publicly traded company while Dubai Ports World is effectively controlled by the government there. Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Hilary Clinton have said they will introduce legislation to prohibit companies owned or controlled by foreign governments from running port operations in the United States.

In approving the purchase, the administration has not required Dubai Ports to keep copies of its business records on U.S. soil, and so, subject to orders by American courts. It also did not require the company to designate an American citizen to accommodate requests by the government.

Experienced legal experts claim such obligations are routinely attached to U.S. approvals of foreign sales in other industries.

One is left asking why, if the security of it’s ports was such a vital issue, some American capital wasn’t securing the realm…. Further disembowelling of the State. Unlike the rush into wind farms there aren’t sufficient tax credits in it.

No doubt about it , Dubya is slamming into a brick wall on this one.

.or as the Financial Times has it. "Big vision meets small minds".

Recent blogs on same topic here

Bhagdad - men in black at work

Healing Iraq has more tales of Bhagdad street fighting, despite major news stations reporting calm .. he has recordings of sounds of fighting with small arms here.

Fierce streetfighting at my doorstep for the last 3 hours. Rumor in the neighbourhood is that men in black are trying to enter the area.

In Khadhraa', a combined force of Interior ministry forces and men dressed in black are surrounding 2 mosques with several families inside, threatening to burn them down on the occupants. Baghdad TV (the Islamic party's channel) is updating on the situation through telephone calls from inside the mosque. The families are crying for outside assistance.

An armed group in 10 vehicles with no number plates entered the Al-Iskan Al-Sha'bi district in Dora, and attempted to enter mosque, but was turned back by the residents. Eyewitnesses claim that as many as 40 bodies and 5 burnt vehicles are still in the area. 3 attackers were also killed in Dora when they attempted to enter the Al-Kubaisi mosque.

Another group dressed in black in one Daewoo and two Opel vehicles passed the Interior ministry forces' checkpoint at Abu Dshir square, south of Dora, with no resistance and entered the Yassin mosque with explosives in tin containers. The keeper was killed and the mosque blown up.

A Shi'ite armed group carried Sheikh Ghazi Al-Zoba'i in a pickup truck around Sadr city, shouting that they have a Wahhabi terrorist with them, before he was lynched on the streets by the angry mob.

Recent blogs on same topic here

Friday, February 24, 2006

Disembowelled US - 3 more years of Dubya

The US December 2005 Trade Report tells you what you need to know. Imports of foreign goods and services ($177.2 billion) were 59% greater than exports ($111.5 billion).

Taking goods alone in the December trade gap, the disparity between imports ($149.6 billion) and exports ($79.0 billion) was even larger.

With imported goods 89% greater than goods exports, exports could grow at twice the rate of imports and still the deficit will be unchanged.

So it is unlikely that the USA can, or will, export its way out of its trade deficit.

The other problem is the disembowelling of America … the smokestacks are going … see Ford … see GM … Manufacturing capacity and jobs have inexorably moved offshore in the past 2 decades. Put simply, the USA cannot look to a an export led turnaround.

Steel, autos, textiles, the loss of the competitive dynamic in all but aerospace and the defence industries (and that is getting harder with Airbus and EU competition) makes it all but impossible for the US to recapture its once leading market share as an industrial powerhouse.

Add to this gloomy scene the equity extraction from residential property, in excess of $600 billion in 2005 alone.

Google bans Aussie SpaceWar.com.

Gerroa, Australia (SPX) Feb 24, 2006 - Google Inc. has banned SpaceWar.com, a news site covering military space. Reasons for the ban by Google are unclear. The company did not communicate with Space.TV Corp., the owner of SpaceWar.com, prior to its action, and Google representatives did not respond to requests for comment. Space.TV Corp is consulting with legal advisers in the United States and Australia, where production of the company's Web sites is conducted. We consider the ban a violation of the recently enacted US-Australia Free Trade Agreement, and a gross violation of freedom of speech. Please explain Mr Google Inc.

Click on the link above for the whole story. Space.War have been sending daily e-mails for along time, all of it is public domain, un commented stories - we are aware that with stories on UAV's, Unmanned Stealth boats, missile technology, Bruce Gagnon, No Nukes North a lot of interest from "official" sites is generated.

Are we seeing the start of the Pentagon's war on the web ?

King Coal

Associated British Ports have plans for a coal terminal in Hull, occupying about 40 acres costing £55-110 Million. Soaring gas and oil prices are driving up demand for imported coal. AB ports will soon open a £59.5m specialist coal-import terminal in Immingham, Humberside, with an annual capacity of 9.5m tonnes, backed by agreements with BHP Billiton, Drax, EDF, Scottish & Southern and International Power.

Meanwhile UK Coal (UKC LSE) on 14th December ( when the shares stood at 121p) claimed that they were now profitable and expect to report profits in 2006. This was at the time that WL Ross & Company LLC funds increased their ownership in UK Coal to 400,000 shares, or 3.3 per cent of the UK’s only sizeable coal producer. (and by now maybe even more) Since then Audley European and St James have disclosed a 3.25 % interest and this week Allianz AG 3.6%.

Today the shares inched up a further 1.5 p to 155 pence – remember the property assets are supposed to be worth 200p per share.

I said on December 12th ..

“UK Coal’s major shareholders , Phoenix, Morgan Stanley, Fidelity will no doubt be having interesting conversations with Mr Ross and his colleagues who are dedicated to “managing distressed securities funds.”

It is therefore interesting to see that more major market players have moved in… although as I further pointed out ..

“Mr Blair must have a grim smile on his face when he sees how vital decisions about the UK energy supply are made by financiers in New York rather than politicians in London.”

Despite Mrs Thatcher’s famed “dash for gas” , the slight benefit of gas over coal for the alleged worries over carbon dioxide emissions, coal is cheaper and is back in favour for electricity generation. The only competitor in the UK is nuclear power and that is 10 years off at best.

The stupidity of the White Paper on Energy is now exposed – as The Forth Coming UK Energy Deficit(FCUKED) said at the time. The security of our gas and oil supplies is hurting, to damp demand the Government has approved using price as a cap on demand.

The coal fired staions of course are ageing – there hasn’t been one built in the UK for 30 years, they pollute, but … they produce much needed electricity.

So we now have the prospect that we have sold, off, closed down , run down our natural assets and face an uncertain future importing all our energy.

It would have been impossible to organise a more spectacularly unsuccessful, costly and expensive policy for energy security and supply.

The good news is that UK Coal shares closed at 155p today … looks like a good buy to me. Buy some today whilst there is some light so you can see to sign the cheque.

Energy - Government sanctions rationing by price - let the poor suffer

The loss of the Rough Gas field storage facility for at least a month .. and possibly longer means beached supplies of gas are just about sufficient to meet current demand ... and NOT if the weather drops below freezing for a period of several days.

Faced with no capacity to increase supplies, we have the rapid announcement of 22% price rises which affect bills soon but affect consumer reponse IMMEDIATELY.

Are these monster rises (blamed on the sneaky, money grubbing, heartless, cold hearted "furriners") sanctioned / auhtorised / planned by the Government to arrest demand in the short term ... to conceal the massive failures of energy planning by the Joint Energy Security and Supply Working Group ? e.g Mirror Headlines on 23rd Feb WHY ARE ALL OUR BILLS GOING UP? THE REAL REASONS WE'RE BEING FLEECED THIS WINTER

The PM yesterday at his Press Conference evidenced some concern when he said "In Energy Policy by June we will have a plan on how to move forward and take the difficult decisions on Energy Policy for the coming years."

He was also asked by a well informed journo ..."... and a senior NATO General said that the security at Europe's energy installations is absolutely zero, for example at Zebrugge, which handles 11 per cent of the liquid natural gas. How worried are you about the physical security of energy supplies in Europe and do you think this is something that the European Union or the G8 ought to be taking more action on?"

The Prime Minister complacently responded .."I know for our own installations here we do have security measures in place. " .... so that's all right then.

... but that didn't stop Rough exploding ....

see what happens when gas lines explode here.

Is the Government using consumer prices as a last resort to damp down demand ? Here is a Government talking about ending fuel poverty and sitting back whilst energy prices soar ! Is this the price consumers and insdustry are now paying for inaction, drift and fudge since 1997?

Everything FCUKED forecast is happening.

Get Ready for Pearl Harbour Mk III

Iraq in turmoil

Blogsites that provide some insight into what is happening in Samarra / Iraq. The excellent Healing Iraq with detailed maps of attacks on mosques. Mark from Ireland with a round up of remarks from many sources and Asterism a london based blog with good contacts. Pic the Ishtar gate at Babylon

It's Thursday this must be Beirut

Condoleezza Rice told reporters as she flew into Beirut from Saudi Arabia on a surprise, but very brief visit yesterday the purpose of her visit was to support the Lebanese government.

"The sole purpose of the trip is to express support for the Lebanese people and the Lebanese government as they continue to try to recover fully their sovereignty,"

She later said after talks with Fuad Siniora, the Lebanese prime minister, that it was "time to reiterate and to affirm the firm support of the United States of America for the Lebanese people".

During her 4 hour visit she met officials and politicians who are trying to establish Lebanon's independence from Syria. Rice reiterated Washington's call for disarming anti-Israel Hizb Allah fighters in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1559, but indicated there was no deadline for the government to do so. "This is part of an evolutionary process that is going on in Lebanon and we have tried to be supportive of that process that the Lebanese themselves are carrying out," she said.

"But there is no doubt that 1559 is going to have to be implemented."

Rice held talks with Walid Jumblatt and Saad al-Hariri, son of the Rafik Hariri who was assassinated just over a year ago. She also met Maronite Christian cleric, Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir.

Rice, who initially said she would only speak on the phone with Nabih Berri, parliament speaker, a close ally to Damascus, later changed her plans and paid him a brief visit.

Busy lady , let's hope she packed enough clothes to cope with her jet set life. Mind you, the way the ordure is building up back in Washington, Dubya is going to be calling for some bathroom time ... now there's trouble in Manila .. better hop on a plane.

Emergency declared in Philippines

Emergency declared in Philippines by President Gloria Arroyo reports BBC ... BBC World Service had real time reports. P & O had re-directed Aurora cruise ship from Darwin to Hong Kong missing out Manila so they must have been alert to the rumours circulating this week of a plot against President Arroyo.

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has declared an emergency after the army said it had foiled a coup plot involving security forces commanders.

Mrs Arroyo said she had given army and police extraordinary powers.

Security was tightened this week amid rumours of a coup timed to coincide with the anniversary of a 1986 revolt against President Ferdinand Marcos. CRowds had assembled to clebrate coup in Manila.

It goes without saying that the Bush administration will follow tradition, and pull out all the stops to maintain US control over its most precious Pacific foothold, including doing what is necessary to prevent a popular revolt in the Philippines that could threaten US interests.

Meanwhile Fighting on the island of Jolo intensified in February 2005 when between 4,000 and 5,000 Philippine troops clashed with around 800 Islamist militants from the Abu Sayyaf group, along with followers of Nur Misuari. Up to 12,000 people were thought to have fled the fighting.

One civilian was killed and more than two dozen people were wounded in a bomb attack outside a Philippine military base in the southern island of Jolo, where US and Filipino troops are currently conducting joint antiterrorism drill, officials said.

The attack late last Saturday targeted a karaoke bar just several meters away from the military base, where more than 100 US troops are encamped.

There were no reports of US casualties, said US military spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Zimmer. "All Americans are accounted for," he told the Zamboanga Journal.

US troops are restricted to the camp during the month long training, dubbed as Balikatan 2006.

Uzbek torture hits the big screen

The Road to Guantánamo director Michael Winterbottom's company Revolution has picked up the rights to Craig Murray's memoirs, Murder In Samarkand. Due for publication in June, the Foreign Office is threatening to sue for "breach of confidence or of Crown copyright," when the book comes out.

According to Winterbottom, Murray, who was fired in 2004 "after drawing attention to torture and human rights abuses in Uzbekistan," has written his story with a surprisingly light touch. Said the director, "The book is fantastic...[like] a very funny version of a Graham Greene novel." How Murray makes extraordinary rendition and torture funny remains to be seen, but it's not hard to understand why someone of Winterbottom's sensibilities (don't forget, this is the man who made A Cock and Bull Story) was drawn to the story.

Mancunian Steve Coogan who starred in A Cock and Bull Story is said to be lined up to play Murray, but Winterbottom admits that it could take a year just to get the film "set up." (Pic SC in 24 Hour Party People as the loathsome Tony Wilson).

This will set the nerves of the mandarinate on edge. Watch this space.

Pre - order your copy of Murder in Samarkand NOW

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Azzun - Bulldozers destroy public park

The village of Azzun is located two kilometers to the east of the Green Line and is about 11 kilometers away from Qalqilia's southeastern side.

The Israeli army, using a bulldozer,protected by a force of Israeli soldiers,destroyed a public park, including a children's playground and swimming pool, on the grounds that it had been built without permission of the Israeli authorities in the occupied territory.

Construction work on the park (costing USD$120,000 of which USD£80,000 came from USAID) had begun in November last year and was almost completed, the mayor of Azzun, Ihssan Abdellatif, told AFP.
Anna-Maija Litvak,spokeswoman for USAID said "I can confirm that the park that was destroyed today was funded by USAID," told AFP on Wednesday.

No immediate reaction was available from the Israeli army which regularly demolishes buildings that it says have been constructed without authorisation.

The army also destroyed two other houses built "without permission" in two other villages in the Qalqilya area on Wednesday, according to Palestinian security sources.

If you want to read of the damage done to the village of Azzun over the years go to this site

1. In 1987, about 700 dunums of the village's land were expropriated and used by the Israeli authorities to build two settlements: Oranit settlement, located northwest of Azzun village and Sha'are Tikva settlement located northeast of the village.

2. The erection of the Israeli Segregation Wall has led to the plowing of more than 700 dunums of agricultural lands including 50 dunums were used for plastic houses in addition to 650 dunums cultivated with more than 2100 olive trees. Such trees were uprooted and later transported to Israel for replantation. Moreover, the establishment of the Wall led to the confiscation of a water well (called Abu Hijla well) with a capacity of 150,000 water cubes meter per month. Barbed wires surround the well from all directions and no one is allowed to approach it.

3. The iron gate which is considered the only access to and from Azzun village is opened on stages during the day. Residents of Azzun are only allowed to enter the village through the gate between 6 AM and 4 PM.

4. It has been the case that the Israeli soldiers would seal the gate for days in a row under the pretext of ''security'' which, in turn, would lead to the disruption of the educational process for children travelling to school.

Go here as well for more information and map (Stop the Wall)

The picture shows the only entrance to the village with Gurad tower, Iron gates etc.,

Winter drawers on

Centrica's offshore platform in the Rough field, is 20 miles (31km) off Withernsea on the E. Yorkshire coast exploded last week ... with potentially devastating, and costly consequences for the UK gas supply.

Go to Vital Trivia for an excellent detailed and worrying analysis ..

The closure of Rough has left the UK extremely vulnerable. After a few cold days we won’t be able to meet business as usual demand on anything colder than a mild February day and even that will require significant imports. The weather is expected to turn cold with some snowfall over the remainder of this week with continental Europe also feeling the cold we may have difficulty maintaining the high Interconnector flow rates we need.
As always the situation depends on the weather, as we move into March the chances are it will get warmer but this should not be counted on. The coldest week of the year could quite easily be the first week in March, with Rough offline demand could not be met during such a week.

Niall Trimble of the Energy Contract Company is quoted in an article by Neasa MacErlean the Guradian yesterday ...

This is potentially catastrophic. We are right up the creek if the weather stays cold for two or three weeks. It all depends on the weather." Bad weather for the remainder of this month or in March would probably mean rationing for large industrial users. If that included power generators, there could be domestic power cuts.

" .....we currently estimate that it is unlikely that Rough will be available for one month," Centrica's storage arm said in a statement.

How Israel steals land

In June 2002, the Government of Israel decided to erect a physical barrier to separate Israel and the West Bank in order to prevent the uncontrolled entry of Palestinians into Israel . In most areas, the barrier is comprised of an electronic fence with dirt paths, barbed-wire fences, and trenches on both sides, at an average width of 60 meters. In some areas, a wall six to eight meters high has been erected in place of the barrier system.

Go to the B’tselem Iraeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the occupied territories here for a report about the “security fence”.

If you wish to see a quick snapshots how the “security fence” steals Palestinian lands – see what aerial photos show has happened at Alfe Menashe Zufin and Modiin Illit. PDF warning !

This theft of land is of course contrary UN resolutions going back decades ... discussion of which is perpetually vetoed by the USA.

Kuwaiti mobile telcoms boom ...

Kuwait's Mobile Telecommunications Co. (MTC) in which the state has a 24% stake, announced a 55% rise in profits to USD$637 this week on revenues of USD$2Bn up from USD$1.1 last year. User numbers soared from 3.2 million to over 14 million in 19 countries.

During the year MTC acquired Dutch firm CelTel the leading cellular operator in Sub-Saharan Africa (operates in 13 countries)for USD$3.4 Bn. CelTel later bought a majority stake in Madagascar's Madacom one of Madagascar’s mobile telecom operators which services more than 200,000 customers. As of December 31, 2005, Celtel managed 8.81 million customers in the following countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Rep, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia, with Madagascar being acquired in December 2005.

MTC have also acquired Sudanese Mobitel taking on the Sudanese government’s remaining 61% stake for USD$1.4Bn
MTC Atheer , operating in Iraq (with 100% local Iraqi employees) had 1.07 million customers at the end of 2005, up from 244 = 339% increase with revenues rising from USD$65Mn to USD$ 123 Mn . MTC Atheer expects the mobile sector in Iraq to become one of the largest mobile markets in the Middle East in 2006. Saddam of course had banned the introduction of mobile phones.

Traded on the Kuwaiti Stock Exchange the The Company’s share price as at December 31, 2005 was 3,520 Fils, giving a Kuwait Stock Exchange market valuation for MTC of KD 3.86 billion (USD 13.2 billion). Shareholders equity stood at USD$4.1 Mn.
Mobile phones have not only had a major social impact they have made the investors in Mid East telecom IPO’s rich .A USD$1,000 investment since the listing date in Etihad Etisalat, Mobinil, Orascom Telecom and MTC would have generated US$14,500, US$12,000, US$11,500 and US$33,500, respectively.

Speaking at Egypt's ICT Cairo Conference in Cairo earlier this month where the company had applied for a third GSM license Mohamed Ibrahim, Chairman of Celtel International, said ,

“The communications market in both the Middle East and Africa is one of the fastest developing markets in the world, especially since penetration rates are still far from those in Europe. We believe that mobile telecommunications is essential in developing the economies of these countries, while providing better means of communication for rural areas. By combining both our experience in Africa with that of MTC’s experience in the Middle East, we are confident that we can provide a competitive service for Egypt.”

Recent blogs on same topic here

Disembowelling America Part 756

The United American Committee announces (in an e-mail I have just received) a protest rally on March 4th against the sale of our nation's ports to a United Arab Emirates government owned company.

The protest will be held in New York by the port at West 42nd St. & West Side Hwy (Rout 9A) in Manhattan on Tuesday March 4th 2006 at 12:00 Noon, with a protest on the West Coast as well on the same day at 11000 Wilshire in West Los Angeles also at 12:00 Noon.

Would we have allowed the sale of our ports to a Japanese Imperial owned or German Nazi owned company during WWII?” remarks United American Committee founder Jesse Petrilla (see pic) “We have heard from our politicians, now it's time that we hear from the people of America...We need to send a clear message to our president that Republicans and Democrats alike agree that this sale goes greatly against the best interest of our nation and its people.”

The UAC feels that President Bush should reconsider his vow to veto any legislation that may pass through congress which would block the sale. The UAC stance is that President Bush needs to realize that neither Democrats or his Republican constituents want this sale to occur. The United Arab Emrates is a government which has been far from cooperative in the war on Islamic extremism according to the UAC. (As Condi is about to find out)

Xenophobes of the World Unite ! You have nothing to lose but your brains!!!

Wapo (Thursday) has more details of the sale agreement here
Recent blogs on same topic here

Rice in a pressure cooker

It is the lot of somebody trying to peddle something that no-one wants to buy is in for a hard time. Condi's sweep through the sandy, sunny Middle East hit the buffers again today when she visited sun drenched Saudi - the desert Kingdom to whom Democracy is a quaint Western concept.

Saudi Arabia will not deny aid to a Palestinian government led by Hamas, the Saudi foreign minister told the visiting US secretary of state. reports the BBC.

Prince Saud al-Faisal told Condoleezza Rice that aid to the Palestinians should be based on humanitarian needs.

"(Saudi Arabia) hopes that international aid for the Palestinian people should be linked only with the pressing humanitarian need of this people," he said.

Stopping aid for a sewerage system infrastructure, which is the sort of project the United States wants to be starved of funding, was effectively denying Palestinians humanitarian help, he added.

Senior U.S. officials traveling with Rice to lobby against Hamas were at a loss to cite any country that has pledged to the United States it will immediately end aid when the group takes over the government in the next few weeks.

"Different countries will have different modalities and how to deal with this. For the United States, Hamas is a terrorist organization. We cannot give funding to a terrorist organization," she said.

She is getting a terrible press as well .. the English language Lebanon Daily Star..
U.S. hypocrisy hangs over Rice's Middle East trip

"How can America be committed to freedom and simultaneously remain quiet about Israel's continued illegal occupation of Palestinian territories? How can the U.S. promote human rights and at the same time allow the torture of Arab prisoners, many of whom have been held in Abu Ghraib [prison in Baghdad] and Guantánamo Bay for years without charge or trial? How can Washington support democracy while encouraging Arab states to sanction the democratically elected government of the Palestinian people? Contradictory policies such as these only play into the hands of extremists."

Independent London based al-Quds al-Arabi says ..

'This scandalous contradiction in American foreign policy is what makes the Bush administration hated so much in the Arab and Muslim world and makes many not believe the repeated American claims on democratic reforms and fighting corruption,' the paper opined. It said Rice`s tour was very important because it provides an opportunity for the U.S.-allied Arab regimes, especially Saudi Arabia and Egypt, 'to tell her enough stupid and destructive adventures and that what`s needed is some reason and dialogue because there`s high tension in the region that only needs a flint to make it explode.'
Saudi financed, London based al-Hayat commented that while there is a lot of attention on Iran`s nuclear program, Rice`s agenda during her visit to some Arab countries this week was to add pressure on Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

The paper says it was strange that Washington claims to want to encourage democracy, but ignores the fact that Hamas won a democratic election and that the majority of Palestinian society is struggling against Israeli occupation.

'Rice is not coming to consult on what America can do to confront Hamas because (the visit) is preceded by a decision to halt financial assistance for Palestinian infrastructure projects,' it said, 'she is coming to encourage those she meets to imitate the American and Israeli position.'

Of course this is the lady who said Hamas' victory "came out of the blue" .... someone in her Department was not doing their job.

This is the way the world ends .....

Is the Bush Administration Planning a Nuclear Holocaust?
Will the US launch "Mini-nukes" against Iran in Retaliation for Tehran's "Non-compliance"?

by Michel Chossudovsky

According to Michael the lunatics HAVE finally taken over the asylum and based upon the bald analysis ....

Iran possesses 10 percent of global oil and gas reserves, The US is the first and foremost military and nuclear power in the World, but it possesses less than 3 percent of global oil and gas reserves.

On the other hand, the countries inhabited by Muslims, including the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia, West and Central Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, possess approximately 80 percent of the World's oil and gas reserves.

The Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operationsis said to be the national plan about how to use nuclear weapons ... the language it uses has a quaint Strangelovian echo ...

The US defense strategy serves the national objective of peace with prosperity.

The US defense strategy aims to achieve four key goals that guide the development of US forces capabilities, their development and use: assuring allies and friends of the US steadfastness of purpose and its capability to fulfill its security commitment; dissuading adversaries from undertaking programs or operations that could threaten US interests or those of our allies and friends; deterring aggression and coercion by deploying forward the capacity to swiftly defeat attacks and imposing sever penalties for aggression on an adversary’s military capability and supporting infrastructure; and, decisively defeating an adversary if deterrence fails.

In May 2004, National Security Presidential Directive NSPD 35 entitled Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorization was issued.This is claimed to be the secret blueprint for co-ordinating any use of nuclear weapons in a pre-emptive strike role.

To promote a pre-emptive strike the author claims that B - 61 bombs are stockpiled in Europe and in the area.

"The stockpiled weapons are B61 thermonuclear bombs. All the weapons are gravity bombs of the B61-3, -4, and -10 types.2 ." (No mention of the B6--11 Earth Penetrator)

The reason for such a strike would be ;

1. Iran's alleged possession of "Weapons of Mass Destruction" (WMD), more specifically its nuclear enrichment program.

2. Iran's alleged support to "Islamic terrorists".

....Vice President Dick Cheney is reported "to have instructed USSTRATCOM to draw up a contingency plan "to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States". This "contingency plan" to attack Iran uses the pretext of a "Second 9/11" which has not yet happened, to prepare for a major military operation against Iran.

What is needed is to break the conspiracy of silence, expose the media lies and
distortions, confront the criminal nature of the US Administration and of those governments which support it, its war agenda as well as its so-called "Homeland Security agenda" which has already defined the contours of a police State. "

Go and read this interesting (and frightening, if true) analysis.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

White House has links to Dubai Ports Deal

Truthout has news that the White House has interesting links to the Dubai Port Authority.. One is Treasury Secretary John Snow, whose agency heads the federal panel that signed off on the $6.8 billion sale of an English company to government-owned Dubai Ports World - giving it control of Manhattan's cruise ship terminal and Newark's container port.

Snow was chairman of the CSX rail firm that sold its own international port operations to DP World for $1.15 billion in 2004, the year after Snow left for President Bush's cabinet.

The other connection is David Sanborn, who runs DPA World's European and Latin American operations and was tapped by Bush last month to head the U.S. Maritime Administration.

Condi has a hard time over Hamas

"Unlimited money, the sinews of war" CICERO

Under Secretary at the US Treasury Stuart Levey, Harvard educated and ex Baker Botts heads the US efforts to deal with money laundering and funding of terrorists is accompanying Condileezza Rice on her whirlwind tour of the Middle East.

July 13, 2005 days after the London 7/7 bombings he said to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

The Middle East rightfully captures our attention at Treasury ...... and in the interagency community ......

Terrorism is increasingly targeted at innocents in the Middle East. Where the threat of terrorism does not generate the will to take effective action, however, my office, working in close cooperation with all of our interagency counterparts, will push for action.

....that the rigorous efforts by Treasury and the U.S. Government to identify and isolate key sponsors of terrorism, as well as sponsors of weapons proliferation, are being given wide effect in private banks in the Middle East and the world....

If he does have any success it is unlikely we will get to know about it, on a previous trip to the Ukraine this was his response at a Press Conference to questioning;

Q Is the U.S. monitoring the bank accounts of Ukrainian authorities that are in the U.S.?

UNDER SECRETARY LEVEY: I don't have any comment on that.

Q Do you have any information about any accounts owned by former president Kuchma or his family in the U.S. banks?

A Essentially it's the same answer. We don't comment about particular accounts or individuals whose activities we might be monitoring.

Q Do you have any data on what amount of money is laundered, generally, throughout the world and in Ukraine?

A There are estimates out there about how much money is laundered throughout the world. I don't know that they're that reliable, as it's something that's very, very hard to measure, but it's an enormous amount of money. There's an enormous drug trade alone that creates an enormous amount of money to be laundered.

Q Do you have any predictions on Lazarenko's case [former Ukrainian Prime Minister]?

A Even if I did I wouldn't comment on that.

Dubya's washroom assistant has a hard row to hoe, praising democracy but hating what it prduces. At a Press conference Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said "I'm sure that Hamas will develop, will evolve. We should not prejudge the issue," and poured scorn on the US position to Hamas forming a democratic Government, which had been reflected in the morning's (largely state controlled) press. See more at Wapo here. Next stop Saudi then on to the Emirates who have just bought control over the West Coast US ports - which Mr Frist is very unhappy about. The big question is, will Condi take time out on their fabled new ski slope in Dubai ? Perhaps not she doesn't want to be seen falling flat on her face ... well not in public.

Meanwhile Bibi Netanyahu, the calm cool voice of reason, is quoted in the Jerusalem Post today ..

"Hamas is not a local organization, it's part of a worldwide Islamic movement that is trying to liberate the State of Israel and fight a mad, historic battle with the West. Because of this, the assumption that Hamas is a leopard that can change its spots is false. Power did not domesticate the Taliban or the ayatollahs in Iran, and it won't domesticate Hamas."

Difficult to believe that the Lohamei Herut Yisrael have changed their spots either.

US National Debt - teetering on the edge

Details of the US National Debt are available at the Bureau of Public Debt as at 31.1.2006

Total Debt Outstanding $ 8.196 Trillion
Statutory Debt Limit $ 8.184 Trillion

Those of you with some elementary knowledge of the complex field of arithmetic may have noticed that the first figure - what the US Government owes, exceeds the limit Congress has allowed for the Government to borrow.

Any body out there can explain ? Last time this happened the Government sort of "borrowed" from the pension funds for government employees. Surely Congress have got to open the piggy bank, get out the paper and printing ink and print some more Treasury Bonds ?

Well, Reuters noticed this on Friday that the U.S. government has moved to within $25 million of its $8.184 trillion debt ceiling.

The Treasury said its total public debt subject to the statutory debt limit rose $10.03 billion on Thursday to $8,183,975,000,000.

Treasury Secretary John Snow, who has urged Congress to raise the debt limit, has said stop-gap measures could keep the government from defaulting on its financial obligations until mid-March.

On Thursday, the Treasury said it would dip into a federal pension system fund by curbing daily reinvestments of the fund's assets in order to stay below the debt limit.

Since writing the above Gov Exec has a piece explaining how the Government Employees Pension funds are juggled by the Tresury prestdigitators to "balance" the books. SFX "Buddy can you spare a Dime ?"


Israel - the killing goes on.

31 Palestinians have been killed since Hamas won the majority vote in the Palestinian elections on Jan. 25. (Palestinian Red Cross detailed figures up to 21/2/06 here) Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz says "A Hamas government will mean an authority of terror and murder. Already today Hamas is part of the Axis of Evil that begins in Iran, continues to Syria, Hizbullah and now to the Palestinian Authority.""Axis of Evil" along with Syria and Iran. As a result, "punitive measures" will be taken by Israeli forces against all the Palestinian people.(Pic Jack Straw shaking hands with Bibi Netnayahu)

Monday February 20th was an average day of, “punitive measures”.

Israeli Occupation Forces opened fire and threw gas grenades at high school girls in the West Bank city of Nablus. According to the WAFA news agency, Israeli soldiers broke into the high school in the Til village south of Nablus city, and along with extensive shooting, "fired a number of gas grenades towards the school, causing a state of panic and suffocation among students and teachers."

UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), reported Israeli forces occupied two schools it runs in the Balata Refugee camp. "The Israelis continued to occupy the boys' school after leaving the girls' school today." UNWRA officials also stated that "Israeli forces continue to block a health clinic, which prevents patients or staff from leaving the building."

In a surprise pre-dawn raid, dozens of armored vehicles and hundreds of soldiers who barred the residents from entering or leaving it and soldiers swept into Balata refugee camp (20,000 refugees call this home) and Nablus city, arrested six citizens and "fired into the chest of Usama Al-Banna", an unarmed resident of the Balata refugee camp. Foreign-born UNWRA employees were ordered to leave the Balata refugee camp during the Israeli attack. On Sunday two youth had been killed and were named as Ibrahim Al Sheikh Issa, 16, and Mohammad Ahmad Al Natour, 16 years old.

Elsewhere , Israeli soldiers wounded children and arrested citizens in the West Bank cities of Hebron, Nablus, Jenin and Bethlehem. The attacks and arrests were justified according to the Israelis because the individuals were "resisting the occupation." There were reports of firing on medical teams, and 31 people received injuries.

In Hebron, Israeli soldiers broke into the towns of ad-Dhaheriya, Beit Ummar and Sa'ir, south and north of the city and stormed a number of houses, shooting and tear-gassing residents - five children were wounded and hospitalized. A 14-year child was arrested near the Ibrahimi Mosque, in the old city of Hebron. Soldiers claimed that the child carried a knife. See IMEMC here

In Jenin, a large contingent of Israeli soldiers stormed into Qabatya town, south of the city, ravaged the contents of homes and conducted a house-to-house search campaign, arresting several residents.

In Bethlehem, armored vehicles and jeeps stormed the Al-Nahaleen area and Al-Eza refugee camps, firing on people and homes as they searched houses and arrested residents, leading them to undisclosed locations, security forces stated.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli artillery fired several missiles near the towns of Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanuon, north of the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile scores of house demolitions continued in the West Bank "under the pretext of missing permits -- a common tool used to expel Palestinians -- ensuring the theft of lands for construction of settlements or military zones," WAFA reported.

Further restrictions have been introduced at check points and PA representataives have lost VIP privikges for free access with their families, the number of workers from Gaza has plummeted this week as crossing points have been designated "international borders".

Go here for details of how the “fence” is destroying Palestinians, their homes and lives.

ITV - who will take over ?

The world is definitely not their lobster as Hilda might have said, for UK' s major independent terrestrial broadcaster ITV, who have seen advertising revenues in Q1 fell 14% year on year to £351.8 Mn, lowest for 12 years.

ITV1's ratings share for the first 6 weeks of the year has plummeted 7% to 20.5%. Compared with the same period in 2005, Across all channels including ITV1/2/3 the share of the UK audience dropped from 24.2% to 23.2%.Flagship soap, the increasingly dire "Coronation Street" has been cleared by Ofcom after 502 viewesr objected to the use of the term "pure white trash".

ITV has raised £281 Mn in asset sales and is set to sell it's Granada Learning business to
Veronis Suhler Stevenson, the US private equity firm, and is rumoured to be ready to sell off it's 10% stake in Liverpool and Arsenal (who beat real Madrid last night)

ITV is said to be reducing its exposure to advertsing based businesses, - it acquired Friends Re-United for £170Mn in December from the husband and wife founders Steve and Julie Pankhurst.

Ever since re-launch there has been there has been speculation of a take over and break up.

US value investor Brandes, which owns 7% of the network, and Fidelity, are waiting patiently - a bid approach from Time Warner last year foundered on concerns over the size of the network's £580m pension fund deficit.

On the programming front BBC News has announced that Craig Oliver Currently Head of Network Programmes at ITV News will be the new Editor of BBC ONE's Ten O'Clock News.

Abu Ghraib - even more horrors

SBS Dateline run 14 minutes revealing more and even "uglier images" - some involving women prisoners. Despite the currently overheated international climate, the show says, they are "showing them because they show the extent of the horror that occurred at Abu Ghraib." A serious warning though - some of the images you're about to see are pretty confronting and may offend some of you.

The Real Player film can be seen here

The Gang of Four start falling out

No sooner had the Famous Four US, or in dipseak “the Quartet” EU, France, Russia and the UK agreed to agree on how to deal with the shock of the election of a bunch of gun toting, Islamofascist jihadists which people had actually VOTED for, than the fissiparous nature of their rivalries has become apparent. It remains to be seen what Condi’s latest drive by diplomacy in the Middle East cock pit produces.

A memo to the UK Middle East Minister (dated Jan. 17 and published by the New Statesman magazine Thursday) Dr. Kim Howells, has “leaked” . It recommends that the UK “increase the frequency of working-level contacts” with “independent” MPs from the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Egypt a grouping allowed social status but prevented from political activity.. “It is no longer possible for us to maintain a policy of minimal contact,” The memo was written by Julie McGregor a member of the Arab/Israel and North Africa group and marked 'restricted', and approved by Lord Patel’s (no relation) very good friend Jack Straw Diplomatic tattle suggests the UK should lobby the EU and the US to join in contact with the MB.

Very much to his credit when visiting Ramallah in September 2005, Dr. Kim Howells, asserted that Israel has no legal justification for building settlements considered it wrong to divide the Palestinian land and restrict people’s freedom of movement. (See Jerusalem Consulate Website)

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has also bucked the international line agreed with the US by inviting Hamas to talks in Moscow, (to be scheduled). Mr Putin said that Russia had never considered Hamas to be terrorists. The Russian Defence Minister, Sergei Ivanov, predicted that "sometime in the future, many leading states will start maintaining some contacts with Hamas" Putin wants to push a role as “honest broker” and point to Moscow's help in persuading Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic to accept peace talks with NATO during the 1999 Kosovon war , and President Putin's attempts to engage North Korea in negotiations over its nuclear weapons program. Russia also played a vital part in getting CIS states to help post 9/11 in providing logistical support, airfields and transport routes for the US to Afghanistan and Iraq.

France (and probably UK) would like to release the EU’s own financing for the Palestinian Authority (PA), frozen last December because of the PA’s chaotic budgetary arrangements, before a new Hamas administration takes office. French Prime Minister Dominique Villepin, on a recent visit told a Moscow radio station: "I hope that in the course of these meetings [with Putin], Hamas should recognize its responsibilities and the opportunity it is being offered. This is a very important moment; it is an historic choice for Hamas."

The European Commission has allotted €70m ($83m) to the PA out of annual EU aid of €500m for the Palestinians.

Altogether the EU is horrified at the decision of Israel to withhold tax funds from the PA and feel that this will serve to isolate and radicalise the territories still further. (Which is of course, exactly what it was designed to do !)

Under the cosh from the Zionist lobby The US has provided a form of words to cover for Israel’s decision to withhold $50m a month from the Palestinian Authority in customs and tax payments. “The international community cannot allow those who are elected in a free and fair election . . . to have one foot in the camp of terror and one foot in politics,” said Condileezza Rice US Secretary of State who is on her way to the Middle East this week to stir up more shit to hold discussions. She is due to have an exciting and interesting week.

After Israel announced pulling the tax revenues Brotherhood spokesperson Issam al-Aryan said: "Supporting Hamas is the responsibility of all the peoples of the free world and Arab world and not just the Muslim Brothers because it means supporting the democratic choice of the Palestinian people."

"Popular support in itself,is not enough and governments must shoulder their responsibilities," said Aryan, as Arab League ministers met in Algeria to discuss granting the Palestinian Authority monthly aid of $50m.

On Tuesday, Recepp Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish prime minister, struck a tougher line when he criticised Israel’s move to withhold the PA’s tax revenue.

“The result of the elections has brought a new structure,” he said, as his envoy met Hamas representatives in Ankara. “If we try to tame this new structure by economic methods, this cannot be called democracy.”

Meanwhile the PA have no money to pay the wages and the Israeli fighters boom at supersonic speeds over the Gaza strip assassinating people at will and finalising the West Bank Bantustan of their Apartheid state.

The big problem of the week, is however , who’s going to take George to the bathroom ?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

More fucking lies peddled by the Press about 7/7 "suicide" bombers

We are indebted to Con Coughlin who is curiously described by the Daily Telegraph (page 2 ) today as "Defence and Security Editor in Guantanamo Bay".

Without being subject to torture, he has fessed up and tells us that the place is teeming with pals of the London 7/7 bombers even though they have been enjoying the free and generous hospitality of Uncle Sam for over four years.

Con, with a ready ear to the secrets of the folks at the Gitmo fun factory (via a sinister figure referred to as "Hood"), tells us the secret of their success .... electrodes attached to their genitals ? Dogs ? Koranic flushing ? Smearing with menstrual blood by uniformed whores? Sleep deprivation, White noise, good old fashioned kicking, sodomised with a light flare, masturbating in front of women ? wearing women's panties on their heads and other sexual humiliation ? .... ...

"The most common method used to interrogate detainees is to sit down with them, watch a movie and eat a pizza ... you build a relationship up with them and eventually they co-operate."

So that's a ham with pepperoni topping and "Fiddler on the Roof" again then ?

Curiously Moazzim Begg when I met him, told of 4 guys having to share a cut off oil barrel to shit in, in an open air wire cage 2 metres x 2 metres. He wouldn't tell us anything about Bagram ... probably Domino Pizza hadn't opened up there then.

One thing puzzles me ... how do you feed somone a pizza through a nasal tube ?

Sticky Fingers

Der Spiegel reports 4 arrests as the Hanover based Heros cash courier group, Germany’s largest money transport firm, filed for bankruptcy today.

Heros employ(ed) 2,700 people across Europe, own 23 subsidiaries and have a 50 percent share of the German market transporting around €600 million a day. The company motto is "We're all a big family," according to its Web site. Cash is the most popular form of payment in Germany, accounting for 64 percent of retail sales. The company has operations in the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

An un named executive arrested at Nordcash named only as Manfred D., built 2 hotels in Bulgaria and frequently held exotic parties, once hosting a carnival ball at Gymnich castle near Cologne, says the Cologne Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper. He told his girlfriend he had won the money in the lottery.

Swedish firm Securitas sold their loss making cash handling business to them in November 2005. "The agreement puts an end to Securitas losses in Germany in Cash Handling Services and enables us to further increase focus on the cash handling business in other European countries and in the USA," said President and CEO Thomas Berglund in a statement regarding the sale to Heros.

Senlis Council - a voice of reason in Afghan drugs crisis

Every year drug use and drug trafficking increase, and as a result every year the global illicit drug trade grows and has been estimated as the world’s second largest industry. This is having drastic consequences on the world’s economy, health and security. Thus, it is clear that the current international drug control system has failed to protect both individuals and society from the drug problem.

The Senlis Council is working to promote a plan to license opium / heroin production in Afghanistan for commercial use.

In the light of the Afghanistan International Donors Conference, the Senlis Council held The London Conference on the Afghan Development and Security Crisis on Monday 30 January, followed by the Landmark Journey of Afghan Farmers to the United Kingdom from Friday 3 to Monday 6 February. Both events revealed the state of deep crisis of current Afghanistan reconstruction efforts. Drug policy lies at the core of these efforts, but with traditional approaches, most particularly crop eradication, failing to address the deep-rooted nature of the opium crisis, the entire stability of the country is under threat. The Senlis Council’s series of events also aimed to give a voice to the most vulnerable groups of the opium crisis, namely, farmers and drug user communities. Calling for new thinking on Afghanistan Security and Development During the press conference, the Executive Director of The Senlis Council, Mr Emmanuel Reinert, stressed that drug policy lies at the heart of the Afghan security and development crisis, and as such the failing drug policies currently being applied in Afghanistan must be urgently addressed.

Eradication activities in particular are counterproductive and are undermining reconstruction and development efforts in the country. Mr Reinert revealed that The Senlis Council has proof that aerial spraying campaigns are being planned for Afghanistan, and underlined the disaster this would spell for not only the millions of Afghan people who depend on poppy cultivation for survival, but also the international community presently engaged in development and security efforts within the country.

Mr Reinert questioned the legality of forced eradication campaigns, and noted that The Senlis Council was investigating this issue, especially with regard to the international community’s mandate and NATO’s guidelines in Afghanistan.

Report available here

Minister of defence John Reid is sending UK troops out on an ill defined mission ...he said at Kings College on Monday ..."The British army is a superb and deeply ethical professional body precisely because it seeks to inject morality - right and wrong - into the harsh reality of warfare .... It is precisely this confusion about the morality of drugs / and the reality of subsistence farming which the Senlis Council addresses in a radical program.

Find out more abour the Senlis Council NOW.

...you might also read

US plans war on al-Qaida's Afghan opium Guradian 24th November 2003

"This is going to be the biggest frickin' pheasant drive you've ever seen," the American official said.

And just published on the web an excellent article A Better Strategy Against Narcoterrorism By Vanda Felbab-Brown from MIT , AlterNet. Feb 14, 2006.

UAE takes over NY Sen. D. from NJ gets on TV plus WTC story, more CMETV NASDAQ and IDC

(PIC) Sen. Robert Menendez D-N.J., Monday, Feb. 20, 2006., at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, in Newark, N.J., port shown in aerial views at rear. Menendez discussed the takeover of operations at major U.S. ports, including the port of New York and New Jersey, by Dubai Ports World, a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates.Dubai Ports World bought London-based Peninsular and Oriental last week, which runs major commercial operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia. (AP Photo/ Jose F. Moreno)

Governer Patakis (currently hospitalised after an appendectomy) has also raised concerns.."Ensuring the security of New York's port operations is paramount and I am very concerned with the purchase of Peninsular & Oriental Steam by Dubai Ports World,"

During a stop on Monday in Birmingham, Ala., Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said the administration had a "very extensive process" for reviewing such transactions that "takes into account matters of national security, takes into account concerns about port security."

Since his election in 1995 George Pataki's wife (Governer of New York) has been on the payroll of Ronald Lauder's payroll. Ronald Lauder was of course a major source of funds for his election.

As Chairman of New York Governor George Pataki's Commission on Privatization, Ronald Lauder is the key individual who pushed the privatization of the WTC and former Stewart AFB, where the flight paths of the two planes that hit the twin towers oddly converged.More

Ronald Lauder is known (along with Las vegas casino owner Steve Wynn) as a financial supporter of Ariel Sharon.

Totally unconnected are reports that Sharon's son Omri has just received a 9 months prison sentence for fraud related to election expenses for his father.Omri Sharon was indicted in August for setting up fictitious companies to conceal illegal contributions during the 1999 vote for a Likud leader. Judge Edna Beckenstein is reported as writing in the ruling: "This is a swamp of political corruption and it must be dried up."

AS well as privately owning Este Lauder / Clinique Ronald Lauder also controls Central European Media Enterprises (CETV-NASDAQ and Prague) through a Bermuda-based parent group and holding companies in the Dutch Antilles, and its partners operate 10 stations in six countries reaching an aggregate of approximately 90 million people. The Company’s television stations are located in Croatia (Nova TV), Czech Republic (TV Nova, Galaxie Sport), Romania (PRO TV, Acasa, PRO Cinema), Slovakia (Markíza since Jan 2006), Slovenia (POP TV, Kanal A) and Ukraine (Studio 1+1).. Financial Times report

Odigo, the instant messaging service, was reported widely at the time saying that two of its workers received messages two hours before the Twin Towers attack on September 11th 2001 predicting the attack would happen. It did, and the traffic that day in Manhattan WAS DREADFUL.

Odigo, like many Israeli software companies, is based and has its Research and Development (R&D) center in Herzliya, Israel, the small town north of Tel Aviv, which happens to be where Mossad's headquarters are located.

Those interested might like to follow leads on the Inter Disciplinary Centre (IDC) in Herzlyia, Israel, (allegedly closely tied to the Mossad. The IDC has a "research institute" headed by Shabtai Shavit, former head of the Mossad from 1989 to 1996, called the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism.

The IDC also has a "Marc Rich Center for the Study of Commodities, Trading and Financial Markets" and a "Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy." founded by Ronald Lauder. Marc Rich was of course famously pardoned by President Clinton in his leaving pardons. More here

As the Attorney General Mr Gonzalez ( a man of profound integrity and honesty who has been acquaibted with the President for along time ) says ... the administration had a "very extensive process" for reviewing such transactions that "takes into account matters of national security, takes into account concerns about port security."

So that's all right then.

Lockstep, Lockdown, Lock Up ?

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- KBR, the engineering and construction subsidiary of Halliburton Co. Jan 24, 2006 said Tuesday it has been awarded a contingency contract from the Department of Homeland Security to supports its Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities in the event of an emergency. The maximum total value of the contract is $385 million and consists of a 1-year base period with four 1-year options. KBR held the previous ICE contract from 2000 through 2005. The contract, which is effective immediately, provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to expand existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs, KBR said. The contract may also provide migrant detention support to other government organizations in the event of an immigration emergency, as well as the development of a plan to react to a national emergency, such as a natural disaster, the company said. End of Story

At Liberty Post " Dachau for US Citizens" 6th Feb 2006

"We are especially gratified to be awarded this contract because it builds on our extremely strong track record in the arena of emergency operations support," said Bruce Stanski, executive vice president, KBR Government and Infrastructure. "We look forward to continuing the good work we have been doing to support our customer whenever and wherever we are needed."

P D SCott writing in Global Research on Feb 6th "Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention Camps"

For those who follow covert government operations abroad and at home, the contract evoked ominous memories of Oliver North's controversial Rex-84 "readiness exercise" in 1984. This called for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to round up and detain 400,000 imaginary "refugees," in the context of "uncontrolled population movements" over the Mexican border into the United States. North's activities raised civil liberties concerns in both Congress and the Justice Department. The concerns persist.

Two books, James Mann's "Rise of the Vulcans" and James Bamford's "A Pretext for War," have revealed that in the 1980s this parallel structure, operating outside normal government channels, included the then-head of G. D. Searle and Co., Donald Rumsfeld, and then-Congressman from Wyoming Dick Cheney.

For a lengthy, detailed consideration
by Consortium News of what plans may be afoot in "The Long War" ... for example why were Blackwater staff drafted into New Orleans .. ... what does this Jan 5th Army Document mean ?

Read "Bush's Mysterious 'New Programs" By Nat Parry February 21, 2006 by Consortium News ... they are fund raising at present so you could also send them some dosh.

Operation Paperclip .... recalled

I met Bruce Gagnon, at Leeds Metropolitan University last year when he talked about the program at Vandenburg Air Base CA .A 70 mile strip of the Californian coast where ICBM's are tested .

I saw a report that another Minuteman had been tested last week, An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, was launched from Launch Facility-10 on North Vandenberg at 12:01 a.m. today. The launch was part of a test to demonstrate the ability to integrate modified products into existing weapon systems.

"The purpose of the flight was to verify the Minuteman III's ability to carry the safer and more accurate Mark 21 warhead, originally designed for the Peacekeeper missile," said Lt. Col. S.L. Davis, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander.

The missile's single unarmed re-entry vehicle traveled approximately 4,800 miles in about 30 minutes, hitting a pre-determined target in the North Pacific Ocean at the Kwajelin Missile Range in the western chain of the Marshall Islands.

So I went over to Bruce's blog "Organsing Notes"

As ever, Bruce is full of life, energy and drive .... I came across this potent little insight into the impact of the German rocket scientists scientists the US stole, we all know about Werner von Braun, but there were many, many more ..and they had children who had eventually to come face to face with the war, and it's horrors and their parent's role in it.....

While In Albuquerque I met a woman whose father had been one of the Nazi rocket scientists brought to the U.S. in "Operation Paperclip" right after the end of World War II. Her father, Ernst Steinhoff, had been the guidance department chief at Hitler's V-1 and V-2 test facility at Peenemunde in northern Germany. Once brought to the U.S., the Nazi rocketeers test range moved to New Mexico and the White Sands Proving Ground. One hundred copies of Hitler's V-2 and over 100 former Nazi rocket scientists created the U.S. space program.

Sternhoff went on to work in the aerospace industry on the west coast and eventually
returned to New Mexico when he was appointed to a high position at Holloman AFB.

Sternhoff's daughter told me that she did not learn about the Nazi holocaust until she was 18 years old. When she approached her mother asking if it was true, her mother said it was necessary and retrieved an old Readers Digest article to explain her side of the story.

The Nazi rocket program in Germany killed tens of thousands of Jews, French esistance fighters, Communists, homosexuals, and prisoners of war, who were all used as slave labor to build Hitler's V-1 and V-2 rocket program. (For more information about this story read Secret Agenda by Linda Hunt.)

Ernst Steinhoff is an inductee in the New Mexico Museum of Space History, P O Box 5430, Alamogordo, New Mexico 88311-5430

You can find some fascinating history about what Steinhoff did at Peenemunde here .

Steinhoff's brother was on submarines and it was through this connection that the first submarine launched missiles were developed.

Go and read some more ..... here

Pic is The DORA camp at Nordhausen where deportees from all over Europe assembled the complex V2 mechanisms.

Monday, February 20, 2006

US invokes Human Rights for thief, money launderer, arms dealer

The US Embassy in Moldova website posted an item on Friday that is, at first sight puzzling, tantalising, and ultimately outrageously funny... you may have missed the blazing hypocrisy of it.

Statement by U.S. Embassy regarding the trial of former Moldovan Defense Minister Valeriu Pasat

The U.S. expresses its disappointment with the recent trial of former Moldovan Minister of Defense Valeriu Pasat. Whereas the verdict in the case appears to have been based on the assumption that the 1997 sale of 21 MiG-29 jets to the U.S. was disadvantageous for Moldova, we believe the Moldovan Government made the right decision to sell the MiGs to the U.S. Had Moldova chosen to sell the airplanes to a country associated with international terrorism, that decision would have drawn strong criticism from the international community and would have negatively affected our relationship. Additionally, we regret that Pasat's trial was held behind closed doors and note that the presiding judge refused to admit sworn statements offered by former U.S. officials involved with the sale.

In light of new, unrelated charges issued against Pasat, we call on the Government of Moldova to ensure that any future judicial proceedings, in this as in all cases, are carried out in full conformity with international human rights standards.

That the US Administration should appeal to the international standards of Human Rights, the administration that not only employs Spanish speaking 23 year Foreign Service veteran but also the Spanish speaking Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez … the man who put the unconventional in his reading of the Geneva Conventions has a delightful edge of irony about it.

What on earth is going on here ?

In the aftermath of glasnost and the Global Warming started the thaw in the Cold War The US Department of Defense of the United States of America and the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Moldova reached an agreement to implement the Cooperative Threat Reduction accord signed on June 23, 1997, in Moldova. This involved the purchase of Moldova’s complete stock of Mig – 29’s bits and pieces, missiles etc., by the US. This was for an undisclosed sum but now said to be in the region of USD$80Mn. Thus preventing that these dual-use military weapons did not fall into the hands of rogue states

The Pentagon pounced on the planes after learning Iran had inspected the jets and expressed an interest in adding them to their inventory. (Hmmmmm…)

Iran (who operate the Russian Sunburst supersonic cruise missiles to guard the Persian Gulf) already flies the less-capable Fulcrum A, it doesn't own any of the more advanced C-models.

Of the 21 Fulcrums the United States bought, 14 are the frontline Fulcrum C's, which contain an active radar jammer in its spine, six older A's and one B-model two-seat trainer.

From Oct. 20 to Nov. 2, 1997, loadmasters and aerial port experts squeezed two MiGs apiece, less wings and tails, into the cargo holds of C-17 Globemaster III transports from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. The Charleston airlifters delivered the MiGs to the National Air Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson AFB near Dayton, Ohio.

A team of 40 airmen, including engineers, aerial port personnel and security forces, spent 24 days last October and November at Markuleshti Air Base in Moldova, packing up and shipping the jets, missiles and equipment. Enlisted members composed a majority of the team, representing several commands and agencies like the Air Intelligence Agency, Air Mobility Command, and U.S. Air Forces in Europe.

Many pundits including the Federation of American Scientists recognize that in an individual match-up, the MiG-29 is potentially equal to, or better than the F-15 Eagle or F-16 Falcon.

Valeriu Pasat was Moldova’s ambassador to Russia, and after that took up the post of Moldovan Defense Minister in 1997 and was responsible for negotiating the sale of the Mig –29’s. The picture shows Secretary of Defense William Cohen (left), Col. Gregory Gardner, U.S. Army (center), and Minister of Defense Valeriu Pasat (right), of the Republic of Moldova, inspect the joint services honor guard during an armed forces full honor arrival ceremony at Conmy Hall, Fort Myer, Va., on Jan. 29, 1998.

Later Pasat moved to head up Moldova’s spy agency from 2000 to 2002, when he was dismissed by president Vladimir Voronin one of the old Cold War Communist apparatchiks.

It might be worth mentioning here a detail from an interview the new US Ambassador Ms. Heather Hodges gave to Welcome Moldova magazine.

Q. What have you encountered to be the biggest problem Moldova faces today as a newly independent state?
A. I believe that corruption is the biggest problem that Moldova faces.

The poorest country in Europe and a former communist Russian state, Moldova sits between the Ukraine and Romania and is comparable in size to Indiana. Ms. Hodges was in no doubt about about the nature of POlitics in the land of her service.

Meanwhile Valeriu Pasat headed for Moscow to work with the State Energy group UES. There his boss was, UES Chief Executive Officer Anatoly Chubais, who has called on Moldovan president Vladimir Voronin to free his employee. The arrest of his aide “cannot be separated from what has been happening in Russian-Moldovan relations in recent weeks,” he is quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.

Returning to Moldova he was arrested and he is suspected of laundering money obtained from the sale of 21 MiG-29 fighter jets to the United States in 1997. The deal was worth more than $80 million, but the republic’s budget received only half of this sum, prosecutors estimate. He was charged with “usurpation of state power and premeditation of murder for clearing the way for another offense”. Apparently he had been overheard threatening to murder a politcian.

The trial ended this week, and was held in secret, behind closed doors, a procedure the US apparently finds breaches human rights, but which they regularly use in Kabul, Bagram, Diego Garcia, and Guantanamo Bay … and probably in many other places.

Pasat was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment being found guilty of defrauding the state budget of 50 million dollars as a result of a transaction with 21 war planes MIG-29 and of defrauding the public budget of 1.8 million dollars as a result of selling war systems “Uragan” and rockets for them to “JOI Slovakia” at lower prices.

US invokes Human Rights for thief, money launderer, arms dealer ? Yes. But he's OUR thief, money launderer, arms dealer.

Some fascinating background information is available here

The Velvet Revolution

Fascinating insight into US diplomacy in Ukraine and some light on Anatoly Chubai’s career under both Yeltsin and Putin.

Mig impresses in Dubai
Information about the new deflected multi-vectored (DFV) thrust which will feature in the MiG – 35 ( was MiG –29 OVT) which India wants to replace the ageing MiG 21’s. … Dubya is due in India next month.

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