Exporting 'Democracy' – Importing Trouble
Why we ought to mind our own business
The text of a speech delivered to the Yale Political Union on April 13th. On this occasion, the Union debated the topic: "Resolved: America should not use force to export democracy."
.."The neoconservative foreign policy project – succinctly summed up by the President as the goal of "ending tyranny in our world" – is closer, in theory and in practice, to the spirit of Marxism than to anything vaguely resembling conservatism, or, indeed, any ideology born on American soil. That is entirely appropriate, of course, since the leftist roots of neoconservatism are well known, and it is clear that, as much as they talk about patriotism and "pro-Americanism," their real roots spring from a bulb planted not by Jefferson, but by Trotsky."...
Read this, if this does not convince you of the utter folly of the Iraqi and Afghan adventures - and possible Iranian manouevres in the dark, nothing will.
Meanwhile the Generals (Rtd.) revolt against their Commander in Chief ...... McArthur and Truman Redux ?
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Exporting 'Democracy' – Importing Trouble
The UK Government’s chief scientist Professor Sir David King has been ever present on TV news this Easter saying that even by the most optimistic assessments carbon dioxide levels were set to rise to double what they were at the time of the industrial revolution - leading to a 3C rise in temperature resulting in all sorts of dire predictions being made and TV news going ape over library shots of flood, melting ice, snow, hurricanes …..
60 scientists attached their names to a letter to the Canadian prime Minister last week which was published in the National Post… read it, here are some brief extracts.
Dear Prime Minister,
As accredited experts in climate and related scientific disciplines, we write to propose that balanced, comprehensive public-consultations be held to examine the scientific foundation of the federal government's climate-change plans. This would be entirely consistent with your recent commitment to conduct a review of the Kyoto Protocol. Although many of us made the same suggestion to then-prime ministers Martin and Chretien, neither responded, and, to date, no formal, independent climate-science review has been conducted in Canada. Much of the billions of dollars earmarked for implementation of the protocol in Canada will be squandered without a proper assessment of recent developments in climate science.
Observational evidence does not support today's computer climate models, so there is little reason to trust model predictions of the future.
Yet this is precisely what the United Nations did in creating and promoting Kyoto ……
While the confident pronouncements of scientifically unqualified environmental groups may provide for sensational headlines, they are no basis for mature policy formulation.
The study of global climate change is, as you have said, an "emerging science," one that is perhaps the most complex ever tackled. …
"Climate change is real" is a meaningless phrase used repeatedly by activists to convince the public that a climate catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause. Neither of these fears is justified. Global climate changes all the time due to natural causes and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural "noise." …..
….the science continued to evolve, and still does, even though so many choose to ignore it when it does not fit with predetermined political agendas.
CC:The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of the Environment, and the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources
Here is an interesting rebuttal / comment from a leading Tree Physiologist
Egyptian Muhsin Musa Matwalli Atwah, 45, who was on the FBI's list of most-wanted terrorists, suspected of being an Al Qaeda member is reported killed with 2 children and 6 militants in an attack led by helicopter gunships late Wednesday in the remote North Waziristan village of Naghar Kalai, near the Afghan border. (pic FBI)
After the aerial attacks ground forces arrived and took away 7 bodies said local residents.
It is also reported that alleged al-Qaeda explosives expert Abdul Rahman al-Masri was also killed.
Residents of Naghar, a town four miles from Miram Shah, North Waziristan's principal town, said a man in their village who appeared to be of Arab descent was "known to be commanding insurgents in the area".
Pakistan's information minister, Rashid Ahmed, told Reuters Atwah was among the dead, but Pakistani sources would not confirm that.
Atwah is alleged to have had a role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Those blasts killed more than 200 people, including 12 Americans, and Washington has a US$ 5 Mn bounty on his head.
Atwah was indicted by a federal grand jury in New York along with 21 other al-Qaida members, including Osama bin Laden, in connection with the attacks on the embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
A senior military officer Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, the top Pakistan army spokesmansaid information about the suspects came from 19 fighters who surrendered in North Waziristan this month.
Google News search Muhsin Musa Matwalli Atwah result = 495 items
8 year old Hadel Ghabeen, (Hadil Ghaban) whose home in Beit Lahiya, Gaza, was hit by two shells on Monday, was the 15th Palestinian to be killed in Gaza since Friday in shell and air attacks. Israel has been firing about 300 shells a day at Gaza at an estimated cost of more than £125,000 a day, according to the Israeli media.
Yesterday, hundreds of mourners attended a funeral for 8 year old Hadel.
Seven other members of her family were also wounded Rawan Ghaban (18 months); Rana Ghaban (3); Munir Ghaban (4); Amneh Ghaban (9); Ghassan Ghaban (11); Bassam Ghaban (15) and Tahrir Ghaban (17).
The young girl's badly injured body was wrapped in a yellow flag of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction and covered in olive branches as it was carried through the town to the local cemetery.
Google News search Hadel Ghabeen result = 1 item
Good News for Easter
Gerald Kaufman, Labour Party MP for Gorton who has been frequently criticized for his views on the Israeli state on BBC Radio 4 called for trials in Britain or before an international tribunal for those accused of killing peace activist Tom Hurndall and filmmaker James Miller in 2003.
"If the Israelis don't agree to either of those then I think we have got to consider economic sanctions against Israel."
But Andrew Dismore, vice chairman of the Labour Friends of Israel group in Parliament, Labour MP for Hendon said such action would achieve little.Curiously Dismore is quoted in the Daily Telegraph 9th April in response to an academics (Prof Ron Geaves) strange notions about how Muslims would view the 7/7 bombings.
"For me, the definition of terrorism is when an innocent human life is lost. These bombings were an act of criminality and terrorism because that loss occurred.
"No motive can justify an act of terrorism. I think this kind of speculation is unhelpful because it is taken seriously by some sections of the community who want to demonise Muslims."
This voice of reason in the Labour Party ( and Friends of Israel etc.,) , who would never wish to demonise Mulsims ..... is also quoted in today's SUN on the news that " MAD mullah Omar Bakri Mohammed's family are leaving Britain to join him" ... "
“This is the news everyone is waiting to hear, so what do they want, flowers on the way out?”
Holocaust Memorial Day takes place every year on January 27th. It's origins lay in Gedenktag für die Opfer des Nationalsozialismus (Anniversary for the Victims of National Socialism) in Germany. Such a day was proposed by Andrew Dismore after a visit he made to Auschwitz and was taken up by Tony Blair in 2000 and adopted by the UN in 2004. Celebrations were originally organised by the Home Office but now are organised by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, who are now organising for 2007.
Pic (c) Edgweware Times of the multi ethnic A. Dismore MP (2nd from left) at a Hindu temple in (of all places) Golders Green, He is NOT the man on the right with his shopping.
Friday, April 14, 2006
Vagit Alekperov's LUKoil became the 2nd nonstate Russian company to receive an investment-grade debt rating from Fitch Ratings, joining mining company Norilsk Nickel.
Fitch rated LUKoil's long-term debt BBB-, the lowest investment grade, Fitch said in a statement Thursday the same as Norilsk and one step below the government and state-run Russian Railways, or RZD.
Inside story today in the Times today how Conoco got 7.5% interest in LUKoil.
Union of Concerned Scientists Flash presentation here - watch then follow the links.
The Zimbabwe government on Tuesday said it would discuss the case of former Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam with Addis Ababa only, rejecting calls by the opposition and civic groups to hand him back to his country for trial. (Pic Mengistu in his Ethiopian heyday)
Tichaona Jokonya Minister of Information and government spokesperson says, "We have an embassy of Ethiopia here ... we will respond when the embassy raises it [Mengistu's extradition]."
Jokonya spoke after the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) civic alliance on Tuesday urged President Robert Mugabe to follow the example of Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo -- who handed over former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor for trial -- by extraditing Mengistu to Ethiopia.
Speaking separately, the spokesperson of the main faction of the MDC, Nelson Chamisa, said Mengistu should be taken back to Ethiopia not only so he could face trial for human rights abuses there, but also to stop him from imparting some of his crude methods to Mugabe and his government.
"What Nigeria did to Taylor is what Zimbabwe should do to Mengistu," said Chamisa.
He added: "What is even disturbing [in Zimbabwe's case] is the fact that he [Mengistu] is the mastermind of Operation Murambatsvina which displaced millions of Zimbabweans."
However Ambassador Vickie Huddleston, Charge’ d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa is unlikely to register a US change of heart having been responsible for getting him out of town in 1991. Dictator Melese is safe for a bit longer
There is no difference between Mengistu and Melese when it comes to its opponents. Both kill and believe in terrorizing people to stay in power.
Ethiopians will held both dictators acountable and sending Mengistu to Melese is like sending a thief who is disarmed to another armed thief.
Is a comment on an Ethiopian expat website which seems to be a common theme, the only difference meles kills in hundreds not thousands.
Despite calls by the international community, lead by the United States, for an arms embargo on the region, Russia has sold Su-27 fighters and Mi-24 attack helicopters to Ethiopia and MiG-29 to Eritrea, Bulgaria has shipped 100 or more surplus T55 tanks and China, Multiple Rocket Launchers to Ethiopia, while Eritrea has scoured the arms markets for new equipment. An impoverished Ethiopian economy has been further raided to provide the Ethiopian armed forces with arms worth over $300 million in the last two years.
In Harare, Ex President of Ethiopia Mengistu lives in the lap of luxury in the Gunhill suburb, with 24-hour security from the police VIP protection unit and the CIO at the Zimbabwean taxpayers' expense.
The Mugabe government has allocated Mengistu two large farms, one in Mazowe and another in Norton. Mengistu owns a separate home in Bluffhill.
He drives at least six luxury cars, including a Mercedes Benz, a Toyota Prado, a Toyota Avensis, a BMW and a twin-cab truck. Mengistu enjoys a special fuel scheme from the state's National Oil Company of Zimbabwe for personal use and for his farms, and his vehicles are serviced free of charge at the central mechanical equipment department.
In 1995, Mengistu survived an attempt on his life when an Eritrean, Solomon Ghebre Haile Michael, and Abraham Goletom Joseph tried to assassinate him at his Gunhill residence. The two were arrested and subsequently sentenced to 10 and five years' imprisonment respectively.
Mengistu was said to be concerned when the MDC nearly won the 2000 parliamentary elections and the 2002 presidential elections. Mengistu is said to have then made plans to relocate to either China or North Korea, but he knew very well that he would not get the same comforts as he did in Harare.
It is therefore in his interest that Zanu-PF rules forever.
Mengistu and Operation Murambatsvina
Sources claimed to be withing Zimbabwe's feared Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) say that Mengistu, now acts as President Robert Mugabe's security adviser, warned the Zimbabwean leader that the swelling slum and backyard population in Zimbabwe was creating a fertile ground for a mass uprising.
Called very extravagantlyOperation Murambatsvina, the controversial home-demolition exercise left at least 700 000 people homeless and affected another 2,4-million people, according to a report by United Nations special envoy Anna Tibaijuka.
first suggested the slum clearance idea to Mugabe in February, at one of the regular meetings he holds with the president and other senior security chiefs from the army, the CIO and the police.
After Mugabe accepted the idea, it was followed by several weeks of meticulous planning. Operation Murambatsvina began in May, a few weeks after the ruling Zanu-PF party trounced the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in a controversial parliamentary election.
Planning Operation Murambatsvina
The first meeting to plan the logistics of the operation was chaired by Mengistu himself at CIO headquarters in Harare, and was attended by defence forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Zimbabwe National Army Commander Philip Valerio Sibanda, Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Perence Shiri, CIO director general Happyton Bonyongwe, his deputy, Menard Muzariri, and director of prisons Brigadier Zimondi. The police were represented by Deputy Commissioner Godwin Matanga.
Mengistu chaired other meetings , during which video clippings of Zimbabwe's 1998 food riots, with footage of mass uprisings in the Ukraine, Yugoslavia and Ethiopia, were shown to the group, which called itself Operation Murambatsvina's "high command".
After a series of meetings of the "high command", the group later met government ministers, mayors and administrators sympathetic to the government, such as Harare Commission chairperson Sekesai Makwavarara and Bindura mayor Martin Dinha, who endorsed the operation.
Mengistu then prepared a final document on the operation, which he submitted to Mugabe. The president endorsed it. Operation Murambatsvina, according to the plan, was to be implemented in phases, starting with flea markets suspected of fuelling economic crimes, mainly illegal foreign-currency trade
Operation Garikai / Hlalani Kuhle
A project to rebuild homes after Operation Murambatsvina was envisaged in Mengistu's plan, though the main objective would be to window-dress the main purpose of the slum-clearance exercise.
This project, later dubbed "Operation Garikai / Hlalani Kuhle ", would naturally not accommodate all the displaced people and would mainly benefit Zanu-PF supporters caught up in the destruction process.
Archbishop Pius Ncube says Garikai / Hlalani Kuhle (Safe and Prosper) is a joke, just lip service. He said the few houses built so far are tiny structures meant for government forces and not families. The archbishop also told us that pastors who had been looking for families which were dumped outside Bulawayo by the government a month ago had found them 130 kilometres away. They had been left in the middle of nowhere with no shelter and no water.
The Minister of State for Policy Implementation in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Cde Webster Shamu, said on 13th April 2006 Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle was irreversible despite challenges facing the programme.
Here is a website with recordings of an interview in Zimbabwe with Mengistu in October 2005
The UK Embassy in Harare tells the reader that Trade has declined from UK exports of £78 million in 1998 to £34 million in 2002, while exports from Zimbabwe have declined from £123 million in 1998 to £86 million in 2002. Elsewhere on the site it says a number of Chevening scholarships are offered to Zimbabweans every year. "We are now inviting applications for the 2004/5 academic year."
It seems remarkable when Airbus have launched an aircraft that can seat 800 people and fly them 8,000 miles and the bearded loony Branson will take you to the edge of space, that synthetic dyestuffs were discovered only 150 years ago.
William H Perkins was a student at the Royal College of Chemistry under A.W.Hoffman (himself a student of Justin Leibig) . Just 18 he spent his Easter holiday (Good Friday was 23rd March in 1856) attempting at Hoffman’s suggestion to produce synthetic quinine, a known cure for malaria. (2 months later George Bernard Shaw was born, and James Clark Maxwell became Professor of Philosophy at Aberdeen when he started his revolutionary work on electricity and magnetism and on the kinetic theory of gases.)
Perkin’s first attempt , was to change allyltoluidine, which is an amine produced from coal tar, into quinine by oxidative condensation. On his first attempt he used the sulphate salt of allyltoluidine and potassium dichromate. From this reaction he obtained a reddish brown sludge.
On his second attempt he used the salt of aniline, after oxidative condensation, Perkin had obtained a black sludge.
Perkin started to inspect this black sludge that he had created and he found that when he dissolved this black precipitated in ethanol (or methanol depending who tells the story) it gave a rich purple colour. Perkin soon realised that he had synthesized a solution that had the properties of a dye, he called this product mauvine. A name derived from the Mallow flower or Malva. ( the molecular structure of mauveine was not known with certainty until 1994. It is a mixture of 2 closely related compounds, mauveine A, and mauveine B, which has one additional methyl group.)
History tells that strips from his sister’s silk dress became the first fabric to be died using this exciting new product – history also records she was none too pleased about it.
After obtaining a Patent, Perkins opened the factory Perkins & Sons that was built at Greenford Green near Harrow. Despite numerous of initial problems such as aniline not being readily available (although it was a waste product of the coal tar business) and therefore it had to be synthesized at the factory from benzene. But by the end of 1857 the factory was mass-producing mauvine, the first synthetic dye.
When both Queen Victoria and Empress Eugenie graced their wardrobes with mauvine, or mauve as it became known, the rest of the fashion world followed, confirming a demand of aniline dyes. It was however (PR , advertsing copywriters and marketing departments thriving then as now) called “Tyrrenhian Purple as the famed Tyrian purple of Regal imperial purple of Rome (as every fule kno) from as early as 1600 BC obtained exclusively from a gland of the Murex brandaris, a marine mollusk.)
In 1862 Queen Victoria (pic) appeared at the Royal Exhibition in a mauve silk gown – a very powerful product placement and endorsement. (However Perkin waited until 1895 to be knighted TB not being around then)
It is worth recording that when Condileezza Rice graced Blackburn recently the gutter press referred to her elegant trouser suit on day one of her Garnd Tour as “Mauve” – the BBC fashionistas were happy however to assure us all it was “dusky plum”.
At the ago of 35, Perkin sold his factory and then retired as a wealthy man. He then devoted the rest of his life to research in pure science.
Many new aniline dyes were introduced over the next few decades, including methyl violet (1861) and methylene blue (1876), paving the way for the introduction of copying pencils in the late 1870's Methyl violet was the most common aniline dye used in copying pencils, though methylene blue and the other soluble blue anilines were also common. (Remington makers of guns and sewing machines didn't produce the first commercial typwriter until 1873 and copy presses were used until well into the 1930's)
Elswhere, on the continent the there was rapid growth of the German dye industry CIBA 1860 & 1884, Chemische Industrie Basel (Swiss),Friedrich Bayer & Cie. 1861,Hoechst 1862,BASF 1865, Badische Analin- und- Soda- Fabrik, Aktien Gesellschaft für Analin Fabrikation AGFA 1867. In 1869. Graebe & Lieberman of BASF synthesized alizarin, a red dye to compete with natural "madder. " Perkin tried, but failed and then BASDF in 1880 produced synthetic indigo , mainstay now of the global jeans industry.
It also had an enormous impact on the Indian agricultural indigo industry which declined from. 1896 - 641,000 hectares to 1909 - 114,000 hectares. A loss of a cash crop worth US$13 MN a year. (qv polypropylene taking over from Sisal grown in Africa in 1960’s onwards).
There were of course spinoffs, mainly the development of synthetic drugs of which the greatest success was in 1899 when Bayer produced (acetylsalacylic acid) marketed very aggressively as Aspirin. In a special celebration at the World Cup this summer a 20 tonne, 10 metre circular Aspirin oberlisk will be displayed as part of a display of German inventions. . ( Aspirin =Acetyl + Spirsäure ( Spiraea Ulmaria -the plant they derived the salicylic acid from)
Aspirin was first sold as a powder. In 1915, the first Aspirin tablets were made. Interestingly, Aspirin ® and Heroin ® were once trademarks belonging to Bayer. After Germany lost World War I, Bayer was forced to give up both trademarks as part of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
This organic research also led to other spinoffs, . Alfred Nobel, Swedish chemist, inventeda "safe" form of TNT (Tri-Nitro-Toluene) called dynamite. Nobel convinced his inventions made war so dangerous no sane person would undertake it. When proved wrong, established Nobel Peace Prize. (qv MAD)
The giant 20 tonne , 10metre high sculpture entitled “Milestones in Medicine” on the Friedrich-Ebert-Platz in Berlin (near the Reichstag building) is one of 6 sculptures symbolising the richness of ideas and the spirit of invention which characterise Germany’s composers, writers, scientists, engineers and perfectionist and welcomes visitors to the World Cup 2006.
Haber-Bosch (hydrogenation) was invented by Fritz Haber and Karl Bosch who developed a successfully commercial process to Hydrogenate atmospheric nitrogen to make ammonia, then convert to nitrates needed to make explosives. A direct result from that was the Bergius process in 1916 to Hydrogenate carbon chains enabling the manufacture of margarine (Ugh!) and synthetic gasoline.
Bosch headed Interessengemeinschaft Farbenindustrie (IG Farben) which was a wartime consortium of BASF, AGFA. Bosch was personally anti-Nazi, but Hitler's economic policies were hugely beneficial to IG Farben. (Synthetic gasoline to fuel German tanks. ) After Bosch's retirement. IG provided Hitler with necessary technology for war, such as tetraethyl lead additives for aviation fuel, synthetic rubber, foodstuffs.
In it’s turn this resulted in IG Auschwitz a joint project with SS. Plan to work inmates to near death in synthetic rubber plant an estimated 300,000 Jews enslaved.
Centaura nigra L., Black Knapweed, Danish Sorthoved-Knopurt German Schwarze Flockenblume Swedish Svartklint Norwegian Svartknoppurt Finnish Mustakaunokki
Czech Chaber czarny Spanish Centaura negra
Has the market hit the top ? Should you, as the old saw has it, "Sell in May and go away" ? Yes, but if Uncle George decides to bomb Iran and we see US$100 a barrel oil which means US$850 an ounce gold ..... ? Just consider this exchange when Condi was on the Tim Russert show March 26th ...
RICE: Well, no one ever takes anything off the table, but I believe we're a long way from, from that...there are a lot of options once you're in the Security Council. .....
RUSSERT: Do you believe if the president chose to embark on military action with Iran, he would go to Congress for authorization first?
RICE: I'm not going to speculate on that. The president is clear that he keeps all of his options on the table.
Time for Pearl Harbour Pt.III ..dirty bomb in the Panama?
At the moment in the real world, yields on 10-year US Treasuries have risen above 5pc for the first time since 2002 on heavy selling by big institutions, sending tremors through the US mortgage and corporate credit markets.
The 10-year U.S. Treasury note slipped 17/32 to 95-25/32, with the yield, moving opposite to its price, rising to 5.053 percent, its highest yield since June 2002, from 4.98 percent on Wednesday.
The 30-year U.S. Treasury bond ended off 25/32 at 90-22/32, with the yield at 5.11 percent, its highest yield since August 2004.
Euro zone government debt prices also fell in the global bonds sell-off. Yields on 10-year euro zone bonds
Crude for May delivery (near month) finished up 1% 1 percent, at US$69.32 a barrel, previous record close was Aug. 30 of $69.81 as the effects of Katrina became apparent. COMEX June delivery gold settled at US$600.10 an ounce, Copper closed up 4.4 cents at $2.8155 a pound, after setting a fresh record of $2.819 a pound. The contract has gained 6.6% on the week. May silver futures closed up 19.2 cents at $12.855 an ounce. It ended last week at $12.07.
May unleaded gasoline in the US climbed 1.68 cents to close at $2.1079 a gallon -- up 6.6% from the end of last week. The US retail gas price has been climbing, with the average price per gallon last at $2.717, up more than 35 cents from a month ago and 20% above the year-ago level, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.
In the Far East Taiwan's benchmark TAIEX up 0.69 percent at 6,855.74 to a 2 year high. The index got a boost from tourism and construction shares as Taiwan's government in a surprise move for conciliation with the mainland said it may lift a ban on visits by Chinese tourists to the island.
"We've started seeing a lot of money being repatriated into the Japanese equities market," said Matthew Smith, a manager at Smith Affiliated Capital. J-apanese holdings of foreign bonds has fallen by $70bn so far this year, according to data from Japan's fin-ance ministry.
Analysts said the surge in bond yields may have been accelerated by panic selling of Treasuries by hedge funds and US investment banks.
JP Morgan Chase is forecasting a 13pc fall in Amer-ica's S&P 500 stock index, and 12pc fall in the FTSE 100. "Our big concern is the combination of rising bond yields, sustained high energy prices and weakness in US housing," said Abhijit Chakrabortti, the global equity chief.
Rex Nutting Washington bureau chief at Market Watch pointed out at the end of March
"Profits surge to 40-year high - When will corporations spend some of their hoard?"
"U.S. corporate profits have increased 21.3% in the past year and now account for the largest share of national income in 40 years, the Commerce Department said Thursday.Strong productivity gains and subdued wage growth boosted before-tax profits to 11.6% of national income in the fourth quarter of 2005, the biggest share since the summer of 1966.
For all of 2005, before-tax profits totaled $1.35 trillion, up from $1.16 trillion in 2004 and just $767 billion in 2001. Meanwhile, the share of national income going to wage and salary workers has fallen to 56.9%. Except for a brief period in 1997, that's the lowest share for labor income since 1966.
Profits have been so high because almost all of the benefits from productivity improvements are flowing to the owners of capital rather than to the workers. While profits are up 21.3% in the past year, labor compensation is up just 5.5%. After adjusting for inflation, population growth and taxes, real disposable per capita incomes are up just 0.5% in the past year.
Signs of the times ? .. and for a Happy Easter go read Nur al Cubicle
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Operation Promise, is a US$160 Mn initiative of United Jewish Communities and the Jewish Federations of North America, and will help bring remaining Ethiopian Jews to Israel and help mainstream the entire Ethiopian-Israeli community. Israel organised the airlifting of 20,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 1984 and another 15,000 members of the community in 1991.
In Ethiopia, 20,000 or more wait to make aliyah Many in the northern Gondar region of the the Falasha Mura, (Falashas—the alien ones, the invaders) many of whom were forced to convert to Christianity.many of whom have been forced to convert to Christianity.
The first modern contact with the now oppressed community came in 1769, when Scottish explorer James Bruce stumbled upon them while searching for the source of the Nile River.
After Selassie was replaced Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam, whose Marxist-Leninist dictatorship increased the threat to the Beta Israel. During the weeks surrounding Mengistu's coup, an estimated 2,500 Jews were killed and 7,000 became homeless.
After taking office in 1977, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin was eager to facilitate the rescue of Ethiopia's Jews, and so Israel entered into a period of selling arms to the Mariam government in hopes that Ethiopia would allow Jews to leave for Israel. In 1977, Begin asked President Mengistu to allow 200 Ethiopian Jews to leave for Israel aboard an Israeli military jet that had emptied its military cargo and was returning to Israel.
Under a news blackout for security reasons, Operation Moses began on November 18, 1984, and ended six weeks later on January 5, 1985. In that time, almost 8,000 Jews were rescued and brought to Israel.
In 1985, then Vice President George Bush arranged a CIA-sponsored follow-up mission to Operation Moses. Operation Joshua brought an additional 800 Beta Israel from Sudan to Israel.
In November 1990, Ethiopia and Israel agreed to allow Ethiopian Jews to move to Israel under the context of "family reunification." It soon became clear, however, that Mengistu was willing to allow Ethiopian Jews to leave outside of the guise of reunification. November and December, 1990, showed increased numbers of Ethiopians leaving for Israel.
In early 1991, Eritrean and Tigrean rebels began a concerted attack on Mengistu forces, meeting with surprising success for the first time since the civil war began in 1975. With the rebel armies advancing each day, Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam fled his country in early May. (The Americans through the offices of the US Ambassador found him a refuge in Zimbabwe where he lives to this day in considerable splendour under the protection of Robert Mugabe)
Operation Solomon was undertaken by the Likud government of Yitzhak Shamir and authorized a special permit for the Israeli airline, El Al, to fly on the Jewish Sabbath. On Friday, May 24, and continuing non-stop for 36 hours, a total of 34 El Al jumbo jets and Hercules C-130s—seats removed to accommodate the maximum number of Ethiopians.
A total of 14,324 Ethiopian Jews were rescued and resettled in Israel, a modern exodus of the grandest design.
Meanwhile in Israel, 100,000 Ethiopians struggle to find their way. Most are illiterate, both in Hebrew and in their native Amharic. Most face the challenge of shifting from an agrarian livelihood to an urban workforce. Families break down as the traditional elder-centered power structure is upended, and younger generations acclimate and leave behind parents and grandparents. Among the larger Israeli community, there is resentment over the support they receive. (The Israeli government may spend as much as $100,000 for services to each Ethiopian over his or her lifetime.) And sadly, racism has emerged.
Melkeinech Avera, 95, was the Leader of his village in Ethiopia. Melkeinech Avera, 95, was the was wealthy by any standard. A large and loving family and a big farm, crops and animals .... coming to Jerusalem was his dream. He would do anything – and leave everything – to make that dream come true for himself and his family. He was in his 60s when the trip began; and the walk through the Sudanese desert and the refugee camps took their toll. Melkeinech got them to Israel. He hasn’t worked since they arrived, and he’s had great difficulty learning Hebrew, Melkeinech is satisfied that he got his family to Israel.
Matti Elias is the elder statesman of the Ethiopian community in Israel. He arrived in 1956, with 14 other high school students. They were brought for a year; and Mr. Elias stayed, married a kibbutznik and still lives on the kibbutz.
He says , "“Our community – the Madele family, and the other nearly 100,000 Ethiopians now living in Israel – need education, employment and leadership. We are a strong, determined people, and with help from North American Jews and our family here in Israel, we will find our place in this society.”
Meanwhile Mengistu enjoys the sun. Read more here
When Dubya was in China last November Boeing announced an order for 150 single aisle 737 airliners.Chinese airlines confirmed orders for 50 of them in December and a further 20 at the end of January.In advance of the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States next week (April 18 to 22) have confirmed the remaining 80 single aisle aircraft.
This is part of 27 contracts that have been sealed with a total of US$16.2 Bn to be to coincide with his visit by 200 Chinese businessmen representing 110 enterprises.
These contracts include (as well as the Boeing deal) US$1 Bn with electronics service provider Flextronics (HQ in Singapore, Software Div. was Hughes Software 60% of Flextronics' Asian operations are located in China.) and a software contract of US$ 300 Mn with Qualcomm Inc.,(leading developer and innovator of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)) US$ 560 with telecommunications giant Motorola and a US$ 350 Mn contract with General Electrics (named "World's Most Admired" Company in FORTUNE magazine's annual poll of executives), for power equipment and other machinery.
Major US car manufacturers were also awarded contracts including one worth 300 million dollars for General Motors and a 110-million-dollar deal with Ford Motor, the report said.
It must be remembered of course that whilst this is heralded as a big hi tech deal a great deal of the composites fabrication of the forthcoming twin engined Boeing 787 Dreamliner will be made in China to be shipped to Everett to join parts from a worldwide supply chain, including leading edge French and Japanese In Flight entertainment systems.Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Co. Ltd will provide rudders Today, more than 3,400 Boeing airplanes -- one third of Boeing's world fleet -- have major parts and assemblies built in China. Examples of major parts and assemblies built for Boeing by Chinese industry include the 737 horizontal stabilizer from Shanghai Aircraft Corp., 737 vertical fin from Xian Aircraft Corp., 737 tail section modules from Shenyang Aircraft Corp., and 757 empennage and aft fuselage section from Chengdu Aircraft Corp. All are AVIC I affiliates.
Danish wind turbine company Vestas have decided to double the size of their new Tienjin factory by the middle of 2007, will double the original factory’s annual production capacity from approximately 600 blades to approximately 1,200 blades and increase staff from 240 to 400 employees.Total investment will be Euros 13 Mn.
In the US 2006 is expected to be an even bigger year for wind energy installations (now in 30 states) thanks to the extension by Congress of the wind energy production credit before it expired for the first time in the credit’s history. Installations will exceed 3,000MW. The final tally of 2,431MW boosted the cumulative US installed wind power fleet by over 35%, bringing the industry’s total generating capacity to 9,149MW.
As a result, Vestas who have a huge share of the US market (they continue to lose money however, year on year) will be shipping many of those blades (and turbine nacelles) to the US from China
So Hi tech transfer goes both ways.... so long as the tax credits bear up for Salomon Bros one of the US' biggest wind energy investors.
China / US Exports Imports Balance Millions of US$
January / Feb 2006 Exports 7,581.1 Imports 39,331.5 Net Balance -31,750.4
January / Feb 2005 Exports 5,691.4 Imports 35,790.0 Net Balance -29,100.4
Total 2005 Exports 41,836.5 Imports 43,462.3 Total -201,625.8
Anton Le Guardia in an article in the Daily Telegraph 12th August 2005 "Has Iran reached nuclear point of no return?" quotes Mark Fitzpatrick, a counter-proliferation specialist at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), saying that even if Iran can operate a basic unit of 164 machines efficiently and for a sustained period of time, it would take 11 years for it to make enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb.
Which is curious because the BBC report " Iran urged to stop nuclear work" of the same date says " Iran could be in a position to produce enough fissile nuclear material to make a nuclear bomb within 3-5 years, according to the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies."
It is even more curious because in a BBC report of 12th Jan 2006 by Sarah Buckley and Paul Rincon "Iran 'years' from nuclear bomb'"
The IISS (presumably the same Mark Fitzpatrick who is quoted elsewhere in the article) says "So given these limitations, the IISS believes it would take Iran at least a decade to produce enough HEU for a single nuclear weapon.
Frank Barnaby, consultant for the UK security think tank the Oxford Research Group is also quoted as saying""The CIA says 10 years to a bomb using highly enriched uranium and that is a reasonable and realistic figure in my opinion," he said.
This curious discrepancy was taken up by eagle eyed Gabriele Zamparini at the Cat's Dream with Dear Steve Herrmann, Editor, BBC News Online, the result of which was (indirectly) an e-mail from the crystal ball gazing Mark Fitzpatrick
Dear Ms. (! sic) Zamparini,
Thank you for noting this and alerting me. I have just spoken to a reporter at reporter at BBC who undertook to have the discrepancy corrected.
A detailed IISS report last September concluded that if Iran threw caution to the wind and ignored international reactions, it could produce enough HEU for one weapon by the end of the decade at the earliest. The clock on that five-year timeline began ticking in January when Iran resumed the enrichment, although it actually resumed enrichment-related work in August. In the past couple weeks, more than one reputable organization has concluded that three years is the shortest timeline. Given the speed at which Iran is moving, it is hard to dispute the three year figure. But these timeline estimates are all a bit of a crapshoot. I have been saying that estimates of 3, 5 and even 10 years are all within the margin of error, because it is unknowable, especially if IAEA inspectors cannot have greater access than they have right now.
The 11-year figure I gave the Guardian was if the Iranians stopped at 164 centrifuges. They plan to go far beyond that.
Senior Fellow for Non-Proliferation
International Institute for Strategic Studies
Arundel House, 13-15 Arundel Street
Temple Place, London WC2R 3DX
Switchboard: +44(020) 7379 7676
Fax: + 44(0)20 7836 31 08
web site: www.iiss.org
There then follows copies of a protracted correspondence which also resulted inthe original BBC story changing the time Iran would need to produce a weapon from 3 years to 3-5 years.
It is also interesting to see the same Mark Fitzpatrick is quoted in How Close Is Iran to the Bomb? Jan 23, 2006 ("Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran" (SMCCDI))"How quickly can Iran complete the complex at Natanz, planned to house 50,000 centrifuges in vast underground halls? Allows Mark Fitzpatrick of IISS, "Estimating timelines can be a trap." Interestingly this article can also be found (with the same quote) on the IISS website here.
Then lo and behold Bloomberg Germany reports late yesterday !!!!!
Iran Could Produce Nuclear Bomb in 16 Days, U.S. Says
April 12 (Bloomberg) -- Iran, defying United Nations Security Council demands to halt its nuclear program, may be capable of making a nuclear bomb within 16 days, a U.S. State Department official said.
Iran will move to ``industrial scale'' uranium enrichment involving 54,000 centrifuges at its Natanz plant, the Associated Press quoted deputy nuclear chief Mohammad Saeedi as telling state-run television today.
``Using those 50,000 centrifuges they could produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon in 16 days,'' Stephen Rademaker, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, told reporters today in Moscow.
So there you have it, 16 days, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years.Someone obviously thinks it's true hereand
Now the next question is, "How long will it take the combined forces of Israel and the US to strike at the nuclear resources of Iran and with what weapons ?" 16 days ? 3 years, 5 years , 10 years ?
The Foreign Policy Centre issued a Press release in which Hugh Barnes , Director of Democracy and Conflict at The Foreign Policy Centre and co-author of ‘Understanding Iran’, today said:
“A plan to attack Iran with nuclear weapons smacks not just of a deranged strategic miscalculation but of sheer hypocrisy and idiocy.
The author believe that there remain a large number of diplomatic options that would be acceptable to Iran, the United States and the EU to resolve the current crisis. Military action would be a highly dangerous move that could damage regional security, not prevent nuclear proliferation, encourage acts of terrorism and would of course result in civilian deaths."
"Both sides of this dispute are in danger of talking themselves into a war - they need to take a deep breath and calm down."
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Iran Is Judged 10 Years From Nuclear Bomb
U.S. Intelligence Review Contrasts With Administration Statements
By Dafna Linzer Washington Post Tuesday, August 2, 2005
"A major U.S. intelligence review has projected that Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years, according to government sources with firsthand knowledge of the new analysis.
The carefully hedged assessments, which represent consensus among U.S. intelligence agencies, contrast with forceful public statements by the White House.
The NIE, ordered by the National Intelligence Council in January, is the first major review since 2001 of what is known and what is unknown about Iran
Until recently, Iran was judged, according to February testimony by Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, to be within five years of the capability to make a nuclear weapon.
Last month, U.S. officials shared some data on the missile program with U.N. nuclear inspectors, based on drawings obtained last November. The documents include design modifications for Iran's Shahab-3 missile to make the room required for a nuclear warhead, U.S. and foreign officials said." ........ (That was the "exclusive information" about retrofitting nuclear warheads "revealed" in the Daily Telegraph by Con Coughlin this week !!!)
Well that's a relief, so Tony won't be telling us that missiles will be landing in Horse Guards parade in 45 minutes ... Phew... put your pens away Daily Telegraph leader writers ....
Two Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit Stealth Bombers and two B-1B multi-role bombers have been spotted at the Fairford RAF base over the last week (Green Party). The base, in rural Gloucestershire, last saw action in 2003 when B-52 bombers flew from there to bomb Iraq. It is the largest USAF bomber base in Europe and the only one with maintenance facilities for the B-2. These B-2 and B1 -B bombers are also based at Whiteman AFB Miss. Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and Guam in the Pacific.
You can see plenty of photographs, especially the sinister B-2 at the unofficial Fairdford Base site here taken in the last few days.
The Wilts and Glos Standard (6/04/06) reports that defence chiefs have denied the visit of top-secret bombers to RAF Fairford last week have anything to do with a future operation in Iran. A spokesperson said: "That is complete rubbish. Fairford is not being used for that purpose." However no-one from US Air Force was available for comment on future deployment of the bombers.
The Countdown to War Paul Rogers openDemocracy
He quotes Joseph Cirincione, Director for non-proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in an article "Fool me Twice" on 27 March 2006, notes the way in which the US administration is increasingly presenting Iran as the key threat to the region can no longer be dismissed as posturing, but may rather "be a coordinated campaign to prepare the way for a military strike on Iran".
Rogers notes that a few days after Cirincione's piece was published, the Sunday Telegraph reported ("A direct strike might be a necessary last resort.") that British military chiefs were meeting to consider the consequences of a US strike on Iran. The paper presented a detailed assessment, including striking graphics, of what an attack would entail.
He also details how In the approach to the Iraq war, USAF's's 457th air expeditionary wing was based at Fairford; fourteen B-52s flew in from Minot (North Dakota) and deployed there for 7 weeks while conducting more than a hundred bombing sorties over Iraq.
It is likely that the first such exercise in preparation for action over Iran took place last week when three B-2s flew into Fairford within a few days in what appears to be the first orchestrated deployment of this kind. This may well be an indicator of training now underway.
The second signal he says will be a sudden increase in base security at Fairford, including the policing of an extended cordon and closure of local roads to minimise any external observation of activities there.
Pic Ranunculus ficaria common UK spring flower of the buttercup family, now well in flower much nicer to contemplate than bombing Iran.
The official portrait of Crown Princess Mary Elizabeth, painted by Australian artist Ralph Heimans and unveiled last night at Frederiksborg Castle.
The Princess has a Scottish father and mother and was born in Australia, she is a Knight of the Order of the Elephant (R.E.).and speaks English and Danish.
In 2002 The Crown Princess moved to Denmark and was employed by Microsoft Business Solutions as a Project Consultant for business development, communications and marketing.
On 14 May 2004, on the occasion of her marriage to His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, she became Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.
She is a member of Aabenraa Golf Club, Copenhagen Golf Club , Fredensborg Golf Club, Furesø Golf Club and Odsherred Golf Club
Vandenberg Missile Defense Site Renamed After President Ronald Reagan 11/4/06 Yesterday, the missile defense facilities at Vandenberg Air Force Base in , California were formally dedicated as the "Ronald W. Reagan Missile Defense Site."
“It was President Reagan's vision that now allows the military to protect the United States from long-range missile attacks, and that is why his name is so appropriate for Vandenberg's missile defense facilities,” said Lt. Gen. Obering. Pic Bikini Attoll showing March 1, 1954 Bravo hydrogen bomb crater (see last Paragraph)
USSTRATCOM Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations / Final Co-ordination (2) 15th March 2005
"This publication provides guidelines for the joint employment of ( US ) forces in nuclear
operations. It provides guidance for the employment of US nuclear forces; command and
control relationships; and weapons effect considerations."
"This amplifies the Nuclear Posture Review of December 31, 2001, which stated: “Nuclear weapons could be employed against targets able to withstand non-nuclear attack (for example, deep underground bunkers or bio-weapon facilities).”
See also Walter Pincus WAPO September 11th 2005 Strategy Includes Preemptive Use Against Banned Weapons
Antiwar.com The Real Reason for Nuking Iran / Why a nuclear attack is on the neocon agenda by Jorge Hirsch November 1, 2005
"The strategic decision by the United States to nuke Iran was probably made long ago. Tactics adjust to unpredictable events as they unfold." (note date)
IPS Iran Showdown Tests Power of "Israel Lobby" Jim Lobe April 11th 2006
" Far more visibly than any other domestic constituency, the Israel Lobby (Mearsheimer and Walt), "the loose coalition of individuals and organisations who actively work to shape U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction", has pushed the government -- both Congress and the George W. Bush administration -- toward confrontation with Tehran."
The Progressive The Human Costs of Bombing Iran / By Matthew Rothschild April 11, 2006
"George Bush didn’t deny Seymour Hersh’s New Yorker report the Administration is considering using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran.Neither did Scott McClellan.
Bush called it “wild speculation,” and McClellanclaimed "the US would continue with "normal military contingency planning."
“The number of deaths could exceed a million, and the number of people with increased cancer risks could exceed 10 million,” according to a backgrounder by the Union of Concerned Scientists from May 2005.
The National Academy of Sciences studied these earth-penetrating nuclear weapons last year. They could “kill up to a million people or more if used in heavily populated areas,” concluded the report, which was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense.
IRC : National Institute for Public Policy (NIPP)
In anticipating a review of U.S. nuclear posture by the incoming administration, NIPP President Payne led a team that in January 2001 produced the NIPP study Rationale and Requirements for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control, which shortly thereafter served as a blueprint for the Bush administration’s own Nuclear Posture Review in 2002. NIPP paricipants who entered the Bush administration as officials or advisers were: Stephen Hadley (he took the rap for Nigergate BBC biog) and Stephen Cambone .
The report advocated the use of bunker-busting nuclear weapons even against non-nuclear countries to rid rogue nations of any weapons of mass destruction, such as stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons.
Donald Rumsfeld chaired the Commission to Assess United States National Security, Space Management, and Organization, which released its report on January 11, 2001. Rumsfeld’s staff director was Stephen Cambone.
The Rumsfeld Missile Defense Commission, was directed by Donald Rumsfeld. who used Stephen Cambone as the commission’s staff director. In March 2003 Cambone became undersecretary of defense for intelligence, which was a new position created by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.
Munich Conference on Security Policy 4/2/2006
NATO's Future Role in International Peace Keeping Senator John Mc Cain US-Senator (Republican), Arizona; Chairman, US Senate Commerce Committee
"Iran. The world's chief state sponsor of international terrorism, the Iranian regime defines itself by hostility to the United States and Israel"
Speech by Donald H Rumsfeld US Secretary of Defense
"Tehran's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons plainly poses an unacceptable risk to the international community. Protected by a nuclear deterrent, Iran would feel unconstrained to sponsor terrorist attacks against any perceived enemy."
Speech by Joe Leiberman US-Senator (Democrat), Connecticut
"Iran will test us all. If we ignore the threat it poses, or cover it with endless and hopeless negotiations, we will regret it."
"The Iranian regime is today the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. The world does not want - and must work together to prevent - a nuclear Iran."
Using nuclear weapons against Iran? Anthony D'Amato Northwestern U. School of Law
"A combined US-Israel strike against Iran would have to employ tactical nuclear weapons, and there were signs a month or two ago that the United States was gearing up its military specialists for just such an option."
"A nuclear strike against Iran would have a huge exemplary effect upon North Korea and all future would-be nuclear powers. "
"A military strike against Iran would involve the use of tactical nuclear weapons in the sparsely populated areas where the mobile missiles are located. ....
Nuclear weapons have not been used in warfare since 1945, and again it may be the United States that first uses them."
Iran Could Produce Nuclear Bomb in 16 Days, U.S. Says
April 12 (Bloomberg) -- Iran, defying United Nations Security Council demands to halt its nuclear program, may be capable of making a nuclear bomb within 16 days, a U.S. State Department official said.
Iran will move to ``industrial scale'' uranium enrichment involving 54,000 centrifuges at its Natanz plant, deputy nuclear chief Mohammad Saeedi said on Iranian state-run television today.
``Using those 50,000 centrifuges they could produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon in 16 days,'' Stephen Rademaker, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, told reporters today in
Mean while in the real world ...
Bikinians file lawsuit against the U.S. Government in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims [April 11, 2006] [Download complaint in .PDF]
On April 12 [April 11 US date], 2006, the people of Bikini Atoll filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Government in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The lawsuit seeks compensation under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for the taking of their property damage claims resulting from the U.S. Government’s failure and refusal to adequately fund the March 5, 2001 order of the Nuclear Claims Tribunal. Alternatively, the people of Bikini seek damages for the U.S. Government’s breaches of its fiduciary duty to provide just and adequate compensation for the taking of their lands in consideration for their agreement to move off Bikini Atoll and for the breach of the implied duties and covenants integral to that agreement, the Compact of Free Association, and the Section 177 Agreement. The lawsuit will seek compensation and/or damages of at least $561,036,320 (which represents the Tribunal’s original award to the Bikinians of $563,315,500 less the two payments totaling $2,279,180), plus interest as required by law. The total with interest on the filing date of April 11, 2006, is approximately $724,560,902.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy by Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press
From Foreign Affairs, March/April 2006
Keir A. Lieber, the author of War and the Engineers: The Primacy of Politics Over Technology, is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. Daryl G. Press, the author of Calculating Credibility: How Leaders Assess Military Threats, is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania.
Summary : For four decades, relations among the major nuclear powers have been shaped by their common vulnerability, a condition known as mutual assured destruction MAD. With the U.S. arsenal growing rapidly while Russia's decays and China's stays small, the era of MAD is ending -- and the era of U.S. nuclear primacy has begun.
" ......the age of MAD is nearing an end. Today, for the first time in almost 50 years, the United States stands on the verge of attaining nuclear primacy. It will probably soon be possible for the United States to destroy the long-range nuclear arsenals of Russia or China with a first strike. This dramatic shift in the nuclear balance of power stems from a series of improvements in the United States' nuclear systems, the precipitous decline of Russia's arsenal, and the glacial pace of modernization of China's nuclear forces."
The age of MAD may be at an end, the age of MADNESS has evidently taken over.
You may wonder who the Council on Foreign Relations are, well the Honorary Chairman is David Rockefeller , Directors (full list here) include Madeleine Albright who earned her stars bombing Yugoslavia and thought the death of half a million Iraqi children by starvation caused by sanctions was "a price worth paying". David M. Rubenstein Co-Founder and Managing Director, The Carlyle Group is another Director who like Thomas R. Pickering Senior Vice President for International Relations, The Boeing Company has a strong interest in supplying the military with things to kill people.
Just go and read the complete article.
Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on the NBC News program "Meet the Press" on March 5 that the war in Iraq was "going very, very well,"
Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador, who said on March 7th 2006 the invasion opened a "Pandora's box" and, on Friday, 7th April 2006 warned that a civil war here could engulf the entire Middle East.
Now the New York Times claims to have obtained a copy of an internal staff report by the United States Embassy and the military command in Baghdad. This is a 10 pages document of briefing points entitled "Provincial Stability Assessment,"
Naturally the report identifies the growing power of Iranian-backed religious Shiite parties, and rival militias in the south. It identifies Arab-Kurdish fault line in the north as a major concern, with the Kurds and Arabs fighting power in Mosul, where violence is rampant, and Kirkuk, whose oil fields ( where a Norwegian company is the first Western company to announce a program of drilling this week) are critical for jump-starting economic growth in Iraq.
The complete circulation of this document is not known but is part of a periodic briefing on Iraq that the State Department provides to Congress, and has been shown to officials on Capitol Hill, including those involved in budgeting for the “reconstruction” teams.
The oil-rich Basra Province, where British troops have patrolled in relative calm for most of the last 3 years, is now rated as, "serious, that is, having "a government that is not fully formed or cannot serve the needs of its residents; economic development that is stagnant with high unemployment, and a security situation marked by routine violence, assassinations and extremism."
There is a "high level of militia activity including infiltration of local security forces," the report says. "Smuggling and criminal activity continues unabated. Intimidation attacks and assassination are common."
Basra city is rapidly devolving into a mini-theocracy, with government and security officials beholden to Shiite religious leaders, enforcing bans on alcohol and mandating head scarves for women. Police cars and checkpoints are often decorated with posters or stickers of Moktadr al-Sadr , or Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, a cleric whose party Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq is very close to Iran (pic footballers at half time show posters of him). Both men operate extensive, well organised and armed, formidable militias. Mr. Hakim's party controls the provincial councils of eight of the nine southern provinces, as well as the council in Baghdad.
A series of attacks were reported 9th April around Basra. Two people, were shot dead by gunmen and policemen rescued two Iraqi hostages. A police officer from Basra was gunned down by armed men, while the village leader of Qurna, 70km north of Basra, and his wife were shot dead when they were in their car waiting at a gas station. The body of a civilian kidnapped on Saturday night was also found in Basra.
Reuters reports today massive problems in Basra hospitals.
Doctors in Basra (that remain), say that the local health situation has deteriorated markedly since the US-led invasion of Iraq 2003, water supply, sewerage problems leading to diarrhoea and sickness. "The mortality of children in Basra has increased by nearly 30 percent compared to the Saddam Hussein era," the report Dr Haydar Salah, a paediatrician at the Basra Children's Hospital, saying, "Children are dying daily, and no one is doing anything to help them."
The Maternity and Children's' hospital in Basra had not received any cancer drugs from the health ministry for 3 years. "In all of Basra, a city with nearly two million inhabitants, there's no radiotherapy department available."
Khalid Ala'a, spokesman for local NGO Keeping Children Alive, said that Basra hospitals lacked many essential drugs and antibiotics used to treat infections common to the area. "We've asked for help from the Ministry of Health, but they only tell us they don't have money to supply hospitals.”
You could be forgiven for thinking that the presence of UK forces is not doing much good for stability, good government, health, education and well being of the population.
LATE BREAKING NEWS
Iraq's newly crowned beauty queen Miss Iraq, Tamar Goregian an Armenian Iraqi, elected at a competition in a heavily guarded Baghdad social club away from the media, has decided to step down — 4 four days after her election after receiving threats by a group of religious extremists who referred to her as "the queen of infidels" for participating in the contest. She has fled the country.
So she won't be visiting The Miss Universe Contest in Los Angeles on July 23rd, in her place will be Miss Teen Iraq, Silva Shahakian, a Christian, who has accepted the title.
Well, that's a relief.
Monday, April 10, 2006
LA Times has this ...WASHINGTON — President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney should speak publicly about their involvement in the leaking of classified information so people can understand what happened, a leading Republican senator said Sunday.
"We ought to get to the bottom of it so it can be evaluated by the American people," said Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
I would rather Mr Specter spent his time explaining his theory (the one he authored in the Warren report as an Attorney) about how one magic bullet defied all the laws of gravity and physics, killed JFK and then injured Governor Connolly in the shoulder arm and leg, without any apparent damage to the bullet.
Kevin Drum of the Political Animal had an intern at Washington Monthly Jason Stevenson- who found this ...
Condoleezza Rice's first book, written in 1984, was called The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army, 1948-1983: Uncertain Allegiance. It turns out that it was met with immediate skepticism from at least one scholar of Czechoslovakian history .
Joseph Kalvoda, a history professor at St. Joseph College, apparently had a bit of trouble of his own figuring out whether Rice was male or female, but otherwise his criticism of Rice's methods in the American Historical Review still rings eerily true two decades later:
"Rice's selection of sources raises questions, since he frequently does not sift facts from propaganda and valid information from disinformation or misinformation. He passes judgments and expresses opinions without adequate knowledge of facts. It does not add to his credibility when he uses a source written by Josef Hodic; Rice fails to notice that this "former military scientist" (p. 99) was a communist agent who returned to Czechoslovakia several years ago."
"....Rice's generalizations reflect his lack of knowledge about history and the nationality problem in Czechoslovakia. For example....Rice's discussion of the "Czechoslovak Legion" that was "born during the chaotic period preceding the fall of the Russian empire" (pp. 44-46) is ridiculous. (It was "born" on September 28, 1914.) He is clearly ignorant of the history of the military unit as well as of the geography of the area on which it fought."
Rice's dissertation advisor was Josef Korbel. He was a former Czech diplomat, refugee from the Communist putsch of '48, and Madelaine Albright's tutor.
The "Czechoslovak Legion" are pictured in detail by Czech author Yaroslav Hasek in his comic novel "Adventures of the Brave Soldier Sveik".
Pic Baghdad, Monday, April 21, 2003. US Corporal Matt Sweazy 25 from Saint Louis Mo plays the piano in one of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's palaces. via cfpeople.org.image
Rowan Scarborough has an article "Chavez turns to Iran on military, uranium" in today's Washington Times, the paper founded by, run by and owned by Reverend Moon of Moonies fame .. which President Reagan called his "favorite newspaper". Rowan appears to have discovered "ties" between Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is seeking to deepen ties with Iran, with discussions on holding joint military exercises and obtaining uranium, according to Bush administration officials.
Then launches into the usual scare about uranium, which Venezuala does not have, but Rowan thinks they want to buy...etc., he also gets excited that some people threw eggs and vegetables at the US Ambassador's car last week.
Well, Chavez and his mentor Fidel Castro have been stirring up Anti-Americanism because of their violent Imperialism, in the oil and gas rich Muslim lands of the Middle East and Far East for a long time, at least since 2000. President Khatami made his third trip to Caracas over a year ago as reported by the BBC at the time.
President Hugo Chavez made one his regular trips to Teheran in November 2004 to unveil a Statue of Venezuela's nineteenth century leader Simon Bolivar at Goft-o-gou Park in Tehran in a ceremony attended by President Hugo Chavez, Chairman of Tehran City Council Mehdi Chamran and when the Tehran Mayor was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and is now President of Iran.
PS Moonies out there...Chavez has also been seen in the company of the President of oil and gas rich Russia, Mr Putin.
Brian Parkyn has died,one time Labour MP , conscientous objector who defeated Christopher Soames in the 1966 General Election. A chemical engineer who pioneered whilst working at Scott Bader the production of carbon fibres and associated polyester resins for producing composite materials in which the UK led he held several importantPatents
Scott Bader started by Ernest Bader he gave the company to his employees. the employees govern the company themselves - as employees.They still make Polyester resins for composite materials.
"Because we have no external shareholders we cannot be acquired. That makes us a great company to do business with. "
The Science Museum has a sample of the first carbon fibre made in 1965, in glass tube, "1st sample of carbon fibres made by Courtaulds heat treated at R.A.E. for 1 hour at 2500 degree C. on 15.9.65 ( signed) W. Watt CPM Dept RAE"
Since then Courtaulds have disappeared and the Japanese lead the world in Poly acrylonitrile (PAN) carbon fibre methods and industrial production of which 3o tons goes into every Airbus 380 and even more will into the Boeing Dreamliner 487. PAN based fibres PAN base carbon fibre combines high strength, rigidity, light weight, high temperature and corrosion resistant, with excellent electric performance.Learn more here
Well, there I was last week at Champneys enjoying a relaxing session of Shiro dhara, which is a beautifully relaxing Ayurvedic theraby combining oil flow treatment on the third eye with mukhra abhyanga concentrating on facial marma points which really relieves strsss and tension, when who do I see next to me ...Carole Caplin... "Why Lordy Lordy Patel" she cries and we catch up on gossip.
Apparently, some little birdy tells her (nidge nudge we all know who that is ?) that Tony is going to have a re-shuffle - really BIG SHUFFLE - he's like a magician she says, quickness of the hand deceives the eye - but not the third eye she says and looks knowlingly as Aysha lathers on the oil. BIG moves are afoot .. next minute she's fast asleep as Aysha hits her marma points with unerring accuracy.
As look would have it, however , I was in the Director's bar at Turf Moor after Burnley had sunk Crystal Palace on Staurday and who should I bump into but Alastair, so I tell him what the old crystal balls had been telling me (nudge nudge)...and he says (in his inimitable forthright style) .. "Too F******g right, squire, Like Macmillan, Night of the Long Knives sort the b******s out". I point out that Harold lost his job rather soon after the putsch. "So what" says Al (he likes me to call him that), "a few lessons to be learnt, a few truths to be told. Too F******g right, squire".Easter Peace agreement ...more like F******g Easter F*****g Declaration of War on those back bench whingers after Tony's liver. I notice his speech is a bit slurred, "F******g Health service is f*****d, Education ditto, Defence, what f******g defence ?, Immigrants, Prisons f******g full of 'em, Nuclear power, of course he has to make some BIG BIG changes...shome people are in a for a BIG shock !!"
He explains that the evil b****y Scotsman who wants to educate every picaninnie in the world will get his chance to do it at the Foreign office, whilst Alan Milburn shuffles into his spot ( and the inside lane for better things..?), Charlie C who has wonderfully set up the State / MI5 run FBI / SOCA team and all the necessary Fascist legislation (although the admin is a f*****g balls up he whispers) is going to sort those b******s out in the Health Service, and Stephen (Byers I guess) takes over his pitch. Keith Vaz sorts out the Energy policy and Wicks goes, along with Tessa (who needs a "rest") and Beckett to spend more time with her caravan after f******g up on the EU Emissions, talking of which Blunkett will keep the Olympic big spenders under his thumb at Kulchur whilst creepy, smarmy Ben Bradshaw takes over at the DTI ... and that Hewitt woman can keep her f*****g husband happy at home and stop upsetting the f******g nurses. Hain sorts out the military wallahs, the nasty rude b****y Scot can replace that DPM, the Hull Humper who can go and spend more time with his family, reminds me we must find something nice for Rosie, ... Charlie's been there, so Hutton might like a helping , hand now and then (for some reason he winked rather knowingly) and the dim windy F******g Welsh windbag Howell sorts out the Irish and the Welsh, now he's done with the Afghans and the Iraqis"
I note that Andy Gray has joined us and his nodding his head..." Right Boss, they politicians is just like footba' just move the team about ... we bring in Alan Mahon on loan he sticks it to me and BANG.." ... "Right" says Al, "Too F******g right, squire" You forget about Ed Balls ," says Andy...". "Leader of the House, and Hoon gets kicked upstairs, superb job on WMD, lied like a trooper," says Al, "take over as Chief Whip and Gentleman at Arms from that useless Grocott, red brick f*****g poofter, who was Tony's useless PPS.
Andy says, "Yes, and don't forget Lady Scotland Alistair, she's a loyal player ...he should get her in the Cabinet .... Take over Education from that useless Kelly woman, that's what I would do, play her deep in the back four, know whatimean ? Teachers would be scared stiff of her " .... " and that Hilary ARmstrong what a w*****r give Johnson her job and boot her upstairs", he took another reflective swallow at his pint.
I go to get Al and Andy another pint of Thwaites, when I come back, they have gone and Burnley's manager Steve Cottrill is there, I say "Where's Alastair", "Alastair ?" he says, "no idea, we get all sorts in here, is he from Crystal Palace ?"
Steve takes the spare pint and I say Andy scored a fantastic goal, "Yes he says,but why doesn't he do it more f*****g often ?"
Pic The Cabinet Office where POWER really lies
A 10-man jury at St Pancras coroner's court, London, ruled that the award-winning documentary maker James Miller was killed unlawfully when he died from a single bullet wound in Gaza in May 2003, finding that he had been "murdered".
Foreign Office Minister and all round Government apologist and brow smoother, Dr Kim Howells said he was not surprised by today's verdict.
"The British government has consistently pressed the Israelis at all levels to carry out a thorough and transparent investigation into James's killing," Dr Howells added.
"We are disappointed that the military police investigation did not recommend an indictment and that no one has been held to account for James's death. We continue to support the family's request for compensation."
Miller's father, Geoffrey, served as a colonel in the Royal Artillery in a 33-year army career, he said he was unable to praise the British government's response to his son's death.
"From the outset they were not helpful - one might almost go as far as saying that at one stage they were almost as obstructive as the Israelis. After that they probably gave some encouragement and support, but they had been totally supine and ineffective."The court had not been told how the Israeli authorities offered £200,000 'blood money' to Miller's widow, Sophy, to settle her case for compensation in the weeks running up to the inquest. Sophy received the offer in January and was encouraged by the British embassy in Israel to accept the deal.
This week the same coroner in the same court will commence the inquest into the death of Tom Hurndall, 22, the British student shot in the head as he shepherded Palestinian children to safety.The IDF will not be represented although they know who fired the fatal shot.
His mother, Jocelyn will tell the court how the Israeli authorities tampered with evidence, suppressed investigations and attempted to cover up the shooting.
At midday on 11 April, 2003, an Israeli sniper fired at 3 children playing in Rafah, in the Gaza Strip. Tim Hurndall, an English photographer dashed to the scene, carrying a frightened small boy to safety.
Hurndall returned to pick up a small girl ,a bullet hit in the side of his head. He spent the next nine months in a London hospital. He never regained consciousness.
Pic is of General Doren Almog who had an arrest warrant obtained by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights as head of the army's Southern Command from 2000 to 2003 and was advised not to leave a plane at Heathrow airport after being tipped off by the Israeli Embassy. The family claim he is ultimately responsible for the policy that led to Tim's death.
Almog (now retired) is a popular Israeli hero for his role in the Entebbe rescue of hundreds of hostages hijacked by Palestinian terrorists to Uganda in 1976. He was the first Israeli para-reconnaissance commander to land on the runway at Entebbe, marking it for incoming Israeli airplanes and leading the capture of the airfield's control tower in the rescue operation of 1976. He also participated in the clandestine airlift of some 6,000 black Jews from Ethiopia to Israel in the 1980's.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Just what did Jack the Lad and Condi get up to ? We know that Jack spent the night in her bed en voyage to Baghdad (although like a gent, he left her asleep on the floor?), we know he followed her every word and looked admiringly on all the time like a lap dog. What can we make of this report by the BBC ...
Mr Straw also commented on reports in US publication the New Yorker that the US is planning, if necessary, to attack facilities in Iran. The article also suggested the possibility of a nuclear strike.Surely Jack popped the question at sometime, ... " are you going to nuke Iran honey ?" There must be a time when an honest girl has to say NO!.
"The idea of a nuclear strike on Iran is completely nuts," said Mr Straw.
He told Andrew Marr, the UK would not accept a pre-emptive attack on Iran, and he was as "certain as he could be" that neither would the US.
Evidently Jack still doesn't know if Condi is going to make the Earth shake for him. Seymour Hersh seems confident she is ....
Pic Jack, Tony et al in their younger days
Bagram prison is within an American military air base which houses some 12,000 soldiers and is surrounded by mountains. On Sunday 10th July 2004(day off for non-Muslims) Saudi national, Mahmoud al-Kahtani, Syrian Abdullah Hashimi, an Iraqi Mahmoud Ahmad, AKA Faruq al-Iraqi who is said to be a link between al-Qaeda terrorists and the Indonesian extremist group, Jemaah Islamiyah and Muhammad Hassan also called "The Libyan", managed to escape.
Not only that , they subsequently made a film about their escape which shown on the Dubai-based Arab language satellite TV channel Al Arabiya in October 2004.
Now there are reports linking the escaped Mahmoud al-Kahtani to increased activity by Taliban related jihadists in Waziristan (Le Monde 6/4/06) Francoise Chipaux interview with Malawi Khursheed.) and pro Taliban local tribesmen in North Waziristan have asked the Army to evacuate the area and refused to acknowledge the government’s orders of prohibition of arms in the area.
According to the BBC, this decision has been made at the Jirga Meeting of the Itmanzai, Dawarh and wazeer tribes, which was held at Mir Ali on Friday.
The meeting was attended by Maulvi Abdul Rehman, Maulvi Saleem Gull, Malik Khan Marjan, Maulvi Hussain Ahmed Sadiq and thousands of ordinary tribesmen.
The leader of pro-Taleban militants in neighbouring South Waziristan made a similar demand in a telephone interview with the BBC's Urdu service.
There are 70,000 Pakistan troops on the long border with Afghanistan , where fighters like Maulvi Sangeen (an Afghan refugee hailing from neighbouring Khost province in Afghanistan) have been harassing troops , attacking forces in the Mana camp, resulting in a claimed loss of lives of 43 mujahadeen in the Shawal valley N. Waziristan, using artillery, and Cobra gunships.
The Islamabad / Pakistani government's version of events, accuses "foreign militants" of being responsible for incidents in Pashtun tribal areas to which the shadowy Malawi Khursheed tells Le Monde "Yes, there are foreigners, but we make the decisions and command the operations," he says. The "foreigners" are jihad militants who have long been in the region, but many observers confirm t small numbers of young Muslims arriving to make holy war. "They come from Germany, the United States, Gulf countries," asserts Malawi Khursheed.
"Everyone loves martyrdom for Islam," he adds, stating: "If we had more money, we could buy more cars and do suicide operations." According to several independent observers, future suicide-commandos receive their training in Waziristan before being sent for operations in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile the fight to establish sharia (Islamic law) continues and "Several "decrees," have put out by these "local Taliban," which have already prohibited barbers from trimming men's beards, video stores, and music at weddings.
Muhammad Shehzad in a very helpful and detailed November 2004 article said ..."Clearly, before any solution can be arrived at in South Waziristan - and such a solution would need to be political - two of Pakistan's major problems would need to be addressed: the first is that the military dictatorship refuses to accept its mistakes or to learn from them. It continues to regard the Army as the panacea for all problems. The second is that the military regime is under US control. The latter wants the Army to solve the problem only through the exercise of force, rather than through efforts of conflict resolution."
Things have evidently only got worse since then. See here for up to excellent detailed up to date news on fighting in Afghan Helmand province where the UK , Canadian and Dutch forces are operating.
Excellent archive on Afghanistan pic / videos / press here
Pic Border city of Chaman 959 Kg of heroin seized by Pakistani forces (c)Reuters Saeed Ali Akchazi