There is one major paradox in Iran's policy on Afghanistan: the "release" of the notorious warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in February 2002. Iran wants a stable Afghanistan to deal with vital issues such as drug trafficking and the refugee problem, but also to nurture the booming trade between Mashhad and Herat, where there are regional plans to integrate Central Asia, Pakistan and India; the routes of the ancient Silk Road. So why did Iran unleash Hekmatyar, one of the most destructive and destabilizing factors in modern Afghan history?
Perhaps the reason for Iran to let Hekmatyar go was security, not for Afghanistan, but for Iran. The Islamic Republic's main concern is to be squeezed in between two US armies, stationed right on its western and eastern borders (Iraq and Afghanistan), with the option to strike at the whim of hardliners in Washington.
To promote instability in Afghanistan eases their worries.
Hekmatyar could not have left Iran safely,crossed to eastern Afghanistan, without assistance from Iran's government. It was Iran's Supreme National Security Council that took the decision to expel Hekmatyar from his Iranian exile and too many Iranian ministers were involved on the issue for Hekmatyar to "disappear" unnoticed. Hekmatyar may have lived low profile in his villa in northern Tehran, but one can be sure that he was under strict surveillance by Vevak - Iranian intelligence.
So what is Hekmatyar up to?
It is evident that there are an increasing number of incidents in Waziristan and now, as the NATO forces start to arrive in Helmund, Kabul.
Hekmatyr made a call to the faithful in January, he has been active for some time now.
So what is Hekmatyar up to?
Pic of H when he was exiled qietly in N Tehran.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
There is one major paradox in Iran's policy on Afghanistan: the "release" of the notorious warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in February 2002. Iran wants a stable Afghanistan to deal with vital issues such as drug trafficking and the refugee problem, but also to nurture the booming trade between Mashhad and Herat, where there are regional plans to integrate Central Asia, Pakistan and India; the routes of the ancient Silk Road. So why did Iran unleash Hekmatyar, one of the most destructive and destabilizing factors in modern Afghan history?
The Zimbabwe defence forces held a military parade in honor of the late retired air vice marshal Ian Mowbray Harvey at Manyame air base on April 11th after he died from a stroke at the age of 65.He is survived by wife Penny and son Robert.General Constantine Chiwenga,(see pic) commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces was visibly moved to tears at the ceremony to remember the last serving white officer in Zimbabwean military forces.
One of those larger than life characters who can only survive in the military. Ian Harvey was Rhodesian born white African who were determined to stay in his native countries even in times of radical transition and upheaval. First, the Royal Rhodesian Air Force, then the Rhodesian Air Force of Ian Smith’s rebel minority regime, and finally of the Air Force of an independent Zimbabwe, of which he rose to become deputy commander and become personal pilot to Robert Mugabe for nearly 20 years.
At 17 he left Umtali Boys’ High School and entered the RRAF as a trainee pilot cadet. After basic training on piston-engined Provosts, he graduated to Vampire jets.
In September 1961 Harvey was one of an escort of Vampire pilots waiting at Ndola airport in Northern Rhodesia to meet the UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold’s DC4 aircraft, which was approaching from the Comgo border. The Vampires were to provide protection from fire from secessionist rebels. The aircraft never came into radio contact.
At first light the next day, Harvey went out with his squadron to find the aircraft, which was eventually found burnt out in deep forest, with no survivors. Harvey contributed to the official crash report which said that the pilot had misread the name of Ndola on the
His Boys Own Paper (he is often called "Biggles") lifestyle started in earnest after Ian Smith’s unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) in 1965, Harvey served with the rebel air force and was a flight lieutenant when guerrilla incursions began in the following year. Over the next few years he served in helicopter attack operations against Zimbabwean rebels and also against guerrilla camps in neighbouring Mozambique and Zambia.
President Mugabe’s election was no problem for Harvey. “I’m a third-generation Zimbabwean,” he said. “I refuse to be a refugee. The only thing I’ve ever done since I left school was fly aeroplanes. So when the war was over, I said, fine, let’s get on with life.”
After a brief spell in the Air Force of Oman in 1980 with David irbing the revisionist historians brother, Harvey was eventually promoted to air vice-marshal and became chief of operations in 1994. He was involved in Zimbabwe’s campaign in Mozambique against Renamo rebels and also in the controversial war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
By 2000 Mugabe had plunged the country into chaos with violent suppression of the opposition and lawless invasions of white-owned farms. The handful of whites left in the security forces were under suspicion. Harvey was now forbidden to pilot Mugabe.
In 2001 he reluctantly left the air force. He continued to work at flying instruction and aviation consultancies. But his pension was rapidly eroded by inflation as Mugabe’s policies wrecked Zimbabwe’s economy. Two months before he died from complications after suffering a stroke, he took on a job as a warehouse manager to supplement his income.
After suffering a stroke, he took on a job as a warehouse manager to supplement his income.
Apparently his passing was celebrated with rather a severe wake at Cranleigh Park Club, Prospect.No doubt many would remember the tearful General Chiwenga's brutal, nasty wife.
Gugulethu Moyo, a solicitor who had gone to try to secure the release of a detained journalist at Harare police station was beaten up by here.
A year earlier Mrs Chiwenga threatened a terrified white farmer: "I have not tasted white blood since independence." She ordered one of her guards to "kill the white bastards." He cocked his automatic weapon but didn’t fire.
A Qaeda Bomb Expert Killed in Pakistan Was a Paymaster
By MOHAMMED KHAN and CARLOTTA GALL New York Times Published: April 22, 2006
Can you believe these guys good luck ? A Syrian man, Mr. Suri was killed after his bus was stopped by soldiers at a checkpoint. He shot one of the soldiers and was shot and killed as he tried to flee outside the town of Kaar a tribal area close to the Afghan border, Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao said on Saturday 22nd April 2006.
Marwan Hadid al-Suri, 38, AKA Abu Marwan, was not only dead but had an amazing collection of incriminating diaries, hand grenades,a pistol, circuits diagrams for bombs, details of chemicals, TNT and C-4 explosives - well naturally he was Al Quaeda's "explosives expert" - although some press reports have the more headline grabbing, and glamorous job description of "Al Quaeda Bagman". That's what "experts/ bagmen" do, carry notes around about making bombs ( but no money apparently ?)His body was taken to Peshawar and his DNA verified to confirm his identity - checked against what ?.
A diary cunningly written in Arabic contained a list of families of senior Qaeda operatives who received regular cash payments from the organization, including relatives of Mr. Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Whilst not saying where the families lived, it described paying $2,500 per family every three months. According to the list, each family was also paid $500 per child every three months.
Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao told astonished journalists of their immense skill in catching Suri but when asked about the reported killing of Mohsin Musa Mutawali Atwah alias Abdur Rehman Al-Suri in an air raid in North Waziristan last week refused to comment.
Fox News has an even more exciting tale saying Suri's identity was confirmed after experts scanned a laptop computer, a diary and some other documents found in his vehicle ( not on a bus as other reports) after the shootout, which left one agent dead and two wounded.
PS Read more of the Pentagon "villainisation" of the mysterious (one or two legged)Mr Zarkawi.
A Canadian citizen, Huseyincan Celil, was arrested in Uzbekistan when he returned there to take his children to Canada. Celil has been an outspoken critic of Uzbekistan’s neo-communist dictator, Karimov, the body boiler. He is also an advocate of China’s oppressed Uighur Muslims, whose homeland is being inundated by Chinese Han settlers. The Canadian government has done little - almost nothing . Celil faces ghastly tortures, like other Uzbek political prisoners, and possible execution – or, just as bad, being handed over to China.
Further information is available at a Huseyin Celil supporters website
The Good news so far is that Mrs. Celil arrived in Toronto together with her two children on April 21st. A large group of people welcomed her. We would like to thank media for their sincere support and coverage both on TV and newspaper.Turkish community members were all united with single voice.
The legal counsel for the Celil family, Chris MacLeod stated that there will be media conferences throughout next week in Hamilton, Burlington and Ottawa.
Mrs. Celil reiterated, based on the Uzbek officials assertion, that the Canadian officials have not yet requested Mr. Celil officially as a citizen of Canada. The Canadian fficials, instead, asked Mr. Celil's situation and why he was under detention. The Uzbek authorities once again implied that if they had received a request from Canada, they would definitely consider returning to Canada. Advocates of Mr. Celil, are gravely concerned about the government's steps, as to whether they are doing something or just hiding behind the Privacy Protection Act.
Pic Hamilton Spectator (c)
CTV reports Canadian officials are closely monitoring the the worst mumps epidemic in the U.S. since 1988 -- 9 Midwestern states are now reporting cases.
A travel advisory was issued on April 13th for Canadian travellers to areas most affected. In early April, doctors in Hamilton, Ont., west of Toronto, discovered a patient who developed the mumps after visiting Iowa.
Starting in Iowa and moving rapidly into 9 states the virus has affected about 1,200 young people. No deaths have been reported.
Of concern to experts, however, is that an unusually high proportion of those affected have previously received the two-dose vaccine that covers measles, mumps and rubella.
Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the anomaly.
Dr. Neil Rau, an infectious disease specialist, told CTV Newsnet,"We used to believe the vaccine was 95 per cent effective,"
"There may be something novel about this strain of virus that indicates this vaccine is not as effective as we once thought."
"It could also be that the vaccine works very well when you keep having the disease in your midst," Rao said.
However, he added, it's possible that people lose their immunity to the virus once the risks have been minimized through vaccination, and when it reappears, people aren't prepared to deal with it and the effect is amplified.
The virus is said to be identical to the strain causing an epidemic in the UK last year. More background on the US outbreak here
Here is a blog which makes some astonishing (unprovable and mysterious) claims about the Mumps Mid West outbreak and the hospitalization and isolation of people - which is an unusual step to take as it is usually dealt with at home.
Here is the previous post about the outbreak with lots more information.
Pic (c) Newsweek archive of an outbreak in the 50's in Wisconsin
With a teensy weensy lump in his throat Lord Patel admits he predicted here that Tara Elizabeth Conner, 20, of Russell Springs would be crowned Miss USA 2006, in Baltimore last night.
"I am an easygoing, down-to-earth girl," Conner said to me in her distinctive Kentucky drawl. "Throughout my life, hardships and different experiences have made me a very humbled, yet strong individual. It is because of these life lessons that I have become the person I am today."
What a girl .... and these two delightful ladies ..... they just got to share a little bit of history with Tara.
For the hard core pics of previous Miss USA's go here
April 20th was the birthday of Jean Miró (born 1893) and Google reworked their logo to look like some of the artist's work.
The Artists Rights Society, representing the Miró family and more than 40,000 visual artists and their estates, demanded Google remove the logo.A Miró family member logged onto Google's on Thursday and was upset discovered a reworked logo that incorporated images used in multiple copyrighted works.
``It's a distortion of the original works and in that respect it violates the moral rights of the artist,'' said Theodore Feder, president of Artists Rights Society (ARC). ``There are underlying copyrights to the works of Miró, and they are putting it up without having the rights.''
Google said that it would honor the request but that it did not believe its logo was a copyright violation.
Google frequently changes the logo on its home page to reflect or honour people's acheivements Olympics or Albert Einstein's birthday, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day. Thursday's logo had painted versions of each letter in the Google name -- allegedly incorporating images from Miró's "The Escape Ladder,'' 1940; "Nocturne,'' 1940; and "The Beautiful Bird Revealing the Unknown to a Pair of Lovers,'' 1941.
This isn't the first time the ARC have had to complain, they did in May 2002 when images created by Salvador Dali were allegedly incorporated into the logo. Google removed the Dali images soon after it was contacted by the society.
In September, the Authors Guild sued Google for reproducing works in a "library project" that were still under the protection of copyright. In a press release, Authors Guild President Nick Taylor called the project ``a plain and brazen'' violation of copyright law.
Mountain View,CA.-based Google reported 1Q net income today of $592 million, ( $1.95 a share) up from $369 million ( $1.29 a share) a year earlier.
Shares closed up 5.3% to $437.10 after trading as high as $450.72 in early action. The stock has risen more than 20% since hitting an intraday low of $331 on March 10 and nearly 500% since launch.
Today's logo, it being Earth Day reminds us of the sunny Mountain View skies with their onshore breezes ... perhaps bags of gold rather than golden sunlight might be more appropriate ?
Bad knees, dodgy ticker, 4 heart attacks, 2 heart ops, oesophagitis , that ligth hurt my eyes, needed my sunglasses, bastards boooing me at RFK Stadium .... and this boring Chinese guy to listen to ....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
VP Cheney asleep at the White House whilst Hu Jintao tells a joke or three. See end piece.
Aside ... The President after a few pleasantries launched straightaway into a very revealing rant about Chinese influence on North Korea (DPRK) ...
"......I appreciate China's role as host of the six-party talks, which will be successful only if North Korea makes the right strategic decision: to abandon all its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs as pledged to the other five parties. I will continue to seek President Hu's advice and cooperation, and urge his nation to use its considerable influence with North Korea to make meaningful progress toward a Korean Peninsula that is free of nuclear weapons....."
Lord Patel , who has been to the DPRK and keeps contacts has been noticing the increasing drumbeat with interest, see recent North Korea - USAF keeps a watch . When the Pres. said "Korean Peninsula that is free of nuclear weapons" he meant DPRK nuclear weapons NOT, Definitely not, US nuclear weapons ... and if his sleeping partner had anything to do with it, ...used ones.
Oh! by the way "Plan of Attack" Bob Woodward
Page 9: The first sign of the Bush administration's desire to attack Iraq comes days before Bush's 2001 inauguration. Dick Cheney asks outgoing Defense Secretary Bill Cohen to brief the president "about Iraq and different options." During the briefing, Cheney falls asleep.
order from Amazon
Friday, April 21, 2006
TASH HEPTING, GREGORY HICKS and
ERIK KNUTZEN on Behalf of Themselves
and All Others Similarly Situated,
AT&T CORP., AT&T INC. and DOES 1-20,
Full Plaintiff writ here
Writ preamble tells it succintly ;
"This case challenges the legality of Defendants’ participation in a secret and illegal government program to intercept and analyze vast quantities of Americans’ telephone and Internet communications, surveillance done without the authorization of a court and in violation of federal electronic surveillance and telecommunications statutes, as well as the First and Fourth Amendments to the United States Constitution."
This case has also attracted a great deal of Press interest and especially in the cyberworld. Naturally AT&T, and no doubt the US Government wish to bury these documents, and prevent any discussion either in court or in public of the mechanics of wholesale surveillance of private telcoms and internet traffic between individuals, companies , many of which are overseas.A previous post here April 8th covers the case and the supplier of spying equipment Narus more here.
Hepting et al are named for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) bringing this class action in which a retired employee, and whistleblower, of AT&T, Mark Klein supplied 3 confidential company documents totalling 140 pages detailing how AT&T diverts internet traffic to the National Security Agency via a secret room in San Francisco and allege that such rooms exist in other AT&T switching centers...effectively a massive unselective internet wiretap. EFF filed these documents in the court under a temporary seal last Wednesday. This is the only direct evidence filed so far by the EFF.
Now AT&T is seeking the return of these technical documents.
In papers filed late Monday, AT&T argued that confidential technical documents provided by an ex-AT&T technician to the EFF shouldn't be used as evidence in the case and should be returned.
provides an excellent layers view of the issues involved and discussion with legal observers. Other sites report on the case Wired CorpWatch The Knowledge Base
A Google Alert "Hepting v AT&T" should keep you up to date. Meanwhile just don't post that you intend to drop an H Bomb on the Houses of Parliament.
The UK Government will intervene in a case brought by a group of British citizens against Saudi Arabian officials who allegedly tortured them. The UK Government via a spokesperson from the UK Department for Constitutional Affairs (Fatty Falconers hang out) said "The UK government condemns torture in all its forms and works to eradicate it wherever it occurs. The intervention in this case is not about criminal responsibility for torture, nor about the UK government's attitude to torture. It concerns jurisdiction, and the way in which civil damages can be sought against a foreign state for acts allegedly committed in its own territory."
A Peter O'Connor from the same department said "You can't come to the United Kingdom and sue a foreign state for actions that occurred in that state."
BBC online have a useful background article and the Guradian reported this week
For a handy and excellent legal discussion, the excellent JURIST - Legal News & Research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (available as daily e-mail digest) provides a useful update on the legal issues involved.
For one of the most sustained, cogently argued, well researched, dissections of the hypocrisy of Government policy, it's arms sales and indifference to tortured UK citizens, go to the excellent Chicken Yoghurt THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT VS MORALITY: WHERE’S THE BEEF? (see pic of author and assistants) Required reading.
A case arose in the US in 2004 of a US citizen who claimed to have ben tortured whilst in Saudi detention. Wapo had the story then but this very odd (and fascinating "Al Quaeda ") case is another story which you can follow on from here.
Abu Ali's ( a student from Virginia) parents argued in their court petition that their son's detention is an example of "extraordinary rendition," a practice in which U.S. authorities transfer individuals suspected of terrorist connections to foreign intelligence services that use coercive interrogation techniques illegal in this country.
The Justice Department sought to have the family's petition dismissed. It has argued in court papers that under U.S. Supreme Court rulings, U.S. courts have no jurisdiction over a U.S. citizen's detention by foreign powers.
According to Forbes the best performing Russian billionaire over the year was Vagit Alekperov, 55, chief executive officer of LUKoil, Russia's biggest oil company, whose wealth tripled to $12.7 billion although he came in a close 2nd to Chelsea owning playboy Abram Abramovich.
It has just been announced that his company LUKoil intends to commission a major gas field in Uzbekistan in 2007, currently the second-largest producer of natural gas in the former Soviet Union."The subsidiary of the Russian company LUKoil, LUKoil Oversees, has started designing work for a gas treatment plant at the Qandim gas deposit in central Uzbekistan," told me.
"LUKoil Overseesa a subsidiary of LUKoil, has started designing work for a gas treatment plant at the Qandim gas deposit in central Uzbekistan,"
"The work is part of the Qandim-Hauzak-Shodi-Qongirot project which is jointly being implemented with Uzbekistan's national holding company Uzbekneftegaz [Uzbek Oil and Gas],"
Uzbekneftegaz and Russia's Stroitransgaz announced in February 2006 plans to set up a joint venture in 2006 to carry out a project to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the Mubarek Gas Processing Plant in Uzbekistan's Kashkadarya region, at a total cost of about $200 million.
Their plan is to to build a liquefied natural gas unit with a capacity of 36,000 tonnes of LNG (propane-butane mix) and 150 tonnes of gasoline (stable gas gasoline) per year. The unit will process 12 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
Karimov continues to build his ties with Mother Russia.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
The TOR-M1 surface-to-air missile system is a mobile, integrated air defense system, designed for operation at medium-, low- and very low –altitudes, against fixed/rotary wing aircraft, UAVs, guided missiles and precision weapon.
The system(SA-15 "Gauntlet is the NATO name) is capable of operating in an intensive aerial jamming environment. The system has a number of missile Transporter Launcher Vehicle (TLV). A Russian air defense Tor battalion consists of 3 - 5 companies, each equipped with four TLVs. Each TLV is equipped with 8 ready to launch missiles, associating radars, fire control systems and a battery command post. The combat vehicle can operate autonomously, firing from stationary positions or on the move. Set-up time is rated at 3 minutes and typical reaction time, from target detection to missile launch is 5-8 seconds. Reaction time could range from 3.4 seconds for stationary positions to 10 seconds while on the move.
Each fire unit can engage and launch missiles against two separate targets.
The missile uses cold launch to exit and clear the launcher, and the rocket motor and thrusters are ignited at an altitude of 20 meters.Tor M1 can detect and track up to 48 targets (minimum radar cross section of 0.1 square meter) at a maximum range of 25 km, and engage two of them simultaneously, at a speed of up to 700 m/sec, and at a distance of 1 to 12 km.
The system's high lethality (aircraft kill probability of 0.92-0.95) is maintained at altitude of 10 – 6,000 m'. The vertically launched, single-stage solid rocket propelled missile is capable of maneuvering at loads up to 30gs. It is equipped with a 15kg high-explosive fragmentation warhead activated by a proximity fuse.
The system is offered as fully integrated tracked combat vehicle, or as a modular combat unit (TOR-M1T) comprising a truck mounted mobile control module and launcher/antenna units, carried on a trailer. Other configuration include separated towed systems, as well as shelter-based systems, for the protection of fixed sites.
The missile is also effective against precision guided weapons and cruise missiles. In tests the missile demonstrated kill probability of such targets ranging from 0.6 to 0.9.
The first operator of the Tor system was the Russian Army Air-Defense, which operates 100 units of the SA-15 Gauntlet variant. The Russian navy also uses the naval version known as SA-N-9. China bought 50 systems and possibly 25 more, between 1997 and 2002. The Greek army fielded 21 Tor M-1 systems. Most recently (December 2005) Iran was reported to sign a deal estimated at US$ 1 billion covering the procurement of up to 30 TOR M-1 missile systems, modernization of air-force systems and the supply of patrol boats. The system was also proposed to several other countries. Deliveries of the TOR systems are expected between 2006-2008.
The chief of the General Staff said Wednesday that Russia would honor its commitments on supplying military equipment to Iran.
"We discussed supplies of military equipment to Iran, including the Tor M1, in the framework of bilateral cooperation, but it does not fall into the category of strategic weapons," Army General Yury Baluyevsky said after talks in Moscow with NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe General James Jones.
"And I can assure you it will be delivered under the control of the relevant organizations," he said.
At the end of 2005, Russia concluded a $700-million contract on the delivery of 29 Tor M1 air defense systems to Iran.
Despite strong criticism from the United States, Russia has maintained that the systems could be used only to protect Iran's air space.
Miss Iowa (looks like a nice farm girl) helps Miss Alabama put something stupid on her head - and Miss Alabama hopes Miss Iowa hasn't got Mumps. Lord Patel will keep you posted on developments.... they went to the Gubernatorial Mansion this week - hey ! it did Condileezza Rice a lot of good when she used to make those overnight visits in Austin when Dubya was Gubernor.More news of the pageant - bigger better pics here.
In a sign of how Pfizer Inc. hopes to boost the market for erectile dysfunction drugs, the maker of impotency pill Viagra plans to launch a second non-branded, educational ad campaign about the condition on Wednesday to complement one running since late last year.
The double-dose of education comes as Pfizer tries to lift Viagra's sagging sales, which have dropped in each of the last two years AND OTHER BAD NEWS
Xymphora has an intriguing tale.... There are reports of a rapidly spreading mumps outbreak centred on Iowa (Pop. 2.9 Mn.) the Chicago Tribune and WAPO and VOA
U.S. government health officials said Wednesday that an outbreak of mumps has hit states in the U.S. Midwest and shows no signs of ending. 1,165 cases of the contagious disease have occurred in the past 4 months according to Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the US Centers for Disease Control (815 in Iowa as I write).
To put the US outbreak into perspective Over 16,000 new cases of mumps were notified in 2004, a fourfold rise compared with 2003. This followed a doubling in the number of cases over the previous year. Over 11,000 of these cases (84 per cent) were among young people aged 15 to 24. The rise for children under 15 was more gradual, nearly doubling over the same period to reach 2,800 cases, the highest level since 1990. The rise is attributed to a reduction in the vaccination with the MMR vaccine subsequent to scares about it's alleged linke with autism.UK Nat Stats on Mumps
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that, on average, only about 250 cases of mumps occur in the United States every year. The current outbreak was first detected in the state of Iowa, in December. Identified by swollen parotid glands in the neck (see pic) and fever.
CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding says the mumps outbreak has spread from Iowa to seven other states and other possible cases are under investigation (incubation is about 14 days and most Iowa cases are aged 15-24). "There are 815 reported cases in Iowa, at least as of our last communication with the Iowa state Health Department, so that by far is the largest number of cases that we're aware of so far. There are 350 cases reported from seven other states, which include Minnesota, Kansas, Illinois, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Missouri and Oklahoma," she said.
Iowa Homeland Security looks after biological terorism and Mary Mincer Hansen, Lucas State Ofc. Bldg, 321 E. 12th Street,Des Moines, IA Tel : 50319-0075 is Director of the Public Health who have information on Mumps here and a continuously updated newsite here. which they say ....Following are current resources provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health on Mumps. This information covers mump disease, prevention and control measures, testing protocols and the scope of the outbreak.
This site will continually post information as it becomes available.
The Iowa University Hygienic Laboratory is continuously adapting to established and emerging public and environmental health threats. The University Hygienic Laboratory currently employs a staff of 235 people (189 full-time, 14 part-time, and 22 temporary employees, as well as 10 student workers). This is possible because the University Hygienic Laboratory's $4 million in state funding leverages more than $12 million from other sources, such as contracts, grants and fees.
As a result it is the focus of a great deal of research on microbial warfare. They have a site about Mumps (Following are current resources provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health on Mumps. This information covers mump disease, prevention and control measures, testing protocols and the scope of the outbreak), as well here , and an excellent continuously updated Nationwide map with graphs / stats of the outbreak here.
A2 writes 17 April 2006: to Cryptome .....http://cryptome.org/
"I was looking up the mumps genome this weekend. Mumps is pretty well-characterized. The seven genes that completely make up its genome have been sequences since 2001. The strains compared to date have been nearly identical. So this new entry as of this 23rd February is (to me) startling:"
Record to support submission of GeneRIFs for a gene not in Entrez Gene. [Mumps virus]
GeneID: 2828643 updated 23-Feb-2006
Here are all the mumps gene entries.
Famously Labour Party Leader Hugh Gaitskell died of Lupus erythematosus (the day following drinking a cupt of tea at the Rusian Embassy in London whilst waiting to process a visa) which it is claimed has viral origins and some similarities with the measles virus, it is claimed he was poisoned but no evidence other than Russian spy Golitsyn's claims supports the theory. Wright in Spycatcher gave further credence to the story but produced no credible evidence.
Now Xymphora alerts us all to the possibility that this may be a strain that has escaped from somewhere ... maybe / maybe not (if it is, it ain't particularly virulent) .... but it is well worth keeping a close look at those stats.
LATE BREAKING NEWS
Federal health authorities said yesterday that they are rushing 25,000 doses of mumps vaccine to the Midwest. (Say, how long has this outbreak been known about ? - 4 months ?)
The CDC detailed 9 NW and AA flights late March first few days of April which may have spread the virus.
Some folks don't take it too seriously however ... others blame the ILLegals.
Bird Flu, West Nile Virus, Plague, SARS, now MUMPS !!!!!! more from the Fear Factory?
So here is the latest map / Graphic that the NYT Art department have just rushed to me
Dubuque County has Pop. of 89,000.
History of the production of the First Mumps Vaccine by Maurice Hilleman from Merck here - highly interesting and educational.
The Associated Press filed a lawsuit Monday March 15th 2006 against the US Department of Defense seeking the release of records and identities of Guatanamo detainees.In response the Pentagon have released a PDF file of 18 pages. 558 people with their stated nationality, 132 - came from Saudi Arabia. Afghanistan followed with 125, then Yemen with 107 in total 41 countries are named. Each name has an ISN (?) number and is listed numerically.
Released yesterday, 19th April 2006, it was accompanied by some 500 more pages of transcripts that the Pentagon said it "inadvertently omitted from earlier releases" that were previously obtained by AP using FOI legislation.
"Lawyers have been asking for this stuff for 2 1/2 years," said Mark Denbeaux, a law professor at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.
Some names are opaque, for example ... an Afghan (?) who prefers to be identified only as "Commander Chaman." ISN 1021 others who are "Muhibullah"ISN 546, "Obaidullah" ISN 782
"Kakai" ISN 0175 "Baridad" ISN 966
Notably the list reveals that Muhammed al-Qahtani, a Saudi who reportedly was the 20th hijacker in the 9/11 charade is held at Guantanamo. His presence had been claimed, but the Pentagon resolutely declined to confirm it. His ISN No is 063 which is identical to the number of the unknown but guessed at detainee whose alleged log of his interrogation in Time published June 12th 2005.
According to this log ..."Al-Qahtani’s resilience under pressure in the fall of 2002 led top officials at Gitmo to petition Washington for more muscular “counter resistance strategies.” On Dec. 2, Rumsfeld approved 16 of 19 stronger coercive methods. Now the interrogators could use stress strategies like standing for prolonged periods, isolation for as long as 30 days, removal of clothing, forced shaving of facial hair, playing on “individual phobias” (such as dogs) and “mild, non-injurious physical contact such as grabbing, poking in the chest with the finger and light pushing.” According to the log, al-Qahtani experienced several of those over the next five weeks."
" ...on Dec. 7: a medical corpsman reports that al-Qahtani is becoming seriously dehydrated, the result of his refusal to take water regularly. He is given an IV drip, and a doctor is summoned. An unprecedented 24-hour time out is called, but even as al-Qahtani is put under a doctor’s care, music is played to “prevent detainee from sleeping.” Nine hours later, a medical corpsman checks al-Qahtani’s pulse and finds it “unusually slow.” An electrocardiogram is administered by a doctor, and after al-Qahtani is transferred to a hospital, a CT scan is performed. A second doctor is consulted. Al-Qahtani’s heartbeat is regular but slow: 35 beats a minute. He is placed in isolation and hooked up to a heart monitor ....."
I tell you, the people who authorised this, the people who took the orders, the medics who let it all happen are seriously, seriously sick and deranged.
Full extracts from the log are available (if you really want to be made to feel sick and wonder why we send our sons and daughters ("Female invasion of body space")to do this ) is available on subscription US$1.99.
If Mr Alberto Gonzalez thinks this isn't torture I've a yen to try a little bit of the "Don't drink water , then wear it" philosophy.
Now of course after 4 years of this obscenity the Pentagon (nor anyone else) haven't a clue what to do with these people, they have no ideas what laws to apply, procedures to follow, very few of whom were directly arrested by US personnel but handed over by a variety of police/ border guards/ often with the promise of a bounty.
UK Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett in a written statement today finally admitted that the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) would fail to meet the EU-wide subsidy payment deadline of the end of June and announced that she had authorised the making of "substantial" partial ( >80%) settlements, around 80 per cent of the full value, in the meantime.
Tory Shadow Farms Minister Jim Paice asked: "How much will the Government's failure to make payments before the EU deadline end up costing British taxpayers in penalties?"
The latest official figures show only 24%– £362m – of the £1.5bn farm payment fund has been allocated, leaving 61% – > 70,000 farmers – are still waiting for their cheques.
After such incompetence, bungling, stupidity, waste of money (.. and God knows how many millions) it is a leap from the ridiculous to the sublime to read how the EU verifies farm subsidies.
GeoEye, the world's largest satellite remote-sensing imaging company and its partner European Space Imaging (EUSI) (largest suppliers of commercial satellite imagery to the European Commission) has received an additional contract ( EUR 1.8Mn) from the European Commission to supply OrbView-3 high-resolution map-accurate imagery.
As a sinister footnote they add, the European Commission will use OrbView-3 imagery in support of national security related projects.
OrbView-3 has been used by several Asian countries as well as by the US Government's National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency for similar purposes.
All OrbView imagery is currently down-linked, processed and shipped from St. Louis, Missouri, and all IKONOS operations are conducted from Thornton, Colorado.
IKONOS was launched September 24, 1999 from Space Launch Complex 6 (SLC-6) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California it has a polar, circular, sun-synchronous 681-km orbit and both sensors have a swath width of 11 km. Its weight is 1600 pounds (720 kg).
GeoEye is currently building its next-generation commercial satellite imaging system, GeoEye-1, which will have a ground resolution of .41-meter panchromatic (IKONOS = 1 m) and 1.65-meter multispectral (IKONOS = 4 m). When launched in early 2007, this satellite will greatly increase the capacity to collect a large amount of data within a short timeframe, which is ideal for monitoring the crop subsidy programs.
If you want to see the quality images available click on these and zoom as required. Breathtaking ... these images were taken from 681 Km above the Earth !!!
London Millenium Dome
Paris, France. Eiffel Tower
Ghardaia, imbedded in the valley of the M'Zab wadi in the North of the Algerian Sahara, is the most significant of five oasis cities successively built starting in the early 11th century by M'Zabite Berbers
Although there has been a cease fire, the US remains alert, as North Korea's (DPRK) official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on February 28 detailed 170 cases of "US aerial espionage" in February 2006.(The people's security institution in the DPRK (is)tasked to protect by law the socialist system, the life and soul of its people, tightly holding the arms for state security, is following with a high degree of vigilance all sorts of dastardly plots and operations of the enemy's intelligence and plot-breeding bodies against the DPRK.)
“U-2s” spied on the DPRK’s strategic targets almost every day after taking off U.S. air force bases in South Korea. On February 24 an overseas- based “RC-135” was busy with the photographing and electronic reconnaissance of all areas of the DPRK. An “EP-3” flew in the air above Taebu Islet and the area east of Kangrung to spy on the seabed of the north on February 2 and 11. On February 13, 14 and 15 an “E-3” was engrossed in spying on the targets of the north side in the areas along the Military Demarcation Line while commanding the flying corps engaged in different war drills including air battle, aerial target detecting and striking targets in the depth.
More than 30 cases of espionage with “U-2S,” “E-3 "Sentry" AIWACS and “EP-3” in February.
Tactical reconnaissance planes (Guardrail) such as “RC-12 and “RC-7B” flew in the air above areas along the forefront almost every day to spy on major military targets of the DPRK: 19 planes on February 8, 14 on February 9, and 9 on February 17.
April 19th was the Festival of KimilSungia and Kimilsungias ( a pink variety of camellia named after the revered Great leader Kim il Sung) were exhibited by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Sweden, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
On the same day Abdullah Jalali Nasab, Iranian military attache , hosted a reception at Pyongyang Koryo Hotel Wednesday on the occasion of the Iranian Army Day. Present Vice-Minister of the People's Armed Forces Jong Chang Ryol and others and diplomatic envoys of different countries and military attaches of foreign embassies here.
Iranian Ambassador Jalaleddin Namini Mianji and embassy officials were present.
Pic (C) HMG John Everard British Ambassador
In November 2003 Jiang Lijun, 39, was sentenced to 4 years in prison subversive activities aimed at overthrowing the ruling Communist Party.
Paris based Reporters without Borders have discovered that Yahoo's Hong KOng office supplied a draft e-mail from Jiang's account citing the verdict by the Beijing No. 2 People's Court they obtained this week.According to the verdict, Yahoo ! Holdings (Hong Kong) confirmed that the email account ZYMZd2002 had been used jointly by Jiang Lijun and another pro-democracy activist, Li Yibing.
The draft was said to be a draft of "Declaration," similar to manuscripts called "Freedom and Democracy Party Program" and "Declaration of Establishment" recovered from a computer and a floppy disk owned by two other Internet activists, the verdict said.
The information was listed in the verdict as "physical evidence and written evidence," proof that Jiang and the other activists were planning to "make preparations for organizing a party and to use violence to overthrow the Communist Party."
Yahoo have (with their affiliate Ali Baba) also has been criticized by rights groups by providing information in the cases of Li Zhi and Shi Tao.reporters without Borders tried to meet the Yahoo's executives in California, who at first refused to see them and threatened to call the police. They finally agreed to a meeting, on 10 April, but this encounter did not produce any concrete results.Reportof meeting here
Li, from southwestern China, was sentenced to prison for subversion after posting comments online criticizing official corruption.
Shi, a reporter, got 10 years in prison for sending abroad an e-mailcontaining notes about a government memo on media restrictions.
In February a Foreign Ministry spokesman said China has a right to police the Internet and "guide its development in a healthy and orderly fashion."
The Reporters Without Borders report came as Chinese President Hu Jintao visited the United States. His first stop was Seattle, where he dined with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates (80% of whosae Windows software in China is pirated) joked ..." joked with Jintao: "Thank you, it's a fantastic relationship. And if you ever need advice on how to use Windows, I'll be glad to help."
The verdict, made available and translated into English by the human rights group, the Dui Hua Foundation, can be downloaded here PDF Alert
Is this the profitable route for US telco's losing voice traffic ?
AT&T announced on Tuesday that it will team up with San Mateo-based Akimbo (with a library of 10,000 television programs, from both mainstream and niche (!) broadcasters) to allow customers to download movies and shows over the Internet through AT&T's new Homezone service.
AT&T has been offering satellite television service through a partnership with Dish Network (Eng / Espanol) since 2003, and is working on building a TV network called Lightspeed that reaches homes through fiber-optic connections over the next few years.This usesthe 2Wire HomePortal® 3000 series, which supports fiber-to-the-premises and VDSL technologies.
Homezone starts in California and 12 other States this summer will combine several services:
• Live TV from the Dish Network
• DSL Internet service
• Major-studio movies downloadable from Movielink
• Older TV shows and movies downloadable from Akimbo
• Digital video recording
• Caller ID that appears on the television screen (Wow!)
• Photo-sharing and radio services from Yahoo.
Customers will also be able to log onto their AT&T Homezone receiver remotely, through a Web browser or wireless phone, to schedule DVR recordings, start movie downloads ...etc., now that IS neat.
The set-top box will be manufactured by San Jose-based 2Wire. AT&T have not released costs.
Akimbo is also working with Movielink to launch a TV and movie service separate from the Homezone service later in the year.
AT&T's TV ambitions are not popular in some quarters , cable providers call it "warmed over DSL" and see deeper and darker motives behind AT&T's announcement.
Dennis Mangers,(San Jose Mercury) President of cable trade group the California Cable and Telecommunications Association, said Homezone is a cobbled-together product, designed to please not customers, but politicians who are trying to figure out whether TV service from a phone company should be regulated the same way as cable TV.
"We think Homezone is really a fraud,'' says a combative Mangers . ``AT&T is trying to use Homezone as a product to escape it's obligations.''
Cable companies need to make franchise agreements with every city where cable TV is sold. These agreements ensure that cable service is rolled out to poor neighbourhoods, with low returns, as well as prosperous areas who buy the profitable premium services.
In California, AT&T has been lobbying for Statewide, rather than local, franchise agreements. Mangers said he believes AT&T is trying to get out of bringing quality service to poor communities by offering such customers Homezone instead of the higher-tech Lightspeed service.
Ken Tysell, AT&T's director of broadband applications, says Homezone `complements'' their Lightspeed service.
For other comments go to IP & Democracy and paid content.org , you can also see a video of the service from AT&T here and ven make your own mind up!
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
It's been a tough day for Dubya he's had "to let go", that plump puffball PR bullshit wizard McClellan, Rove is disappearing before the writs start arriving and The Supreme Court decided not to hear the case of two Chinese Uighurs who have spent four years in Guantanamo for no very good reason. By writ of A certiori they were “cleared” (determined not to be enemy combatants, whatever that means) more than a year ago, but not released because they can’t be sent back to China and no one else wants them.
ON PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI
There's pages of this stuff but here is the nub of the thing ......
Petitioners are ethnic Uighurs and natives of China. Before September 11, 2001, they received weapons training near Tora Bora, Afghanistan, at a military training facility supplied by the Taliban. C.A. App. 233- 234; Pet. App. 1a. After the September 11 attacks on the United States, Northern Alliance forces approached the military training camp, and petitioners fled with others to the nearby Tora Bora caves. They then fled to Pakistan, where they were captured by Pakistani forces and turned over to the United States military. Pet. App. 1a; C.A. App. 234.
Petitioners were screened by the Department of Defense (DoD) in Afghanistan, determined to be "enemy combatants," and sent to the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. C.A. App. 83, 233-234. There, the United States granted each petitioner a hearing before a CSRT to determine whether the detainee should con tinue to be held as an enemy combatant. Id. at 233. For the purposes of the CSRT proceedings, "enemy combatant" was defined as "an individual who was part of or supporting Taliban or al Qaeda forces, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners." Order Establishing CSRT para. a (DoD July 7, 2004)
....... etc etc etc etc
2 As noted above, it is the policy of the United States not to return individuals to countries where it is more likely than not they will be tortured (C.A. App. 205).
The petition for a writ of certiorari should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction or denied. (i.e we've held these guys we don't want them anymore, no-one else does but we are not going to go through any of that legal flim flam anymore)
PAUL D. CLEMENT
PETER D. KEISLER
Assistant Attorney General
DOUGLAS N. LETTER
ROBERT M. LOEB
ERIC D. MILLER
Attorneys ( The guys who add in their Note (2) and hell there are a lot more ... "return individuals to countries where it is more likely than not they will be tortured (C.A. App. 205)." Makes you wonder what the fuck all that flying about by the CIA "front" planes is about then ....
On June 3rd 2005 , Parker & Waichman, LLP (who make a very good living on personal injury, medical claims, medical drug liability class actions) claimed they had been contacted by prospective clients who claim to have suffered loss of vision or complete vision loss as a result of using the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra (sildenafil citrate).
The FDA had announced the week previously that it was investigating a link between erectile dysfunction drugs and nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) - which can cause blindness. NAION is a vascular event that occurs when blood flow to the small arteries that supply the optic nerve is decreased or blocked. The lack of blood supply to the optic nerve causes damage to the nerve, which may result in permanent vision loss in one or both eyes. NAION is usually permanent and often leads to legal blindness. NAION usually develops without pain, and patients often awake one morning with reduced vision or total vision loss in one or both eyes. The condition typically worsens over the next one to two weeks. Risk factors normally associated with NAION are age, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and other eye problems.
Parker & Waichman, LLP has also received a significant number of inquiries from Cialis and Levitra users who claim to have suffered vision loss after using those drugs. Viagra, Cialis and Levitra patients.
In its announcement , The Food and Drug Administration said it had received 43 reports of varying degrees of vision loss, including blindness, among users of erectile dysfunction drugs.
With Viagra users there were 38 reports of blindness (6 patients had vision loss within 24 hours)
With Cialis 4 users reported vision loss.
With Levitra 1 person reported such visual impairment.
Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE: LLY) and ICOS Corp. (NASDAQ: ICOS), the makers of Cialis, had already added a warning about possible vision loss to the drug’s label.
The FDA has said it is in discussions with Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) the maker of Viagra, and the makers of Levitra, Bayer AG (NYSE: BAY), GlaxoSmithKline PLC (NYSE: GSK) and Schering Plough CP (NYSE: SGP) about warnings on those drugs’ labels. Over 50 million men worldwide have used an erectile dysfunction drug since Viagra came onto the market in 1998.
In July the FDA provided updated labeling information for erectile dysfunction drugs to warn of potential vision loss.Pfizer added a section to the "Information for Patients" section of the Viagra label notifying patients that a potential link between Viagra and NAION may exist.
Today Parker & Waichman, LLP announced that it has filed suit against Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) on behalf of a victim who was diagnosed with Non-Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy, or NAION, after using Viagra for 4-1/2 years. In July 2005, the FDA issued alerts to physicians and patients about potential vision loss associated with the use of Viagra.
The suit, filed on behalf of the victim and his wife, was filed in US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The plaintiff was diagnosed with NAION after using Viagra from July 1998 to January 2003. Prior to this diagnosis, the plaintiff did not suffer from any serious eye or vision problems. The plaintiff has incurred significant economic losses, including lost pay and medical treatment expenses, which will continue in the future. The suit seeks damages from Pfizer for the defective design of Viagra, and for the failure to warn consumers about the potential risk of vision loss that is associated with the drug.
Of course if Viagra doesn't work for you try some real hard core porn
Alfredo Ramirez, Northrop Grumman Global Hawk's chief engineer first dreamt about the successor to the 40 year old,and famous U-2 spy plane, in his Ryan Aeronautical Co. office in San Diego over 10 years ago.
Flying at 60,000 feet, an unmanned vehicle (UAV), communicating by satellite with a range of sensors and that could carry weapons, that could patrol for two days, unlike the 11 hours before pilot fatigue set in the for the human U-2 pilot, (who could be shot down and captured) was his goal.
The General Accounting Office in a 40 page report, now says that the program Ramirez has run since then has run up costs of US$6.6 Bn which so far runs out at US$130.5 Mn. per aircraft and they compare this with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems ( a privately held company) second-generation Predator B whose costs total US$1.2 Bn. Or US$19.2 Mn. – per vehicle.
The effect of the cost growth and the delays is that the program has run foul of the Nunn-McCurdy Act .... Congress has to be told when acquisition costs on individual programs exceed 15 %. The Office of the Secretary of Defense has to certify that Global Hawk is:
1. Necessary to national security
2. That costs are now under control
3. The reason for the restructuring of the program
4. No alternatives exist that can provide equal or greater military capability at less cost.
That certification has to be and will be complete by June 5, according to Air Force spokesman Doug Karas.
A major problem is that the U-2 "Dragon Lady" spy plane, whose retirement is due between 2007 and 2011 ( a big proponent of ending it's service life is Air Force Secretary F. Whitten Peters), in part to free up money to fund the Global Hawk program - about $1 billion and 3,300 personnel slots in operating costs, according to Defense Department budget documents.
However, the U-2 fleet is capable of flying until 2050, due to engine and cockpit upgrades over the last 10 years, according to the Congressional Research Service. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” is a popular belief, especially amongst some Congressmen - mainly the ones who don’t live in San Diego it appears.
For Northrop Grumman, who took over the revolutionary Global Hawk program with its buyout of San Diego's Ryan Aeronautical in 1999 (along with Alfredo Ramirez) such criticism is very unwelcome.
However this is not the first time the GAO have raised a quizzical eyebrow at the costs of Global Hawk, for they reported in 2004, that the overall estimated cost of the program had soared to $6.3 billion, a 16.6 percent increase over the $5.4 billion set in 2001.
Northrop Grumman says the 1st generation model Global Hawk cost is $21 million for each jet aircraft, the electronic sensors adds $11 million and the mission control system adds another $11 million.
That means a total cost to $43 million, although the ground control system is used with more than one UAV. The company estimates the cost of a 2nd -generation Global Hawk RQ4-B at $56.5 million, which includes a bigger jet aircraft at $29 million and a more advanced sensor package at $16.5 million.
The implications for Grumman and the Global Hawk program are very significant because the UAV market has become bigger and more competitive with suppliers from many nations.
Before 9/11 the DOD spent US$3.6 billion on the UAV program, says the latest GAO report, it plans to spend another US$24 Bn in the next 5 years. A market that didn’t exist 5 years ago.
The other main US supplier General Atomics with their Predator UAV series poses a major challenge domestically, as well as Swedish, French, and Israeli suppliers.
The 1st generation Predator A is propeller-driven airplane flying at 25.000 ft the B – series is bigger , can reach 50,000 feet and can carry 16 “Hellfire” anti-tank missiles. The market (and the military are waiting to see what Predator C looks like)
The unmanned Global Hawk can fly
1. Twice as far as the U-2
2. Remain on station for 3 times as long, = 10,000 nautical miles from its take-off location, and it provides detailed image-based intelligence on 40,000 square miles, about the size of the UK.
3. The U-2 can carry twice the payload of the Global Hawk "A" model.
4. The U-2's superior electrical power increases some of the capabilities of its onboard sensors.
5. The Global Hawk B will boost its payload weight (by 1000 lbs)and an electrical generator to roughly match the U-2 say Northrop Grumman.,
Global Hawk will not be able to match the U-2's synthetic aperture radar, electro-optical and infrared capabilities at least through 2012. When the "B" model is introduced -- and if it works as advertised -- it will largely close those gaps, according to Air Force and company officials.
The U-2 has a major and very significant capacity that the Global Hawk cannot match -- broad area synoptic coverage (BAS), according to USAF sources.
BAS is a static image of an enormous area, (dimensions are classifed). This is used both for treaty verification and also in preparation for battles; a single shot can show how an entire enemy force is arrayed on the battlefield. Follow up shots then can track movements.
The U-2s BAS was used to chart the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, (with what benefit it is difficult to determine) . Satellites cannot take broad pictures, creating less accurate "mosaics" with smaller pictures taken over a longer time period, then pieced together by intelligence analysts. Global Hawks have to date, flown more than 5,500 combat hours in more than 250 missions so far, in support of the war on terrorism over Afghanistan and Iraq (and maybe Iran?).
On April 5th Northrop Grumman delivered another (the 6th) RQ-4 Global Hawk to USAF after delivering 2 in January and another is scheduled for the summer. The US Navy has acquired two RQ-4's for their Maritime Demonstration Program.
New equipment in the forthcoming RQ-4A will include a civil-certificated GPS satellite navigation system embedded, controller-pilot datalink ommunications and automatic dependent surveillance (ADS). Global Hawk is already equipped with a traffic collision avoidance system and Mode S transponder, for situation awareness and not automatic avoidance manoeuvres.
This is all fitted in the new 0.9m (3ft) fuselage extension, with a new 39.6m span wing and a 27kVA generator replacing the existing 10kVA system bringing payload weight up to 3,000 lbs.
The ground control stations (GCS) will be equipped with 8.33kHz-spacing VHF radios for voice communications with civilian air traffic control (ATC) via the UAV and an Inmarsat satellite communications relay. ADS-A data on the UAV's identification, location and heading will be similarly relayed to ATC. While Global Hawk is often restricted to operating at 50,000ft (15,250m) or higher and making spiral take-off and landings to avoid civil air traffic, this version will be capable of transiting through General Air Traffic airspace.
Enhancements will include evaluating and selecting alternative mission packages, including radio frequency signals intelligence (SIGINT) and making initial open- system computing provision for the future Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Programme due in the program for 2007-8. The first RQ-4A Lot 5 in 2008-9 will include more SIGINT and a new common datalink.
The USAF has postponed indefinitely a planned deployment to Germany and demonstration of a Global Hawk equipped with an EADS electronic intelligence(ELINT)package.
The air force says there are no available UAVs for the demonstration as the result of the military build-up in the Gulf. Following the delivery last month of the 7th development vehicle and the loss of three earlier demonstrators there are now only four RQ-4As flying.
Predator series has a proud record of service
“The Predator Series of unmanned aircraft systems had made a significant impact on the global war on terrorism, providing persistent ISR and full-mission capability to military users and decision-makers around the world,” said Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., president, Aircraft Systems, Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. in September 2005 “Now with an experience base of more than 150,000 flight hours, no other UAS manufacturer can match the combat-proven, unparalleled performance and exceptional reliability of the Predator family.”
The Predator Series now including a variety of additional aircraft systems, including Altus®, I-GNAT®, Predator B, Altair®, Army I-GNAT ER and Warrior™. These aircraft aircraft are in constant daily operations supporting the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Government, NASA, NOAA, Italian Air Force, Turkish Army and other customers and have been deployed in world trouble spots on five continents, including operations in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan.
"To secure our nation's borders is priority number one," said Robert C. Bonner, Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. "CBP now owns and operates the most advanced state-of-the-art technology and is capitalizing on the Predator B unmanned aircraft system to secure the country better. This 'eye in the sky' will not only support the 'boots on the ground' but will also allow us to deploy resources more effectively, ultimately enhancing our ability to gain operational control of our borders."
(c) Edgar Corporation
Pic right at the top is recent addition to the NG Board, General B Myers - he's the guy (Chief of all the Armed Forces of the USA) who on the morning of 9-11 was shooting the breeze for 2 solid hours in Senator McLellan's office by the Potomac, whilst the pentagon was burning and Manhattan fell down , outta site of TV, outta hearing of Radio, Messages, Telephones, Pagers , knocks on the door ... etc.,
Bet they have to wake him up to give him his pay check.
...On April 19, 1995, a truck bomb exploded outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people, and injuring 500. Timothy McVeigh was convicted of the bombing and sentenced to death...
..... a perfect, sun-drenched sping Oklahoma morning. A yellow Ryder Rental truck carefully made its way through the streets of downtown Oklahoma City. (pic)
Just after 9 am, the truck pulled into a curbside parking area outside the Alfred P. Murrah Building and the driver stepped down from the truck’s cab. Casually he walked away. A few minutes later, at 9:02, the truck’s deadly 4000-pound cargo blasted the government building with enough force to shatter one third of the seven-story structure to bits.
Long time Oklahoma Patrol officer Trooper Charlie Hanger was headed north on I-35. He was about 75 miles from the disaster area when he noticed a beat-up yellow 1977 Mercury Grand Marquis ... with no license plate.
He signalled the driver to pull over, parked and got out of his patrol car. Timothy McVeigh got out of the yellow junker and went to meet him.
McVeigh explained he'd just bought the car and it had no micense plate. When Hanger asked if he had insurance, registration, or a bill of sale McVeigh explained everything was being mailed to his address. Then he handed over his driver's license.
Hanger noticed a tell-tale bulge under McVeigh's jacket. "What's that?" the cop asked.
McVeigh cooly explained it was a gun, the trooper held his own weapon to McVeigh's head. Then Hanger confiscated the 9-mm Glock that McVeigh was packing, as well as an ammo clip and a knife.
Monday June 11th 2001 Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute,IN
Federal officials declared the man responsible for the worst act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history was killed by lethal injection at 7:14 a.m. (8:14 a.m. EDT)
McVeigh, 33, was executed for the April 19, 1995, attack in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people and wounded hundreds more. It was the first federal execution since 1963.
Speaking from the White House briefing room about an hour and a half after the execution, President Bush told reporters that McVeigh "met the fate he chose for himself six years ago." Bush said, "Under the laws of our country the matter is concluded."Whatever the Truth was, died with him.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
"If there is one thing that no responsible Zimbabwean can deny today, it is that our country is in the throes of a devastating economic meltdown," wrote Jonathan Moyo, Mugabe's former information czar in a private weekly.
Moyo, who was last year shunned by his former mentor Mugabe when he decided to contest elections as an independent candidate, said the economy was the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front's (Zanu-PF) main enemy.
Moyo said Mugabe "and his cronies have no solution to the opposition outside [the] brutality of a knee-jerk law and order response of ruling by terror".
This 2 year old cartoon says all that it is necessary to say but you can go here to find out how bad it is today in Zimbabwe.
BREAKING NEWS FROM PRAVDA
One of the founders of Zimbabwe 's independence movement, James Chikerema, died in a hospital in Indianapolis, US on Friday. He was 81. PRAVDA
An uncle of Richard Mugabe he was a co-founder in 1948 of the first black nationalist political group in Rhodesia as Zimbabwe was known before independence from Britain in 1980 which grew to become the first resistance and guerrilla organization known as the Zimbabwe African People's Union , or ZAPU.
President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party was born out of a split in ZAPU.
Chikarema had been increasingly critical of Mugabe and left the country.
Finally the Govenrment run Chronicle says ....
Independence celebrations kicked off on a high note last night with a starstudded musical concert at the Harare International Conference Centre.
The country’s top musicians performed at the glittering concert to mark 26 years of Independence from colonial bondage.
Today the President fingered Susan Schwab to take over from Porter as No 1 Trade negotiator. Let's hope she has no more tax problems to blame on Calpine and her accountant.
Susan Schwab became the No. 2 trade negotiator in November 2005 after leaving her posts as professor and earlier as a dean at the University of Maryland sha was also a Director of Calpine Ltd.,
In October 2003, Schwab withdrew her nomination to be Deputy Treasury Secretary for personal reasons, which the Wall Street Journal later said were possible questions about her tax returns.
In November 2000, Schwab exercised options to buy 20,000 Calpine shares and then sold 17,500 of them, receiving an income of about $1.5 million, the Journal reported Nov. 3, 2003. Her tax return made it appear she wasn't obligated to pay Medicare taxes of about $45,000 and the remaining 2,500 shares yielded another $210,000 of income she didn't initially report, the newspaper said.
Schwab blamed the non-payments on poor advice from her accountants and bad record-keeping by Calpine, the newspaper said. hey, US$1.5 Mn ..shit happens baby!
Schwab also was a director in corporate business development of Motorola Inc. from 1993 to 1995. She previously served in the first Bush administration as an assistant Commerce Department secretary from 1989 to 1993. (Evidently didn't take Tax 101)
It is perhaps interesting to note that as second to Porter she went to a meeting of the Presidents Export Council at which By Honorable Carlos M. Gutierrez Secretary of Commerce said , "We believe, again, that it is all about responsible tax policies. The last thing we need today is a tax increase. One thing I would just say, is not passing and not making the President's tax cuts permanent would be equivalent to a tax increase." something Susan Schwab would no doubt heartily endorse not having taken Tax 101. (anyway the record shows she didn't object).
What it does record is Andy Card whose resignation started off the Schwab / Porter / Bolten / Card "reshuffle" as the Press calls it saying what happened when he spoke to the Pres. on the morning of 9.11 in that Florida Schoolroom - which as far as I know has never been told before ...
"But I whispered into the President's ear, on a pretty historic day, unfortunately, a day of infamy, not unlike tomorrow's day of infamy (? sic), when I said, "A second plane to the second tower in America is under attack." That was in a classroom at a school in Florida. It was September 11th, a beautiful, sunny day in 2001. So that means when he went in the room he knew that the first plane had hit ? Hmmmm.
Anyway that's something Susan can talk to Andrew about now that he's got the time to talk about it. But then maybe not.
For more about Calpine and it's clean air (they are getting rid of the dirty power stations in concentrating on their core business by the way. Hence the nifty logo at the top. (pic Maryland U faculty of SS where they say Schwab spent most of the 1980s as a trade policy specialist and legislative director for Senator John Danforth playing a major role in numerous U.S. trade policy initiatives, including landmark trade legislation that Congress enacted in 1984 and 1988. Thomas Eagleton called Danforth "the least-phony politician that I know". More about St. Dan here)
Monday, April 17, 2006
James Wolfensohn's anger over the Gaza greenhouses becomes more apparent. Asked about reports he would leave his post, Wolfensohn said he had not decided, but was considering it.‘I do not believe you can have a million starving Palestinians and have peace,’ he told Congress. AP report Y.Net
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation contributed $10 million to facilitate the transfer of the greenhouses.This was a unique grant, made quickly and quietly because we believed it was in the best interest of all parties and would enhance the peace process." said a spokesman.
Gates' charitable foundation, provided the bulk of the funds used to purchase the greenhouses from Gush Katif residents at rock-bottom prices, to be handed over to the Palestinian Authority (PA) says Forbes Magazine.
The Gates Foundation is stated to be for global health and has kept away from taking a side in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Until the Forbes report, confidentiality had been observed by all the parties involved.
Israel's excellent horticultural crops were grown in the advanced hi-tech Gush Katif greenhouses and Gush Katif farmers exported more than US$100 million of horticultural produce to Europe annually.
In a quick $14 million deal brokered by former World Bank President James Wolfensohn, the greenhouses were transferred to the Palestinian Authority. The PA then took responsibility for the facilities, but failed to protect them from looters. PA security personnel assigned to protect the greenhouses reportedly took part in the looting as well.
The greenhouses that survived are not being well used, as PA farmers complain that they are having trouble reproducing the bug-free produce grown by the greenhouses’ former Jewish owners. The US governmental development group USAID has been approached to hire back the expelled Israelis as consultants for the declining vegetable businesses.
With the FAO terrific work had been done to the benefit of Territories under PA control (TUJPA) Jordan and Israel to use UN help in sterilising med fly males to control damge to crops. Resulting in greater yields, better crops and higher prices.
Surely this a case where the UK , Holland could rapidly provide expertise at negligible cost by seconding staff ? Urgent action is required before they simply get looted and destroyed ? Holland has provided specialist horticultural advice to DPRK with staff etc., previously.
By Zohar Blumenkrantz Haaretz today
The Borovich-Mozes group, (see footnote)which bought the controlling interest in El Al from the state, in a massive snub to Boeing, are to buy eight A-330 Airbus aircraft, which will replace Boeing 767 passenger jets. The deal, including spare parts, is estimated at US$500 million.
A series of meetings, held under a veil of secrecy, ended Tuesday night at the Ramat Hahayal offices of the Borovich-Mozes group.
European Union Banks will provide credit to finance the deal, in the same way to the credit El Al has received in the past with Boeingto be repaid over a 14-year period. Airbus is committed to a three-year delivery schedule from the date the deal is signed.
Elsewhere, Emirates, the biggest customer for the new Airbus A380, said it may buy more of the aircraft in place of a $4.2 billion order for 20 Airbus 340-600's which have been put on hold.
Pic the Airbus transporter, shipping A380 wings from North Wales UK to Toulouse France.(c) Airbus Industrie
The sale of El Al was completed in January 2005 with transfer of control of the company to Knafaim – Arkia Holdings Ltd. controlled by the Borovich family, and the company began a new era – an era of full independent management.
There is a close connection between El Al, as the national carrier, and the State of Israel, via aviation policies and agreements determined by the government. The State owns a “golden share” in ensuring its vital interests via the company, including the ability to maintain national air transportation in times of emergency. Additionally, El Al continues in a range of national activities such as airlifting immigrants, flying March of the Living participants, humanitarian aid and medical missions for the needy after the tsunami, contributions to Jewish communities around the world, etc.
In addition to cutting staff from a high of 5,000 (at the start of the intifadah) to 3,500 today. State employees are no longer made to fly El Al and can fly with other carriers, self check-in is to be introduced, and the airline is now said to be profitable.
In a recent article in Forbes Israel the Borovich family were named as one of the 12 families owning 60% of the listed companies in Israel. They were named as Sami Ofer, Nochi Dankner, Shari Arison, the Cerberus-Gabriel consortium, Charles Bronfman, Yitzchak Tshuva, the Saban group, Lev Leviev, Matthew Bronfman, Tzadik Bino, the Borovich family, and Eliezer Fishman and are said to be well connected with Kadima.
The Boeing 747-700 that will transport 787 Dreamnlier parts from Japan and China to Everett takes shape in Seattle. 2 more are being modified at Evergreen Aviation Technologies Corp. in Taiwan
The volume of the Large Cargo Freighters main deck will be 65,000 cubic feet (1,845m3), three times the cargo by volume as the 747-400 freighter.
The freighter will make its first flight this summer and be certified by the end of the year. The first two airplanes begin supporting 787 final assembly in 2007.
Meanwhile Airbus are planning aircraft manufacture in China and will be moving parts made in Europe to China ...
Boeing Parts and Rules Bent, Whistle-Blowers Say
By Florence Graves and Sara Kehaulani Goo Special to The Washington Post, Monday, April 17, 2006; Page A01
In early 2002, Prewitt, Smith and Ailes sent thousands of documents supporting their case to the Justice Department alleging that questionable parts had been installed not only on hundreds of 737s but also on some 747s, 757s, 767s and 777s and their military equivalents without the knowledge of the Air Force and Navy, the commercial airlines, or the FAA. Shortly after that, in March 2002, the three workers -- and one other whistle-blower who later dropped out -- filed their lawsuit.
In 2003, the whistle-blowers withdrew their suit after the Justice Department declined to join. They refiled it in March 2005....... Which one of those Boring lawyers takes up as only lawyers can
Boeing of course are already heavily embroiled in the Darleen Druyun / Mike Sears tanker deal and unethical conduct.
.... any more bad news for Boeing ?