Bill sends this pic of the huge march today which left a pile of children's shoes at the Cenotaph - now what will happen to those ?
The BBC Radio news reports the Police ( who seem to have trouble with simple counting - i.e how times did they shoot de Menezes in the head ?) say there were 20,000, but the organisers disagree. WTF - a lot of people marched and notably few of our elected and paid representatives.
Hundreds more protesters took to the streets of Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle and Sheffield.
Protestors took to the streets in Chicago organised by the American Council on American-Islamic Relations and in Amsterdam around 700 people gathered near Dam Square.
A show of solidarity with Israel is planned near London on Sunday evening and will be addressed by Britain's chief rabbi. "Israel has the right to defend itself against unprovoked attacks on sovereign soil," said Henry Grunwald, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
Several hundred people showed up on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa to denounce Prime Minister Harper's pro Zionist stance, at a rally organized by the Coalition of Arab Canadian Professionals and Community Associations on Saturday. They accused the Harper government of supporting the Bush administration and being responsible for bombs dropped in Lebanon and Palestine.
Bloc Quebecois MP Richard Nadeau, of Gatineau riding in the region, said Israel was using incidents like the kidnapping of soldiers to justify over-the-top military strikes.
"With what's happening in Gaza, it looks more like a genocide than humanitarian aid," Nadeau said at the protest. "As far as I know, in Gaza, there's one victim one group of people who are victims at present. One would only have to take a trip there to see who the victims are and see who is perpetuating this military force that is completely disproportionate."
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Bill sends this pic of the huge march today which left a pile of children's shoes at the Cenotaph - now what will happen to those ?
Hedge funds are among the most profitable clients for firms like Goldman Sachs Group , Bear Stearns , Morgan Stanley, UBS , JPMorgan Chase and Lehman Brothers . Many of these same massive Wall Street firms have large in-house hedge funds of their own.It is an "industry" that is said to handle an eye popping $1.2 trillion of assets. One that affects every pensioner, stockholder and overeas investors. Remember Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley led Wall Street in handing out a record $21.5 billion in 2005 bonuses, according to New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi.
The SEC counts more than 8,800 such funds. The industry controls some 30% of the NYSE daily volume in stock trading alone.
Monday is the deadline for an appeal against the decision in June by the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, in a lawsuit brought by a New York hedge fund, Opportunity Partners,that tossed out the agency's controversial new rule requiring many hedge funds to register and submit to exams with a unanimous decision on multiple grounds.
Chairman of the SEC said last week at a Senate Banking Committee hearing he still believed hedge funds needed more oversight, but didn't suggest Congress rewrite statutes to make that possible. He said he didn't want to put restrictions on how funds operate, but he did say he wanted to make it harder for "unsophisticated" retail investors to put money into them.
So the scam for keeping the market afloat , the dollar alive, carries on for a little while longer - and commodities drive higher as the hedge funds make bigger and bigger bets on futures - who will blink first? Meanwhile - a good indicator is the sales of properties (hit by high mortgage rates) in the Hamptons which are well down - 1,727 homes sold 1st half '6 compared with 2,106 last year according to Suffolk Research Service Inc., a property records company in Southampton. NY. ( A sort of Hampton index ?)Even so the rich are still buying Edgar Bronfman Jr., CEO the Warner Music Group, and once married to someone famous, paid US$31 Mn for a pad in January.
If you want the next part of the story go and read up about B. Alfred Lee Loomis and bailing out at the top of Consolidated funds in '28.
We were to post an untrimmed bush - but we haven't.
More trouble looms for the F -35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) as Australia starts to look for an alternative.
The AAF currently need to replace their F-111;s and F/A-18 Hornets in 5 years. A plan for a A$3Bn.upgrade to the Hornets has foundered due to problems with integrating upgrades of it's new new electronic warfare self-protection system.
The JSF deal will be the biggest ever (A$15 Bn.) for Australia and they have seen that ther UK have cut their orders , back and have weighed the problems that the removal of Rolls Royce as an altrenate engine supplier can affect the whole deal.
Defnece Minister Brendan Nelson is alert to the risks to maintain the vital, strategic aerial dominance in the region. Although imprressed by the JSF he is reported to say that if delivered on time and on price , it would be , "the correct aircraft for us".
In the frame to replace the JSF deal are the F-22 Raptor, the F-16 and Super Hornet. However it is unlikely that they will ignore the opportunity to evaluate the Grippen and who knows the arlarmingly fast and manouverable Mig -32 ?
"What most threatens the thing is beyond our control, the US political system," Dr Nelson has said. Congress is threatening to cut the program's budget and has ordered its manufacturer to test more before production.The chickens are coming home to roost as the US defence budget recooils from the massive Iraq spend and looming problems in the Middle East...
Israeli forces have been busy today (Sabat) killing people in Gaza.
The victims included a mother and her two children. Houda al-Nouri, 45, her son Omar, 17, and her daughter Kiffah, 15, died when their home was hit by a shell from the tank, hospital report from Rafah.
Israeli aircraft targeted a civilian car with four passengers - a mother, her two children and the driver. The family was apparently fleeing their house in eastern Rafah in fear of more airstrikes and tank artillery shelling their neighbourhood of al-Shawka.
The two children were killed, while the mother and the taxi driver were critically wounded, eyewitnesses said. They were taken to Rafah town hospital.
At least 166 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier have died in the Israeli operations launched in Gaza on June 28,
The Israel Defence Force launched a large-scale ground operation on Thursday. The deaths brought to 15 the number of Palestinians killed since then, including four children and 11 militants
Mohammed Nassal of Hamas' polit-bureau said that Israel had authorized its generals to release a large number of prisoners, in an interview with Arab television channel al-Jazeera. There has been no statement from the Israeli Government.
Ze'ev Schiff the highly respected and knowledgeable Israeli defence analyst writes.."Stay out of the Lebanese Quagmire"...
"Judging from the data on the extent of Hezbollah's arsenal of short-range rockets, it can continue its war of attrition for another three months. "
Faced with this he says everyone is now seeking excuses, Olmerde's office says the IDF never suggested or wanted extensive ground operations. Now he argues that if the intention is to move in and take more land, say up to 6 kilometres they are faced with a dilemma....
"According to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Israel intends to hold the parts of southern Lebanon that it captures until their transfer to a new international peacekeeping force. Two central questions must be asked: When can this force become operative, and what sort of mandate will it be given? Hezbollah has already taken this option into consideration, and plans guerrilla warfare in southern Lebanon to inflict losses on the IDF and to be able to claim that it is again fighting to banish Israeli occupation forces from Lebanese soil."
This is a prospect Schiff argues strongly against, ( he has previously argued how poorly trained the land forces are, forced by defence cut backs) Israel must not remain in southern Lebanon - we have been there before ... and then he lights on the blindingly obvious
"A problem will arise if no international peacekeeping force can be found to which the IDF can hand over the territory that it now occupies in southern Lebanon."
Resulting in a further dilemma , should we stay or should we go ? and resolves the problem in a suggestion which must surely find little support in the IDF , the Cabinet or amongst the crazies in the White House...
"If confronted with this question, Israel must choose withdrawal - in order to avoid again finding itself waist-deep in the Lebanese quagmire."
Meanwhile the paper reports that Mohtashami Pur, an ex Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon said on Friday that Tehran has supplied long-range (210 Km) Zelzal-2 ( Earthquake) missiles to Hezbollah. Which adds a frightening edge to the threats from Hassan Nasrallah on TV on Thursday "If our capital, Beirut, is attacked, we will attack your capital, Tel Aviv,"
It may not be the finely tuned and nuanced language of the frantic lawyers in New York, and Tony Blair on his Downing Street sofa juggling with words, but it must strike fear into the man on the street in Israel.
Michael Oren, a senior fellow at the Shalem Center, an academic research organization was with one of the first Israeli army units to enter Beirut in the 1982 Lebanon conflict, said Hezbollah's longer-range arsenal signals that "the whole notion of territorial depth is losing meaning. Clearly the issue here is a political and diplomatic solution. There is no military solution."
Last week, the IAF deployed Patriot anti-aircraft missiles near Netanya as part of the overall effort to foil a possible Zelzal attack.
According to Israeli press reports, in 2004 Hezbollah received 220 missiles from Iran, and the weapons have been stored in bunkers in three locations in the Bekaa Valley. The Zelzal-2 is 8.32 m in length and 0.61 m in diameter, with a launch weight of 3,400 kg. It carries its 600 kg warhead to a maximum range of 200 km (124 miles). The Fateh A-110 is believed to be a guided variant but if supplied is probably useless as the IAF have knocked out all Lebanese radars.
On July 14, an Israeli air strike destroyed at least one Iranian-made Zelzal-2 short-range ballistic missile (AP) According to officials from the Israeli Defense Force, an Israeli aircraft targeted a truck carrying an unknown number of Zelzal-2 missiles, and the force of the blast sent at least one missile flying into the air.
See : David C. Isby, “Iran Supplies Improved Rockets to Syria and Hizbullah,” Jane’s Missiles and Rockets, 1 October 2004.
Debka report (not the most reliable source) that The Israeli army on it's sortie into the Bekaa valley discovered Zelzal missiles stored in buildings with strengthened floors and walls to carry their weight, their roofs removed and replaced with makeshift coverings such as branches and twigs. These coverings are dense enough to block the missiles from the view of Israeli aircraft but are easily removable to enable the rapid launch of the Zelzal from inside the building where it is stored.
They claim night bombing raids on the Bekaa valley have been aimed at these stores.
They also claim that Nasrullah had a meeting with Assad and others on Thursday and got the go ahead to use the missiles.
A Doctor writes
It is well known that Tony Blair has a heart condition , which although not serious, has caused minor problems previously. It is what we doctors call supraventricular tachycardia, a slight disturbance of the heart rhythm thought to be a result of rapid electrical activity in the upper parts of the heart - the atria.
The heart rate increases from his normal resting rate of 70 (ish) beats per minute to anywhere between 140 and 240 beats per minute.
This is experienced as palpitations - a heart flutter - but he can and does feel dizzy or faint. Professor Sir Charles George, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, told BBC News Online at the time of his last "problem" : "People tend to associate these rhythm disorders with periods of anxiety."
"But in most people, there's no obvious immediate cause."
It is not unlikely with the immense pressures on him that his delayed departure to the sunny Carib is connected with a dodgy ticker than a loss of self confidence or concern about pics of him lounging in the sun whilst Beirut burns and babies are bombed. He was due to leave Downing Street at 3.pm on Friday, arrangements which were suddenly and abruptly changed, and his departure is now indefinite - quite where the rest of the family are is somewhat of a mystery.
Several people have discussed quite openly the problem after his extraordinary performance at his monthly press conference this week.Dr Punit Ramrakha, who treated the prime minister last year with catheter ablation, a modern development for this treatment will know better than anyone. So far there has been no public comment.
Anyway the re-assuring news is that John Prescott is in charge if anything happens and there is any problem dealing with the finest nuances of the language of a UN resolution. Probably teams of elocutionists are working round the clock to teach him the difference between "suspension" and "cessation", and more importantly how to pronounce them.
STOP PRESS Saturday am
The French Police note with some relief that the Foreign Secretary Rt.Hon. Mrs Margaret Beckett and her husband will not be clogging up the French roads for a while. Sge will no doubt be in close consultation with Tony Blair's "personal envoy" to the Middle East, the bouffant haired, stack heeled impresario, my Lord Levy to determine what the lawyers may say at the UN.
Mrs Theresa Mills nee Jowell, tells us that the Dear Leader is not isolated in the Cabinet and although they had "robust discussions", he, well, just ignored what they might have said and carried on regardless.
The obscure Labour MP John McDonnell, whose risible announcement to stand for the party's leadership has [ased without notice, has demanded a recall of Parliament in order for the Prime Minister to be held to account for his "unforgivable" decision not to back demands for an immediate ceasefire.
It will be interesting to see if he ends up in Hyde Park today - or indeed any other MP's do.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Kratos was the Israeli manufactured methodology for dealing with suicide bombers which Lord Stevens, then Commander of the Metropolitan Police introduced. (Pic Dixon of Dock Green, "Evnin' all")
It has seen action twice on our streets. With disastrous consequences.
1. An inoccent passenger on London Transport, after being followed for over 20 minutes by skilled and highly trained personnel from the POlice and Security Services is savagely killed by at least 7 dum dum bullets in the head. The IPCC say that there was no murder , it was not manslaughter but .... there may be offences under Health and Safety legislation under the Police's "duty of care to the public."
2. An inoccent man with his brother, fingered by a prisoner with an IQ of 69, as manufacturers of a "dirty bomb", with ricin , anthrax, marmalade, whatever in a vest are kept under surveillance for days. 250 police, (in Operation Volga) many armed, operating under Kratos guidelines, raid their house (16 entered) in the dead of night and one of the occupants is shot in the shoulder and in the dark . The IPCC decide there was no assault, no grievous bodily harm, no actual bodily harm, no wounding offence comitted, nothing criminal ... it was an accident. It doesn't appear that the IPCC want to trouble the HSE Inspectorate yet again with how the Met handle and use firearms resulting in harm to the public. (IPCC report Page 5) " The equipment carried Health and Safety Risks, but reasonable steps were taken to minimise them. ... we have not referred this investigation to the CPS.
Call me old fashioned but it seems to me that this Kratos scheme is deeply flawed.
I have never shot a gun in my life , but it appears to me that wearing 2 pairs of gloves and a gas mask, climbing narrow stairs in the dark is not the optimal condition for lawful use of a gun.
IMHO I think Sir Ian Blair should re-examine how he intends to kill terrists in future while the death toll stands at....
Inoccent civilians dead - 2 v Terrists dead - 0
But what do I know ?
PS The report says the officer B6 heard a "pop" - the report explains that with ear defenders, hooded garment, helmet etc., this was understandable..the officer inly realised the "pop" was a shot when he saw the blood on the shot man's shirt. had he no experience of firing under these conditions ? Was he fully trained - the report is silent on the matter.
Indonesia, is with 240 Million people, the world's 4th most populous country, living in a 3,000 mile long archipelago that spans three time zones.
In response to soaring energy costs,the Indonesian Government has recently introduced an ambitious crash program to develop bio-fuels and intends to invest US$ 22 Bn. by 2010 to promote the Indonesian biofuel industry. Three-quarters of the funds will be for palm oil - i.e large plantations.Malaysia's diversified conglomerate Genting Bhd. had already approached the government for a 1 million hectare allocation for biofuel development in palm oil and sugar cane revealed the Energy and Natural Resources Minister Dr Purnomo Yusgiantoro yesterday.
Several other Malaysian companies like Petroliam Nasional Bhd and Sime Darby Bhd, were keen to invest in the biofuel sector as well. "However, the opportunity is only for upstream activities as we have decided to give Pertamina, the state-oil company, monopoly in the downstream activities," said the Minister.
It is intended to produce alternative fuels using crops such as palm oil, cassava, jatropha (castor oil) and sugar cane for the production of biodiesel and ethanol.
About US$6 Bn. will be spent securing 6 million hectares (14.8 million acres) of land, in locations so far unspecified plus plants, roads and structural services.Plant- derived can be mixed with mineral oil based gasoline, diesel and kerosene,(1/3rd of which are imported) which are now subsidized by the government (in Indonesia).
Besides improving levels of fuel self-sufficiency it will creates a large number of jobs on the land and in fuel production.
Indonesia is already the world's second-largest producer of palm oil,following Malaya, the price of which has gained 5.6 percent since the year started to 1,497 ringgit ($409) a metric ton. Production may reach 15 million tons this year, Derom Bangun, chairman of theIndonesian Palm Oil Producers' Association, said on June 21.
The government will enlist the support of agricultural companies such as PT Astra Agro Lestari, the country's largest plantation company by market value, smaller producers, cooperatives and multilateral agencies, he said.
The government will also seek favorable financing from state banks such as PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia, PT Bank Mandiri and PT Bank Negara Indonesia, the minister s aid.
Alhilal Hamdi, the newly installed chairman of Indonesia's national biofuel promotion committee, said: "The promotion of biofuel could help develop what we call the social economy". The policy, he said, was part of the government's triple-track strategy of promoting biofuel, which was intended to promote growth and employment, and reduce poverty. The government's decision to raise fuel prices by an average of 120% last year had particularly impacted the poor.
By the year 2010, the government hopes that the biofuel industry will employ a total of 3.6 million people in biofuel processing plants, and in castor oil, palm oil, cassava and sugar cane plantations.
Mines and Energy Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro has said that it is expected that Indonesia can produce 720,000 kiloliters (kl) of biofuel per year on average between 2005 and 2010, 1.5 million kl per year over the five years after that up to 2015, and 4.7 million kl per year over the following ten years up to 2025.
By the year 2010, he said, the country would be able to substitute some 10 percent of its oil-based fuels with the environmentally friendly biofuel
Paradoxically it is the castor oil plant (Ricinus - source of the poison ricin) which is seen as a key to helping the rural poor, easily grown - indeed a weed in many countries, Jatropha curcass and Ricinus communis grow quickly and are easily harvested several times a year in tropical zones.
Castor-oil growers can process their castor-oil harvests into bio-diesel using their own small-scale processing machines.
PT Tracon Industri for example manufactures portable machines with production capacities ranging from five kilograms to 50 kilograms per hour.
If farmers were to purchase the five-kilogram-capacity machines, which cost less than ten million rupiah each, they could process their produce and then sell the oil to either state power utility PLN or state oil and gas firm Pertamina.
Alhilal Hamdi said that the government would also guarantee that PLN and Pertamina would buy the biofuel from the micro-businesses. "We're also designing fiscal incentives, including tax holidays, for people who want to enter the biofuel business," he said.
The governments intention is not only to aid self succicency in energy but help generate small scale economic growth, create new jobs and reduce poverty.
More here at BIOPACT
Indonesia allots 6 million hectares for biofuels
Biopact is a site that "unites EU citizens and African citizens who work towards a common bioenergy future, in which the EU couples part of its green energy policies to its humanitarian and development policies in Africa. We also monitor biofuels and bioenergy news coming from the developing world in general." Have a look.
King Abdullah of Jordan, the pint sized Hashemite monarch has finally and publicly decided to openly criticise the United States and Israel over the destruction of Lebanon and the mass slaughter of it's citizens.(Pic 'orens of Arabia)
Realising the perilous nature of his own position he has told Jordan's Arabic mass circulation Al-Rai and independent Al-Ghad dailies that he was enraged by the war, and that continued fighting only weakened the voice of Middle East moderates such as himself.... and also he might end up shot by an enraged Palestinian like his namesake and great grandfather.... another Hashemite capable of playing both ends against the middle.
He stressed the only way to achieve peace was to end the Israeli occupation of Arab lands.... and this time maybe he really means it.
Israeli actions are fuelling the resistance, the King says, and that even if Israel destroyed Hezbollah, other groups would emerge in the Arab world to take its place, unless Israel ended its occupation of Palestinian lands and made peace with other Arab neighbours.
He blames Israel's harsh military campaign in Lebanon for undermining the voice of moderation in the Arab world, (by which he means the puppet regimes of Jordan and Egypt whose prisons and torture chambers, are full of people who oppose their "moderation") saying the Arab people now saw Hezbollah as heroic.
Although the king initially voiced criticism over Hezbollah's abduction of two Israeli soldiers last month, he refused to comment as to whether he still blamed the Iranian-backed group for dragging Lebanon into the conflict.
King Abdullah added Jordan would not participate in a proposed stabilisation force to be deployed in southern Lebanon as a buffer between Israel and Hezbollah militants.
The King has also appeared on State TV last Thursday saying, "if the option of peace fails as a result of Israeli arrogance, then the only option remaining will be war, and God alone knows what the region would witness in a conflict that would spare no one."
Jordan along with the Gulf States and Saudi have deposited US$Bn.s to help shore up the Lebanese banks, and provided massive relief funds.Abdullah has sent US$1Bn as a deposits to Lebabnon , US$500MN to Lebanon and US$250.000 to the Palestinians in Gaza.
Keep an eye on the VIP departure lounges at Tel Aviv and Amman if you want to see how this war is being played out.
Some things started by a favourite site of the Postan ..
Signs of the Economic Apocalypse, 7-31-06(Pic USS Arizona in Pearl Harbour Dec 10th 1941)
" ....Another week where a fading superpower with a decaying infrastructure, in thrall to a racist settler state, attempted to extricate itself from two losing wars by starting World War III. Again, we see that the markets have not really registered the significance of recent events but are reacting instead to short-term macroeconomic factors. So far the markets have ignored the massive war crimes ordered by criminal psychopaths in power in the United States, Israel and Great Britain. The dollar fell, but not by much, and did so out of the feeling that the Federal Reserve Board is less likely to raise interest rates. Gold rose, but it is still lower than it was two weeks ago. My guess is that the players in the oil, gold, and currency markets do not yet know how this all is going to play out. Let’s help them: Israel and the United States have already lost the war in Lebanon by the flagrant slaughter of innocent civilians, just as the United States lost the Aghan war when they bombed the first village. It may take time for events to play themselves out, but the war is lost. Israel and the United States no longer have any moral authority whatsoever (as hard as it may be to imagine now, at one point those countries did have some moral authority in the eyes of the world). And, the United States has run out of money. A currency collapse followed by a sharp drop in power cannot be far behind..... read on "
"Late last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals struck down a new rule by the Securities and Exchange Commission requiring mandatory registration with the SEC for most hedge funds. This may not strike you as the end of the world, but that’s because you’ve either forgotten what a hedge fund is or how much trouble the funds can get us into.....
...Actually, to give the devil his due, such a calling off of investigations into hedge funds is another example of how the world economy is being propped up by temporary measures. In other words, the investigation might cause what would be a normally healthy crash in hedge funds while calling off any regulation or investigation can buy a little time."
He quotes the always excellent Billmon
"...Earlier this week I linked to a commentary from William S. Lind in which he warned that war with Iran could result in the loss of the 140,000 man army America currently has bogged down in Iraq. This may have seemed far-fetched, given the enormous military disparity between the two sides. But Col. Pat Lang, a former intelligence officer, explains how and why it could happen:..."
"American troops all over central and northern Iraq are supplied with fuel, food, and ammunition by truck convoy from a supply base hundreds of miles away in Kuwait. All but a small amount of our soldiers' supplies come into the country over roads that pass through the Shiite-dominated south of Iraq . . .
"Southern Iraq is thoroughly infiltrated by Iranian special operations forces working with Shiite militias, such as Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigades. Hostilities between Iran and the United States or a change in attitude toward US forces on the part of the Baghdad government could quickly turn the supply roads into a "shooting gallery" 400 to 800 miles long." Christian Science Monitor by No Quarter
Which reminds me of the apparently cowardly Corporal Bluntschli (the chocolate cream soldier) in Shaw's "Arms and the Man" saying the wisest soldier didn't keep cartridges in his bag but food.... what is that news about the logistical problems of the UK forces in Helmand , Afghanistan, 3 squaddies to one square meal ? Not enough load carrying helicopters ? ...as you ask, Bluntschli the stupid Swiss soldier survived and married the lady.
Billmon again ...
Anyway Billmon again ...
"We're talking, on other words, about a potential debacle -- the worst U.S. military defeat since Pearl Harbor. Not because the Iranians are brilliant strategists or tough fighters (although they may be; we really don't know) but because the Iraq occupation has left the U.S. Army dangerously overextended, given its massive supply requirements."
"I don't know whether the Cheney administration wants to start the next world war by attacking Iran or not. At the end of the day, it's all up to our ignorant man child of a president, and I don't know if he even knows at this point. But what does seem apparent, however, is that if Shrub and company do want a world war, they may not be any better prepared to fight one than the guys in charge at Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941."
Think on...but I'm really rather glad I don't live in the Green Zone. I bet Mr Patey the recently past UK Ambassador to Iraq who sent such an interesting memo to Tony is also rather pleased.(Christian Science Monitor story) My Corporal Bluntschli, an ex FFL mercenary working for Kroll and USAID quit Iraq months ago saying it was too dangerous.
Google have under test an analytic tool "Google Trends" in which you can review trends of access to major websites. This is provided graphically - and you can compare in a search , say bbc,cnn,itv. Google have also aded news stories which may help to explain spikes of interest ... BBC Executives reward themselves with £5Mn bonuses etc.,
This is the one for BBC alone which also provides a list for the top 10 towns searching for the BBC news site by volume.
1. St Albans, United Kingdom
2. Bristol, United Kingdom
3. Leeds, United Kingdom
4. Poplar, United Kingdom
5. London, United Kingdom
6. Thames Ditton, United Kingdom
7. Edinburgh, United Kingdom
8. Sheffield, United Kingdom
9. Gloucester, United Kingdom
10. Bletchley, United Kingdom
What lessons can be drawn from this ? Remember! " Google Trends aims to provide insights into broad search patterns. As a Google Labs product, it is still in the early stages of development. Also, it is based upon just a portion of our searches, and several approximations are used when computing your results. Please keep this in mind when using it."
Fascinating tool to play with - why is Inverness the city with most interest in loooking for the MI5 website ? 300% more than Croydon. Leeds etc.,
Postmanpatel can't be found. Even Blacklisted here.
Lord Patel leaves you to fiddle with it and puzzle over the results of "number-10", whose resident is apparently postponing the delights of Cliff Richard for a while.
3,500 troops from the U.S.'s 172nd Stryker Brigade have just been pulled out of Mosul to reinforce security operations in Baghdad. The 172nd deployed to Iraq in August 2005 and the bulk of the unit was due to return to Fort Wainwright, Alaska, early this month. On July 27 the Pentagon said that it was extending the 172nd’s deployment for up to 120 days and moving the unit to Baghdad (Btown in military slang) to counter the worsening violence in the Iraqi capital.
More than 80 Strykers had already been deployed to Alaska and their return has been requested. Many of those still in Iraq were within a day or two of leaving. Stryker crews had celebrated their last missions “outside the wire.” 12 US servicement were killed in Anbar province last week, where the Strykers were deployed .
Today Colonel Jassim Muhammad Bilal a police battalion commander,and two bodyguards were killed of a total of 9 police reported killed, in the blast from a car bomb (one of several). Heavy clashes between insurgents and U.S. and Iraqi forces were reported in the city by Iraqi Police and the office of Nineveh Governor Duraid Kashmoula ."Bomby weather" as they say of Fridays in Iraq.
Mosul authorities have also ordered everyone off the streets until Saturday and closed the city's bridges across the Tigris river.
The Metropolitan Police Child Abuse Investigation Command investigates child abuse and deals with paedophile issues across London. News released yesterday shows what an incredible job they are doing.
On June 2nd Mohammed Abdul Kahar, 23, was shot in an accident at his home in Forest Gate, in a raid undertaken by 200 police officers who had been wrongly informed that the premises contained some form of Armageddon weapon, involving "dirty" radioactivity, anthrax, ricin, and explosives, prbably to be worn by someone.
The informant for this massive and unprecedented raid subsequently turned out to be a prisoner known to Kahar with an alleged IQ of 69. This "intelligence" was described by Met Terrorist Chief Clarke as "solid".
Subsequent detailed forensic examination of the house involved was so thorough it is uninhabitable and means that the occupants are now guests of the Metropolitan Police at the swanky Crown Plaza Hotel in St.James..."This four-star deluxe hotel combines the best central London location with supremely comfortable accommodation, modern conference facilities and superb cuisine." says their website... at acost of £20,000 a month says the Sun.
Meanwhile examination including a computer and electrical equipment which had been seized during a search of a house and taken from the premises yielded evidence, which led to the arrest Mohammed Abdul Kahar yesterday, on suspicion of possessing child abuse images and making of, child abuse images. Making is a legal term for the copying or downloading of images from one format to another the Daily Telegraph tells us today.
There was no suggestion in reports that credit card payment evidence was involved in the case. James Clench in "The Sun" claims ..."A CPS source is said to have called the kiddie porn “high level”.
Perhaps it was just one of those unhappy accidents that the arrest was announced in tandem with the ICPP report that the police raid and subsequent shooting was an "accident". Otherwise we can be sure that the Met. and the CPS showed "dignity and sensitivity" .. although it is difficult to understand how SKY TV were aware days before the announcement of the arrest as their reporter claimed live on SKY TV News yesterday at approximately 3.30pm nor that the Sun wrote of impending charges the day previously naming and picturing Kahar.
Such a swift resolution of examination of a computer for pornography is remarkable as the technicians - who work closely with MI5/6 IT staff on this work are simply inundated with work - eg Lord Levy who is Tony Blair's personal envoy to the Middle East (Not that that fact gets mentioned a lot at the moment) and who has an office right next door to Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary in the Foreign office, had his computer seized recently.
Police, nationwide, claim they are often unable to arrest in these cases due to a lack of resources which often take many months to prepare. There is still a huge backlog from Operation Ore where the Police had over 7,000 names and adresses to follow up.
Let us just hope that in following up this case with such evident speed and diligence nobody got their hard drives mixed up.
Kahar who was released later in the day on police bail "strenuously denies" the allegations.
In January 2005 after the apparent suicide of a man arrested during the Operation Ore when over 7,000 UK residents were traced by their credit card records accessing a single website in Texas is the official Police attitude to arrests was given by ..
" .... Stuart Hyde, Assistant Chief Constable of the West Midlands and spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers on combating internet child abuse, said that the risk of suicide could not deter police from carrying out investigations. He said that officers treated suspects “with dignity and sensitivity” when arrested." (Times Online)
(Incidentally Stuart Hyde, has been appointed by Home Secretary John Reid as senior director for enforcement at the Immigrationa and Nationality Directorate (IND)( Guradian 26th July)where no doubt "dignity and sensitivity" will be his watchword.(see his pic above, when with the West Midlands Police)
Nice to see that The Metropolitan Police Child Abuse Investigation Command which investigates child abuse and deals with paedophile issues across London has taken Assistant Chief Constable Hyde's policy to heart.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Reddit.com, is a fascinating online news aggregator that started a year ago with $12,000 in seed funding.http://reddit.com
Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian both University of Virginia graduates kicked off June 2005 with the help of the Y Combinator venture firm in Cambridge, they were joined by Christopher Slowe this January. An Angel investor who wants to remain anonymous funded the site through August, and have already statred revenue egneration through advertsising and licensing fees. They have three full-time workers and a part-time graduate student in a three-bedroom apartment in Davis Square, Somerville. Mass. They hit a profit in April but won't disclose revenues but claim 50,000 hits per day.
In late Febrauary they were joined by boy genius Aaron Swartz from Stanford U. as part of the company's merger with Swartz's Infogami which was also under the U Combinator umbrella. The two companies are known as not a bug.(?)
Y Combinator partner Paul Graham said Reddit's users circumvent the traditional news model, choosing the most interesting news stories of the day. "It lets the wisdom of crowds do what editors used to do."
On Reddit.com users select and rank the news stories it posts,by means of a points scoring scheme,to calculate position of the story on the Front Page. All this user activity means that it now ranks 1,865 of the most visited sites on the web by Alexa.com.
Sub-Reddits allow the users to focus on user defineable areas.
PC World magazine said Reddit had the edge over aggregator Digg.com, highlighting the user comments and the site's ability to make recommendations to users based on past story selections.They said .."Reddit may represent the future of community news filters."
Digg.com, based over on the West Coast is said to rank 166th on the web out of the 18 million known sites. They have 15 employees and $2.8 million in venture capital. By comparison, Reddit is operated by three full-time workers and a part-time graduate student in a three-bedroom apartment in Davis Square.
Have a look at it Reddit , and also their Blogger Blog.
Here is a fascinating article brought to my attention by Reddit ...
"As the Arabs see the Jews" His Majesty King Abdullah, The American Magazine November, 1947
An essay, written by King Hussein’s grandfather King Abdullah, which appeared in the United States six months before the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In the article, King Abdullah disputes the mistaken view that Arab opposition to Zionism (and later the state of Israel) is because of longstanding religious or ethnic hatred.
King Hussein as a young boy,in 1951, saw King Abdullah murdered in front of him in Jerusaem, and was slightly injured as a result. Abdullah like all the Hashemites was vertically challenged and was known in the Foreign Office as "Bevan's little King" he plotted with the Jewish Agency and Golda Meir to prevent the formation of a separate Palestinian state and in his quest for territorial and political aggrandizement to seize the West Bank. (Pic King H at time of '67 war)
Abdullah was killed by a Palestinian (what would be called today a terrorist) who was encouraged by the Mufti of Jerusalem who rumbled Abdullah's sell out of the Palestinian Arabs to the Zionists - some say money changed hands - which in a sense had a part to play in Nasser's Arab revolt and the British / French / Israeli collusion in a plot to remove Nasser.
The Arab, and especially Palestinian distrust of the UK and the Foreign office has deep roots and just cause.
Reuters report talk of Roger Parry chairman of regional newspaper publisher Johnston Press (LSE: JPR.L ) The 2nd biggest local newspaper publisher in the UK (inc. Scotsman), and a major force on the internet with local commercial / news sites. He has plans (rumoured) to split Britain's biggest commercial broadcaster in two - and probably has his eyes on Friends Re-United.
Roger Parry, who cannot mount a bid for ITV (LSE: ITV.L - news) until October after informal overtures were slapped with a "put up or shut up" notice by the Takeover Panel in April, will, it is rumoured in Peterborough, update his proposal once the embargo expires. Parry would split the broadcaster into two companies, one housing production and internet and the other, broadcasting channels.
In June, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts
Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) Private Equity piracy department , Apax Partners Worldwide LLP and Blackstone Group
Ratings plummet (the dire Love Island !) and revenues plunge and CEO Charles Allen is rumoured to be leaving to spend more time with his fat pay off.
The ever fragrant Mr Lauder of course, waits (?) in the wings (see post yesterday here "Heaven scent offer for ITV?") - the ITV share price jumped this morning 2 1/2 %. Somebody this time means bizniz. Lord Patel first with the news. Fillya boots.
This is a Flikr shot by Jacob Brask of a Swedish Socialist co-operative poster - visit the site to read more and move your mouse over pic to reveal further information. There is also a lengthy and very interesting comment section which is worth following. Via Xymphorawhich if you don't read, you should.
Eurostat the official source of EU statistics latest monthly report 104/2006 2/8/06 (PDF Alert) shows that Euro area industrial producer prices rose by 0.2% month on month.
Tucked away from the headlines you will find that the 5.8% annual increase in producer prices is driven by ...
....In June 2006 compared to June 2005,in the Euro area, Prices in the energy sector rose by 15.7% and for the E25 by 17.6% respectively.
An energy report earlier in the month (PDF Alert)reminds us that 80% of EU25 gas supplies originate in three countries, Norway, Algeria and Russia and the their shares have changed from 1994 - 2004 as follows
Russia 32 % - 48%
Algeria 15% - 15%
Norway 20% - 15%
Mean while consumption of natural gas in 2005 in EU-25 rose by 2.9% compared with 2004 to reach 475.0 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe). the greatest growth was Spain (+22.9%), Estonia (+18.2%), Portugal (+13.6%) Reductions in consumption were recorded for (-9.3%),Luxembourg (-4.9%), Sweden (-4.7%), Denmark (-4.3%)
Production of natural gas in the EU in 2005 fell by 5.8% = to 198 million tones of oil equivalent.(UK fall 7.7%)
The good news is that report 103/2006 shows Euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment has dropped to 7.8% in June 2006, compared to 8.6% in June 2005. The lowest rates were registered in the Netherlands (3.8%)and Denmark (3.9%) and the highest in Poland (16.0%) and Slovakia (15.1%).Which is why your pint will be pulled by a Slovak beauty and your roof repaired by a Pole..... roll on Romania and Bulgaria joining the EU next year.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Blood on his hands
Monday 7th August 2006 New Statesman
"Blair, at his rhetorical best in front of friends in California, appears in no mood for self-doubt. "I have many opponents on the subject," he told Rupert Murdoch's elite gathering at Pebble Beach on 30 July. "But I have complete inner confidence in the analysis of the struggle we face." Either he is delusional, or he has no choice but to say what he says. One close aide recalls that when the Prime Minister was preparing a foreign-policy speech in his Sedgefield constituency in 2004, a year after the invasion of Iraq, he considered a mea culpa of sorts, but changed his mind, asking his team: "Do we want headlines of 'Blair: I was wrong' or 'Blair: I was right'?"
"At least over Iraq someone resigned. This time, ministers do nothing. Their private complaints have no moral or political value, because they will not stop Blair. Under cabinet rules of collective responsibility, they are endorsing the Israeli assault."
Read it - somebody on the left with a voice articulates the despair of the public - then watch the mad man face the Press on the morrow.
My betting money is on John Reid, the man who said they wouldn't fire a shot in Afghanistan.
The Good News is .....
Peace talks between the Lords Resistance Army and the Ugandan Government continue, a 2 week break has allowed rebels to consult with family members and community leaders. The Ugandan government agreed to allow LRA leader Joseph Kony's mother and other family members to travel to his base in DR Congo to visit. They further allowed an Acholi delegation of religious, cultural and political leaders to make the trip and visit with the LRA high command. The delegation met with Kony and the high command over the weekend.
Yesterday, in a rare press appearance, Kony addressed the media and said he wants a ceasefire in order to finalize a peace deal with the government.
Government has been reluctant to do this, claiming that a ceasefire must be part of a comprehensive peace settlement. However, the government has welcomed Kony's truce offer and is optimistic that talks with the rebel leader can succeed.
The security situation in northern Uganda has improved as a result of the peace talks. During the month of July, there were very few raids and no noted killings. Only three abductees were detained. However, the three were female and were likely taken to become sex slaves for the rebels. Thus, though numbers of attacks are low, the suffering of the region persists.
The Bad News is ......
In March, the White House announced that ending the war in northern Uganda by the end of 2006 was a priority of the Bush Administration. Yet, as historic peace talks to end the war continue, Administration officials have not sent a delegation to monitor negotiations. The Administration has made not yet made any statement in support of the historic talks. The ambivalence of U.S. government officials toward the negotiations could undermine this crucial opportunity
To hold the US leaders accountable, a 2006 Northern Uganda Lobby Day and Symposium, will be held October 9-10 in Washington D.C.
These intention of these 2 days will bring together advocates and activists across the country to unite for northern Uganda.
The symposium on the 9th will bring together leading scholars and advocates on the issue to discuss new policy solutions. Senior UN officials, top diplomats, peace mediators, academics, religious leaders have been invited.
More information is available here at Ugandan Conflict Action Network
Click here for image to enlarge
You can get daily updates here
FASCISM What It Is and How To Fight It
What Next? Vital Question for the German Proletariat, 1932
After fascism is victorious, finance capital directly and immediately gathers into its hands, as in a vise of steel, all the organs and institutions of sovereignty, the executive administrative, and educational powers of the state: the entire state apparatus together with the army, the municipalities, the universities, the schools, the press, the trade unions, and the co-operatives. When a state turns fascist, it does not mean only that the forms and methods of government are changed in accordance the patterns set by Mussolini -- the changes in this sphere ultimately play a minor role -- but it means first of all for the most part that the workers' organizations are annihilated; that the proletariat is reduced to an amorphous state; and that a system of administration is created which penetrates deeply into the masses and which serves to frustrate the independent crystallization of the proletariat. Therein precisely is the gist of fascism....
Mr Justice Collins (July 6th 2005) urged the government to halt all removals of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe pending a further High Court hearing.
A Refugee Legal Council representative said there was evidence to suggest asylum seekers faced being abused in Zimbabwe simply because they had claimed asylum in the UK.
Mr Justice Collins said this made it "arguable" (but not dangerous) that it was unsafe to send back failed asylum seekers and therefore the Refugee Legal Council (RLC) should have the chance to put its evidence to the then Home Secretary Charles Clarke.
At the time the Archbishop of Canterbury said it would be "deeply immoral" to deport failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe.
Liberal Democrat spokesman Mark Oaten said "It is indefensible to continue with deportations in the face of the evidence that individuals are being mistreated following removal from the UK," he said.
Conservative deputy leader Michael Ancram earlier had asked why the government was trying "to send Zimbabwean asylum seekers in fear of their lives, back to the bloodstained hands of Mugabe and his thugs".
Well the mills of God grind slow and the law even slower but now that's all changed now because the government is to resume deporting failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers after the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal ruled they would not automatically face persecution. (This involved a failed asylum seeker's appeal to Charles Clarke,after a Court of Appeal ruled they had "erred in law" and were told to re-consider their decision).
In a long awaited six page ruling today , Mr Justice Hodge said: "Each case must be considered on its own facts." and entered caveats over the cases of known political opponents against return but added , "That will not necessarily be the case where the only matter of interest is a relevant military history or outstanding criminal issues. Each case must be considered on its particular facts."
Immigration minister Liam Byrne said the new ruling provided the basis for a resumption of enforced returns.
Mr Byrne said the government remained "deeply concerned" about the appalling human rights situation in Zimbabwe and recognised there were Zimbabweans who were in genuine fear of persecution, but deportations were also necessary.
"Enforcing the return of those who have no right to remain here is a key part of upholding a robust and fair asylum system."
"It is therefore essential that we resume returns to send a clear signal to those who come here believing they can abuse the system that they will not be allowed to stay unless they have a genuine need for protection," he said.
Meanwhile The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe devalued the currency yesterday by 60 % and made it illegal to hold more than £22 in cash. Bank notes can only be used now by ignoring the three final zeros to counter the 1,200 % inflation rate, the highest in the world - echoes of the Weimar Republic.
Banks had run up against the limitations of their software to handle the transactions of trillions of Zim$'s.
Central European Media Enterprises (CME) (listed on NASDAQ ; CETV and Prague) controls 10 TV stations from a London base covering a population of 90 Mn with a combined GDP of US$400 Bn.;
Czech Republic - TV Nova , Galaxie Sport
Slovak republic - TV Markiza
Slovenia - Pop TV, Kanal A
Ukraine - Studio 1 + 1
Croatia - Nova TV
Romania - Pro TV, Acasa TV , Pro Cinema
The 12 year old company has been built up by cosmetics heir Arnold Lauder ( he owns 17% of shares by value but 67% voting rights).
CME was/is committed to Ronald Lauder’s ideology that newly-democratized nation states of the former Soviet bloc were hungry to view, and ready to support, independent television broadcasting. Prior to CME’s arrival, the region had state-controlled broadcasting monopolies and therefore state controlled information.
Advertising spend of US$11 per head of the population lags way behind the Western European average of US$72 per head, but is fast catching up.
All the stations show a healthy share (approx 25%) of the top 10 European advertisers - many of them American brands , Colgate, Johnson & Johnson, P & G, Coca Cola, Kraft and with a product aimed at their youthful free spending aspirational market worldwide, Wrigley Chewing Gum. Other leading brands include Danone,Renault, Samsung, Orange and Mobitel. The major markets are Food, Cosmetics, cleaning materials and Telecoms, compared with say the UK with Finance, Cars and Entertainment being the biggest markets. CME say "Mature markets sell cars, we sell soap !"
It is said that the CME London offices on the Aldwych have been busy with executives eyeing spreadsheets and scribbling numbers on the back of envelopes dissecting ITV - who produce their figures soon, and whose CEO is almost out the door and have to face press comment today in the Times and where else saying revenues to Christmas are down 12/14/15/ even 20%.
Yet another bid for ITV in the offing ?
BBC Online report an Astonishing Speech made by Tony Blair
Blair warns of 'arc of extremism'
Tony Blair speaking to the World Affairs Council
Tony Blair called for "stronger values" to fight extremism
Tony Blair has warned that an "arc of extremism" is stretching across the Atlantic and he called for a radical rethink on foreign policy.
Mr Blair told the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles that the US and UK and Canada had to stop supporting Israeli terrorism or they would "be confronted".
His speech was planned some weeks ago but he said the Lebanon crisis had "brought it into sharp relief".
He said there was now a war "of a completely unconventional kind".
The Prime Minister said: "There is an arc of extremism now stretching across the Atlantic and touching countries far outside that region in Europe."
He said in Iraq, US had used "special forces operatives" to "cross the border" of terrorism while the UK had supported extremist SAS intervention.
"The purpose of the terrorism in Iraq is absolutely simple - carnage, causing sectarian hatred, leading to civil war," he said.
'Export of instability'
Mr Blair added: "We need to make clear to the US and UK that there is a choice: come in to the international community and play by the same rules as the rest
of us; or be confronted."
"Their support of terrorism, their deliberate export of instability, their desire to see wrecked the democratic prospect in Iraq, is utterly unjustifiable, dangerous and wrong.
"If they keep raising the stakes, they will find they have miscalculated."
Mr Blair also spoke about the conflict between Israel and Lebanon and said that the "purpose of the provocation" that began it by Israel "was clear".
We will not win the battle against this global extremism unless we win it at the level of values as much as force.
"It was to create chaos, division and bloodshed, to provoke retaliation that would lead to Arab and Muslim opinion being inflamed, not against those who started the aggression but against those who responded to it," he said.
However, he said it was still possible to come out of the crisis "with a better long-term prospect for the cause of moderation in the Middle East succeeding".
He added: "But it would be absurd not to face up to the immediate damage to that cause which has been done."
Mr Blair said all would be done to try to halt the hostilities in the conflict.
"But once that has happened we must commit ourselves to a complete renaissance of our strategy to defeat those that threaten us," he said.
'Alliance of moderation'
Mr Blair spoke of how he believed "global extremism" should be tackled.
"To defeat it will need an alliance of moderation that paints a different future in which Muslim, Jew and Christian, Arab and Western, wealthy and developing nations can make progress in peace and harmony.
"We will not win the battle against this global extremism unless we win it at the level of values as much as force, unless we show we are even-handed, fair and just in our application of those values to the world."
He said this "unconventional" war must be won through these values.
"This war can't be won in a conventional way, it can only be won by showing that our values are stronger, better and more just, more fair than the alternatives," he said.
However, he said this required a dramatic change in strategy.
The prime minsiter told his 2,000-strong audience there was now an "elemental struggle" about values that was set to shape the world's future.
He said it was a part of struggle between what he called reactionary Democracy and moderate mainstream Democracy.
And in Iraq and Afghanistan he said "the banner was not actually regime change it was values change".
"What we have done therefore in intervening in this way, is probably far more momentous than we appreciated at the time," he said
If this seems remarkable please consult the original report here
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
I have refrained from providing a Unified Field Theory of Middle East events and frankly, been a bit sick of the Monday morning quarterbacking. But now the mad generals of the IDF have let slip the Dogs ... here are few ideas after a careful examination of my crystal Balls.
In no particular order but in the near future ..
1. Hezbollah open up their Pandora's box , SAM's, long range missiles, ground to air missiles.
2. IDF having as Billmon puts it, having put it's hand down the mincer pushes it even further.
3. Heavyweight items hit Tel Aviv, Jerusalem
4. Really Heavyweight laser guided bunker busters go slightly off target and destroy massive amounts of Lebanon.
5. Badr brigades make massive moves in Baghdad, Green Zone assualted / maybe moves in Gaza / Egypt
6. Muslim riots in France ignited in empty suburban Paris. Taken up in the Arab world and in the Muslim diaspora.
7. Mysterious "dirty weapon" is "found" in container ship in Panama canal.
8. SOUTHCON on war footing.
9. President takes special measures - which involves at least a round up of the usual suspects. "Collar the lot" as Churchill said of Germans in UK at start of WWII.
You simply MUST see this map of the destruction nationwide in Lebanon - this is officially constructed by the Lebanese Government, but is pre-Qana, 24th July. (Click on map to zoom)
... and our President and Prime Minister's hands drip with their blood.
As of 1.00 am local time Lebanon this map is meaningless as the IDF have launched a massive aerial and land strike,
Agonist lists these sites for more information ...
The pic is from a sequence on Der Spiegel Online here I call this Nabka II
There is something gloriously obscene in our Dear Leader hanging out playing at tree hugging with the Governator.
It was of course the Governator who convinced GM that they should get a licence from AM to build a consumer version of the military Hummer - a sort of mobile Tomb much in use in Iraq - this led to the original H1 behemoth , to be followed by the chic pocket sized H2 based on the Chevvy Tahoe chassis weighing in at 3 tons, kerbside.(not including 40 gallons (US) of gas)
These days, the Governator whose campaign to replace the bouffant haired brainless Gray Davis (who he Ed?) was masterminded by George Schwartz,(at whose modest condo the Dear Leader is resting his sun tanned forehead at present) finds it difficult to chose which of his 8 Hummers to use.
GM, in serious financial trouble, even built a hydrogen powered Hummer for him built for squillions of US$ as a "cencept", showed him off to the press ( the 50 mile limit between re-fuelling stops not being enough to get him home), he returned home in a standard heavy polluting gas-guzzler. Not forgetting no doubt to wreath himself in his own cloud of stinking pollution whilst he chomped his reeking ceegars.
Our favourite story of Hummer excess, which beats the Governator, is of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball King LeBron James. Back when James was regarded as the nation's top high school basketball player, he found himself under investigation by Ohio athletic officials who questioned his amateur status when he started driving around in a new bright canary yellow H2 equipped with three televisions. He later was cleared after his mother produced documents showing she bought the vehicle -- which had a base retail price of $50,000 -- for her son's 18th birthday.
Let's get serious now
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger apparently plan to lay the groundwork for a new trans-Atlantic market in carbon dioxide emissions, The Associated Press has learned - Not content with imposing enormous financial burdens on European consumers of the insane EU ETS scheme for outdoor relief for bankers, lawyers, consultants and other City fraudsters our Dear Leader wants to export this nonsensical scheme to sunny CA.
One has to applaud James L. Connaughton, Chairman of the White House Council for Environmental Quality and Bush's chief environmental adviser (also lawyer,avid vocal harmony singer, sailor, scuba diver, and beachcomber) for his high profile absence from the press hoopla that Blair and the Governator produced when they went to the port of Long Beach. Quite sensibly he presumably will have nothing to do with this massive financial fraud.
Where beyond the photo-call everyone was supposed to see, the way behind schedule BP, "cold ironing " project which saves pollution from discharging oil tankers by transferring the high energy load from ship board diesel power to onshore electrical power when discharging.
The scheme simply diverts pollution from the coastal cities to the massive coal fired polluting plants in the interior of CA, like the San Joaquin Valley, home to some of the nation's most polluted air which also claims the nation's highest asthma rates in children. ... or even further inland where the state buys electricity producing what they call the California Coal Shadow.(PDF alert)
So Blair might reasonably tackle the Governator about the new report detailing California's existing out-of-state coal plants which release a staggering 67 million tons of global-warming carbon dioxide and discharge ten times more smog-forming pollution and 200 times more mercury than all of the power plants in California.
Add to that the 14,000 megawatts of new coal-fired power plants which are under construction and development in the Interior West, designed for the California coastal market and with no measures for addressing their vast quantities of global warming pollution.
What might cheer the Dear Leader up, is that the US Energy system is as fucked up as the UK one - except that the UK is heading at terminal speed into an 89% reliance on imported energy - without the industrial base to sustain such an increase in imports.
Why should the Dear Leader worry - unlike the Governator - He won't be back.
PS They say what attracted the President to James L. Connaughton was a paper he co-authored in a 1993 law journal , Champion Magazine, a publication of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers entitled "Defending Charges of Environmental Crime -- The Growth Industry of the '90s."
Don't forget it was economist Phil Cooney Chief of Staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality who allegedly had deleted/ amended whole sections of official scientific reports on climate change. Since leaving he was hired by ExxonMobil June 2005,
Mazen Kerbaj was born in 1975 in Beirut and has lived there since. His main activities are comics, painting and music. You can read more about him, download music etc., at his website here.
You can also download an mp3 of him duetting with Israeli jets bombing Beirut at his website and also these other sites - if you do, please send me your opinion.
Meanwhile the pompous, property owner (9 houses at the last count) Michael Meacher , once a member of the UK Labour Cabinet, and my MP, 9/11 conspiracy theorist who has a large Muslim (30%) audience in his Oldham constituency has, on BBC Radio4 1.00 pm (BST) News today laid into the cowardly cabinet and especially Margaret Beckett for supporting the Axis of Evil of Israel / Bush / Blair.
It also appears that the US are continuing to supply their Weapons of Mass Destruction to Israel via RAF Mildenhall, which despite it's deceptive title, is actually a sovereign piece of America which the UK cannot enter, due to a hasty agreement bwetween Attlee's Labour Government and our war-time ally.
So, when you see these weapons , dealing with Beirut, like Petrarch tells us the Romans did with Carthage..."that which they did not destroy, they laid waste " ... your chest can swell with pride that your Prime Minister had a hand in the bloody massacre. Let's hope he has a wonderful holiday on Bermuda at Christian Cliff's place - incidentally an island where the USAF bases were removed by agreement on June 18th 2002.
So he's not going to have his holiday spoilt by a crashing Galaxy freighter or it's lethal contents.
The single unladylike expletive used by la Beckett on being offered the job to sit in the next office to the midget karaoke King, the Lord Levy, Tony Blair's "personal envoy" in the Foreign Office, sounded round the world, somewhat like the shot at Concorde.
Since then la Beckett has been virtually silent - or to those fortunate enough to catch her interviewed on Radio and TV , unintelligible.
The Guradian today perform a neat and nasty hatchet job on the erstwhile traveller - whose flying exploits hitherto have been met with query and scorn. Alas, she appears grounded and gormless having left behind her the stinking mess of the EU Emissions Trading System which is rapidly falling apart.
It is evident that she has, however left the interesting developments in the Middle East to the clever little chap in the next office, who probably can read maps and also knows the language they speak over there. Anyway Condi and her friends in the Holy Land says she's doing a terrific job. They say she and Leo must pop over for a nice holiday when all this trouble has qietened down - Eilat in the winter is really nice. although trips to Petra are on hold just at present apparently.
Questions asked about the performance of Beckett
· Foreign secretary too inexperienced, say critics
· Knowledge of Middle East affairs causes concern
Ewen MacAskill and Will Woodward
The Guardian Tuesday August 1, 2006
"The grumblings within the Foreign Office are getting louder. Officials complain the Israel-Lebanon war has brutally exposed the inexperience and inadequacies of Margaret Beckett as foreign secretary. ...."
Now read more
A relief to know that John Prescott will be in charge whilst Tony is off with the boys, enjoying himself at Cliff's beach shack after meeting all those interesting people at George Schultz's modest place in sunny San Francisco.
Monday, July 31, 2006
Lord Patel told you that Russian auto manufacturer GAZ Group were to buy the last motor manufacturing business in the UK, the van maker LDV 4 weeks ago from Sun Capital.
US bankers sell off last of UK vehicle manufacturing to Russians
GAZ Group was established in 2005, after RusPromAvto restructured its production assets and now owns 100% of LDV.
Based in the central Russian city of Niznhy Novgorod, GAZ supplies vehicles to 29 countries in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. GAZ produces about 200,000 vehicles a year.
Will the last person leaving Solihull please switch the light off.
Yesha Rabbinical Council: During time of war, enemy has no innocents
The Yesha Rabbinical Council announced in response to an IDF attack in Kfar Qanna that "according to Jewish law, during a time of battle and war, there is no such term as 'innocents' of the enemy."
All of the discussions on Christian morality are weakening the spirit of the army and the nation and are costing us in the blood of our soldiers and civilians," the statement said. (Efrat Weiss)
(07.30.06, 17:37)Ynet news the Online edition of Yediot Aharonot. Israel's largest selling tabloid. What in the UK we call Red Tops - presumably they will be printing with Palestinian blood any day now.
Compare this with a report in Harratez in 2003
It was the same Yesha rabbinical council that issued an announcement in 2003 to say that the Palestinians' olive harvest and olive trees must not be damaged, Army Radio reported. The announcement came after reports that settlers had sawed up hundreds of olive trees in the West Bank. Such destroying of the crop is acceptable in a special case of war, and that can only be decreed by the government, the rabbinical council for the West Bank and Gaza Strip announced. (they also yield a valuable crop no doub t Lord Patel)
The council also condemned all vigilante hostility, and said the olive crop-destroyers were bringing a bad name to the settlers and the settlement movement as a whole, according to the radio.
Daily Press Briefing / US State Department / Tom Casey, Deputy Spokesman / July 27, 2006
A curious exchange occurred last week at the start of the Daily Press Briefing at State.
Question (From Sylvie (?) .... I mean, if the U.S. has any independent information about reports that there may be an imminent solution on the soldier (inaudible)
MR. CASEY: Other than the press reports, I don't have any information that I can offer you right now. Obviously, it has been one of our longstanding goals in this situation to see the release of the captive Israeli soldiers, both those held by Hamas and those held by Hezbollah. President Abbas has been one of the people that we have been talking to to try and help move that process forward. Certainly, we would love to see that happen. We believe it would be an important step forward in dealing with some of the issues that prompted the current military actions in Gaza and the West Bank. And so we certainly hope it's true, but I don't have any independent confirmation for you.
So Israel unleashes themselves on Gaza and up to press kills 100 civilians, levels houses,terrorises villages and smashes up a power station, bridges, roads, docks, uses Gaza as a free fire artilery range, maintains supersonic carpet booming day and night because, ostensibly one of their soldiers have been kidnapped.... and the US State Department relies on Press reports ?
The Jerusalem Post reports that head of Shin Bet,Yuval Diskin reported to the Israeli Cabinet that efforts to rescue kidnapped Cpl. Gilad Shalit were not succeeding but reported that "it is extremely likely that Shalit is alive and well in the Gaza Strip."
Noam Shalit, Gilad's father, said yesterday that he wasn't aware of attempts to secure his son's release other than those of Egypt. Noam Shalit said that the family had not received any new information from the Israeli government regarding their son's condition. So we are expected to believe that the Israeli Government are relying on Egyptians to find one of their sons - meanwhile keeping their parents un-informed ?
Haaretz in reporting what Abbas said in Rome (apparently after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told Abbas in a recent phone conversation that an end to the crisis over Shalit may be imminent) about " a resolution appears to be imminent" quoted Abbas's former adviser, Jibril Rajoub, who said on Wednesday that a solution to the crisis would be found "next week". Members of Hamas's military wing, Iz al-Din al-Qassam, denied this, a spokesman for the group, Abu Obeida,who has appeared since the kidnapping as a spokesman, reiterated that "the case of the Israeli soldier is closed."
Uruknet today re-publish an article from What really Happened
Israel Fakes a Provocation - (the "kidnapping" of Cpl Gilad Shalit)
Interestingly the father of one of the soldiers seized by Hezbollah, Ehud Goldwasser, turned up at a highly secretive Zionist rally under conditions of massive Police security in Manchester this Sunday.
Gilad Shalit - missing for a month - Lord Patel repeats, where is he ?
Sunday, July 30, 2006
US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman (68, ex Fidelity Investments, ex Treasury and at Energy since 31/1/2005, grandfather 8 times over) was in Iraq last week to chew the fat with Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein Al-Shahristani (see pic). Together they met representatives from oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Marathon, BP and Shell Oil which the sharp eyed readers will have nticed are all headquartered in the USA.(For nit pickers , since "taking over" Amoco, rendering accounts in US$, BP is effectively a US company see BTC pipeline)
The intention was to discuss possible joint ventures and a new hydrocarbon law that would regulate the critical energy sector throughout the country. A few notes about the present situtation are worthy of note.
1. More than 250 Oil Ministry officials, workers and security guards have been assassinated since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003, according to the Oil ministry.
2. There have been over 300 attacks on Iraqi oil fields in the last three years, according to Iraqi government figures.See website Iraqi Pipeline Watch fro details ov every strike, costs, deaths etc.,
3. June 8 2006 (The day al-Zarkawi (?) was killed. Gunmen in Baghdad kidnapped the director general of the State Company for Oil Projects, Muthana al-Badri in Aazamiya, northern Baghdad.he had worked for the company all his life and took over at the fall of Saddam Hussein.
4. Gunmen in vehicles resembling those used by Iraqi security forces kidnapped the president of one of Iraq’s state-owned oil companies in Baghdad on Sunday 16th July 2006 in the afternoon, an Oil Ministry spokesman said. Adil Mohamed al-Qazaz, the president of the Northern Oil Company, was abducted at about 3:30 p.m. local time after gunmen in two vehicles forced his car to stop and assaulted his bodyguards, said Aseem Jihad, the Oil Ministry spokesman. Mr. Qazaz had just left a meeting at the ministry.
5. This was before the car bomb that detonated today (30/7) in Kirkuk in the previously untouched Arafa Naftiya area, a predominantly Christian neighborhood containing the headquarters of the Northern Oil Company and foreign consulates which killed two and wounded 6
After their meeting, Al-Shahristani said that oil company representatives offered their advice and assistance for plans on a hydrocarbon law that will be introduced to the Iraqi Parliament for voting at the end of this year. Al-Shahristani , educated inToronto, a nuclear scientist, Shia, married to Canadian Bernice Holton, improsned in Abu GHraib by Saddam and escaped at the time of the Gulf War - In an interview broadcast on the CBS program 60 Minutes in February, 2003, he claimed over 100 Km of tunnels with stockpiles of were hidden in an unfinished subway snaking below Baghdad, although he had never seen it. ...but then neither has anybody else. He is also said to have turned down the job of PM.
Bodman has been touting this law (his reason for being there) as a way for Iraq to attract US$20 BN. (Any big number you can think of will do here Ed.) in foreign investment that is needed to increase Iraqi oil production. This magic piece of Western inspired legislation engineered by the finest lawyers the major oilcos can assemble, is claimed will impact the worlds oil market by improving confidence (?) in Iraqs energy sector. Al-Shahristani told reporters that although Iraq has not negotiated joint ventures with companies to begin work in specific oil fields, he said that some contracts could be signed before the hydrocarbon law is voted on by Parliament.
Which may appear a novel way of introducing legislation to give away control over the country's resources - but no doubt one the oilcos are used to.
The Department of Energy (DOE) has said that the Iraqi Oil Ministry makes its decisions independent of the United States, (Ho! Ho! Ho!) apart from helping Iraq draft the hydrocarbon law. The DOE said it simply provides technical experts and will be pursuing joint projects with the Iraqi energy ministry. (Leaving it to Mr Alekperov and LUKoil to actually train Iraqis in Russia to learn for themselves which they have been doing for over 2 years).
Iraq, is said to be currently producing 1.9 million barrels of oil per day (viz pre-war oil production level of 2.6 MBRD) hopes to boost production to 3 MBPD by the end of the year, said Al-Shahristani.(He was not evidently hallucinating when he said this, but then he didn't specify which year he was referring to, but it certainly began with a 2)
The oil minister ambitiously projected that Iraq could produce up to 4.5 million barrels per day in the next five years and that it could be the second largest producer of oil in fifteen years.
Bodman added (sensibly it looks from here) a note of caution and described such projected figures as "ambitious." (A variant spelling for Bullshit)The US DOE has estimated that at its current output, Iraq is still far under its pre-war oil production level of 2.6 million barrels per day. (Although any figures are wrong because ofunknown levels of theft, corruption etc.,)
To put this meeting in perspective it is useful to remember previous views on oil production in Iraq.
1. The Department of Energy (DoE), stated with cocksure confidence in late 2002 that, given the investment (presumably by US oil co’s), Iraq could quickly double its production from the then-daily level of 2.5 million barrels to 5 million barrels or more.
2. Oil would not only flow, so would the money – enough to pay for the trouble of getting there to steal it. "We can afford it," White House economic adviser Larry Lindsey said of the planned US invasion, because rising Iraqi oil output would invigorate the US economy.
He told the Wall Street Journal in September 2002 "When there is regime change in Iraq, you could add 3 to 5 million barrels [per day] of production to world supply."
3. "Successful prosecution of the war would be good for the (Iraqi) economy," said the then deputy secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz to a congressional panel, "Iraq oil revenues could bring between $50 billion and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years. We're dealing with a country that could really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon."
(This guy is now in charge of the World Bank !)
No doubt the "representatives from oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Marathon, BP and Shell Oil." listened, took notes on crisp yellow legal pads with their sleek fountain pens, tapped at their Blackberries, sipped the mint tea that Al-Shahristani favours, exchanged pleasantries and bored glances and hurried off.
US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman is no doubt a decent chap, a loving husband and grandfather - whether he believes all this crap is another matter.
We should however take notice of someone whose feet (and ears) are a bit closer to the ground....
Asharq Al-Awsat reports - Iraqi Member of Parliament Hadi Al-'Amiri, warning of a possible military coup against the government of Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, Asharq Al-Awsat can reveal.
Al-'Amiri, who heads the Badr Organization, the military wing of the High Council of the Islamic Revolution said during a speech in the city of Najaf, "There are some who talk about toppling Al-Maliki's government and replacing it with a national rescue government, which we call a military coup government."
Al-'Amiri adds that this would mean, "the invalidation of the constitution and the results of the elections, as well as returning to the starting point."
Baghdad and the Sunnis/ Shias are dividing roughly along the Tigris. More troops are being dafted in from the North (said to be 3,00 who were on the way back home to the US) but if the Badr brigades hit the Green zone - which is a nasty water bound cul-de-sac - and swarm it... le disparu Saigon will look like a tea party.
Especially if simultaneously, some Iranian supplied Fajr missiles get their range from Lebanon and hit Tel Aviv and a lot of it's occupants. That is probably when we find out what was in those monster transports transiting Prestwick and Mildenhall this week - and it's unlikely to be humanitarian aid or medical supplies.
Those interested in this fascinating topic may wish to refer back to a posting before Lord Patel was ennobled Why Saddam Smiles October 20th 2005