Reviewing comments before the Afghan deployment this extract from a well argued and well informed piece by the Yorkshire Ranter is well worth re-reading ...
Thursday, December 15, 2005 Strategic Drift
" ....All this uncertainty about aims has shaken up unpleasant memories with the Dutch, who are now remembering Srebrenica and rowing back on their commitment to send 1,000 men to Uruzgan province, next door to 16AAB. This in turn seems to have unsettled John Reid to the point that a really awful decision might get made. It has been suggested that Reid is considering trimming Op. HERRICK and sending just two of 16AAB's infantry battalions to Helmand rather than the full monty. This is dangerous nonsense. Just reducing the stakes does not necessarily reduce the risk. It's possible - like the Provincial Reconstruction Teams - to be safe through keeping a low profile. It's possible to be safe through being overwhelmingly strong. Two battalions of light infantry - in fact, airborne infantry, the lightest of the light - spread across a large tract of wild mountains are enough to present a wide range of attractive targets, but not enough unless concentrated to be secure.
The full 16AAB includes a field artillery regiment with 105mm guns and the capability to deploy by parachute or helicopter, and an Army Air Corps regiment that has just completed re-equipping with the WAH64-D Apache attack helicopter, and an engineer squadron. With this backup, and the RAF Harriers currently stationed at Kandahar, even small groups of Paras can essentially go anywhere in Afghanistan. But the new option is to leave essentially all the Brigade's support firepower at home, as well as one-third of the infantry. Bizarrely, the government appears to be thinking along the lines that having fewer allies means we need less power of our own...."
The seeds of current difficluties were foreseen ..sufficient for a commentator to suggest that the High Command were happy to countenance failure to re-inforce the disastrous cut backs they see on military spending. The current (and new) CGS's first published comments suggest that, that is a drum which he wishes to bang pretty hard.
Trying to beat any sense into Beckett and Browne will be a waste of time and John Reid has long gone and is absorbed in his anxious pursuit of the seat at the top of the greasy pole.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Reviewing comments before the Afghan deployment this extract from a well argued and well informed piece by the Yorkshire Ranter is well worth re-reading ...
Chip and PIN ...forget it.
Organization: RETALIX LTD. (RTXL : NASDAQ)
Position: President & CEO : Mr. Barry Shaked
Address: 10 Zarhin St., Corex House,P.O.Box: 2282,Raanana,ISRAEL, 43000
WEB site: www.retalix.com
A DEA report about itinerant Israeli students hawking artwork around US Government offices included this fascinating bit of information.
On May 9, 2001 three Israeli nationals arrived at Dallas Fort Worth via Air France Flight #40 from Paris, France.
They were identified as
Tomer BEN DOR, male, Israeli, DOB: 08-24-75
BEN DOR stated he planned on being in the Dallas, TX area for approximately two weeks and then was planning on traveling to Mexico, New York City, and Canada before returning to Israel. BEN DOR was in possession of a return ticket to Israel dated July 8, 2001 and a rental car reservation through Hertz for May 9, 2001 to June 9, 2001. BEN DOR stated he works for NICE, a software engineering company in Israel. BEN DOR stated he served in the Israeli military on a unit that was responsible for Patriot missile defense.
BEN DOR stated he intended to stay at the La Quinta Inn, 14925 Landmark Blvd, Addison, TX, however a check of the hotel revealed no reservations under his name. BEN DOR was in possession of $1500 in cash and a credit card, which he stated he was going to use to help pay his expenses while in the U. S. BEN DOR stated he is a friend of GLIKMAN and traveled to the U.S. with her, but might travel throughout the U.S. alone. During a search of BEN DOR's luggage a printout from a Windows readme file named "WinPOS-53-readme" was found that has some reference to a file named "DEA Groups".
Marina GLIKMAN, female, Israeli, DOB: 12-15-72.
Marina GLIKMAN stated she would be visiting the U.S. for two months in the Dallas area. She originally claimed to be traveling alone, but later claimed to be traveling with BEN DOR. GLIKMAN stated that an individual named Ronen AKIVA or "HILLEL" (subsequently identified as Hillel DOR) would pick her up. GLIKMAN did not know the address of AKIVA or HILLEL, but had home and cellular telephone numbers for both, (not identified). GLIKMAN stated she did not know whom AKIVA worked for. GLIKMAN also stated she was planning on staying at the La Quinta Inn, and was in possession of $1500 in cash and a credit card. Again, a check of the hotel revealed no reservation under her name. GLIKMAN claimed to be a computer programmer for RETALIX RAANANA in Israel, and a prior intelligence officer in the Israeli military. During a search of her personal luggage, a Declaration for Personal Effects Shipping to Overseas was found which reflected she has shipped personal effects, to include furniture and clothing, to 8081 Royal Ridge Parkway, Irving, TX, the address used by RETALIX USA.
I&NS Inspectors identified Hillel DOR, male, Israeli, DOB: 04-06-71 and
Zeev MILLER, male, Israeli, DOB: 09-04-71.
MILLER had also arrived on the same flight as GLIKMAN and BEN DOR. MILLER claimed he was a student at Tel Aviv University studying software engineering while working part-time for RETALIX in Israel. MILLER stated he intended to travel to Mexico, New York, and Canada while on vacation. MILLER stated he was an explosive ordinance/combat engineer while in the Israeli military. MILLER was in possession of $1200 in cash and a Visa credit card. Hillel DOR stated he was at the airport to pick-up GLIKMAN. I&NS S/As verified that DOR had entered the U.S. in January, 2001 as an H-1B nonimmigrant, working for RETALIX USA.
Le Monde Mercredi 6 Mars 2002
Un réseau d’espionnage israélien a été démantelé aux Etats-Unis
Retalix Ltd. with a worldwide staff of 1,400 provides integrated enterprise–wide software solutions for the food and consumer goods retail and distribution industries worldwide, they have over 37,000 installations around the world,
On September 20, 2005 – Retalix USA formed an alliance with Pay By Touch to integrate Pay By Touch’s biometric authentification payment system with Retalix’ Point Of Sale solutions for grocery retailers.
California based start up Pay By Touch is the pioneer of a patented consumer biometric authentification payment system allowing shoppers to validate payment for purchases with a simple fingerprint scan linked to their financial accounts.
Pay By Touch holds more than two dozen issued U.S. patents covering tokenless biometric transactions for authentification, age verification, loyalty, and check-cashing, with more than 70 patents pending. These patents give the company exclusive intellectual property coverage over biometric transactions, irrespective of the type of biometric used (e.g. fingerprint, voice scanning, iris and retinal imaging, etc). The Pay By Touch patent portfolio has been filed in all major foreign countries and is the basis of the company's vision to transform the way the world pays.
Retalix has scheduled its 2006 annual shareholders meeting to take place on October 15, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. Israel time, at the offices of the Company, to discuss the accounts to Y/E 2005, re-elect 4 shareholders, issue a raft of Directors share options and re-appoint Directors. They posted a loss of 13 centsa share in Q2 compared with EPS of 13 cents last year.
It's been a busy time for Dr Chang Yung-Fa, Chairman of the Evergreen Group. On 18 July 2006 he was in London receiving the Commander of the British Empire (CBE) (for services to shipping and British economic interests.) at a ceremony held in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office , London. Dr Chang is seen here with old China hand, Baroness Thatcher, and the UK's Deputy Prime Minister Ex bar steward and serial shagger Mr John Prescott. He then went on to Buckingham Palace with HRH the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, the UK's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment.
Evergreen Group company, Hatsu Marine, was established as a British shipping company in 2002, and is now one of the largest shipowning entities in the UK and received the Queen's Award for Enterprise: International Trade this year.
On the 26th August Ever Steady, the latest in a series of ten 7024TEU S-type vessels being built for Evergreen in Japan, was launched. These S type vessels were designed for environmental protection and as Dr Chang claimed, "We don't want fuel oil tanks to be located at the sides and at the bottom of the ships. If fuel oil tanks are located inside the hulls along the transverse bulkhead, damage to tanks and oil leakage incidents caused by grounding and collisions can be dramatically reduced."
The Port of Los Angeles awarded Evergreen awarded first ever Environmental Excellence award for their 'S' type vessels.
Now EVA Air, a subsidiary of Dr K C Chang' s Taipan based Evergreen Group (now ranked amongst the top ten air cargo carriers, ahead of both British Airways and Air France) in partnership with General Electric have seen the first (and hughly successful) flight of the huge new Boeing 747-400 Large Cargo Freighter (LCF) at 10:38 a.m. (UTC/GMT +8 hours) today.
The enormous jet -- with its enlarged upper fuselage that can accommodate three times the cargo by volume of a standard 747-400 freighter. It has been modified by Evergreen Aviation Technologies Corp., and is the first of 3 to be modified for ferrying parts of the Boeing Dreamliner.There will be 500 hours of testing before it receives approval.
A fleet of three LCFs will ferry 787 assemblies between Nagoya, Japan; Grottaglie, Italy; Wichita, Kan. and Charleston, S.C., before flying them to the Boeing factory in Everett, Wash., for final assembly. The first two LCFs will enter service in early 2007; the third will follow later.
Scott Strode, 787 vice president of Airplane Development and Production tells me "The LCF fleet is the foundation of our lean, global production system." ... which is not good news for Seattle.
Meanwhile BAE have agreed the sale of their 20% interest in EADS manufacturers of the Airbus.
The Editor of the British Medical Journal has asked readers to nominate the most important medical breakthroughs since 1840 when the BMJ was first published.... when he points out life expectancy was half what it is today.
Nominations in les than 100 words by Wednesday 20 September. The most popular 15 breakthroughs will then be voted on and the results announced in January 2007.
Entries to date - many and varied, can be read here. Interesting views on medical advances in the last 166 years.
Canadian Defence Minister O'Connor is in New Zealand presently so his antipodeal present may accoutnn for his antithetical view of events in Afghanistan. Apologies to Canuck viewers normal service might be resumed some day.
Toronto Star 9th September
Taliban `on run,' says O'Connor
"They're basically being suppressed and on the run at the moment," he said. "Our people are flowing more freely through the area right now but we always have to be wary of the Taliban from a security point of view and we will," (Defence Minister) O'Connor said. And he hinted Canada might be sending more military resources to help troops expand development work in the battle-scarred region of southern Afghanistan. I want more projects produced, I want more development activity," O'Connor said.
Christian Science Monitor 8th September
Canadian defense minister: 'Impossible to defeat Taliban militarily'
NATO wants reinforcements for increasingly difficult Afghan campaign.
By Tom Regan| csmonitor.com
Canadian Defense Minister Gordon O'Connor, speaking in an interview on Thursday, said that it is "impossible to defeat the Taliban militarily." The Toronto Star reports that Mr. O'Connor's remarks were confirmed by Chief of the Defense Staff Gen. Rick Hillier in Ottawa. The Star also reports that the comments are "are certain to stun Canadians who are increasingly concerned about the rising number of Canadian casualties in Afghanistan." Thirty-two Canadians have been killed in Afghanistan since Canada joined the NATO mission there in 2002.
Raby Street is in the heart of Moss Side, in the southside of Manchester UK. Police found the body of 15, Jesse James after receiving news of a shooting at 2.45 am today.
Jesse lived in Graeme Street, Moss Side, and attended the nearby Manchester Academy High School.
GMP Supt John O'Hare said: "It is still early days. We do not know of any motive yet, but we believe this was a planned attack."
There has been a recent increase in shootings caused by drug gang warfare in area - a notorious drug distribution centre.
The street price for a heroin "wrap" is £10.
Why It's Not Working in Afghanistan
By Ann Jones posted at Tom Dispatch
Remember when peaceful, democratic, reconstructed Afghanistan was advertised as the exemplar for the extreme makeover of Iraq? In August 2002, Rummy was already proclaiming the new Afghanistan "a breathtaking accomplishment" and "a successful model of what could happen to Iraq." Everybody now knows, the model isn't working in Iraq. Don't be surprised. It's not working in Afghanistan either.
The Afghanistan success story was always more fairy tale than fact -- one lie used to sell another. Now, as the Bush administration hands off "peacekeeping" to NATO forces, Afghanistan is the scene of the largest military operation in the history of that organization. Today's personal email brings word from an American surgeon in Kabul that her emergency medical team can't handle half the wounded civilians brought in from embattled provinces to the south and east. American, British, and Canadian troops find themselves at war with Taliban fighters -- which is to say "Afghans" -- while stunned NATO commanders, who hadn't bargained for significant combat, are already asking what went wrong…. Read on ...highly recommended.
Not if you are Tony Blair or his successor John Reid...
At the other end of the highway, in Kandahar city -- President Karzai's home town – and in the southern provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, Zabul, and Uruzgan, Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah is reported to have more than 12,000 men under arms and squads of suicide bombers at the ready. They ambush newly arrived NATO troops. The embattled British commander, Lieutenant-General Richards, recently issued a warning: "We need to realize that we could actually fail here."
Journalist and photographer Ann Jones spent much of the last four years in Afghanistan working as a human rights researcher and women's advocate with international humanitarian agencies and teaching English to Kabul high school English teachers. She writes about her Afghan experience for the Nation magazine and notably in a new book Kabul in Winter: Life Without Peace in Afghanistan (Metropolitan Books, 2006). For more on her, check out her website.
Copyright 2006 Ann Jones
See also Legal Alien @ New York for news of Dutch efforts by Huib Riethof.
Lord Patel in February 2006 posted this about the Dutch army contribution and the drug smuggling Government ministers
Also Lord Patel last Labor Day posted this about building roads in Afghanistan
Friday, September 08, 2006
Al-Arabiya, is an independent Dubai based Arabic language satellite news station with offices in over 40 major cities. It was launched in 2002 in opposition to Al Jazeera. It was originally funded by Saudi-controlled pan-Arab satellite TV pioneer MBC, Lebanon's Hariri Group, and other investors from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Gulf states. It was set up as an all-news channel to compete directly with Qatar-based al-Jazeera TV.
The Iraqi Government have issued an order to close the station down in Baghdad. The station was able to broadcast live the entry of police to close their Baghdad city centre studios.
The order apparently was issued by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Cabinet and said TV stations should uphold the code of media ethics (?) , or else the government would take legal action against them.
In November 2003, the U.S.-Paul Bremer’s Governing Council banned Al-Arabiya from reporting from Baghdad after it aired an audio tape, said to be from Saddam Hussein, who was still at large at the time. 46 Coalition troops had been killed that month, there had been a loss of a Chinook helicopter and Bremer had just returned from a pep talk with Cheney from Washington.(See BBC Online report at the time)This action was approved by Bremer but curiously in his book "My Year in Iraq" forgets to mention it.(see WAPO report)Charles Heatly, a spokesman with the U.S.-led administration said, "Ambassador Bremer fully agreed with and supported the Governing Council's decision."
Shortly after, Saddam was found and captured and they were allowed to continue, famously they interviewed the leader of the free world and Commander in Chief of the occupying forces in May 2004. (White House transcript)
Just over a year ago in August 2005 Iraq ( Prime Minister Iyad Allawi) re-introduced the death sentence. Common during Saddam's rule, capital punishment was suspended by the occupying US authorities in 2003. "This law is to help protect the Iraqi people in the face of an onslaught of indiscriminate murder. I think it may help," said, Minister of State Adnan al-Janabi adding that it would remain in force until the security situation was deemed more stable.
This was condemned by the UN, European states and human-rights groups. "If the Iraqi government has reintroduced the death penalty we will lobby them to abolish it as we would do with other states that have the death penalty," a Foreign Office spokesman said at the time.(To date la Beckett remains silent on the matter)
The first 3 victims were members of Ansar al-Sunna, an insurgent group, who were executed on September 1st 2005 after confessing to their crimes in a televised trial broadcast in May from al-Kut, in southern Iraq.
The men were identified as Bayan Ahmad al-Jaf, 30, a Kurdish taxi driver, and two Sunni Arabs, Uday Dawoud al-Dulaimi, 25, a builder, and Taher Jassim Abbas, 44, a butcher. They were found guilty of kidnapping and murdering three policemen and abducting, raping and killing Iraqi women.
The Iraqi authorities took over responsibility for the overcrowded Abu Ghraib prison at the weekend where there are said to be hundreds of prisoners who have received a death sentence. There are also reports that several gallows have been recently installed. On Wednesday a mass execution of 27 people took place. (Daily Telegraph 8/8/06)
An Iraqi Justice Ministry official said two of those hanged had been convicted of terrorism charges, and the other 25 — including a woman — were convicted of murder and kidnapping. In confirming the hangings a spokesman called the dead prisoners, "terrorists", a name normally reserved for insurgents who have attacked coalition or Iraqi forces.
News of the executions was made public by Prime Minister al-Maliki when attending a ceremony to hand control of Iraq's military to the recently elected government from American control.
The verdict on Saddam Hussein is expected this month and he faces a death sentence, he has asked to face a military firing squad rather than hanging.
Germany's conservative Die Welt said of German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung "isn't sitting at the most thankless post in the government -- he's sitting on an ejector seat. His troops are in disastrous state. New missions are more or less impossible and current ones such as Afghanistan are becoming riskier." (Germany is currently taking part in 10 international military missions.)
Die Welt's reasoning ..?
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has told Kofi Annan today, that they would accept German naval vessels patrolling the country's coast, which Berlin had offered in lieu of ground troops.
Initially Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh said allowing a foreign country to stop ships on its coast, which Germany requests as part of its mandate, is a major intrusion into national sovereignty, which required approval from the cabinet on Sunday.
Whilst the UN agrees Merkel has to sell the idea to a sceptical German parliament and public.
Merkel has made her position as clear as she could ...In a heated Bundestag debate yesterday she said, "We can search for criteria for as long as we like, but the world and its conflicts won't accommodate them,"
Oskar Lafontaine, joint leader of the socialist Left Party, accepted the deployment because rejection would increase the likely hood of terrorist attacks in Germany. He was savaged by the leftist daily Die Tageszeitung who said "Fear of terrorist attacks at home is not a good reason to support deployment. Using this argument is submitting to the demands of violent criminals."
Despite the demands of the IDF the Israel cabinet have (under huge US pressure) agreed to the arrangements, which will not fall into place for 2 weeks (The German defense ministry has said it would take 2 weeks to deploy in the Middle East once the mission -expected to last 1 year, is formally approved by the German parliament.) and in the interim according to the Prime Minister's Office, Annan said that until the German force arrived, Italian, French, British and Greek forces would supervise the ports.
French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy is reported to have agreed .. "We have accepted. The decision has been taken that we will participate in monitoring surveillance along the coast to ensure there is no delivery [of weapons to Hizbullah] - or an embargo,"
Details of the French maritime patrols remained to be worked out, Douste-Blazy said, but France would carry them out for "2/3 weeks."
In the meantime, pending a decision on the naval force by the Bundestag , the German government said today it will send police and customs officers with X-ray equipment to reinforce controls at Beirut's Rafik Hariri International airport. Middle East Airways landed the first post war commerical flight there this morning.
Government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said that the customs and police officers would act as advisers to Lebanese authorities at the airport.
Yet further proof that the US Administration is determined to drag as many nations into this post-confict mess as possible, and to militarize the Israeli border to meet their demands. Next thing they put up a sign "NGO's not welcome".
As my nanny used to say, "it'll end in tears".
Thursday, September 07, 2006
The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) is Europe’s first venture into satellite navigation. It sits alongside the US GPS and Russian GLONASS systems and physically consists of 3 geostationary satellites and a network of ground stations.(see final illustration)
EGNOS is a precursor to Galileo, the full global satellite navigation system under joint development by European Space Agency (ESA), the European Commission (EC) and Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation.
It comprises a network of around 40 ground stations distributed throughout Europe to record, adjust and improve data from the American GPS system. By calculating and transmitting a signal containing information on the reliability and accuracy of the positioning signals sent out by the US GPS and the Rusian GLONASS it enables users to determine their position to better than 2m compared with about 20 m at present - and with guaranteed signal quality.
INDEPENDENT OF THE USA MILITARY
The principal objective when Galileo is fully functional is an independent European system which is not reliant on third party (US / Russian) satellite systems.
As such commercial markets are seen in providing aircraft navigation in increasingly crowded skies - a doubling of commercial airliners is expected in 20 years. The potential for fuel savings, improvements in safety and reducing unecessary air and ground movements could save many millions of Euros.
Mercantile fleets can expect benefits as Galileo augments current maritime radio beacons providing improved navigational aids / traffic and port managment / safety and casualty analysis plus an aid to increasing offshore mineral / gas / oil exploration and exploitation as well as fisheries control.
EGNOS is seem to be a major factor in managing European surface transport, road / rail / and inland waterways. Precise location of vehicles and assets aid and improve commercial companies but also emergency services
EGNOS can also be a good tool for Road Management including virtual tolling, Highway emergency alerts and so on. A major plus is seen eventually that EGNOS together with Galileo will form the key to a pan-European electronic road toll system.
EGNOS can aid control over farming payments, border security,(see previous story about immigration control at EU borders - FRONTEX) blind pedestrians, and as a European independent alternative to all the uses of GPS positiong tools for leisure activities such as hiking, sailing and climbing. EGNOS will also be able to broadcast a reliable time standard with unprecedented accuracy.
Unlike GPS, it will of course be a commercial enterprise - the US view the system with jaundiced eyes because they currently enjoy a monopoly. Which they can disrupt at will or reconfigure so that only it's encrypted military signals can be used. The US are also very apprehensive about it's sale to China.
TOUR DE FRANCE - THE REAL THING IN REAL TIME
As a showcase the Tour de France has been used this year to exhibit the accuracy and use of the signals.
Riders in the Tour de France were tracked by EGNOS. This is the 3rd year that the European Space Agency has been involved in tests of satellite localisation during the Tour de France.
This year, the trials took place over 2 of the tour’s stages: the 18th – descending from Morzine, in the Alps, to Macon, in Bourgogne, and the 19th – a time-trial between Le Creusot and Montceau-les-Mines.
20 cyclists (including the first 15 in the listings) wore jerseys incorporating a 95 grams transceiver, receiving positional / time data from satellites and relaying them for processing by a computer in The Netherlands.
Using this data, Dutch company Sport-Track, which is developing the tracking software, and Trimaran of France, who specialise in the production of 3D images could provide an on screen real time display of the race positions.(must see)
The paradox is that all this hi-tech drama gave a live view of American Floyd Landis take the yellow from Spaniard Oscar Pereiro and Germany’s Andreas Kloden grab second place from Carlos Sastre of Spain. We now know that this incredible performance by Landis was helped by drugs.
Pic is Floyd Landis approaching Montceau-les-Mines.
The elements that make up the EGNOS system include:
RIMS (Ranging and Integrity Monitoring Stations) which pick up GPS signals,
MCCs (Master Control Centres) to process the data delivered by the RIMS and uplink stations which send the signal to three geostationary satellites to then relay it back to users on the ground.
NLESs (Navigation Land Earth Stations) Units that transmit the calculated time/ position data locally.
Deployments so far include all MCCs, all Navigation Land Earth Stations (NLESs) and 31 of the 34 RIMS.(CLICK ON MAP TO VIEW ENLARGED VERSION)
Danish biotech group, Novozymes (NZYM.CO)has taken the top position in Dow Jones Sustainability Group Index's biotech category for the 6th time.The annual Dow Jones review is based on an assessment of corporate economic, environmental and social performance. Itevaluates corporate governance, employee development, climate change, supply chain standards and labour practices.The results form the basis for ranking 317 companies in the global index (World) and 156 companies in the pan-European index (STOXX).
Novozymes is of course the world leader in developing enzyme systems for extracting saccharides from biomass for producing biofuels by fermentation. With the Canadian company Sunopta (STKL O)they are involved in producing the world's first production unit in Spain and a major new contract in China with CRAC the China Resources Alcohol Corporation which is a business area under China National Cereals, Oils & Foodstuff Corporation (COFC) one of the biggest companies in China to install a pilot factory for the production of cellulose-ethanol in Zhaodong in Heilongjiang province.(June 23rd 2006)
The Chinese central government recently announced a US$5.0-billion investment over the next 10 years on expanding ethanol capacity focussing on cellulosic ethanol (China is an importer of cereal crops). China is currently the world’s third-largest producer of ethanol behind the US and Brazil, producing more than 1 billion gallons of all grades in 2005.
CRAC is the second-largest ethanol producer in China. CRAC’s intend to install 5,000 tonnes per year (1.7 Million US gallons per year) of cellulosic ethanol capacity by the end of 2007 and 1,000,000 tonnes per year (330 million US gallons per year) by 2012, utilizing multiple lines of SunOpta’s proprietary process technology and equipment.
Three years ago the enzymes used to make a US gallon of cellulosic ethanol cost US$2.00.
Around that time, Novozymes received a grant from the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and has since reduced the cost of the enzymes process thirty fold, down to about 14 cents a gallon.
Currently the biggest obstacle and major cost is the removal / storage / trucking of the corn stover (stems and leaves) from field to factory.
EurActiv announced that the EU External Borders Agency FRONTEX (European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States 0r Frontières extérieures,) was inaugurated in Warsaw on 30th June 2005 ( Council Reg. 2007/2004). This may have passed you by as the only press report at the time appears to be ...
EurActiv Poland Agencja ds. Ochrony Granic Zewnętrznych oficjalnie rozpoczęła działalność
However a Press Release (Ref : MEMO/05/230) from Brussels on the same day tells us that Commander-in-chief of the Royal Marechaussee Minze Atte Mr BEUVING of the Netherlands has been elected as Chairperson and Major General Jozsef BENDEK of Hungary was elected Deputy Chairperson. The agency will have 57 staff with 26 permanent staff including the Executive Director Colonel LAITINEN , a Finn.
The Agency's budget is set at € 6,28 Mio for 2005 and 9,95 for 2006 (plus an additional 2 Mio €, not yet confirmed). In the new EU Financial Perspectives, the Commission has proposed an amount of €20 Mn. for 2007, €25 Min for 2008 and €30 Min for the years after. Besides the money to be allocated for the Agency, the creation of a European External Borders Fund, worth €2, 1 Billion to compensate Member States for external border controlling activities they undertake has been agreed.
The Agency shall perform the following tasks: see operating Document Oct.2005 for more details. Word Doc.
* coordinate operational cooperation between Member States in the field of management of external borders;
* assist Member States on training of national border guards, including the establishment of common training standards;
* carry out risk analyses;
* follow up on the development of research relevant for the control and surveillance of external borders;
* assist Member States in circumstances requiring increased technical and operational assistance at external borders;
* provide Member States with the necessary support in organising joint return operations.
Both Vice President of the European Commission Franco Frattini, responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security, and Luxembourg Justice minister Luc Frieden, on behalf of the EU Presidency agreed ...that establishing FRONTEX ...
" .... has further strengthened our confidence in our capability to establish and maintain an area of freedom, security and justice for everyone living in the EU. The spectre of international terrorism, the human tragedies of victims of trafficking and the equally sad and grave consequences of illegal immigration into the EU, are constant reminders that we need to do even more to combat the many and diverse threats facing this area.”
Whatever all that means is difficult to understand but the policies so far seem to be more the production of Fortress Europe. They seem rather to be searching for ways to make the borders invisible, but nonetheless through the use of technology such as UAVs, satellite tracking, GPS and shared databases of information collected from biometric identification mechanisms on passports and visas the public might feel otherwise.,, Take note they can look from further above, according to the EC DG of energy and transport,
“Space technologies will offer a helping hand : with the start of EGNOS and GALILEO system, and with the existing GPS, movements of vehicles on land, in air and at sea can be tracked accurately”.
Which means not only can you can control people trying to get in , but can more effectively control those within.
So far their activities have been unremarked but there is an interesting article in the Christian Science Monitor June 8th 2006 on the massive influx into Malta and the Canary islands of African migrants...."Responding to Spanish pleas for assistance in handling this human tide, the European Union's border security agency, Frontex, made the unprecedented decision to dispatch multinational patrols off the coastlines of Morocco, Mauritania, and Senegal."
Some 4,000 Africans have been caught trying to reach the Canaries so far this year - compared to 4,751 for all of 2005
On May 30, Frontex announced 8 countries would assist Spain in sending boats, planes, and rapid-response(?) teams to patrol the waters off Morocco, Mauritania, and Senegal. (A 9th country, Portugal, has since joined the effort.) "For the Canary Islands and Malta [which is also facing an influx of African migrants], Frontex is devoting 2.1 million euros of its 12.8-million-euro budget," says Michal Parzyszek, spokesman for the agency. "So it's clear that we understand the importance of these hot spots."
Police officials reckon there are at least 12,000 would-be migrants in and around the North Mauritanian port of Nouadhibou, picking their way between the donkey-drawn carts and battered green taxis, waiting for the day of their illicit getaway in the same way they waited at Calais to ride the Chunnel trains.
The Red Crescent estimates that from January to March 2006, at least 1,300 Africans perished trying to make the treacherous trip from Nouadhibou.
There is some enlightenment, Jesus Caldera the Spanish Minister of Labor and Social Affairs says that tighter enforcement alone is not going to solve the immigrant problem.
At a recent press conference, he claimed the immigrant tide resulted from Africa's "misery and desperate conditions," and said what was needed was a "coordinated, international action to prevent the inequalities between rich and poor countries from growing." Indeed, a key element of the Spanish plan is to involve the EU not only in policing (Spain is submitting to the EU plans for a database, the "Sea Horse Network" to track illegal immigration in real time) but in African development as well.
Times of Malta August 30, 2006 reported a meeting in Valleta attended by Frontex, Europol, and the Maltese Police and Armed Forces resulting in an agreement for coastal patrols to commence mid September off Malta and Libya. Greece and Italy (10,000 migrants have reached Lampedusa this year) ad agreed to provide vessels, while France and Germany had pledged sea assets to patrol the lengthy Libyan coast.
Libya, who have not signed the Geneva Convention , but whom the US have removed from their list of terror states (including Venezuela at the same time) are not happy with these proposals and initially opted out of supporting the patrols - which will be reviewed after 3/4 weeks operation.(It was the US Coastguard base on Lampedusa that Col. Gadaffi's Scud missile hit when Uncle Sam tried to kill him)
The home affairs ministers of Libya, Malta and Italy were to meet in Valletta yesterday to discuss immigration but Commissioner Frattini asked them to postpone it until after an EU ministerial between the 20th and 22nd September when immigration will be one of the main topics principally because Libya is "considering" joining EU sea patrols in return for collaboration on desert patrols.(BBC ONline here)
This is presumably where the European External Borders Fund, worth €2, 1 Billion to compensate Member States for external border controlling activities comes into play ....????
At the same time Libya's European Affairs Minister Abdulati Alobidi has expressed criticism over Europe’s plans to stem illegal immigration at sea. He asked for help patrol Libyan internal borders of 4,000 Km to stop the flow of migrants from poverty stricken countries south of the Sahara desert and asked for helicopters, off-road vehicles, night-vision equipment and speedboats.( But maybe NATO could use those in Afghanistan ?)
By the way if you fancy a job as Head of Research & Development (06/TA/A/24) at FRONTEX you have ten days left to apply for the post, which requires TOP SECRET security clearance. Apply here.
If you hadn't heard about FRONTEX before .. expect to hear a lot more in the future...indeed Colonel Ikka Laitinen, Executive Director of FRONTEX will pay an official visit to Cyprus 5-8 September.He will hold meetings to examine Cyprus / FRONTEX co-operation and visit the Cyprus / Turkish cease fire line, as well as Paphos Airport and Limassol port.
A much unheralded EU wide organisation run on military lines with access to Euros 1 Bn plus to patrol EU borders and monitor people and their movements ? Hmmmmmmmmmm.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
The unpleasant and underwater death of Steve Irwin like the death of any media star sweeps the world's press and creates a media circus - his father today has refused an Australian State Funeral !
As a snotty schoolboy Lord Patel was fortunate to work at weekends for Robert "Bob" Jackson, a bearded giant who with his partner George Cansdale presented the first exotic wild animal program on BBC TV. George Cansdale had been in the Colonial Forest Service of the Gold Coast from 1934 until 1948, and when he returned to England to become Superintendent of the Zoological Society of London and wrote some Ladybird boks about wild animals.The first shows went out for childrrren from Ally Pally in 1948.
Bob imported and distributed animals, most of which came through the nearby Ringway Airport (now Manchester) and also provided quarantine services.
My job was to spend all wekend cleaning out animals ranging from chimps and crocodiles that appeared in films (A Crocodile named Daisy), sell cage birds, tropical fish and especially snakes and reptiles.
A showman, he was never happier than pleasing kids and frightening their mums with snakes and I would help him set up a small zoo at Agricultural shows for which we charged 6p or a "tanner" entrance. I got 10 shillings for the weekend (bring your own sandwiches) and he would copper up on a Sunday night in between threats of emasculating me with a rusty razor.
Remarkably some animal always "escaped" , the news of which would spread rapidly and the queues would form.
As I was leaving school in the late 50's he was establishing, with the NOrth Wales holiday town of Colwyn Bay the Welsh Mountain Zoo - which he asked me to join - but I went to University to study Botany instead. Again it was an annual spring event when some large raptor, of which they had a splendid collection would "escape" to be reported in the Manchester Evening News and Liverpool Echo - and the queues would form.
Like Steve Irwin , he died tragically outdoors. A keen fisherman he was caught in a storm and lightning hit the tree under which he was sheltering, he was dragged in the water and drowned.
There is a memorial too him in the grounds where his wife and sons keep the Zoo going."Chai Mbili" he used to shout in Swahili .. "Tea for Two".
If you get the chance visit their excellent collections - remember when you see the hoo hah about Irwin and his ilk - it was Bob and George that started it all off.
Not unhappy to watch the problems that EADS are having fixing in-flight entertainment and services into the first of their production Airbus 360,(which carries more people, further at lower cost in more comfort than any other airliner ever) Boeing announce the first Next-Generation single aisle 737 equipped with a mixture of Japanese / French technology with their Panasonic eFx / Thales in-seat video entertainment system.
Size evidently matters as the first customers Jet Airways (India) sports back mounted 7-inch video monitors in every seat in economy class and huge 9-inch video monitors in the seat arms in business class each with audio and video on-demand movies, games and in-flight information.
There are also 110-VAC power outlets throughout the cabin and gooseneck personal reading lights in business class.
Two other un - named airlines have ordered these systems on their Next-Generation 737's which Boeing say is the most technologically advanced single-aisle jet family on the market today.
The exciting picture is from Boeing.
Iberdrola SA is a large hydro and nuclear electric energy company, engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution and marketing of electricity and natural gas. They are based in Spain and operate overseas in Spanish speaking areas, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile it also operates in the Mexican and Guatemalan markets.
They have just announced the acquisition of 2 UK wind farms (no financial figures provided) which are currently under construction (due to commence generation end 2007) with a total combined capacity of 20.55 megawatts. These are the Clachan Flats 15 MW farm with 9 turbines from AMEC Wind Energy located near Cairndow in Argyll and Bute.
They have also acquired the small Higher Darracott 3 turbine 2.55 MW farm near Torrington in Devon from which was developed by West Coast Energy Ltd., with Darracott Moor Wind Farm Ltd of Mold.
Iberdrola says that it aims to have total wind capacity in the UK of 200 MW by 2011 and have opened an office in Birmingham.
They have also recently invested Euros 22 Mn in a biomass electricity generating plant near Corruna and have a program for investment in renewable energy thoughout their markets.
The Mirror has an exclusive - which they splash today a "leaked" memo for the beatification tour of the Dear Leader - it includes the fascinating line....
"Mr Blair's "farewell tour" includes plans to appear on Blue Peter, Songs of Praise and Chris Evans' radio show."... Chris Evans' Radio show appearance got even more of a boost on Newsnight just now... Kirsty saying that this was "eagerly sought".
As 99% of our readers were not reading this blog on May 1st 2005 at Election time you will have perhaps missed the story Postman (ennoblement came later) "BBC - announces end of election" and mentioned Tony Blairs triumph at a meeting in Enfield (od all places) where he was endorsed by shock haired ex-jock (then) Chris Evans which was covered by the BBC here which is where the pic comes from.
The next day (May 2nd) Mark Simpson on his BBC Election blog had to boost both Mr Blair and Mr Evans ...Postman wrote "Evans sent. BBC splash Blair support"
Tony Blair was introduced on Sunday May 1st at a rally in Enfield by DJ Chris Evans, who gave Labour a ringing endorsement.
POSTED: Monday 2 May, 0925BST
Tony Blair was introduced on Sunday May 1st at a rally in Enfield by DJ Chris Evans, who gave Labour a ringing endorsement.
The ginger-haired star introduced the PM at a Labour rally in Enfield last night, showered him with witty praise and then made a confession - he reads the Daily Telegraph.
Evans said it was unusual reading material for a socialist, but added that he liked the crossword and also wanted to find out what the Tories were up to. "They're not up to very much," he concluded, which went down well with the Labour audience.
Why Evans for Fuck's sake ?
Well, why is this foul mouthed clown who plays records on the radio and allowed his visitors to say fuck on his Channel 4 program TFI Friday (Translated into yoof ese that is "Thank Fuck it's Friday" Gedditt !!) such a booster of the Blair ? Famously sacked at the same time by BBC for simply not turning up.
In 1998 MORI undertook a poll for M&M's of the young voters and 7% wanted Chris Evans as PM...Tony would like a share of that so Chris is giving him a lift and also slipping into gear with the BBC again anxious of course to boost the listeners.
Just 2 old actors getting together to scratch each other's backs...That's showbiz folks...... Helped no doubt by the assistance of Freud Communications (prop.43 yr old Matthew Freud, son of Ex Lib/Dem MP and bore Clement Freud) who provides PR services to both Tony B & Chris E. 42 yr old Matthew is handily ( and probably happily) married to Head of B Sky B, Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of Rupe , close friend of Peter Mandelson. By the way Chris Evans was the GLR producer for Matthew's sister Emma's mid morning show in his early days.
Elisabeth's BSkyB paid for a large party for Young Labour (in the World Famous Palace Discotheque in Blackpool) at the 1998 Labour Party Conference, organised by Matthew Freud and hosted by Chris Evans. The party cost £20,000....small world.. entertainment.
Later of course Freud was on the chief planning committee for the Millenium Dome - which is something he probably misses off his CV these days.
Evans and Blair - difficult to decide which is the biggest cunt. Brilliant PR however - Chris you might remember after the election got his own BBC Saturday afternoon show which translated from this April into his Drive time Radio 2 show on BBC. Rub shoulders with the rich and famous and it's not only dandruff that comes off.If you really are interested in Chris Evans his BBC blog is here The BBC published his first RAJAR audience figures on August 3rd to show that Evans Drive Time show has 150,000 less listeners than John Walker who preceded him.
Despite that In early May 2006, he was named music radio personality of the year, When accepting the award, Evans thanked the BBC for giving him "a second chance".
The UK, as the BBC keeps telling us, has one of the largest radio audiences in the world, with more than 90% of the population tuning in each week.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
The Senlis Council is an international policy think tank with offices in Kabul, London ( 17, Queen Anne's Gate London SW1H 9BU), Paris and Brussels. The Council’s work encompasses foreign policy, security, development and counter-narcotics policies and provides innovative analysis and proposals.
The opium poppy is the traditional crop and the raw material for essential medicines such as morphine and codeine. Senlis say therefore there is a huge potential to be re-directed into legal channels becoming a major driver for Afghanistan’s rural development and addressing the global shortage of opium-based medicines. This would be done by licensing the growth of poppies and controlling the legal distribution for medecines.
Senlis today launched a new report with a press conference (Press release here)
The report, "Afghanistan Five Years Later - The Return of the Taliban" can be downloaded here (PDF alert)
They highlight the fact that 900% more has been spent on military affairs than reconstruction, that there is widesrpead suspicion and disenchantment, especially with the US.For example Marvin Weinbaum, a former analyst with the U.S. State Department who now works with the Middle East Institute is quoted in the Toronto Star "We were trying to get rid of the bad guys and said, once we do that, we'll get around to doing development. It never happened. ...The credibility ... was lost when they got neither the security they expected nor the reconstruction that they were hoping for. "
The Senlis Council report reaches some conclusions about the last 5 years.
Ignoring extreme poverty is destroying nation-building efforts
The prioritisation of Western domestic security needs in Afghanistan translates into dead Afghans. The success of the initial invasion in 2001 has not been followed by real changes in the everyday lives of most Afghans.
Futile counter-narcotics policies intensify the security and poverty crises
Failing counter-narcotics policies driven by the international community intent on pushing its War on Drugs in Afghanistan are inflaming poverty and worsening the security crisis in the country. Farmers seeing their livelihoods destroyed by international forces fail to see the benefits in their country. Eradication policies generate local hostility and suspicion towards the designs of the international community in Afghanistan... which leads to ..
Failure of nation-building project makes fertile ground for Taliban revival
The results of the international community’s nation-building efforts in Afghanistan are largely symbolic for Afghans and are more in line with the ‘homeland security’ objectives of the foreign forces rather than the real needs of Afghans. A rejuvenated, re - armed Taliban is exploiting such widespread resentment to stir up instability."They are not fighting for us, they are fighting for themselves".
Total military spending vs. total development spending in Afghanistan. 2002-2006
Despite the extreme poverty in Afghanistan, the majority of spending by the international community is on military rather than development and poverty relief projects.
More comment here and a previous post from Lord Patel Tuesday, July 4 2006 Afghanistan - Stalky & Co Redux
The photos and the videos from the Senlis Afghanistan Report Afghanistan Five Years Later: The Return of the Taliban are now available online:
To view the Video Report, go to:
To view the Photo Report, go to:
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day.
Only yesterday Lord Patel was pondering the fate of the CGS and the Ex Ex CGS General (Now Lord) Guthrie from his dug out Dunsoldiering somewhere in the Home Countis pops up on the front page of the Daily Telegraph today ...
" We are in two very serious insurgencies (presumably Iraq and Afghanistan rather than the one in the House of Commons trying to unseat the Dear Leader) and although it is not a general war (?) we need to face facts that things are very serious ... we are just muddling through. It is reprehensible that our politicians are hiding behind the generals."
To which here at Patel towers we add our hearty and lengthy applause. However we might point out to the noble, determined and patriotic Lord that this mess has been foretold in these pages ..
Sunday, May 22 2005
"Official" Terrorist lights fires of resistance in Afghanistan
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar leads the Mujahideen faction, of fundamentalist Sunni Muslim Pashtuns, the Hezb-e-Islami, which was one of the groups that ended the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
Diplomatic sources in Kabul Sources in Kabul see a strong spring offensive that the Taliban fighters have launched, with a much wider and popular a wider political movement against the US.
UK / NATO military observers were seen in the region last week considering a call from the White House (Condi / Rummy et. al. as the ordure hits the aircon)to plunge UK troops into this bloody cauldron.
Watch this space for an announcement about troop movements from the Scotsman John Reid AKA Minister of Defence… augmenting NATO forces (now approx 500) …beefing up the response…sharing the burden…spreading the load … part of a widening response in the War on Terror… blah blah ... pulling US chestnuts out of the fire - re-run history reel .. Terrorist aided by US bites the hand that feeds ... Osama ? Hekmatyar ?
Get yer placards out. ..... read on
Friday, January 27 2006
Reid sends ill equipped troops to certain deaths in S Afghanistan
Defence Secretary "Dr" John Reid met some of the troops due to die (We expect to take casualties)in Afghanistan. In a nationwide 2 bases *Salisbury Plain , Dittingham Norfolk, and Otterburn) exercise 3 Para are part of 3000 3,300 army personnel are due to go to the lawless southern region of the country.
They will help provide a "stable environment for reconstruction and help the government gain control of the more troubled areas" it says on this press release here. ..... read on
Turning to more recent events / deaths in theatre
Naturally much concern is raised over the downed Nimrod, an anacient spatchcocked AIWACS that is past it's fly by date and is being used as a half cock telephone exchange in the sky and large noisy Aerial Reconnaissance vehicle.
Why no Unmanned Aerial reconnaissance ? Well we have got some but , well, they don't seem to work, we haven't got the trained staff to operate them .. and .. er .. well the Israelis have fleets of them and it didn't seem to do them much good in the Lebanon.
Too few helicopters,lack of spares, overworked maintenance, necessitating too many overland supply chains which are highly vulnerable in lightly armoured Land Rovers and open top Jeeps allows the insurgents to wreak havoc, hit troop morale and cause a growing chorus for troop withdrawal from families.
One cannot find fault with my Lord Guthries views ... can he provide an answers ? Of course the new CGS points to the disparity in military expenditure with say Social Services.... yes but what do we do on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan .. NOW ?
Old men forget indeed ...
"But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day
Tell that to the lads in Helmand.
Nearly one third of Russia's exports of oil and petroleum derivatives (Total 70 MN. Tonnes) pass through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles (and Kazakh oil exporters are also a major users). Turkey, aware of the dangers of a major incident in downtown Istanbul are increasing controls and limits on the passage of tankers which not only restricts flows but increases costs by demurrage ( a warehousing cost paid to the ship owner whilst it waits to transit). It is claimed that in 2004 Russian exporters incurred unscheduled costs exceeding USD$400 Mn.
This has now resulted in focusing ther minds of the Russian oiligarchs and explains why Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Athens yesterday to meet Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Bulgarian President Georgi Pyrvanov. The construction of a US$700 MN , 300 km Greek-Bulgarian-Russian oil pipeline bypassing the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, talked of for over a decade, looks like it will soon start.
Whilst there is agreement on objectives there are still some hurdles to full and final agreement.Land has to be bought, the Russian exporters, LUKoil, Gazpromneft, Rosneft, TNK-BP, Transneft and others, have to sign up to make sure the rquired capacity of an annual 35 Mn Tonnes is committed.
TNK-BP have decalred an interest in the project but are also said to prefer that the Caspian Pipeline Consortium increase its Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan capacity, perhaps by building a second pipeline.
Putin's arrival in Athens will provide the necessary impulse for making the Burgas-Alexandrupolis project a reality, just as President Clinton's presence in Istanbul kick started the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline ( and the Amoco end of the transformed BP also had it's mind change and spine stiffened).
As Bulgaria approaches EU membership, the time is ripe as the European Union is also interested - by 2030 most – 70% - of European Union’s energy needs will have to be met by imported energy. European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs has said the EU is ready to finance part of the pipeline's construction.
Piebalgs has also been active in developing EU agreements with Kazahkstan and met the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev , the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Vladimir Shkolnik on a visit in May this year to discuss gas and oil supplies. He also visited the offshore Kashagan oil field in which British Gas , ENI, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch/Shell, TotalFinaElf, are partners with 16.67% stakes.
Discovered in July 2000, Kashagan could be the world’s fifth largest oilfield. The field, 75km SSE of Atyrau, lies in just 3.7m of water. Temperatures can fall below -20°C in winter and a coating of ice, several metres thick, forms in this part of the Caspian Sea for many months of the year. Production dates keep being delayed as the problems of operating in these conditions present major problems.
However the Kazakhs are playing fast and loose, "keeping it's options open" as the British Gas share is/was up for sale and there is much talk of building pipelines to China ( a joint Kazakhstan and China 1,800-mile (3,000 km) oil pipeline from Western Kazakhstan to China costing US$3.5 Bn.)and the Persian Gulf to export Kazakh oil and gas.
Forbes reports today that Kazakh energy minister Baktyjoka Izmukhambetov says production from Kashagan which is being developed by the Italian Eni SpA could see commercial production of the Kashagan oilfield, delayed to 2010.
They state that the field has estimated reserves of 45 Bn. barrels, of which between 8-13 Bn. barrels are currently considered recoverable.
Pic 1515Tonne Arcticaborg icebreaker which can continuously break ice 1m thick at work in the Caspian.
Monday, September 04, 2006
"Let me make it clear that it was important to retrieve those two soldiers.The British Army looks after its own.” (General Sir Michael Jackson, Chief of the General Staff ,Basra S. Iraq quoted in the Times, 12 Oct 2005)
There will be few who forget the curious incident when 2 allegedly undercover SAS men wearing comical Arab style clothing were arrested, photographed and imprisoned by Iraqi Police in Basra on September 19th 2005 driving a car loaded with weapons, ammunition and a brand new car jack.
They will also remember the derring do raid on the local prison involving 10 tanks and supporting helicopters to rescue them that night. The raid resulted in the death of 7 Iraqis and a further 43 injured.
On the 14th October HMG formally almost apologized to Iraq and confirmed that it "will pay compensation for injuries and damage" (Times October 12th)
In the same article John Reid, the Defence Minister,is quoted and insisted the Army’s actions had been “absolutely right” and declared: “When it is necessary to protect British servicemen, we will take that action. And by God it was effective.” Brigadier John Lorimer, the British commander in Basra, insisted that his forces “won’t hesitate” to act against those endangering coalition troops.
In the aftermath of these events, still unexplained and shrouded in military secrecy, Captain Ken Masters (40) Commanding Officer of the Special Investigation Branch of the Royal Military Police and "responsible for the investigation of all in-theatre serious incidents, plus investigations conducted by the General Police Duties element of the Theatre Investigation Group." (Statement of Britain's Ministry of Defense, 16 Oct 2005) undertook an investigation into circumstances of the arrest of two alleged undercover SAS men.
On that evening Capt Masters sent an e-mail sent to his wife (timed 5.20am 14 October) "U and the girls are keeping me going, I can tell you. Love you all very much. Daddy xxxooo."
On the day following the apology by HMG, and 2 weeks before he was due leave in the UK, Masters , a man who ran every morning, was found dead ... hanging by a bootlace in his barracks room. He had left two suicide notes: one to the Army, blaming himself for his death, and the other to his wife the inquest was later told. This was a few days after General Sir Michael Jackson, Chief of the General Staff was in Basra and met and discussed the matter with him.
"Let me make it clear that it was important to retrieve those two soldiers.The British Army looks after its own.” (General Sir Michael Jackson, Chief of the General Staff ,Basra S. Iraq quoted in the Times, 12 Oct 2005)
An inquest at Swindon Coroner's Court, which was heard on 27th June 2006, found that Capt Ken Masters, a senior military police investigator in Iraq, took his own life. At the time he was
suffering from depression brought on by increasing workload and stress.
Warrant Officer Philip Floyd told the court: “He was very conscientious. He had a sense of frustration in that the procedures we had to conduct in the inquiries were hindered by
forces outside of our control.”
Further Refs re the Inquest
Suicide in Basra: The unravelling of a military man by Ian Herbert
Stress of Army officer found hanged in Iraq By Michael Evans
Texts of e-mails Masters sent to his wife and shown at the inquest are available here.The "boss" mentioned in them is / was Lieutenant Colonel Ian Stenning, the Provost General who some will remember personally took charge of the investigation into the abuse by the Queens Lancashire Regiment (QLR) after photographs appeared in the Daily Mirror and General Sir
Michael Jackson, Chief of the General Staff appeared on UK TV the same night promising a full inquiry and when Lieutenant Colonel John Downham, regimental secretary of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment was gagged by the MOD. Curiously the investigation by Lieutenant Colonel Ian Stenning has yet to see the light of day. Neither has the Basra SAS investigation report been completed or published. The Editor of the Mirror lost his job.
General Sir Michael Jackson, Chief of the General Staff ? He has just retired and the CGS is chap called Sir Richard Dannatt. The Guradian report today in his first interview since taking up his post as chief of the general staff, General Dannatt warned: "We are running hot, certainly running hot." He added: "Can we cope? I pause. I say 'just'."
General Sir Mike Jackson was awarded the MBE in 1979, the CBE in 1992, the CB in 1996, the KCB in 1998, the DSO in 1999 and ADC Gen in 2001. He is married to Sarah, and has 2 sons, a daughter and three grandchildren. His interests include music, reading, travel, skiing and tennis. His predecessor Lord Guthrie joined the Board of Directors of military, aviation and law enforcement training solutions company Advanced Interactive Systems in May 2004.
The photograph of General Sir Mike Jackson is somewhat misleading, the prominent bags under his eyes have been removed by surgery.
With a socialist upbringing in the mountains of Arkansas Orval Eugene Faubus was only 26 when he pitched for a seat in the State General assembly. With a background of fighting for women's votes, poll tax abolition his father Sam was a well known socialist and was once arrested in 1918 for "distributing seditious material" and "uttering numerous disloyal remarks".
After a tough war with General Patton's 3rd Army as an intelligence officer , Orval returned and joined the Democratic Party for whom he stood successfully as Governor. As a liberal he promised to increase spending on schools and roads. In the first few months of his administration, Faubus desegregated state buses and public transportation and began to investigate the possibility of introducing multi-racial schools.
This all came after Jim Johnson a right wing Democrat had challenged in court (Brown v Board of Education) the Supreme Court ruling on May 17, 1954 that separate schools for blacks and whites were unequal and therfore unconstituional.
The town of Little Rock hit the international headlines 49 years ago today, (Bill Clinton was 11 then) when Orval used the Arkansas National Guard to stop African-Americans, , the so called, "Little Rock Nine", from attending Little Rock Central High School as part of federally ordered desegregation of public schools.
President Eisenhower federalised the guards, taking them out of Orval's control and returned them to their barracks.Eisenhower then sent 1,100 troops (who had been trained in anticipation of this event) of the 101st Airborne Division to Arkansas to protect the black students and enforce the Federal court order.
School was conducted the entire year of 1957-58 with Federal soldiers on the school grounds and in the rooms and hallways of the Central building. Then the people of the Little Rock district voted to close the senior high schools rather than submit to another year of classes under the control of Federal troops or U.S. marshals. The senior high schools only remained closed for a year. All other schools operated normally. ... Classes were resumed in all Little Rock schools in the school year 1959-60.Little Rock, Pulaski County is now the home of the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library and was inaugurated November 2004 in the presence of 3 Presidents, Dubya, his dad and Jimmy Carter.
Re-elected 5 times Orval remained popular until beaten in the primaries in 1966 by his old right wing foe Jim Johnson who was defeated by the Republican Winthrop Rockefeller (on his second run at the post) son of John D and grandson of John Davison Rockefeller, Sr. founder the Standard Oil Company..
Paradoxically Orvals's nemesis politically had been appointed by him when he arrived in Arkansas as chairman of the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission (AIDC). It was after his arrival that Sam Walton's Wal Mart in Bentonville, Benton County, started in house deliveries to his stores and the company took off nationwide and simultaneously Tyson Foods gobbled up its competitots to become the nation's largest producer and distributor of protein.
It was of course Mr Tyson's shrewd advice about chicken futures that put a smile on Hilary Ridham Clinton's face and money in her pocket at the start of her political career with husband Bill.Both Tyson and Walton were clients of Hilary's employers the Rose Law firm of Little Rock, the proudest and "oldest law firm west of the Mississippi River".
Orval never fully explained his actions which were apparently , but inoccently anti-segregationist although later in life he talked of being tipped off about armies of white supremacists on the march to stop the nine black children attending school.
In the 1970s after failed attempts at a political come back, Faubus's financial position had deteriorated to the point where he was forced to accept a position as a bank teller at a local Huntsville, Arkansas bank and sell his home.
Faubus died of cancer on 14 December 1994.
The Herald today
"John Reid's statement, when he was Defence Secretary, that he hoped British troops would not have to fire a shot, lulled the British public into believing that, despite their fearsome reputation, the Taliban were a spent force and that our troops' role would be confined to providing a security umbrella for reconstruction."[It was of course a lie, and he knew it when he said it]
"Afghanistan is a mess and we are at increasing risk of sacrificing highly-trained, but often absurdly young soldiers, special forces and aircrew in a misbegotten, unwinnable campaign against a force of Taliban fighters determined to protect the opium harvest that is financing yet more Kalashnikovs and grenade launchers to attack our troops."
"It is now tragically clear that the Nato forces – particularly in the south – are engaged in a counter-insurgency campaign rather than a reconstruction mission. Labelling it as such has political repercussions for some Nato countries, but we can no longer pretend that this is anything other than war. That means we have to provide our troops with the means to succeed – or bring them out."
The BBC report that Foreign Office Minister "Rentagob" Kim Howells, who is visiting Kabul, dismissed claims the crash showed the UK's aircraft were old (the Comet was designed during the war and the Nimrods based on that design are over 30 years old) and more funds were needed to be committed to the operation.
"I've not heard that at all from our commanders, our generals out here, they seem very satisfied with the equipment they've got," he said.
Major Luke Knittig, a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), said the aircraft had made an emergency call shortly before it disappeared.
Roland Buerk, the BBC's correspondent in Afghanistan, said Nato reported the Nimrod was flying too high to be hit by the Taleban's Stinger missiles in the minutes before the crash.... which is curious because they are not supposed to have any Stinger missiles.
"There is no reason to believe that the aircraft was lost as a result of hostile action. A Board of Inquiry has been convened to determine the cause of this tragic loss." said Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy
Combined Forces Command Afghanistan website here.
Meanwhile if this is too much for you the BBC have a good (publicity) story about Paris Hilton (with amazing pictures) and her new CD here.
Lawrence H. Summers resigned as President of Harvard University on June 30th (announced February 21, 2006,) after some unfortunate remarks he made about women and science.
Rooting as we do at Patel Towers in the vaults of the Internet , we found that the same guy was at one time was a vice president (and Chief Economist) at the World Bank (before becoming Clinton's Secretary to the Treasury (at the same time as Elena Kagan served as Associate Counsel to U.S. President Bill Clinton and Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Counsel.) In 1992 a memo (remember this was way before wayward e-mails could fuck up a promising career) surfaced under his moniker entitled "Shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to Less Developed Countries:"
"The measurements of the costs of health-impairing pollution depends on the foregone earnings from increased morbidity and mortality. From this point of view, a given amount of health-impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost, which will be the country with the lowest wages. I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we shold face up to that. I've always thought that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly under-polluted."
This might cause a weak smile to play about the lips of a Harvard grad, but recall the World Bank , now in the unsafe hands of comb sucking Wolfowitz now espouses grandiose schemes for national infrastructure like roads, airports, and ports.
Today the WB policy is to invest in energy or pollution producing mega-projects led by multinational corporations in developing nations where the IMF has often already established a cheap, unregulated labour force, low corporate taxes, and duty-free exports to world markets.
Just the way California exports pollution to the Eastward coal rich states to burn their coal to sell electricity to California... or what they call in Wyoming the California Cloud.
Birds, as they say in the less genteel purlieus of Lancashire, never shit in their own nest.
PS The successor to the richly fabled Summers has not been elected but the birdies tell us that Elena Kagan (see pic), the current Dean of the Harvard Law School, is the favorite at 3-1. Steven E. Hyman is 7-2 and John Etchemendy at 4-1. BETcris waits for your call.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
The Disasters Emergency Committee has representatives from 13 charities that co-ordinate charity appeals. Plans for a televised appeal ( see Tsunami / Pakistan E'Qake) to raise funds for dealing with the post war humanitarian crisis in Lebanon have been refused by the UK broadcasters en bloc. 1,000 people have been killed and 1.5 million people displaced in Israel and Lebanon and a massive oil slick spreads long the Lebanese and Syrian coast.
BBC with ITN and Sky News, told charities they feared people might not support such a campaign because of the "political complexities" of the Middle East. ITV News Editor, David Mannion, discussed the matter a number of times with the BBC's head of news, Helen Boaden.
"Helen and I felt it was inappropriate. We agreed on that position, there was no disagreement."
The broadcasters also cited "concerns" about the stability of the ceasefire between the Israeli army and Hizbullah brokered on August 14.
DEC has already has a national appeal for the Darfur crisis, which has incredibly complex political / religious dimensions, as well as for the famine in Niger, and dispute that the situation in Lebanon is "too complex".
The broadcasters claimed to reached their decision after considering three criteria at meetings with representatives from the 13 charities (led by Oxfam) that constitute the DEC.
The criteria are said to be :
1. Is the disaster was large and urgent enough to warrant a national appeal?
2. Could such an appeal bring effective help swiftly?
3. Is there enough pre-existing public awareness to raise enough money?
The answers to all of which are self - evidently YES, but according to the Mannion / Boaden axis are NO.
So ITV / BBC are in complete agreement, which SKY are happy to go along with. Raising money to deal with the loss of housing, water, oil, electricity, infrastructure, a worldwide diaspora of dependents, death , injuries on a massive scale, tens of thousands of unexploded cluster bomblets caused by the Israeli invasion of Lebanon is politically "too complex".... "inappropriate" even according to the Boaden / Mannion news duopolists. US$30 Billion according to the Lebanese PM.
Tom Griffin at the Green Ribbon suggests a reason why...aided by an "analyst" from covert UK military force AEGIS Dominick Donald and a consideration of the role of the HMG Post-Conflict Reconstruction Unit (PCRU).
""It would appear that this experience (Iraq - where aid agencies either stayed out of the country or refused to co-operate with the coalition, particularly after the bombing of the UN HQ and the murder of Care's Margaret Hassan) has crystallized a growing distrust in key British Government departments (MOD, FCO, the Cabinet Office) with NGOs as implementing partners"
See Royal United Services Institute Publication portentously described "Whitehall Paper" ... "After The Bubble: British Private Security Companies After Iraq" By Dominick Donald 25 Jul 2006 £10.
" ....highlights for government and policy makers the key issues that are likely to shape the debate about the sector in the short to medium term, and the areas where the sector (PSC Private Security Companies) believes it has something to offer. In so doing it aims to shift perceptions away from the caricatures that tend to distort media coverage of PSCs and provide a constructive, occasionally sceptical contribution to the debate."
... the leitmotif appears to be, now that AEGIS has been created by political pressure, MOD direction and US Congressional funds and Iraq is going for a ball of chalk, so ... what do AEGIS do now.. look out for press stories of ex SAS / FFL / caring for the wounded children blown to bits by cluster bomblets, rather than strafing cars and taxis on the Green Route to Baghdad airport.
Pic Middle East Online see story
Expect BAE shares (372 p at close on Friday) to move up smartly tomorrow morning on London markets (US markets shut for Labour Day). The Observer reports today that the board have agreed the sale of their 20% put option to EADS at the Rothschilds depressingly low arbitration price of US$3.6 Bn.
BAE will therefore be unencumbered by this European commitment and become an instant target for a US based take-over, possibly by Boeing.
This will please recently appointed (effective 10th September 2006) Director, Sir Nigel Rudd,accountant and asset stripper extraordinaire, who steered Kidde into the hands of United Technologies, and Pilkington into the hands of NGC, so that 90% of the worlds flat glass is made by two Japanese companies.(Also Chmn. of Boots and V.Chmn Barclays Bank)
The Queen saw fit to ennoble Nigel in 1996 for services to British Industry.
Share price from BAE site (Note that Sir Nigel's apointment was announced on July 26th) Yellow = FTSE Index
The Financial Times - BAE due to decide on Airbus holding
By Kevin Done in London Published: September 3 2006 19:03
The Assyrian International News Agency reports that Iraq's most prominent archaeologist has resigned and fled the country, saying the dire security situation, an acute shortage of funds, and the interference of supporters of the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr had made his position intolerable.
Donny George, a Christian, who was president of the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, achieved international recognition for his efforts to track down and recover the priceless antiquities looted from Iraq's National Museum in the mayhem that followed the fall of Baghdad in 2003.
But this week he revealed that he had resigned and was in hiding with his family in the Syrian capital Damascus.
"The board has come under the increasing influence of al-Sadr," claimed Dr George. "I can no longer work with these people who have come in with the new ministry he told the Art newspaper. "They have no knowledge of archaeology, no knowledge of antiquities." Dr George says that over the past two years excavations and conservation work in Iraq had ground to a halt and all the foreign archaeologists had left the country.
He said the 1,400 members of the special antiquities protection force would be going without pay, meaning there would be little to stop further looting at the country's 11,000 archaeological sites. "From September there is no more money for their salaries," said Dr George. "The coalition has to do something about this."
The bottom line, is of course that the funds made available by the US Congress for the re-construction of Iraq have run out, after filling the pockets of US companies and private security armies and theft and general corruption by staff at all levels of the various US sponsored Governments since the illegal invasion.