"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Heroin addicts - Dihydrocodeine (DHC) as effective as methadone for treatment at half the cost ?

Heroin addicts, like the poor and the very rich are destined, it appears, to be always with us. Currently drug users are "treated" with methadone - about 20,000 people in Scotland are on methadone programmes. A liquid daily dose is medically prescribed which has to be consumed under supervision at the dispensing pharmacy (see pic) at an approximate cost of £1.500 per patient annually. Heroin releases an excess of dopamine in the body and causes users to need an opiate continuously occupying the opioid receptor in the brain. Methadone occupies this receptor and is the stabilizing factor that permits addicts on methadone to change their behavior and to discontinue heroin use.

Taken orally once a day, methadone, developed in war time Germany as a morphine replacement suppresses narcotic withdrawal for between 24 and 36 hours.

Methadone does not impair cognitive functions. It has no adverse effects on mental capability, intelligence, or employability. It is not sedating or intoxicating, nor does it interfere with ordinary activities such as driving a car or operating machinery. Patients are able to feel pain and experience emotional reactions. Vitally , methadone relieves the craving associated with opiate addiction. For methadone patients, typical street doses of heroin are ineffective at producing euphoria, making the use of heroin less desirable. In the US it is said treatment costs are approximately £2,400 per annum per patient.

Methadone treatment of heroin addicts was pioneered in the US in the 1960's by Dr. Vincent P. Dole, a specialist in metabolic diseases (he regarded obesity as an addiction to food) and Dr. Marie Nyswander, a Psychiatrist, who wrote a seminal book "The Drug Addict as a Patient" established the first heroin addiction programs in New York using methadone (read history of clinic here) - a romantic story - they later married.

Dihydrocodeine (DHC) is a valuable, easily sold medicine and requires no special handling or precautions. Used briefly as an anti-tussive (for coughs) and also longer term for pain relief it can over time be associated , as are many opiods with constipation.

Dihydrocodeine (DHC), a widely used opioid analgesic can be prescribed in tablet form, is easily and safely stored and costs for treating heroin addicts are £713 per patient per annum. In the United Kingdom dihydrocodeine is a Class B drug Illegal possession can result in up to 5 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.In the USA, it is a DEA Schedule II substance the same as cocaine, although very low doses may be classified as Schedule III.

Link for experience of regular users for intensive pain relief here

Edinburgh GP, Dr Roy Robertson ( and a Reader at the University of Edinburgh) in a study funded by Chief Scientist Office recruited 235 subjects (168 male, 67 female) with opiate dependence syndrome for study over 42 months. He and his colleagues found that the prescription painkiller dihydrocodeine is equally as effective as methadone to help drug users kick the habit (No figures are available). Its effectiveness has never been tested before (!), even though it has been used for many years - because it is not as toxic and less likely to cause a fatal overdose and often in prisons or police custody. Report in Addiction and Abstract (see Footnote)

Indirect comparisons with other studies are said to show dihydrocodeine (and methadone) to be superior to the use of placebos.

Dr Robertson says "Methadone should still be used to treat the majority of patients withdrawing from heroin and requiring maintenance treatment, but dihydrocodeine offers an alternative treatment for those who can’t tolerate methadone, or find it hard to deal with the stigma of having to take their dose –sometimes every day –in a pharmacy. It is also much cheaper."

"We want to engage young people in a treatment programme which stops them from injecting drugs and running the risk of infection," he said.

"Apart from the danger of contracting AIDS, drug users run the real risk of exposure to the potentially fatal liver disease, Hepatitis C. We face an epidemic of Hepatitis C in Scotland, with 40% of young people who have been injecting drugs for more than two years being infected with this serious illness."

One is left in confusion, are we treating drug addicts or trying to prevent them spreading disease by dirty needles ? ..or both ...or even neither.

This is what Cyswllt Ceredigion Contact who were nominated the "National Drug Team of the Year 2006" say on their website

It is our experience - as ex-drug addicts and addiction counsellors - that methadone is as dangerous and as harmful as is heroin. While methadone maintenance does represent a low-cost form of treatment for opiate addicts (and this may be its main attraction), it offers little or no incentive for an addict to stop taking drugs.
....but turn to the Drink and Drugs Net newsletter May 2006 and the claims that ..

‘The evidence is overwhelming that methadone treatment, if delivered properly, reduces infections and death, improves health and social functioning, and is also the most effective route to eventual abstinence. ‘
Confused ? You will be.

Footnote - The full citation of the Article in Addiction is ;
Volume 101 Issue 12 Page 1752 - December 2006
Addiction 101 (12), 1752–1759.
Addressing the efficacy of dihydrocodeine versus methadone as an alternative maintenance treatment for opiate dependence: a randomized controlled trial
* J. Roy Robertson11Division of Community Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, J. Roy Robertson, Muirhouse Medical Group, 1 Muirhouse Avenue, Edinburgh EH4 4PL, UK. E-mail: roy.robertson@ed.ac.uk ,
* Gillian M. Raab32Community Drug Problems Service, Edinburgh, ,
* Malcolm Bruce23School of Community Health, Napier University, Edinburgh, UK and ,
* James S. McKenzie23School of Community Health, Napier University, Edinburgh, UK and ,
* Helen R. Storkey32Community Drug Problems Service, Edinburgh, &
* Amy Salter44School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia

US troops in major Bagdhad surge

Feb. 17, 2007, 12:26PM
Senate set to vote on Iraq troop surge

WASHINGTON — One day after the House issued a rebuke to President Bush ......

The undrunk tea

It is to Alan Bennet that we look for those fragments of dialogue that so concisely and acutely lay bare the feminine mind. Therefore it came as a surprise when listening to the Archers (This is, for overseas readers , a daily BBC 15 minute radio drama, a sort of rural soap opera without pictures - that recreates the blissful bucolic idyll of the English countryside, cunningly interwoven within the lives of farmers, publicans and their colourful and varied servants and relatives) to see how others have as effectively uncovered the female psyche.

Picture the scene. There is friction in the farmhouse kitchen. The Aga is aglow, the copper pots are burnished and gleaming. The Windsor chairs bright with the patina of ages. Ruth, for years a faithful and loving mother and struggling farmer's wife, turned almost faithless by unexpected yearning in the cow shed for the wayward cowman (now expelled in the peremptory way that soap opera characters can be) and the gulled husband have several weeks after this was exposed to the radio nation, settled into an uneasy and fitful alliance.

Trouble is brewing.

There is a stand off .

Tonight he doesn't want his tea, the fuel for a sturdy yeoman. In high dudgeon he decides he has better things to do , plough meadows, make sausages, prepare a scarecrow, shoot a badger even ... and storms out .

" But ... but I have just boiled the kettle !" she shouts after him.

North Sea oil and gas outputs decline faster, investment drops, tax take falls £1 BN pa

The UK Offshore Operators’ Association 2006 activity survey has just been published and provides a snapshot of North sea Oil and Gas production that should leave the simple folks who plan UK energy security with furrowed brows.

Oil and gas production is now expected to be 10 % lower over the next few years - a faster than expected decline. Which is also very bad news for Gordon Brown and his juvenile Treasury satraps as it represents a drop in expected tax revenues of £1 Bn a year - say 20% of the los on VAT carousel fraud and duty evasion on tobacco.

At the beginning of the month Alistair Darling, the trade and industry secretary, declared that 2006 was the best year for new finds of oil and gas for five years. There is still an estimated 16bn-25bn barrels of oil equivalent in oil and gas left to be extracted.

Well, up to apoint Lord Copper.

High prices for oil and gas have increased interest and activity but costs have soared so that developing and operating a project rose by 45% on average last year, from US$15 per barrel of oil equivalent extracted to US$22 (page 12.) During the next couple of years it is expected to rise again, to US $25. IHS and Cambridge Energy Research Associates, have compiled an index based on a “basket” of costs for oil and gas capital projects. From November 2005 to May 2006, costs rose by 17 per cent; in the subsequent six months, they rose another 13 per cent.

The Operators report sates "Operating costs now average at $9-10/boe, compared with $5–6/boe three years ago," (Page 5)

Old wells are running dry and new wells are generally very small. Last year’s production of oil and gas was down 9 % at 2.9m boe a day, a steep fall from the peak in 1999 of 4.5m boe/d in 1999, and the lowest level since 1992. By 2010 production is expected to be down to just 2.6m boe/d - i.e 250,000 boe pd lower on average over the remainder of this decade - and lower by the same amount than last years survey and only sufficient to meet 90% of UK demand. (Page 6) The graph on Page 7 shows how forecasts have persistently been optimistic and always above outcomes.

“Poor reservoir performance" low yields and higher maintenance on ageing eqipment despite a massive investment last year of £5.6bn (highest since 1998) - investment set to fall as oilcos go looking for oil with lower extraction costs and bigger volumes.

News of discoveries that excites Mr Darling however conceals many finds of only 10 boe, the 2006 total figure of 500m boe had only one big find of 175mboe. However the long term shows a steady developemnt of production which will outlast a Labour Gubment ...The latest activity survey shows that the current Industry plans may recover up to 10.3 billion boe over the period 1.1.07 to 2030 from existing fields and new developments. Of this figure, circa 8 billion boe are to be produced from currently sanctioned investments and a further potential 2.3 billion (22%) boe from new fields and incremental developments.

The North Sea, hit by being Gordon Brown's milch cow has been hit by increased taxation but the Treasury has had to revise down sharply its forecasts of future North Sea tax revenues in last year’s pre-Budget report.... and no--ne knows what de-commissioning costs are going to be. This is reflected in the fact that Asset trading dropped dramatically in 2006 with only 17 deals reported by year end. This is a historic low and half that seen in 2005. The Report says that action must be taken now to address the fiscal and regulatory issues, particularly to provide certainty on the future tax treatment of decommissioning costs and avoid the regulatory framework on decommissioning becoming a barrier to the sale or purchase of assets.

The gas production forecasts are no more encouraging - In 2006 around 80 billion cubic metres of gas was produced, which represented a 7% drop compared to 2005 - beow forecast production; while some of this shortfall can be attributed to lower volumes of associated gas with the decline in oil production, a 5% drop in UK gas demand was responsible for the vast majority of the fall in production. From 1995 to 2004 the UK was self-sufficient in gas, but became a net importer in 2005. The proportion of gas demand satisfied by indigenous production could still be higher than 60% in 2010.

This is what the review concludes

This survey provides a much more challenging perspective on the future of the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) than we have seen for some years. It is dominated by3 factors,

1. A more rapid than expected decline in production
2. Significant cost inflation in 2006
3. Forecast of a reduction in investment in 2007, after a sharp rise in 2006.

We see this as strong evidence that the UK Offshore oil and gas province is becoming less competitive and less able to attract investment with negative implications for future production levels and forecast fiscal revenues.

And a sobering reflection on the difficulties of energy security

The UKCS will continue to make a crucial contribution to UK security of supply
− The UK is expected to be self sufficient in oil in 2007/8 but is now more likely to be a net
oil importer by 2010,
− Indigenous gas could still meet more than 60% of UK demand in 2010.


The combined circumstances of falling commodity prices, a weakening dollar and increasing costs are now illustrating how vulnerable industry cashflow and investor confidence are to fiscal instability, and in particular tax increases which reduce the competitiveness of the basin.

There are revealing (and evidently authoritative) graphs which would be used but the vast technical staff don't understand how to remove them from PDF documents.

See also for more comment ;
Excellent analysis by Ed Crooks, Energy Editor of the Engineer - Action required for UK oil and gas News stories by Financial Times Fears for North Sea outputgrow Daily Torygraph North Sea oil slowdown likely to cost UK £3bn in lost taxes

Harry Webster UK car designer dies - TR series, Herald Stag

Harry Webster CBE , was fairly typical of the sound, decent, hard working, engineers that started working on the bench and ended up becoming , was one of the UK motor industry's great and pioneering engineers. A modest, quiet and unassuming man with a lively sense of humour his design flair, leadership and drive resulted in the post war revival of Triumph motor cars. An engineering vision not matched by the boneheads who ran UK automotive manufacturing into the ground.

He worked on the groundbreaking and iconic TR series of sports cars and also created the Herald, it's derivative the Vitesse and the Spitfire sports car. He also wasn't afraid to buy in design from the Italian stylist Giovanni Michelotti.

Born during WW1 in 1917, and started as an apprentice at the Standard Motor Company in 1932, he attended Coventry Technical College.

Harry became chief executive engineer at Leyland Motors in 1967 replacing the brilliant creator of the Mini, Alec Issigonis as the company's technical director following yet another merger that created British Leyland in 1968.

TR enthusiasts worldwide admire his cars,(not without their faults however), which introduced the first disc brakes (TR2) and the first independent rear suspension(TR3) on a production car.

Pic is my Dad's Herald in Wales approx 1958 which was a 2 tone -WOW!! a sort of purpley lavender colour with "Sebring" white body flashes. Sebring was a famous Californian Race track . The headlight cowls rusted almost instantly and new front tyres were needed every 7,000 miles, but you could "de-coke" it sat on the front wheel.

Daily Torygraph Obituary here
Independent Obituary here
Times Obituary here
Wikipedia entry here

Friday, February 16, 2007

UK LNG gas facilities double by Exceleration

Excelerate Energy is a private company formed in 2003 by George B. Kaiser, (65) owner of the Kaiser-Francis Oil Company and majority shareholder of BOK Financial (NASDAQ: BOKF),to pursue new LNG importation alternatives into the United States and around the world. Mr Kaiser has an estimated net worth of around $8.5 billion, he is ranked by Forbes as the 27-richest person in America. His children's charity George Kaiser Family Foundation is endowed with US$ 1.1 Bn and has an annual income of US$246 Mn. Widowed, he plans to leave bulk of estate to charity.

On December 17, 2003, Excelerate acquired all of the rights to the Energy Bridge™ offshore shipboard regasification technology from El Paso Corporation, including the company’s Gulf Gateway deepwater port. Following the acquisition of the technology from El Paso Corporation, Excelerate assumed all responsibilities for the construction and operation of Gulf Gateway.

Construction, installation and testing of all of the facilities necessary to operate the Gulf Gateway deepwater port were completed in February 2005. Thereafter, on March 17, 2005, the first Energy Bridge Regasification Vehicle (EBRV), successfully docked at the Gulf Gateway port and began deliveries of regasified LNG. Deliveries from that shipment, totaling approximately [2.9] Bcf of natural gas, (20,000 tonnes ish) were completed on March 30, 2005, after which the buoy was returned to its submerged position and the vessel departed.(see Video here)

This week Excelerate Energy LLC today announced the arrival of the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo at Teesport in Northern England, the first dockside regasification port and second operational LNG facility in the UK. The construction work began in the summer, meaning that laying all three pipelines, building the loading arm and refurbishing the jetty has all happened in under a year.

At Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands, the Excelerate Energy Bridge vessel Excelsior received 132,000 cubic meters of LNG from the conventional LNG vessel Excalibur carrying gas from Trinidad (it could have come from Qatar, Iran, Algeria) . This was a demonstration of a new technology that has dramatic implications for the LNG industry globally, by which LNG is transferred from ship to ship.

From Orkney the Excelsior, travelled to Teesport. This was the first Energy Bridge Regasification Vehicle (EBRV) , which was delivered to Excelerate on January 14, 2005 from the Okpo Bay shipyard of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd. (DSME) in South Korea. The vessel is owned by Exmar NV of Belgium and is under a 20-year time charter to Excelerate with a series of extension options.

At Teesport the vessel was then able to directly supply the unique dockside storage facility being fed by natural gass pipelines after on board re-gasification from the transported liquid product.

"This historic project confirms the unique ability of Excelerate Energy's ship regasification technology to quickly and cost-effectively create new market access for LNG supplies," said Kathleen Eisbrenner, president and CEO of Excelerate Energy.The company have two other EBRV vessels, the Excellence and the Excelerate and a fourth the Explorer will be delivered in March 2008 - all built by Daewoo.

"Dockside regasification is a milestone for the LNG industry, opening new market possibilities and options."said Kathleen

Traditional LNG ships must deliver their cargo as liquid to onshore terminals where it is converted to gas. Excelerate Energy's Teesside GasPort was built with the initial capacity to
import up to four LNG cargoes a month, each of which contains about three billion cubic feet of natural gas.

Alistair Darling, UK Trade and Industry Seoubled cretary toured the facilities and the ship on Tuesday and watched the 20,000 tonne shipment (sufficient they say to fuel 60,000 homes) arrive and begin unloading.

This 1st delivery means that in the last 6 months the UK has doubled ("dramatically increased the amount of energy it can import by 140%," says the DTI pres release) diversifying and increasing our security of supply - and tying the UK ito this unique method of delivery for many, many years.

The UK has a 20 year old (but little used) conventional LNG terminal on the Isle of Grain in Kent. Further LNG import terminals and distribution pipelines are under construction at Milford Haven in South West Wales.

Minister Darling said ""This project together with others which have come on-stream this winter, like the pipelines from Norway and the Netherlands have dramatically increased (doubled) the amount of energy we can import." which is just as well seeing they have royally fucked up progress on installing new nuclear power stations by bulldozing their ersatz "consultation" process.

UPDATE 19th February 2007

The Oil and Gas Journal makes the following useful and interesting comment s ....

1. Teesside GasPort, which is a shore-mounted manifold that connects to a high-pressure gas arm onboard the EBRV, will allow Excelerate to deliver as much as 600 MMcfd of gas to the UK grid. This is a significant achievement because it facilitates dockside regasification of LNG. GasPort is less expensive at £40 million than using onshore regasification terminals, which cost £400 million.

2. However, it is unlikely that the EBRVs will deliver substantial LNG supplies to the UK as these gas prices have fallen to 20p/therm compared with 80p/therm when the Teesside GasPort proposal was launched over a year ago. Instead, the LNG is likely to go to the US where prices are higher. Prices have fallen due to mild winter weather and other import gas pipeline supplies coming onstream.

No details of the supply contracts and who they are between are available ... instead of being reliant on Russians we are reliant ona company run by one of the world's richest men who owns the tankers on which the system relies. There might be some who think this doesn't constitute energy security of US buyers are happy to pay more for their gas. ...US domestic gas prices are at least double the UK.

Which is reflected in the comments in the Reuters story about the docking of the Excelsior ..

"..... Excelerate has said that the facility could deliver up to 11.3 million cubic metres of gas a day.

But there is no guarantee that the company will deliver that much LNG to the terminal because it may be able to get much more money for its gas in other parts of the world.

Unlike pipeline gas, LNG tankers are free to choose their destinations and can be sent to the highest bidder."

UPDATE Dec 10th 2007

RWE AG said it has reached an agreement with Excelerate Energy enabling the latter to deliver liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the UK via the Teeside GasPort terminal.

RWE said it is working with the LNG importer to evaluate other possible sites in Germany, the UK and other European countries where Excelerate's technology could be used.

The company added that its work with Excelerate complements its plans in the Netherlands, where it reached an agreement in June with Royal Vopak NV and NV Nederlandse Gasunie to acquire a 10 pct stake in the newly-planned Gate terminal LNG regasification plant in Rotterdam.

The UK's GasPort terminal is expected to be operational in January 2007, said RWE.

EU Don't Agree on Global Warming Targets - but do agree on Biofuels.

The EU member states failed this week to agree on goals for reduction in CO2 a Europe-wide goal to dramatically increase their use of green energy.

Of the 27 members, 10 EU states , led by Sweden and Denmark, wanted to approve a proposal that 20 % Europe's energy use should derive from renewable sources like wind energy or biofuels by 2020. Germany has already passed the 20% target into law -- Germany's current share of renewable energy consumption is about 7 % of total energy currently consumed.

The UK and Poland, objected to the 20% target as a result "confusion over the industrial reforms necessary within each nation." ... which translatres as let's buy some time.

The good news (for the tree huggers) was that the legally binding proposal that biofuels should make up 10 % of gasoline and diesel fuels for vehicles by 2020 was agreed -- subject to the weasel words of a proviso that " ... biofuel becomes commercially available."

As the Mexican have had food riots because the price of tortillas made from corn flour have doubled - following the rise in price of US corn , demanded as fuel by massive expansions of biofuel production - there are voices who say food should be fed to animals and people before making fuel for vehicles.

In the US biofuel production flourishes because the government has mandated Ethanol in Fuels, massively subsidized it's production, and protected the corn ethanol producers from the more efficient ( and low cost) Sugar cane ethanol produced in central and South America with high tariffs..

Of course, publicly-traded corn companies like Archer-Daniels-Midland (NYSE: ADM), Bunge Ltd. (NYSE: BG - see chart) and Corn Products International Inc. (NYSE: CPO) can't and don't mind that much - their profits are soaring (CPO with US$ 2.62 Bn sales, expects EPS to rise from US$1.63 in '06 to US$2.01 in '07 = 23%) A clutch of smaller biofuels companies have also seen their stock prices soar after hitting the market earlier this year.

Big multinationals like Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT) must be happy too -- higher prices on big-selling staples are always a good thing for stockholders ... but this year "sustainable" Wal-Mart announced programs to reduce packaging across its global supply chain and to sell 100 million energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs at its stores by the end of 2007 - that's one per household.

Should Americans care ? Damn well right they should. There are a lot of low income Hispanics who have been hit by rising food prices, Californian frosts have bumped up the price of citrus fruits , lettuce, avocados , soft fruit like strawberries (up from US42.40 a punnet to US$4.00 in Wal Mart) - Coca Cola who own Minute Maid juices and Pepsi who own Tropicana have put OJ prices up 11% . Remember 2 years ago when Hispanic TV stations in downtown LA led the news with soaring milk price rises ?

Should Europeans care ? Damn well right they should - one consequence is that as corn is used up for fuel, food manufactures shift to wheat - which is now in short supply due to a bad season in Australia, Indian prosperity, wheat prices rise, so European bread prices have risen... and on all projections will continue to rise.

Meanwhile in the unreal world, in Washington the "Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment "(GLOBE) forum met to lay out the broad outlines for a replacement to the Kyoto protocol, which is due to expire in 2012.

Delegates, from the G8 as well as China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa informally agreed that developing countries should face targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions alongside rich countries. Which the thrid world will be delighted to hear.

Plunging further into the unreal world that these utopians engage with, they also backed the idea of a global market to cap and trade carbon dioxide emissions.... it won't stop once Kg of coal, gallon of petrol, BTU of gas being burnt - but it will make one hell of a lot of money for the money jugglers of Wall Street and Threadneedle Street.

This GLOBE group (neat Acronym hey ?) has no legal authority, no official remit, in fact no powers at all ,however their ill considered recommendations will be sent to the meeting of G8 world leaders and can (and will) shape a "new Kyoto." State Department Undersecretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula J. Dobriansky (in office since March 2001) was there to put the Administration's views and told the forum that ''We share with other countries the goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and introducing new, cleaner technologies.'' ... which is well, a sign of a slight change ...well sort of. Judging by her picture you can bet she believes in Mom and apple pie too.

Surprisingly (although they were probably in town anyway) the bipartisan duo of Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) who are co-sponsoring a new piece of American climate legislation,The Climate Stewardship Act, which they first introduced in 2003 turned up hoping to signal a change in the US position on climate change. Their legislation copies the EU "cap and trade" model, (first used to control acid rain) businesses that exceed a federal cap on emissions would be permitted to buy pollution "credits" from companies that cut their output of CO2. "It's an ingenious solution in which polluters are paying pioneers to innovate," says Lieberman.

It will need a fight to get such laws passed, Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig (also in town protecting his lobbyists interests - and hiding from gays outing him) told the Forum that many lawmakers, including himself, will not support mandatory caps because they believe the restrictions will harm U.S. businesses.

"I am convinced that we have reached the tipping point and that the Congress of the United States will act, with the agreement of the administration," McCain told the delegates.

Which leaves a clear message to Stateside investors .. pile into climate change stocks, renewable energy and all the other panaceas of the snake oil salesmen of Pennsylvania Avenue. It will need a fight to get such laws passed, Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig (also in town protecting his lobbyists interests - and hiding from gays outing him) told the Forum that many lawmakers, including himself, will not support mandatory caps because they believe the restrictions will harm U.S. businesses.

Greed is good. Gordon Gecko is back in town.

Gay sex splits Bishops Amazing Pictures !

Nuclear Power Output record in 2006 - US Plans for growth

Justice Sullivan has at the request of Greenpeace issued a "quashing order" on the bogus consultative practices of Her Majesty's Government and DTI MInister Grace Darling has decided not to test the decision and is going back to the drawingboard... which will of course delay the inevitable policy decision and frighten off the financiers and hasten the day the lights really go out.

Meanwhile in the real world ......

Nucleonics Week, is published by Platts, (part of McGraw Hill) the world's leading
energy information provider, report record total nuclear power generation in 2006 of 2.8 Bn. megawatt-hours(MWh), up from 2.75 billion MWh in 2005. The greatest level of production ever and approximately 16% of the world's electricity output.

Output increased in Canada (after many years of problems), Japan and Russia .The U.S (816 Mn MWh was however behind the 828 MN MWh recorded in 2004 - operating at 90& capacity) South Korea, and France, sustained their output. Final 2006 figures for China and Slovakia are not yet available which are expected to show growth.

Notable productivity gains were made in Canada and Russia. The output of Canada's nuclear reactors grew 6.2% in megawatt-hours in 2006. Aided by the return to service of the Pickering-1 reactor, Ontario Power Generation got 14.7% more nuclear generation from the Pickering station in 2006 than in 2005, while Bruce Nuclear Power got 10.7% more out of its existing Bruce station facilities.

In Russia's 9 Mn. MWh or an extra 5.3% were squeezed out of current plants.

U.S. nuclear power generation plants led the world list of best performers by capacity utilization, occupying half of the top 50 slots, while German reactors dominated in size, topping the list of the 50 largest generators.

The U.S. has 103 operating reactors. Florida Power & Light's St. Lucie-1 and Entergy's Vermont Yankee turned in the world's highest capacity utilization rates, each above 102%, during 2006. The largest output came from E.On's 1,475-MW Isar-2 reactor, whose 12,442,254 MWh was nearly 700,000 MWh more than the second largest generator, Vattenfall-E.On's 1,440-MW Brokdorf reactor. The US South Texas Project's 1,333-MW South Texas-2 reactor
was just 16,000 MWh behind Brokdorf.

France's 58 power reactors (producing 80% of the nation's electricity) performed well during the year but did not show up at the top of the performance charts because they all load-follow, reducing power periodically to accommodate the needs of grid balancing - when they are not selling excess capacity to the UK.

Japan's 55 reactors have been hit by a series of regulatory outages over the past three
years, which have kept a number of them off-line, and kept the national average capacity factor below 70%.

On January 31 The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) detailed 199 case of data falsification and other irregularities between 1979 and 2002 at its 13 nuclear plants in a report to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

In 2003 TEPCO was forced to shut down all of its 17 nuclear power plants with a generating capacity of 17.3 GW, after cracks were found in reactor core shrouds in 2002.

As a result, TEPCO's fuel oil consumption surged by 43% on the year to 36.73 million barrels in the fiscal year ending in March 2004. The utility burned 24.09 million barrels of crude in the same fiscal year, up 27% on the year, and its LNG consumption also rose 13% on the year to 19.12 million mt.

On FRiday Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Akira Amari said TEPCO must accept enforced safety checks to include unidentified extensions to
scheduled checks at TEPCO's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plants in central
Japan between February 19-March 9

USA Plans for new Nuclear Plants

The US Senate approved funding for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) at $821.6 million for fiscal 2007 under a continuing appropriations resolution on February 14th, 1 day before existing stopgap funding ran out.

Like most other federal agencies, NRC has been operating for the first 4.5 months of fiscal 2007 at last year's spending levels. NRC officials were able to persuade key lawmakers that without a funding increase, the anticipated nuclear renaissance in the US would be significantly delayed.

At a February 15 briefing by NRC's top financial managers, NRC commissioners said the agency needed to be better prepared in the future for operating under extended stopgap measures.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Dale Klein said on February 8th they needed to take on 600 new staff to cope with licensing of new reactors that utilities want to build in the coming decade - helping to deal with the graying workforce the agency is dealing with.

He also encouraged the nuclear industry to work at encouraging young Americans to join the industry through financial incentives to students.

“Look at it this way,” said Klein. “The nuclear industry will be spending billions on hardware. It would be foolhardy not to spend the millions necessary to develop the human capital to operate all that expensive machinery efficiently.”

Which is something that hasn't even been mentioned in the Tony Blair Presidential ersatz , bulldoze it through, fuck the public voice, consultation process - where the hell are the engineers coming from to design, develop, build and run these new nuclear power stations ?

By the way if you want to see how they consult in the US go here and be surprised.

Bob Dylan - Radio 6 - Don't miss it

Bob Dylan's themed hour long programs finish this week - you can hear "Summertime" theme time here.

You will not be disappointed

Guido Fawkes ..... Nemesis draws nigh !

Mr Paul Staines, has been asked by the Charities Commissioner under Section 8(3) of the Charities Act 1993, for “documents in your custody or under your control relating to political activity by the Smith Institute”.

The Commission launched a formal inquiry on Feb 1 into the links between Labour and the the left-wing think tank, theSmith institute.

If he fails to provide the information, the letter warns that he

“may be held in contempt of court and liable to imprisonment or fined or your assets may be seized”.
A Charity Commission spokesman said: “We have the power to legally require those who we believe may have information pertinent to our investigation to submit it to us.”

Ex manager of a Japanese Hedge fund, writer, non vivant, wit and drunk, Old Harrovian and Humberside College of FE, Paul Staines AKA Guido who smells politial skullduggery says ....
"Guido will provide evidence of the Sith's wrongdoing, but he intends to protect his sources as well. "
Brave words in the face of publicly funded lawyers ..

A man questioned in the street outside the offices of the New Stoadsman, replied. "Bloggers of the World Unite ...You have nothing to lose but Paul Staines..." He then made excuses and left.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Where are they now ? No 345 Baroness Symons

House of Lords Debates / Tuesday, 24 September 2002 Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean (Minister of State (Trade), Department of Trade and Industry)

My Lords, the central issue before the House today is straightforward, solemn and serious. It is how the international community can make Iraq comply with its clear obligation to abandon its weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein has those weapons. He can use them, and we believe that in time he will do so.

The dossier goes on to show that Iraq is seeking components and uranium to take forward its already advanced nuclear programme. The dossier highlights the fact that the regime has developed mobile laboratories for military use, corroborating earlier reports about the mobile production of biological warfare agents. It shows that Iraq is developing longer-range ballistic missiles to deliver such weapons further afield.

The dossier brings out clearly the assessment of the Joint Intelligence Committee, which brings together the heads of the three intelligence and security agencies. That assessment is that the Iraqi regime could, in certain circumstances, produce a nuclear weapon in a period of between one and two years.

The same committee has evidence that Iraq has sought to buy the significant quantities of uranium that it needs from Africa, at a time when Iraq has no civil nuclear power programme and, therefore, no legitimate reason to acquire uranium.

Appallingly, the report shows that Intelligence indicates that the Iraqi military is already able to deploy chemical or biological weapons within 45 minutes of an order to do so.

Of those who say, "Prove that Saddam will use the weapons", we ask, "What more proof do we need than his record?".

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean (Ex Minister of Defence Procurement, and of State (Trade), Department of Trade and Industry) is a Director of British Airways, P&O and US law firm DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary the 6th largest legal services organisation in the UK who delivered one of the first ever PFIs in the UK defence sector in 1998, and as the winner of the "Public Private Finance Awards for Best UK Deal to Reach Financial Close 2006" for a Ministry of Defence (MOD) project, claim, "we are a major player in the defence market." You can find an extensive (and very interesting and massive MOD PFI contracts ) list of the contracts in which they have been involved here including secondment of "our people" to the Defence Procurement Agency's Private Finance Unit at Abbeywood (part of the MOD) where they have worked on an extensive number of national and international programmes such as: Eurofighter Programme, Nimrod MRA4, Harrier GR7,Lynx Mk 7 and 9 simulator and the FIAST (?) programme.

In 2001 she married her partner Phil Bassett, ex Murdoch hack who was in the No 10 "Strategic communications unit", which he left in September 2003 to become special adviser to Lord Falconer of Thoroton, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs.These NU Labour apparatchiks had their son privately educated.

Carbon Black Hole gets bigger and better - Financial PR gets into top gear

Four news items relating to the carbon trading market hit the headlines today:

1. The EU energy ministers have rejected the European Commission's proposal to introduce a binding target for renewable energy of 20 % by 2020.

2. The EUA Dec 2007 price for one ETU (= 1 Tonne CO2) reached the lowest price ever of €1.23 = 82 p = 98 US Cents

3. The Chicago Climate Exchange (North America’s only, and the world’s first, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission registry, reduction and trading system for all six greenhouse gases ) has suspended its programme that allowed EU allowances (EUAs) to be used to meet CCX emission reduction compliance requirements – over fears that the CCX would be flooded with cheap credits from Europe - thus knocking back attempts at establishing and developing a "world market in carbon."

4. " Greed is motivating Wall Street to join the fight against global warming." says an article today by Bloomberg

Climate Exchange PLC (issued late '04) shares rose 13% , up 107.50 to 955p (they have been 1237pa and took off in September ) which values the company at £394 Mn. The company has no revenues, no income and a net asset value of £29 Mn but have what is considered (like a Canadian owned Kazakh goldmine) a very good story to justify this phenomenal valuation. The company can be contacted C/O Barings (Isle of Man) Limited, St James’s Chambers, Athol Street, Douglas, Isle of Man IM1 1JE.

The company now own and operate Chicago Climate Exchange("CCX") and Chicago Climate Futures Exchange ("CCFE") and (Trading website here )issued a statement of trading on 22nd January 2007. The highlights of which were ...

"All the key performance indicators showed a substantial increase over the same period in 2005. The political climate in the U.S. has become increasingly receptive and the profile of climate change has been significantly raised. (see below) CCX and CCFE are well positioned to benefit from these circumstances and have been able to achieve significantly increased volumes and liquidity."

In 2006, CCX traded a total of 452.8 Mn Tonnes of CO2 (2005 = 94.3 Mn T) of which 175.9 Mn T (39%) was in futures and 276.9 Mn T 61%) was in Exchange of Futures for Physical ("EFPs") . Average daily volume traded during the year was 1.8 Mn T ... in other words they didn't actually trade (i.e actually buy and sell carbon they merely allowed the trading of promises to deliver (Futures) and and even fancier "derived" product Exchange of Futures for Physical ("EFPs").

On the 20th September 2006 Goldman Sachs Group Inc. agreed to subscribe for 4,174,467 new Ordinary Shares at a price of 293 pence, representing some 10.1 per cent of Climate Exchange on the 9th of February they announced this had increased to 8,352,041 ordinary shares of 1p each in the Company, representing 20.21% of the Company's issued share capital of which roughly half are held as Nominees for their customers. Read about their "Green Biz strategy here.

On 12th February 2007 Cayman Islands based Harbinger Capital Masters Fund 1. Ltd and Harbinger Capital Partners Special Situations Fund, LP announced their interest in 4,287,000 ordinary shares representing 10.4% of the Company's issued share capital.

Glenn Payne, Director of First Reserve Corp., the biggest private equity firm in the energy industry (US$12.5 Bn under management) , says `Giddy returns'' are probable (perhaps he "meant irrational exuberance" ) which will lead to a quintupling of credit values to around $19 per ton of carbon dioxide, from $3.50 now. In April CO2 was trading on the ETS at US$43 and today at US$ 0.92.

Elswhere Bloomberg reports the climate change fever has gripped the New York money jugglers Bankers.

1. Morgan Stanley, 2nd largest securities firm, plans to invest US$3 Mn over the next 5 years $3 billion of programs to cut greenhouse gas pollution or in the credits that result.

2. Citigroup Inc. and Minnesota-based Cargill Inc., the largest U.S. agricultural company,have agreed on a joint venture to buy shares in Sindicatum Carbon Capital Ltd. to generate carbon credits. See the full Business Wire story 13/2/07 here. Deputy Chairman of of SCC is Lord Stone of Blackheath (Votes as a Labour Peer) who spent a lifetime with Marks and Spencer ( he left school with 5 'O' Levels - 1 of them in woodwork) and retired as Joint MD in 1999. See Footnote.

3. First Reserve have contracted with struggling, cash strapped, Tyson Foods Inc. to buy carbon credits generated by cleaning up the methane from its chicken scraps and wastewater ponds which they can then sel on to companies that need to meet state or federal pollution limits.

They have signed similiar contracts with Arkansas truckers, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. and the Boise, Idaho-based Albertson's grocery chain from greenhouse gas reductions replacing truck fuel with biodiesel and installing energy efficient store lighting.

Unbelievably Payne is also quoted, saying " The market in Europe, where greenhouse gas emission caps have been in place for two years, shows how high the value of U.S. credits will climb."

4. As ever the bearded jersey generates heat and excitement and his announcment with Al Gore, inventor of the Internet and responsible for the film, "The Uncomfortable Truth" of a $25 million prize for anyone who can devise better and more efficient ways to reduce and store CO2 helps to keep the pot boiling.

5. Germany's E.ON AG, the world's largest utility, said Feb. 7 that it will acquire credits by investing with banks in projects that curb greenhouse gases in the developing world.

6. Electric generator manufacturers, General Electric Co., and power plant builder AES Corp. of Arlington, Virginia, announced on Jan. 14 (4 pages PDF)that they created a joint venture for carbon emission credits with which they intend to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 10 million tons each year, creating 10 million credits, ``Our goal is to make this a viable business in a voluntary market and be a leader as it becomes regulated,'' he said. (Which makes you wonder if this remarkable rush for this evanescent market is based on more knowledge of the proposed legislation than has been made public)

“AES is committed to helping address climate change as part of our broader alternative
energy strategy,” said Paul Hanrahan, President and CEO of AES - which is a remarkable thing for the major US producer of coal burning power stations to say in public.

“This initiative will help GE Energy Financial Services double its already sizeable $1.5 billion portfolio of investments in renewable energy projects by the end of 2008, and will contribute to GE’s ecomagination program,” said Alex Urquhart, President and CEO of GE Energy Financial Services. ..Through its Ecomagination program,"

Ecomagination program - Dontcha just love it when they talk not-dirty like this ?

A great deal of this froth of speculation is based on the belief that Congress will approve a law to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other gases that cause global warming. Beautiful grandmother and darling of AIPAC, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said last week that ``mandatory action'' is needed to cut emissions in half by 2050. Even the President in his State of the Union address, perhaps signalled a change to the money jugglers when he talked of the need to ..."confront the serious challenge of global climate change'' (6 Buzz words and 2 prepositions in 8 words)

The article headlined the apparent 45% return that Isle of Man based Trading Emissions Plc, made in selling 255,000 credits to the U.K. government at about €14.50 euros a ton which they acquired in late 2005 and early 2006 for less than €10 euros each - when the market price today is € 1.23. A good sale ...or a lousy purchase ?

Speculators, including hedge funds, are replacing industrial companies as the biggest buyers of carbon credits, according to Greg Spencer, chief executive officer of Blue Source, founded only in 2001 - a Salt Lake City-based company that develops greenhouse gas projects (Blue Source has entered into the single largest US-based offset sale to date, at 9 Mn tonnes and has secured under long-term sourcing to the year 2019. ) in which First Reserve Corp have taken a 50% interest . . ``It's more about taking positions in a market that will appreciate significantly over time,'' .

Which sounds an awful lot like gambling ... or rigging the market ?

Lord Stone of Blackheath is, amongst many other interests, Deputy Chairman Sindicatum Carbon Capital Ltd., and Director of seriously loss making DealGroupMedia plc, and of the seriously profitable N Brown Group plc which announced on 25th Jan 2007 a return of £89 Mn to shareholders as a special dividend of 27p per share. He is an Advisor to McDonald’s Restaurants, a Governor of the Weizmann Institute of Science and of the European Council of Ben Gurion University, a member of The Israel Britain Business Council and The Labour Friends of Israel , Patron of the enlightened New Israel Fund (see this story re Arab Housing) and has a lifelong interest in the process of creating understanding and toward peace in the Middle East.

Andrew Mawson, Jane Coussins appointed "Non-Political" Peerages ...Ho,Ho.Ho.

Tony Blair, believed to be the Prime Minister has had published today , under his signature, an op-ed piece " "Keeping universities up to the mark", in the Daily Torygraph today .

It starts ..."Today, I will launch the first national scheme ..." Note that well, "I" not "The Government" for another example of the relentless use of the personal pronoun - taken at random, see his answer at PMQ's on January 31st about GP's fanstastic salaries and reproduced on the No 10 website

Mr Blair said:

"I don't always stick up for the GPs, but this time I will. There's nothing wrong with our GPs being paid the best in Europe if they're providing the best service, and I believe they are."
"I" this, "I" that . the ...er .. President has today announced 6 new "non-political nominees" to the House of Lords. Non - Political ? Ho.Ho.Ho. At least 2 more to join the claquers in the Gubments echo chamber.

Andrew Mawson OBE is Co-founder and President of the heavily self promoted Community Action Network (CAN),has been a member of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (PMDU) , he is what is known these days as a "social entrepreneur".

The PMDU is part of the Delivery and Transformation Group (DTG) in the Cabinet Office.

PMDU does this by:

* monitoring and reporting on delivery of the Prime Minister's top delivery and reform priorities
* identifying the key barriers to improvement and the action needed to strengthen delivery
* sharing knowledge about best practice in delivery and
* supporting the development of high quality PSA targets that will effectively incentivise
improvements in public services.

Which sounds like burnishing the Public Image of the President Dear Leader

Gorgeous, pouting, raven haired temptress, Ms Jean Coussins served as the Chief Executive of The Portman Group from 1996 to 2006. They say on their website that they were set up in 1989 by the UK's leading drinks producers, which together supply the majority of the alcohol sold in the UK. They are supported financially by the Home Office and Tessa Jowell Alcoholics Fan club ...

Full Members

Bacardi Brown Forman Brands

Beverage Brands (UK) Ltd
Carlsberg UK
Coors Brewers UK
Diageo Great Britain
InBev UK Ltd
Pernod Ricard UK
Scottish and Newcastle

Her role involved bringing together the alcoholic drinks industry, the government and the health sector to reduce the misuse of alcohol and promote sensible drinking. She currently sits on the Council of the Advertising Standards Authority and works as an independent consultant, advising on issues such as corporate responsibility and self-regulation.

It may be of interest to look ar The Guradian report on Tuesday January 18, 2005 - in an article by Alastair Hetherington about 24 hour drinking ...

" Martin Plant, professor of addiction studies at the University of the West of England, in Bristol, a leading authority on alcohol abuse, said yesterday that academics and health professionals were increasingly concerned at the culture department's stand.

He cited the department's role in the appointment of Jean Coussins, chief executive of the Portman Group - an organisation directly funded by the liquor industry to promote "responsible drinking" - to the Alcohol Education and Research Council, a quango. "We were appalled and horrified by this," he said.

The department said last night that, as part of its statute, the research council had to include industry representatives.

"We did not get a nomination from the industry so Jean Coussins was appointed. She is not part of the industry, but head of a body which oversees the industry."

Ms Coussins acknowledged objections to her appointment had been made in the specialist magazine, Addiction. "The important point is that the Portman Group does not sit on the council, an individual called Jean Coussins does," she said." Yeah, Yeah ... "We did not get a nomination from the industry."

She is also a member of the Better Regulation Commission announced by the Gubment in the 2005 Budget to, " provide independent advice to government, from business and other external stakeholders, about new regulatory proposals and about the Government's overall regulatory performance."

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

IED's EFP's - the Alphabet soup of low cost and dirty weapons - Iranian ?

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) was formed in October 1997. has a budget this year of US$1.2 BN is based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) and has the goal of discovering, integrating and delivering affordable technologies for improved warfighting by leading a partnership of government, industry, and academia.

Dr. James N. Wilson, Dr. David E. Lambert, and Mr. Joel B. Stewart, of the AFRL are available to give you a guide to the basic physics and operation of these devices. You can find a very handy guide here.

Scientists use design models and shock physics codes to predict terminal shape of projectiles.

Explosively formed projectiles (EFP) are a form of what in the Middle Ages were called Petards. A heavy metal balst proof cylinder is charged with explosive,and stopped up with a metal ball. Through a lit fuse the explosive force drive forward, hopefull knocking a few men over, walls down.

Sometimes the whole damn thing exploded and killed the operator - Hoist on their own petard!

The modern EFP ( or what the militaru and the Press like to call an Improvised Explosive Device) uses these simple principles but adds a sophistication, which is inexpensive, easily constructed and lethal, especially to lightly armoured vehicles.

The leap forward was when quite independently during World War two scientists Misznay, a Hungarian, and Schardin, a German discovered what is now called the Misznay-Schardin effect . Simply, when a sheet of explosive detonates in contact with a heavy backing surface (for example, a metal plate), the resulting blast is primarily directed away from the surface in a single direction. Schardin spent some time developing the device as a side-attack anti-tank weapon, but development was incomplete at the end of the war.

Development was taken up after the war in the USA which led to the Claymore mine which used steel balls as projectiles - this ultimately became the Claymore M18A1 Anti-personnel mine

A simple Misznay-Schardin device consists of a strong metal circular cylinder of explosive, with a shallow cavity in one end that is fitted with a thin metallic liner. Upon detonation, the liner (copper or an alloy ) dynamically transforms into an aerodynamic projectile traveling at high velocity (typically 1500-2000 m/s).

Pic shows the dynamic deformation.

With a mass of 500 g or more, a velocity of 2000 m/s, and kinetic energy on the order of 1 MJ, these projectiles are capable of penetrating more than 10 cm of armor.

The design of the liner is critical and ultimately computerised analysis has shown various trade offs in design - the Geometry of the top surface of the liner relative to the bottom surface changes the mass distribution and strength of the liner across its radius. These effects determine the shape of the liner late in the EFP formation process. While the explosive charge accelerates the liner, the center begins to move with a greater velocity than the outer edge resulting in the deformed, molten hot slug , too thick or thin and edge leads to break up . A correctly designed liner balances the competing effects and forms the perfect and most lethal projectile.

The IED is basically a steel tube, maybe the bottom of a gas cylinder, packed with explosive - of which the Iraqi's seem to have plentiful supplies - with a concave face, the prepared copper liner fitted. (see pic ***) Detonation after selecting a sutiable site is bu electrical firing and may be manually remote or triggered by something as simple as a trip wire, or a passive infra red detector and by wireless - although signals can readily be suppressed.

Something that can and is knocked up in any modest workshop. Cheap, highly effective and frighteningly effective - especially if used in multiples like a Stalin organ.

No need to trouble the munitions manufacturers of Iran.

*** The 3 anonymous guys who introduced these fmailiar pictures if Iranian weapons found in Iraq forbid any pictures, filming,mobils were consfiscated for the Press conference, no devices were shown, just the pictures.

Surprise surprise ..... CNN - "Top general casts doubt on Tehran's link to Iraq militias" Video available.

General Mike "Janus" Jackson speaks to the Nation

"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)

After spending £20 Mn the British Army has decided that the Commanding Officer of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment , Lt Col Mendonca (43) and 4 other members of the Regiment should be acquitted today, They were charged in relation to the detention of nine Iraqi civilians who had been arrested in September 2003 at Hotel Haitham in Basra during an arms raid when AK47 rifles were found. The Iraqis were beaten up over 36 hours, and Baha Musa, 26, died.

The judge ruled there was no case to answer against Colonel Mendonca, who had been charged with negligence for failing to ensure that the nine Iraqis detained and held at the QLR temporary detention centre in Basra in September 2003 were not ill treated ... even though they were held for 36 hours and Baha Musa when he died had 93 identifiable wounds on his body.

The Daily Torygraph print Col Mendonca' DSO citation in full today (15th February)..."His outstanding leadership, personal courage and incredible successes are worthy of national recognition."

Brilliant writer's past exposed - Paul Delarie-Staines, Hedge Fund Manager extraordinaire - drinker of vin ordinaire

Our new researcher / intern, Toni Fabuloso (pic) was lurking around in the archives of the Guradian and discovered the following piece of incendiary, but exceedingly old, ..er ... journalism ...

The Guardian
31 May 1986
Tory student leader in ‘ racist ‘ party link / Paul Delarie-Staines of FCS attempts to form pact with British National Party in Hull
By David Rose

It starts ..." A leader of the Federation of Conservative Students wrote to an organiser of the British National Party proposing joint ‘direct action’ to disrupt the meetings of leftwing students. Secrecy, he emphasised, was essential: ‘The Reds would simply go wild if they got to hear of a BNP-FCS link. I would personally be in danger of being expelled from the Conservative Party.’ ...Mr Delarie-Staines, who is in his first year of a degree course in business information studies, wrote on May 22 to Mr Ian Walker, a BNP organiser in Hull. zzzz ... more >>>

The BNP is of course a source of fascination to all blogistes, as they have an ex member (?), the unlikely named Mr Cottage, durrently in court in Manchester, (North of London), up for posssession of Explosives, a stated desire (but probably not a unique one) to kill Tony Blair and possession of 2 tonnes of ball bearings.

Those interested in the BNP supported Albion Life Insurance company should visit their Website here. Fascinating. Those neighbours unaware of Mr Cottage's activities might well have benefited from a policy - but as visitors to the site will discover there is more to the tale.

...and on that bombshell!

Dame Pauline Neville - Jones Fan Club Issue 2

The ever alert and well informed,Tom Griffin at The Green Ribbon highlights the questing mind of Ohio Democratic US Congresswoman Marcy Kaptor (she didn't vote for the invasion of Iraq) who is as fascinated by how Aegis and the remarkable Col. Tim Spicer got Pentagon contracts (Aegis Defence Services Ltd., a British security firm, has civilian security forces working in Iraq, under a $300 million contract that began in 2004) and raised questions with the House Committee on Friday 9th February.

"I will say this, both in closed door meetings and in public, I have yet to find a person other than the auditor, who is able to shed any light on how it was that Aegis, a foreign corporation, was given a contract where now we have the second-largest force in Iraq, larger than the Brits, headed by someone named Tim Spicer.

Who signed that contract, and what are those 20,000 people doing, many of whom are foreign mercenaries? What are they doing? Why can't I get any answers out of our Government? What is happening inside the Department of Defence? What are those people doing over there?

The last answer I got was, well Congresswoman, you''ll have to go over to Central Command over in Baghdad. OK, I'll go, but why can't I get answers on that as a member of this committee?
Friday's hearing was attended by Army Secretary Francis Harvey and Chief of Staff General Peter Schoomaker, and was webcast by C-Span. Kaptur's contribution starts about 1 hour 38 minutes in. The above quote is from 1 hour 48 minutes in.

It is therefore interesting the view taken from the top of the US Armed Forces. Before the Senate Armed Services Committee last month, Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, incoming top dog and supreme commander in Iraq, said he counts the "thousands of contract security forces" among the assets available to him to supplement the limited number of U.S. and Iraqi troops to be used for dealing with the insurgency.

Therefore all these discussions are interesting as their contract is up for re-bidding - this invloves changes to the contract which include the need to monitor all convoys, maintain a Web site, provide "Iraq-wide unclassified daily reports," as well as "provide relevant and timely intel/ops reports throughout Iraq" -- referring to intelligence/operations reports.

The U.S. government will provide about 134 vehicles, primarily sport-utility vehicles, but also armored personnel carriers. The government will also furnish weapons and ammunition, but the contractor must identify the people to whom the weapons will be issued. Employees will have access to government dining facilities and post exchanges, "where available," and will be entitled to "acute medical and dental services to include medical evacuation under emergency circumstances . . . at no cost" while they are "in theater."

Currently , Aegis is known to provide ;

1. Security support services (including 300 guards - presumably armed) to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel working on reconstruction projects throughout the country.

2. Operation of 6 Reconstruction Operations Centers, which distrubte threat warning information and tracks convoys.

3. Aegis also "coordinates security" in Iraq for 10 prime contractors and their subcontractors through security liaison teams, and the teams pass on to the military information gathered by their sources.

In 2005, the U.S. special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction investigated the Aegis contract and found a number of shortcomings. They found that Aegis did not vet all of its Iraqi employees for security, as required by the contract.

Sampling the personnel records of 20 of 125 Iraqi nationals then on the payroll found no evidence of an interview for 6, no evidence of a police background check on 18 and no records at all on 2.

"As a result, there is no assurance that the Iraqi national employees do not pose an internal security threat,"
.... he inspection report said.

Aegis managers claimed Iraqi police checks were too difficult to obtain (probably true), given the destruction of past records. The requirement was dropped. The report also said that the company agreed that Iraqis would be vetted through the State Department system. The inspection report said that, as of April 2005, only 17 of the "last" 213 Iraqis hired had been vetted through that system. Aegis employees include foreign nationals, among whom are Gurkhas from Nepal, and all must be vetted.

As ex FRU squads roam around Iraq (see Green Ribbon) it is interesting that the USRmy is also looking for bids for the operation of the Counterinsurgency Center for Excellence (COIN CFE) for up to three years at Camp Taji, north of Baghdad, in a section called the Phoenix Academy, which is devoted to joint U.S.-Iraqi training. Established in 2005 by Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the commander of Multi-National Force-Iraq then, (to enhance the coun-terinsurgency skills of transition teams and conventional Coalition units serving in Iraq covering operations, cross-cultural communications, threats etc.,) it will now operate under Petraeus, who recently rewrote the Army's counterinsurgency manual.

A Pentagon news release in May said said COIN CFE, which involves U.S. and Iraqi personnel, was established "to help units adapt to and train for the war against terror in Iraq as it is fought today."

Under the new proposal, contractors will handle a variety of classes, including a special seminar for "general officers and senior field grade leaders at the multi-national corps and division levels."

Former senior Defense Intelligence Agency expert on the Middle East, retired Army Col. W. Patrick Lang, a former Green Beret , who worked in counterinsurgency in the post-Vietnam War period, says the need to set up a counterinsurgency school in Iraq and rewrite the textbook showed that the Army had dropped that subject matter altogether during the 1980s and the 1990s. "The old doctrine died out, along with the lessons of East Africa, Vietnam and Bolivia," he said, "and now they need people with this kind of memory who are retired and know from experience."

Will the old gang from RUSI be looking for this contract ? It could be Aegis's contract might slip from their grasp to Dyncorp this time. Dame Pauline will no doubt be using some discreet influence when ever she can.

NHS's £12.4 BN National Program for IT - NPfiT - managing a collapsing system and service. Fuck healthcare sell 'em a system

Andrew Rollerson, leads (and hence is responsible for delivery) of the "health-care consultancy practice" at Fujitsu (who years ago swallowed the last UK computer mainframe maker ICL) and represents a major supplier to the NHS's £12.4 BN National Program for IT (NPfiT) - Fujitsu has an £896m contract to supply systems in the South of England. On December 13th Fujitsu announced the NHS Connecting for Health, Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS) programme, had recorded the 100 millionth patient image stored in its data centre . PACS enables access to the right image, in the right place, at the right time – all at the touch of a button.83% of all PACS systems are now live in NHS Trusts in the South of England. It makes one one wonder how many images will ever be referenced again and millions of Terabytes of totally redundant and useless information will lie uselessly, as growing empires of non medical staff, IT support and administrators will adminstrate this exploding empire and Fujitsu keep installing data storage by the acre.

Mr Rollerson spoke at a conference last week "Successful implementation of NPfIT 2007" and his contrubution and Powerpoint slides were slept through with great interest and reported in today's Computer Weekly magazine and also remarked on in the Daily Torygraph.

Here are some fascinating (and devastating) quotations worthy of wider circulation.

There is ..""gradual coming apart of what we are doing on the ground because we are desperate to get something in and make it work, versus what the programme really ought to be trying to achieve".

A main aim of the programme - now in its 5th year - is - the provision of complete electronic health records for 50 million people that can be readily accessed is a principal goal - it is at least 2 years behind schedule and there are concerns it will never be completed.

"The more pressure we come under, both as suppliers and on the NHS side, the more we are reverting to a very sort of narrowly focused IT-oriented behaviour. This is not a good sign for the programme."

"What we are trying to do is run an enormous programme with the techniques that we are absolutely familiar with for running small projects. And it isn't working. And it isn't going to work."

"There is a belief that the National Programme is somehow going to propel transformation in the NHS simply by delivering an IT system. Nothing could be further from the truth. A vacuum, a chasm, is opening up. It was always there."

Rollerson however is probably headed for a rollicking when he gets back to the office. Ian Lamb, NHS account director at Fujitsu Services, said, "This is a significant misrepresentation of a presentation made in support of the National Programme.

"We refute any inference that has been drawn to the effect that Fujitsu in any way questions the success of the National Programme."

A Department of Health spokesman said, "David Nicholson, the chief executive of the NHS, has clearly said that he is fully committed to the National Programme for IT as it is a necessary part of a modern health service, fit for the 21st century. He sees this as one of his key strategic priorities as it is key to the successful delivery of patient-centred care."

Mr Rollerson elaborated on his main message with some juvenile but fascinating slides - a huge oil tanker being hit by a tidal wave, one with the word "Lost?" alongside a picture of a desert island and one with a man walking a tightrope.

Another slide declared "visionary leadership is still missing" alongside the famous World War One poster of Lord Kitchener declaring "Your country needs you".

For Herpetologists in the audience he had a picture of a huge alligator with the message "We have become obsessed by the alligators nearest the boat." The final slide showed two women mud-wrestling and asked: "Where would you rather be?"

He concluded with a damning, and often made conclusion on ambitious computer systems , purchased less to perform work and more a miracle of re-organisation - "There is a belief that the national programme is somehow going to propel transformation in the NHS simply by delivering an IT system. Nothing could be further from the truth. A vacuum, a chasm, is opening up."

Meanwhile The Copenhagen Post reports today on the success not only of the Danish Health Board in installing their IT systems, but of successful future sales in the US, Canada, New Zealand and surprisingly in the UK.

Only 13 % of all Danish hospital beds (Population 5.5 Mn.) were covered by electronic journals in 2003. By 2006, well over half were, with many health regions having achieved full coverage well ahead of the deadline.

Electronic recordkeeping, pushed ahead by the National Board of Health, has been the original and principal objective of IT in the Danish health services.

Denmark, according to Roskilde University technology lector Jesper Simonsen, has plans in the healthcare IT field 'that few other countries have'.

Those plans have caught the eye Acure the 100% owned IBM subsidiary, which develops technology for the healthcare industry. Hans Erik Henriksen, manager of the IBM's subsidiary Acure which develops technology for the healthcare industry said the country's reputation as a world leader had led Acure to choose Denmark as its proving ground. They have been undertaking work with The Danish Medicines Agency, The Danish Board of Health, the association Sundhed.dk, Copenhagen Hospital Cooperation, and the counties of Ribe, Ringkjobing, Copenhagen, Funen, Northern Jutland, Southern Jutland and Vejle.

IBM is currently working on a pilot project using electronic record keeping in Texas and interest in the standardised system of electronic health records is increasing..

'Denmark is seen by other countries as a leader in health IT,' he said. 'That position will be strengthened in the future.'

To date the modules in use (or under development - which might be ominous)....

• The National Danish e-Health Portal (sundhed.dk)
• The Electronic Medicine Profile - overview of medication

• DiaLog Shared Care - disease management for Diabetes treatment

• SUP (Standardized use of Patient Data) - easy exchange of EHR
• MedCom-in-a-box - for integration and communication

• ACURE Medicine Module - stand-alone or integrated EHR module
• ACURE Clinical Notes Module - the core of the EHR

• Central Reimbursement Register
• National Patient Register

Perhaps we can absorb the lessons of the Trident program and source the solution from a tried and proven system supplier - Anybody from the NHS can contact Nordic Healthcare Leader, GBS Allan Juhl by phone +45 4524 8002

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