"“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, April 07, 2007

Keeping the flying customer happy.Portable IFE takes off

e.Digital Corporation (OTC BB:EDIG.OB ) have patented technology in the utilization of flash memory in portable devices, produces their eVU portable entertainment system which gives 14 hours of continuous video playback from a single battery charge. Available with 7" or 8" high resolution LCD screen with up to 200 GB of rugged mil spec memory it provides the ideal low cost entry point to In Flight Entertainment (IFE).

Boeing have departed the IFE market and the hard wiring of new planes imposes huge costs, weight concerns and in the case of the new Mega Airbus 850 has helped delay production.

As a consequence the market for hand held portable devices was ripe for the new wave of low-fare, regional and leisure carriers interested in IFE .

London based Mezzo Movies ,set up in 2003 by two former executives of Tesco,David Sampson, former head of online strategy , with expertise in consumer product development, finance, IT and logistics joined up with IFE content post-production company Phantom Media. (who are interstingly associated with magazine distributors Surridge Dawson)

The company is offering what it describes as a fully managed and completely outsourced solution. “We cover all the services needed to sell IFE quickly, effectively and profitably in every sector of the air transport industry,” says Sampson.

Content management services could include encoding and encryption, supply and operation of a content management platform, and automated content acceptance, distribution and upload to passenger devices which means they can load it with fillums, news, games, books.... and advertising. No doubt the day will come when you can use them to surf the internet.

Mezzo say they want to tailor each package for each airline. “Get it wrong and passengers won’t want to use the service and the profits rapidly disappear,” says Sampson. “Get it right and it can be very profitable, which is why we take an analytical approach to content selection. Passenger profiling is a standard tool, but we go much further by using the research techniques that made Tesco successful.”

Paradoxically an early customer was not a ,low cost carrier but the business class luxury airline, Silverjet. Silverjet aims to become the global market leader in exclusively business class luxury long haul air travel on specially kitted Boeing 767's with 100 seats. With London Luton / New York Newark at "from" £799 with a lie flat bed, reduced (30 mins claimed) check-in times, pre-ordered films and personalised, pre-ordered meals. They also advertise lap top connection at each seat.

UK based Jet2 and Flyglobespan were 2 further customers and e.Digital have just announced a deal for 120 units of eVU handheld IFE player for use by Alitalia premium-class passengers.

As equipment prices drop, you can see these as the prime child silencing tools in the back of the 4x4 as the school line patiently drops off it's precious charges.


When launched in May 206 at 112p on the London AIM market Silverjet shares finished the first day @119.5p and have headed skywards since closing Thursday @199p.

MaxJet is offering one way Stansted to New York JFK from £359 (net of Taxes) and also flys to Washington Dulles and Las Vegas.

Eos also flies from Stansted to New York JFK and were awarded in January ‘Long-Haul Business Airline of the Year’ at the 2007 Business Travel World Awards. Their Boeing 757's (like the one that "vapourised" when it hit the Pentagon East Wing 9/11/2001) have only 48 seats, with a 6’ 6” fully horizontal flat-bed “suite” offering 21 square feet of space and guaranteed aisle access for each guest. Eos offers twice daily service from London to New York, including a curbside escort service through “fast-track” check-in.

Eos CEO is David Pottruck who was dumped by Charles Schwab where he was President and CEO of The Charles Schwab Corporation, his home from 1984 until 2004, he is also a Director of Intel. He is combative character - ex nose guard for Penn who started his Red Eagle Ventures, his family Trust the Pottruck Family Foundation is chaired by his wife Emily , who is the author of Tails of Devotion - a beautifully photographed book highlighting more than 50 San Francisco families and stories of their relationships with their beloved pets.(it says here) Proceeds end up with 5 non profit San Francisco animal welfare charties.

It's a Competitive business at the sharp end of the luxury business class market - will eVU give Silverjet the edge ?

Are there people who would like to see Gordon Brown dead ?

Reading Shapan on his (?) "Lingering questions about Robin Cook's death" rang a chord ( see also his (?) the only transcription of the last BBC radio interview Bob Woolmer did for 5 Live)

But. for example, how did he die? The post mortem took two days "to establish whether the Livingston MP had died from an illness or injuries sustained in the fall", and the cause of death was eventually given as 'hypertensive heart disease'. No mention was made of any injuries to the head and neck...... .
When did he die? There are conflicting accounts, not helped by the fact that the announcement of his death was delayed by three hours for family and friends to be informed. .....

Who were the so-far unidentified group of walkers (or hunters(?)) who, we were told, came to Gaynor Cook's aid? If it's not an obvious question, what were they doing on Ben Stack? For, according to the landlady of Scourie Lodge, where the Cooks had spent their last night,

"She was lucky another walker was in the area to be with her at such a time.

"You could be on Ben Stack ninety times and not see a soul, so for someone to be within shouting distance and with a mobile phone was very fortunate."

Which just makes us all want to wish Gordon Brown a long life and a happy holiday in the hills this Easter.

Nancy headed for Prison..or the Hizbollah Vote ?

Robert Turner in The Wall Street Journal in a piece entitlted "Illegal Diplomacy" raises the possibility that Granny Nancy Pelosi's recent visits to Syria could put her in breach of the Logan Act of 1799 - named after Senator Logan who had travelled to France during the quasi US / French Naval war to try to make a private settlement.

Although Lebanese American Darrell Issa has recently visited Syria to see President Assad as he did in 2003 and a trio of Republican Congressmen , Frank Wolf of Virginia, Joseph Pitts of Pennsylvania, and Robert Aderholt of Alabama, as a group,beat Nancy to Syria by week .

The Logan Act states ..

§ 953. Private correspondence with foreign governments

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

Clad with her photogenic jibjab the smiling Pelosi claimed post a visit to see the corrupt and failing Government in Tel Aviv that they were wanting peace.

The New York Post editorialised and pondered Pelosi's peripatetic policy..

"Negotiating with world leaders - particularly those at odds with the United States - should be left to the president, or those authorized by him to do so."

But her solo adventure - as a member of the legislature, has drawn little attention or criticism. NBC’s Matt Lauer and Tim Russert on "Today" apparently discussed Pelosi’s possible illegal activity but the press has moved on.

Ronnie Regan got hot under the collar when Jessie Jackson brought some Cuban refugees back from Nicaragua and threatened him with the Act, but did nothing.

However Nancy has a powerful backer in Waddlin Madeleine Albright who herself visited Damascus sevral times who says that although Nancy's trip sends "mixed signals" (whatever that means) and said "the trip showed the importance of meeting leaders at odds with the U.S."

Even though POTUS said it was "counterproductive" Madeleine said "`I talked to a lot of people that we didn't necessarily agree with, (My that must have been a crowd) and I think that's not a bad message.''

The best odds say that this is one Granny who won't be heading for prison , but Dubya had better check with AIPAC first.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Atypical antipsychotics - "off label" marketing and mega claims with US pharma companies

Lord Patel's favourite Republican Senator, Charles "Chuck" Grassley fresh from exposing the high living high spending at the Smithsonian is at it again.

This time he has written a letter which he has copied to us ;

Sidney Taurel
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly Corporate Center
Indianapolis, IN 46285

Dear Mr. Taurel:

As a senior member of the United States Senate and as Ranking Member of the Committee on Finance (Committee), I have an obligation to ensure that the public’s money is properly spent to provide safe and effective treatments to the vulnerable populations that are beneficiaries of the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

I am aware of several pending products liability actions regarding Zyprexa, an anti-psychotic drug manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company (Eli Lilly). Specifically, questions have been raised regarding safety information and marketing practices relating to that drug. Furthermore, I understand that Eli Lilly produced certain ocuments in the course of these litigations that shed light on issues of interest to the Committee.

On December 20, 2006, I wrote to Dr. David Egilman, a plaintiffs’ expert, to request information and documents related to Zyprexa. Dr. Egilman did not provide any confidential Eli Lilly documents regarding Zyprexa. Instead, Dr. Egilman responded to my request by providing the Committee with a copy of a discovery order, dated December 15, 2006, instructing him to return Eli Lilly documents in his possession to Richard D. Meadow of the Lanier Law Firm. Eli Lilly had alleged that some of its confidential documents had been disseminated without the company’s authorization. Although
no one affiliated with the Committee was a party to that dispute, I decided to suspend efforts to obtain the relevant documents until that dispute was resolved.

On February 14, 2007, Judge Jack Weinstein of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued a decision regarding the confidential Eli Lilly documents. The court enjoined several individuals from further disseminating the protected documents and ordered them to return any such documents and copies still in their possession or control. Contrary to what was reported in Judge Weinstein’s decision, the Committee’s Chief Investigative Counsel, Emilia DiSanto, did not receive any protected documents related to Zyprexa from Mr. James Gottstein or Dr. Egilman. Nor did Mr. Gottstein or Dr. Egilman provide any protected documents related to Zyprexa to other Committee staff.

As the dispute regarding the dissemination of the documents is now resolved, I believe the time is now right for the Committee to pursue its request for the documents. I am writing to request your cooperation with the Committee’s inquiry. In that regard please provide to the Committee all documents and materials, including, but not limited to, emails, letters, reports, and memoranda, that were made available to thecourt-appointed Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee I and II pursuant to pretrial discovery in In re Zyprexa Prods. Liab. Litig.

Thank you in advance for assisting the Committee. I would appreciate receiving the requested documents in an electronic and searchable format by no later than April 25, 2007.

Charles E. Grassley
United States Senator

Writes a sharp but informative letter Chuck - this relates to newspaper stories that Lilly "downplayed safety risks and engaged in other improper marketing practices that may be jeopardizing patients’ health."

In December, the New York Times had claimed that Lilly had told its sales representatives to play down data showing 30 percent of patients taking Zyprexa gained 22 pounds (10Kg)or more after a year on the drug, with some reporting gains of 100 (50Kg) pounds or more.

Indianapolis-based Lilly have had claims from 7 states, including 2 this year - one from Montana recently filed and reported. (Montana v. Eli Lilly & Co., No. ADV-2007-188, 1st Judicial District Court, Lewis & Clark County, Montana.)

Lilly allegedly gave kickbacks to doctors and improperly promoted the drug to nursing homes as a sedative,... bought off a disgruntled'' sales director to keep him from disclosing its marketing practices... instructed its representatives to minimize and misrepresent the dangers of Zyprexa, affirmatively and consciously placing company profits above the public safety,'' according to the complaint. "This failure to warn was designed and intended to maximize company profits.''

Under Federal law, doctors can prescribe medications for uses that aren't approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) , although pharmaceutical companies are barred from marketing their drugs for such "off-label'' uses. The Montana complaint says Lilly created a 280-person sales force "to promote Zyprexa exclusively for off-label uses, specifically for long term care facilities to maximize off-label use of Zyprexa sales' for the elderly"

Lilly are not alone . AstraZeneca Plc's Seroquel and Johnson & Johnson's Risperdal, all members of a class of medications called atypical antipsychotics, have been linked to weight gain and diabetes. In September 2003, the FDA required the three companies to place warnings on the drugs' labels.

The three drugs, approved for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are among the top-selling medications in the world. Lilly's global sales of Zyprexa were $4.36 billion in 2006, Risperdal sales were $4.18 billion and Seroquel's worldwide sales in 2006 were $3.4 billion. It is claimed that as many as half of the prescriptions for the three drugs are for off-label use.

So far Lilly states in regulatory filings for the SEC that they have settled about 28,500 claims brought by users of Zyprexa for a total of as much as $1.2 billion. About 1,300 individual claims remain pending, the company.

Lilly recently merged with Icos Corp , makers of Cialis whose sales reached 35.6% of aggregate market share (Levitra and Viagra make up the rest) for erectile dysfunction products which has just been launched in China. Word is on the street that the Lilly product provides a bigger boner for longer. Lilly recently issued US$2.5 Bn Bonds (Aa3 Moody's AA s&P) to repay debt used in its acquisition of drugmaker Icos Corp., - its biggest bond sale ever... which is ..er ... appropriate.

Canadian team announce major development in boosting human immunity with laboratory designed peptides

Robert Hancock, principal investigator and Canada Research Chair in Pathogenomics and Antimicrobials has lead a team at the U of British Columbia (UBC) in conjunction with UBC spin off Inimex Pharmaceuticals (Founders - Hancock and co-author Brett Finlay, a UBC microbiologist) - and summarises his view of the future of antiobiotic treatments ;

"Antibiotics are now under threat because of the explosion in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. A third of all deaths on this planet are the result of infection so there is an urgent need to create new therapies,"
This week they have announced a innovative method of attacking the scourges that stalk North American hospitals (and elsewhere) - the "hospital superbugs"

Instead of attacking the chinks in the biochemistry of the bacteria, they have been investigating with some reported success, ways to re-inforce the natural ("innate") immune response of the patient and claim that this novel technique," has not been reported previously"

They have identified a peptide ( simply, a short chain of amino acids > 50 bases (ish) - distinct from polypeptides or proteins which are long chains) which they call the innate defense regulator peptide (IDR-1). This appears to increase the natural ummune response without triggering harmful inflammation, and offer protection both before and after infection.

The great virtue of this approach is that in use it will not act on the bacteria directly and therefore it is unlikely bacteria will become resistant to it.

Effectiveness was tested in mouse models against Staphylococcus aureus including MRSA; a superbug called vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE); and Salmonella. In Staph and VRE infections, although bacteria were not completely eradicated, IDR-1 significantly reduced bacteria counts and mortality, when given either 24-48 hours before or four hours after infection began. In Salmonella, the peptide offered significant protection when administered prior to infection setting in.

The team claim that IDR-1 activates several signaling pathways to stimulate infection-clearing chemokines -- a chemical mediator that mobilizes immune response. (see Footnote)

In use they see the peptide could be used in conjunction with or as a supplement to antibiotics especailly for common hospital infections such as ventilator associated pneumonia, post-surgical infections, high dose chemotherapy and infections arising from insertion of catheters or other medical devices.

Of course this is potentially a very profitable new therapy , they provide the latest figures on North American Hospital Acquired Infections.

2 Mn. cases of antibiotic-resistant infection in hospitals kill approximately 70,000 people annually in North America, which broadly agrees with UK experience.

Hospital-based methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) alone causes an estimated 100,000 hard-to-treat infections annually and is now seen in community-based infections, such as boils and abscesses or life-threatening bloodstream infections.

"Salmonella causes 1.3 million infections and up to 100 deaths every year in the U.S. We're looking at a crisis in 10 years as most bugs will be resistant to most antibiotics.

The team expect it will be about 12-15 months before the discovery is introduced into human clinical trials.... however it is not impossible that the large pharma companies are already having friendly conversations with Inimex and it's founders who have announced that they currently have in the pipeline an IDR product IMX942 for hospital bacterial infections. Should you be interested, a trip round their excellent website would be very instructive, especially the quality of scientific backing, financial muscle and pharma drug development.

The discovery, was published in the March 25th issue of the journal Nature Biotechnology.(doi:10.1038/nbt1288) (subscription for full article)
An anti-infective peptide that selectively modulates the innate immune response


"Because protection by IDR-1 was prevented by in vivo depletion of monocytes and macrophages, but not neutrophils or B- and T-lymphocytes, we conclude that monocytes and macrophages are key effector cells. IDR-1 was not directly antimicrobial: gene and protein expression analysis in human and mouse monocytes and macrophages indicated that IDR-1, acting through mitogen-activated protein kinase and other signaling pathways, enhanced the levels of monocyte chemokines while reducing pro-inflammatory cytokine responses."

Keef didn't snort old man -" lost in translation"

Most rock journalism is people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, for people who can't read.
Frank Zappa

That's not say of course that his old man didn't get sucked now and again, and again ...

Navy put on a good show - few questions and definitely no answers

The intelligence vessel USS PUEBLO (AGER-2) was sent on an intelligence mission off the coast of North Korea and on January 23, 1968, was attacked by North Korean naval vessels and MiG jets. One man was killed and several were wounded. 82 surviving crew members were captured and released 11 months later in December, upon signature of the US admitting to espionage in the coastal waters of the Sea of Japan.

When exposed to the press by the DPRK they subsequently achieved a degree of fame for the way they assembled hand signals when photographed and used phrases such as not making "full penetration" a phrase from the US Navy Penal Code which defines rape.

In the pre-internet era and one of intense press censorship it took many years for these gestures of defiance to surface and circulate. On return on 28 December, 1968 they were ignored and did not receive their POW medals (to which they were entitled) until 1990.The ship is moored today in Wonson harbour as a war trophy for visits by visiting VIP's. (Go here for fascinating history)

It was whilst tying to find the appropriate photograph for the above story, that the remarkable Royal Navy ex cons roadshow hit BBC TV 24 - it was as if another Big Brother House had emptied itself. If the ex-prisoners felt under psychological pressure in Teheran it was rapidly apparent that they were in the UK. 3 squaddies who could hardly form a sentence , opinion or decent vowel sound, obliged as decent sons. The officers, evidently well briefed gave an apparently confident,yet (unsurprisingly) confusing account of their boarding party, previous "intel" trips obligingly filmed by Sky etc., .... the assembled press either by habit or persuasion laid off the difficult questions... the Missing Lynx .. why no resistance ?

2 thoughts arise. They were lucky they were not handed over to the Royal Lancashire Regiment for “tactical questioning” or that they were treated to “maintain the shock of capture” in a room for 36 hours at about 60C. Also that the lessons of the Pueblo incident should form part of any post capture training - not that it was evident that they had ever received any.

7.7 bombers supporters to get fair trial

The Daily Torygraph today reports on the arrest of 3 men from Leeds under the low key headline 'Terror plot to blow up tourist attractions' by Duncan Gardham, which he starts with the sensational news .."The July 7 bombers planned to attack Big Ben, the London Eye and other tourist attractions" (also helpfully provide a picture of both - see pic) and also reveals but fails to provide a source ...

"Detectives have pieced together hundreds of hours of CCTV footage showing the suicide attackers and their alleged accomplices conducting reconnaissance of London landmarks and the Underground system.

They have also used mobile phone evidence to plot their movements."
Which is curious because the paper provides elsewhere, a complete statement from the Sphincter of the Yard Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, head of the MPS Counter Terrorism Command.. without a mention of mobile phones, CCTV , Big Ben .. the London Eye ... although he did say..

"Of course, now that legal proceedings are under way, I am strictly limited as to what I can say. The public will no doubt find this frustrating, as do I."
So is Mr Gardham making this up ? Was it inserted by a mischeivous sub-editor? Did a Plod provide the information ? Shirley not because he would like his Boss ...

now that legal proceedings are under way, I(he would) am strictly limited as to what I can (he could) say.
Perhaps someone in the Metropolitan Police should ask Mr Gardham where he gets his information from ? The Editor might also ask some searching questions as well. Wouldn't want the Truth or Accuracy of Torygraph reports to be questioned.

Of course Mr G is not alone Mike Sullivan in the Sun repeats those stories but adds that THE 7/7 suicide bombers were planning a murderous attack on the QUEEN ... and helpfully provides a photograph of Buckingham Palace and HRH.

Charlotte Gill in the Daily Mail has curiously got the same stories "7/7 bombers plotted to blow up Big Ben and the Palace" but a smarter girl, he has them in one headline.

The Daily Express manages to get both magic revelations as well

"The July 7 suicide bombers allegedly plotted to massacre tourists at major attractions including Buck­ing­ham Palace. ..Crowds milling around Trafalgar Square, the London Eye and near Big Ben are also said (by whom ?)to have been targets."
What do they do with the news ... Make it up ?

UPDATE - Friday afternoon. Evidently given the coherent and detailed messages these journalists received, this is clearly a case of paranormal comunication. It will be interesting to see if these powerful forces can be transmitted across the Atlantic or even further to journalists in the USA who can convince their editors.

An Associated Press story (Google 252 stories)is widely syndicated in the US which has the astonishing revelation
"For the first time, British authorities alleged that the plot's targets might have included tourist attractions." (eg LA Times)

So why didn't the UK journo's say the "UK authorities" were the source ... but then can you trust Yanqui imperialist journo's?

Please report any further sightings.

Peter Clarke the Sphincter of the Yard- needs your help

The immobile features of the expressionless **** Peter Clarke the Sphincter of the Yard disclosed yesterday....

"Our aim was quite simple....Who encouraged the bombers? Who supported them? Who helped them?"he went on to explain that their investigations involved some 19,000 leads and more than 15,000 statements being taken.

Which is curious, as letters addressed to
Peter Clarke CVO QPM LL.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner
Anti-Terrorist Branch
New Scotland Yard

....suggesting lines of enquiry - such that the "bombers" were duped drug carriers, or that osmium teroxide is NOT a chemical of concern, that only one person in the UK has ever died of ricin (and that by a hypodermic injection of a very pure chemical inserted in a rare metal carrier bolus), and does not represent a threat as a poison for biological warfare, remain unanswered and evidently ignored....but he must be a busy man.

There is not a shred of evidence that the Met have made the slightest attempt to interview or seek the assistance of any of the industrious, 7/7 researchers, who have assembled a large body of knowledge about the event.

With no thanks or even reference to the work and doggedness of Bridget Dunne John Reid did finally acept that the Police accounts that the bombers left Luton on a train that didn't exist were wrong (Full details here at J7 Truth website). Which were explained by the Police that the information that was used in the "Timeline" came from ...The Home Office, which when last checked the Met were still part of. (Although that is due for a change).

John Reids acceptance of the revised (7.25 not 7.40 ) departure time(BBC story**) is however no explanation how the famous picture of the 4 "bombers" entering Luton Station, three minutes earlier , bought their tickets and caught the train, nor how they arrrived in London too late to catch the trains that were bombed.

Plod needs help. Please write to him.

** According to the BBC story "Mr Reid said the discrepancy came to light at the end of last week, when police pointed out the inaccuracy." although of course the blogosphere had been full of the detailed information derived from public sources.

**** Dear old Peter did once show us his lunch bucket however - presumably to show his mum he had gobbled it all up. Love his range of ties... and that knot !

Euro riding high

Subsequent to interest in the impact of the prospect of soaring summertime elecricity costs it is worth noting that the US$ is trading at 2 year lows around Eur 1.3433 , this also pushed the euro near a record high against the yen, @ 159.35 yen to the Euro.

In the Pacific region, a decision by the Reserve Bank of Australia to hold rates at 6.25 % (although a rise is expected soon) resulted in the Australian dollar trading at a decade high rate of 81.90 ( 82.15 would be a the highest since 1990).

To the silver watchers a troy ounce was trading US$13.55 overnight - this graph is of interet to people who followed Lord Patel's foray into the market at US$5.60 just before the Iraqi illegal invasion commenced - some see this will double in 5 years. Remember of course that at that time 1US$ = 1 Euro so in Euro values any investing 1 US$ in silver then is now only worth 79 cents. So say you invested US$10,000 in silver it would have been the equivalent of Euuros 10,000. That investment is now worth US$24,200 a rise in US$ value of 240% = Euros 18,058 a rise of 180%. It is this decline in the international purchasing power of the US$ that US emploloyees are paid with, that is starting to affect the ability to pay the VRM (Variable Rate Mortgages) of the prime rate mortgage market.

Of course if the reports that Vice President Cheney bought heavily into Eurobonds will give him little cause to worry about his personal finances. he must however been a bit pissed off when the State of Iran made its first first foreign bond issue in June 2002 since the Islamic revolution despite the withdrawal of its sovereign debt rating by Moody's. The US credit agency withdrew the rating because it was deemed to be inconsistent with US sanctions against Iran. The USD500m eurobond issue went ahead regardless and was barred to US buyers (due to over subscription it was raised to £640 Mn)...which would have been a nice little investment. BNP Paribas and Germany's Commerzbank were acting as lead managers.After the Iraqi illegal invasion you might remember the Oil for Food Funds were whisked away from BNP Paribas to the safety of New York.

Which probably was the reason why the Veep Cheney, speaking to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC),was in a bellicose mood....

"For our part, the United States is keeping all options on the table in addressing the irresponsible conduct of the Iranian regime." Make no mistake, Cheney told the cheering crowds of AIPAC, "we will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon".

Beware of Cheney .. never trust a guy who shoots lawyers....and buy silver.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Travelling fast in the UK

The Department for Transport published statistics today for motor vehicle speeds for 2006. They surveyed 36 sites where a 30 or 40 mph limit applies and at 60 other sites including motorways.

The levels of exceeding the speed limit are staggering and make you wonder why the limits are not reviewed.

54 % of cars on motorways exceeeded the speed limit (2005 56%).

49 % of all car drivers on 30 mph built-up roads exceeded the speed limit compared with 65 % in 2001 and 72 per cent 10 earlier in 1996.

On 40 mph built-up roads, 28 % of car drivers exceeded the speed limit, this is an increase of 4 per cent on the 2005 level.

On major, non-built-up single carriageway roads, 76 % of articulated heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) exceeded their 40 mph limit (28 % by more than 10 mph). The average speed recorded for articulated HGVs on these roads was 46 mph, just 2 mph less than the average speed of cars (48 mph), for which the limit on these roads is 60 mph.

The DOT would do us a favour by providing these alongside accident / death / injury statistics.

Cruisin' - different sorts of excitement

Accident prone Cyprus-based Louis Hellenic Cruise Lines 22,000 ton Sea Diamond cruise liner was evacuating 1,167 passengers after the boat hit a well charted rock in Santorini Bay this afternoon. More than a dozen small ships and naval helicopters took part in the rescue and another vessel , the 35 year old Perla is on it's way to return the passengers to Piraeus which they left on Tuesday on their 5 day voyage round the Greek islands and Turkey. (Friday update - the ship sanl at 7.00 am local time and2 French passengers a 45-year-old man and his 16-year-old daughter are reported missing , his wife and another child are safe.)

In 1986 the Sea Diamond previously operated as the Birka Princess prior to its purchase and re-fit by Louis Hellenic Cruises some 10 years ago.Louis’s fleet consists of 13 cruise ships, four of which are chartered by Britain’s Thomson Cruises and one by Germany’s Transocean.

Only last May Louis Lines Calypso with 454 passengers, out of 708 on board were rescued after an engine roomfire as the ship passed Beach Head on it's way from Tilbury to St peter Port Jersey, and they had to be towed in to Southampton.

It was the same company that owned the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel on Corfu where two children , Christianne, seven, and Robert six died from carbon monoxide poisoning last October and nearly killed their mother and partner.

Crusing is ibcreasingly opular, but it is not without it's concerns. On a ship - especially a US owned one you virtually leave the law behind. Consider the case of Merrian Carver, a 40 year old woman, disappeared from a Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska in August of 2004. Her Steward reported her missing for 5 days to his supervisor and was told to “just do your job and forget it” At the end of the cruise, Cruise line officials simply boxed up her belongings and even disposed of most of her items.

Her parents spent huge sums on lawyers and private eyes to be rebuffed at every turn, for any explanation. This resulted in them setting up the organisation International Cruise Victims, whose website has a seemingly endless list of losses at sea, on board rapes, violence and indifferent cruise operators. Contempating a cruise, know someone who is ? Have a read before you book.

Ross Klein, professor of social work at the Memorial University of Newfoundland claims a woman has a 50% greater chance of sexual assault on a Royal Caribbean International ship as compared to the US generally, in evidence to a House of Representatives subcommittee on Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation, held on March 27. He explained that the figures for Royal Caribbean are comparable to those for the industry as a whole and were used for the sake of clarity.

Annual rate of all sex-related shipboard incidents (per 100,000): 162
Annual rate of sexual assaults (per 100,000): 48
US rate for sexual assaults (per 100,000): 32

However Cruise ship operators have to cope with crazy and often drunk passengers. It seems that plunging off balconies in the middle of the night is the latest ticket to fun and probably an early marine grave.

Only last week 2 young -- a 22-year-old man and 20-year-old woman -- deliberately fell or dived from a cabin balcony on the Grand Princess at around 1:30 am on March 25th, and miraculously, both were rescued after a four-hour search, according to Princess Cruises.

The ship was about 150 miles off the coast of Galveston, Texas, at the time that the two fell 50 to 60 feet into the ocean. The ship's crew used high-powered spotlights and one passenger was rescued by the ship's boats at 5:30 am. and the other at 6 am.

The latest balcony plunge comes three days after 35-year-old Michael Mankamyer of Orlando appeared on ABC-TV to tell how he, while drunk, had plunged off the Carnival Glory on March 10th week off the Florida coast and stayed afloat until rescued eight hours later. Apparently he had taken his 16 year old god son on the trip and his intention was to act as a chaperone.

While the Carnival jumper clearly welcomed the opportunity to "tell his story exclusively to 'Good Morning America'," it costs the companies fortunes to delay or adjust itineraries, in these cases part of rampantly partying "spring break" students after Florida has shooooed them off.

PM Tony Blair holds woman in Iran terror hostage - silenced / drugged ? : Amazing pictures

Prime Minister Tony Blair paraded a female hostage, forcibly silenced and it appears either sedated or drugged ,triumphantly before the world's press today. Forced to live in a tiny "mobile home" and only wear drab clothes, stripped of her personal handbag, she is only allowed exercise under strict control and forbidden to say anything to reporters.

Stop this inhuman state controlled terror slavery bondage today ! Free the silent woman ? Free the 10 Downing Street One NOW!!

UPDATE Friday 6th April 2007

Prime Minister Tony Blair appeared outside No 10 Downing Street on Thursday night to comment upon the release of the Naval semen by Iran - without his female hostage . WHERE IS SHE ? HAS THE FO DISAPPEARED ? Has she been "extradited" in her tiny mobile home ?

Free the silent woman ? Free the 10 Downing Street One NOW!!

Sir Michael Lyons to Head BBC - one of "ours"

The BBC have announced that academic Sir Michael Lyons has been chosen to head the BBC Trust to replace Michael Grade - after filling in the necessary application forms, passing selection interviews etc., If you want his views you can contact him Tel: 0121 414 5008 Email: M.T.Lyons@bham.ac.uk

Sir Michael Lyons is Professor of Public Policy at Birmingham University.

Sir Michael is currently working for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister undertaking a review of local government finance and structures.

He recently completed a Review of Public Sector relocation on behalf of the Chancellor and Deputy Prime Minister (“Well Placed to Deliver” The Lyons Review March 2004) (The BBC wants to expand to Manchester - well the people who work there don't, seeing it as being sent to Siberia - read Ariel ) He was also chair of the Cardiff City Council’s ‘Corporate Governance Commission’ which completed its work in April 2004 .

Sir Michael was knighted in January 2000 for Services to Local Government after serving as the Chief Executive of 3 major local authorities - Birmingham City Council (1994-2001); Nottinghamshire County Council (1990-1994) and Wolverhampton Borough Council (1985-1990). He spent a short period as an elected councillor between 1980-83.

Sir Michael is a member of the Treasury's Public Services Productivity Panel and works closely with SOLACE, KPMG and LAGAN Technologies Ltd so don't be surprised if the consultants move in.

Recent activities include membership of the Independent Fire Service Review which produced its report (The Bain Report) "reducing risk, saving lives" which gave an 11% pay increase over 3 years and got the firemen off the Governments back, in December 2002. Together with Sir Ian Byatt he was responsible for the publication of 'The Role of External Review in Improving Performance' published in the autumn of 2001 and has been actively involved in the dissemination of the results from the ESRC programme 'Cities: competition and Cohesiveness' for which he has chaired the Advisory Board. He was lead advisor for the House of Commons Select Committees Review of the Local Government Act 2000 and pre-legislative scrutiny of the Local Government Bill 2002.

You might be forgiven for thinking that his focus will be more on process than programmes. Sounds like a dullard - although he takes a fine photo.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

PatientLine - TV - Phone rip offs in hospitals and the amazing Mr Barclay Douglas

On Friday , non-profitable Hospital bedside phone operator Patientline (LSE: PTL.L - news) said finance director Phil Dennis will be leaving the company on 10th April .Following the withdrawal from the US market and the sale of its Dutch business as approved at the recent EGM, the company is now concentrating its activities in one business based in the UK. Turnover to Y/E July 2006 was £ 55 MN with 11 Mn losses and the company £87MN borrowings. Curiously they claimed that ..

"Ward closures and empty beds have reduced the number of terminals being used in the UK"

Oddly a Press release from Citigate Dewe Rogers concerning the introduction of Barclay Douglas (of which see more later) said "thousands of terminals lying idle because they were not functioning and problems blamed on NHS ward closures rather than on causes under management’s control"

"Phil sees his future with an expanding group of businesses and has decided to seek a new career elsewhere," it added. You can bet he got his paycheck and any outstanding expenses through at the end of the month.

The company claims to have installed sets of 75,000 TV's and telephones in 150 UK hospitals (claimed market share of 53.7%.) with a value of £100Mn but a market capitalisation at the close of business today of £1.7Mn. Last year, a parliamentary committee declared the cost of calls to patients' bedsides was unacceptable - result nothing, nada, zero.

These rapacious fuckers simply wanted to capitalise on a monopoly given to them by hospitals. Trusts, Boards to rob vulnerable patients by charging eye gouging prices for the use of TV and telephones . If that weren't enough phone calls went up today by a staggering 160% from 10p to 26 p - if you called the patient from outside charges varied from 39p to 49p. To balance this, TV charges have been reduced.By the end of April 2007 1 day of TV (24 continuous hours) will cost £2.90 - children free.

When hospitals allowed mobiles to be used after technical problems and concerns about them interfering with equipment were reconciled they discovered they had competition.

That's the way capitalism works.

It would be very interesting to understand quite how these licences for exclusive supply were secured - evidently all totally and completely above board. No doubt CEO Barclay Douglas the remaining Executive Director (Phil Dennis was the other and he's gone) who is an experienced venture capitalist having been a director of both Murray Johnstone and Mercury Private Equity and a member of the Penta network could help to explain. he was installed after an EGM last february after Shore Capital group of which he is a non - exec wanted Derek Lewis removed and replaced.

Curiously the Board made the following report (available here)

The Nominations Committee has considered Barclay Douglas as a candidate for Chairman.Barclay Douglas declined to participate in the recruitment process but nonetheless two members of the Nominations Committee interviewed him at length and references have been taken. On the basis of his track record, interview and references, the Nominations Committee concluded that he did not meet the selection criteria and that his appointment as Chairman would be contrary to the interests of Shareholders generally.

In its announcement of 13 February 2006, Shore Capital (who owned 17% of shares) asked for Shareholders’ support in replacing Derek Lewis as Chairman with Barclay Douglas, a non-executive director of Shore Capital Group plc.

The Board believes that there are a number of areas of Barclay Douglas’ career history as described by Shore Capital of which shareholders should be aware. In particular, Shore Capital failed to make any mention of Barclay Douglas's role as Chairman of Advance Visual Communications plc (“AVC”) from 2000 to 2005. AVC listed on AIM on 15 November 2000 with a market capitalisation of £14.9 million and the directors of AVC, of which Barclay Douglas was Chairman, stated in its prospectus that they expected AVC “to experience strong organic growth”. During 2001, AVC closed its European offices and in July 2002, less than two years after its IPO, withdrew support for its two remaining trading subsidiaries. These subsidiaries subsequently appointed a liquidator. (Source: Regulatory News Service, 5 July 2002). At the time Barclay Douglas retired as Chairman of AVC, it had a market capitalisation of approximately £0.2 million.

Further, Shore Capital stated that:

    “as finance director [ Barclay Douglas] assisted in restoring [Sock Shop] to profit prior to a sale in 1994.” (announcement by Shore Capital, 13 February 2006)

    By the time Sock Shop was sold in October 1994 its financial performance had reversed from generating profit before taxation of £0.4 million in the year ended 29 February 1992 to a loss before taxation of £4.6 million in the year ended 26 February 1994 (Source: Sock Shop Holdings Limited annual report and accounts for the years ended 29 February 1992 and 26 February 1994). Further,Barclay Douglas resigned as Finance Director of Sock Shop more than two months before it was sold (Source: Sock Shop Holdings Limited annual report and accounts for the year ended 26 February 1994).

    “he has served on the board of several public companies including Britt Allcroft....” (announcement by Shore Capital, 13 February 2006)

    Barclay Douglas resigned from the Board of Britt Allcroft Group Limited, as it was then known, before it became a listed public company. (Source: Companies House, Form 288b, 16 October 1996).

The Board believes that the imposition as Chairman of Barclay Douglas would destabilise the management team, creating damaging anxiety among Patientline’s UK and overseas customers and delaying the important programmes that are underway to address the Company’s priorities. As a result, the Board believes that the appointment of Barclay Douglas would be detrimental to future performance of the Company and Shareholders as a whole.

Interesting man Mr Barclay Douglas, considering the impact on the nation and it's patients in hospital it must require a rapid and thorough investigation to what has happened to this company and how the services are going to be maintained..

The Great Pensions swindle - How Actuaries calculated the loot - and Directors carried it off

Life insurance surfaced as a business at the end of the eighteenth century. It's popularity was based upon the then fashionable hobby of European Monarchs with declining fortunes and rapacious mistresses to promote Royal Lotteries. It was a business described by Ambrose Bierce in his Devil's Dictionary as

" An ingenious modern game of chance in which the player is permitted to enjoy the comfortable conviction that he is beating the man who runs the table"
That there was an equivalence in the public mind between Lotteris and Insurance was of the class of simple mathematical delusions such as the European Emissions Trading scheme and Carbon Credits.

Lotteries are based upon a fixed basis - the odds are transparent and calculable if miniscule. The first companies claimed that the forecasting of human longevity could be calculated on much the same principles.

A Unitarian MinisterThomas Bayes led a quiet but busy life attempting to follow the first attempts to determine a way of calculating probability and in a sense it's twin - randomness. Laplace had determined what he called inverse probability - from which Bayes developed a calculus that entitles the user to assign a defineable numerical value to the credibility of our judgements about antecedent eventson the basis of past (and present) observations.

His thoughts were posthumously published in a memoir to the Royal Society in 1763 taken from a scholium found amongst his papers.

This was communicated by another Unitarian Minister. Dr. Price. Dr. Pprice was the first actuary of the Equitable - whose blue blooded members made the most massive losses of any such funds in the last ten years.

It is said that actuaries are people who find acountancy too exciting. Their role and function is decribed by the American Society of Actuaries at their website

An actuary is a business professional who analyzes the financial consequences of risk. Actuaries use mathematics, statistics and financial theory to study uncertain future events, especially those of concern to insurance and pension programs. ......

Their work requires a combination of strong analytical skills, business knowledge and understanding of human behavior to design and manage programs that control risk.
This really is pious bollocks - their motto says more - and well may they trade mark it. Risk is opportunity.

Here is a true tale of a Pilgrim who struggled in the Slough of Actuaries in the City of London and discovered what a lying bunch of fucks they are.

A graduate of Oxford, a skilled, lauded mathematician was successful in obtaining a post- graduate position at one of the major and renowned City of London Actuaries whose name is known and revered and respected.

Companies who have pension schemes have to regularly demonstrate that the funds in the scheme cover the calculated and accruing liabilities of the members. The members will vary with new staff, new mensioners, deaths of pensioners etc., which with income in the period is a relatively simple task to perform, but laborious.

This - (I speak 13/14 years ago) did not benefit greatly from use of desk top PC's , spreadsheets and was undertaken in a mechanical fashion on paper as inherited from it's earliest exponents. The "Partners" really did not take to these new fangles computer thingy's.

The next stage was to calculate the liabilities on the fund, current members in benefit, members who would qualify before the next review etc., and further calculations over different time horizons.

To do this there are essentially 3 variables to determine

1) Members in benefit and their benefits
2) Forecasts of income required as members retired and drew benefit which involved determining length of life expectation - which relied heavily on the Bayesian assumptions - which were as good as the past (and present) observations.(Life tables)
3) Income from funds invested, which may be in a variety of froms, land, agricultural holdings, shares, bonds etc.,

As a back office toiler our eager entrant would prepare these calculations which were essentially simple and iterative and were a grade of high level clerking. The final result would a be a report to present to the Board of the company involved stating what funds were required to maintain it's liquidity.

This would be borne (at considerable cost the Board of the Company) to their Directors who would look at it and say -- "aaah £120 Mn, that seems rather a lot Jonathan (or Torquil, or Robin) the Board think it should be along the lines of ... what shall we say ... £50Mn .. we realise of course this will require extra work, and costs, but of course ... anyway perhaps you will be joining us at Ascot next week and will have it done by then."

Our tyro would then have to recast the figures , the liabilities were essentially (unless a mistake was made) were fixed, it depended upon the income... Perhaps if we look at the rise in the value of agricultural land - the return on equities .... the partner might suggest .... and tap a port red rich nose.

A report would be prepared and presented and passed.

Which allowed the company to declare profits boosted by the sums (sometimes it was zero)not paid into the pensions, the shares rose, the Directors share options would be happily timed(and coincidentally) to ride the crest of the wave ... until next year. On a constantly rising equities market everyone was happy.

Our toiling calculatrix got fed up and suggested that it would save him a great deal of time, energy and frustration if they just asked the board what they wanted to pay and prepare a report accordingly. How could they arrive at such fundamentally unsound and variable assumptions between clients all investing in the same market - he enquired. If Company X expected equities to return 6.2 % why did Company Y expect a 9% return ?

Torquil (or Robin or Jasper) called in our graduate and explained that really he didn't think he fitted in there, he didn't really seem to understand the service the company offered. He explained that he understoon only too well what the service was - spurious valuations of pension funds and their liabilities.

Torquil (or Robin or Jasper) suggested that the company could offer him 3 months salary if he would sign a non - disclosure agreement and leave instantly. He hung on for 6 months pay. Got it. .. and left. He now holds a global position with a US$54Mn pharmaceutical company.

Essentially in the early 90's two frauds were perpetrated by Actuaries - one they persisted in using out of date (and known to be out of date) life tables. It was claimed this was an aid to "consistency" - indeed it was .... consistently wrong. People were simply living healthier and longer so the demands on the funds had a more extensive life that they were calculating. This REDUCED the expected liabilities, now and over time.

To augment this basic fallacy the gradual growth in the numbers of women in senior positions which again distorted longevity assumptions.

Improvident and unproveable assumptions were made about returns on funds, which as the income was repeatedly cut, inadequate cover for incorrectly calculated labilities grew exponentially until the shortfalls in funding were exposed when reality kicked in and the dot.com bubble simultaneously popped.

New life tables were introduced and greater honesty was to be found, regulations was improved, irate, well fed educated judges , barristers ansd stocbrokers in Equitable exposed the huge under fundings , which "emerged" - - a grammatical inexactitude - they were always there, artfully concealed in the confidential Actuarial reports which were limited in circulation to the Trustees of the Fund (s) who would keep bumping into each other at Boodle's, Ascot, Wimbledon, the Masters' Gaudy Night at Christ Church kept the secrets well hidden in a jumble of figures and false assmptions.

So when the Chancellor made his raid on the pension funds in 1997 it was difficult to see or hear any cries from the leaders of the FTSE 100 companies (check) . They had been raiding them for long enough - there is after all, Honour among thieves.

The accumulated underfunding on pension funds was at one time calculated in the 10's of Billions 60/70/80/90 Billion, who knows ? Gordon's £4Mn a year by removing tax relief is hardly , as they say in the curious world of Accountancy practised in the City - Material.

Japan faces long hot summer - electricity costs to rise by at least 50%

Lord Patel reported on January 31 that 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. 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%.

There are now reports that after this continuing ( and it appears enduring) scandal Japanese wholesale electricity prices will rise this summer by 58% to exceed 21 yen (17.7 cents) a kilowatt-hour for the peak hours of 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. as demand rises in July and August. Tommorrows price is for example 13.53 yen up from 13.33 yesterday.

The latest global figures available (for 2004) show that Japan's retail electricity prices for household use averaged 19.6 cents US a kilowatt-hour, compared with 8.9 cents for the U.S., 17.6 cents for Germany, and 14.1 cents for France (source OECD).

These price rises relate to the reduced nuclear capacity and the switch to oil which is a more costly power generation route . Ten regional electricity utilities burned less than 1 million kilolitres in February alone compared with 2.3 Kilolitres in the whole of 2006.

The Japanese meteorogical agency reports that temperatures have been higher this spring and expect a warmer than average summer. In the financial districts of Tokyo (Otemachi) the February temperature ( 47 F) was the highest for 131 years. With summeriem temperatures in Japan's cities around 27 degrees celsius the air con's will be working overtime.

Craig Murray's Diplomacy lessons for Tony Blair : 101

We can soon expect to see Craig on bended knee receiving some sort of glittering honour from Her Majesty for the (free) part he played in demonstrating how diplomacy actually works.

The next Showbiz award goes to Mr Ahmendinejad for leaving his last, final and stunning trick to the end, afer days of tension sedulously built up by the world wide media - built up whilst his Press Conferences were continually called and cancelled, whilst Dubya threw in his three pennorth, as did Blessed Margaret. Lord Patel did however hint last week at the possibility that ace showman Ahm in a Dinner Jacket might upstage Tony and return the useless semen.

I think we can safely assume that that is the end of that, the hostages will be recovering in the bosom of their families, undergoing a deep de-briefing, medicals, respect their privacy, simply doing their job, brave lads and lassie.Royal |Navy enquiry , months to report (like the Comet/Nimrod that fell out of the sky- the strange case of the suicidal MP investigating the strange case of the 2 SAS men in Basra - the short life of Commanding officers in Afghanistan....)

No questions about how they were captured, why they happily admitted they had transgressed Iranian territory. What was the name of the Indian vessel, the owners , why the Missing Lynx was ... er .. missing, why the Iranian vessels (4 - 5 ?) didn't show on the radar, exactly how does the Royal Navy navigate ?

And certainly NO questions about the tourists(?) from the Embassy in Sudan whose bullet riddled vehicles attested to a violent atack but have been miraculously returned to us by the Grace of God. Struck dumb by their horrifying ordeal.

Well. No questions. OK ? Who was the guy missing in the pic above - vanished into thin air ?

PS UPDATE Jon Snow's office called to ask for his contribution in having a fireside chat live on national TV to the influential Dr Ali Larijani of Irans National Security council to be mentioned. This appeared to put a banger up the bum of Sir Nigel Sheinwald, Tony Blair's urbane to the point of narcolepsy,foreign affairs private secretary, spoke (eventiually) to Dr Larijani by phone. (perhaps the No 10 staff were explainig to him how it worked)

Not a good day for Tony and Vaughan is out for 1 against Sri Lanka. Now England have lost by two runs. Anyone murdered yet ?

Gambling - a very, very, bad bet

1997 he fucked the pensioners, this year it was the gambling companies turn...Rank Leisure Industries, an essential element of capitalism.

Ya see, Gordy isn't all smarmy charm and smooth honeyed phrases.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

"Channel 4 should put this rubbish in the dustbin." - Mark of the Jacobins to censor TV

The forces of state control are smoothly slipping into gear - after Michael Gove's call for the Channel 4 drama Mark of Cain be withdrawn when he reviewed it on Newsnight Review on Friday . Dear old Rupe in his rag the Times today gives this juvenile Consrevative MP a whole opinion piece to air his views on censorship - "Why must the media attack our soldiers’ mission?" - He concludes

"And what does it say about the moral courage of our broadcasters that the broader context of the war our soldiers are fighting, the struggle against militant Islamism, (weren't we liberating them from a Dictator?) just doesn’t get a look-in? It’s time that the whistle was blown on the broadcasters’ abuse of our soldiers’ mission."
He claims to be of the tribe of journalists, here is his oportunity, the playwrights are found wanting - so write a play - don't suppress other people's.

The Mark of Cain is marketed as a fictional drama, but it has been filmed with documentary verisimilitude.
Is he suggestiung that Channel 4 (Whose dramas rergularly receive huge praise) engage the services is a 6 th form media studies class ?

The Daily Telegraph have assembled the usual suspects from the Lady Dame Pauline Neville Jones Fan Club to have the viewing stopped. Channel 4 attacked for Iraqi abuse drama

Des Browne, described as the Defence Secretary, has already warned that the drama, The Mark of Cain, will hand "a propaganda opportunity to insurgents and put British lives at risk," as it could be viewed as portraying real events and could be used by those seeking to "incite hostility towards UK forces".

The ubiquitous media rentagob, (from whom we can expect more interference) Colonel Tim Collins, the author of the infamous pre- battle address to the troops of the 1st Battalion Irish Royal Regiment before the Iraq invasion was the inspiration for the title of the programme, is reported to have said. "Channel 4 should put this rubbish in the dustbin." (Has he seen it ?)

Officials at the Ministry of Defence fear that the film "could be used as a tool for indoctrination. Islamic extremists use videos of real and fictionalised events to incite their supporters." "Lives will be put at risk "(reports Rupes Rag the Sun) MoD was however at pains to point out: “The Mark of Cain is a work of fiction and should be viewed as such.” No the Army is not like that - although months of evidence might lead you to beleieve otherwise.

Major General Patrick Cordingly who once led the Desert Rats, was interviewed on the BBC4 World at One news programme today and aid the scenes of British troops "mishandling Arabs" could provide a distorted view. He has thought about it long and hard and wants Channel 4 to withdraw the play .

Lisa Marshall a spokeswoman for Channel 4 contacted the Foreign Office and is talking to them hourly and is reviewing the situation.

Let the public, in the wake of the Deepcut revelations know how we brutalise young men and women, let them see how the class system works in the modern democratic British Army, let people form their own judgement. In the wake of a Court Martial which couldn't find anyone guilty which resulted in the violent death of a civilian, the humiliation, sexual abuse, and photography od prisoners - the public cannot take any more - Good Lord No.... they have had enough of this ...

Court testimony revealed that Musa and the other detainees were beaten so severly they lost conciousness and were left lying in their own excrement. The detainees were also subjected to racist verbal abuse by their captors.

The coroner revealed that Musa died from asphyxia. Among the 93 seperate injuries from the countless blows inflicted were a broken nose and three broken ribs.
OK to dramatise rape, torture, violent attacks, knifings on BBC Crimewatch (A real crime program)- after all, that is all done by criminals, not our "brave lads" and "officers and gentlemen".

See Lord Patel's previous post on the subject - Cameron camp want to censor Channel 4 drama about the Army in Iraq Friday March 30th 2007

This is just another sinister manifestation of State control and censorship - it must be resisted and noiy allowed to be "postponed". By the Way The Mark Of Cain won The Amnesty International Movies That Matter Award on Jan 28th at this year’s Rotterdam Film Festival and that is high praise indeed - described as "Een lowbudgetfilm met bigbudget-look en ambitie." and also "The Mark of Cain is an exciting, convincing war film that provides insight into some unpleasant aspects of the war in Iraq better than the news on TV.

Independent - Re-Cycling the News

Political links between Iran and Iraq will be difficult to sever
By Patrick Cockburn
The Independent 26 March 2007

"Fuad Hussein, the chief of staff of the Kurdish president Massoud Barzani, says "they were after Mohammed Jafari, the deputy chairman of Iran's National Security Council." It is a measure of the difficulty America has in getting its close allies in Iraq, notably the Kurds, to join it in confronting Iran that Mohammed Jafari, the powerful Iranian security official they were trying to abduct, was in Arbil as part of an Iranian delegation. He had just visited Mr Barzani in his mountain-top headquarters at Salahudin and earlier he met with Iraqi President Jalal Tabani in Dokan in eastern Kurdistan."

The botched US raid that led to the hostage crisis
By Patrick Cockburn
The Independent 03 April 2007
"The two senior Iranian officers the US sought to capture were Mohammed Jafari, the powerful deputy head of the Iranian National Security Council, and General Minojahar Frouzanda, the chief of intelligence of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, according to Kurdish officials."

Essentially the two stories are identical (check for yourself) , one curious feature is that if you Google "General Minojahar Frouzanda" , "General Minojahar Frouzandah" (as Google suggests) or " Minojahar Frouzanda" or "Minojahar Frouzandah" , on the Web, News or Blogs - it returns zero.

Missing Lynx ? What next ? Missing General Minojahar Frouzanda ?

Monday, April 02, 2007

The declining Lynx

Having just watched Craig Murray on BBC2 Newsnight patiently explain the legal miasma that exists in determining national boundaries in the Shatt al Arab, attention returned to Mystery of The Missing Lynx, it's pilot and crew and the sleepy radar operators.

Googling "Lynx" brought a more interesting and heart rending story of the dwindling band of only 800 Iberian Lynx in 10-12 locations (Lynx pardinus - or maybe Felis pardina - the taxonomy (like maritime boundaries) is disputed) in the Iberian Peninsula. This means it is the most threatened mammalian species in Spain. Worlwide it is categorised as Category 1 on a scale of 1-5 for endangered species.

On Friday the good news was that mummy Lynx at the El Acebuche Centre, in Spain's stunning DoƱana Nature Park had given birth to 5 kittens - which is large , normally they would have 2-3 kittens.

Today the news is that mum ate a cub , which may have been still born, of the others 1 survived 36 hours and another 70 hours after mummy abandoned them.

In the post war period the Lynx were hit by myxymatosis which destryed their prey the reabbits and hares of Spain, increasingly habitat destruction , hunting and becoming roadkill has eroded the wild Spanish population which is the reason for the breeding program at the El Acebuche centre.

The "lobo-cerval", "liberne" or "gato-cravo" s are totally protected in both Portugal and Spain, where the penalty for intentionally killing a Lynx - from March 1998, was raised to a maximum of 26 million pesetas (US$ 140,000). It doesn't stop the hunters however.

Let's hope the remaining kittens survive to spend some 18 months in their natal territory before they set of one their solo life of hunting. We will update as more information becomes available.

Danish teens success in Mallorca

The talented Danish cyclist Mie Bekker Lacota 18 , (Team Flexpoint : Denmark) was second (by 6 points) to Oz Katherine Bates in the women's points race on Sunday evening at the World Cycling Championships in Mallorca..

This was the first World medal ever won by a female Danish cyclist.

Solomons Hit by another 6.2 scale earthquake

Map of historical seismicity in the region from USGS
Geographic coordinates: 8.539S, 157.548E
Magnitude: 6.2 Mw Depth: 10 km
Universal Time (UTC): 2 Apr 2007 12:02:23

91 km (56 miles) ESE (122 degrees) of Gizo, Solomon Islands

More at US geological survey

More Israeli funds buy into US retail petrol outlets and convenience stores

Gibor Real Estate Ltd became Adiron Investments Ltd who were listed on the Tel Aviv stock exchnage and changed their name to EZ Energy Ltd( 28 Bezalel St. Ramat Gan, 52521 Israel Ticker EZ ) when control passed to Eli Zahavi lst year a man with 30 years experience in the international oil industry. He has specialized in leading the research, marketing and operations activities for leading oil companies in several countries mainly in the US..

The company's declared policy is to locate and purchase clusters of service stations in the US. The strategy is to locate clusters that ensure high yields, and at the same time try to introduce financial partners. This way, the company plans to purchase a large number of gas stations using relatively small equity to complete the acquisition.

The company reported in January that the directorate has authorized contacts with underwriters to lead a private issue of bonds and options.

The first deal appears to be agreements to purchase 15 convenience stores on the East Coast of the United States for US$15 million on January 3rd.

On January 30th they were able to report acquiring 26 gas stations and convenience stores for US$26 million and an extra figure to cover the current inventory in the stores. Annual revenue from the properties reaches US$87 million and is generated, among others, from selling close to 100 million liters of fuel products.

Over the last weekend EZ Energy signed two deals for the purchase of another 40 gas stations in the US Midwest totalling US39 Mn. This adds another annual $140 Mn in revenues and net profit of US$6.3 Mn. to the stations bought in January.

Oren Zahevi
the Chairman said "We are working vigorously to locate additional groups of stations, and we believe that we will sign additional deals in the new future."

This appears to reflect the policy of Alon USA the subsidiary of Alon Israel Oil Co. who last year bought into 55 convenience stores in El Paso to add to 49 stores they already owned in West Texas. (IPO's at US 16 mid 2005 when Lord Patel told you ter fill ya boots now in the US$32 range and have hit US$40)

Israeli / Arab hate show - The Military Route

Israeli IDF OC Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin (pic) gave a briefing to the Israel cabinet on Saturday. The Jerusalem Post says he reported that Iran, Syria and Hizbullah are preparing their defenses for a war in the summer, and that they are more worried about an attack by the US than from Israel. Iranian Fars news agency quoted the Iranian chief of staff, Hassan Fayrouz Abadi,on Saturday warning Arab leaders that Israel plans to open a "suicidal attack" on its neighbors this summer, to "prevent the withdrawal of the US troops from Iraq and the area."

He said the IDF has noticed, however, "an increase in the potential for instability" in the Middle East due to a number of processes, including the American "failure" in Iraq. (Ouch!)

The IDF believes, however, that the "greatest danger" to northern Israel currently comes from Syria, which has raised its level of alert, although forces on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights have not been beefed up. Despite the increase in the threat, the army does not have intelligence indicating that Syria plans to attack Israel, he said.

The JP also repeats the reports of the alleged Russian intelligence under the headline "US ready to strike Iran on Good Friday'. Russian news agency RIA Novosti has been wisely quoted this week that the US Armed Forces stationed in the Persian Gulf will be ready to launch a missile attack on Iran's nuclear facilities as soon as early this month, perhaps "from 4 a.m. until 4 p.m. on April 6,(Good Friday for Christians) " .

According to Russian intelligence sources, the reports said, the US has devised a plan to attack several targets in Iran, and an assault could be carried out by launching missiles from fighter jets and warships stationed in the Persian Gulf.

Yadlin was previously military attache in Washington and as an airman was involved in the air force attack on the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor in Operation Opera June 7th 1981 (which including overflying Saudi territory) - which of course the Iranians had been unable to kncok out on September 30th 1980 even though they had the aid and support of the IDF. The US finished it off in the Gulf War.

This was a military coup that helped sweep Begin's Likud to victory - in the way that the Falklands War sustained Margaret Thatcher's position.

One interesting footnote is that General David Ivry was in charge of the IDF Air Force at the time of the Osirak raid and when Ambassador in Washington received from Dick Cheney a framed satelite surveillance photograph after the raid from VP Dick Cheney with a suitable inscription...."with thanks and appreciation for the outstanding job he did on the Iraqi Nuclear Program in 1981..."

Is history to repeat itself ?

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