"“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 21, 2007

"Niemand hat die Absicht, eine Mauer zu errichten!" (No one intends to set up a wall). Ulbricht 15 June 1961

Paratroopers from the 407th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd BCT, 82nd Airborne Division, watch as cranes lift and swing huge 14,000 pound concrete barriers into place alongside a road in Adhamiyah April 10. The barriers will make up the perimeter of a new "gated community" in in the area.(From here)

Staff Sgt. Michael Mortimer of Keokuk, Iowa, a platoon sergeant with A Co, 407th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd BCT, 82nd Airborne Division, provides security while huge cranes lift concrete barriers into place to create the perimeter of a new "gated community" in Adhmaiyah, Baghdad April 10.

According to sergeant Mike Pryor work began on April 10 and continues every evening. The wall, which will be (at least) five kilometers long , is 3,5 meters high. Cost ?

Airpower Summary for April 19

In total, coalition aircraft flew 49 close air support missions for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These missions supported coalition ground forces, protected key infrastructure, provided overwatch of reconstruction activities and helped to deter and disrupt terrorist activities.

In total, 32 close air support missions were flown in support of the International Security Assistance Force and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

World War III Theme song (c) John McCain

Bonus Audio Post: the real Barbara Ann stolen from Left I on the News

To help you wipe the taste of John McCain out of your mouths, here's the real "Barbara Ann," recorded by The Regents in March, 1961 on the Gee/Roulette label. Excuse the scratchiness; I applied maximal filtering but it was a pretty old (obviously) 45. It gets better after a bad start.

Isn't technology wonderful? McCain sings "BombIran... BombIran... BombIran" .... (clip) then you find out that the Beach Boys was a COVER version.

Queen's scantily clad daughter in Lottery scandal - amazing pictures !!

The Guradian had an astonishing story on the 30th September 2003. Bolton Museum had been given first refusal on a unique (and previously unseen in public) 52cm (20" ) high headless statuette of Queen Nefertiti's daughter, by its owner.(pic)

Queen Nefertiti was the bride and co-ruler of Egypt, in the 14th century BC, with the pharaoh Akhenatan and is probably better known as the mother of Tutankhamun.

It is believed to be 3,300-year-old of the Amarna Period (c.1350-1334 B.C.) and one of Nefertiti's 4 daughters. It has no head, and is carved from translucent Egyptian alabaster (calcite) but is missing arms and lower legs. In private ownership for 111 years in Bolton, Lancashire, it was said to be originally purchased by a cotton magnate.

Bolton Museum was given first refusal on the 52cm high statue by its owner, before it would have been sold at public auction. It was purchased for £440,000, with £360,767 from the Lottery heritage fund, and a £75,000 grant from the National Arts Collection Fund. If sold on the open market it is claimed that it could have reached £1m.

Only two other artefacts of its kind are known to have survived, one in the Louvre and the other at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. This rarity reflects the destruction by later generations to ensure that the notorious family did not live on after death.

The statue was be displayed at the Hayward Gallery on the South Bank in London from October 23 until next January as part of the Saved! exhibition celebrating 100 years of the National Art Collections Fund.

Bolton Museum has a well known Egyptian collection, amassed from subscriptions to British archaeological excavations at Tell el-Amarna in the 1920s and 30s. The sculpture was said to have been brought to Bolton by the owner's great grandfather in 1892, following a sale of the contents of Silverton Park in Devon, the home of the 4th Earl of Egremont.

Ooooops !!

Metropolitan Police's Art and Antiques Unit arrested two Bolton men in the town last week on suspicion of forgery in connection with the statue.

George Greenhalgh, Olive Greenhalgh and Shaun Greenhalgh are each charged with conspiracy to defraud including alleged offences of selling faked and forged works as genuine between 1989 and 2006, and money laundering the faked arts and antiques and the proceeds from the sale of these antiques.

George snr and Shaun face an additional charge of laundering the proceeds of the sale of the Amarna Princess.

George Greenhalgh jnr, aged 53, is charged with money laundering the faked arts and antiques and the proceeds from the sale of these antiques.

All four family members, who live in a modest end-terrace house in The Crescent, Bromley Cross, will appear at Bolton Magistrates' Court on April 26.

A spokesman said detectives removed the statue from public display at the gallery in connection with an "ongoing investigation" and revealed "a small number of other items" were also removed from the British Museum in connection with the inquiry.

There was a link to the said statue on the Bolton Museum web site which has since disappeared and in the news section they have not got round to reporting the activities of the Metropolitan Police's Art and Antiques Unit. The National Art Collections Fund is similiarly coy.

Armed madman explains

"You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off."

"I didn’t have to do this. I could have left, I could have fled, but no, I will no longer run. If not for me, for my children, for my brothers and sisters . . . I did it for them."

"You just loved crucifying me. You loved inducing cancer in my head, terrorizing my heart and ripping my soul all the time."

"Do you know what it feels like to be humiliated and impaled upon a cross and left to bleed to death for your amusement? "
Cho Seung-Hui, the gunman responsible for the shootings at Virginia Tech

I realized that there is an enemy of the United States that is active and is lethal. At further study of that enemy, I realized that they share an ideology, that these weren't - that the - and when you really think about it, the September the 11th attack was not the first attack. There was a 1993 World Trade Center attack, there was attacks on our embassies in East Africa, there was an attack on the USS Cole, there have been other attacks on U.S. citizens, and that these attacks were instigated and carried out by cold-blooded killers who have a belief system.

They are threatened by free societies. They can't stand the thought of freedom being the prevailing attitude in the world because their view is, if you don't believe in what I believe in, you probably shouldn't be around.
This enemy is smart, capable, and unpredictable. They have defined a war on the United States, and I believe we're at war. I believe the attack on America made it clear that we're at war. I wish that wasn't the case.

Nobody ought to ever hope to be a war President, or a presidency - a President during war. ...
...Their second objective is to shake our confidence. It's an interesting war, isn't it, where asymmetrical warfare is - and that means people being able to use suicide bombers - not only, obviously, kills a lot of innocent people, like which happened yesterday in Iraq, but also helps define whether or not we're successful. ...

....Isn't it interesting, when you really take a step back and think about what I just said, that al Qaeda is making serious moves in Iraq, as is surrogates for Iran. Two of the biggest issues we face for the security of this country today and tomorrow is al Qaeda and Iran."

President Bush Discusses the Global War on Terror in Tipp City, Ohio April 19th (Text from Whitehouse site) Emphases added

Déja vu all over again

"You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off."

"I didn’t have to do this. I could have left, I could have fled, but no, I will no longer run. If not for me, for my children, for my brothers and sisters . . . I did it for them."

"When the time came I did it. I had to"

Cho Seung-Hui, the gunman responsible for the shootings at Virginia Tech

" I am only what you made me. I am only a reflection of you."

"It is a move. It is a motion. You take another's life. Boom(!) and they're gone. You say, "Where did they go?" They are dead. You say, well that person could have made the motion. He could have taken my life just as well as I took his."

Charles Manson from the dock(see full speech)

Interesting post here on Friday 13th April 2007 with songs of Charles Manson - Serendipity ? or as Loudon T Wainwright might say - Synchronicity.

Ronald Castree charged with 1975 Molseed murder

Ronald Castree, a 53-year-old market trader of Brandon Crescent, Shaw, Oldham, pleaded not guilty when murdering 11-year-old Rochdale schoolgirl, Lesley Molseed, more than 30 years ago appeared at Bradford Crown Court on Thursday 19th April 2007. He has been incustody since his arrest in November 2006 after DNA evidence led to his identification.

He was remanded in custody until his trial on 22 October. It is expected to last for nine weeks.

Several Rochdale residents who either worked with or knew Mr Castree at or about the time of Lesley Molseed’s disappearance, have recently been questioned by police in connection with the inquiry.

(link)For more information about the case and how In 1994 DCI Richard (Dick) Holland, CS Dibb and forensic scientist Doctor Ronald Outteridge were formally charged with suppressing evidence in 1994. It was alleged they had destroyed the forensic evidence which could have proved the innocence of Stefan and the guilt of the real murderer.They also withheld statements from the defence, which proved the whereabouts of Stefan on the day of the murder.

Friday, April 20, 2007

US Worldwide Alerts

US Embassy Berlin today (Hitler's Birthday)

Warden Message - April 20, 2007

"U.S. diplomatic and consular facilities in Germany are increasing their security posture. We are taking these steps in response to a heightened threat situation. The U.S. Embassy encourages Americans in Germany to increase their vigilance and take appropriate steps to bolster their own personal security. "
This follows the worldwide caution here

Office of the Spokesman

This information is current as of today, Fri Apr 20 2007 20:21:06 GMT+0100 (GMT Standard Time).

Worldwide Caution

April 10, 2007

This Public Announcement updates information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against Americans and interests overseas. This supersedes the Worldwide Caution dated October 11, 2006 and expires on October 9, 2007.

The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas. Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics to include assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings and bombings.

Those pessimists amongst us would be well advised to go to the link and carefully read it.

Dame Liza goes - the kaleidoscope shakes, rattles and rolls ...

Corsetieres to Royalty Rigby and Peller will be seeing a great deal more of Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller who leaves her post after 33 years as MI5 top secret agent at midnight to be superseded by the man they call Mr Evans .(pic)

The bombshell precipitated by her early (and let it be said reluctant) removal from the world of super sleuths will finally expose the remarkable double life of our multi-tasking titan. Few knew that Dame Liza has despite the demands of her super sleuthing been managing to sandwich playing the part of Lynda Snell (Carole Boyd the previous owner of the part having mysteriously "gone on leave") the doyenne of Ambridge Hall in the "Archers" whilst busily chasing bearded, swarthy Islamo-Fascist terrists round Sparkbrook and Sheffield. It is understood that the great break in the story line is death-watch beetle will be found in the hall and plunge her into endless expense to restore the hall to it's former greatness...but how will she raise the money ?

Finally of course this everyday story of queer country folk, will be able to meet the 21st century and listeners are warned to watch out for the first urban terrists in this quiet world of Lych gates, spring lambs and organic sausages .... exactly what is Soibhan up to ? Why is Debbie destroying home farm (Hint-hint - just where will roving Brian Aldridge's eye turn to next ?)

Anyway the man they call Mr Evans will be busy on the next false flag manouvres which will climax around election time, the Iranian invasion and Mbekes Anschluss of Zimbabwe, when President Prime Minister Tony tells a stunned nation and a supine nation that he is not resigning and will stay on, "at least to the next election" .... steadying the ship of state ...... keeping course ....

UPDATE Sunday 29th April pm - this item was visited by someone at the BBC - trying to keep up to date on plots for the Archers ?

Caterpillar - not too dozy

Peoria, Illinois-based Caterpillar Inc. reported 1st Qtr earnings today and said "exceptional growth" outside North America was offsetting weakness in the U.S. residential housing and truck engine markets.

Shares surged 5.2%up $3.54 at $72.16

While net profit fell to US$816 million, or US$1.23 a share, from US$840 million, or US$1.20 a share, but Sales and revenue rose 7 % to US$10.02 billion.

Results showed while North American trucks and housing are "material markets," they're "not all that important because Caterpillar is so international and so diversified."

Thx to Caterpillar for calling by at 7.41 this am.

Sex , Harlan Ullman, Jeff "Whitehouse Pet of the Month" Gannon and Tony Blair's sleepovers

Yeas&Nays: Friday, Apr. 20 Here is a curious collection of news from Examiner.com which brings together Harlan Ullman and Jeff "Whitehouse Pet of the Month" Gannon

It was Sex Scandal Day at Nathans of Georgetown on Thursday, as Jeff Gannon (AKA James Guckert EX marine and male prostitute)(see pic) and Harlan Ullman joined owner Carol Joynt for the lunchtime Q&A Cafe discussion series.

Ullman, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies(although every trace of him has been removed from their website- see yesterdays post) and the Atlantic Council who famously coined the phrase “shock and awe,” was recently named by “D.C. Madam” Deborah Jeane Palfrey as “one of the regular customers” of her prostitution ring. But Ullman says it’s rubbish.

“The allegations are outrageous and do not dignify a response,” Ullman told the Nathans crowd. “My wife and I view this as most bizarre. ... It’s like being in a bad Franz Kafka novel.” When asked by Joynt whether he’d ever met Palfrey, Ullman said “absolutely not,” adding “I have no idea why lightning happened to strike me.”

As Mrs Palfrey ran her high class, high rise, high maintenance hookers from Vallejo CA. it seems highly unlikelythat any jaded pol seeking a quick hand job or "full relief" from the "Shock and Awe" of the Harlan Birley of Washington Political life would have ever met her - or even known of her.

The proceedings must have been a hoot, Jeff said to the startled crowd “My personal life ? ..... I put all that behind when I decided to become a journalist.” Not the only thing you put behind you by all accounts jeff.(James)

Strange how , as Wayne Madsen pointed out Jeff's (James's) visits to the Whitehouse coincided with those of Tony Blair's sleepover 16/4/04 This was not the time (18th July 2003) Tony Blair spoke to Congress, got a standing ovation but on-one is sure if he actually received his Congressional medal.... but he was around both days at the White House .. 6/17 12:29 - 1:41 (12:32-1:11) -6/18 12:16 - 1:42 (12:50-1:34).

This is the Wayne Madsen quote ;

"It is interesting to note that male prostitute and faux journalist Jeff Gannon was present at the White House on two occasions when Bush and Blair were meeting: 4/16/04 Gannon entered at 10:51 am -departed 3:08 (2:41-3:09) (Bush/Blair press conference) and the really interesting Gannon visit: 11/12/04 Gannon entered 10:57 am and did not exit the White House on the day that Bush was again meeting with Blair."

UPDATE - The Atlantic Council - search their website and you get

"Sorry, no pages were found containing harley ullman."

Recent Google cache (cache of http://www.acus.org/ as retrieved on 19 Apr 2007 12:22:19 GMT.) does show this reference however....

March 21, 2007
The Washington Times
Article: Avoid confrontation, by Harlan Ullman and Sergey Rogov. Harlan Ullman is a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Atlantic Council.

Curious how both the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Atlantic Council have made poor old Harlan Ullman an unperson... Let's see how the rabidly middle of the road, unbiased, neutral Washington Times deals with his perceptive apercus on world affairs. ?

Unlikely Birthday Party - Philatelic aside

If Adolf Hitler is alive and well and living in South America somewhere, he would be 118 today.

The site philatelist points out that a set of a block of four dark green 6-pfennig stamps was issued -"Who Would Save His People Must Think Heroically". Wer ein Volk retten will kann nur heroisch denken (Which is Ko želi spasiti jedan narod, može samo herojski razmišljati in Hungarian)

334 stamps were issued during the period of the Third Reich often bearing Hitler's head, his head never appeared on any coinage of the Third Reich. There are two versions of the block set, with and without the perforations Both blocks were issued 4/5/1937 for Hitler's 48th birthday on 4/20/1937.... 70 years to the day.

Ref :

Propaganda Art in the Postage Stamps of the Third Reich
Frederick Lauritzen
The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts, Vol. 10, Autumn, 1988 (Autumn, 1988), pp. 62-79 doi:10.2307/1504019

An interesting footnote is that in 1944 the American propaganda sections of U. S. Office of Strategic Services re-issued a mocking set showing a deaths skull instead of Hilters head with the date by the Reichsmark of 1944 - they are supposed to be blood red the head stands in a field of cemetery crosses. They also issued millions of not dissimiliar stamps, sometimes using them to post to the addresses of dead soldiers.

Curiously there has been a small and modestly profitable post war industry in forging these proaganda stamps.(A set is for sale at US$25 here)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Lord Butler tells the Truth - and no-one noticed

22 Feb 2007 : Column 1231 Hansard
Lord Butler of Brockwell: (quote)

" ....I doubt whether any further inquiry is needed into the reasons why the United States and the United Kingdom went to war or even into the machinery of government questions referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Owen. Like the noble Lord, Lord Alderdice, I think that we, and increasingly the British public, know what happened about that. I have always believed that our Prime Minister had good reason for wishing to support the Americans in removing Saddam Hussein. But he had a problem. He had the clearest legal advice that military intervention solely for the purpose of regime change could not be justified in international law. The only justification for military intervention was to enforce the Security Council resolutions at the end of the first Gulf War prohibiting Iraq’s possession or acquisition of weapons of mass destruction.

I have also always accepted and continue to accept that the Prime Minister sincerely believed that Saddam possessed such weapons and was bent on acquiring more. Our intelligence community believed that, as did other countries’ intelligence communities, as well as Hans Blix when he first took UN observers back into Iraq. But here was the rub: neither the United Kingdom nor the United States had the intelligence that proved conclusively that Iraq had those weapons. The Prime Minister was disingenuous about that. The United Kingdom intelligence community told him on 23 August 2002 that,

    “we ... know little about Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons work since late 1988”.

The Prime Minister did not tell us that. Indeed, he told Parliament only just over a month later that the picture painted by our intelligence services was “extensive, detailed and authoritative”. Those words could simply not have been justified by the material that the intelligence community provided to him.

I remark in passing that the Prime Minister has come close to admitting that his reasons for continuing to support the war were reasons for which there was no legal justification. He has said that he apologises for the mistakes that were made, but he does not apologise for removing Saddam Hussein. But, absent WMD, there was no legal justification for military intervention to remove Saddam Hussein.

A little regarded but damning intervention by Lord Butler of the Butler Inquiry in the House of Lords in February.... read the whole speech.

Also see here
Pic of the members of the Butler enquiry

Whoremongers, Harlan Ullman, Shack Up & Awe , sundry thoughts about Google / Yahoo caches

Deborah Jeane Palfrey was a high class pimp and whoremonger. The FBI have been probing the escort service she operated very discreetly in Washington DC since 1993. Internal Revenue Service agents raided Palfrey's California home, and recovered newsletters that Palfrey distributed to her stable of college educated whores at Pamela Martin & Associates.

Now she is being pursued through the courts for running a top-shelf call-girl ring from her Vallejo, California home including a multiple-count racketeering and money-laundering indictment.. She has denied the escort service, which employed over 130 women, engaged in prostitution. She has let slip a name of a "john" , this was Harlan K. Ullman (see pic c/o CIS) who hangs out as a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and was apparently the author of "shock and awe" (aka Bomb the fuckers back to the Stone Age) - the first of dozens she claims she is ready to expose. (Well he used to be a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) but you will find he is no longer listed and the most assiduous search of their website scores big fat ZERO - but worry not his biog there retreived on 16th April 2007 at 15:13:11 GMT is available @
- failing that try http://tinyurl.com/2nnfmn or this link may get you there

The biog is cached at Yahoo and probably elsewhere, even Lord Patel's technical staff may just have saved it.

Ullman tells CNN "The allegations do not dignify a response. I'm a private, not a public, citizen. Any further questions are referred to my attorneys." *** CIS Biog.

Regrettably we got no such revelations yesterday when Deena Edridge of Wentworth Place, Naas (near Dublin) pleaded guilty to running a brothel from a rented flat on swanky Bachelor's Walk Dublin.

Customers who made contact via a sophisticated and undetectable mobile phone exchange run by two full time operators were charged Euros130 per half hour and Euros 220 per hour for sexual intercourse and other activities. (Which in the much depreciated US$ = about $400 an hour) There was also a "Domino's Pizza service" where customers could order girls to a hotel room or to their own home.

The Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told that the Police estimated the annual takings at Euros 4 Mn.

How did PC PLod determine that this 24/7 brothel which worked the girls in a day shift from 12am to 7pm, and an evening shift from 7pm to 5am with five to seven girls working at any time from a total of 16 girls, find out about this busy little business ..... ?

Det Sgt Holohan said they mounted a surveillance operation on the premises at Bachelor's Walk for a number of months.

*** CIS Biog at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) from Google cache (wonder how long that will last ?)

Harlan Ullman is a senior associate with CSIS. His expertise spans national security, foreign policy, terror, defense, economics, and finance as well as Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. A columnist for the Washington Times, he is a frequent commentator in U.S. and international media including Fox, BBC, and Al Jazeera TV. His latest book, America’s Promise Restored: Preventing Culture, Crusade, and Partisanship from Wrecking Our Nation (Carroll & Graf, 2006), is a provocative analysis of why our government is broken and what needs to be done to make it work again. An honors graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Ullman completed more than 150 combat missions and patrols in Vietnam in Swift Boats and later commanded a destroyer in the Persian Gulf. With a Ph.D. in international affairs, finance, and economics, he has been an academic and businessman as well as an adviser to the most senior levels of government and the private sector. He is also principal author of the doctrine of “shock and awe,” which was substantially different from what was advertised in Operation Iraqi Freedom. After leaving naval service, Ullman joined CSIS as senior fellow and director of the Political-Military and Strategy Programs and began consulting with a number of Fortune 100 companies. Elected to the board of the Wall Street Fund, he later formed his own company, the Killowen Group, a consulting firm with broad financial interests. He has served on the boards of several related investment and venture capital companies with holdings in Asia and as senior partner and vice chairman of two companies in the high-technology area. Ullman is currently chairman of the advisory board of two companies engaged in Smart Zone Management and homeland security; serves at the Center for Naval Analyses, where he chairs the Senior Seminar and is a senior fellow; serves at the National Defense University as a distinguished visiting fellow; and is on the Senior Advisory Board of the U.S. European Command and the NATO Defence College.

PS Don't try and "e-mail this expert" because through CIS you get "unidentified ID" - there is a number 703-824-2194 but Harlan's personal voice recorder answers and re-directs you to 202- 258 - 8003 and he will personally tell you - well at least he told us, that the story was "beneath contempt" and directed enquiries to his attorney Marc Macusey at Bracewell Guiliani , New York.

Current Bibliography for Harlan Ullman on the page gives recent articles

CSIS Senior Advisers Arnaud de Borchgrave and Harlan Ullman published a commentary in the Washington Times, "Rebuilding needs, here and there." 04/03/2006

CSIS senior advisers Arnaud de Borchgrave and Harlan Ullman published a commentary for UPI, "Iraq vs. U.S. decay." 03/30/2006#Rebuilding needs, here and there." 04/03/2006

I guess all his details just accidentally got wiped - you know how easily that happens with computers - thank goodness for Google and Yahoo caches they must be saying at CIS . Of course they could stop caches being made by a simple Meta com

Ouuuccchhhhh!! El Al passengers gets a bumpy ride

El Al Paris Charles de Gaulle for Tel Aviv flight Boeing 747 Reg 4X-ELD ( 1999) was disconnected from the pushback tractor at 13.00 hrs on 13th April ready for take off. The 364 highly screened passengers in the world's most secure airline settled back along with their 6 armed air marshals and anti-missile chaff and the Israeli manufactured radar-based modified military Flight Guard anti missile system using state of art miniaturised ELTA pulse-Doppler sensors. (Swiss airports ban El Al regarding this system using ejected flares as dangerous in the proximity of airports, others in Europe are considering a smiliar ban)

The VIP's and Super class passengers got settled in after their spell in the newly opened luxurious King David Lounge in De Gaulle Airport.*** Only the gentle fizz of champagne and the tinkle of diamonds breached the silence of the Premier class passengers.

Before being cleared by ground staff (El Al use their own employees) the ex IDF pilot commenced taxi-ing - but the tractor was ... er .... still under the aircraft.

The resulting damage to the inboard starboard Pratt & Whitney PW4056 powerplant as it hit the stationary tug must have been quite a jolt for everyone on board, rattling a few diamonds and spilling a drop or two of champagne - the engine suffered major damage and the flight was ...er ... cancelled. Passengers were taken off, kept overnight and flew out on Sunday.

Thankfully nobody either on board, on the ground or in the tug was hurt.

El Al ( Company slogan הכי בבית בעולם - "Home away from Home") are not a state airline anymore (although it still owns 30%) and it is run by Israel "Izzy" Borovich's Knafaim-Arkia Holdings which owns 40 percent of the carrier's stockand are re-eqipping with Airbus.

Should you wish to travel on El Al you will be classified in a triage security system ;jews and Israelis are considered lowest threat, Westerners (well white ones) are usually classified as medium level threats, and Arabs (particularly males) are usually classified as high threat due to the overwhelming majority of attacks against Israeli targets having been carried out by Arab individuals in the past. Al security procedures demand all passengers be interviewed individually prior to boarding, allowing El Al staff to identify possible security threats with probing questions, such as their origin, goal and occupation - this is said to eliminate potential terrorists by their incapacity to maintain their calmness under such intensive questioning.

Rigorous procedures at checkin control passports and tickets utilizing information from secret services worldwide and endless databases. Each passenger and their hand luggage go through rigorous screening, including hand searches. In addition, all luggage must pass through a decompression chamber; this simulates pressures during flight which may be triggers for explosives. El Al is the only airline in the world that passes all luggage through such a chamber. Even in airports in the United States, El Al security agents conduct all luggage searches personally, though they are often supervised by government or private security firms who otherwise have screening responsibilities.

*** Opened on 17th January by Izzy, the The Parisian lounge offers the same services as in Israel; all furnishings were designed in Israel and flown to Paris where they were built by Israeli carpenters. The lounge offers small tables with computer access, a bar and even a business room provided by Bank Leumi offering passengers computer services, financial information as well as access to the Bank's banking services.

At the opening ceremony El Al's Director of Marketing Rami Levi, stressed the importance of upgrading of the business sector's pre flight lounge services. Maybe they will get round to doing something about the ramp services.

TV for Rock'n'Rollers, the 20th Century and gym rats

Video Killed the Musician - Thursday 19 April 2007 11:30-12:00 (Radio 4 FM)

Your chance to hear again - Video Killed The Musician first heard Saturday 21 October 2006 10:30-11:00 (BBC Radio 4 FM) click here to hear it (lasts 7 days only)

Radio Journalist Harry Allen (hip-hop activist and media assassin) meets the guys who invented, funded and started MTV. Now the 24-hour music channel is over 25 years old. Giving it's name to a generation of American kids it has influenced film making, pop packaging and reduced an entire nation's attention span. One of the world's most identifiable brands now worth US$20 Bn.

The very best of informative, entertaining educational radio.

* MTV base is the 100th MTV Channel that covers Africa launched Feb 2005.

Financial wankers in a state of shock ! Send for more champagne.

On 6th November Lord Patel posted ..

“The world economy is on track to grow at a 5.1% rate this year, but the risk of a severe global slowdown in 2007 is stronger than at any time since the September 2001....."

1. A sharp slowdown in the U.S. housing market
2. Surging inflationary expectations that would force central banks to raise interest rates.
But no shock to Lord Patel's readers who were warned on Wednesday, January 3 in a New Year round up for financial predictions for 2007 - The Mysterious case of the disappearing M3

"If you live in the US ... the only thing you will buy cheaper in a year's time is your house.

If you live in the UK ...expect interest rates 1/4% to rise when the Monetary Committee meet 2nd Thursday in Janaury... highest ever under Gordie as he battles soaring inflation which new energy bills which have been capped for many will flutter through the letter box."

On 17th January Lord Patel posted ..

Well, everybody but followers of Lord Patel's projections said the rise by the Bank of England of a 1/4% base Rate hike followed this week by the disclosure of higher than expected (but nonetheless heavily massaged) price inflation data was "unexpected" .."a shock" (Go back and look at the news headlines)

Well more shocks are on the way.
Now we have Lord King sending a billet doux to the Chancellor claiming there were "unexpected rises in inflation" ... don't these moghuls of the money markets ever pay any fucking household bills? Have they not coppered up to pay the 'lecky bill? The gas bill? Have they not clocked the US$70 a barrel record oil price ?

Real inflation taking into account interest rates boosted by their January "shock" rate rise has hit mortgage payers and is squeezing home owners.

Now the bamboozled Economics editors are awake to the real world Guradian "Pound surges to 25-year high after prediction of 6% interest rate"

Rupe's Rag of Record, the Times "Is it too late to tame the inflation monster? "- who talk of a shock for the chancellor. Shock ? "The shock in question is the news that Britain’s inflation, instead of stabilising and then gradually subsiding as generally expected, is accelerating sharply and maybe even spiralling out of control." The BBC, "The Bank of England is widely expected to raise rates to 5.5% on 10 May and at least once more later in the year."

Look at this garbage in the Scotsman today ...

"The survey of 45 economists, taken April 11-17 and before data on Tuesday showed a surprise jump in inflation above 3.0 percent, showed the economy growing around trend at 2.7% this year and then easing to 2.5%"

"Indeed a separate Reuters poll, taken straight after that data, showed 49 of 51 economists forecasting a quarter point hike in May and a 35 percent median forecast that rates will go even higher to 5.75 % or above by year-end."
If you limit your reading to the pap that comes out of Threadneedle Street it may be a shock, join the queue at Tesco, Asda .... apart for imported clothes priced on the back of sweated labour, no shocks there....

Can't these herds of wankers think independently ? These trends were evident in autumn last year but there was never a murmer about the trouble ahead from these highly paid readers of Press Releases.

Some good financial news, David Dein that businessman of such integrity and probity, high minded and highly paid is retiring from Arsenal unless of course his pal American billionaire Stanley Kroenke who has increased his stake in the club to 11.26% asks that DD sits on the Board for him ? Nina Kakkar AKA Lady Bracewell Smith (15.8%) and diamond dealer (Star Diamonds) Danny Fiszman (24.1%)who allegedly unloaded some shares for £4Mn last week to the charming Stanley, still maintain control of the murky affairs of this club.

Don't expect any clarification real soon...or ever.

It is of interest to see how the Hungarian supporters describe their lady shareholder and Director ...

Nina Bracewell-Smith egyébként hotelbizniszben is jelentősen utazik, korábban a családjának komoly befolyása volt olyan hotelek vezetésében, amik pl. a londoni Ritz Hotelt birtokolták. Amikor ezt eladták, a Park Lane Hotelnek - ezt egyébként Sir Bracewell Smitn építtette 1920-ban - jelentős részvényese lettek. Őt és a családját a 817. helyre rangsorolták a világ leggazdagabbjait felsoroló listán 2006-ban, Európát tekintve pedig 44. helyre. Szóval nem valószínű, hogy őt is olyan könnyű lenne megvesztegetni, pláne ilyen történelmi múlttal (a családtagok 1948 óta benne vannak az Arsenal vezetésében).

Readers might like to now both Associated Newspapers and News International have been reading this story thisd afternoon ... watch out for it in the Mail and the Times tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Critical systems for Joint Strike Fighter supplied by Israeli company

Based in Haifa, Israel, based Elbit Systems are leaders in developing helmet mounted systems for fighter pilot aircraft.

They explain this step change in graphic displays, as a necessary method of guaranteeing air combat superiority. Increasingly successful and sophisticated radar and High-Off-Boresight (HOBS) missiles and the increasing number of aircraft that can expect to take part in air engagements - meaN the bottom line is ....

The longer you stay in the air, the less the chance of survival.
The corrollary is - lock the weapon system, fire, and get away.

Swamped with spherical oriented information (data and objects coming from every section of the horizon ) demands high situational awareness by the pilot.

To do this it is essential to display flight data and three dimensional-location based systems and sensors information DIRECT to the pilot. To do this with Head up Displays is increasingly risky AS IT CAUSES INFORMATION OVERLOAD and so the new generation of helmet mounted systems have been designed.

These are designed to designate and exploiting the pilot’s LOS (Line Of Sight) for the purpose of slaving the aircraft sensors and systems and thus enabling the pilot to achieve lock-on of sensors, avionics systems and missiles, simply by looking at the target.

It was therefore interesting that with only the 10th test Flight by Lockheed Martin of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter last week, the new helmet-mounted display (HMD) system that will be the primary source of flight information for pilots of the stealthy combat aircraft was unveiled publicly.

Chief test pilot Jon Beesley used the new HMD Developed by Vision Systems International (VSI), (see pic) the HMD, having previously used straighforward head down instruments (ie manual control) - as no HUD display is available.

The HMD has been designed to integrate with the advanced avionics architecture of the F-35, (360° distributed-aperture infrared sensor and electro-optical targeting sensor) providing the pilot with video imagery in day or night conditions combined with precision symbology to give the pilot unprecedented situational awareness and tactical capability. Additionally, VSI is incorporating advanced head tracking capability to provide the pilot with a virtual head-up display. Lockheed Martin has selected to supply helmet mounted displays (HMDs) to all domestic and international F-35 customers. There was initially an alternative design helmet-mounted display, based on the binocular helmet being developed for the Eurofighter Typhoon by BAE but this announcement about the HMD system suggests it has been dropped. (See Footnote)

Developed by Vision Systems International (VSI), a joint venture between EFW Inc., a subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: ESLT Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) : ESLT), and Rockwell Collins (NYSE: COL), was formed in 1996 to develop fixed wing helmet mounted display (HMD) systems. In addition to development of the F-35 HMDS under contract to Lockheed Martin, VSI is in full-rate production of Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) for US and international operators of F-15, F-16 and F/A-18 aircraft.

JHMCS is claimed to provide pilots with a "first look, first shot" capability when employed with high off-boresight weapons under high-g conditions. The system allows pilots to lock-on and fire at enemy aircraft without having to maneuver their aircraft into position. The pilot needs only to point his head at the target and weapon systems are automatically cued to the target.

JHMCS is also highly effective when used in air-to-ground target engagements and was used extensively in this manner in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In both air-to-air and air-to-ground modes, targeting cues and aircraft parameters are displayed on the pilot's visor.

Elbit Systems was formed in 1966 and now has developed a major defence supplier. all the Directors are Israeli based citizens ......the company claim on their website ..

"Elbit Systems is one of the few companies upgrading both Western and former Eastern bloc defense platforms. In addition, we are one of only a few upgrade contractors in the world who also integrate, develop and manufacture electronic and electro-optic systems and products."
For example In December 2005, Bulgaria signed a contract for the upgrade of 12 Russian Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters to a team led by Lockheed Martin and Elbit.

The CEO of Helmet systems is Yoram Shmuely who joined Elbit Ltd. in 1990 and served as director of Elbit Ltd.’s Helmet Mounted Display group. He served as a fighter aircraft pilot in the IAF. Mr. Shmuely holds a B.Sc. in electronic engineering from the Technion.(Israel Institute of Technology)

In another area of defence procurement Leicester based UAV Tactical Systems Ltd (U-TacS) was formed as a joint development by Elbit with Thales to develop the British Army Watchkeeper WK450 UAV. The Watchkeeper air vehicle, designated WK450, will be based on the Elbit 450 Hermes tactical UAV.

The Hermes 450 is a proven system with 20,000 flying hours in service. Watchkeeper, with a maximum payload of 150 Kg will provide the UK armed forces with Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability using day / night sensors, a laser designator and a Synthetic Aperture Radar / Ground Moving Target Indicator (SAR/GMTI).

In December 2005, the CoMPASS electro-optic observation system, supplied by El-op (a subsidiary of Elbit), and the I-Master SAR/GMTI radar, supplied by Thales Aerospace in Crawley were chosen as the mission payloads for Watchkeeper. The Watchkeeper UAV will be connected by satellite datalink to a network of containerised ground control stations (GCS) , where the imagery will be analysed and disseminated.

The 20ft-long GCS, supplied by Marshall SV, will be carried by standard DROPS trucks supplied as standard trucks which will fit in C - 130's- as pic.

Virtually the whole history of Army based UAV research has been junked to provide this second hand (albeit proven design).

Thus areas of defence industry increasingly call upon Israeli companies who have no hesitation to deal with ..as they say ... "upgrading both Western and former Eastern bloc defense platforms". Meanwhile Mr Putin is busy installing Topol Rockets and keeping his hand on the oil spigot and gas taps and pipelines to the West.

Paradoxically the vector thrust mechanisms for the STOL versions rely upon the Rolls Royce systems unique to the UK, however the increasing distance of the aircraft carriers to form the platform for the Naval JSF versions seems increasingly unlikely.

Just another illustration how the defence forces of the UK increasingly rely on foreign based suppliers - another inheritance for years of negligence and incompetence by the senior militay for all services and their political masters.


Although the Typhoon has been in service for 2 years, they are still flying with initial operating capability (IOC) (19 years in development !). Once the full operational capability (FOC) has been achieved in late 2007 (!), work will start on the extended operating capability (EOC), with a series of enhancements. The main focus of FOC validation will be the testing of the new Eurofighter Typhoon pilot helmet. A critical element of the helmet is the BAE Systems helmet-mounted sight, which enables the pilot to simply look at the target to make an off-boresight kill. The fully binocular sight uses technology from around the world, including South Africa's Denel, which supplies the helmet tracking system.

Denel have a world-class optronics business through the merger of Eloptro, Cumulus and the Kenis imaging infrared camera unit, for design and manufacture of optical and laser products, eg laser range-finders, target acquisition systems and submarine periscopes; electro-optical stabilised observation and surveillance systems, and helmet-mounted sighting and tracking systems.

Falling off the cliff

Motorola make things, the problem is that they aren't making money, according to results published today, the world's 2nd biggest mobile phone manufacturer lost US$181 Mn in the first quarter as sales declined.

J P Morgan the 3rd largest US bank make nothing, they shuffle huge volumes of money around and around and report record profits (net income rose 55% to $4.79 billion) , - even after losses on their Sub prime Loan portfolios and bad credit card debts, mainly through fee income.

IBM, Yahoo lead a tech slide on Wall Street.

Behind this the US$ slid further in Europe against Sterling and the Euro where interest rates are expected to rise to suck in more dollar funds.

The question on no-one's lips is ..

What will collapse faster the US dollar or the US economy ?

The private bankers who run the Fed, don't give a flying fuck, somewhere will be a safe haven for their funds, which are fleeing fast, helping to boost stock markets in Europe and Asia.

Meanwhile in Baghdad the surging insurgents have (so far today) killed somewhere near 170 (no-one has added up the injured) people in city wide car bombings.

There has to be a correction to the US trade deficit, the dollar slide, the potential for a stock market slide led (again) by tech stocks.

There has to be a re-examination of what the US led effort in Iraq and Afghanistan is doing.

The longer these moves take, the deeper the shit, the longer the recovery, the steeper the drop in real wages in the US as the 7 months stock of houses stand unsold.

For further reading Counterpunch
Doomsday for the Greenback? Dollar madness -By Mike Whitney April 19th 2007

Serendipity ?

The Chicago Tribune reports ..."Investigators believe Cho Seung-Hui at some point had been taking medication for depression."

ARLINGTON, Va., April 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Statement of Ken Duckworth, M.D., Medical Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):

Today, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a review of all major studies involving anti-depressants in children and adolescents by a team of researchers from Western Psychiatric Institute in Pittsburgh.
The review concludes that the benefits of antidepressant medications appear to be much greater than the risks. Specifically the review concludes

"Relative to placebo, antidepressants are efficacious for pediatric major depressive disorder (MDD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and non-OCD anxiety disorders, although the effects are strongest in non-OCD anxiety disorders, intermediate in OCD, and more modest in MDD. Benefits of antidepressants appear to be much greater than risks from suicide/suicide ideation attempts across indications."
There has been concern for some years about the use of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac and Aropax. The US Food and Drug Administration issued an Advisory
FDA Public Health Advisory Suicidality in Children and Adolescents Being Treated With Antidepressant Medications October 15, 2004.

..or is that just Monday morning quarterbacking?

UPDATE Thursday / 19 th April Aangirfan points us to this site for folks who have the same idea and more info.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

No War on Terror, but the press are really trying their best to start one..

The quaintly named and quaint Hilary Benn son of the the quondam Viscount Stansgate has declared that there is no War on Terrror! At the Center on International Cooperation at New York University he is quoted as saying ,

" In the U.K. we do not use the phrase 'war on terror' because we can't win by military means alone and because this isn't one organized enemy with a clear identity and a coherent set of objectives,"

....which curiously echoes the sentiments of the arch architect of the War on Terror George "Dubya" Bush, when he visited the Queen's House in 2003 after unleashing his massive military might in all out war on Iraq...witha little help from his "friends"...

" The third pillar of security is our commitment to the global expansion of democracy, and the hope and progress it brings, as the alternative to instability and to hatred and terror. We cannot rely exclusively on military power to assure our long-term security."
It may also because he had been reading the recent Europol Report on Terror.

This is a disappointing read for the people like the Sphincter of the Yard, peter Clarke whose job is to direct the forces of anti-terrorism. " Altogether 498 attacks were carried out in the EU...A total of 706 individuals suspected of terrorism were arrested in 15 member states in 2006.. of these 424 were ETA separatists in France and Spain... Of the 303 people charged with terrorist offences only 4 were from the UK (Fig 5 Page 18) ,in total there were 46 acquittals."

Yes poor old Sphincter only managed to rack up 4 people charged as terrorists against 299 his colleagues in Europe managed in 2006.

Much is made in the report of the so called Airplane Plot when on 10th August in High Wycombe, last year the suspected terrorists
" planned to smuggle the component parts of IED's onto aircrafts(sic) and assemble and detonate them on board and in flight. Liquid explosives concealed in plastic soft drink bottles were to be detonated with battery powered detonators aboard transatlantic airliners en route from the UK to the US. If successful the attack would have caused mass murder of potentially thousands of civilian air travellers."
The major problem with this fantasy is that not a single scrap of evidence has been made available to support this fanciful theory. (See Bulletin 474 Metropolitan Police Service 21/8/2006) A theory which led to a lockdown on airports in the UK, the consfiscation even of babies milk and the most dishonest and tyrranical behaviour and the abrupt, ill considered introduction of unilateral controls over carry on luggage and fluids which the rest of the world consider risible...

....except the USA....

..see New York Times 28th August 2006 "Details emerge in British Terror Case" , an article which controversially was banned in the UK. (See pic) The full article is available at he blog detailsemergeinbritishterrorcase

"The suspects had been working for months out of an apartment that investigators called the “bomb factory,” where the police watched as the suspects experimented with chemicals, according to British officials and others briefed on the evidence, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, citing British rules on confidentiality regarding criminal prosecutions."

"In searches during raids, the police discovered what they said were the necessary components to make a highly volatile liquid explosive known as HMTD, jihadist materials, receipts of Western Union money transfers, seven martyrdom videos made by six suspects and the last will and testament of a would-be bomber, senior British officials said. One of the suspects said on his martyrdom video that the “war against Muslims” in Iraq and Afghanistan had motivated him to act."

Lord Patel was in the US at the time and was able to post his the historic article on Monday, August 28, 2006 - NYT article - criminal attempt to subvert UK justice - happily a Public Holiday in the US that day, enabling a gullible public ample time to savour the story. It was printed on New York Times Pages A 1 / A 8 in pole position in the top left front page. He was also able to post the article on record here and cryptome have a copy at http://cryptome.org/nyt-ukterror.htm

We have got used to "emerging" details, only 2 weeks ago, The Spincter of the Yard Peter Clarke, charged 3 of the alleged 7/7 bombers little helpers, who lo and behold ! had been sussing out Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Trafalgar Square according to the press the next day although the Sphincter had had to remind the assembled gents of the press at the Press conference that his lips were sealed.

NO Mr Benn. We don't have a War on Terror, but we are employing lots of people who are quite capable of stirring one up... and they have lots of friends in the Press on both sides of the Atlantic who are quite happy to spread the message of Terror in our midst.

A useful comment last December by Craig Murray "The war on Shampoo" details the complete failure of the Police to provide any evidence of any sort to support the extravagant claims they made .. remember also this followed the hugely successful Forest Gate 2 raid based on the "sound intelligence" obtained from a prisoner with a mental age of 9.

West Yorks. "Hawala" money laundering scam finally closed down

The final conviction was secured today in a £500 Mn. West Yorkshire, money laundering case, which used the 'Hawala' banking system as a cover. The fraud was exposed after a covert surveillance operation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), and an investigation stretching over a decade, and has resulted in convictions totalling nearly 75 years.

Shahid Nazir Bhatti, 45, from Bradford, West Yorkshire was sent down for 3 years today after pleading guilty at Leeds Crown Court to conspiracy to launder the proceeds of criminal conduct and also conspiracy to launder the proceeds of George Cockerill's (now deceased aged 76) criminal conduct. Bhatti is the last of 11 individuals to be convicted after the pursuit over several years after a massive Yorkshire based money laundering ring was uncovered in 2001.

The scheme involved several travel agencies in West Yorkshire;

The Bradford Travel Centre, owned and run by the Bhatti family, which illegally laundered more than £42 million illegal cash between 1999 and 2001. (see pic of Shahid Bhatti)

Watan Travel, 17 Lilycroft Road, Bradford, and 743 Stratford Road, Sparkhill, Birmingham - From Dec 97 to Feb 01, Watan Travel processed more than £333 million through its accounts - an average weekly taking of around £2 million. One client alone had more than £80 million laundered with more than £3.3 million being handled on a single day.Liaquat Ali 44, (12 years see BBC) - Akhtar Hussain 46, (12 years) and Mohsan Khan (8 years) were found guilty of managing this enterprise for the purposes of moneylaundering.

Ramzan Travel 68 Hopwood Lane, Halifax, HX1 4DG: owned by Amer Ramzan who got 12 years.

It was a Bradford Travel agency (none of the above and one not involved in money laundering) where a WPC was shot dead during the course of robbery undertaken by Yusuf Jamma, 20, his brother Mustaf and Muzzaker Shah, and Raza ul-Haq Aslam, 25, of Kentish Town, north London, Faisal Razzaq, 25, and his 26-year-old brother, Hassan. It was claimed in court that the robbers expected to steal £100,000 cash.

For those interested The Washing Machine by Nick Kochan provides a detailed and handy analysis how to stash away the loot offshore and freshly laundered, often with the help of top City lawyers and bankers.

Etiquette - social misconduct for blogistes...arise you have nothing to lose but your manners

Blogs are bad, blogs are wicked, blogs are too democratic, blogs are corrupting the democratic process, blogs aren't making all that much difference, really... is Lenin's Tomb contribution to the faux argument of the Guradian columnist's fears and concerns about blogistes and the proposed nonsensical Code of Conduct.

An article with many, many, pithy comments which are well worth reading.

Prompting 2 questions.

What was the world like before blogs and on line news?

Who gives a fuck ?

We are running out of oil

Petroleum Intelligence Weekly have produced their annual Global Oil Reserves Survey which is based (they claim) on liquid hydrocarbons, natural gas liquids, tar sands and crude oil, that are economically recoverable at current prices.

They claim that for the first time reserves of approximately 1.459 trillion bbl at the end of 2006 shows a decline of some 13 Mn barrels or nearly 1%. = the Global oil industry is producing more oil than it finds and can define as exploitable reserves.... we are starting to run out of oil.

Big increases have been declared for both Brazil, and Kazakhstan but generally reserves have declined or were not expanding. The survey also confirms recent comments about OPEC producers overstating reserves to allow larger output under OPEC "rules" e.g Kuwait.

PIW published a detailed report in January 2006 which stated that the Kuwaiti data indicate that, of the current remaining 48 billion barrels of proven and nonproven reserves, only about 24 billion barrels are so far fully proven - roughly equivalent to the US reserves or double those of the North Sea. It is also suggested that far from declining at a modest 4% they posibly may be declining (as per the North Sea) at near 10%.

Dr Colin J Campbell wrote a book called The Coming Oil Crisis in which he laid out the arguments for his belief that worldwide production of conventional oil will head into permanent and irreversible decline in the 2005-10 timeframe.

The term "conventional oil" is used by him to refer to oil that is produced from conventional reservoirs and does not include oil from tar sands, polar areas, or deepwater areas, or oil from coal or shale. Conventional oil accounts for 95 percent of all oil produced today and will remain the determining factor in world oil production for the foreseeable future. According to Campbell, world oil discovery peaked in the 1960s and has declined steadily since. When he wrote the book we produced four barrels for every one we discover. If the PIW report is correct we are now beyond the balancing point.Clearly, this is an unsustainable situation, since long-term discovery and production must be roughly equivalent.

At the time Campbell contended that OPEC reserve estimates were politically motivated and exemplified this with the behaviour of reports of Kuwait reserves.. Kuwait is an excellent example of what is wrong with the way OPEC countries report reserves. The country reported a gradual decline in its reserve base from 1980-84. This should be expected from a mature producing country. However, in 1985 the country reported a 50 percent increase in reserves with no corresponding discovery. The Kuwaiti government increased its reserve estimate because of the implementation of an OPEC production quota system that based country production levels on country reserves. Kuwait was not alone in increasing its reserve estimates for political reasons. In 1988, Abu Dubai, Dubai, Iran and Iraq all significantly increased their reported reserves for political reasons. Even OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia reported a massive increase in reserve estimates in 1990 for similar reasons.

Such overstatements are not restricted to undemocratic countries Royal Dutch/Shell reported a whopper of a reserve writedown in January 2004. The company reported that its reserves had been regularly overstated by a stunning 20 %.

It is a sobering thought that the main reason for the poor performance in growing reserves is a lack of additions to reserves from new discoveries, which account for 20% or less of additions in the last few years. Against this exploration costs are rising fast, and recovery costs increasing .

Baker Hughes undertakes rig counts which gives a broad figure for activity as BH says ," Rig count trends are governed by oil company exploration and development spending, which in turn is influenced by the current and expected price of oil and natural gas."

The oil industry has never been busier looking for and exploiting oil and gas. These are the average rig figures for the last 5 years starting 2002 : 1,829, 2174, 2395, 2764, 3043, and for March 2007 3247. So this indicates the industry is working harder, faster to sustain and meet output.

Meanwhile crude oil for June delivery, reached a record high today.

Monday, April 16, 2007

With one bound he was free ..

Des Browne expressed , "a degree of regret which can be equated with an apology."

It is agreed that he has done everything to surmount the immediate difficulties but we remain little wiser about what happened on the 15th March. (Full text BBC here)

At 0753, Cornwall launched two boats, with a Lynx helicopter in support, with the intention to board MV Tarawa, a merchant vessel that had evaded a boarding the day before.

En route, the Lynx flew over a different vessel, the MV Al Hanin, and reported a suspect cargo. A decision was made (by whom?) to board the Al Hanin. The position was well inside Iraqi waters.

Note this is the first time the vessel boarded has been named or the original intention of the boarding party explained.

The Missing Lynx apparently left the scene at 9.00 am local time and was back at HMS Cornwall at 9.04 am and put on a half hour standby. Even though by 9.06 communications had failed between HMS Cornwall and the boarding party the Lynx did not depart until 9.28 am. Which sounds like 22 minutes of inaction and a window when no-one knew on HMS Cornwall the location or status of the boarding party. Perhaps the pilot of the Lynx was finishing his breakfast ?

We are told that the Lynx @ 10.04 local time was able to see one the rib boats being escorted to Iran by Iranian vessels.

Since that time no further stop and search by the Royal Navy has been undertaken awaiting instructions from Persian Gulf HQ (PGHQ)- other although coalition partners are undertaking the work.

Apparently the rib boat crew queried the Lynx returning to ship and also the total failure of comms, very shortly after they were seized / kidnapped.

Which still leaves open the belief that this was an event which was designed and executed to create an incident to exacerbate tension in the region. It is highly unlikely that The Governor General of Gibralter Lt. General Sir Rob Fulton after his 6 week (?) enquiry is going to make it any clearer for us.

The evident lack of resolve, the muddle, the incompetence at all levels, in the services and the political elites will give both any enemies and the few friends the UK has in the region good cause to question both their leadership and effectiveness.

Never have we been in greater need of one of the greatest British admirals, Jackie Fisher, famous for the remark, which Des could well have heeded, before he stood on his hind legs this afternoon ..."Never apologise, never explain".

Des Brown spends money on defence equipment overseas

Much has been said about the way Des Browne had helped beef up the armed forces equipment - which is desirable, after decades of decay, but we still have a spatchcock policy see Lord Patel March 2007

MOD to get 14 more 'copters. 8 refurbed turkeys and 6 on the borrer from the Prince of Denmark

"14 additional helicopters will become available over the next 2 years for use on military operations (please note the (very) careful wording).

Well up to a point Lord Copper.

Basically we have borrowed 6 Merlins from our Danish friends as they withdraw from Iraq and we finally get to use the Chinooks we ordered in 1995 in 2 years time... at a cost conservatively estimated at "around" £250Mn. Quite what the MOD would use these helicopters for other than military operations defies understanding - ferrying Prince Andrew between Golf courses ?"

On the 13th March the MOD took the opportunity to unroll the Mastiff at the time Lord Drayson was out in Basra.

The MASTIFF, a heavily armoured, wheeled vehicle suitable for road patrols and convoys, is the newest delivery in a range of protected patrol vehicles being used in Iraq.

The MASTIFF is the newest delivery in a range of protected patrol vehicles being used in Iraq

It is a 6x6 wheel-drive patrol vehicle from Force Protection Inc. which carries six people, plus two crew. It has a maximum speed of 55 mph (89 kph), and can be armed with a machine gun, 50mm canon or 40mm automatic grenade launcher. (But the one in the picture Copyright MOD is not armed)

These were dissected by Lord Patel Thursday, September 14, 2006

Too Large, Too Late and incredibly expensive MOD runabouts bound for sunny Afghanistan.
Presented as a replacement (at £1/4 Mn per throw) for the indaequately armoured "snatch" Land Rovers this hugely expensive sticking plaster adds a further burden of costs of spares, and base training , and a further front line burden , of training mechanics, the need for low loaders , more back up equipment, spares to carry and a higher overhead of maintenance staff, plus their housing , catering etc., Press reports state they cost £1/4 Mn. each but the manufacturers press release at the date of order 11th August (4 weeks ago!) states the order for 85 vehicles is US$63 Mn. = approx £400,000 "The contract also includes associated spares, technical manuals, and field service support and is worth approximately $63 million. "

The manufacturers are a start up company Force Protection Inc. (OTCBB:FRPT) at the time announced their Q2 results on August 15th. Record sales of US$56 Mn. and highest qrtly profits of US$ 1.3 Mn.The official announcement included the statement..."A recent contract from the British Ministry of Defense for protected vehicles to support infantry patrols marks an additional expansion of the company to the international defense industry."

This has done wonders for their share price, see the graph. For more info see their website -

Almost unnoticed, at the same time (03/14/2007) Force Protection, Inc. announced that it had received a contract modification from the British Ministry of Defence for 22 additional Cougar Mastiff Protected Patrol Vehicles (Mastiff PPV). The order will bring the total number of vehicles produced for the British government to 108 at an approximate value of $70.1 million. US$800,000 give or take a few bucks each = £400,000 at this fatrenoon's exhnage rate of £1 = US£1.991.

Basically the Mastiff PPV is the same as the Mastiff but with some armament and a turret - which seemingly they forgot from the first specifications. It is still a 27 tonne Mack truck with a lot of body armour and very little interior space.

In the MOD piece much atention is paid to the levels of protection ..

The MASTIFF Company Commander, Major Dan Bradbury, 1st Yorkshire Regiment, said:

"The soldiers love it. It's a real investment in their protection."

Royal Logistic Corps MASTIFF driver, Private Ciaran Castles, said:

"All round it's a good bit of kit. It's enjoyable to go out there because you feel more safe and you know if it comes down to it, you've got that extra armour to protect you."

Superb protection ...but what do you DO with it, apart from provide a mobile comms platform for BOWMAN, which was designed to fit on a Land Rover but doesn't.

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