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

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

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

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

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Chinooks - URGENTLY REQUIRED ON THE BATTLEFIELD - ready for battle (maybe) 8 years after delivery

Few will forget Friday, March 30, 2007 - MOD to get 14 more 'copters. 8 refurbed turkeys and 6 on the borrer from the Prince of Denmark

Few will forget how military mastermind Des Brown announcedthat at last the 8 Chinook MK.3's that have been stuck in a warehouse since 2001 will be off to Iraq / Afghanistan to help out the brave lads dodging the bullets, and those who didn't dodge them a speedy trip to a field hospital (Average time 8 hours due to a shortage of helicopters at present).

Well that was then ...more precisely 11 months ago.Action at last !!!

Well up to a point Lord Copper... because Qinetiq announced an agreement only yesterday that they will contract with Boeing to assist in the upgrade of the 8 Chinook Mark 3 helicopters. Upgrade is not really the correct term because they will actually be , "reverted to a similar standard to the conventionally instrumented Mk 2/2A. " ...which they were supposed to replace they call this "reversion modification ".

This £11m contract will see Qinetiq take on a large portion of the contract (Total upgrade cost will be £90.1m of which £62m is the contract with Boeing) the MoD awarded to Boeing in December 2007. (So plans are fairly roaring along then !!!)

The new equipment from Boeing will allow the aircraft to fly in all types of weather conditions at any time of the day in any geographic region. Qinetiq will install the equipment and conduct flight trials with the hope of having the first helicopters in service by 2009.

In total, the MoD will have spent over £90m on upgrades for the eight helicopters since 1998, even though none of them have ever been used in operations.

Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Edward Leigh MP, has in the past described the purchase of the Chinooks as “one of the most incompetent procurements of all time."

For those who savour these private moments in those hidden away committees the following exchange is worthy of mention … Select Committee on Public Accounts Minutes of Evidence 25 OCTOBER 2004 - i.e 4 years ago....

Q133 Chairman: Thank you very much. But the fact remains, Air Vice Marshal, that for safety reasons you cannot fly this helicopter when it is cloudy; is that correct?

Air Vice Marshal Luker: That is also correct.

The major failures in procurement included ... we are told

1. Important equipment such as weather radar could not fit in the cockpit .
2. Software for flight systems was unable to meet certain standards
3. The aircraft was not capable of operating in desert conditions.
4. The aircraft have limited flight displays.
5. The aircraft have no safeguards against sand in the engine
6. The aircraft have been reduced to being used for flight trials on clear days at low altitudes.

The contract with Boeing and Qinetiq will finally see the Chinooks receive the necessary upgrades. MoD officials have hinted that they would be used for special forces operations.

... if we have any left by then.

Northern Wrecks - both on a Mission Impossible

One of these guys earns £2.6 Mn a year. Is it the guy who runs the company or the company football team ? Hint. They lost 5-1 today.

At least one Turkey Osprey V22 has a gun - but it's not in Iraq. Yet.

BAE Systems Installs Defensive Weapon System on CV-22 Osprey for Testing

BAE Systems has now installed a remotely operated "defensive weapon system" - aboard a U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey . (see post Wednesday, November 28, 2007 for more details V-22 Osprey / Albatross now deployed in Iraq - will have a gun real soon now

Having spent over a decade and many squillions (US$100 Mn each) without any form of defence, you might think that fitting such a weapon AFTER deployment in the battlefield was a bit arse uppards...but...

Using a GAU-2B 7.62 mm mini-gun mounted to the belly of the aircraft, the weapon is designed to provide 360 degrees of accurate, sustained suppressive fire throughout the CV-22’s flight envelope.

The weapon is based on BAE Systems’ Remote Guardian System™, a company-funded effort to develop a common airborne defensive capability for the V-22 and other special-mission rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft. BAE Systems did not initially have access to aircraft drawings or solid models, relying in part on its knowledge of the CV-22 as provider of the platform’s flight control system. Which, considering the size of the pork barrel (US$15 Bn.) to build this flying turkey in all 72 States of the Union was a bit arse uppards... but ...

The hardware installation and ensuing fit-check, completed in January, has quickly followed BAE's recent selection to develop an interim all-quadrant defensive weapon system for the Osprey.

The U. S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which awarded the contract to integrate and test the weapon mission kit on the CV-22, is currently performing ground testing, with flight testing to follow. SOCOM oversaw the successful installation of the system hardware aboard the aircraft in January at Hurlburt Field, Florida.

BAE Systems has been developing the Remote Guardian(TM) System (RGS), a 2 part sensor / gun , for more than two years and unveiled the system in October 2007 at the Modern Day Marine military exposition in Quantico, Virginia. It was only in January that the company announced its selection by SOCOM to provide the defensive weapon solution for their CV-22 aircraft.

Bit of History

The primary weapon for the Bell UH-1 Huey series in Vietnam was the 7.62 mm M60 machine gun, (effectively the same gun but without automated ammunition feed) although 70 mm rocket pods were skid-mounted on some aircraft. The M60 was effective to around 700 metres range, but US Army helicopters were soon outgunned by the Vietcong insurgents, who in 1963 introduced the 12.7mm Degtyarev-Shpagin DShKM38/46 Calibre, mm 12.7 x 109 (.50) Muzzle velocity, m/s 850 600 rounds per minute weight 34 kg Largo, 16 metres X 1 metre. This was later augmented by the 14.5 mm KPV-14.5 (see pics here) , at that time quite possibly the most powerful machine gun in the world.

Has "missing" USAF B2 Bomber flown to Russia ? One of our planes is missing

Guam is a tiny island and is U.S. territory located 3,700 miles southwest of Hawaii.

B2 bombers from Whiteman Air Force Base have been shuttling to Guam since 2004 and one has gone missing (see last pic of missing plane ).

The stealth aircraft diappeared from screens and so far the USAF have been covering the story by saying the plane crashed and the ejected pilots are safe.

There is no news if the plane was loaded with a Massive Ordnance Penetrator, a 30,000 pound bomb (15 ton) which 20.5 feet long, with a 31.5-inch diameter and carries over 5,300 pounds of explosive material. This mutha will deliver 10 the killer punch of the BLU-109 and will penetrate up to 200 feet underground before exploding.

Guam has been visited by Russian Bear bombers and first flew past on Wednesday August 8th 2007 passing within 300 miles of U.S. air and naval bases on Guam. The TU-95 flight coincided with on-going U.S. military drills in the area; it was the first Russian bomber flight flown against Guam since the Cold War.

The Tupolev Bomber flying on the initial mission carries the AS-15 Kent" air-launched cruise missile, which has a maximum range of 1500 Nautical Miles.

So don't be surprised if a B2 turns up in Vladivostok.(see also)

UPDATE :24/2/08 2300 GMT
The accident occurred 11 days after a Navy plane crashed into the ocean about 20 miles northeast of Guam's Ritidian Point. Four aircrew members ejected from the EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft and were rescued by helicopter. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23302483

Granite and the masters of the Master Trusts - exploiting loopholes with the City lawyers

Guido points via his stringer BOF2BS to the involvement of blue chip City/ Canary Wharf lawyers Allen & Overy in February 2005 in arranging the Granite master issuer's £20bn programme . The team - "led by securitisation partner Kiwi Angela Clist, (pic) with assistance from associate Sanjay Sethi. US advise (sic) was provided by partner Christopher Bernard and associate Daniel Rubin, whilst partner Richard Tredgett advised on the derivatives aspects of the transaction, assited by Niharika Patel.

Tax advice was provided by partner Mark Brailsford, aided by associates Adam Blakemore and Daniel Lewin. Real Estate advice was given by partner Daniel McKimm. Allen & Overy's Trustee Group, led by Simon Hill and Malcolm Charles, separately advised the Bank of New York as Trustee.

Sidley Austin Brown & Wood advised the originator Northern Rock plc - a huge firm with 1,700 lawyers practicing in 15 U.S. and international cities and 61 partners solely involved in "Structured Finance and Securitization" . The firm was Ranked Top Issuer Counsel for U.S. Debt, Equity and Equity-Related Deals for 2006 by Thomson Financial (as it was in previous years). It is interesting to note that Sidley advised in that one year on 548 deals worth $374.1 billion in deal value representing a market share of 10.7 percent (ie total market in 2006 was US$3.7 trillion -ish) . The firm also ranked number three as underwriter’s counsel in the same category with $257.3 billion in deal value from 429 offerings representing a market share of 7.2 percent.

The legal bill for that stellar array of transatlantic talent must have made your eyes water - and would have probably paid off a few mortgages.

What is worthy of note is what A & O proudly declare ;

1. "The SEC registered deal was the first UK securitisation to obtain a shelf registration in the US." - Mr Applegarth and his criminal crew was always pushing the envelope. e.g July 24th FSA approve new Basle II arrangements, July 26th divvy increased by 30% under altered capital requirments - disregarding profits rise of 0.2% for 6 months after mortgages issued rose 47%

2. "A novel aspect of this deal is the Granite Master Issuer plc's ability to issue debt of any rating provided that the senior debt is always sufficiently supported by a requisite level of subordinated debt. This "de-linked" feature will allow Northern Rock to exploit better pricing on subordinated debt opportunistically and is a first in the UK RMBS (Residential Mortgage-Backed Security ) market." - Mr Applegarth and his criminal crew pushing the envelope again.

Forbes have a site that provides information for investors called Investopedia, under "Mortgage Backed Security " it offers this explanation ..." When you invest in a mortgage-backed security you are essentially lending money to a home buyer or business. An MBS is a way for a smaller regional bank to lend mortgages to its customers without having to worry about whether the customers have the assets to cover the loan. Instead, the bank acts as a middleman between the home buyer and the investment markets. "

Therefore it is interesting to note that Northern Wreck from midnight Thursday 21st February 2007 has scrapped its "Together" loans, which offered first-time buyers a mortgage for up to 95 % of their property's value and a personal loan of up to 30% on top.

Abbey, Alliance & Leicester, Coventry Building Society and Godiva mortgages (and probably everyone else by now) had all ceased offering their their versions of the Northern Rock Together loan on Tuesday. John McFall the Chairman of the Treasury Committeewhich had produced after 5 months the report "The Run on the Rock" in contributing wise words in the NR Nationalisation debate on Tuesday February 19th Hansard Col 191 said ;

"Probably a gratuitous request to the new management is for it to ensure that the Together mortgage, with a 125 per cent. loan to value, is no part of the company in the future. A statement to that effect from the management would reassure the rest of the market."

It is also interesting to note that glamorous, perky, pert, slim Yvette Cooper, whilst vilified generally is evidently not as stupid as she appears and managed to place her elegant and well manicured finger on a very pertinent point supplied by the devils in the Treasury who had provided her Lord and Master Darling with a "Technical Note" for the constant irritant to the Gubment Vince Cable.

On Thursday 21st February our fragrant Yvette, stood up straightened her skirt, smiled her charming smile and said amidst discussions of "Granite" ;

Yvette Cooper: The hon. Gentleman cites the technical note, but has not read the subsequent sentence, which clearly states:

There remain high quality assets on Northern Rock’s balance sheet, as well as Granite’s.”

It also states:

It is a commercial decision for Northern Rock whether to provide new mortgage assets to the Granite financing vehicle or whether to allow the vehicle to run-off in an orderly way.”

Which is not a point that seems to have hit home in any commentary made then or subsequently . Having due regard to the galactic talents that gave birth to Granite one only has to wonder about the written decision of New York Judge Lifland in August.

Bear Stearns had two funds that got creamed in so-called collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, backed by home-loan bonds and other "assets" , they were"Bear Stearns High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Master Fund Ltd., 07-12383 " which raised US $642 million on the launch last last summer.

A sister and less ambitiously titled fund was - " Bear Stearns High- Grade Structured Credit Strategies Enhanced Leverage Master Fund Ltd., 07-12384.

In August Judge Lifland in the S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan) refused to grant protection from U.S. lawsuits for Bear Stearns Cos.' two bankrupt hedge funds, finding the Cayman Islands wasn't the proper jurisdiction for them to liquidate assets.``The only adhesive connection with the Cayman Islands that the funds have is the fact that they are registered there,''

``There are no employees or managers in the Cayman Islands, " he added in his written judgement," the investment manager for the funds is located in New York, the administrator that runs the back-office operations of the funds is in the United States along with the funds' books and records, and prior to the commencement of the foreign proceeding, all of the funds' liquid assets were located in the United States.''

Is it the intention of HMG to tell the bondholders (or at least not to discourage the Directors of NR to make a "commercial decision" ) to seek redress in the Courts of Jersey ? (or in less legal terminology - Go fuck yourselves) ... and thus test the structures brought to birth at such great cost by Angela Clist, Allen & Overy and Sidley Austin Brown & Wood and Uncle Tom Cobbleigh and all for the benefit of the NE Children's Downs Syndrome Association ?

Only time will tell as the mysteries of Allen & Overy's handiwork, Granite Master Trust , and the..."first UK securitisation to obtain a shelf registration in the US" unfold over the coming months and years.

NB A & O had previously done such deals Allen & Overy Advises on Granite Mortgages 03-3 PLC20 October 2003 - Allen & Overy (led by Salim Nathoo ) had advised Barclays Capital, JP Morgan and Lehman Brothers on Northern Rock's seventh securitisation using its master trust - These transactions follow similar deals under Northern Rock's residential mortgage master trust in March and September 2002 and in January 2003, in which Allen & Overy also acted for the managers and underwriters.

Those further interested in the fascinating subject of Master Trusts and RMBS markets can profit by reading Prof. Ian Giddy New York University " The asset securitization technique, offer originators a cheaper source of funding and investors a superior return. Not only does securitization transform illiquid assets into tradable securities, but it also manages to transform risk by means of the separation of good financial assets from a company or financial institution with little loss of revenue. The assets, once separated from the originator, are employed as backing for high-quality securities designed to appeal to investors."

The Use of the Master Trust Structure in Asset-Backed Securities - Master trusts mark new era for European ABS (December 01 2000 ) which extensively quotes Ms Clist on RMBS.....Giddy says "The solution that Schroder Salomon Smith Barney ( SSSB ) and Allen & Overy came up with was the use of a master trust. Master trusts were first used for automobile loan securitization in the US, and then adopted recently by credit card companies for their issues. But the Bank of Scotland deal was the first deal to apply it to the MBS market. " ....

"The tiny but very significant loophole SSSB (and A & O) has found through this is that by repackaging the master trust certificate in another trust..."

Yvette Cooper, you understand had / has a complete grasp of the Granite Master Trust structure and it's significance.

No doot tha'll be a canny few of they re-possessiions like , doon the Scotlan' Ro' tha noos. "Fetch me a pint canny lass ..and ah'll read that agin' "

UPDATE : Saturday 11.00 GMT BBC4 The Weeek in Westminster has just had fellow Lord Barnett, Lord Patel's MP from yesterday year, shrewd Jewish Manchester Accontant and EX chief secretary to the Treasury under James Callaghan in the 70's , author of the long standing Barnett Formula explaining how in the House of Lords the Whips scurried round with copies of the letter and "Technical Note" (On which the fragrant Yvette waxed so lyrical) from Darling to Vincent Cable - and confessing he couldn't understand it.

He was joined by the slim and elegant Ex Chancellor Lord Lawson (and father of cook Nigella) in roundly criticising both the haste and the evident lack of transparency of the Nationalisation Legislation.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Clitoridectomy - a subject no-one wants to talk about

The Raelian Movement had an auspicious start . Rael (AKA, Claude Vorilhon)At the age of 27, on the morning of December 13, 1973, a dramatic encounter with a human being from another planet, at a volcano park in the center of France, known as "Puy de Lassolas".

After this remarkable event the Movement and it's followers kept below the radar but Rael wrote a book , modestly entitled , "The True Face of God," explaining how he was taken to the planet of the Elohim in a flying saucer in 1975, where he was introduced to noted earthlings such as Jesus, Buddha, Joseph Smith and Confucius. The Elohim, small human-shaped beings with pale green skin and almond eyes, were apparently the original inspiration for the Judeo-Christian God. They informed Vorilhon that he was the final prophet -- sent to relay a message of peace and sensual meditation to humankind under his new name of Rael -- before the Elohim would return to Jerusalem in 2025.

After a fair time on the free love, sex is good circuit (See Salon article in 2000 "Rael Love") this family circus burst into prominence in 2002 when they announced production the world's first cloned human.

The baby, nicknamed "Eve," was due to arrive in the US under the auspices of a glamorous and leggy blonde who clamed to be a biochemist , Brigitte Boisselier, CEO of Clonaid, the cloning company the Raelians had formed.

Regrettably Clonaid spokeswoman , gorgeous, pouting, ruby lipped, full bosomed, Nadine Gary couldn't / wouldn't say where in the United States the mother is from, where the child was born or what U.S. city they would be arriving in... and that was the end of news about the "healthy 7-pound girl was delivered by Caesarean section Thursday and is an exact genetic copy of her mother".

Which is just as well because a po-faced official from U.S. Food and Drug Administration , which regulates human experiments, says its regulations forbid human cloning without prior agency permission and wanted to know more.

Officially a cult in France the Raelians have an entry in the Japanese Wikipaedia where they claim to be active and this bill board in Nagoya suggest some lively activity. (Pic click of "Love Hug in in Seoul to enlarge )

Adopt a clitoris and help to make history

Now the Raelians have hit on a new bandwagon / gravy train and set up Clitoraid and like any stumbling , fumbling teenager they have discovered the clitoris and all the bits that go with it.

Rael is outraged by clitoridectomy or as it described in ladies journals "genital mutiliation" in which part of a girl's genitalia is sliced away.

Rael wants your money to build a "pleasure" hospital on a piece of land they have bought in a suburb of Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso's second-largest city. Women would be treated exclusively to have their clitorises "reconstructed." explains Lara Terstenjak, a spokeswoman for Clitoraid.

Marci Bowers, who runs a thriving sex-change clinic in Trinidad, Colorado, and has been called the "rock star" of transgender surgery who will re-instate what is often the crude surgery of witch doctors and the application herbs has been roped in as chief surgeon.

So far they have been able to apply the pleasure principle to 6 Raelians.Their website will provide lots more information. Adopt a Clitoris -PayPal accepted.

See UNICEF for more and better information about this wretched practice or The Female Genital Cutting Education and Networking Project

There are between eight and ten million women and girls in the Middle East and in Africa who are at risk of undergoing one form or another of genital cutting. In the United States it is estimated that about ten thousand girls are at risk of this practice. FGC in a variety of its forms is routinely practiced in Middle Eastern countries (the two Yemens, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, and Southern Algeria). In Africa it is practiced in the majority of the continent including Kenya, Nigeria, Mali, Upper Volta, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Mozambique, and Sudan.

..and that is not a funny business... and we won't even mention male genital utilation which is called circumcision, has no medical benefit and is purely a religious / cultural ritual which is simply a sexual assault on children.

Only last week it was reported 3 Million Women Circumcised Annually - UNFPA Protests
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) last week made a stong call to government to end female genital mutilation (cutting), a practise which causes an irreparable, irreversible damage to women. Read more >>

Turkish forces, Bomb, shell and invade Iraq - 10,000 plus troops on the move

News has just started to hit the wires that Turkey has invaded northern Iraq, at 7 pm last night chasing down Kurdish PKKof 10,000 plus troops followed a barrage of attacks by Turkish warplanes and heavy artillery. (Pics today from NTV)

In Baghdad, the foreign ministry said it was unaware of any invasion, but Ankara said its troops in its surprise attack were supported by fighter jets, and would leave Iraq when their objectives were achieved.

Private NTV television reported 10,000 troops were involved and said they had pushed about six miles into Iraqi territory and were anxious to make a major and surprise blow before the snow melts and the guerillas mount a spring advance into Turkey to attack Turkish troops. .

The United States described the invasion as "not the greatest news." "A land operation is a whole new level," Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza told reporters in Brussels.
The Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK, has bases in Iraqi Kurdistan, from where it has launched a series of attacks inside Turkey in pursuit of a Kurdish homeland. Turkey has regularly mounted aerial attacks and small-scale commando raids on PKK positions in Iraq. This however is the first time it has sent a significant force into Iraq.

The PKK is outlawed in Iraq, and is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

This invasion was predicted in Canadian Spectator in 2003 before the illegal invasion. It just took a bit longer than expected. Pic Abdullah Ocalan PKK leader see Kurdish Information Network

The White House said the United States had been informed in advance of the incursion and urged Turkey to limit the operation to "precise targeting" of the PKK rebels hiding there. It is however not clear what, if any, role the United States played in the invasion. The European Union also urged Ankara to keep the campaign limited.

"We understand the concerns of Turkey ... but we think this action is not the best response," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told a news conference in Slovenia.

Hoshiyar Zebari Iraq's foreign minister said . "There has not been any major incursion or land invasion ... What is going on is around a few hundred Turkish forces have crossed the border looking for the PKK or their bases,"

A senior military officer with U.S.-led coalition forces based in Baghdad made a similiar comment about the force size.

Earlier, Rear Admiral Gregory Smith, director of MNF-I's Communication Division for Operation Iraqi Freedom , said the operation was understood to be of "limited duration" and aimed solely at PKK fighters in the area.

Turkey has of course made Dubya happy by recognising his gangster outpost in Kosovo as were fellow members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Albania and Afghanistan.

UPDATE : 13.30 EST
Moon of Alabama

Largest Minority Today Turkey Shells Kurdish Iraq: A Sign of Declining US Power? September article Is Israel Secretly Training Kurds in Iraq?

BBC Online September Israelis 'train Kurdish forces'

Fresh Bilge today- who makes the excellent point "Maybe things would be different, if Turkey hadn’t messed with the US by refusing access to Iraq at the last minute."

Rob Hyndman wonders ..."whether Turkey has invaded Iraq only ostensibly to suppress PKK activity, and is actually motivated by fear that the Kosovar independence declaration will fuel Kurdish appetite for, and the legitimacy of, an independent state in Northern Iraq."

NYT Turkish Military Tells of Incursion Into Iraq

Boeing 787 plans for Dash 3 and Dash 10 variants overweight and delayed and Japanese (back at Changi) look at Airbus 350XWB at Singapore Airshow

Boeing initialy planned to produce 3 versions of the Dreamliner the 787-8(60 metres wspan 15,200) and a stretched 787-9 (63 metres wspan 15,750Km) (currently a total of 824 orders ) and the 787-3 (59 metres wspan 5,650Km) ere wingspan range which is a shorthaul version due for service in 2010 and for which Japan Airlines Corp. and All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd. have ordered 43 planes.

Now Boeing Co. has suspended some work on the 787-3 and some employees have been shifted to other tasks, "including work on improving the 787-8 and meeting nearer-term schedule requirements, on the twice-delayed 787 Dreamliner

Lori Gunter says Boeing but remains "absolutely committed" to producing the 787-3 model for the Japanese airlines that have ordered them and said Boeing is focused now on getting the first 787-8 to fly, and said it's too early to talk about the very stretched 787-10 being stalled.
Randy Tinseth, Boeing's chief marketing officer, told Bloomberg News on Monday "The 787-3 today is still part of our plan for the program and still being offered." and “We have a commitment to ANA and JAL to build that airplane.”

The Flightblogger.com who is reporting to Lord Patel from the Singapore Airshow said that the scuttlebutt was that Boeing was considering suspending the short-haul version in a move that might be a precursor to cancelling it.

The Seattle Times spoke to Stephen Udvar-Hazy who said the short-range variant of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, the 787-3, is too heavy to make sense in any market outside Japan and in conversation with Jon Ostrower Hazy also discussed "weight creep" on the current 787 models.(which the alert bankers prattled on about inthe early December Carson/Shanahan raodshow=webcast).

Hazy insists the initial Dreamliner models are overweight, causing Boeing to trim their range capabilities.(Louis Gunter confirmed that Boeing cut its range forecast for the initial Dreamliners about a year ago because of increased weight). Hazy said flight tests beginning this summer should reveal the extent to which Boeing can cut out some of the excess weight.

In the meantime, Hazy said, Boeing's development of the next major Dreamliner derivative — the bigger 787-10 planned with 300 seats — has slowed down because the extra weight on the base airplane means the bigger derivative will need engines with more thrust than originally planned, as well as stronger landing gear.Tuesday. He said flight tests beginning this summer should reveal the extent to which Boeing can cut out some of the excess weight. March 28, 2006 Boeing to "supersize" 787 "Dreamliner"

Steven Udvar-Hazy told ATWOnline on the sidelines of the ALTA Airline Leaders Forum in Cancun on November 8th that the 787-9 is around 14,000 lb. over budget on its operating empty weight. In addition to the challenge this presents for the -9, it creates a problem for the proposed 787-10 because the additional weight on the already heavier platform could mean a heavier landing gear as well as higher-thrust engines, changes that would cause it to lose a lot of commonality with the smaller -8 and -9 variants, he said.

JAL are quoted saying - “We have been informed that there is a possibility of a delay to the 787-3, ...and we have not received a new delivery schedule since the delays to the programme were announced. Obviously the 787-3 is important to our plans. It has a shorter wingspan, which is important at key airports in Japan.” (Apparently Japanese are smaller - or at least their airports are)

Reuters report that 2 company sources say Japan Airlines Corp is looking at buying some Airbus' mid-sized A350 XWB (extra wide body) planes after production delays for Boeing Co's 787 planes But then as lead buyer there must be some hard bargaining going on for compensation for the delays or even cancellation of the 787-3.

JAL is overhauling its fleet to cope with skyrocketing fuel costs. Just this week it said it planned to raise its fuel surcharge on international routes.'Fuel efficiency is a crucial factor for all aircraft, and that is one of the reasons why we chose (the) 787,' JAL spokesman Stephen Pearlman said.

Japanese heavy industrial firms (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Fuji Heavy Industries) are contributing 35% of the construction of the Dreamliner and 70% at least of the carbon Toray Industries Inc*** (April 2006) announced orders from Boeing for PAN carbon Fibre worth US$3 Bn.billion for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner passenger jet. Toray now hold about 32% of global supply which they want to boost to 39% by 2010 to 13,900 tons per annum and to 24,000 tons by 2010.)

We have probably seen the last of the 20% fuel savings claims as well..... and the -3 and -10 variants look way, way down the track ... and the whole Dreamliner project looking very flaky as the compensation claims start mounting.

*** 20th Feb 2008 Toray Industries, Inc. announced that it will expand its capacity to produce the PAN-based carbon fiber TORAYCA*. The company will add to its Ehime Plant an additional carbonization facility for special thin carbon fibers for industrial use having an annual production capacity of 1,000 tons. This new facility is scheduled to begin operation in July 2009. The company’s recently adopted capacity-expansion plan involves a total investment of approximately ¥16 billion (US$1.5Bn.)

The worldwide demand in 2007 for PAN-based carbon fibers is estimated to have been about 35,000 tons, and the demand is expected to expand at an annual rate of 15% or more in the years ahead and to reach close to 53,000 tons per annum in 2010 by which time Toray will be producing 25,000 tons.

Pic Airbus Sigapore Airshow Brochure

Giving it all away .....

Facebook's Terms of Use state:

"by posting Member Content to any part of the Web site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license to use, copy, perform, display, reformat, translate, excerpt and distribute such information and content and to prepare derivative works of, or incorpoate into other works, such information and content, and to grant and authorise sublicenses of the foregoing."

Facebook's privacy policy:

"Facebook may also collect information about you from other sources, such as newspapers, blogs, instant messaging services, and other users of the Facebook service through the operation of the service (eg. photo tags) in order to provide you with more useful information and a more personalised experience. By using Facebook, you are consenting to have your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States."

There are some bad minded / stupid / conspiracy theorists / gooks / geeks who say the CIA is behind Face Book. What Nonsense IAO ? Bollocks! IAO ? again ? BOllocks

I've done all I can,
now it's out of my hands
stand on my head
and say oh,
I was just a boy
giving it all away... Leo Sayer / D.Courtney

Frozen chips - data remanence - hackers and zeroising to meet FIPS 140-2 and soon 14-3 is your data REALLY secure ?? Be scared, be really scared !!!!

Shredding Your Garbage: Reducing Data Lifetime Through Secure Deallocation Jim Chow, Ben Pfaff, Tal Garfinkel, Mendel Rosenblum (14th USENIX Security Symposium Aug 2005) paper at Stanford University Department of Computer Science

Is an obscure paper that was a response to knowledge that "sensitive data is often scattered widely through user and kernel memory and left there for indefinite periods " .. what is called persistence in memory and how this can be exploited - One recent study of security bugs in Linux and OpenBSD discovered 35 bugs that can be used by unprivileged applications to read sensitive data from kernel memory. (see also Data remanence Wikipedia)

Anyway this paper was enough to prompt the assorted academics, hackers, gooks, geeks and general ne'er do wells at the Centre for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University( website ) to look at the way , DRAMs can (and do, contrary to popular belief) retain their contents for seconds to minutes after power is lost, even at operating temperatures and even if removed from a motherboard.

DRAMs are not automatically or immediately erased and the Princeton Posse realised their contents persist sufficiently for " malicious (or forensic) acquisition of usable full-system memory images."

You can read a handy introduction about how they researched this topic here

New Research Result: Cold Boot Attacks on Disk Encryption by Ed Felton + their full Research paper here (NB Researcher Joseph P Calandrino was under appointment to the Department of Homeland Security(DHS) Scholarship and Fellowship Program under DOE contract number DE-AC05-06OR23100.) Hmmmmm.

Their technique (Cold booting) was fffffrighteningly quick'n'easy ... they simply ffffroze the DRAM's (see pic) that contained master decryption keys for disk encrytpion systems by using cans of dust remover upside down yielding temperatures of -50 °C (about the outside temperature in Buffalo today) and even liquid nitrogen (-196 °C) they hold their state for hours at least, without any power.

They show (and have explanatory videos / pics ) how power can be cut to the computer, then power it back up and boot a malicious operating system (from, say, a thumb drive) that copies the contents of memory. Having done that, the attacker can search through the captured memory contents, find any crypto keys that might be there, and use them to start decrypting hard disk contents. Their reserach paper also has very effective search algorithms for finding and extracting keys from memory, even if the contents of memory have faded somewhat (i.e., even if some bits of memory were flipped during the power-off interval).

They also found it possible to chill the DRAM chips before cutting power and in discussion Ed Felten says .."An attacker could still remove the DRAM and transplant it into another computer that has a friendlier BIOS." Not with the Starbuck's brigade of keyboard monkeys however. Apples new stylish paperweight MacAir’s 2GB of DDR2 SDRAM is soldered directly onto the motherboard. (deliberately to overcome this ?)

What must unnerve the computer / software vendors is the ability the Princeton Posse could demonstrate to defeat three popular disk encryption products: BitLocker, which comes with Windows "What a shitlolad of trouble thisis " Vista ( both use the federal government’s certified Advanced Encryption System algorithm to scramble data as it is read from and written to a computer hard disk see below re FIPS 140-2) ; FileVault, which comes with overpriced and Macs loaded with MacOS X; and dm-crypt, a favourite of the deranged people who use Linux.

Now that they have found this , you might like to go back in time here consider what Peter Gutman published long ago in 1996 for the Sixth USENIX Security Symposium Proceedings, San Jose, California "Secure Deletion of Data from Magnetic and Solid-State Memory" ...

He identified the problem ,"Contrary to conventional wisdom, "volatile" semiconductor memory does not entirely lose its contents when power is removed. Both static (SRAM) and dynamic (DRAM) memory retains some information on the data stored in it while power was still applied. " and that" (a) destructive method to speed up the annihilation of stored bits in semiconductor memory is to heat it" and conversely " to extend the life of stored bits with the power removed, the temperature should be dropped below -60°C. Such cooling should lead to weeks, instead of hours or days, of data retention."

Also this weakness has been identified more recently - Matthew G. Lamb Wed Oct 29 2003 quotes Tim Murray

"Note that the sufficiently well funded can play analagous games with semiconductor memory; if you store data in RAM for a long time there are ways of analyzing the chips to deduce a lot of it too. .... Note, too, that getting the RAM very cold (e.g., a liquid nitrogen bath) quickly after shutdown should allow it to keep its state for quite some time after the power button goes off(certainly long enough to get it to the lab.... this is a good point for people who use encrypted file systems.... Likely, the key will be stored in memory,probably in the same location, for quite some time."

So what they have discovered is...well, not that new, nor is it insurmountable and has been catered for in the latest federal ( Toni Fabulosos moles tell us that UK SIS / GCHQ use these ) cryptographic standards.

A standard for all security system is "Zeroisation" (Wikipedia) which requires the resetting or zeroising or erasing sensitive parameters (especially keys) from a cryptographic module to prevent their disclosure if the equipment is captured.

Standards for zeroisation (plus a lot more) are specified in ANSI X9.17 and (in North America) Federal Information Processing Standard FIPS 140-2.Security Requirements for Cryptographic Modules which is issued by National Institute of Standards and Technology in conjunction with Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) more details here its successor standard FIPS 140-3 is under Development

Bruce Schneier exposed this weakness in his book ; ‘Secrets And Lies : Digital Security In A Networked World’ and fairly low cost utilities are available for commercial use to overwrite RAM contents on power off (useful info here about Windows weaknesses - YOUR WINDOWS® OPEN )***. This does not provide protection against stealing the RAM chips from the powered up machines of course - except for the MacAir .

*** Highly recommended brief , simple, clear intro.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

OfGEM - a case for a clean sweep, bag and baggage, Chairman and Directors....

Centrica announced profits today of £1.95Bn up 40% from £1.39 Bn. on revenues slightly down to £16.3Bn. With a rise in the divvy up from 11.5 p to 13p produces a yield of 4.4% which can hardly be considered extortion or usury.

The British Gas Residential part of the business , which supplies gas and electricity to households, made an operating profit of £571m last year, up from £95m in 2006, with £533m of the earnings coming in the first half. By the end of the year the division was making a loss, but last month’s price increaseshould restore profitability.

Ofgem begins energy market probe (BBC )

Faced with this apparent excessive increase in profits the comatose energy regulator, Ofgem, has immediately launched an investigation into the electricity and gas markets for households and small businesses.

The Energy Retail Association, argues that Britain has "the most competitive energy market in Europe". Gypsy Petulengro tells us this is / will be a complete waste of time, energy, effortand money. If OfGEM don't understand by now how the energy market works it is not doing it's job, it needs no enquiry it needs to get off its corporate fat arse and actually chase the energy companies around ... which we have said before...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008 There is something very badly wrong at OfGEM... The UK consumer is being suckered and they stand by and do nothing but bleat.

We will leave you with an interesting observation on the languid Sir John Mogg (65 this year) the 3 day a week (100K a year) Chairman of OfGEM since may 2003 who spends much of his time in his beautiful £2Mn. gracious Edwardian detached house overlooking magnificent East Park in sunny Brighton - although he supports Aston Villa from the town of his birth.

Sir John was Director General of the Internal Market and Services Directorate General (DG MARKT) is one of 37 Directorates General and specialised services which make up the European Commission. Its main role is to said to be to coordinate the Commission’s policy on the European Single Market, which aims to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the Union.European Commission Director of Internal Markets .

For running this Sir John collected £150,000 per annum , plus all sorts of perks. Come the enlargement of the EC and the re-shuffling of jobs and sharing out the spoils with a mixed crew of Estonians and eastern riff-raff Sir John had to be moved on, but he decided to take the "Article 50"option , a little known but very benficial exercise in EC pork barreling when he left in 2003.

He retired, and receives the same inflation proofed salary / perks etc., for 5 years or until retirement age whichever is longer. He is also Chairman of the European Regulators Group for Electricity and Gas (ERGEG), in December 2005. He is also the President of the Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER). .. which no doubt helps to keep the dosh rolling in.

One doesn't imagine he and the delightful Lady Mogg have much concern about settling the gas bills, nor their friends the Charles Powell's or the Christopher Meyer's. The mandarin should be sacked forthwith - he has plenty to live on and there are plenty more people who could actually DO something.

The Boy David Miliband tells a small Truth to conceal even greater fucking big lies. We have been here before

Magna Carta says .. "No man shall be ... exiled … but by lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land" not forgetting The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 states in Article 13(2) that "Everyone has the right to leave any country including his own and to return to his country". The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 states in Article 12(4) that "No-one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country", a Covenant ratified by the UK in 1976.

Diego Garcia is the largest of the Chagos Islands and had been effectively exchanged (what we lawyers call "sold") to the US for an Air Base by Labour Peer Lord Chalfont and (now Lord) then PM Jim Callaghan who was a bit behind on the HP for the "Chevalining" or secret upgrading of the Polaris Missiles - which he forgot to tell his Party members about at the time.

The islanders were shipped off to Mauritius, money that went to the Mauritius Government as a sort of blood money never reached them and so they were consigned to poverty. Overall there are 2000 of them and 200 live in the UK after a change in the law by Jack Straw over their status.

For more fucking lies and the tale of deceit about Diego Garcia, the Chagossians, prisons and rendition ...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 UK Government are fucking lying again about CIA rendition, the Chagossians and Diego Garcia
Wednesday, May 23, 2007 Chagos Islanders give the fucking lying bitch at the The Foreign Office a Bloody Nose
Thursday, May 11, 2006 Chagos Islanders have outstanding win against the UK Government.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005 Lady Amos Fast risen Blair "babe" at Straw's FO ....

"Lady Amos is remembered of course, scuttling around UN member states in Africa to try and drum up votes for a 2nd Security Counci resolution to make the forthcoming invasiaon of Iraq legal. Also Leader of Privy Council where she oversaw the House of Lords ruling about the rights of the Chagos Islanders to live on Diego Garcia. Curiously reluctant to answer questions about US "rendition" Gulags on DG.

Miliband admits the lyng in House of Commons this afternoon

Foreign Secretary the Boy David Miliband now admits the Government have successively lied and proffers Condileezza Rice's "deep regret" for having lied about rendition flights to Diego Garcia. Repeatedly and ad nauseam Government Ministers have said there is "no evidence" and few have believed them.

Even now they lie in their teeth claiming 2 planes stopped over each plane carried a single terror suspect and neither of the men had been tortured, the CIA said. The UK now accepts on the basis of what the damn Yanquis now say and for the first time that US planes on "extraordinary rendition" flights stopped on British soil twice.

Jack Straw, speaking in Brussels, and the Prime Minister are quoted as saying they are "disappointed".

Barry McCaffrey, a retired four-star US general who is a professor of international security studies at the West Point military academy spilt the beans however - in May 2004 he said: "We're probably holding around 3,000 people, you know, Bagram air field, Diego Garcia, Guantánamo, 16 camps throughout Iraq." In December last year he repeated the claim: "They're behind bars...we've got them on Diego Garcia, in Bagram air field, in Guantánamo." has twice spoken publicly about the use of Diego Garcia as a detention centre for suspects.

In May 2004, he said: "We're probably holding around 3,000 people, you know, Bagram airfield, Diego Garcia, Guantánamo, 16 camps throughout Iraq." In December last year he repeated the claim.

The registration number of a Gulfstream executive jet has been linked to several CIA prisoner operations that flew from Washington to Diego Garcia, via Athens, on September 11 2002, soon after the capture of Ramzi Binalshibh, a suspected planner of the September 11 attacks.

Why have they now admitted lying ?

It has absolutely nothing to do with this surely ? Freedom Of Information: Government blocks access to secret military papers on Diego Garcia Robert Verkaik, Law Editor Independent Feb 1st 2008

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition (chairman, Andrew Tyrie Conservative MP) used powers under the Freedom of Information Act to request minutes of US/UK political military talks held in a Washington in September last year.

The Government has refused the request to release the papers claiming it "would prejudice the defence" of territory by "exposing plans to counter possible terrorist attacks". They also say it could damage diplomatic relations between Britain and America.

"There have been repeated allegations that the US has used the British territory of Diego Garcia in its rendition programme. Yet the Government has done next to nothing to investigate them, and continues to rely on US assurances which have been called into question by the Intelligence and Security Committee." says Tyrie.

He points out that UK human rights charity Reprieve has uncovered credible evidence , published in a repor last year which says that Diego Garcia has been the subject of repeated, credible and concurrent claims that the island has played a major role in the US system of renditions and secret detention.

Reprieve submits that the UK's failure to conduct a prompt, independent and effective inquiry into these claims is a further clear breach of its duties under international and domestic law. A claim backed up by Clive Stafford Smith, Director of Reprieve who represents many Guantanamo prisoners.

He has previously said when Barry Mccaffrey made his statements about DG ..."Clive Stafford Smith, Repreive's legal director, said he was "absolutely and categorically certain" that prisoners have been held on the island. "If the foreign affairs committee approaches this thoroughly, they will get to the bottom of it," he said.

The Government have form for this behaviour of course

Thursday, March 09, 2006 Adam Ingram admits CIA flights via RAF Northolt ......

In an identical case Adam Ingram was forced to make a mealy mouthed confession in a letter to Menzies Campbell that disclosed details of CIA flights through Northolt.

This information was only provided when he was threatened with being reported to the parliamentary ombudsman if he continued to refuse to answer detailed questions about flights suspected of being used for "extraordinary rendition".

The shifty Scot has reluctantly disclosed that two aircraft known to have been chartered by the CIA landed 14 times at RAF Northholt, west London, and RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire between October 2003 and May 2004.

Mr Ingram did not say the aircraft were used by the CIA, he insists his disclosure was not "at odds with the foreign secretary's statements on the subject".

Jack Straw has said that the government is "unaware" of any CIA flights landing in Britain or using UK airspace since 1998 and transporting terrorist suspects. ( an unawareness, or convenient amnesia, that extends to other colleagues on matters of public interest such as the saintly Tessa). Read on ....

So they make a worthless partial fudgy statement that maybe ,yes ,well some planes did land ... so, no need for one of those terrible enquiries where people ask questions and want answers...

Judging by what Mr Hague said on behalf of the Conservative Party on the BBC 4 PM news you can't expect them to be jumpng up and down demanding an enquiry either.

Swan Song for NATO - The Real Cost Of Defeat In Forgettistan

This article by Mike Whitney is reproduced it it's entirety it provides the most powerful and telling argument for UK withdrawal without delay.

"It is our right to defend our country. We are not a threat to other countries. But we have to use our rights when our country is occupied by foreign forces." - Mullah Omar, Taliban leader

It was supposed to be "the good war"; a war against terror; a war of liberation. It was intended to fix the eyes of the world on America's state of the art weaponry, its crack troops and its overwhelming firepower. It was supposed to demonstrate once and for all-- that the world's only superpower could no longer be beaten or resisted; that Washington could deploy its troops anywhere in the world and crush its adversaries at will.

Then everything went sideways. The war veered from the Pentagon's script. The Taliban retreated, waited, regrouped and retaliated. They enlisted support from the Pashtuns and the tribal leaders who could see that America would never honor its commitments; that order would never be restored. Operation Enduring Freedom has brought neither peace nor prosperity to Afghanistan; just occupation. Seven years have passed and the country is still ruled by warlords and drug- merchants. Nothing has gotten better. The country is in shambles and the government is a fraud. The humiliation of foreign occupation persists while the killing goes on with no end in sight.

War is not foreign policy. It is slaughter. Seven years later; it's still slaughter. The Taliban have taken over more than half of Afghanistan. They have conducted military operations in the capital of Kabul. They're dug in at Logar, Wardak and Ghazni and control vast swathes of territory in Zabul, Helmand, Urzgan and Kandahar. Now they are getting ready to step-up operations and mount a Spring offensive. That means the hostilities will progressively intensify.

The Taliban's approach is methodical and deliberate. They've shown they can survive the harshest conditions and still achieve tactical victories over a better-equipped enemy. They are highly-motivated and believe their cause is just. After all, they're not fighting to occupy a foreign nation; they're fighting to defend their own country. That strengthens their resolve and keeps morale high. When NATO and American troops leave Afghanistan; the Taliban will remain, just as they did when the Russians left 20 years ago. No difference. The US occupation will just be another grim footnote in the country's tragic history.

The United States has gained nothing from its invasion of Afghanistan. US troops do not control even a square inch of Afghan soil. The moment a soldier lifts his boot-heel; that ground is returned to the native people. That won't change either. General Dan McNeill said recently that "if proper US military counterinsurgency doctrine were followed; the US would need 400,000 troops to defeat Pashtun tribal resistance in Afghanistan." Currently, the US and NATO have only 66,000 troops on the ground and the allies are refusing to send more. On a purely logistical level; victory is impossible.

The battle for hearts and minds has been lost, too. A statement from the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) sums it up like this:

"The reinstatement of the Northern Alliance to power crushed the hopes of our people for freedom and prosperity and proved that, for the Bush administration, defeating terrorism has no meaning at all....The US doesnt want to defeat the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, because then they will have no excuse to stay in Afghanistan and achieve their economic and strategic goals in the region....After seven years, there is no peace, human rights, democracy or reconstruction in Afghanistan. The destitution and suffering of our people is increasing everyday. ...We believe that if the troops leave Afghanistan, our people will become more free and come out of their current puzzlement and doubts...Afghanistans freedom can only be achieved by Afghan people themselves. Relying on one enemy to defeat another is a wrong policy which has just tightened the grip of the Northern Alliance and their masters on the neck of our nation." (RAWA www.rawa.org)

Gradually, the Allies are beginning to see that Bush's war cannot be won and that continuing the fighting is counterproductive. There is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and the political objectives are getting murkier all the time. The lack of direction just adds to the growing frustration.

Recently Secretary of Defence Robert Gates tried to bully the allies into sending more combat troops to fight in the South, but he met with stiff resistance . He said:

"I am concerned that many people on this continent may not comprehend the magnitude of the direct threat to European security," Gates said. "We must not become a two-tiered alliance of those who are willing to fight and those who are not. Such a development, with all its implications for collective security, would in effect destroy the alliance."

But public support for the war is waning in Europe. This is America's war, not theirs. Europeans don't need to occupy foreign nations to meet their energy needs. Their economies are thriving and they can simply pay for their fuel on the open market. Only America wants the war. It's all part of a crazy geopolitical "grand strategy" to project US power into the region to control its resources. So far, there's no indication that the plan will succeed.

Germany has the third biggest economy in the world. Over the last few years, they have strengthened ties with Russia and made agreements that will satisfy their long-term energy needs. But German involvement in Afghanistan has put a strain on relations with Moscow. Putin thinks that the US is using the war to put down roots in Central Asia so it can control pipeline-routes from the Caspian Basin while surrounding Russia and China with military bases. Putin is right. Naturally, he'd like to persuade German Chancellor Angela Merkel to withdraw from Afghanistan which would strike a blow against the US-led alliance. And, that is the way it will probably turn out, too.

Eventually, German leaders will see that its foolish to tweak the nose of the people who provide them with energy (Russia) just to support Washington's adventures. When Germany withdraws from Afghanistan; NATO will disband, new coalitions will form, and the transatlantic alliance fall apart. The cracks are already visible.

President Bush has said that the war in Afghanistan must continue or the country will become a haven for drugs, terrorism and organized crime. He says we are fighting a "poisonous ideology of Islamic extremism which threatens to become a global movement".

But the Taliban and Pashtun tribesmen see it differently. They see the conflict as an imperial war of aggression which has only added to the suffering of their people. A recent report by the United Nations Human Development Fund appears to support this view. It shows that Afghanistan has fallen in every category. The average life expectancy has gone down, malnutrition has risen, literacy has dropped, and more than half the population is living below the poverty-line. Hundreds of thousands of people have been internally displaced by the war. The occupation has created plenty of misery, but no democracy. The war was a failure.

Afghanistan now produces 90% of the world's opium; more than any other country. The booming drug trade is the direct corollary of the US invasion. No one even denies this. Bush has created the world's largest narco-colony. Is that success?

Presently, there are no plans to improve the lives of ordinary Afghanis or to remove the warlords. Reconstruction is at a standstill. If the US stays in Afghanistan, the situation 10 years from now will be the same as it is today, only more people will have needlessly died. Most Afghanis now understand that the promise of democracy was a lie. The only thing the occupation has brought is more grinding poverty and random violence.

There's no back-up plan for Afghanistan. In fact, there is no plan at all. The administration thought the Taliban would see America's high- tech, laser-guided weaponry and run for the hills. They did. Now they're back. And now we are embroiled in an "unwinnable" war with a tenacious enemy that grows stronger and more resolute by the day.

Eventually, the Europeans will see the futility of the war and leave. That will be the end of NATO.

On cue the General speaks

Major General David Rodriguez, head of the US-led coalition force, on a trip to meet officials in the town of Maidan Shahr, west of Kabul today said the US military would stay in the country "as long as they are needed."

In answer to a journalists question about the time neeeded to defeat the Taliban-led insurgency he said "We definitely think it will take a few years for the Afghan people and the Afghan leaders supported by the coalition forces to defeat them,"

Deputy US ambassador Christopher Dell, who accompanied Rodriguez said that Taliban had little support among people.

"They are simply trying to terrorise them to play with fear in order to achieve their objectives".(AFP)

Int. Herald Tribune - Feb 7th Afghan poppy set for another big year, UN report warns

Antonio Maria Costa, the executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime presented a UN report at an international donors conference in Tokyo. In 2007, 477,000 acres, or 193,000 hectares, = 745 sq miles (@ 259 hectares to the sq.mile) were under poppy cultivation, yielding an estimated 9,000 tons of opium. This year it will be larger.

Capitalism (and the mad Zionists) waits in the wings to takeover from Castro Bros.

The Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund, which aims to profit from the resumption of U.S. trade with Cuba, rose 3.9 % after surging 17 % the day before , the biggest gain in its 13- year history.

Its largest holdings include Jacksonville, Florida-based holding company Florida East Coast Industries Inc. and cruise lines Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Carnival Corp. The Fund’s investment policy is to invest at least 80% of its assets in investments that are economically tied to Caribbean Basin Countries.

The Annual report last year stated ..."We continue to position the Fund’s portfolio in companies we believe will benefit from resumption of trade with Cuba and we have a very good working list of companies we would add to the portfolio once it appears the embargo will be lifted."

Florida East Coast Industries, Inc. 20.54% (real estate)
Seaboard Corporation 10.24%(food processing and ocean transportation)
Consolidated Water Co. 7.51%
Garmin Ltd. 4.49% (GPS receivers based in Cayman islands)
Watsco Incorporated 3.96%
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. 3.52%
Trailer Bridge, Inc. 3.16%
Carnival Corp. 3.11%
Orthofix International N.V. 2.91%
Mexico Fund 2.42%

They also have 10,000 shares in Carlisle ...

There is a curious commercial connection between Cuba and Israel (Israel of course always vote with the US to blockade Cuba at the UN) see here Friday, September 15, 2006 Rafi Eitan - a thoroughly nasty Israeli with very odd Cuban connections ....."There are said to be 1,000 Jews in Cuba, where they have been granted the freedom to worship and receive support from Jews in the United States and Europe. Cuba has five synagogues: three in Havana, one in the central provincial capital of Camaguey and one in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba." ..." on the 22nd June, 2006 with a massive Menorah lit, at a public Chanukah service by Castro and Eitan together and Tel Aviv's Ashkenazi chief rabbi, Israel Lau was present. The Menorah is 2.5 meters (8.1 feet) tall and 2 meters (6.5 feet) wide and is designed by Israeli sculptor Yuri Matzkin, who teaches at the University of Tel Aviv."

Rafael ('Rafi') Eitan is the is the leader of Gil - Gimla'ey Yisrael (pensioners of Israel ) party which unexpectedly won 7 seats in the Israeli 2006 elections. Eitan is minister responsible for old-age pensions. He is also known as "Stinky" in Israel’s intelligence community , (he fell into a sewage ditch when he was in the Palmach, the strike force of Israel’s pre-1948 defense organization).

" .....In 1981, Eitan was named head of the Defense Ministry's Lekem, the Bureau for Scientific Relations, where he continued work on terrorism. He was said to have planned the bombing of the Iraqi Osirak reactor (after the Iranaians with the help of Israel had missed) and also been involved with in earlier years with kidnapping Eichmann in 1960."

Read on about how Eitan's GBM (Grupo BM) which is incorporated in Cuba, (but Eitan represents the company in Israel under the name Reesimex International Trade Limited) which has invested over US$20 Mn in agriculural and real estate investments.

BAE Systems profits look good, Carriers still very much in the air, unlike the "navalised" Typhoon - French JV in the running to use Rafale fighters ?

See Black Knights website

The Indian Airforce have now taken delivery of 2 more Hawk advanced jet trainers at the IAF Bidar base which means they have taken delivery of 6 from their order for 66 aircraft.

42 are being built under licence by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd in Bangalore. and a total of 24 Hawks are being built in the UK at BAE Brough - the 22nd of which made its maiden flight this month.

BAE profits growth

BAE Systems PLC reported a 22% rise in annual pretax earnings on a 14% sales growth for last year from £13.7 Bn to £15.7 Bn.

Earnings before interest, tax and amortisation were £1.48 Bn (£ 1.20 Bn.). The company's order book has grown to 38.6 bln from 31.7 bln previously.

The company said it was seeing continued growth from its US businesses, which now account for some 50 pct of group sales, seeing especially strong demand for sophisticated electronic warfare and protection systems.

The acquisition of Armor Holdings has delivered further progress to BAE's wheeled vehicle strategy, with the group saying the Armor acquisition is well on track to deliver its required return on investment.

BAE will also benefit from the proposed acquisitions of MTC Technologies and Tenix Defence. They also have a £5Bn. cash pile to invest (£700Mn cash, term debt of £2.5 BN and £1.5BN erevolving credit) to fund any more acquisitions - probably in North America where they have a greater appetite for making war.

The UK government committed itself to the new Elizebethan Class Carrier programme in July, enabling BAE to enter into a Framework Agreement with VT Group for the creation of a joint venture which would, subject to completion, bring together both firms' surface warship building and surface support operations. BAE wants to conclude the deal as soon as the British government outlines its plans.... which given the strains on national expenditure and the concerns over Rolls Royce involvement with the Joint Strike Fighter power plant may be a very long time... and indeed may not even happen.

"We are ready to complete the JV when we know what the naval programme is going forward. It would not be wise of us to conclude the agreement with VT until we know the shape of the naval programme going forward ***and therefore what value each party brings to the joint venture," said a very prudent Turner, who will soon be retiring.

"Unless more priority is given in the longer-term to defence equipment so the UK can continue to defend its interests and security around the world there will be a reduction in UK defence spending. I don't see the cancellation of programmes but the MoD budget situation is so severe on the equipment side that they are looking at stretching out a number of programmes," said Turner.

Turner sees the global spread of BAE as a bulwark against the MOD's indecision and poverty - Saudi Arabia, South Africa, where the land systems OMC business is busy selling its RG31 and RG32 mine protected vehicles.

The Swedish section is in production of the CV90 infantry fighting vehicle is underway for the Dutch Army. In Australia , BAE is acquiring Tenix Defence, a leading Australian defence contractor.

NB: No mention of the wholesale bribery / corruption to secure business in Saudi Arabia

*** This is very usefully discussed at Wikipedia perhaps the most exciting element is that the carriers as so far planned will be 75,000 tons DW and 284 metres and the biggest dry dock in the UK available is 60,000 tons and the 2 Portsmouth docks are only 250 odd metres long.

The smart money is on a joint French / UK project utilising Rafale (so called omni-role) fighters in a variation of the CATOBAR - A Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery CVF would have catapults and arrestor cables and an angled flight deck using existing naval aircraft, most likely say Lord Patel's spies in the dry dock at Brest the Rafale-M. (Pic below)
...which would of course mean that the "Navalised" Typhoon wouldn't see the light of day, because ;
A. Development of the RAF version is years behind and squillions over budget.
B. There is zero export potential for sales.

Maybe Des "I speak your Weight" Browne wearing his MOD hat yesterday when he met the MOD Top Brass came to decision... but then maybe not.

Oil hits record highs $100 plus - Wheat prices hitting UK retail food prices. Northern Wreck will be the ruin that wrecks Gordy's day

Oil price hits record high in US Press Association

The cost of light, sweet crude reached a record 100.40 in New York .....speculation that OPEC will cut output ... Tuesday saw a 4.5% surge in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), following a 3% rise last week.

Wheat prices start to get a public airing in UK

Anna Hill On BBC Farming Today this morning spoke to a wheat farmer (6 mins into programme) who explained production costs rise, fuel - diesel was 35p a litre to 50 p litre , Fertilisers are £300 a tonne compared with £150 last year .Today it is costing £100 to produce a tonne of wheat.

She points out that world stocks are down from 20 weeks to 9 weeks.

Hugh Wiseman CamGrain farmers co-op (they have deal with Sainsbury's) talks of a crisis in world food supplies. World is short of wheat for humna consumption. Increases in wheat and grain yields seem to have reached a plateua . "We are down to the bare boards". Also referred how CAP reduction to zero for set aside would have to be continued despite concerns of the RSPB. See EU set aside zero subsidy policy produces a rapid response by English farmers.

Richard Clarke News Editor of the Grocer explained how their weekly "100" survey showed food prices across 100 typical food items had risen 8%. This included white bread up 33 % semi skimmed milk 21% and free range eggs 38%. He ascribed this to wheat costs, improved diets in the Far East, biofuels and road fuels, and plastics.

If interested in history See December 23, 2007 Wheat , corn, soya prices at record levels - demand exceeds world supply, fertiliser, farm and fuel costs rise - food costs jump and inflation follows and also September 16, 2007 Australian drought - poor spring rains - higher world wheat prices in prospect - low stocks and heavy demand and even earlier , November 01, 2006 World wheat shortages loom - prices soar - when it was suggested .."Get out the dough bowl and buy some yeast."

Now for the slightly better news. On MGEX Spring Wheat has fallen back from highs last week at US$18.15 a bushel down from US$18.60 and the spot month limit has fallen back to 60 cents and will be removed from Feb 25th.

Compare this with the graph Sunday Feb 18th when we asked ,had wheat reached its top ?

Should you bump into Lord King of the Bank of England & Northern Wreck or any of his double first Economists please pass on the news.

PS : Looks like the House of Lords are going to spend some time looking at the small print of the Granite Contract. See Tuesday, September 25, 2007 (the day the Directors cancelled the Interim divvy ) Northern Rock plc - Down’s Syndrome North East Association (UK) - Granite "securitisation" and the duties of the Directors of Northern Wreck- a puzzle and also Richard Murphy's useful exegisis of Granite.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Airbus A380 cockpit 3D 360 degrees panoramic dynamic view

Click here and pretend you are at the Singapore Airshow and having a 360 degree panoramic view of an Airbus 380 cockpit. Also interior shots, first class cabins, steerage etc here Courtesy and Copright Gilles Vidal for Airbus. Even if not interested in airplanes this is a fascinating bit of 3D visual imagery - very slick and fast.

CNN report (to the delight of Boeing staff here) that Singapore Airlines A380 London flight was withdrawn due to a fuel pump problem - the first operational glitch - a 747-400 replaced the service.

Airbus SAS announced that it has received orders for 310 of its long-range A350 jets which will compete directly with the 787 Dreamliner but will not share their composite monocoque fuselage construction.

How Tony Blair's impatience and a bunch of hopeless amateurs fucked up the installation of IT in the NHS ... for ever.

The NHS IT business stratergery ... Plan A

A Freedom of Information Act request by the indefatigable Tony Collins of Computer Weekly has resulted in the publishing of detailed papers from an NHS IT meeting at Downing Street, on 18 February 2002, was attended by several Cabinet ministers, the Cabinet Secretary, representatives of IT suppliers including Microsoft UK, No. 10 policy advisers and health experts. (see below) (Pic above of confidential internal Cisco plan A - we will do all this and we will do it all in one go - why wait ?,.Cisco make routers and switches )BTW there is no Plan B.

The Department of Health promised systems would provide "seamless" care across the NHS by 2004/05 - less than half of the time now allotted to the scheme. (see below)

Now, it is clear, that Tony Blair regarded even the 2004/05 timescale as too long. Ignorant of what was involved, he asked/demanded repeatedly for it to be shortened. He wanted to be able to boast of visible benefits of NHS modernisation in time for a general election in May 2005.

To no avail , as it is now evident that all the plans discussed (but the meeting was not recorded or minuted - but who wanted to tell the Emporer there was no new suit - or that they couldn't deliver) were unrealistic and hopelessly optimistic delivery and implementation of new national systems will stagger on until at least 2013 - 8 years (Ho.Ho.Ho.) later than the timetable presented to Downing Street.

Cabinet Office solicitors have spent 3 years stonewalling Tony's FOI request because “disclosure of the information may disrupt the proper consideration of NHS IT projects in coming years” and “information as to the format of the meeting demonstrates the way in which the policy relating to NHS IT was developed and approached".

What they reveal (having been released on February 11th the day the Information Tribunal was due to meet to consider a ruling on whether they should be disclosed) is the wholly informal and casual fashion a masive and hugely costly (and at that stage uncosted) IT-based modernisation of the NHS was discussed. No minutes were taken , simply a letter from one official to another which reported some of what was said – there was no independent appraisal of the scheme.

The Department of Health’s briefing paper to Blair gave undertakings about making use in the IT programme of the NHS Modernisation Agency and the NHS University – both of which have since been dissolved.

Who was at the meeting ? - Lord Patel names the Gilty Men (and woman) who casually arranged to piss many, many millions of the taxpayers money up against the wall. For a project it increasingly appears will never, ever see the light of day.

Some of those present at the NPfIT meeting at Downing Street, February 2002:

The gullible elected politicians

The Prime Minister Tony Blair / retired - moved on
Secretary of State for Health, Alan "wifebeater" Milburn / sacked 2003 back bencher ever since to "spend more time with his family".
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Smith / in office till May 2002 moved to Pensions then in 2004 resigned and like Milburn wanted to send more time with his family)Solid Blairite and ex ST Johns Oxford)

The ennobled and gullible

Cabinet Office Minister, Lord 'Gus' Macdonald / appointed especially to take over responsibility for overseeing how the Government delivers online services, how it awards public sector IT contracts and how new technologies are used within the civil service.Replaced Feb 2003 not been in Government since.
Health Minister, Lord Hunt / now @ Ministry of Justice

The Obedient Servants (mainly Civil)

Ed Richards, Media Policy adviser to No 10, former head of strategy at the BBC, who drew up a key political strategy for Labour’s general election campaign )CEO OFCOM salary £306 K.- It was as a media adviser to No 10 that he helped draft the Communications Act that brought Ofcom into being.
Sir Richard Wilson Cabinet Secretary / still there
Nigel Crisp NHS Chief Executive / Now Baron Crisp KCB sacked - resigned March 2006
Prof Sir John Pattison Department of Health lead director for the NHS IT programme,
Ian Walker, HM Treasury, led the civil service team which supported Sir Derek Wanless (now ex Northern Wreck Director) in his review of the long-term funding of the NHS

The self important leeches in the private office

Prime Minister’s policy adviser on health matters, Paul Corrigan /left May 2005 - author of "Shakespeare on Management"
Cabinet Office E-envoy reporting to the PM, Andrew Pinder / still in same job
Chief Executive of the Office of Government Commerce, Peter Gershon (HM Treasury announced on 22 July 1999 that the Office of Government Commerce would become the Government's centre of excellence in procurement on 3 April 2000. )

The Americans who were about to clean up on the hi-tech wizardry

Microsoft UK CEO Neil Holloway / Now Vice President Business Strategy for Microsoft International
Public Sector Healthcare, Cisco , Kevin Dean

Some people who had probably wandered in by mistake

Wendy Thomson
, Chief Adviser on public service reform / Canadian left May 2005 now at McGill University)
Michael Barber, head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit / Left June 2005 now Sir M Barber Sept 1st 2005 joined McKinsey
Dominic Hardy, Prime Minister’s Policy Unit

SP apart from the Cabinet Secretary and the elusive Dominic Hardy everyone else has moved on... oh! Pinde is still there , fuck knows what e-Envoys do, not a lot it appears,except piss money away ... and this was how you as a patient would find this NHS dream scheme ....


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