"“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, September 13, 2008

Better than sex - fish nibbling dead skin off your toes

Fish Pedicure US$35 for 15 minutes and US$50 for 30 minutes! - 8643 Richmond Highway Alexandria, VA 22309 Map & Directions Phone:(703) 799-3708

More than 6,000 customers have tried the treatment since the salon began offering it five months ago, according to owner John Ho. The salon says it's the first in the United States to offer the service. Video

Can Lightning strike 5 times asks Carl Lewis - questions Bolt and Campbell-Brown's results

47 year old Carl Lewis star of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics with four gold medals, told Sports Illustrated: "I'm proud of America right now because we have the best random and most comprehensive drug-testing programme. " (Although in 1988 for the US Finals for the Seoul Olympics he tested positive for pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and phenylpropanolamine – all banned stimulants ...her ...ws..er.. taking a cold remedy)

"Countries like Jamaica do not have a random programme, so they can go months without being tested."

In a thinly veiled remark about Usain Bolt's stunning triple successes at the Beijing Olympics epressed his cation over Bolt's success "When people ask me about Bolt I say he could be the greatest athlete of all time.But to run 10.03 seconds one year and 9.69 the next, if you don't question that in a sport with the reputation it has right now, you're a fool. Period."

"No-one is accusing Bolt, but don't live by a different rule and expect the same kind of respect. How dare anybody feel that there shouldn't be scrutiny, especially in our sport?"

"Let's be real. Let me go through the list: Ben Johnson, Justin Gatlin, Tim Montgomery, Tyson Gay and the two Jamaicans. Six people have run under 9.80 legally, three have tested positive, and one had a year out," Lewis said.

Lewis also cast doubts on the failure of Veronica Campbell-Brown's failure to make the 100 metres team for the recent Olympics.

"Veronica Campbell-Brown lives in the United States and has been transparent and consistent," Lewis said.

"She won the Worlds last year in the 100 metres and this year can't even make the Jamaican team. Are you going to tell me that shouldn't be questioned?"

Dr Herb Elliott, the Jamaican team doctor who is also a member of the IAAF anti-doping commission, hit back saying: "They still think we don't know anything down in Jamaica.
"I am the person who tests in Jamaica, and I tested Bolt 15 times between last November and December."

"People forget that I was the first one to speak out about Ben [Johnson], and I got crucified," Lewis said. "A year later, I was a prophet. The athletes have to say, 'No, this isn't right.' They know who's on it. They need to step up." Seems to us here at Patel Towers that Mr Lewis is not saying this without sound jsutification and not without a little inside knowledge.

Meanwhile New Scientist reports that Hans Eriksen of the Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Oslo, has run calculations that show that is sain hadn't slowed he could have run 9.55 seconds in the 100 metres.

Logar Governor Abdullah Wardak killed by remote bomb or suicide bomber

Things are getting serious as winter approaches in the Afghan hills and the Taliban are steppping up their assaults. 2 men on a hill top set off a remote controlled device in the vehicle of Abdullah Wardak, the governor of Logar province in Paghman, about 12 miles west of Kabul.

Gen. Zalmay Khan, a police commander of the Kabul province reports that the explosion happened , only 500 yards from Wardak's house as he headed in a 3 car convoy to Parliament. The blast killed him and 2 bodyguards and a driver. Gen. Zalmay Khan, a police commander in Kabul province.

Two men were seen to scarper and detonating wires were found - surely a bit odd for a remote device in amoving vehicle ?

Another version of the killing is supplied by Logar police chief Ghulam Mustafa Mohseni who is reported to have said said Wardak had been killed in a suicide attack. "The governor was leaving his house for the office," Mohseni told Reuters by telephone from Logar.

"The suicide bomber was waiting near his residence. As the governor came out with his driver, he was targeted and killed."

Wardak, a former Cabinet member, was in charge of Logar, the province directly south of Kabul. Afghanistan has 34 provinces, each headed by a provincial governor.

Wardak served as a commander for one of the armed mujahadeen factions that helped US-led troops overthrow the hardline Islamist Taliban government in late 2001.He appears to have had the confidence of ISAF and worked with a local Czech contingent.

He is the second governor killed in recent years. Here he is with the Czech PRT who are building a Comprehensive Health Clinic in Pole Alam District The cremony took place April 1st 2008.

Wardak had the unpleasant task on August 13th of announcing the death of, "Three foreign women employees of IRC (International Rescue Committee) and their local driver (who) were killed in this ambush by the opposition forces,""They were travelling in a car towards Kabul," said Abdullah Wardak, the governor of Logar province south of Kabul where the incident took place.

More ISAF deaths

ISAF also report another death so far unidentified, when insurgents fired on a patrol. No other details were released.

An ambush on a NATO supply convoy left 10 militants and five Afghan security guards dead. Taliban militants attacked a convoy hauling supplies for the NATO forces in the western Farah province, said Rohullah Amin, the provincial governor.

The ambush sparked a fierce battle between the attackers and guards from a private security company that was escorting the convoy, Amin said, adding that the firefight left 10 militants and five Afghan security guards dead.

He said three other security guards were presumed to have been kidnapped by the militants, who fled the area after the reinforcements were deployed.

ISAF extending a comprehensive health clinic in Lowgar province 24th April 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Uncle Sam formalises bombing and rocket attacks on Pakistan ... insufficient numbers of civilians killed so far

Regardless of the solemn agreements entered into by the USA the US military struck inside the sovereign territory of Pakistan today, allegedly hitting at an an al Qaeda-linked group called Al Badar (Al Badr) , allegedly run by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. This is in the badlands the tribal region which is simply referred to as "ilaka ghair" or the land of the lawless. Home for 3 million people, mostly Pashtun tribes. More concerned at killing each other than Uncle Sam's footsoldiers of democracy.

The village of Tol Khel on the outskirts of Miramshah, the administrative seat of North Waziristan was hit by missiles fired from predator UAV drones . D Tel Saturday 13/9/08"The pre-dawn strike destroyed the house and 12 people were killed," the official said, adding that another 14 people were wounded. "

AFP report that 12 members of Al Badar have been reported killed and 14 were reported wounded in the attack.

The Al Badar group is claimed to be a Kashmiri terrorist group supported by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and has training camps in the Manshera area of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) in Pakistan, Kotli and Muzaffarabad," . This information arrives via the South East Asia Terrorism Portal who say Kashmiri terrorist groups have flocked to the Northwest Frontier Province, which is only a section of the 2,600 kilometer Afghan-Pakistan border .

Hekmatyar, a hero of the resistance to the Russkis is said to operate under the banner of Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, and to have close links to al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, as well as the Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan's military intelligence agency.... and probably the Boy SCouts of America.

South Waziristan is a killing ground for US forces currently ;

1. August 13th Taliban commanders Abdul Rehman and Islam Wazir, three Turkmen, and "several Arab fighters" were said to be killed and reports "indicated" up to 25 "terrorists" killed in the attack.

2. A total of 8 airstikes and raids in North and South Waziristan have been undertaken since Aug. 31. Five of the strikes have been aimed at compounds in North Waziristan. Four of them were operated by the Haqqani Network.

3 On September 8th US forces fired a clutch of missiles ati the town of Danda Darpa Khel aiming for the Manba Ulom madrassa and an adjacent home. Several members of the Haqqani family were reportedly killed in the strike.

The Manba Ulom madrassa was established by Jalaluddin Haqqani, a mujahideen commander who is closely allied to Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden. The madrassa was used in the 1980s to train mujahideen to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

Baitullah Mehsud, head of the Pakistani Taliban and the alleged brains (one of the many) behind the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is also supposed to hang his AK 47 on a tree somewhere near here.

The Haqqanis (Father and Son) are closely allied with the Taliban and al Qaeda, and have close links with the Inter-Services Intelligence. The Haqqanis run a form of informal government in North Waziristan and conduct military and suicide operations in eastern Afghanistan. Siraj Haqqani, Jalaluddin's son, has close ties (it is said) to Osama bin Laden and is one of the most wanted terrorist commanders in Afghanistan. See pic above Jalaluddin Haqqan foreground, and son Nazruddin.

All this of course is a total and complete reversal of what Kim Howells was up to a couple of years ago - Sunday, September 10, 2006 Kim Howells is both mad and ignorant ... Taliban triumphant
British Minister hails Pak-Taliban deal in Waziristan Sept 9th 2006 ZeeNews

"The peace deal between the Pakistan government and pro-Taliban militants which it is claimed will end 5 years of unrest in the tribal area bordering Afghanistan is a "great step forward" and could be a "future model" for insurgency-ridden Kabul,Foreign Minister Kim Howells told reporters during his visit to Peshawar yesterday."
Pakistan protests about UAV rocket attacks

All this plays badly in whatever is the Pakistani equivalent of Peoria. The Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani and Minister of Defense Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar both said the country would do what is needed to defend itself from outside attacks.(AFP report) Pakistan closed the vital and extremely busy Torkham border crossing into Afghanistan to NATO traffic on Sept. 6th. Some 60% of Westerm ISAF / NATO supplies pass through this route.

It was opened the following day.

The bulk of NATO's supplies arrive by sea at Karachi, move overland, north to Peshawar, and head west to the Torkham crossing into Afghanistan and then on to Kabul. The rest of the supplies pass through the Chaman border crossing point in Baluchistan or arrive via air.

In a secret (but not THAT secret) Memorandum / Executive order the outgoing
President George Bush is said to have authorized the increased air and ground strikes inside Pakistan with the express intention of rooting out al Qaeda and Taliban forces. There have been 15 cross-border strikes in Pakistan this year alone, compared to just 10 in 2006 and 2007 combined.

US intelligence officials claim that The Taliban, al Qaeda, and allied terrorist groups (whoever they may be) have established 157 training camps and more than 400 support locations in the tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province. The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen has called for a new strategy in Afghanistan to deny militants bases across the border in Pakistan.(BBC Online)

On July 23, Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani and his cabinet were told that more than 8,000 foreign fighters were operating in the tribal areas.

From the Long War Journal which is effectively the CIA mouthpiece is is a recent list of US attacks on Pakistan territory.

US attacks inside Pakistan in 2008:

US hits compound in North Waziristan,Sept. 12, 2008
US targets Haqqani Network in North Waziristan, Sept. 8, 2008
US airstrike killed five al Qaeda operatives in North Waziristan, Sept. 5, 2008
Report: US airstrike kills four in North Waziristan, Sept. 4, 2008
Pakistanis claim US helicopter-borne forces assaulted village in South Waziristan, Sept. 3, 2008 - this was suposed to involve the Task Force 88, the hunter-killer teams assigned to take down al Qaeda and the Taliban's command structure.
US hits al Qaeda safe house in North Waziristan, Aug. 31, 2008
Five killed in al Qaeda safe house strike in South Waziristan, Aug. 31, 2008
Al Qaeda safe house targeted in South Waziristan strike, Aug. 20, 2008
Cross-border strike targets one of the Taliban's 157 training camps in Pakistan's northwest, Aug. 13, 2008
Six killed in strike in South Waziristan, July 28, 2008
Senior Algerian al Qaeda operative killed in May 14 strike inside Pakistan, May 24, 2008
Missile strike kills 20 in South Waziristan, March 16, 2008
Unprecedented Coalition strike nails the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan, March 13, 2008
Missile strike on al Qaeda meeting in South Waziristan kills 13, Feb. 28, 2008
Senior al Qaeda leader Abu Laith al Libi killed in North Waziristan, Jan. 31, 2008

These reports, written in Langley VA tend to omit that civilians, women, children are maimed, burnt, killed, houses blown away - domestic animals killed.

Claimed kills of "bad guys" include 3 "senior al Qaeda operatives " in this year's strikes. Two Canadians of Arab origin were killed in a strike in strike in South Waziristan last weekend.
Abu Khabab al Masri, al Qaeda's bomb expert and weapons of mass destruction chief, was killed South Waziristan on July 28 which is odd because he was previously killed in a a U.S. airstrike on a Pakistani border village in January 2006.

The US Rewards for Justice Program had a $5 million bounty out for the capture of Khabab. Three other Egyptians were killed in the strike. Abu Mohammad Ibrahim bin Abi al Faraj al Masri, a religious leader, and Abdul Wahhab al Masri and Abu Islam al Masri.

They were all killed during a targeted strike on an al Qaeda safe house in the village of Zeralita in the Azam Warsak region of South Waziristan on July 28th .

Abu Sulayman Jazairi, al Qaeda's external operations chief, was killed in Bajaur on May 14th, he was one of the most wanted terrorists due to his experience, seniority, and expertise with bomb making, chemicals, and poisons.

Abu Laith al Libi, a senior commander in Afghanistan and the leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, was killed in North Waziristan on Jan. 28. (CNN report) see pic.

Siobhain McDonagh Labour MP for Mitcham & Morden was an Assistant Goverment Whip until she opened her

Fun loving blonde Siobhain McDonagh Labour MP for Mitcham & Morden was an Assistant Goverment Whip ( since 28 June 2007 when Gordon was "elected") until she opened her pretty mouth and called for a challenge to Gordon Brown as party leader. She believes you should be loyal, straightforward and stick by your values.

Siobhain is the sister of Baroness McDonagh of Mitcham and Morden who was General Secretary of the Labour Party between 1998 and 2001 and she is ultra loyal never once having challenged the Government since 1997 when she dislodged Angela Rumbold.

A great correspondent she spent more on stationery and pstage than anyother MP and as a result a cap of £7,000 per MPper year was installed in 2007.

She wants a leadership contest - and is prepared to put her head above the parapet. She doesn't expect her views to be a surprise to many people. She says there is a huge number of MP's who want a leadership election. She won't knock Gordon Brown.

She thinks GB is a good man whith thebest intentions but being Prime Minister is a very hard job and doesn't thinkshe could do the job.

This garbage taken from he interview on BBC4 News on pm at about 5.30 pm is what passes for being loyal, straightforward and sticking by your values. So she stands by Graham Stringer and Charles Clarke as wanting to defenstrate Gordon but is still unprepared to detail his failings.

Apparently she is honest and straightforward with uncompromising views.

The international credit crunch is no laughing matter says Emily Thornbury , bone headed Member of Parliament for Islington South & Finsbury and thinks Gordon is doing a good job.

Every year Emily sends Christmas cards to constituents who have been in touch with her. Here you can see the different cards that Emily has sent to constituents each year.

German banks tie up the Teutonic bridal suites and the greasy dago gets a boody nose for interfering ...Lehman slides into bankruptcy

More consolidation in continental banking as Commerzbank and Dresdener Bank have been happily sharing the same bed and shower arrangements since last month.

Now Deutsche Bank, the biggest bank in Germany with 14 mn customers is setting it's sites on a mega deal to take a 29.75% lump of Postbank, Germany's biggest retail bank with 14.4 million customers and a ravaged stock price and a fall in value from to €7 billion from €10 billion earlier in the year.

Deutsche and Postbank have been seen dining in the finest restuarants and holding hands discreetly and their eyes have been meeting over the lightly underdone lamb cutlets and may soon result in the exchange of room keys, before they pass the word to Daddy at Deutsche Post.... say Lord Patel's moles in the discreet hostelries in Bonn.

Lord Patel's data collection and surveillance systems have been told by the Bonn insiders, where every house is connected to Mozart, he ate there, tied his shoes, here, cuckolded the poor old man there, ate choclate cake here... and they have been telling the The General-Anzeiger newspaper in Bonn where Postbank is based,that a nice chunk will secure an option to also buy the remaining Postbank shares owned by Deutsche Post, which holds 50 percent plus one share in the bank.

The venerated and generally truthful newspaper says that Deutsche Bank's supervisory board have seen the romabtic liasons and have given their blessing to an exchange of body fluids.

Deutsche Bank has been under increasing pressure to agree the Postbank deal in recent weeks after Commerzbank made its move on Dresdner, which kick-started a new round of long-overdue consolidation in Germany's fragmented banking sector.

Handelsblatt reported that the 29.75 % stake in Postbank would cost Deutsche around €2.1 billion.

Then the nasty Spaniards have upset the wedding plans. Spanish Lothario,Banco Santander SA, Spain's biggest bank, has offered to buy up Deutsche Postbank AG in one gulp to expand in Europe's biggest economy.

Lord Patel's moles in Bonn savouring their sachetorter have heard in the last hour that Deutsche Post's supervisory board agreed to sell a 29.75% stake in its Deutsche Postbank unit to Deutsche Bank for a eye goggling modest €2.8 billion putting a total value of about €11/12 on Postbank ...... and you keep the greasy dagos out the door.

Deutsche Bank has said Deutsche Post had also given it an option to acquire another 18 percent of Postbank at a price of 55 euro ($76.63) a share. That option could be exercised from a year to three years after the acquisition of the initial stake closes.

Furthermore, Deutsche Post has granted Deutsche Bank a right of first refusal for the remaining Postbank shares, a move that guarantees Deutsche Bank has the first shot at becoming the bank's majority stakeholder. PostBank Press release xdetails the need for the regulators to approve.

Sounds like a done deal from the public bar of the Dog and Duck..

Lehman's death throes watched calmly by Paulson

Meanwhile in New York Lehman's shares have fallen even more, to below US$4.00 and the bank has a Market Cap of only US$5 Bn (they wrote off US%5.6 Bn in Q3) - Bank of America (Market cap US$147 Bn) is being touted as a white Knight but Paulson says no Government funds are available. You really can't have any sympathy with the bankers who lave been throwing the omen off the seldge as the wolves circled ,Erin Callan (Lehman Brothers), Zoe Cruz (Morgan Stanley), and Sallie Krawcheck (Citi) - hence the "Glass Cliff".. in short , they are set up for failure ... see Carly Fiorina (Hewlett Packard), Kate Swan (W.H. Smith) and Patricia Russo (Alcatel-Lucent) were all appointed to top positions at a time of "tumbling share prices."

It raised $4 billion selling preferred stock. In June, it raised another $2 billion in preferred shares, at much harsher terms, and $4 billion by selling common shares at $28. ...and the Market Cap is less than US$5 BN ..... the black hole is New York not at CERN in Switzerand.

It is increasingly looking, says Erin in a hasty phone call that Paulson is calling the moral hazard card and Lehman will slide into bankruptcy.... unless someone does something, CEO Fulda's (he earned US$40 Mn last year) hasty plan to . “accomplish a significant de-risking of our balance sheet,” in part by putting risky assets into a new company it would spin off to shareholders next year -- well next year might to be reachable from here she tells us.

A busy weekend is ahead as Lehman's flogs off their 55 % stake in Neuberger Berman, their prized asset management business and the bottom feeders have been churning the water Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Hellman & Friedman, Bain Capital, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice ,Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman LLC , General Atlantic LLC, J. C. Flowers, Blackstone Group, and Apollo Management all named in the Press . have until tonight to seal a deal.

This sale has been on the stocks for weeks and values of US$5 -6 Bn. have been placed on the company ... a pretty girl called Mrs Schwartzman says that Stephen wants this one. Seeing he picked up $4.78 billion in compensation for 2007 she must be a happy lady anyway. Nice payday when you consider the market cap of The Blackstone Group L.P. is only US$4.16 billion today lass than half what it was when IPO'd So Stephen coulf buy back the bit of the company he sold off with the profit he made on the sell off.

Getting your lipstick around this dipstick ....

Dontcha just love the way the web let's loose the creative urge ...which we can all enjoy ! This is from the excellent Progressive Alaska Blog ... who has much more tumbling out every hour.

President Sarkozy's beautiful son marries beautiful and wealthy Jewish princess

President Nicolas Sarkozy's maternal grandfather was a Greek Jew - a fact not unremarked in certain nationalist quarters.

Now his son has not only followed his dad as Mayor of toney Paris suburb Neuilly. His dad officiated at the marriage of his second wife when he was mayor , the first time he met her and subsequently he married her.

Anyway his son was not officiating , yesterday Jean Sarkozy, 22, married Jessica Sebaoun-Darty, whose family founded and own the Darty national chain of electronics and white goods (and online) stores.

Rumours that Jean Sarkozy , with lengthy blond hair would be converting to Judaism before the wedding were never confirmed. Although Sine a jester and writer was sacked from the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo for remarks in the July 5th issue suggesting that this would be a key to prestige and financial success.The 79-year-old Sine, a veteran cartoonist and anarchist writer whose real name is Maurice Sinet, lost his job after he refused to apologise.

Sine wrote, that Jean , "has just said he intends to convert to Judaism before marrying his fiancee, who is Jewish, and the heiress to the founders of Darty," a French retail giant. "He'll go far, that kid," he wrote.

The mirthless Sarkozy and Darty families were outraged at what they saw as anti-Semitic undertones to a cartoon. The incident sparked a heated debate in the French media and Internet blogs over the legitimacy of accusing the cartoonist of anti-Jewish motives.

L'Affaire Sine" was boosted into a major debate over freedom of expression and anti-Semitism -- in a country that has both Europe's largest Jewish community, at 600,000 people, and its largest Muslim community, at around five million.

In an open letter in Le Monde last month, 20 writers and politicians including Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe, Nobel Peace prize winner Elie Wiesel, former Justice Minister Robert Badinter and philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, defended the paper's decision to sack its satirist - he also defended the Mohammed cartoons.

Politicians in office kept their heads down.

This isn't Sine's first problem ...he was convicted of inciting racial hatred in 1985, over remarks made in 1982 after an attack in Paris' historic Jewish quarter.

"I am anti-Semitic and I am no longer afraid to say so... I want every Jew to live in fear, except if they are pro-Palestinian. Let them die," Sine said. He later apologised. THis time he didn't apologise and said he would rather cut his balls off.

Charlie Hebdo made headlines in 2006 for re-printing the tiresome and very unfunny Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed "Mahomet débordé par les intégristes". They then won a defamation suit brought by French Muslim groups in a trial seen as a test case for freedom of expression, and over which it received the support of the French media and political establishment. The publicity also helped sales - doubling them in the few weeks the debate raged.

Why, ask Sine's supporters, should it be possible to criticise Islam but not Judaism?

Charlie Hebdo's editor Philippe Val defended their decision and claimed the paper would publish attacks on any religion that "seeks to be a substitute for democratic law", but not against individuals "whatever their origin."

Of course the role of the satirical magazine is to do precisely that ... attack individuals. Paradoxocally this week's issue takes a fairly hefty swipe at a German Catholic , who the last time we checked was the Pope.

They make, what for many are vastly insulting insinuations, "Mieux que le Saint-Graal et Da Vinci Code, l’un des mystères religieux les plus tenaces est celui du prépuce de Jésus."..Better than the Holy Grail and Da Vinci Code, one of the most religious mysteries tenacious is the foreskin of Jesus. ... Jesus was born Jewish. He was therefore circumcised. But a single man, single foreskin: the wasted foreskin is missing.

Here are a couple of Sine cartoons - he is famous for his cats..

Intelligence Support Systems (ISS) and Lawful Intercept(?) - how your mobile phone is tapped, continuously, 24/7 by Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA's)

Click to enlarge.
Chris Soghoian from Indiana posts on the Surveillance State blog of C net on September 8, 2008 . He writes ..."Exclusive: Widespread cell phone location snooping by NSA?"

It is lengthy and technical requiring careful and rewarding reading. Basically Chris identifies an opportunity for NSA to use legal powers to divulge details commercial companies may have about telcom communications.

Whilst everyone knows that the major carriers have been involved in warrantless wiretapping there are ,any other sources of information available to saate agencies both in the US but also in human-rights abusing governments in the Middle East and Asia . This was identified in an article in the London Review of Books by Daniel Soar - Short Cuts on 14th August 2008.

The major networks – in the UK, Vodafone, Orange, O2 and T-Mobile decided, in around 2002, to sell their location data to any company willing to pay for it. As a result you can sign up for a very modest sum , currently £29.99 a year/ $50 – to mapAmobile.com (‘you’ll always know where your loved ones are’). This service (not unique) provides a facility to follow movements of a designated phone - your daughter, husband. This requires approval by replying to a text message alerting him to the request - easily by-passed by a lady who wishes to track a suspicioulsy errant husband.

Apple’s iPhone users can now download an application that displays a friend’s location as a bright green dot on a map.

This is just one example of the way "dis-aggregation" or unbundling of cellphone traffic enables the data to be utilised by third parties.Whilst you have a contract with Sprint, they don't own the towers, they may piggy back other networks, they may outsource billing.

Not only is this information available there are companies who supply proprietary and powerful software products to mine the data available, in a way that is helpful to law enforcement. A guesstimate is that half a trillion calls are made every day on networked cellphones: their time and location of call origination, destination, time and duration and all identifying codes are logged on telecom provider hard-drives and generally retained, under emerging legislation, for up to two years.

For example ThorpeGlen,("serious crime solutions") a U.K firm based in Ipswich , offers intelligence analysts a graphical interface to the company's mobile-phone location and call-record data-mining software. (and VASTech and Kommlabs and Amesys sell products as well - the Danish based company Spectronic celebrated their 25th anniversary in June - they are part of Cobham the UK based supplier to the military)

ThorpeGlen’s VP of sales and marketing showed in a ‘Webinar’ broadcast to the Intelligence Support Systems (ISS) community on 13 May - 'Nomadic Target Lawful Intercept'. His example was based on real time data on 50 million subscribers in Indonesia ("With an increasing number of terror threats, Asian countries are taking aggressive, pro-active steps to prevent any potential violence toward their countries and their neighbors."). Calls from the entire network of 50 million subscribers had been processed, over a period of two weeks, to produce a database of eight billion or so ‘events’. Analysis showeed 48 million were just calling/texting friends , 400,000 subscriptions could be attributed to a few large ‘nodes’, with numbers belonging to call centres, shops and information services.

That left finally groups ranging from 2 - 142 members these folks only called each other, in one group all the subscribers only ever called a single number at the centre of the web.

They have lots of other tricks as well, profiling users, identifying multiple phone use, swaps etc., You can catch up with developments by contacting them or visiting their booth to see sample software at ISS World Prague (1-3 October, 2008) or Milipol Qatar (17-19 November, 2008) .

"ThorpeGlen has already installed several large scale Call Detail Records (CDR) collection and analysis systems in Asian countries and is currently in contract negotiation with several other regional National Security Agencies for further sales opportunities."

ThorpeGlen is based at Adastral Park, Ipswich and has been funded by Cambridge-based fund management team CREATE Partners Ltd on 7 August 2006 and 5 April 2007 . The CEO is David Woods. They recently purchased the Advanced Communications Monitoring business from Azure Solutions - TG is actually a management spin off from Azure . Azure was spun out from BT Brightstar in April 2003, and taken over by an Indian company, Subex, in June 2006 to form Subex Azure. The advanced systems the company makes can acquire, enhance, monitor and analyze massive amounts of data. These use sophisticated pattern detection and analysis methods and have the capability to isolate suspects and criminal groups by association, monitor specific levels of activity and, as a result of this increased visibility, proactively predict activity leading to major crimes. Other major benefits include : Intelligence gathering from all electronic sources into one core system; detecting and solving issues in counter-terrorism, major and organised crime, narcotics, financial fraud; and the protection of losses for large organisations. This can be used to predict activity which may indicate preparation for major criminal events, including terrorism acts and high-tech financial frauds.

If you want to learn more simply go to but you won't get far if you haven't got an authorised user certificate.

This site covers the ISS conference 2007 in Dubai and provides many links to suppliers and users ... for example Government Keynote Panelists included ;
Funsho Fayomi
, Assistant Director, Legal Services, Nigerian Communications Commission
Masoon Shukair, Commissioner, Telecom Regulatory Commission, Jordan
Shamsul Jafni Shafie, Head Information and Network Security Department Content, Malaysian Communication
Mohamed Ali Eid, Director General, Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, Somalia
Basil Udotai, Office of the National Security Adviser, Cybercrime Working Group , Nigeria Gen. George Boustani, Ex Executive Committee Member of Iterpol, Lebanon

Not countries where one imagines they are too concerned about "Lawful" Interception.

The suppliers present provide an interesting glimpse of what must be a secretive but very successful business. Here is the site for the ISS conference in Prague in October - there are a lot of people at work in this business.

Click to enlarge .. major sponsors here Just look for example at what one of the companies are showing and what they are doing ..

Telesoft Technologies has been deploying intelligence gathering and lawful interception solutions since 1991, building an enviable reputation for ease of connection into a wide variety of networks with country variants, reliability in the field and ability to hand off data to Intelligence and Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA). Major Lawful Interception (LI) standards supported include CALEA, ETSI, 3GPP and SORM allowing rapid integration with 3rd party mediation and collection functions.

Read the data on their Hinton product here (pdf - see benefits list above) and maybe turn up and listen on the first day to the ISS and Lawful Interception Track 1 conference at 13:15-13:45 and listen to Keith Driver, Head of Business Development (Intelligence/Defence), Telesoft Technologies on the subject ; Real Time Intercept from Packet Networks, Challenges and Solutions

Which will be different (no doubt) to his address to ISS World Asia Pacific in Singapore Monday 9th June - 13:15-14:15 Lawful Interception Guru Panel - 15:15-15:45 Using Passive Probes In Packet And Traditional Networks to Deliver High Precision Communications Intercept

Then folks shake their heads when Lord Patel doesn't have a mobile and won't let anybody on the staff to use one.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Gordon Brown - 1 year and more on - unanswered questions

On Wednesday 27th June 2007 the Independent published a novel Q & A session with Mr Gordon Brown and the public - remarkable for exposing how rsistant he was to answering questions. For example from Nigel Vernon :

Any chance of joining the euro under your premiership?

I look forward to the advice of the next Chancellor!

Perhaps one that we need a new answer to was raised by John Brooks :

How will life be different under a Brown government?

I will let you answer that question in a year's time. I hope you'll say you feel safer on the streets and more prosperous, more confident in your local schools and hospitals, and you'll have a bit more trust in the political system. Generally, I hope you'll say you think the Government's on your side and listening to you.

Yet another case of family rape/abuse for years in Belgium

A man from the francophone run down border town of Ronse in East Flanders has appeared in court in Oudenaarde suspected of the rape and sexual abuse of his 3 daughters for many years. The victims are 16, 18 and 19 years old.The case came to light after one of the girls was injured and had to be admitted to hospital and told of the serial abuse. It appears the rapes took place in the home and also in their fathers car.

Whilst the father raped one daughter another had to keep a lookout - if they didn't comply they were hit - which is why the girl was admitted to hospital.

Interestif and good Flikr collection from Ronse here by Jelmer de Haas'

"'Greetings from Ronse', Belgium. A series that I made during a recent visit to Belgium. Ronse is a small city in the Flemmish Ardennes, close to the much talked about border with the French speaking part of the country. It struck me that there were so many shops and houses for sale or rent. I collected these photo's within about an hour. City council is trying to counter this trend by upgrading the city centre by adding flowers and plants. "

The mans wife claims she did not suspect anything and was unaware of any problems with her daughters.

In a closed court sesion the man, who has been arrested and not bnamed has been imprisoned. He claims his daughters are fantasists and denies all allegations.

It seems remarkable that serial abuse of children cases arise in Belgium / Flanders ona regular basis. A Wikipedia entry tells us that .."A pilgrimage in honour of the Saint, who had by then be known to cure mental illnesses, sustained the local economy. There is still a French saying today which translates as "Saint Hermes cures the area's madmen but keeps the Ronse dwellers as they are".

Ronse is twinned with Sandwich , Kent.

Fortis to be taken over by BNP Paribas

We last wrote about the travails and troubles at Fortis Bank Tuesday, July 01, 2008 Fortis Bank makes €8 billion provisions and Chairman talks of US "meltdown" ..Citigroup, GM ... Their shares had dramatically slumped to just about €10.

At the time Moody's reduced Fortis's financial strength rating to C+ from B-. Moody's said asset sales and a planned acquisition would erode capital. It also lowered its long-term debt and deposits ratings on Fortis to Aa3 from Aa2.

At the time the CEO was Jean-Paul Votron who is now looking for another job and Chairman Maurice Lippens, 62 is said to be looking for a new CEO and they have installed interim CEO Herman Verwilst since 1th July 2008. Filip Dierckx, is a 53 year old lawyer and with the bank since 1999 and is seen favourite for the top job. In his capacity as Chairman of the Fortis Bank Executive Board, he oversees and leads the overall integration of ABN Amro acquired activities

Today there has been a rally in bank stocks Fortis shares are up 2 % at €9.78 and BNP is up 3.4 % @ €66.64 .

This deal will create a bank with a dominant market position in France and the Benelux, he adds. In a completed series of deals which Morgan Stanley is hoping to help sell off Fortis Intertrust, a specialist trust management business, and Prime Fund Solutions, a division of Fortis Merchant and Private Banking which might raise US$2.6 Bn (€1.8bn. or less) .

Belgian newspaper De Standaard reports the sale is now a done deal but not who is the buyer..

UPDATE Friday - Financial Times reports Fortis have closed 3 hedge funds since the ABN Amro take over - better ustilise staff blah blah

Cyprus - drying out

It is said the next war will be about water. If so the sun kissed but not rain blessed isle of Cyprus should figure, because they have very little left after the Government has screwed up on planning.

Two Industries vital to Cyprus need water - tourism and agriculture - the rural farmers also have big say at the ballot box. General secretary of the National Agricultural Organisation of Cyprus, Michalis Lytras told deputies on Monday that the last time Cyprus suffered as bad a drought was in 1973.“But at least back then we had plenty of ground water. Now, we don’t. If we don’t see rain this season, you are looking at the end of agriculture,” he said.

Kyriakos Kyrou, Senior Officer of the Water Development Board saya we have 2 very difficult months ahead, that there is simply not enough water to supply Cyprus.

De-salination maintenance shutdown improperly planned

In the next few days there will be a 50 % reduction in water production at the Larnaca and Dhekelia desalination plants as upgrades and expansion works are undertaken . In the meantime a small unit at the Dhekelia plant had also been temporarily put out of service for maintenance works.

Kouriss dam drying out

Limassol and it's crowd of Russians will feel the effects harshly as the Kourris Dam is fast drying up, the water from Greece is arriving in smaller quantities than initially planned and the water works for the Moni desalination plant and the Garyllis water treatment plant will be delayed.

Specifically, Kourris presently holds 700,000m³ of water, while only 300,000m³ of this can be used. The remaining water at the bottom of the dam cannot be reached as the necessary infrastructure is not there and no effort has been made to obtain it.

Arminou dam in the Paphos district holds an additional 300,000m³ but water cannot be sent as usual by underground channels, as there is too little water in addition to Limassol, Kourris dam supplies water to Larnaca, Nicosia and Famagusta.

Moni de-salination plant completion delayed

The new Moni desalination unit was to start operating by June 2008, this date was then extended to October it has now been put further back to November .. and watch this space.

This desalination plant is only expected to operate for three years, with a pumping capacity of 20,000m² of desalinated water each day which will be sold to the Water Board for €1.38 per cubic meter. This plant was a "quick fix" , legal procedures - an Environmental Impact Assessment wasn't undertaken ...

Now there are plans for a permanent desalination unit at Episkopi.

Garyllis boreholes over nitrated and need treatment

The Water Board announced in May that drilling boreholes at Garyllis River would give Limassol some extra water to make it through the summer. The Garyllis water, however, needed special treatment to make it suitable for consumption as it was high in nitrates. The treatment infrastructure will not be working until November.

Greek water shipped in in reduced quantity and distribution problems

Finally after a comedy of errors of epic propoertions Greek water is arriving not 50,000m³ of water per day, as was provided in the contract, an average of 30,000m³ per day is being unloaded every day.

1. The pumping station to transport water in areas of higher altitude in Limassol has not been completed yet, despite the fact that Ocean Tankers has a contractual obligation to do so.
2. The water is now pumped to Yermasoyia reservoir, which could not hold the 50,000m³ of water. Meanwhile, water cannot be taken to Kapsalos reservoir because of technical difficulties that would have been overcome if the pumping station was ready.
3. Unloading the water takes longer because there are no lights at the anchorage so tankers cannot operate at night.
4.Less water than the amount agreed is arriving.

Talks however with the Turks haven't broken down ... yet.

UN special envoy Alexander Downer was in Athens on Monday, and is due to have contacts in Ankara today before flying back to Cyprus tonight, while Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou was in the Greek capital.

In Nicosia, President Demetris Christofias accepted the credentials of new US ambassador Frank Urbancic, while Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat (who of course represents nobody there) was in Brussels.

On Monday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told us he spoke by phone with both leaders, and with Alexander Downer ahead of tomorrow’s meeting.

Latvian and Russians in trouble

Two 20-year-old Latvians were recorded on a bank’s closed circuit camera in Limassol. During their arrest 76 forged credit cards were found in their possession as well as €2,000 and two computers. The Police report, the pair had managed to steal €3,750 from the ATM.The two suspects are believed to have used a total of 19 forged credit cards at various ATMs in Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos and to have obtained a total €7,000.

A 30-year-old Russian woman, who arrived in Cyprus on August 23, had been staying with a Russian family when an argument broke out between her and a 27-year-old woman who was putting her up.Two men, a Georgian and the Russian suspect, then allegedly took the 30-year-old to Yermasoyia dam where they demanded she pay them €3,000 or face the consequences.

She agreed and was then taken back to the Russian man’s home and kept under lock and key. On Monday she managed to escape and reported her ordeal to police.The two Russians have been arrested. They are denying all charges. Police are still looking for the Georgian man.

Black Obama to be assassinated

High-Level Assassination–The Staged Event To Bring About War With Iran?
September 10, 2008 — © Mark Glenn @
Ugly Truth

"With attention being drawn to the contradictions and outright lies by the US government surrounding the events of 9/11 (as well as renewed interest in previous false flag events such as the attack on the USS Liberty meant to draw the US into Israel’s dirty wars) it may very well be that the powers-that-be have decided the event ushering in the next phase of war against Israel’s enemies will come from be a high-level assassination involving democratic candidate for president Barack Obama. "

As FDR himself once quipped, “If something happens in politics, you can be rest assured it was no accident”. ... Read More ....

"The outcome of such an event is as obvious as it is frightening. The first black candidate for president from one of America’s two major parties being gunned down by “Islamic terrorists” tied to Iran (who will no doubt be aligned with “white nationalist/neo-Nazi types“) would result in an American public howling for war against Iran, to say nothing of the civil unrest that would erupt in America’s cities as well as a virtual police state being inaugurated."

A persuasive and interesting article which is well worth looking at ... and especially some of the comments.

We posted before Wednesday, August 27, 2008 Three white Aryan Nations assassins plotted to kill Obama at Bronco's Stadium in front of 75,000 .. or maybe not. Was this a stage prop news event to condition a public belief that far right activists are involved ?

The accidental distribution of chocolate vaginas - Idaho and sex : Amazing pictures !

Three judges in the Minnesota Court of Appeals in St. Paul were kept busy today. They were listening to lawyers explain exactly what Republican Senator Larry Craig was doing in the toilet stall before he was arrested in a Minneapolis airport restroom.

He has previoulsy pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of disorderly conduct and now wants to withdraw the guilty plea he freely made.

Billy Martin, the wide stride Republican's attorney , claimed there were not enough factual grounds to arrest Craig, and further, he claimed, that the law used was flawed. Billy said Craig’s behavior was , “as consistent with innocence as it is with guilt.”

Prosecution attorneys argued that Craig’s bathroom behavior involved “multiple intrusions” of another person’s private space.

The three wise judges have to make a decision within 90 days to allow him to withdraw and for the case top be dosmised or go to trial.

The Idaho Statesman (published in Boise)ran a lengthy and detailed story on 12th March this year about his activities in the washrooms of several cities coplete with many audio interviews of happy suppliers of meeting his needs.

Boise State University is currently causing ripples as they have been made to remove cash off couponse to the O!zone condom shop from their coupons book available in the Boise State Bookstore.

This isn't Boise's first encounter with small town values, at Christmas last year a tree decorated with coloured and festive condoms was removed from the plumbing shop to the Health and Wellness centre. .. because it made customers , "feel unconfortable".

Their most celebrated and best publicised stunt was when in August 2005 students (only a small number it seems) were accidentally distributed chocolate vaginas which eventually even excited Rush Limbaugh to comment.

Memorably Amy Salisbury, then-president for Idaho’s Progressive Student Alliance, said. "They vote, smoke and can potentially be drafted, but why can't they chew chocolate vaginas?”

Apparently Sarah Palin was at the University of Idaho class of '87

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

DPRK Mata Hari goes on trial today in South Korea accused of spying

The trial opened in Suweon , near Seoul, S. Korea today, of someone calling herself Won Jeong-Hwa . She is suspected of being a spy for North Korea .

According to the chief prosecutor Kim Kyeong Su, Ms Won, thought to be aged 35, was a convicted in North Korea after being caught stealing several tonnes of zinc. She fled to China, was rumbled and returned to the DPRK and agreed to help infiltrate the South as a refugee.

One of her tasks was to find where former secretary of the North Korean Workers' Party Hwang Jang-yop, a key architect of Pyongyang's Juche (self-reliance) theory and the highest-ranking defector in the South in 1997. It appears she failed ... principally because he is in North America.

Apparently she has been in South Korea since 2001 under the tutelage, control, care of "Uncle Kim" (now 63 and also arrested and held - thought to have arrived via cambodia a popular regugee smuggling route) with frequent visits (14 at least) to China to receive orders, money, poisoned needles etc. Her job it appears - after a lengthy debriefing , all defectors are subject to, was as a model defector delivering anti - communist lectures at military bases.

These meetings were used to seduce male military officers and obtain classified military information. Poor Captain Hwang, 26, fell for the honey in the trap and is held in prison.

More will probably become public of what she discovered (although no doubt the trial will go into secret sessions) - she is said to have passed back to the North information about military installations, lists of North Korean defectors and personal data about South Korean military officers.

She is the first female spy to be arrested since Lee Sun-sil, a key figure in North Korea's Communist Party, was apprehended on espionage charges in 1992, and the first defector to violate the National Security Law.

Sexy Ms. Won could face execution

Connections to Spyware attack on Military ?

No conection has been established with a recently reported incident when a North Korean spyware e-mail was transmitted to the computer of a colonel at a field army command via China in early August. This e-mail contained a typical program designed automatically to steal stored files if the recipient opens it. Little information is available or if the hack was successful, but their scale could be devastating given that the recipient is in charge of the South Korean military's central nervous system -- Command, Control, Communication, Computer & Information (C4I).

A National Security Council official is said to have lost files stored on his computer after a hacking attack from China earlier this year.

There are claims that an electronic warfare bureau at the North Korean Army's General Staff in accordance with leader Kim Jong-il's instruction in the mid-1980s to prepare for the new battleground. It seems unlikely that efforts started that early but from his first visits to DPRK in 1993, the brightest and the best were being trained and had a fascination for malware - which was then very primitive.

The school was as well kitted out as Google offices are today with pool tables, western music and food and they all spoke excellent (if Oxford accented) English.

The South Korean Defense Ministry believes that the skills of 500 to 600 North Korean hackers are on a par with those of CIA experts. This seems unlikely . In 1999, the department said it traced frequent cyber visitors and found that North Korea topped the list. (i.e 9 years ago - a log, long time in cyberspace)

Russia triumphant

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Lehman bros. Hit the buffers, go over the edge , fall of the perch ... how long can John Thain the most expensive liar on Wall Street last at Merrill

Well they've tried teeth and tits.

That doesn't work.

They've tried the Korean connection but it looks like ..

That doesn't work.

They've shuffled a job or two at the top.

That doesn't work.

The shares dropped 45% today closing down US$6.36 @ US$7.79

Which means you can lie about the value of your assets, stuff your balance sheet figures with worthless toxic debt. The truth will out. Since February stockholders have lost 88% of the value of the stock they held in the 4th largest and prestigious bank on Wall Street and Canary Wharf.

Perhaps Moral Hazard had better start kicking in before the US Government runs out of funds to keep these crocks from polluting the earth any longer.

But that means a few Pension funds will hit the dirt.

For all the previous posts on this heap of ordure go here

Neutrons, electrons, quarks, muons, and Higg's Bosons and a big black hole that sucks money

There is a Black Hole in Newcastle which swallows Government money, there is another on the Swiss/ French border. With luck and near zero temperatures the latter might produce a result tomorrow.

There is a theoretical framework of matter which we now call the Standard Model (regardless that it fails to explain the effects of gravity) - it's origins lie in the work of Rutherford when he "split" the atom in Manchester (and we now discover left irradiated laboratories which may have helped kill subsequent academic staff who used the rooms) and he described a heavy nucleus or core surrounded by a cloud of much lighter atoms electrons.

H J G Mosley at about the same time determined that the number of protons in the nucleus was the atomic number. The more protons, the denser and heavier the atom.

By examining emitted light when a gas is excited by an electric discharge (as in say a neon light tube) Niels Bohr was able to determine energy levels emitted . He sketched out what we now now see is a primitive atomic model. Not based on direct observation but derived from measuring electromagnetic radiation - a model, expressed for the first time as a mathematcal formula which proved to be useful (and accurate in many cases) in predicting how atoms would behave.

Bohr decided that
1) Atoms have well-defined electron orbits.
2) Atoms do not radiate energy
3) Electrons travel in circular orbits with specific angular momenta, and only certain values are possible (angular momentum is quantized).
4) As electrons travel (or transit) fom one orbit to the next, energy is either absorbed or released by the atom.

This explanation provided an understanding of the periodicity of the table of elements.

In 1930 1930 Schrodinger concluded that electrons operated as continuous clouds , not discrete particles and developed wave mechanics to develop a mathematical model of the atom. At the same time Paul Dirac proposed anti-particles to explain some of the observed activities of atoms and Anderson discovered the anti-electron (positron) in 1932 - it took another 30 odd years before another anti particle the anti-proton was detected by Segre and Chamberlain.

Paul Dirac shared the Nobel Prize in physics for 1933 with Erwin Schrödinger, "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory." Dirac was also an alumnus of Coatham Grammar School in Bath where a bright schoolboy called Peter Higgs was a student.

In 1930 Dirac's published "Principles of Quantum Mechanics", which is a landmark volume in the history of science and was/is a standard text still used today by bright students. Dirac incorporated the previous work of Werner Heisenberg on matrix mechanics and of Erwin Schrödinger on wave mechanics into a single mathematical formalism that could explain the (then )known properties of atoms.

Jumping forward Peter Higgs who had been attempting to unravel the events of the supposed primal "Big Bang" (along with others unknown but on the same mental tram lines) proposed what has become to be known as the Higgs mechanism which predicted massless particles.

Popularly known as "Gods particle" ( an apparent bowdlerisation of a journal editor when someone called it that Goddamed particle because no one could find it) or the Higgs boson. 40 odd years and billions have been spent looking for the goddam thing.

There have been many false dawns in the search for this eleusive beats, not the least when the respected New Scientist produced a news story on 2nd March last year (2007) "Higgs boson : Glimpses of the God particle" . Scientists working on the 6.3 Km long Tevatron accelerator at Fermilab , at Batavia near Chicago, had been colliding protons and antiprotons and looking for the tell tale signs of the decay of one of five "supersymmetric" Higgs bosons into two tau leptons, which are very heavy cousins of the electron.

These are found by looking at "bumps" in data .. they found bumps, but New Scientist had been fed a bum steer because Z bosons , discovered at CERN in the 1980's also produced 2 Tau leptons ...

Anyway tomorrow they switch on the CERN hadron collider which will smash neutrons at speeds and desnities never previously acheived and detect the elctromagnetic consequences with detectors of remarkable sensitivity.

If they are lucky and they do, they say Peter Higgs will receive Nobel prize.

What is certain that they will want even more money for even more powerful, more sensitive, larger, faster, deeper, wider, higher, colder smashing machines, computers , scintillators ......

..and perhaps a very, very, few people will really, really understand what happened in that billionth of a second at the birth of the universe.

We really, really ought to try and understand what these guys do, the last time they were left to find a use for all this stuff they invented the atom bomb.

Shouldn't miss BBC 4 have a Big Bang day all day with (so far) excellent programmes. Adam Hart-Davis on Engineering Solutions was full of breathy excitement but effectively translated the scale of engineering achievement at getting the thing built.

DPRK is 60 years old - world rejoices.

The Dear Leader Kim Jong Il was not present yesterday at the 60th Birthday Bash - his putative dad Kim Il Sung (The Great Leader) looks increasingly younger as the years roll by. Kim Yong Nam took over as keynote speaker at the birthday gig and sent us this nice pic of the party.

Much fevered speculation in the diplomatic community as the diminutive stack heeled 66-year-old with a taste for blonde teen Swedes, dachsunds and making pornographic fillums featuring both of them, is said by our man in the CIA ,to have been taken ill late last month and that he was still too ill to appear in public.

Mr Kim, as his friends and obedient gauleiters call him, is said to suffer from diabetes and has a chronic heart condition, as well as thinning hair. Who knows, this may herald the end of this extraordinary family business.

UPDATE : BBC Radio 4 News reports Kim has had a stroke. BBC Online reports that DPRK denies Kim is unwell.

UPDATE Thursday Sept 11th 2008 BBC Online reveal that Western intelligence agencies have known for years of a new(er) missile launch site at Tongch'ang-dong site which Jane's discovered from commercial satellite imagery (Talent-keyhole.com) earlier this year.

No date like 9/11 to announce jigaboos and worldwide, global, intergalactic nuclear tipped missiles raining on the innocents of the West.

Oceania may just have declared war on Eastasia or Westasia on Uncle Sam or .....

Ms. Sarah Palin the good ol' Hooker Hockey Mom - Fighting with God

We are learning a lot more about Ms. Sarah Palin and her pals in Wasilla. ....

Sarah Palin's Churches and the Third Wave
By Bruce Wilson

Palin's churches are actively involved in a resurgent movement that was declared heretical by the Assemblies of God in 1949. This is the same 'Spiritual Warfare' movement that was featured in the award winning movie, "Jesus Camp," which showed young children being trained to do battle for the Lord.

In the video you will see the Wasilla Assembly of God's participation with major international ministries that believe churches must be restructured for the end times under the authority of prophets and apostles anointed by God. A new breed of super Christians will have powers to get messages directly from God, heal the sick, and lay claim for God to cities across the world through "strategic level spiritual warfare" against territorial demons. You will see 'slaying in the spirit' by cell phone anointing, visions of a portal to Jesus on the third floor, and accounts of a village being saved by expelling a witch.

Sarah Palin appears at 1.16 in - Go to You Tube here for more information about the fillum plus other related fillums.

Lots. lots, lots , lots more at Progressive Alaska Blog
UPDATE 12th Sept : We hadn't realised that You TUbe had pulled the video but you can find almost the same one here Mant thanks to strangelyperfect which we recommend as a good read.

Salvia divinorum opens another door of perception

Salvia divinorum is a native South American species of the widespread Sage genus ,whose aromatic leaves are widely used in cooking. S. divinorum , known in Oaxaca as Maria Pastora or Hojas de la Pastora contains a psychoactive chemical (0.2% in dried plant material) Salvinorum A , which is a κ-opioid receptor agonist, possession and use of which is legal in most countries including most of Europe, the UK, USA (illegal in Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Delaware ) and Canada.

There are other states that control the drug - for example Sarah Palin's kids in Alaska would have problems if they used it, since they passed SB 38 which was was submitted Mar 19, 2007, which would add Salvia divinorum and salvinorin A to the state's list of scheduled substances.

Selling Salvia divinorum for human consumption as a "drug" is probably illegal in the US under the Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act and its sale as a drug would be regulated by the FDA.

allsalvia.co.uk will sell you online dried salvia leaf 1 Kg = £175 , dried leaf plus an added extract of varying strength from £20 to £45 per ounce.

They will also sell you Mazatec Salvia Divinorum Tincture. This is said to be a concentrated and premium grade Salvia divinorum extract, which has been mixed with water and alcohol, and peppermint , a dose dropped on the tongue will vary between 1.5 - 4.5 ml (2-6drops) and a 10 ml bottle with dropper costs £20.

Alternatively they will sell you a single potted up plant for £22.50.

Salvia divinorum Scotland will also sell you plants for £30 for one and £50 for 2. Botanic Art of the netherlands , home of the greenhouse wizards will sell you rooted plants for £13.50. Googling will finf, many, many other suppliers worldwide.

All these plants seem to be cultivated asexually by layering or judging by the photographs of the Dutch plants from laboratory raised embryos. Amazon sell a growers guide.

Salvinorum A is said to be most potent naturally occurring psychoactive compound known and has attracted it's users and followers...a lengthy article in Wikipedia provides a wealth of information, which may or may not be accurate but looks authoritative,

The only attempt to control the drug was an Early Day Motion raised on 19th October 2005 raised by John Mann , Labour MP for Bassetlaw and PPS to Tosser Jowell ("John has worked tirelessly for the people of Bassetlaw. John has raised many important issues in Parliament and has made sure Bassetlaw's voice is heard in Westminster. ")- it found 9 signatories;

That this House notes that salvia divinorum is a drug with hallucinogenic effects; is concerned that this drug is entirely legal and sold freely in the UK and is cited on websites selling it as the `drug the Government forgot to ban'; and urges the Government to take urgent steps to rectify this oversight and ban salvia divinorum under the provisions of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Eating the drug produces no effect as the stomach juices appear to destroy the chemical, smoking (ideally through a water pipe) or by dropping extracts on the tongue provides a short and mild giggly state.

It seems dope gets you there quicker and cheaper and more reliably but illegally. There are apparently 5,000 YouTube videos of people taking the substance which make them behave like jackasses - it dose not appear to be an aphrodisiac.(Comment below seconds the motion)

Carry on Costa Cruising

The Internet Web thingy never ceases to surprise. Costa Cruises now offers (almost) live webcams on all their boats / ships / floating hotels / hell holes ... a sample above from the Cost marina in the Atlantic some where off Spain. That 49 mph wind looks really inviting....

Monday, September 08, 2008

Agent Andy and Agent Orange share a day in Vietnam

Apparently the UK with US$2 Bn. invested in 110 projects ranks 15th among foreign investors in Vietnam. With typical spin the UK Embassy points out that the UK is " the third-largest European investor in Vietnam"

Jolly , hard working, back slapping helicopter pilot His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, The Duke of York landed in Hanoi for a 5 day trip (his 3rd , he went there in 1999 and 2006) to celebrate 35 years of diplomatic ties. Diplomatic ties were cut off by an inconvenient war from which the UK escaped involvement ,by wily Harold Wilson . HMQ re-established diplomatic relations on Sept. 11, 1973, shortly before the end of the conflict. Jack Straw was also expected today (but preferred Birmingham) and the Vietnamese can hardly control their excitment for a forthcoming visit by Gordon Brown.

The prince had talks , accompanied by HM's man in Hanoi Mark Kent , with Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem today and is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday but he had to make do with the Deputy Prime Minister today according to Reuters.

He also handed out prizes in a photo essay competition launched by the British Embassy in Hanoi and the BBC Vietnamese service , “Young Vietnamese in UK – Self Confident in People-to-People Link” won by Nguyen Manh Quan .

This reflects HMQ's interest in the brightest and best Vietnamese students. London and Southampton universities, are to open branches in Vietnam.

The UK has become one of the leading destinations for Vietnamese students. According to the UK Ambassador, by the end of July, the Embassy had granted 400 visas for students, up 77% year on year and forecasts that the number of Vietnamese students arriving in the UK will rise in the future, specially those seeking master and doctoral degrees.

The Chevening Scholarship Programme, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, offers scholarships for young professionals from Vietnam to take a postgraduate course in the UK.

Third year of talks on Agent Orange

In the Vietnam war the Us forces poured immeasurable amounts of the defoliant "Agent Orange" from the air to espose the Viet Cong supply routes. The consequence was,this acted not only as a neurotoxin but also caused dreadfuland irreversible liver damage not only to the Vietnamese but the troops who handled the stuff.

The 3rd annual round of talks about the environmental effects of Agent Orange,also opened today. They are expected to announce plans for using US$3 million the U.S. Congress set aside in 2007 for the cleanup of dioxin, a highly toxic element of Agent Orange. (Cost of the war to US here) Some has already been set aside to help people with disabilities in Danang, the site of a former U.S. air base (at one time the largest airport in the world) and an Agent Orange hotspot.The Vietnames say they don't have enough funds and that cleaning up the Danang site alone will cost at least US$14 million.

No Vietnamese citizens have received compensation, and on March 10, 2006, Judge Jack B. Weinstein of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York dismissed the lawsuit filed by the Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange against the chemical companies which produced the defoliants and herbicides.

A joint study in Danang found dioxin levels were 300 to 400 times higher than internationally accepted limits. (AP)

Vietnam believes as many as 4 million people have suffered serious health problems associated with Agent Orange. The U.S. says the actual number is probably far lower and that further scientific study is needed to understand the link between Agent Orange and health. The Vietnamese Government says there are more than 4 million Agent Orange victims in Vietnam, including children of the second and third generations.

The Pentagon’s final estimate of civilian casualties for the South, a nation of about 18 million in 1972, was as high as 1,225,000 for the period between 1965 and 1972. A U.S. Senate subcommittee report estimated 1,350,000 civilian casualties, including 415,000 killed, for the same period.

The U.S. argues that it has spent more than US$40 million since 1989 to help Vietnamese with disabilities, regardless of their causes. Of course many US servicemen were exposed and Dave Bieckel a friend of Lord Patel's, died in 2005 from kidney problems directly resulting from the effects of Agent Orange - US Vets obtained a US$180 million settlement in 1984, with most affected veterans receiving a one-time lump sum payment of US$1,200. (Say US$5,000 in 2008 money)

The chemical triiodobenzoic acid (TIBA - later called Agent Orange) was studied by Arthur Galston as a plant growth hormone. He wrote a standard textbook on Plant Physiology (used by Lord Patel as a student) and he campaigned against it's use was the father of a friend of one of Lord Patel's family.

Galston showed the birth defects in rats caused by TIBA and to his credit led to Nixon banning use of the substance. He died on June 15th aged 88.

Galston is reported to have said..."“You know, nothing that you do in science is guaranteed to result in benefits for mankind. Any discovery, I believe, is morally neutral and it can be turned either to constructive ends or destructive ends.”

"Look at me -- I was a botanist," said Galston. "I inadvertently found something which, further developed, was used as an instrument of war."

Prince Andrew probably didn't talk about Agent Orange whilst in Vietnam, probably gave the old Dalat Palace Golf course a good spanking however.

Human Rights Watch - report on Afghanistan Aerial Bombing to kill civilians and children - Handle with Care

Human Rights Watch have produced and publisheed a report on aerial bombing in Afghanistan , which their Press release headlines - Afghanistan: Civilian Deaths From Airstrikes on the Rise - Airstrikes Cause Public Backlash, Undermine Protection Efforts

The 43-page report, “‘Troops in Contact’: Airstrikes and Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan,” analyzes the use of airstrikes by US and NATO forces and resulting civilian casualties, particularly when used to make up for the lack of ground troops and during emergency situations.

This report ( Cover design by Rafael Jimenez ) is based on research conducted by Michael Shaikh (whose role in reporting the death of Rachael Corrie is rather questionable) and Marc Garlasco, and was written by Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst for the Emergencies Program at Human Rights Watch. Readers will remember how accurate Mr Garlasco has been in examining cluster bombs in Georgia - i.e he got it completely fucking wrong. See Moon of Alabama here and links and post Friday, September 05, 2008 HRW report Cluster bomb use was right - they were used - but by the Georgians not the Russians and they were M85's of Israeli manufacture

There is a however a fancy database which is accessible and to some extent interactive which the user can examine aistrikes by location , tonnage and number. Presumably these figures rely entirely upon the US / NATO forces so great care should be taken in accepting them as accurate or even truthful. We have already pointed out that US Air Power summaries ceased on August 10th.It is of course impossible to check how accurate they were.

It is claimed in the report that planned attacks are very accurate and minimise civilian deaths - pp 33 et seq

Planned attacks allow the US and NATO to use civilian risk mitigation procedures,including formal risk estimates to model and minimize civilian casualties

"US and NATO forces have been far more likely to cause civilian casualties in unplanned situations, normally when ground troops call in airstrikes as tactical support when under attack from insurgent forces, or to target insurgent forces on the move. The vast majority of known civilian deaths and injuries from airstrikes in Afghanistan come in these situations."

"civilian deaths from US and NATO airstrikes nearly tripled from 2006 to 2007 (from 116 to 321)"pp17.

"So far in 2008 there has been a return of high civilian deaths from airstrikes. This year (2008) at least 173 Afghan civilians have been killed in NATO and US operations. Of these, 119 died during US airstrikes, and 54 from fighting on the ground." pp18

"In close-quarter firefights where friendly soldiers could be wounded if bombs are used, cannon fire and missiles are often the preferred alternative." (Bruce Rolfsen, 'Afghanistan hit by record number of bombs,' Air Force Times, July 18th 2008,

However one views the HRW, this report provides some information which certainly supports the experience that both aerial boming is accelerating and civilian deaths are a major concern - but not to the US forces it seems. The most recent in Azizabad , Herat province 2 weeks ago that has a death toll mounting from 76 to over 90. This was a "planned" airstrike...apparently. Alastair Leithead of the the BBC reported on a previous wedding interrupted by 50 plus guests killed at Nangarhar.

HRW's last report in April - The Human Cost The Consequences of Insurgent Attacks in Afghanistan was designed to show that Insurgents were killing civilians by their policy of bombing and suicide bombing ...it concluded..

"All parties to the current conflict in Afghanistan—government, international forces, and insurgents—have the duty to protect civilians from the effects of the armed conflict. This report details the costs of insurgents’ failure to meet that obligation."

Photographs such as the above were used to identify the harm caused .. something missing from this report.

See Some Matter More for a detailed and eloquent and angry response to media reporting of killing people by dropping bombs on them.When 47 victims are worth 43 words

Meanwhile STOP PRESS - ISLAMABAD: Fourteen people, including three women, were killed and 20 others injured in missile strikes by suspected unmanned US drones on a seminary Tanda Darpakhel, 2 kms from Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan which may have killed alleged Taliban Commander Jalaluddin Haqqani in North Waziristan tribal region on Monday..... six to seven missiles hit the seminary and nearby houses in the region ..... officials maintained that those killed were civilians, including women and children Haqqani and his sone Suraj are vetereans of the struggle against the Soviets but are said to hev been plotting to kill President Karzai.

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