"“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, November 22, 2008

Judge Leon releases 5 Algerian "rendered" prisoners from Guantanamo military prison - they haven't been released.

It appears that prisoners started to be "rendered" to Guantanamo Bay on January 11th 2002 - amonst the first were Boumediene Lakhdar, Sabar Lahmar, Mustaf Ait Idir, Bourdella Haj, Bensayah Belkacem and Mohammed Nechle ( "Ghost Plane" by Stephen Gray Page 249)all were born in Algeria but , blindfolded, drugged, handcuffed and shackled and spirited from Bosnian prison cells to a military prison outside sovereign U. S. territory.

Although the United States has maintained complete and uninterrupted control of Guantanamo for over 100 years, the US Government’s view is that the Constitution has no effect there, at least as to noncitizens, because the United States disclaimed formal sovereignty in its 1903 lease with Cuba.

All the prisoners had all been fingered by the US Embassy as having been involved in plotting an attack on the US Embassy. They were initially arrested on grounds that they were plotting to blow up the United States embassy in Sarajevo, but the US government later abandoned that claim and said the men planned to fight with Al Qaeda.

Arrested in October shortly after 9/11 the 6 had appeared in January before Bosnia's highest court who had issued 2 clear rulings, one ordering the immediate release of the prisoners due to lack of evidence and the other preventing the men from being deported.

Their arrest had followd a curious sequence of events which has taken time untangling but reveals the Kafkaesque / strong arm tactics the US resorted to their client sate. Bosnian police discovered that one of those arrested , Saber Lahmar, lived at the same address as his father-in-law, who was a janitor in the U.S. embassy.

On October 16, U.S. intelligence reportedly tapped a conversation on Lahmar's phone, which included a "coded reference" to a forthcoming attack on the U.S. and British embassies in Sarajevo. The following day both missions closed, and a tense meeting between American and Bosnian officials took place.

During that meeting, Christopher Hoh, the U.S. chargé d'affaires, reportedly told the Bosnian Federation's Prime Minister, Alija Behmen, that the U.S. would withdraw its personnel and cut diplomatic relations with his country if they did not arrest Lahmar and other suspected members of his cell. "If we leave Bosnia, God save your country, Mr. Prime Minister," Hoh said, according to filings by the detainee's American lawyers. Testimony to this effect has also been presented by the Bosnian Prime Minister, Alija Behman . It has also been confirmed by the international High Representative to Bosnia at the time, Wolfgang Petritsch. (A State Department lawyer, Vijay Padmanabhan, confirmed the encounter but stressed that U.S. officials had issued no threat and had merely passed along intelligence information about the embassy plot.)

A crowd of more than 150 excited and jubilant supporters had gathered outside Sarajevo's central jail awaiting the release of six prisoners. After a squad of Bosnian special police forces arrived on the scene intending to hand the men over to the U.S. military, the peaceful gathering quickly turned into a violent confrontation. Riot police intervened and a convoy eventually managed to whisk the prisoners away.

What the crowd didn't know was that whilst the Bosnian court was preparing to release their six prisoners, Prime Minister Behman was informed that Mr Bush, Vice-President Richard Cheney and the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, had been personally briefed and the White House had decided that, if they were freed, US troops in the Nato Stabilisation Force in Bosnia would seize them, using "whatever force is necessary".

It is worth noting that in President Bush's 2002 State of the Union address – he said that "our soldiers, working with the Bosnian government, seized terrorists who were plotting to bomb our embassy in (in Sarajevo)."

Boumedienne v Bush

The history of the 6 is lengthy and involves many legals twists and turns ...perhaps the most significant was see Wiki Boumedienne v Bush and Cornell University for the details and significance of a writ for habeas corpus (Consolidated with Al Odah v. United States ).

Briefly this directly challenged the legality of Boumediene’s detention at the Guantanamo Bay military base as well as the constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act (MCA) of 2006. Oral arguments on the combined case were heard by the Supreme Court on December 5, 2007. On June 12, 2008, Justice Kennedy wrote the opinion for the 5-4 majority holding that the prisoners had a right to the habeas corpus under the United States Constitution and that the MCA was an unconstitutional suspension of that right.

Judge Leon rules on Boumedienne and others 20th November 2008

After a hearing started on 6th November , in a written opinion on Friday , Judge Leon, a Republican appointee ruled there is insufficient evidence to warrant detention of five detainees, but sufficient evidence to hold one detainee linked both to al Qaeda and to (unrealized) plans to fight in Afghanistan. He had earlier in when the 6 men applied for a court hearing in 2004, rejected their request before the Supreme Court reversed his decision (see above).

There were 2 parts to his ruling, (based on evidence presented in a closed court) seen by some as a watershed in handling the cases of the remaining Gunatanamo detainees / prisoners.

1. To support the claim that the men planned to go to Afghanistan to fight, the government appears to have relied on a single document citing an unnamed source ( "a classified document from an unnamed source," ). Judge Leon described the document as tending to show at least something about each detainee's knowledge of and desire to participate in such a plan, but concluded that the government had not provided sufficient information about this source to establish his/her credibility. As there was no corroborating evidence, Judge Leon concluded that the government had failed to satisfy the preponderance standard as to the Afghanistan argument.

2. The Government said Belkacem Bensayah – was an al Qaeda member who served a "facilitator" function (i.e., that he recruited fighters and assisted their transit to Afghanistan).

Here, the government relied not just on the above-mentioned document, but other intelligence reports "based on a variety of sources and evidence" which corroborated this claim. Judge Leon explained that the government's evidence (i) linked Bensayah to al Qaeda in general and a senior al Qaeda facilitator in particular; (ii) established Bensayah's capacity to travel internationally on false passports in multiple names; and (iii) tended to discredit Bensayah's attempt to explain away the government's allegations. This is said to relate top a piece of paper involved the alleged discovery of a piece of paper at his home, bearing a telephone number for an al-Qa'ida operative, Abu Zubayder. "The Bosnian police couldn't get this number to work in Afghanistan or Pakistan," one of the prisoners' lawyers, Stephen Oleskey,

Nobody has been released (the 6 have remained in Cuba all this time) and according to Bloomberg Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement the DOJ was pleased that Bensayah can continue to be held and that it is reviewing the decision regarding the other five men.

Elswhere it is reported that White House Spokesman Mr. Tony Fratto said, “Washington is not satisfied with the court’s decision,” . He further expressed his wish that the court would reconsider the decision related to the release of the 5 Algerians.

Meanwhile Boumedienne is said by his lawyer Stephen Oleskey to be suffering badly from his detention after going on a hunger strike. He is being force-fed by a tube inserted into his stomach through his nose.

"Twice a day he is strapped onto a chair at seven points," said Oleskey.

"One side of his nose is broken, so they put it (the tube) in the other side ... Sometimes it goes to his lung instead of his stomach. He can’t say anything because he has the mask on: that’s torture," Oleskey said.

Despite suffering from numerous ailments, Belkacem Bensayeh is refusing medical treatment at Guantánamo as he does not trust the staff or the facilities. He is currently held in Camp 6, where he spends at least 22 hours a day in a solid steel cell with no natural light.

It is reported that a US interrogator said to him .."I am going back to my wife and children, and you are going back to your cell like a dog.” (Cage prisoners)

Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Afghanistan. Why the RAF are calling in the Tornado GR4's and replacing the Harriers .... or maybe not

The UK public are vaguely aware that the RAF have a role in Afghanistan and prefer probably not to think of the aerial bombing of civilians, the deaths of women and children or even of Taliban being blown to bits.

It has however been an exciting week for Afghanistan bombing anoraks in (and outside) the House of Commons.

17 Nov 2008 : Column 134W of Hansard ... Has a fascinating series of written answers to questions to the Secretary of State for Defence Mr Huttton by Messrs Ellwood, Swire, Ancram, and the terriet like Mark Lancaster with his subsequent questioning about the decision to deploy 8 Tornado GR4's to replace 8 Harriers.

This reveals that 24 aircrew and 122 ground staff will be required and that related costs given by bluff, non nonsense, no sense Bob Ainsworth claimed

..." The financial costs for continuing to sustain eight Harrier GR9 on
Operation Herrick are estimated to be £30 million p.a. This cost includes, for
example, fuel, forward and depth maintenance, associated equipment support and
is based on current levels of activity. The costs associated with sustaining
eight Tornado GR4 on Operation Herrick (not yet deployed) are estimated to be
£31 million p.a. on an equivalent basis. The cost of deploying Tornado GR4 to
Operation Herrick is up to £40 million."

19 Nov 2008 : Column 89WH of Hansard ...Provides the details of the debate initiated by Mark Lancaster (Con. Milton Keynes TD) on RAF Operations ..."I intend to focus on the Harrier force in this debate—I have given the Minister advance warning that I intend to focus solely on the Joint Force Harrier—and it has been doing a sterling job, rightly earning a reputation as being very much the soldier’s friend in Afghanistan."

He first asked ..."why are we due to withdraw the Joint Force Harrier from Afghanistan from next year?" In answer to a parliamentary question ( 2 days earlier) , Minister for the Armed Forces said ...

“Mindful of the strain that this extended deployment has put upon the crews,
their families and the wider role of Joint Force Harrier we have decided to
withdraw the Harriers from Afghanistan and replace them with an equivalent force
of Tornado GR4s.”—[Official Report, 17 November 2008; Vol. 483, c. 136W.]

Mark Lancaster says "I now intend to go into some detail about those concerns, which are based on capability, finance, the impact on personnel,..." and those anxious for more and better particulars are advised to read hansard . Sufficient to report here...

" ....from a weapons point of view — of the six weapons systems that are carried on the Harrier, four cannot currently be carried on a Tornado......of the eight specialist items on a Harrier for close air support, four will not be available for the Tornado."

The he added, quoting from information not supplied by the MOD .. but not questioned by the Minister.

"I will not go into the details of ground abort rates, but suffice to say that at the moment the Harrier is operating at a 0.34 per cent. ground abort rate. That means that only about four in every 1,000 times that we call on a Harrier to go on a mission in Afghanistan it cannot take off, because of some technical problem. By comparison, the Tornado GR4 is operating at a ground abort rate of 11.6 per cent. That means that more than one in 10 times that a Tornado is scrambled on operations, it simply fails to get off the ground. If that is the case, why are we replacing eight Harriers with eight Tornadoes? Why are we accepting that one in 10 times a Tornado will not get off the ground and therefore one in 10 times it will not get to serve our soldiers on the ground on the front line? Is the Minister really happy to take that risk? In fact, the ground abort rate for Tornadoes peaked last month at 12.7 per cent., so this problem is getting worse, not better."

Adding ..

"We have already spent £728 million on upgrading the Harrier to capability E, which was effectively to improve its performance specifically for roles in Afghanistan. We have also spent £112 million on the new Mk 107 engine, which is specifically designed to operate in hot climates."

He then goes on to argue , with some justification that with defence cuts looming and Tornado's exiting Iraq that the Tornado is looking vulnerable to cuts so a role is being discovered for it in Afghanistan.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, Mr. Kevan Jones (Labour N Durham website 10th September ..."today highlighted the ongoing litter problems caused by the fast food chain McDonalds".) in the few minutes remaining of the debate paying tribute to Colour Sergeant Krishnabahadur Dura, paying tribute to the RAF, the Ghurkas, find time to point out ... "In some ways the Tornado brings capabilities that the Harrier does not, such as the 27 mm cannon and the new RAPTOR imaging system—the reconnaissance airborne pod Tornado—which has been used very effectively in Iraq and, I am told, will be in Afghanistan as well."

Mr Lancaster was anxious that Mr Jones also dwelt on the things that the Tornado could not do that the Harrier could not do . So the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence whinged that ..."if there are concerns among serving personnel, they cannot be articulated through the chain of command." Which they evidently had but with no or little effect.

In the dying minute Mr Lancaster asked ..."Will he also write to me with answers to the questions that he has not answered?"

Probably not.

Dirty King Coal has a Bright Future - National Intelligence Council report

Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World - National Intelligence Council (8.1 Mb. pdf !)

"...coal may be the fastest growing energy source despite being the “dirtiest.” Rising prices for oil and natural gas would put a new premium on energy sources that are cheap, abundant, and close to markets. Three of the largest and fastest-growing energy consumers—the US, China, and India—and Russia possess the four largest recoverable coal reserves,representing 67 % of known global reserves. Increased coal production could extend non-renewable carbon-based energy systems for one or even two centuries." Page 63

"All current technologies are inadequate for replacing traditional energy architectures on the scale needed, and new energy technologies probably will not be commercially viable and widespread by 2025" Page 65

All of which translates somehow in the Poop Murdoch press into (Times today) ..."On a positive note it added that an alternative to oil might be in place by 2025." ... unless of course they mean the alternative to oil will be coal ?

In this context it is worth noting that British Energy - soon to be re-branded as French Energy - produced their half year results this week .. They produced 22.7TWh down 27 % from 30.7TWh for H1 7/08 ... a 31 % reduction in nuclear output of 19.2TWh from 27 .8TWh) and huge increase of 40 % from their single coal fired Eggborough coal plant of 3.5TWh compared with 2.9TWh. It is worth noting that fuel costs at Eggborough also increased from £63 Mn. to 146 Mn. reflecting increased costs of coal on world markets.

This meant that even with a realised price per MWh up from £38.4 to £47.2/MWh for the period, up £8.8/MWh from £38.4/MWh in the comparable period unit operating costs had increased from £26 to £41.3/MWh and so margins slipped perMWh from £12.5 to £5.9.

Partly the result of having 5TWh of output capped until 2011 at £34/MWh. The capped contracts are for delivery of approximately 5TWh.

Expect some fancy footwork for carbon emissions "aspirations" , "targets" , "goals" to be ...er .. downgraded .. forgotten .. between now and 2025.

UPDATE Economic Slump May Limit Moves on Clean Energy NYT By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL November 24, 2008

"At the same time, the price of buying permits to emit carbon dioxide in Europe — a system the European Union uses to discourage companies from polluting — have fallen by half compared with the price a year ago, largely because of slower growth.

Wind costs more than $2.5 billion per gigawatt to build, compared with $600 million for gas. Carbon permits and subsidies can narrow that gap, but the current low prices mean that it is cheaper to burn coal, even after paying penalties for the carbon dioxide emissions."

Friday, November 21, 2008

VAT Carousel fraudster Craig Johnson must pay £28 Mn. or face 10 more years in jail

We first posted about how 37 year old Craig Johnson who was one 7 members of a gang ... and claimed "mastermind" ...who were involved in a highly successful £68 million VAT fraud (probably part of a greater £138 Mn. fraud resulting in 21 people jailed for up to 130 years) . He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to laundering £6.3 million from the proceeds of crime and was given a two year jail sentence at Birmingham Crown Court - VAT fraud - launder £6 Mn get 2 years Saturday, September 27, 2008 which was added to 10 years for fraud in 2006 when after Operation Emersed, 12 people – including Johnson – were jailed for a total of 75 years..

Yesterday, at a confiscation hearing at Wolverhampton Crown Court he was handed down a repayment order for £28 Mn - £8m within the next 12 months and the remainder within a further 12 months. If Johnson does not repay the money he could face another 10 years in prison. The largest issued in UK courts. BBC photos of siezed assets, homes, helicopter, yacht, cars, watches, diamonds etc,

Johnson lived at his 300-year-old Meaford House with wife Amanda — now in Dubai with their children - where there is also suspected to be further property — and mistress Kim, who also took his surname.

The confiscation hearing, also involved 2 other defendants from the 12 strong gang – Linda Wragg, 44, of Hanchurch, Stoke-on-Trent, who previously got six-and-a-half years, (UPDATE - Wragg ordered to re-pay £88,685 to the public purse or face an extra 21 months in prison Nov 24th) and 28-year-old Steven Lipinski, from Essex, jailed for 6 years.

A second confiscation hearing is set for the beginning of January 2009, for 6 other criminal associates – Christopher Sanders, Robert Capewell, Gwyn Jones, Stephen Hancock, Nicholas Shipley, Anthony Trickett-Smith.

A third confiscation hearing is set for next March for the remaining three criminals – Charles McWhinnie, Catherine Temple and Sharon Hawcroft.

The total level of such VAT "carousel fraud" is unknown, but it was running at £400 Mn. monthly for several years - Current levels of such fraud have not been published but some official estimates say that Europe wide it costing European taxpayers up to £170bn a year - twice the European Union's annual budget.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Phorm critics, silenced, removed, erased, from BT forums discussing PHORM

Getting ready for an early election or perhaps because Her Majesty turned over two pages at once, he previousl announced Communications Data Bill allowing the creation of a state run database that stores every email, web page visit, phone call and text message has been elayed.

This would allow "communications data capabilities for the prevention and detection of crime and protection of national security to keep up with changing technology through providing for the collection and retention of such data, including data not required for the business purposes of communications service providers; and to ensure strict safeguards continue to strike the proper balance between privacy and protecting the public."

This doesn't mean that attempts to snoop on your web browsing have been shelved. Critics of PHORM the new advertisers service BT have been experimenting with, have found themselves suffer again at the hands of those freedom of speech people at BT - One of whose Directors is Patricia Hewitt the charmless gauleiter who introduced the world of private medicine to the NHS after 4 years at DTI - who is now cashing in her chips to spend more time with her money after her time as a Government Minister.

The recently ennobled shreiking Shriti Vadera , Gordon's bosom pal , the shrill mastermind behind Rail Privatisation , and collapsed tube privatisation , is now a Baroness is the Minister for Business and Competitiveness. She has met BT and there is no doubt has given them the dusky thumbs up.

Silencing the critics

BT subscribers have taken the opportunity to use BT Beta forums to criticise its relationship with Phorm ..."striving to create a new, more responsive, intuitive kind of internet experience" ... and raise concerns about the technical implications of ISPs wiretapping their customers.

As a result BT published this announcement on Tuesday ;

Our broadband support forums are designed to be a place where customers can discuss technical support issues and offer solutions. To ensure that the forums remain constructive we're tightening up our moderation policies and will be deleting threads that don't provide constructive support. For example, we have removed a number of forum discussions about BT Webwise.

If you do want to find out more about BT Webwise, we provide lots of information and the facility to contact us at www.bt.com/webwise. We hope you'll continue to enjoy being part of the support community.

When BT began their thrid trial of the PHORM system a 200 page thread on the issue on WebWisewas closed for comment in September.

This thread remained available to read and a new thread was started by BT Beta moderators

Yesterday they closed both and removed them.

Adam Liversage, BT's chief press officer, is quoted in The Register: "The reason why we've done this is that the point of the forums is technical support and the WebWise threads weren't appropriate." Ho...Ho...Ho

Closing the thread and removing them had no significance (like stifling debate ?) and disingenuously suggested ..." ...the people who are following this will have the threads backed up in multiple copies." Those who want a portal to such collections can find the door here.

So that's alright then.

When asked by The Register if more threads that BT considers inappropriate will be deleted, Liversage said: "I think they can, yeah."

Phorm's Dirty Tricks department tried to censor remarks and some unwlcome facts from their Wikipedia entry in April. (Phorm admits 'over zealous' editing of Wikipedia article)..."we accept that we were a little over zealous in our efforts to make those corrections and that we erroneously removed some relevant items in the editing process. "

See Sunday, March 02, 2008 Just when you thought it was safe to browse the Web. Also see discussion today at Think Broadband

Dead of many nations , killed in Afghanistan, remembered in Manchester today

Bob Woodward's Bush at War, pp. 35-36 confirmed that that National Security Presidential Directive #9, after being vetted by NSC Advisor Condoleezza Rice in the White House, was "ready to go to the President on September 10." This was a plan to "eliminate" al Qaeda by going "on the offensive" against the Taliban.

On September 4 the deputy secretaries of defense and state had, "approved and recommended a plan [to this effect] that would give the CIA $125 million to $200 million a year to arm the [Northern] Alliance."

Operation Enduring Freedom was alunched on October 7, 2001 as the as ajoint US and UK military operation.

"Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the US and our allies have prevailed," Bush said 19 months later on FridayMay 2nd 2003, from the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln which was returning to its home port on the West Coast after ten months of service in support of the military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September 11, 2001 and still goes on," Bush told 5,000 sailors on the carrier.

Stop the War manchester took the opportunity after countless deaths since Enduring Freedom unleashed daily aerial bombing on Afghanistan ad Pakistan to rmember some of the dead.

Names garnered from news reports of the dead of many nations were written on 1,000memorial labels in schools, doctor's waiting rooms, streets, pubs, clubs and diaplyed in the middle of the main pedestrian precinct in Manchester immediately outside the entrance to the Arndale centre - remodelled after the Irish terrorists required it to be re-modelled some years ago.

Ex Labour Mayor of Manchester City Council Cllr. Afzal Khan came to provide support.

It was a brisk shopping day amajor retailers were launching major sales and the site was visited by many others and granparents of serving soldiers who generally expresed concern over the safety of their family members at war, and a wholseome desire for a speedy exit.

A surly scalped young man claiming to have served with 3rd Para in Musa Quala was a sole critic of the display - many of whose coleagues names were listed.

Lord Patel an inoccent remarked to the energetic organiser Mark that PC PLod was noticeably in non - attendance. With a weary shrug he indicated the wealth of CCTV cameras.

Returning home via Victoria Station later the folowing Transport Police sign confirmed the ubiquity of the searching lens.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner - Some Good news and some very, very , very bad news

The 100% composite wing box on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, weighing 55,000 , the first ever for a Boeing commercial airplane has caused caused considerable problems and stalled development whilst it has been redesigned. It was designed and built by a joint team of Boeing, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Fuji Heavy Industries.

Full scale destructive testing has just been completed , a major milestone in certification - albeit some 2 years behind schedule.

This also provides a verification of the simulations and analytical methods used to calculate the loads the structure will have to carry. (video of test available here)

The wing box is a cantilevered beam that carries the wing to the fuselage and supports leading- and trailing-edge devices, control surfaces, engines and landing gear. The test piece represents a portion of the wing section that begins at about the center of the airplane and stops at approximately one-half of the span of the wing -- approximately 50 feet (15.2 meters). The piece measures approximately 18 feet (5.5 meters) at its widest point.The upper and lower surface panels and the spars of the wing are made entirely of the same composite material being used on the fuselage.

Each main wing rib is however a monolithic aluminum structures, each machined from a single piece of aluminum plate.

Certification requires, the wings must withstand loads up to 1.5 times, or 150 percent, of the highest aerodynamic load that the jet could ever be expected to see in the entire lifetime of the 787 fleet.

Structural testing will now have to continue on two full-scale 787 airframes as part of the certification process for the airplane to demonstrate the performance of the structure through multiple lifetimes of normal operational loads and test the structure beyond the points expected to be seen in service.

Fastener problem on Dreamliner due to engineering error at Everett

It has been revealed today that the problems with fasteners - another that has caused major delays , has been identified as an engineering error made in Everett.

Thousands of fasteners on every Dreamliner used inside the fuselage to fasten titanium structure to carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic composite are going to have top be replaced , up to 8,000 on each of the first down planes under construction.

The problems emerged with the fasteners emerged after a pressurization test in October .The problem arose only on structures installed inside the fuselage shell — such as the floor grid — where titanium was fastened to the composite. What this means in terms of further delay is not yet known. It will certainly delay the first flight even further than previously planned.

A whole series of strict Boeing specifications governs installation of fasteners, depending on the materials being joined together. It appears that with these fasteners , the instructions for fastening titanium to composite bewildered mechanics.

An operations manager at a Dreamliner supplier plant said he examined the specifications closely with an experienced design engineer after the problem was discovered and realized the mechanics were not at fault.

Several specifications from Boeing provided ambiguous instructions and measurements that led mechanics to cut too shallowly the tops of the holes they were drilling.

Boeing discovered the fastener problem last month, in the midst of the strike. A pressurization test on one of the completed Dreamliners revealed a small gap under the heads of thousands of fasteners inside the fuselage.

Whilst not a safety problem it potentially could reduce the airframe's durability. Boeing and its partners must fix it on all the planes now in Everett and on all the partially completed sections at supplier plants worldwide. It also reveals a serious lack of quality-control inspection, especially early in the program.

Apparently , the specification that mechanics consult for precise instructions made the job impossible. With these specific fasteners they wouldn't sit properly in the hole unless the top of the hole is widened to accommodate a bevel, a curved join between the head and the shank of the fastener. The mechanic has to prepare the hole by cutting it wider at the top, first consulting a specification to find out exactly how much to cut.

But the documents were confusing. The regular spec document for installing fasteners sent the mechanic to another spec if composite plastic was being drilled. This spec then correctly sent the mechanic back to the first if the fastener head was on the titanium side, as in this case.

But a sub-specification that supposedly superseded the second spec contradicted the main spec with a table containing different and inaccurate measurements. A separate document clouded the instructions further.

The specifications were prepared in Everett by Boeing engineering staff and were supposed to be translated by Boeing planners into easily followed instructions.

Boeing acknowledges that the instructions were confusing and says they are being rewritten.

Fixing the mess means undoing much interior installation work already completed.

A person working on the 787 in Everett said the insulation blankets that lined the walls of Dreamliner No. 1 in Everett were removed to allow access to the fasteners.

The location of all the fasteners is not certain, so "they have to reinspect the airplane from nose to tail," he said.

Quality-control inspectors are "crawling through" the first two airplanes in the assembly bay "ripping all the systems out, everything that's in the way," said an Everett 787 mechanic.

787 partners under pressure - and hurting

Global Aeronautica, a joint venture between Boeing and its Italian partner Alenia, assembles the 84-foot-long central fuselage from sections that arrive partly complete from Italy and Japan.

At the Spirit AeroSystems plant in Wichita, Kan., a person familiar with the situation said the problem affects up to 3,000 fasteners per plane.

Vought next door in Charleston is less affected by the problem than other 787 partners. Only the rear fuselages of seven airplanes — No. 5 through No. 11 — have to be reworked which will take about a week per airplane to remove and reinstall all the fasteners - involving replacing fewer than 2,000 fasteners per airplane on its 38-foot-long sections.

Boeing is expected to announce a new Dreamliner delivery schedule incorporating both the strike delay and the fastener fix ... some time real soon now.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

7/7 Forensic Explosives Report to be revealed as a result of FOI request

Leeds Crown Court heard today from a forensic toxicologist who producd a legthy, detailed and fascinating report, which revealed after examining hair and urine samples that Shannon Matthews had regularly been ingesting the drug Temazepam and travel sickness medication for up to 20 months before her disappearance earlier this year.

Regrettably the otherwise excellent Forensic services reports are not always availble in such detail or with such speed.

Remarkably the forensic report regarding the bombings on 7/7/05 is still unavailable (remember 56 people died that day and many many more were injured - such Danny Biddle who Home Secretary at the time, John Reid refused to meet and who has signed a petition asking for a Public Enquiry) and the public still do not know (amongst many other things) ;

1. What explosives / detonators were used in the bombs that exploded that day.
2. What triggers were used - remote or local.

Bridget Dunne has been a dogged pursuer of the truth and for the July 7th Forum sent the following ;

Thu, 21 Aug 2008 9:22 AM From "J7: The July 7th Truth Campaign"


To public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Subject Re: FOI request T16655/7

We requested a copy of the final forensics report into the events in London on 7th July 2005, and your response was:"This information will be put into the public domain following theupcoming trial of 3 defendants charged as a result of the continuingpolice investigation into 7/7 and it would therefore not be in the public interest to ask the Forensic Explosives Laboratory to disclose itbefore the conclusion of this."

As this trial has now concluded we request a copy of the final ForensicExplosives Laboratory report,

Bridget Dunne
on behalf of J7: The July 7th Truth Campaign

On November 11th 2008 she posted , "I have sent a reminder as we haven't had a reply. "

If Mr (?) J Fanshaw is still handling such matters, we look forward with interest to the reply. Of course if you want to gee things up you could send an e-mail based on the details above asking for a copy of the reply to her.

Wireless CCTV Ltd introduce new lightweight remote controlled outdoor dome camera system for rapid and temporary usage

Wireless CCTV Ltd (WCCTV) (part of Cellhire Plc ) claim (with some justification) to be market leaders in the provision of mobile surveillance solutions, which combine the latest mobile telecommunication technologies (3G HSUPA) and CCTV.

They have just announced the launch of a new WCCTV 3G Wireless Dome Camera System which is IP65 NEMA compliant (compliant protection protocol protection against ingress of solid foreign objects and ingress of water to Association of Electrical and Medical Imaging Equipment Manufacturers standards) and offers high-speed 3G HSUPA connectivity, increased storage capacity of up to 500GB and provides the user with complete flexibility and portability.

This is a simple easily installed , lightweight (4 Kg) "one box" solution deployable virtually anywhere for temporary surveillance .

Users are able to connect remotely and access live images or stored digital footage from the internal hard drive using a PDA, PC, laptop or monitoring station.

The camera can be controlled remotely with full pan, tilt and zoom functionality and a 360 degree field of vision.

Pssst .. wanna buy a used car company .... just in time for the holidays ?

General Motors Corp. Chief Executive Richard Wagoner, Ford Motor Co.'s Alan Mulally along with Robert Nardelli of Chrysler LLC are scheduled to testify at a House Financial Services Committee hearing later today after telling a Senate panel yesterday that they need US$25 billion to keep operating. (They each turned up in their respective corporate jets)

Their shares reacted today - GM were down 15% @ US$2.63 - Market Cap US$ 1. 7BN and Ford were @ US$1.49 down 11.3% - Market Cap US$3.54.

So the US taxpayer stumps up US$25 Bn to keep them going to Christmas and yet they share a Market value of ... say US$ 10 Bn. ...tops ?

Since the first amphibians crawled out of the slime
We've been struggling in an unrelenting climb
We were hardly up and walking
Before money started talking
And it's sad that failure is an awful crime.
Well it's been that way for a millennium or two
But now it seems there's a different point of view
If you're a corporate titanic
And your failure is gigantic
Then in Congress there's a safety net for you.
I am changing my name to ChryslerI am going down to Washington D.C.
I will tell some power broker
What they did for Iacocca
Will be perfectly acceptable to me
I am changing my name to ChryslerI am headed for that great receiving line
So when they hand a million grand out
I'll be standing with my hand outYessir, I'll get mine.

Tom Paxton, "I'm Changing My Name to Chrysler" (1979) (hear it sung by Tom on You Tube)

That's a picture of cars imported being held at Long Beach, CA...some of them have been lying around 3/4 months. ...

See GM makes you sick 18 / 3 /05 also Friday, February 24, 2006
Disembowelled US - 3 more years of Dubya

Will the last person leaving Michigan please switch off the lights.

Operation Ruby - Human Trafficking - another successful swoop against gangmasters

More than 200 staff from nine organisations including the East Midlands Foreign National Crime Team, Northamptonshire Police, the UK Human Trafficking Centre, the UK Borders Agency, Serious Organised Crime Agency and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority were involed in a swoop yetserday on a field near Holbeach in South Lincolnshire where some 6o immigrants from countries across Eastern Europe, including Poland and Lithuania were picking leeks for UK supermarkets.

This resulted in 3 men being arested on suspicion of human trafficking for the purposes of labour exploitation.They More than sixty men and women - migrant workers from countries across Eastern Europe, including Poland and Lithuania - who were picking leeks in the field as part of an organised gang have been held in custody at Kettering and Wellingborough on suspicion of
people trafficking and money laundering.

Search warrants involving Northamptonshire Police, Kettering Borough Council and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service have been carried out at premises in Kettering where it is believed that the migrant workers were living in conditions that were overcrowded and potentially unsafe.

The action – called Operation Ruby – centres on allegations that people were recruited through advertisements and agencies in Eastern Europe and travelled to the UK on the promise of work.

UPDATE 20/11/08 BBC "Farming Today" report that 9 have been arrested, 21 premises searched and the operation took 6 months to plan.

OPT - 80 a new weapon in the armoury to fight Clostridium difficile ?

Perhaps there is some good news for managers of filthy, badly run NHS hospitals as Optimer Pharmaceuticals experimental drug, codename OPT-80, saw a 92.1 % rate of “cure” compared with 89.8 % in patients taking Vancocin (Vancomycin) , (made by ViroPharma of Pennsylvania) in a Phase 3 trial for the treatment of Clostridium difficile.

In addition, only 13.3% of patients treated with OPT-80 experienced a recurrence vs. 24.0% for Vancocin (p = 0.004).

The study involved 629 patients in the United States and Canada and was conducted in more than 100 clinical sites throughout North America. OPT-80 is the only antibiotic therapy currently in Phase 3 worldwide clinical development for Clostridium difficile infection.

Optimer have been conducting late-stage studies of the drug under fast-track status from the FDA, which allows it expedited review because the drug addresses a serious unmet and growing medical need.

The next step is to complete the on-going second Phase 3 study at clinical sites in Europe and North America to support an NDA filing."

The news has produced a healthy response to the shares - Optimer (Nasdaq : OPTR) .

OP- 80 a new type of antibiotic

OPT-80 is the first in a new class of antibiotics called macrocyclics, which inhibit the bacterial enzyme RNA polymerase, resulting in the death of Clostridium difficile. The narrow spectrum profile of OPT-80 may eradicate Clostridium difficile selectively with minimal disruption to the normal intestinal flora. This may facilitate the return of the normal physiological conditions in the colon and reduce the probability of CDI recurrence.

Criminal records Bureau Chief Vince Gaskell to head the ID card launch ... IDeal man for the Job

Vince Gaskell, now 56, joined the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) as chief executive in 2003 after working as Change Director at the Child Support Agency and the Department for Work and Pensions.

During his time at the CRB he oversaw:

* the prevention of more than over 80,000 unsuitable people from gaining access to children or the vulnerable, as a direct result of CRB checks

* an increase in customer satisfaction each year from 50% back in 2002 to over 90% in 2007

* CRB achieving self-funding status with its fees frozen for the past two years.

It must be remembered of course that CRB checks are also undertaken not only on directly on behalf of Public Sector organisations but also private companies and individuals through such bodies such as the Security Industry Authority -"Last year, for instance, we completed over 116,000 checks for the security industry. That’s in the context of finalising between 3,000,000 and 3,500,000 checks overall. In terms of the checks we carry out on behalf of the security sector, 99% of them are submitted by the SIA." Said Vince in an interview in 2007 to info4Security (see also, his interesting remarks about sharing data internationally)

The SIA manage the licensing of the private security industry as set out in the Private Security Industry Act 2001. The SIA have 2 principal responsibilities

1. The compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities within the private security industry.
2. To manage the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme, which measures private security suppliers against independently assessed criteria.

Now Vince is to join the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) board as a member and executive director for New Service Implementation to increase capability in the run up to the start of the National Identity Scheme.

Currently this covers ( catchily entitled "Wave One":
* The first stage of the National Identity Scheme goes live on 25 November with the first identity cards for non-EEA foreign nationals

* identity cards for airside workers at Manchester and London City airports when they go-live from autumn 2009 and, subsequently, others working in sensitive roles and locations..." as part of an 18-month evaluation period of the benefits for this sector."

* the plan to allow the public to pre-register their interest in the identity card programme, with a small number of citizens being issued cards in late 2009.

* the incremental roll-out of identity cards for young people from 2010 starting in 2011/12 general roll-out will begin - for more details see The National Identity Scheme Delivery plan , which was was published in March 2008.

The delightful Home Secretary made a speech to the Social Market Foundation on 6th November 2008 setting out the triumphal progress of this absurd and immensely costly scheme for identity cards and actions claimed to have been taken in response to issues raised by the public. "Making Identity Cards a reality" (text)

She also claimed that over the next ten years the cost of setting up and running the UK scheme is £4.7 Bn. and that the foreign national scheme will cost £326m (for this year or 10 years was not clear) .

Darling Jacquie also explained how the provision of cards would involve the "market" ..."As the Delivery Plan we published last March set out, we want these services to be provided by the market, giving people a competitive choice that ensures convenience and cost-effectiveness" .. and providing a lucrative business for their friends in the security industry.

Apparently according to Identity and Passport Service chief executive, James Hall, we are now at an "exciting phase in delivering the National Identity Scheme" . Vince will apparently enable the IPS to use his experience with the CRB as it builds its relationships with the many public and private organisations which will use passports and identity cards as a core part of their personal security and identity assurance regimes."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

'bama's Civilian National Security Force gets a bit nearer - AIPAC star Leibermann keeps Homeland Security Committee Chairmanship

Renewing American Leadership by Barack Obama -From Foreign Affairs, July/August 2007 Journal of Foreign Relations , "... we need to commit sufficient funding to enable the National Guard to regain a state of readiness."

Senator Joseph Lieberman (darling of AIPAC) will keep his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, after a vote in the Democratic caucus voted 42-13 , despite his support of the Republican presidential bid of Senator John McCain.

Rahm Emanuel, Obama's Chief of Staff appointee, talked to NY Daily News reporter Ben Smith in 2006 about his mandatory civil service plan. The idea was detailed in Emanuel's co-authored book, The Plan.This Socialist National Civilian Security Force is exactly what Obama was talking about on the stump this year.

This is mix of Rahm Emmanuel talking about his "Plan" and Obama on the stump talking about his Civilian National Defense Force.

Text of Rahm's remarks available here

Here is Obama talking about his Civilian National Security Force ;

Aren't you glad you voted for change ?

Paul Rowen MP reveals the Pension benefits of our Judges

Ernest, worthy but dull, single and debonair, ex school teacher and Liberal Democrat MP for Rochdale has improved his PMQ techniques and he recently managed to unearth some fascinating information about the pension arrangments of the Judiciary in England and Wales.

He asked the Secretary of State for Justice
(1) what the average payment per person to members of the Judicial Pension Scheme was in 2008;
(2) how many individuals belong to the Judicial Pension Scheme.

The lovelyBridget Prentice (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice; Lewisham East, Labour) replied in a written answer

The average annual pension paid to members of the Judicial Pension Scheme (including dependants) for 2006-07 was approximately £36,000.

As at 31 March 2007 there were 2,101 active members of the Scheme.

How to boost the economy

Whilst strolling round Tesco with Lady Patel it used to afford some modest juvenile amusement to select (preferably) pastel green toilet paper which when discovered by Lady Patel at the till would cause a satisfying Krakatoa style explosion.

Apparently any colour other than white is unhygienic, disgusting, vile etc... and very problem a loathsome .. and probably a French idea. Therefore in researching National Toilet Day (Tomorrow !) and discovering Renova, a French supplier of the most violently coloured toilet paper imagineable (they also do a shocking Pink which they describe as Fuchsia) , which they describe as the sexiest (?) ever, we felt that by supporting their sales (Euro 2.17 per roll or Euro 5.21 for a 6 roll Gift pack) we could also help the Chancellor.

It is possible to buy on line and there are but 2 suppliers in the UK, Horrids of Knightsbridge and Meson de Tapas 4b Worsley Road, Worsley, Manchester, UK - Tel: +44 07802 555525 .

If we are to be seduced into shopping by Alastair Darling with a raft of tax breaks it is our patriotic duty to ;

1. Ensure that we provide the maximum margin to the shop to ensure their survival in these trying times.

2. By purchasing from a French company we boost the spirit of Entente Cordiale and simultaneously add that international dimension to our efforts to solve the world's financial problems.

3. Everytime you (or your family) use the product you can muse over what a splendid job Gordon Brown and Alastair Darling are doing to boost the economy.

Happy bottom wiping !

Jean-Marie Demange of ruling UMP party in France kills lover , commits suicide - French political life scandalised

65 year old Jean-Marie Demange was a heart surgeon, a leading light in the ruling Right-wing UMP party , member of the French Parliament and had been mayor of Thionville a town of 47,000 in the Moselle region for 13 years. He had lost the position to the Socialist Bertrand Mertz, who won with 51.5% of the vote. in local elections in March.

It appears he killed his lover (Karine "A") with a shot to her head at point blank range with an automatic pistol on the balcony of her apartment, after what witnesses called a heated argument - which were apparently quite frequent.

It appears he then retreated to the apartment and shot himself.

Demange, a member of the parliament's foreign affairs commission, was also in the middle of a rather messy divorce.

Under French parliamentary rules, he will be replaced in the National Assembly by his number two, Anne Grommerch.

Pacific Ethanol adds to third-quarter loss

Those poor deluded souls, excited by Bill Gates's investing in Pacific Ethanol (NASDAQ GM: PEIX), "Meeting the demand for clean burning fuels", will feel let down after the Sacramento refiner revealed the third-quarters loss just got worse, although the adjustment won't affect the company's cash outlays.

The corn based ethanol producer has announced it's increasing its non-cash "impairment charge" resulting from its decision last fall to suspend construction on the new plant in the Imperial Valley.

The charge was increased to US$40.9 million. Last week, in announcing its earnings, the company had pegged the charge at $26.6 million.

That brings the company's total loss for the quarter came to $69.2 million, or $1.23 a share. With profit margins eroded by lower ethanol prices and higher costs for corn, investors saw the shares down 3 cents to 70 cents.

Despite this setback the company are still upbeat and claim that they have achieved their goal of
220 million gallons per year of ethanol production capacity in 2008 - which they intend to grow to 420 million gallons total capacity per year in 2010.

In addition, they are working to identify and develop other renewable fuel technologies, such as cellulose-based ethanol production and bio-diesel.

Bill's Cascade Investments which had 21% of the company however saw the light almost exactly a year ago on November 18th 2007 and bailed out. They converted its preferred stock to 10.5 million common shares and selling. He lost US$24 million on the investment. He paid US$84 million for his stake in 2005.

US average ethanol producer price last week was US$ 1.8768 per gallon (ethanolmarket.com) , the pump price for gasoline (EIA) this week is US$2.08 .

Corn used for ethanol production for 2007/8 is said to have increased to 3.3 billion bushels, up from expected use of 2.125 billion bushels in 2006/07.

Aerial bombing continues relentlessly in Afghanistan

In total, 52 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols reports the US November 14th Airpower summary .

On November 16th an Air Force MQ-9A Reaper and an Air Force MQ-1B Predator used Hellfire missiles against anti-Afghan forces who were placing IEDs along a route in the vicinity of Bolocan. The missions were confirmed a success by on-scene joint terminal attack controllers.

Always remembering that On November 6th , an Air Force MQ-9 Reaper dropped guided bomb unit-12s and used Hellfire missiles against anti-Afghan forces who were firing rocket-propelled grenades at coalition forces in the vicinity of Bolocan. The mission was confirmed a success by an on-scene joint terminal attack controller.

In the vicinity of Bari Kowt, an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle dropped a guided bomb unit-31 and GBU-38s on enemy fighters who were attacking coalition forces from behind a tree line. A JTAC declared the mission successful.

In total, 51 close-air-support missions were flown on November 16th in support of the ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

28 year old Cuban model Mayra Veronica is said to be the modern equivalent of Betty Grable

Monday, November 17, 2008

Herman Simm - Super Spy in Talinn - but who for ? Russia ? US ? Israel ?

Herman Simm, 61, a high-ranking official in the Estonian Defense Ministry in Tallinn,and his wife Heete a lawyer at Estonia's National Police Board were arrested in Tallin ,Estonia (pop 1.3 Mn.) on September 21st. it was an event that received little publicity. Kommersant 23rd September 2008 IHT 2nd September 2008

It appears that Simm had access to nearly all documents exchanged within the EU and NATO and it is assumed that every document that circulates between EU member states was passed on to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, the SVR -- including confidential analyses by NATO on the Kosovo crisis, the war in Georgia and even the missile defense program.

Teams from NATO and the EU are said to be investigating this spy scandal which is said to be the equivalent of the breaches undertaken by Aldrich Ames, a former CIA agent who for years funneled information to the Russian intelligence service, then called the KGB.

A US official from NATO heads the teams as they are unearthing the enormity of the betrayal. A German government official has called the situation a "catastrophe," and Jaanus Rahumägi, a member of Estonia's national parliament who heads the parliamentary oversight committee for the government security agency, fears "historic damage."

It appears that Simm started his contact with the Russian intelligence service as early as the late 1980s. When Estonia's NATO membership was first discussed "in the mid-1990s, Simm was officially recruited by the Russian government," claims Rahumägi. There is evidence indicating that the relationship was fairly loose to begin with. It's possible the KGB successor organization, the SVR, kept Simm as a "sleeper."

Simm rise in the small government service was rapid and in 1994 he became the Estonian chief of police in the new democratic government headed by Mart Laar. Later, he was transferred as a department head to the Defense Ministry, where he was responsible for the secret coordination with NATO and the EU - which also invloved extensive EU travel using a diplomatic passport.

Simm's principal motivation appears to have been financial, as he owns several plots of land and properties around Tallin in Raplamaa, Suure-Jaani, Ida-Virumaa, Padise and Pärnu with family members (Paul and Martin Künnap, the sons of his stepsister) and a smart lavishly renovated, whitewashed residence in the small city of Saue near Tallinn. Visited it appears by an SVR contact believed to have been travelling on a bogus Spanish passport.

Estonia's spy scandal hits relatives of Herman Simm Estonian business channel 17th October 2008

Now the hunt is on for other active agents - it can only be assumed that the Russian intelligence apparatus maintains a number of Simms in the Baltic States.

Jutta Rabe, a German journalist says Simm was involved in the cover-up of the evidence about weapons smuggling from Russia to Israel.

The Estonia was a Swedish and Estonian joint-venture ferry that operated between Stockholm and Tallinn and sunk on September 27th 1994 and was regularly used to transport military contraband with the approval of the Swedish state, led by Carl Bildt. In the weeks prior to the sinking, contraband military shipments from Russia had been transported on the ferry and taken to Arlanda airport where they had been flown to a third country with the knowledge and support of the Swedish state. The third country was Israel. Over 1,000 people died.
See - War materials smuggled on Estonia 12th February 2004

Rabe, speaking on 14th anniversary of the sinking at an event at the Estonian National Library in Tallinn , days after the Simms arrest told the audience of relatives and news reporters that Simm had been on the "dive platform" during the first official dive to the wreck after being "exchanged" at the last minute for another person.

This was not reported in Estonian papers but was published published in the Finnish newspaper, Turun Sanomat published in Turku on the 2nd October.

If Simm did not work for the Russians in 1994 - who was he working for ? The US ? Israel ?

Rabe says that at the time of the dive, Simm was the highest officer of the Estonian secret police, and he requested that divers go to the cabin of Captain Avo Piht and search for the pilot's case belonging to a certain Aleksandr Voronin. Voronin is suspected of being involved in shipping hi-tech military contraband from Russia to Israel.

The divers on the wreck that day worked for Rockwater, a subsidiary of Brown & Root Energy Services (BRES). Each diver had signed a lifetime agreement obliging them to remain silent about what they did on the wreck some 200 feet below the surface. BRES is a subsidiary of Halliburton.

Copies of the diving logs, show that the sought-after case was finally found in Cabin 6230, the cabin usually reserved for VIP guests or the relief captain [Avo Piht], who was also on board.

Aleksandr Voronin was traveling on Estonia with Vassili, his 15-year-old son, and his father-in-law, Vassili Kruchkov. After being rescued, they told the press they were on a business trip to Denmark.

It is interesting to note that the much sought-after and recovered pilot's case belonging to Voronin and was in the hands of the Swedish and Finnish authorities, disappeared and has not been seen or heard of again. Who wanted it recovered and disappeared ?

The first independent Estonian government was headed by Mart Laar (1991-94) who had close Zionist connections. Laar, for example, was one of the three people involved in Estonia's first purchase of weapons – a very bad $50 million deal with Israel. It later became evident that Israel had sold Estonia very poor quality weapons captured in Lebanon, most of which did not even function in cold temperatures. Estonia was compelled to sue Israel as a result of the fiasco.

Laar was also involved in financial scandals concerning transfers of Russian rubles to Chechnya In a 1994 no-confidence vote, parliament removed Laar from office amid opposition accusations of lying to the people, following sale of billions of rouble notes collected during the 1992 Estonian monetary reform to the cash-deprived Chec hen Republic of Iskeria instead of delivering them for free to Russian fedeartion, as the latter had demanded. He did however return as Premier March 25th 1999 to January 28th 2002.

Andrus Öövel, a former Estonian defense minister, said: "As far as I can recall, Herman Simm was advanced rapidly to his high position during Mart Laar's first government."

After the Rose revolution in Georgia, Laar became advisor to US educated puppet , President Saakashvilli .

Simm, it appears, was a key agent of Laar, who, in turn, was a big friend of Israel. This is a key point, because the evidence indicates that the Russian military contraband being carried on Estonia was bound for Israel.

Andrus Öövel, a former Estonian defense minister, and now Head of the Border Security Programme at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) is quoted in Der Spoegel : "As far as I can recall, Herman Simm was advanced rapidly to his high position during Mart Laar's first government."

Police renew appeals for help in finding Natalie Bracht and her 5 children

Northumbria Police have made another call for help in finding 35 year old Natalie Bracht and her 5 daughters who left their home in Sunderland 6 months ago (17/5/08).

See - Thursday, June 26, 2008 - Natalie Bracht disappears - oh and five kids as well, on the lam for a month and no National Press for more information about this very strange case which involves according to her testimony - Mossad, South Gosforth Reformed Synagogue, Reformed (non-religious) Rabbi: Dr Robert Ash (organiser/handler), the mysterious funder of Nu-Labour David Abrahams . Bernard Schaeffer (along with pretend wife who wants to 'look after' five children), Sir Jeremy Beecham, Dr. Marc Orlim Bereleowitz ('interviews' children) David Hozen - Judge brought in from Manchester to rule in custody case . (These names may be incorrectly spelt).

See also story at Indymedia 26th June 2008, on role of Tony Gosling and his arrest after meeting and interviewing Natalie Bracht

Det Ch Insp Ian Bentham, who is leading the search, said: "After so much time now, we all want to know if they're safe and well. " It is said that Natalie Bracht has been assessed by independent medical experts as suffering from a personality disorder

The girls are known as : Manjuh Vossing, aged 13; Naomi Joy Sharan Vossing, 12; Indira Zoe Pirijo Bracht, 10; Naima Sina Isis Marjaleena Anutosch Bracht, 9; and five-year-old Margo Noemi Elinour Chrisanty Bracht.

Anyone with information can call Northumbria Police, on 03456 043 043, or contact the Missing People charity, on 0500 700 700 or email seensomeone@missingpeople.org.uk.

Also for Missing persons details http://www.missingpeople.org.uk/areyoumissing/missing/detail.asp?dsid=1555

World Toilet Day - something to celebrate

It is either serendipity or excessively prescient planning that whilst the financial services and systems of the developed world are disappearing down the toilet that globally we will all be celebrating World Toilet Day on Wednesday.

The local representatives for this jamboree, engineered by the quaintly named World Toilet Organisation are the secretive DEFRA quango , The Consumer Council for Water (CCW). This was set up in 2005 , "to provide a strong voice for water and sewerage consumers in England and Wales" the Chairman is Dame Yve Buckland - £48,554 for a 3 day week.

According to them, in the UK we visit the loo or water closet as Lord Patel's nanny quaintly called it, 2,500 times a year and spend in a lifetime some 3 years perched on it.

The CCW have undertaken research (February 2008 - Educating the Public - Research into flushable products 62 page pdf ) which has revealed that ," the majority of consumers are unaware that many items, unlike toilet paper, don't break down and can get caught in pipes, building up a blockage over time".

Apparently we collectively use the toilet for the disposal of everything from Toilet cleansing cloths, face wipes, baby wipes, cotton wool, tampons, sanitary towels, condoms, nappies, razor blades and plasters, along with fats, oils and grease which can all lead to blocked drain horror syndrome - unsightly, smelly and expensive to repair.

The French who have long celebrated the public function of toilets are holding events throughout France sponsored by suppliers : Point WC, Evolance, Roca, Laufen, Dyson, Renova and Horay. Visit any of these venues and see how they have interpreted this very special day.

Should you be unaware of the laudable aims of the World Toilet Organization they include ;

World Toilet Organization (WTO) stands up for the 3 "WE (s)" in the theme "We Deserve Better".
1. Toilets deserve better social status. WTO has been striving to elevate the status of toilets to make them status symbols and objects of desire. WTO speaks on behalf of toilets "WE DESERVE BETTER SOCIAL STATUS".

2. Toilet cleaners. WTO aims to professionalize the sanitation and restroom industry and to upgrade the skill sets of the restoom cleaners. WTO speaks on behalf of the toilet cleaners "WE DESERVE BETTER PAY, RESPECT AND PROSPECTS".

3. WTO speaks on behalf of 2.5 billion toilet-less people, "WE DESERVE BETTER PLACES TO DEFECATE -- PROPER TOILETS".

Perhaps WE could also add that they should adopt measures to prevent our Governments sending our cash, curency, savings, pension plans, investments down the pan as well.

Shopping is patriotic - if not essential

At a Press Conference at 10 Downing St. post 9/11 the (then) Dear Leader said.
"People in this country ask what should they do at a time like this," Mr. Blair said. "The answer is that they should go about their daily lives: to work, to live, to travel and to shop"

Rudolph Giuliani, the Mayor of New York, on CNN on September 21, 2001 said “Come here and spend money, just spend a little money, go to a store, do your Christmas or holiday shopping now, this weekend. … buy your birthday gifts for the next three or four months.” He added: “We’re the best shoppers in the world.”

Apparently Alastair Darling is preparing whopping tax cuts for us all so we can rescue the bankers by all going shopping.

Consumption and retail therapy is the universal - if not global, cure - all.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Moves to impose stricter controls on rearing captive game birds in the UK.

The Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) have published their opinion (17 page pdf) on "The Welfare of Farmed Gamebirds ". This follows on from a DEFRA report after Newcastle disease broke out in farmed pheasants in 2005 which took 5 days to produce.

A Code of Practice for the Welfare of Gamebirds is in preparation which follows on from that currently in operation designed by the The Game Farmers Association (GFA) which is a trade organisation dedicated to the production of quality game birds for the UK shooting industry -the FAWC is contributing to the working group on these deliberations. The revised Defra Code of Practice on the Welfare of Farmed Gamebirds is expected to be published in 2009.

The FAWC report says that "There is little evidence of industry audit of compliance with industry Codes of Practice. "

The scale of the business in rearing pheasants and red-legged partridge ( a non - native species - the native Grey Partridge is on the RSPB Red list of species needing urgent action to address population decline) to supply the needs of people who want to (legitimately and legally) kill them for entertainment is remarkable.

Approximately 40 million gamebirds (30 to 35 million pheasants and 5 to 10 million partridges) are estimated to be released each year in Great Britain for shooting (the report does not cover reared quail, grouse or ducks ). The FAWC say that about half the pheasants reared and up to 90% of partridges are imported into Great Britain. These imports are mostly as hatching eggs, with a lesser number as day-old chicks from France.

Day-old pheasants are placed for rearing on about 400 farms in Great Britain for up to 7 weeks, prior to sale and release. Up to another 2,500 smaller premises with gamekeepers rear birds for their own estate. It is estimated that there are up to 7,000 shoots registered to release pheasants. Furthermore, there are up to 1,500 premises rearing partridges and 3,000 releasing them.

There is little information about survival of birds bred prior to shooting or the fate of those who escape the "sportsmen". It is said that some 2 Mn birds survive until the following spring.

Current legislation covering the business of rearing birds to shoot

European Directive 98/58/EC lays down minimum standards for the protection of animals bred or kept for farming purposes. Article 1(2) (b) states this Directive shall not apply to "animals intended for use in competitions, shows, cultural or sporting events or activities". This is claimed to exclude gamebirds destined for shoots from the protection of the Directive - even though they are kept under ostensibly farmed conditions on agricultural land.

In the UK this Directive is translated into domestic legislation as the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007 (with similar legislation in Scotland and Wales) in which a ‘farmed animal’ means an animal bred or kept for the production of food, wool or skin, or other farming purposes, but not including "an animal whilst at, or solely intended for use in, a competition, show or cultural or sporting event or activity."

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 (and similar legislation in Scotland) defines an ‘animal’ as a vertebrate other than a human and a ‘protected animal’ as one commonly domesticated in the British Isles, one under human control, whether on a permanent or temporary basis, or one not living in a wild state.

This should give farmed gamebirds protected animal status when they are under human control, even if they are not ‘farmed animals’ under the law. The lack of clarity in the law does not ever appear to have been tested at law.

Paradoxically gamebirds whilst in transit on journeys of more than 65 km is covered by the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 (and similar legislation in Scotland and Wales).

The Game Act of 1831 still applies in England and Wales - Scotland has different but essentially the same legislation which combine to impose close seasons for shooting.

A game licence is required, under the 1831 Act, in order to hunt game species. The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) suggested in 2005 that only around 40,000 guns (of the claimed 450,000 participants ) bother to buy a licence as the police rarely prosecute on a failure to have a licence alone.

Joan Ruddock, junior environment minister, announced in July 2007 changes to the Game Act the £7 Game licences will no longer be needed to shoot or sell pheasants and other game and there will be no restrictions on selling game birds and venison all year round - changes that came into effect on August 1st that year. Lord Rooker, the rural affairs minister, said: "Many of the laws surrounding game licensing are outdated and irrelevant. We don't need laws that were originally intended to stop peasants killing pheasants."

David Fursdon, the Country Landowners Association President, said: "The removal of these outdated laws shows that the Government takes both shooting and the game industry seriously, and that the announcement takes place at the CLA Game Fair highlights the significance of the announcement to all people interested in country sports. "

Given the low level of observation of the law the fee of £6 (+£1 admin fee) produced an income of £251,884 in 2006, whereas its administrative costs amounted to £307,732. Game fishermen continue to pay a licence fee of £61.25 and coarse fisherman £22.25.

Economics and costs of the gamebird industry in the UK

As many as 70,000 jobs are said to depend on the game shooting industry and shooting is quoted as being worth £1.6 billion to the UK economy which involves 480,000 people who entertain themselves by shooting live quarry (research commissioned by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) and the
Countryside Alliance). It is estimated that there are up to 7,000 shoots are registered to release pheasants and 3,000 for partridges.

Information supplied by the industry to FAWC that day-old chicks reared in Britain cost between 80 and 100 p each (but as little as 40 p each for French imports). Poults reared to 7 or 8 weeks of age are sold to shoots between £2.50 - £4.00. Prices have risen in the 2008 season in response to significant increases in feed prices.

Shot birds may be worth as little as 50 p each to the shoot for meat - although many shoots simply bury the shot birds as the costs of packing / distribution etc., cannot be covered by the price the food industry will pay for what is a very limited market for game.

New EU Food Hygiene Regulations came into into force on 1 January 2006. The Regulations cover the supply and handling of game meat and require that anyone supplying game to a registered game dealer will have had to undertake the necessary training to meet competent person status.

Meat Hygiene Service (MHS)data puts the total farmed game processed between July 2004 and June 2005 at 1.6 million units - this includes ALL game species including rabbits / hares .

A day's shooting can cost the "sportsman" between £25 and £40 per bird shot, although such prices vary widely. The cost of a day’s shooting varies between £100/gun for a smaller shoot,
to £1000s/gun on a larger shoot.

Welfare concerns in breeding gamebirds in the UK

FAWC identified a number of potential and actual welfare problems associated with the intensification of gamebird breeding and rearing in Great Britain.

Most of the welfare concerns relate to selection and sourcing of breeding stock, housing systems, confinement, transport, stockmanship and the use of various management devices and procedures, including:

1. Confinement of semi-wild species, either in open pens offering birds a challenging nvironment, exposed to adverse weather, or various cage systems offering a barren environment, restricting space and potentially the expression of normal behaviour;

2. Use of management devices, including bits, spectacles, and brailles;

Bit – a strip of hard material, usually plastic, fitted round the upper mandible, preventing the beak from closing.
Bumpa-bit – a plastic bit with an additional loop of plastic in front of the upper mandible.
Spectacles – flaps of plastic clipped to the top of the beak restricting forward vision.
Braille – Loop of canvas or similar material twisted into a figure-of-eight round the wing, restricting its full extension and, thus, flight.

3. Beak trimming instead of, or as well as, bitting;

4. Stockmanship, including training, record keeping, seeking of prompt vet-erinary advice and development of best practice;

5. Transport of day-old or rearing birds in vehicles, crates or other receptacles that may not be suitable;

6. Availability of licensed medicines to treat or prevent disease;

7. General biosecurity; and adaptation/acclimatisation of birds to outdoor conditions prior to and during release.

FAWC Recommendations

The report recommendations cover Paras 58 - 73 Including Banning beak trimming, use of Spectacles and research is required into the effects of bumpa-bits on the welfare and health of pheasants. Brailles for pheasants should only be used in open pens, where there is strong evidence that otherwise birds would be lost from these pens.

Barren raised cages for pheasants should not be used. If industry does not phase out barren cages then Government should act to ban them within five years from the publication of this Opinion.

Small, barren cages for breeding partridges should not be used, particularly to house birds continuously for three years.

Pics : November 4th was the first day of the "hunting" season Cyprus - the weekend saw thousands of "hunters" with their dogs dressed like war fighters shoot anything that moved. This loathsome fool was happy to swagger about to display his trophy and be photgraphed.

Macaulay said "the Puritans banned bear baiting, not because it pained the bear but because it gacve pleasure to the spectators". Anyone who kills semi-domesticated animals for "sport" is beneath contempt - one might as well justify abortion because it provides an income for the medical profession as justify shooting on the basis that it suports a wide rural industry to support the slaughter.

See also for more details - Friday, May 16, 2008 Pheasant Shooting - getting ready for the annual slaughter

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