"“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, December 06, 2008

Lord Levy WAS kidnapped

On Wednesday, July 12, 2006 we posted Lord Levy, kidnapped ...by the Met. in which we suggested ..

Lord Levy , a famous musicologist, specialising in primitive music (Alvin Stardust etc.,) has been arrested "in connection with the "cash-for-honours" inquiry " by the Metropolitan Police, whereby they provided massive cash "loans"(total £14 Mn.) to the New Labour Cheese and Whine Party in exchange for being called the husband of Lady Patel etc., immediately prior to an "election".

It is understood that the £16 Mn. in loans to the Conservative Party had nothing to do with Lord Levy, enquiries should be addressed to "Lord" Ashcroft c/o Hotel Splendido, Belize by the Sea.

Lord Levy will be returned in good working order to the Prime Minister by the Metropolitan Police if John Reid and his Rottweillers, the IPCC, the blogosphere, inquisitive journalists, lawyers acting for the de Menezes family, shut up and go away.

Lord Levy is 60. His favourite curry is, favour.

"Far fetched, preposterous, outrageous !" Tony Blair said in a heated telephone call to Lord Patel.

However in the Mail On Sunday today the money grubbing ,chiselling, now retired Plod, Tarique Garique explains why Blair took control of the cash for honours affair ..

" ... it was because the inquiry gave him leverage over the Home Office. He needed its ongoing support as he dealt with the aftermath of the de Menezes affair and, with cash-for-honours hanging over the Government for a year or more, nobody in Whitehall would want to antagonise him."

Ethanol Petrofuel mix - a user writes ....

Jay at the American Sentinel writes - If Corn Ethanol Is The Answer, What Is The Question?

He has kept careful records of the 10% ethanol mix fuel he uses. He claims his year long records show that for his sedan (make, model age not given), the mileage is down from 31 mpg to 30 mpg, about 3 %.

The recognised btu output-to-input ratio of corn ethanol is about 1.3 to 1, meaning that 7.7 gallons of petroleum fuel provides the same energy as 10 gallons of ethanol. (Remember he is using the US gallon = 3.79 litres - Imperial gallon = 4.55 litres)

The 90-10 brew he buys is therefore equivalent to 97.7 gallons of petrofuel.

If I simply used the 97.7 gallons of petrofuel, my sedan would run for 97.7 x 31 = 3028.7 miles. The 90-10 brew yields 30 x 100 = 3000 miles. That’s less.

He identifies driving as goal-oriented. Teenagers may drive around until the tank is empty, but most adults drive for specific purposes - - to get to work, to go to the store, and so on. The number of miles the average driver rolls each year is fairly predictable.

For example at 1,200 miles per month, that's 14,400 miles per year.

To go 14,400 miles at 30 mpg requires 480 gallons of 90-10 gas-ethanol brew or 468 gallons of petrofuel. To go the same 14,400 miles at 31 mpg on 100% petrofuel requires slightly more than 464 gallons.

He saves 4 gallons of petrofuel a year - he doesn't even mention the higher cost of the ethanol mix.

See - Thursday, October 04, 2007 US Ethanol glut, shuttered plants, shattered dreams
Tuesday, November 18, 2008 Pacific Ethanol adds to third-quarter loss

Plod gets new advice on Terrorism Act 2000, Section 44 stop and search procedures - get your free copy now ....

The well informed SpyBlog brings our attention to the publication by The National Police Improvement Agency, on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers of updated advice:
Practice Advice on Stop and Search in relation to Terrorism (.pdf)

They bring attention to the statement evidently from Orwell's Ministry of Truth :-

Every person searched under (Terrorism Act 2000 ) section 44 should be told explicitly that they are not suspected of being a terrorist.
Anybody who thinks they may be stopped and searched under Section 44 ( i.e : you intend to walk the dog, take photographs in the street, heckle Jack Straw , assassinate the Queen ) would be well advised to run off a copy and keep it handy.

Not only would it be helpful to check that anything Plod may :
1) Say
2) Do

... conforms to the Act and it's provisions . It might put them on notice that you are well equipped to deal with any such interference to your public progress - Section 2-8 on Photography is essential reading to any happy snapper.

SD Flash memory chip killed the Video tape

Sony has announced this week that it plans to close down its videotape manufacturing facility in the famous and ancient thermal Spa town of Dax, in the Landes region of France. The plant which has been in operation since opening in 1984 , will close by the end of March 2009.

The facility in Dax has 312 employees and produces approximately 8 million VHS video cassettes per month, they also manufactures 8mm and Betacam SP video cassettes in the Dax facility. The reason for the closure is given as the rise of disk- and chip-based recording technologies.

To add to their woes , the citizens watched the Guinness Premiership leaders London Irish smash Dax 38-0 at the Stade Maurice Boyau today , to celebrate three wins from three in Pool One of the European Challenge Cup - helped by a brace of tries each by famous Irish players Sailosi Tagicakibau and Alfredo Lalanne.

Tongan terror fighters leave Baghdad

The first deployment of 45 Tongan soldiers from the 450-member Tonga Defense Service arrived in Iraq in June 2004, provided security at Camp Blue Diamond in Ramadi, Iraq and they worked under the operational and administrative control of the U.S. 1st Marine Division.

This re-united the 1st Marine Division and the Tongan military who first served together during World War II, when they fought together during the 5 month long Battle of Guadalcanal in the first major offensive launched by Allied forces against the Empire of Japan.

The final and fourth deployment was 55 strong and deployed on August 18th last year provide security at the Multinational Force Iraq headquarters at Saddam's extensive and plush Al Faw Palace (The Water Palace) now housing the US military and called Camp Victory, close to Baghdad airport.

The Tongans departed last week, one of the remaining 18 countries of the "Coalition of the Willing" who are shutting down their operations swiftly and heading home before the U.N. mandate that allows them to deploy their forces in Iraq expires on Dec. 31.

They were followed by Azerbaijanis on Wednesday and South Koreans on Monday.

On January 1st only 6 nations will be left, the US the United Kingdom, Australia, El Salvador, Estonia and Romania.

The U.S. will stay on after Dec. 31 because they have a security agreement with the Iraqi Government that calls for a gradual withdrawal of its forces through until 2011. Iraq will treat the remaining 5,500 soldiers from the other five countries as advisers who will help train Iraqi forces and lead humanitarian missions.

The Tongan marines will be replaced by private guards from Uganda who are working for Tennessee based EOD Technology Inc., a U.S. security contractor with US$200MN. revenues in 2007 ...."In basketball terms, we’re a fast break oriented team."

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Nicolas Matern, who’s overseeing the drawdown of forces said Iraqi forces and private security companies will probably fill in for the departing coalition forces across the country.

Detroit gets it's Christmas present - US $25 Billion repayable loan (Ho.Ho.Ho.) to get them through till about Superbowl time.

Today's New York Times reports that , frightened shitless by the November unemployment figures, Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have , with the Chairman of the Senate banking committee, Democrat Christopher J. Dodd, colluded with Joshua B. Bolten, President Bush’s chief of staff, after helpful chats with the unbiquitous Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama’s chief of staff and even President-elect Barack Obama to cobble together a last minute , last ditch give away and Christmas present to Detroit.

With typical political financial legerdemain they have transformed an already but delayed pot of $25 billion in federally subsidized loans intended for developing fuel-efficient cars into ..er ... a "short term rescue plan"...which will eventually seee US$100 Bn + shovelled their way.

This unblocks the legislative Congressional log jam allowing Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., to request the remaining $350 billion of the financial industry bailout fund to squander as he chooses.

It seeems a good time to review Section 8 of the 3 Page bill Hank the Bank sent to Congress initially on September 20th 2008.

Sec. 8. Review.
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

It also seems a good time to re-publish this :

18/3/05 GM makes you sick - published 18th March 2005

“Detroit catches a cold the US gets pneumonia”. GM common stock today trades at 35% of its Jan 1 2000 value, over at Dearborn, Ford suffer even more, their stock has sunk to 25% of it’s millenial value.

The Asian cuckoos in the nest have prospered. Honda? Up 155% in the same period. Nissan? 190% and Toyota, GM’s major rival in the US home market 97%.

Wall Street scribes sneer that GM, Ford are welfare / pension businesses with a car plant attached – the lap dog media have an unholy alliance with the Detroit car makers that stifles criticism, shared by the Unions – It takes a lot of outside agitation before safety, legislative or environmental stories see the light of day.

Faced with slumping sales and market share, CEO of GM, Rick Wagoner reporting disastrous Q1 2005 figures this week said: “We have had an incentive-driven strategy that has been quite effective. That effectiveness has eased off. [Now] there will be more focus on value.” This is Detroit easyspeak for, “Well we’ve tried giving away the product, now we are going to spend more money on advertising”. A sure sign that if management ever understood the problems they long ago ran out of solutions.

GM’s flagship Chevrolet Silverado pick-up slipped by 1.4 per cent in the first two months of this year. By contrast, sales of Nissan’s new Titan made in Canton, Mississippi, soared by 55 per cent and Toyota’s Tundra made in Princeton, Indiana, rose by almost a third. Honda made their first motorbike in the US in Ohio 25 years ago and now have 12 North American plants. This year they launch the brand new Ridgeline truck made in Alliston, Ontario .

So if you have some money to invest, do you stick it in GM whose shares dropped 14% yesterday to $29 Mkt Cap $16.4 Bn or boost Milwaukee economy and stick it in Harley Davidson stock with Mkt Cap $17.7 BN – or go buy an Electraglide in Blue – priceless ?

The results for 1st Qtr of 2005 announced this week don’t encourage anyone to advise the widows and orphans to invest in GM. Warren Buffet certainly won’t be – at any price. They will lose $1.50 a share in 05 Q1 and “maybe” earn $1 a share this fiscal year 2005 against a recent January forecast of $ 4/5 a share.

GM’s sales are off 6.3%, profits 37% and market share below 25% for the first time since the 1930’s. Sports Utility Vehicles ( SUV ) sales dropped 37% in Q4 2004. Meanwhile Toyota’s US market share remorselessly rose from 12.1 to 13.1 % in 1st 2

Moody’s Credit rating of Baa2, puts GM just two notches above junk status.

Standard & Poor’s Rating Services “negative” from “stable.” GM’s BBB rating, one step above junk status.

Rumour says GM may get help from Washington to reduce health-care costs, which are expected to top $5.6 billion this year, up from $5.2 billion last – adding $1,500 to the ticket price of every vehicle they sell. GM has 430,000 North American retirees, 2 1/2 times its active workforce,

Demand is dead. GM’s North American production is down in Q1 2005 to 1.18 million vehicles, down 12% year on year.

GM, has $116 Bn of Bonds, the extra yield investors demand to hold GM’s 6.875 recent note maturing in 2011 over U.S. Treasuries has widened this week about 60 basis points to 3.85 percentage points.

U.S. crude oil futures ended at a new record price after the government reported a larger-than-expected drop in gasoline supplies last week. West Texas light for April delivery settled at $56.46, gaining $1.41, after soaring to an intraday peak of $56.50.

So what have GM been doing to increase fuel efficiency? Well fleet performance of GM cars has gone from 27.8 miles per US gallon to 28.8 mpg in the last 5 years and for light trucks 20.7 mpg to 21.2 (which includes a notional “E35 credit” for ethanol) says the Company 2004 Corporate Responsibility report. It explains “since 1990, new vehicle fuel economy has been relatively constant as consumers, reflecting increased disposable income and relatively low fuel prices, have not emphasized vehicles with high fuel economy”.

That’s it folks, it’s down to the consumers, faced with refinery shutdowns, declining oil resource, increasing oil imports from less stable political zones we did nothing. The dollar dives, the imports soar – and do you know, it’s the consumers fault – those wacky guys over at Toyota with their hybrids (sales over 500,000 worldwide as they lead the technology) and customer queues sneaking round the block, well, maybe they just got lucky.

GM has too many mouths to feed, too many brands / divisions and no vision. No hybrid vehicles just more gas guzzlers – the world has changed and they didn’t see it, not only high and rising gas prices but steel and oil based plastics etc., – so says Rick we’ll spend more on advertsing.

If you think GM is sick, if you think Ford is sick, look at Boeing, their stock dropped 3% when Continental (with unions rejecting a pay cut deal) threatened dropping orders for the Dreamliner 787, their trump card in the sales battle with Airbus. The composite construction Dreamliner with a rudder made in China, fuselage and wing bases in Japan, nose cone in Everett California, de-icing kit made in the UK is a throw in, the last chance saloon for a company who chucked out their CEO last week for romancing in the office.

US manufacturing industry has failed to understand and react to a rapidly changing world. Emboldened by the strident, pre-emptive, transformational world of the Bush imperialist gang, exporting by force of arms and bribery their distorted vision of democracy, their own has been disembowelled.

Black Monday II coming soon at a Stock Market near you.

UK Rail Freight business shrinks and so does the workforce

The Independent reports that rail union TSSA was told yesterday that 530 jobs are to be axed (10% of their workforce) at Doncaster based rail freight company EWS.

TSSA general secretary Gerry Doherty said: "EWS has told us that its work has fallen off the cliff in recent weeks. Virtually all steel and car transporting has come to a near standstill.

Gerry and and RMT transport union leader Bob Crow have asked for urgent talks with Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon to protect the long-term future of rail freight.

Curiously, no-one points out that EWS - is the now privatised BR Freight ( EWS is a contraction and acronym for English Welsh & Scottish Railway Ltd Registered number 2938988. Registered office 310 Goswell Road, London EC1V 7LW ) which has been 100% owned by Deutsches Bahn the German State Railway Company since mid 2007. see - Monday, July 02, 2007 Krauts undertake railway robbery in daylight - CPNI examines it's arsehole

The consequences for the MOD of their £28 million 4 year Strategic Rail Capability and Mainline Rail Freight Services haulage contract contract to EWS - including maintenance of the MoD's wagon fleet in October 2007 are not immediately evident .see Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Hitler's dream fulfilled - MOD relies upon Deutsches Bahn for transporting - on time, every time.

At the time Brigadier Jeff Mason, Defence Supply Chain Operations and Movements (DSCOM) Director, said :"The national railway network is a vital strategic transport asset for MoD. We will take full advantage of it under this contract to continue to move by rail a wide range of armoured vehicles and material. Moving these items by rail saves on road transport costs and exploits MoD's existing rail assets. It also meets the MoD's commitment to greener issues."

Friday, December 05, 2008

How Israel kills Palestinians with Remote Control Guns - shooting fish in a Barrel IDF style

The Israel Defense Forces have developed very accurate remote controlled automatic guns. Those on their Unmanned Stealth Boast can fire accurately regardless of the boat speed, pitch , yaw, roll and wave surface. see also here and here and here

The land based Seer System resembles a shoot 'em up video game.

This is no game and several of these systems have recently been installed and are in use , live, along the Israel-Gaza border. The video of the female operator is chilling - her unhurried , yet lethal operation, poise and perfect make up - ensures and maintains the disatnce from the blood and guts of actually blasting people to bits.

A report from the Association of International Aid Agencies (AIDA), " the situation in Gaza has deteriorated in a significant manner"

The virtual battle space is controlled (in a no doubt well fortofied zone) from at least a kilometre away.

A report from the Association of International Aid Agencies (AIDA), " the situation in Gaza has deteriorated in a significant manner"

Three days ago, Israeli air strikes killed two boys, both civilans , aged 17 and 15 and 2 others were wounded after an Israeli air force attack near Rafah, in southern Gaza.

"The Gaza power plant has been forced to shut down due to lack of fuel, and Gazans are now totally dependent on electricity generated from Israel, and to a lesser extent, from Egypt. There is also a chronic shortage of domestic cooking gas. Regarding essential food items, IOF have not permitted any consignments of flour to enter the Gaza Strip for one week, and current stocks are sufficient for just less than three days. Five of the six flourmills in the Gaza Strip have been forced to close. " Life under occupation

Additionally around 77 million liters of sewage water leak daily into the Mediterranean contaminating it and damaging fish resources.

West Bank Palestinians subject to constant attacks this week.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights reports : -

The IDF conducted 45 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and two into the Gaza Strip. During these incursions, Israeli forces abducted 28 Palestinian civilians, including a child. The number of Palestinian civilians abducted by Israeli forces in the West Bank since the beginning of 2008 stands at 2,261.

On Monday, December 1, Israeli forces extra-judicially killed a Palestinian from Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus. He was shot dead by an Israeli undercover unit, after he climbed into a vehicle belonging to the Palestinian Preventive Security Service (PSS), in order to be transported from his house to the PSS' headquarters. He was in the process of being granted amnesty by the Israeli forces. He was hit by several bullets, and Israeli forces later took him to Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus. Later, Israeli forces contacted the Palestinian Red Crescent Society to send an ambulance to transport his body.

His name was Mohammad Abu Thraa and was among those who received a formal pardon from Israel in return for spending time in a Palestinian Authority Al-Juneid prison. Nevertheless, Israeli forces were sent to his home , who killed him "since he resisted arrest".

Israeli forces have escalated arbitrary measures against Palestinian civilians in East Jerusalem to force them to leave the city. During the reporting period, Israeli forces demolished three houses in East Jerusalem.

Israeli forces also transformed four houses in Hebron into military sites during the reporting period.

Israeli settlers continuedattacks against Palestinian civilians and property they desecrated a mosque in Tormos'iya village north of Ramallah and uprooted 50 olive trees in Ras Karkar village near Ramallah - and presumably stole them.

If this interst you go to Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gaza: Silence is not an option - Richard Falk UN Rappoteur on Palestinian territories

Bright Source

Israel is a country run by genocidal psychopathic Zionists but it also produces scientists and technologists of the highest calibre.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner faces fourth (and final ?) delivery date, extended production dates, financing problems

The Wall Street Journal report today that Boeing (currently they are "reviewing schedules" ) will delay first deliveries of the 787 Dreamliner by at least six months. The current schedule is for initial deliveries to commence Q3 2009 but it faces many niggling production problems not least of which is the weight but also man and time absorbing software glitches and shoddy work from their many overseas and US based suppliers.

Boeing officials are expected to announce later this month that first deliveries may not occur until summer 2010, more than two years after the jet was originally scheduled to enter service.

Another delay would mark the fourth time that Boeing would have to tell the customers holding orders for almost 900 of the planes that it will be late. Each time, Boeing officials have made nice noises and assured customers and investors that the new schedule would be reliable, only to be subsequently surprised by new problems.

Dreamliner delays have also impacted the update to the 747 jumbo jet and serious problems of faulty fasteners on the 737 production line have caused huge problems, delays and lost production time.

In a recent interview, Virgin Atlantic Airways Chief Executive Steve Ridgeway voiced customers' growing frustration. "We're pretty fed up," he said. "We've got no clarity from Boeing."

Virgin was originally due to receive its first Dreamliner in 2011, but "we don't know how long the delay is now," Mr. Ridgeway said. He referred to the Dreamliner as "the world's rarest airplane."
There is a serious risk for Boeing that a further delay will also seriously upset customer airlines, leading to deferrals of orders or outright cancellations. The airlines most affected are those at the front of the line for 787 deliveries, Japan's All Nippon Airways , their rival Japan Airlines Corp and U.S. airlines Northwest, now part of Delta Air Lines Inc, and Continental Airlines Inc.

Expect a company jet to visit Washington real soon now and Boeing executives to demand plead for Federal funds as the recession hits air travel and the capacity of their customers to fund new planes .

Meanwhile here is a picture Toni Fabuloso took on board Lord Patel's personal Airbus 380 on our way to the opening of the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai ...

Jim Cramers stock picks Boeing (BA): "Boeing is the most worrisome stock in the Dow right now. I think they have nothing cooking over there, I say sell, sell, sell."

Curious coincidence - or - sinister symbolism ?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Where are they now ? No 456 - Erin Callan

Beautiful,blonde, lissom and lovely Erin Callan, Harvard, NY Law School, who became Lehman's Finance Chief and Exec VP in December 2007 is an Alpha female and got star treatment in the WSJ May 17th 2008 "Lehman's Straight Shooter"....

"42-year-old Ms. Callan is emerging as a galvanizing force at Lehman and a finance chief who topples much of the conventional wisdom about CFOs. She also is the highest-ranking woman on Wall Street. " She also is not trained in accountancy. She has a personal shopper at New York retailer Bergdorf Goodman - Tina Sussman who trucked racks of clothes to her 31st floor apartment at 15 Central Park West - where big swinging dicks like celebrity Hedge funder Daniel Loeb stopped the traffic when he paid $45 million for his Tower side pied a terre.

Lehman had announced selling US$7 Bn commercial mortgage debts, still leaving them with US$29.2 Mn - Ms Callan says they have taken a hit since the start of fiscal 2007 of US$3.5 Bn on commercial mortgages and cutely named "held-for-sale" assets ..bankers speak .. property that won't sell at any price.

Sassy superwoman Ms. Callan was provided with a very hard row to hoe.(See video of her front the Q1 results here with a very optimistic assessment of Q2)

She did of course have a nemesis bearing down on her Mr Einhorn of Greenlight Capital who is openly shorting Lehman stock appeared on CNBC May 27th with Maria Bartiromo suggesting that the Q1 results were a trifle Transparent Lite ™ and that losses were being pushed forward.

He claimed (quite correctly as we now know) that Lehman were over leveraged .He did, as one commentator said almost " flat out call Erin Callan a liar "

``We are nowhere near'' the end of the contraction that left Lehman with about $3 billion of writedowns and losses in the past year, Einhorn said May 28th in a Bloomberg Television interview. ``Lehman is undercapitalized. They continued doubling down as the credit crisis evolved.''

As Mr. Einhorn so elegantly put it at the time Ms Callan so prettily made the disclosures : “(Lehman) just raised $6 billion of capital that they said they didn’t need to replace losses they said they didn’t have.”

Erin becomes Lehman ex CFO

On June 12th as part of a shuffle of the pack at the top of Lehman, Erin Callan became ex CFO and rejoined (albeit very briefly) their Investment Banking Division in ...er...a .. er .. senior capacity.

Erin joins Credit Suisse

Anyway after a brief sojourn at the Hamptons, on July 15th Credit Suisse Group (CS) announced that the pretty lawyer with legsup to her armpits was to start as the new head of its investment bank’s global hedge fund business.

.."Credit Suisse today announced that Erin Callan will be joining the Bank as a Managing Director and Head of its Global Hedge Fund Business. In this newly created position, Ms. Callan will join the Investment Bank Management Committee and the Global Client Steering Committee. Her appointment is effective September 2, 2008 and she will be based in New York."
Credit Suisse announce major problems - cuts

Cuts sweep through Credit Suisse.
- Credit Suisse (CS) announced yesterday that they plan to cut 5,300 jobs, or 11% of its workforce, after losses of around 3B francs ($2.5B) in the first two months of this quarter (Q3). About 3,800 of the jobs will come from the investment banking unit, and the reductions will save the bank roughly 2B francs while putting a renewed emphasis on money-management for wealthy clients.

CEO Brady Dougan, who just six weeks ago said "we are the best capitalized bank in the world," said the cuts were necessary to help the bank "weather the continuing challenging market conditions." (cf John Fuld CEO Lehman Bros. March 17th 2008 ``Our liquidity position has been and continues to be very strong,'' )

The bank said its deposit base and funding remain 'very solid.' Dougan and senior executives Walter Kielholz and Paul Calello have agreed to forgo their 2008 bonuses. Shares -4.1% in Zurich, bringing the stock's losses this year to 61%.

Credit Suisse said earlier this week it will eliminate 650 employees in London which comes on top of 400 job cuts at its London offices earlier in the year. Daily Telegraph 4th Dec - Credit Suisse finally wakes up to the new world

Today’s announcement brings the total number of job cuts at Credit Suisse to 7,390, compared with 9,000 at UBS. UBS in October agreed to a $59.2 billion aid package from the Swiss government and the central bank to relieve it of risky assets, while Credit Suisse declined assistance.

Watch this space....

German male prisoners gain right to spend €25 a month on cosmetics

Prisoner S., is banged up for a 15-year sentence in the Bielefeld-Brackwede prison in Germany, for "severe crimes against property," and is about half way through his sentence.

He has chafed for some time that lady prisoners housed in a separate facility receive a €25 monthly allowance to spend on cosmetics. They also can use their own mobiles and are given €30 to spend making telephone calls.

The men, on the other hand, are only allowed to make phone calls under exceptional circumstances, and they are always monitored by prison staff.

The rules allow men to use money earned from prison work or small amounts received from relatives to buy toiletries, but all purchased items have to appear on a list approved by the prison. Dentures, glasses, and CD-players are all on the approved list - so are cosmetics -- but only for women. The rules don't allow women to get extra money from relatives to make telephone calls, however in practice this is generally ignored.

This gender inequality rankled with Prisoner S and he decided to file a complaint to the head of the prison authority citing Article 3 of Germany's constitution, which declares: "Men and women enjoy the same rights" and that "No one can be discriminated against or favored on account of his or her gender."

This Fletcheresque approach got short shrift from the head of the prison authority. In rejecting his request for equal treatment , he argued that the cosmetics allowance was justified given the "special circumstances of female incarceration" and that no infringement of rights had occurred because the rules corresponded to "the fundamental differences between women and men."

That didn't wash with prisoner S so he took his case to a district court in Bielefeld. Again his calls for equal treatment were rejected and the Judge ruled that the cosmetic allowance was simply the prison's way of following what is a "general custom" both within and "outside the prison." The ruling also determined that the greater "demand for cosmetics among women" corresponded to an "obviously greater 'natural' need."

So Prisoner S appealed to the appellate court in Hamm - again without success.

Finally his complaint reached the German Federal Constitutional Court,(Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) in Karlsruhe, the highest in the land. The sole task of this court is judicial review. It may therefore declare public acts unconstitutional and thus render them ineffective.

The court's jurisdiction is focused on constitutional issues, the integrity of the German Basic Law (Grundgesetz) and the immediate compliance of any governmental institution in any detail (article 1 subsection 3 of the Grundgesetz).

Prisoner S applied with a Constitutional Complaint (Verfassungsbeschwerde), as any person may file a complaint alleging that his or her constitutional rights were violated.

Providentially perhaps S's case was heard by Justice Gertrude Lübbe-Wolff (nominated to the court by the SPD) . She determined that equality between the sexes can only be abrogated in circumstances where "nature" makes it "absolutely necessary." The court did not feel that cosmetics and chatting on the phone satisfied this standard. The prison was "not free to choose" to keep the different sexes under unequal conditions.

Geschlechtsbezogene Zuschreibungen, die allenfalls als statistische eine Berechtigung haben mögen (Geschlechterstereotype), und tradierte Rollenerwartungen können danach zur Rechtfertigung von Ungleichbehandlungen nicht dienen.
S. didn't get everything he asked for however, the case for making telephones available, will go back to the district court, which will allow the prison to make an argument based on security concerns.

The cosmetics issue, has therefore been settled. Soon S. and his fellow inmates will be able to indulge in all the lipstick, wrinkle dissolving creams and perfumes that €25 a month can buy.

See - Bundesverfassungsgericht - Pressestelle -
Pressemitteilung Nr. 100/2008 vom 2. Dezember 2008
Beschluss vom 7. November 2008 – 2 BvR 1870/07 –

Gleichbehandlung männlicher und weiblicher Gefangener bei Telefongesprächen und beim Einkauf

Michael Todd R.I.P - further interest in his murder

Two excellent blogs have posted about the mystery of Michael Todd - the entertaining , original and well written Eclectic by Kate Smith -Michael Todd And The Men In Black

The Grough is a first rate blog for outdoor walkers that poses some interesting questions related to mountain rescue - The curious case of the cop, the Chinook and the men in dark suits

Our illustration is of the Advent calendar fromthe Greater Manchester Police website - click on each day to reveal a topical crime prevention message. Today's is :

Don't let thieves treat themselves to your Sat Nav for Christmas this year.

Make sure you remove all property when leaving your vehicle, including Sat Navs and their mounting cradles and wipe off any sucker marks from the dashboard or windscreen.

Michael Martin fingers Jill Pay in fancy dress party national security terrorist drama - Plod finds drugs

Plod, like God works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform.Two examples of how they seamlessly work protecting the public at a national and local level :-

The official hounding of of Damian Green and his Conservative friendly mole is a tale of threadbare patches. Final and full understanding plus informed comment awaits further and better particulars :

1. Sir David Normington, Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, has taken responsibility for calling in the police (although failing to tell his political masters) - there are rumours in the press that "national security" was claimed by him , to be at peril. Presumably there is some doucmentation which may / may not see the light of day.

2. Sir Paul Stephenson the the acting head of Scotland Yard, and applicant for the top job admits he personally sanctioned the actions taken - again some documentation which may / may not see the light of day.

3. Bob Quick Assistant Commissioner responsible for counter-terrorism at the Met , chairman of the ACPO-TAM committee and also a contender for the top job was placed in charge of the investigation. He sent some 20 of the Met's anti-terrorist unit to arrest an MP, root for hours in his house, constituency office and House of Commons office and have the House of Commos server either directly or by instruction altered to deny e -mail services on the MP's account is a mystery. Again some documentation may / may not see the light of day.

4. Jill Pay, Serjeant at Arms and career civil servant is approached inthe House of Commons some time prior to 7 am and a large , firm but polite policeman politely attempts to blag his way in, to examine an MP's office. She contacts her boss Michael Martin presumably on the sensible Civil Service , "Onward & Upward" ..above my pay grade Guv...

Quite who says what and to whom the result is that Jill Pay provides a written authorisation of some form (a letter - Dear Plod..do what you need in the cause of National Security etc.,).

Michael Martin never seems quite in grasp of affairs at 3 in the afternoon so in his Puginesque apartments, fiddling with a mutton chop and the Sun at 7 am one can readily understand that , as he admitted to the House yesterday he had failed to question the legality of the operation or even ask if the police had a warrant.

Again some documentation may / may not see the light of day.

5. Later in the day, no doubt armed with the Jill Pay document, purple gloves, camera etc., Plods arrive and start rooting.

6. At some time, recorded on fillum David Cameron's bag carrier Andrew Mackay, Senior Parliamentary and Political Adviser to the Conservative leader, timidly enters Mr Green's office and confronts the officers carrying out the search. He is politely told to get out - which he does. A police camera used to photograph evidence is clearly visible.

7. The Home Secretary will make a statement today.

8. Michael Martin in floods of tears desperate to save his skin after fingering Jill Pay pledged to set up a committee of seven experienced MPs to look into the seizure of Mr Green's papers, computer and mobile phone following his arrest in connection with the leaking of secret Home Office documents.

9. Ian Johnston, Chairman of ACPO Crime Committee and Chief Constable of the British Transport Police, was appointed by Sir Paul Stephenson on Tuesday to conduct an urgent review of ..."our decisions, actions and handling of the investigation to date and to provide me with an interim report within 7 days and a final report within two weeks. "

The relentless fight against home grown Cannabis sativa ....

The industry of growing high THC yielding srains of Cannabis sativa is national and it appears is so successfu that it will soon have supplanted imported supplies.

Capital costs for set up are small, rented premises of almost any form imagineable are rented, electricity is stolen and plants frequently tended by illegal immigrants (Vietnamese appear to have cornered the market).

In Rochdale the former premises of Rochdale Alternative Press (RAP - Thursday, February 28, 2008 " ..all he seems to have done is spanked a few bare bottoms" David Steel on Cyril Smith 1979 (probably identified by the thermal signature from overflying helicopter) has been revealed in the Rochdale Observer as one such thriving enterprise.

In raiding the premises , Officers seized over 500 plants, just days away from being harvested, which could have produced enough of the class C drug to fetch dealers tens of thousands of pounds on the streets of Rochdale.

Police Sergeant Jamie Collins, who was involved in Friday’s operation,"This was a highly fortified premises and a sophisticated set-up. Inquiries are still ongoing to trace the offenders."

Quite why they didn't set up remote CCTV observation (the equipment required is manufactured about 500 yards from these premises) and catch the perps red handed ......

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

David Abrahams allowed by the Party to party - just when they thought it was safe to go back into the bar

Michael Crick, Paxo's mucker on BBC2 Newsnight and persistent Man with the Mike tells a fascinating tale on his BBC blog of having bumped into shy, reclusive Mr David Abrahams at the Irish Embassy Christmas ceilidh last night. Those with a long memory might recall that Abrahams originally told the BBC he had "gifted funds to my friends and colleagues" so they could make donations on his behalf because he was a "very private person who did not seek publicity".

It was on the 27th November 2007 at his monthly press meeting, that Gordon Brown was able to tell us that Nu Labour wass to return donations totalling more than £650,000 which were not lawfully declared by Mr Abrahams. Gordon Brown after a 75 minutegrilling by the Press, had to admit he knew nothing at all about the donations until he was told about them.

Labour's General Secretary Peter Watt resigned the same day after admitting he knew of the arrangements under which the true source of the money was concealed.

This sighting of Abrahams cutting a rug in the centre of the spelndid embassy apartments, prompted Michael (who always looks as though he has picked up someone else's suit by mistake) to ponder about another Labour funding scandal relating to permatan, ex bank robber Peter Hain. He therefore pursued the CPS this morning. Their man told Crick that the 2 cases are "still under review", but he couldn't give any guidance as to when the CPS might come to a decision on whether to prosecute.

Abrahams claims that the police told his solicitor last March that he was "exonerated". So our indefatigable and curious reporter rang Abrahams solicitor Louis Charalambous, (Simons Muirhead & Burton, 8-9 Frith StreetLondon W1D 3JB - Email: louis.charalambous@smab.co.ukTel: (020) 3206 710 - who won the pools for Mr Murat in the McCann case) this morning, who confirmed to him "He will not face prosecution".

The CPS position on Watt is unknown.

It was of course at the time Gordon handed back Abrahams exceptionally generous donations that the then Labour' chairman Harriet Harman revealed that she had accidentally accepted a cheque for £5,000 during her campaign for the deputy leadership from a woman , Janet Kidd , who turned out, surprise, surprise, to be acting as an intermediary for Mr Abrahams. Mr Brown claimed he had "confidence" in Ms Harman, who released a statement admitting she had accepted a £5,000 donation "in good faith" from Mr Abrahams' secretary Janet Kidd without knowing it was being given on behalf of the property developer.

So that's alright then ... good job Plod didn't come calling and decide to riffle through her dawers for evidence. Who knows what he might have found.

UPDATE : Friday 5th December 11.00 GMT - By extrordinary co-incidence the CPS has decided there is no case for P Hain to answer. Case dropped. BBC

Weeping crowds in City as New Star shareholders lose everything...

New Star Asset Management shares, which have fallen nearly 70 % since Monday, ended the day down 30 per cent at 4¾p.... " one of the leading brands in the retail fund management industry as well as a significant player in fund management of institutional funds and alternative investments. This has been achieved by employing talented and experienced people across all our activities..." as their website boasts.

One of the UK's ..er...star fund managers, (in a statement made after the market closed) has agreed a deal with its bankers including HBOS, Lloyds TSB, HSBC and RBS, will cancel £240m of New Star’s £260m debt in return for a 75 per cent stake, leaving existing shareholders with only a quarter of the business.

The lenders will cancel £240m of New Star’s £260m debt in return for a 75 per cent stake, leaving existing shareholders with only a quarter of the business.

New Star’s high-profile founder and chairman John Duffield will stay with the company, while current fund managers will be encouraged to stay with a 5 per cent issue of ordinary shares at their diluted price.

New Star will also issue £100m of new preference shares, of which the banks will take up £94m with £6m available as an incentive for some "key" employees / directors.

The lenders hope that thhere won't be rush for the door by the underperforming fund managers, who have been previously been paid bonuses in (now worthless) stock options. .

Earlier in the day New Star’s rival, Neptune Asset Management,said they could be interested in buying part or whole of the company.

Management maestro and founder of New Star , John Duffield , 68, whose ex wife,Vivien, daughter of the late property tycoon Sir Charles Clore, described him as 'a wonderful fund manager but a lousy husband' wasn't to be found today at his usual table in Signor Sassi's, the Italian restaurant just across from the Knightsbridge offices of New Star.

New Star .. more like Black Hole.... but then CEO Howard Covington, was educated as a theoretical physicist and tinkers with quantum physics at weekends in his garden shed.

UPDATE Thursday 12.00 GMT : NYT today
Fortress, the Hedge Fund, Is Crumbling
"On Wednesday, Fortress’s shares fell 25 percent to $1.87, a new low, after the company temporarily suspended withdrawals from its largest hedge fund. Investors had asked to withdraw $3.51 billion from the money-losing fund, Drawbridge Global Macro."

Drug Addiction and treatment - Huge expenditure and zero success.

Sir Gus O'Donnell, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service has been handing out the awards and generally beaming and backslapping in the second Civil Service Diversity and Equality Awards ceremony in Birmingham.

One recipient is Senior officer Fiona Brown, HM Prison Service, Wakefield. Fiona Brown has worked on projects with elderly and disabled inmates, including a new scheme to promote a healthier lifestyle. More here.

Without wishing to divert attention or indeed praise for the efforts of Fiona Brown and her hard working colleagues one might just wish to review again a report that was published in March this year Reducing Drug Use, Reducing Reoffending. - Are programmes for problem drug-using offenders in the UK supported by the evidence?

• At least 1 in 8 arrestees (equivalent to about 125,000 people in England and Wales) are estimated to be problem heroin and/or crack users, compared with about 1 in 100 of the general population.

• Between a third and a half of new receptions to prison are estimated to be problem drug users (equivalent to between 45,000 and 65,000 prisoners in England and Wales).

• Drug-related crime costs an estimated £13.5 billion in England and Wales alone.

Page 8 has the heading - What interventions are in place within the uk for problem drug-using offenders? and has 2 very depressing and revealing facts

• The budget for adult drug interventions within the Criminal Justice System (CJS) was over £330 million in England and Wales in 2006/07. Investment in prison treatment in England and Wales has increased from £7 million in 1997/98 to £80 million in 2007/08.

• The Drug Interventions Programme (DIP) was established in April 2003, and by January 2008 over 3,750 offenders a month were entering treatment through the programme.

There are many different types of provision for drug using inmates in Engalnd and Wales (see table Page 10)

Maintenance prescribing
The Integrated Drug Treatment System (IDTS)
CARAT (Counselling, Assessment, Referral, Advice and Throughcare) teams
Drug-free wings and voluntary testing programmes
12-step treatment models
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
Short Duration Programmes (SDPs)
P-ASRO (Prison – Addressing Substance Related Offending)
Therapeutic communities
The Enhanced Addictions Casework Service (EACS)
Methadone prescribing

The 80 page report from the UK Drug Policy Commission offers this bleak conclusion :

... we cannot say what the overall impact of CJS interventions has been aswe do not know the extent to which drug-using offenders would have accessed treatment in other ways. There is also no evidence that allows reliable comparisons of the effectiveness or value for money of different interventions or identifies those offenders that would benefit most from different programmes.

Page 25 - et seq

Drug use, and in particular problematic drug use, causes extensive harm to individuals and communities. It has been estimated that in 2003/04 the economic and social costs associated with Class A drug use in England and Wales were about £15 billion, with drug-related crime responsible for 90%(£13.5 billion) of this. Overall, problem heroin and crack use accounted for 99% of the total cost.
It is impossible to obtain reliable figures on the number of habitual drug users kicking the habit as a result of any of the current schemes for their rehabilitation. Figures of 3% are considered privately to be probably accurate. It provides a lot of employment for drug workers and academic researchers however - the above report concludes (amazingly) that more research is required.

The principal justification is that by treating / providing it helps the drug abuser from other forms of crime reflected in lower recorded crime levels.

Is it possible we have our priorities wrong ? Perhaps a prize of considerable monetary value to the staff of the prison that acheives the greatest success in getting inmates to kick the habit by going cold turkey ?

.... and improved controls over the way drugs find their way into prisons.

The Australian Experience

"Drug addiction has become a major taxpayer-funded industry in this country," says a former drug squad detective, John Doran. "If you calculate the costs of education, policing, courts, counselling, rehabilitation, methadone programs, ambulance and hospital emergency treatment for addicts and their robbery victims, the list and the costs go on and on …

"I found that drug addicts crave attention from, and seek to manipulate, police, welfare agencies, counsellors, health professionals, lawyers and courts. They receive immense personal attention under the current system, once they come into the system, despite being the architects of their own disasters."

See Romancing OpiatesPharmacological Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy, by Theodore Dalrymple,(Amazon) a doctor and social commentator who reached exactly the same conclusions. Dalrymple, a practising doctor of medicine , argues that addiction is not a disease, that withdrawal (cold turkey) from opiates is not a serious medical condition, and criminality is the cause of addiction far more often than addiction is the cause of criminality.

Windesal is a South Australian start up company that claims to offer a packaged "solution for Environmental Sustainability in the 21st Century" which, "meets the challenges of a world seeking technologies to sustain life with minimum enviromental impact". They say it ideally suited to coastal communities and remote areas .

The package is :
1. Standard Diesel generators (gensets) , powered by fossil / biofuel mix ( Australian Federal Government legislation prohibits claiming the Diesel Rebate on any fuel with a bio-diesel content of over 20%).Methane / Natural gas is an option.
2. Wind generators of standard design.
4. Energy management package that uses typical gensets that are modified in our factory to incorporate a low-load and fast start-up capability. These are fully controlled by our computer controlled switch gear. Turbine overproduction is controlled by a thermal dump-load.
5. De-salination using standard commercial reverse osmosis technology with a claimed output to over 55,000m3/day (55ml/d). This is from 1gigal to 20gigal per annum.

The 2 outputs are, A) drinkable water (ice if required to cool the beers) and B) an intermittent supply od electricity to local industry / domestic needs / Grid.

This is based apparently on a unique , patented stand-alone power station had been developed in 1993 by the Danish RISO Laboratory and which has been adopted by a group of Adelaide businessmen who in 2007 recognised the potential of the technology.

Cleantech 08 Top 100 Private Company in the World in the Water Technology and Water Management section and Winner of the News Ltd Australian Solution Award.

If you want more information contact David Handyside, Development Director tel +618 8260 8202fax +618 8260 8100 mob +61 418 820 470 david@windesal.com
Innovation HouseTechnology ParkMawson LakesSouth Australia, 5095

Reverse osmosis is a very energy hungry and thus an expensive method of des-salinating water - widely used on ships . Two large units have just been ordered for the Royal Navy's Aircraft Carriers which may or may not be built.

As land based wind powered generators can reasonably expect a maximum of 30% utilisation and very high capital costs, this, whilst a green / clean solution looks like being a very expensive solution - certainly of interest in very remote areas - where supplies of diesel / biofuel are available readily.

The Secret State - how and why it leaks

Dr David Lowry's comments on a tedious article in the Guradian today by Marcel Berlins about the Damian Green affaire ..it is worthy of wider publication.

"In the 1990s I worked as a researcher for a Labour backbencher, Llew Smith, then MP for Blaenau Gwent, and who, like his predecessor as MP for the constituency, Michael Foot, was an inveterate and high profile peace campaigner.

It was probably because of his well known public stance towards the first war with Iraq in 1991, that Mr Smith was anonymously sent in 1993 what were apparently private papers from the Ministry of Defence outlining health concerns over the use of organophosphates (OPs) - known to be toxic chemicals - to line tents pitched by the British armed forces, to keep way dangerous desert insects.

Mr Smith submitted a series of parliamentary questions to defence ministers seeking to clarify the knowledge the MOD had of the potential health hazards, at a time when serious concerns were being raised by returning soldiers and medical auxilaries over a debilitating illness dubbed 'Gulf War Syndrome.'

In a series of subsequent written answers, defence ministers denied MOD knowledge of OP use in the Gulf conflict. Cross-bench peer, The Countess of Mar, meanwhile, had been pursuing a similar line of enquiry in the Lords. (see House of Lords debates, 4 December 1996, columns 663-666,

Mr Smith persisted for 18 months Parliament in pressing ministers, and eventually, in December 1996, the then Conservative Minister of State for the Armed Forces, (now Sir) Nicholas Soames, told Parliament in an oral statement :

"The House will recall that I made it public on 4 October that there had been wider use of organophosphate chemicals in the Gulf than had previously been thought, or than we had previously been advised. I have already apologised to the House for that, and expressed my profound regret and anger that that ran counter to earlier information given in utmost good faith by Ministers in answer to parliamentary questions. I unreservedly do so again. I subsequently told the House that a comprehensive investigation had been commissioned to discover the facts, and I promised to report the outcome as soon as it was known."
(Hansard, 10 December 1996, columns 119-23)

see also 22nd November 2008 Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Afghanistan. Why the RAF are calling in the Tornado GR4's and replacing the Harriers .... or maybe not which provides details of how Mark Lancaster (Con. Milton Keynes TD) harried the Minister over the replacement of Harriers by Tornado's in Afghanistan .

It was evident that he was quoting from very detailed information (it appears supplied by serving militiary and probably a constituent) not supplied by the MOD .. but not questioned by the Minister. eg :-

"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."

Leaking is, in Plod talk, the MO of MP's. Was, is and forever will be.

UPDATE : Dr Lowry also provided an identical comment on an article in the Times Blogs on 28th November providing a list of famous leaks which included :- The Times Jan 4th 1988

"Sources did confirm, however, that the memorandum from Mr Anthony Kesten, a senior official in the department's official Research and Technology Policy Unit, was genuine. They also indicated that a high-level internal inquiry is likely to begin today into how the document came to be passed to Mr Gordon Brown, opposition Treasury spokesman."

UPDATE : BBC Sir Paul Stephenson of the Met tells a Press Conference that Green's office and home were searched under a warrant (presumably issued by Magistrates) and that the Seargeant at Arms provided written permission to search the HOC. Why has it taken so long to reveal this - surely the person arrested should eb informed if no one else.

Odetta - Voice of Civil Rights Movement dies aged 77

Odetta Holmes Felious Gordon was a remarkable voice in American folk music since her solo debut in San Francisco in 1949. She was born in Birmingham, AL, in 1930, and lost her father at a young age. Her mother remarried and gave the children their stepfather's name, Felious.

At age six, Odetta's family moved to Los Angeles where she began to study music seriously at age 13. While studying opera at Los Angeles City College, friends introduced her to folk music.

After starting her career in San Francisco clubs she moved to New York in 1953. Harry Belafonte was one of the first to discover and promote her. He included her in a major TV special that boosted her career.

Odetta's style is said to have inspired Joan Baez and Bob Dylan at the start of their careers. Belafonte credits her with teaching him about the use of dramatic interpretation in song. In 2005 Martin Scorcese direced a documentary film No Direction Home, hoghlighting her impact on the young Bob Dylan.

Her first solo album, “Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues,” resonated with an audience hearing old songs made new.

Bob Dylan, referred to her record “Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues,” in a 1978 interview with Playboy, “The first thing that turned me on to folk singing was Odetta.” He said he heard something “vital and personal.”

Probably better known to a wider audience for having marched with Martin Luther King and lent her prodigious voice to the American civil rights and social justice movement - and was subsequently named as Voice of Civil Rights Movement.

Odetta sang at the march on Washington, a pivotal event in the civil rights movement, in August 1963. Her song that day was “O Freedom,” dating to slavery days: “O freedom, O freedom, O freedom over me, And before I’d be a slave, I’d be buried in my grave, And go home to my Lord and be free.” The New York Times wrote. "Odetta's great, full-throated voice carried almost to Capitol Hill."

Rosa Parks, who started the boycott of segregated buses in Montgomery, Ala., and decisive figure in the Civil Rights movement was once asked which songs meant the most to her. She replied, “All of the songs Odetta sings.”

Odetta died aged 77 of heart disease Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan yesterday.

Odetta had hoped to sing at the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, although her manager Doug yeager said she had not been officially invited... no doubt a fulsome tribute will be published by the President Elect in good time.

Economic Cycles - this one is going downhill

In the 3 months ending August the heavily re-jigged figure for total unemployment rose by 154,000 - the fastest rate for 17 years .

The total jobless provided by the Office for National Statistics is now 1.79 million and the national rate of unemployment rose to 5.7%, up from 5.2% in the previous quarter.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance rose by 31,800 to 939,900 in September.

British manufacturing shrank in November at the fastest rate since the figures began being collected in 1992.

The Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 34.4 from October's figure of 40.7, which was both the lowest level and biggest fall recorded by the Index.

The Bank of England will reduce base rate on Thursday .... then what do they do ?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

There is a small flaw in your argument Baldrick ...

Anonymous comments at Guido Fawkes ...

Just been watching Bangkok Airport on TV. If we occupy Heathrow will we get rid of Brown in a week?

Now there's a thought ... but who replaces him ?

9/11, Madrid, 7/7, Bali, Mumbai ..expecting the unexpected

Tomi Ungerer was a commercial artist with leftist intent who prospered in the 60's and produced many of the iconic anti-war poster images.

He created a created a campaign for the New York Lottery ..."Expect the Unexpected" which they never used but was tweaked to promote the Village Voice.
It may well be, post 9/11 and the War of Terror a suitable brand tag for the unexplained and inexplicable things that happen violently in the world.

President Asif Zardari of Pakistan was in New York the weekend of September 26th / 27th September. To pass the longeurs of the weekend he called in on CIA Director Michael Hayden who was passing through New York. Nobody but them knows what they discussed but maybe they chatted about the ideas Hayden put forward to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for “Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) reform” in July.

Maybe they talked about the unexpectedly warm fall weather , prospects for quail.

One result appears to have been that on 29th September , Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha replaced Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj as director general of (ISI).

Taj, a Musharraf relative and appointee, got an Irishman's rise and is now heading Gujranwala’s XXX Corps.

Lt. General Pasha, remarkably, just promoted from major general, had been director general of military operations (DGMO). As such , he headed the Pakistan Army’s operations in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and so his appointment would not indicate any change in the military establishment’s war on terror policy.

Pasha has also represented Pakistan at the tripartate commission meetings and served as UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s adviser on peacekeeping operations.

The Pakistan Army simultaneously announced some other senior personnel changes. Perhaps the most significant is the appointment of Lt. Gen. Tahir Mehmood as corps commander in Rawalpindi — the second most critical position, behind chief of army staff, for any coup.

The new corps commanders for Bahawalpur and Karachi are, respectively, Lt. Gen. Muhammad Yousaf and Lt. Gen. Shahid Iqbal. Lieutenant General Mohsin Kamal, formerly Rawalpindi corps commander, has been appointed military secretary at GHQ.

As Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Kayani (who became head of the army last November when President Pervez Musharraf stepped down from his military role)met with Prime Minister Gilani on the Monday an announcement was made that some senior officers were scheduled for retirement that weekend.

As head of ISI, General Pasha will be dealing directly with the Central Intelligence Agency and will have to handle Washington’s concerns over Taliban and Al Qaeda forces staging attacks against American troops in Afghanistan.

The appointment of General Pasha came two months after the new civilian government tried but failed to wrest control of the spy agency from the army, which has always run it.

The well informed English language newspaper Dawn said that Kayani , “has put in place a new team to implement his vision for reviving the prestige of the armed forces and for enhancing the security of the state.”

It was no surprise therefore when in early November General Pasha, visited Washington for talks with America's top military and spy chiefs, and everyone seemed to come away smiling.

Probably celebrations were hedl to mark the decease of Khalid Habib, who was said (by the CIA at least) to be al Quaeda's deputy chief of operations. On October 16th he was reported killed. The CIA had been gunning for Habib for several years, including a January 2006 Predator attack that produced false reports that he had been killed.

This is seen by some observers as evidence since General Pasha' s promotion of growing and clandestine cooperation between the United States and Pakistan on the Pakistan / Afghanistan border which U.S. intelligence officials now regard as the crucial front in the war on terrorism.

It is also said to be concrete evidence that Sirdari's chance encouter with Michael Hayden resulted in a secret agreement for coordination of both intelligence and further Predator attacks and a jointly approved list of high-value targets ( Gulbuddin Hekmatyr, the Haqqani family and clan, Mohammad Omar and Baitullah Mehsud) . This is said to signify a recognition by Zardari government, and Gen. Kiyani, that the imminent threat to Pakistan's security comes from Islamic terrorists rather than from arch-rival India.

Fast forward Mumbai

We may never fully grasp who were the planners / funders / traners / facilitators of the audacious and highly successful terror attacks in Mumbai. A great deal of misinformation has been spread bith by invention, uninformed officials, and my malicious intent to obfuscate.

There has however been a leitmotif to sell the attack to the US public as yet another front in the War of Terror. Joe Biden in his acceptance speech on August 27th , as Barack Obama's running mate said (text npr) ;

"As we gather here tonight, our country is less secure and more isolated than at any time in recent history.... the resurgence of fundamentalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the real central front against terrorism."
He went on to be more specific ...

"The fact is, al-Qaida and the Taliban — the people who actually attacked us on 9/11 — have regrouped in those mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan and are plotting new attacks."
On Thursday, October 6, 2005 Mayor Bloomberg at a press conference said a "credible threat" has been made against the subway system of New York City. NYPD and National Guard presence, as well as the terror alert level, was been increased.

During a press conference, Mayor Bloomberg stated that an unidentified news outlet knew about the threat as many as two days in advance, but did not release the story to the public for security reasons, and that the threat seems to have originated from abroad.

While New York was on high-alert The Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Russ Knocke down-played the risk, "the intelligence community has concluded this information to be of doubtful credibility. We shared this information early on with state and local authorities in New York"

CNN ran a story the same day that stated "According to law enforcement sources, the information garnered from the individual in Iraq claimed that a group of 15 to 20 people were in the United States to carry out the attacks in the New York metropolitan area."

They also reported that this announcement of a possible attack on New York's subway system had prompted San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit to raise its alert, from orange to "enhanced orange,"on the Friday. ( as they helpfully pointed out the 7th 3 months to the day after the Lonon 7/7 attacks)(?)

The Hindustan Times on November 28th , reported that again Mayor Bloomberg had put the city's underground metro system on high alert following the horrific terror attack in Mumbai.

The decision to put the underground metro system on high alert was taken after New York received reports of potential terrorism threat.

"Just today, we dealt with an unsubstantiated report of potential terrorism here in New York. This report led the New York Police Department to take precautionary steps to protect our transit system, and we will always do whatever is necessary to keep our city safe"

President George W. Bush issued a statement on Friday 28th November , saying the wounded were in his thoughts and prayers.

"My Administration has been working with the Indian government and the international community as Indian authorities work to ensure the safety of those still under threat. We will continue to cooperate against these extremists who offer nothing but violence and hopelessness."
White House Spokeswoman Dana Perino said senior administration officials met Friday afternoon and focused on ensuring everything possible is being done to help American citizens affected by the attacks.(Fox)

On introducing Hilary Clinton as his choice for Secretary of State President elect Barack Obama carried on the the theme...

And as we learned so painfully on 9/11, terror cannot be contained by borders, nor safety provided by oceans alone.

Last week, we were reminded of this threat once again when terrorists took the lives of six American among nearly 200 victims in Mumbai. In the world we seek, there is no place for those who kill innocent civilians to advance hateful extremism.

We'd all better get ready to expect more of the unexpected....

Heading them off at the Pass. Ian Johnstone selected to put the fires out over hounding Damian Green

In a statement this morning, the Acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, getting his defence in early , Sir Paul Stephenson, said:

"I am properly concerned about the issues being raised within the continuing debate surrounding the ongoing investigation into the leaking of Government information. "

"I have therefore appointed Ian Johnston, Chairman of ACPO Crime Committee and Chief Constable of the British Transport Police, to conduct an urgent review of our decisions, actions and handling of the investigation to date and to provide me with an interim report within 7 days and a final report within two weeks. "

"In the meantime the investigation team will be meeting with the CPS to review progress and consider next steps."

In 1998 Mr Johnston (now 63) was chosen by the Met to make its formal apology in court to the Lawrence family, for the handling of the investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence. Guradian

The Times reported December 18th 2007 that Ian Johnston was / is picking up a six-figure salary and a full pension after retiring six years ago then returning to work as a chief constable.

Ian Johnston, who leads the British Transport Police (BTP) and is a national police spokesman on organised crime, is the highest-paid officer in the country with an estimated pay-and-pension package of £260,000 a year.

According to the force’s 2006-07 accounts, Mr Johnston, 62, is paid £190,000-£195,000 by the British Transport Police. He became chief constable of the force in May 2001, the year that he retired as an assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard. The Times has estimated that his annual pension is in excess of £70,000 – two thirds of the salary for an assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard when he stepped down.

During last year Mr Johnston claimed expenses of £6,964.40 – considerably higher than the £5,000 per annum that led to an audit of a senior Scotland Yard officer’s expense claims last month.

The British Transport Police is unlike most Police forces, and does not report to the Home Office.
His force, which is responsible for policing the railway network across Britain, falls under the control of the Department for Transport and has a separate pension scheme.

Mr Johnston is also a lead spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers. He represents the police on issues including forensic science, organised crime, drugs, firearms, fraud and violent crime.

We cannot report which Lodge he is with.

UPDATE : BB4 Radio News confirmed this at 10.00 am

UPDATE Independent 10.30

In a statement, kebab guzzler Jacquie Smith (still, amazingly Home Secretary) is reported issuing a statement (not available on Home Office website)

"I welcome Sir Paul's appointment of Chief Constable Ian Johnston to conduct a review of the Metropolitan Police Service's decisions, actions and handling to date of the ongoing investigation into the leaking of Government information. "

"In view of the gravity and sensitivity of this ongoing investigation, I spoke to Sir Paul yesterday to seek his assurance that the investigation was being pursued diligently, sensitively and in a proportionate manner. Sir Paul informed me of his intention to conduct a review of the handling of the case, which I welcomed. "

"I reiterated my support for the police's operational independence from political interference. "

"No-one should seek to prejudice a police investigation in any way. These are very serious matters, and the police should be free to pursue their investigations without fear or favour."

Boris Johnson also welcomed Mr Johnston's appointment: "I welcome Sir Paul Stephenson's sensible appointment of Ian Johnston to lead a thorough review of the handling of the investigation and arrest of Damien Green MP.

"It is right that someone independent (?!) should look closely at how the police conducted this investigation and whether the actions and decisions they took were proportionate and necessary and I am pleased at the common sense approach this represents."

Monday, December 01, 2008

Damian Green - the FIX IS IN - Harriet Harman organises a very secret "face saving / arse covering " meeting at Palace of varieties Westminster

Call us picky but Iain Dale's choice of Rachel from North London in his Top 50 Political Blogs is somewhat suspect as her last post was nearly a month ago - but then it's not what you know ...

He has however done democracy a service and he or the agents he has evidently been grooming - a key public official who has intercepted and re-directed a fascinating e-mail from Harriet Harman's office announcing a meeting taking place tomorrow (Tuesday) which she has rather hurriedly organised.(Poor quality image of e-mail (if genuine) at Dale's Blog)

Those receiving the offical e-mail include Jacqui Smith (the lying bitch is currently and remarkably still Home Secretary) and war criminal Jack Straw, as well as arse lickin' finger lickin' Cabinet Secretary Gus O'Donnell, the rather stupid Jill Pay, the Serjeant at Arms and the Parliamentary Clerk, Malcolm Jack and the Speaker's Office who are asked to send someone along ... time not yet arranged.

HH has attached an interesting and it appears sole agenda item :

The official line from Lord Patel is that Damian Green should be charged at once with conspiracy, grooming, being unkind to Lord Mandelson, whatever ... etc., The prospect of seeing a jury of his peers vote 12-0 to acquit will be worth the cost to public funds... unless he gets Julian Bevan QC as his brief in which case he would be doomed.

PS : At the close , the pound was down 5.2 cents to $1.486, the largest one day fall since sterling crashed out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) in 1992 the FTSE fell sharply - down 5.2%.
Our panel of economic experts have no explanation.

UPDATE : Tuesday 6.00 GST The Daily Mail reports Home Office permanent Secretary Sir David Normington received a call at 1.45pm last Thursday saying Mr Green was about to be targeted. He asked a private secretary to inform Miss Smith, but she could not be reached.
Five minutes later a series of co-ordinated raids began on properties used by Mr Green in Kent and London.

The Home Secretary, was finally contacted on her mobile phone at 2.15pm, sources (?) said sometime it seems after David Cameron and the Mayor of London were warned.

Mrs Sharon Shoesmith sacked after Balls gets "devastating" fast track report on Haringey

Mrs Sharon Shoesmith (Haringey's Director of the Children and Young People's Service since April 2005 following two years as the Director of Education. )was at Ascot last year on October 13th ten weeks after Baby P died. She was a guest of Willmott Dixon, one of Britain’s largest privately owned construction, housing, property care and investment companies.

After taking receipt of what he called a "devastating" review of Haringey's failures,working class hero Ed Balls, the Children's Secretary, said that Mrs Shoesmith was to be replaced as part of a shake-up of the Haringey management team. Although he does not have the power to fire her, he said that Haringey Council would remove her from her post. Times

A senior council official, who asked not to be named, said: ‘No one expects her to survive this, but she will be difficult and expensive to get rid of.’ Daily Mail

Keep an eye on the Partnership Board of Research Practice (RIP)- "supporting evidence-based practice with children and families" where Mrs Shoesmith is currently a member.

PS : Capita website
In April 2003, Capita's Interim Director of Education, Paul Roberts, (formerly the Director of Education in Nottingham City) was succeeded by a permanent Director of Education, Sharon Shoesmith (formerly Her Majesty's Inspector (HMI)). Sharon was the Interim Deputy Director (School Improvement and Inclusion) employed by Capita but was appointed to the permanent post of Director following a national advert and recruitment process. She will continue to be employed by Capita until its contract with Haringey ends in August 2004 and will then transfer to the Council's employment.

UPDATE : Nesnight have the unbiquitous, sinister and sweaty Michael Gove who reveals that Haringey provided false / fraudulent information for their OFSTED report - and called reasonably for the main forensic report into Baby P to be published .

He also applauded very generously (and he deserves it) Ed Balls very swift and decisive action.

All this goes back to the case of Maria Colwell killed by her stepfather in Brighton, 1973 when this , "would never happen again".

UPDATE : Tuesday the above web page from Willmot Dixon is still there ... probably worth asking them how many more highly paid Local Government officers have enjoyed their hospitality at Ascot and eslewhere.

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