Linz 2009 - European Capital of Culture takes up the baton from Liverpool. An amusing graphic period and apostrophe is the simple and elegant logo, available from the main website on 37 different clothing items.
The website is packed with information and well worth looking at.
Much taken by tours of Linz on Segways.
"They roll by the city. Nearly silent, as if floating. The Segway is balanced and steered by emission-free electrical motor, the most intuitive movement for progress in the world."
No doubt you won't be able to keep Tessa Jowell and the repulsive cross dresser Andy "wee" Burnham away, as they "learn lessons" and prepare to piss away yet more millions on Olympic inspired Kulchural events.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Linz 2009 - European Capital of Culture takes up the baton from Liverpool. An amusing graphic period and apostrophe is the simple and elegant logo, available from the main website on 37 different clothing items.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Obama's Mansion at 5046 S. Greenwood - who paid for it / Who owns it ? Who pays the taxes ? What land trust ?
We wish to apologise, first to our readers and secondly to the President - Elect for having provided false information about the Mansion at 5046 S. Greenwood, in Chicago where the Obama family have lived since 21st June 2005.
It now appears from records unearthed by World Net Daily that this is not in fact owned by Mr or even Mrs Obama, nor their 2 sweet children.
William Miceli is a lawyer at the Chicago law firm Miner, Barnhill & Galland, which also formerly employed Obama. He is also an attorney for convicted fundraiser Tony Rezko now awaiting sentence on a variety of fraud, money laundering and bribery-related counts. William Micelli is listed as the owner and taxpayer for Barack Obama's Chicago mansion.
The controversy began when a website called News and Commentary for Thinking People published a 48-page document that lists Miceli as the owner of the Obama home at 5046 S. Greenwood.
Miceli, as a senior attorney at the firm, supervised Obama when the future president wrote letters on behalf of Rezko urging public authorities to award him new public properties to rehabilitate, notes the "Barack Book" website maintained by GOP.com.
WND has asked for comment from Obama's transition team (Obama is currently exposing his well buff body to the snappers on a sun kissed Hawaiian beach) and the Democratic National Committee, but no answers have been received. Yet.
Investigative reporter Tim Novak at the Chicago Sun-Times has identified 15 building projects that Rezmar, Rezko's development company, redeveloped while it was represented by Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland during Obama's time at the firm.
Lest you be confused the law firm changed its name. Senior (and founding member in 1971) partner, glamorous Allison Davis left to join Rezko in his schemes in 1997 to take out loans on low-income housing projects. Several of the transactions remain under investigation, because the millions of dollars Rezko borrowed against the properties to make redevelopments are gone, while many of the properties remain boarded up and uninhabitable.
See more on Allison Davis here
"[Davis Is] Barack Obama's Former Boss And Business Partners With Tony Rezko, Who's Charged With Demanding Kickbacks From Companies Seeking State Business Under Gov. Blagojevich, Among Other Things." (Mark Konkol, "‘We Still Live In A Slum’," Chicago Sun-Times, 6/29/07)
Davis’ Low-Rise Apartment Complex Was Known For Drug Activity, Drug Use And Prostitution. (Mark Konkol, "‘We Still Live In A Slum’," Chicago Sun-Times, 6/29/07)
Davis And Son Found Liable For Building Code Violations. (Mark Konkol, "‘We Still Live In A Slum’," Chicago Sun-Times, 6/29/07)
"Davis Got State-Backed Loans To Buy The Place With His Partner Bill Moorehead -- Who's Headed To Federal Prison For Stealing More Than $1 Million From Public Housing Buildings He Managed." (Mark Konkol, "‘We Still Live In A Slum’," Chicago Sun-Times, 6/29/07)
In response to Shrillary's absurd charges that her (then) opponent Obama had worked for Chicago slumlord, Rezko, Miceli told the Washington Post that he was Obama's supervisor at the law firm. See also WSJ and a Simple Thing re Shrillary's Smear Campaign Jan 3 2008
The Post said "Obama denied doing any legal work directly for Rezko or his companies," contending Obama had done only "about five hours worth of work" on a joint real estate development project involving Rezko and a Chicago church group.
Miceli told the Post Obama "was a very junior lawyer at the time, who was given responsibility for basic due diligence, document review." (Wonder what they charged Junior lawyers out who did no work ?)
Miceli said Obama "did what he was told by the firm," minimizing the importance of any work Obama admittedly did for the Rezko account.
One of the firm’s not-for-profit clients — the Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corp., co-founded by Obama’s then-boss Allison Davis — was partners with Rezko’s company in a 1995 deal to convert an abandoned nursing home at 61st and Drexel into low-income apartments. Altogether, Obama spent 32 hours on the project, according to the firm.
Valerie Jarrett. favoured by Obama to take his senate seat was a member of the board of directors for the Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corporation. Along with several Davis and Rezko associates, as well as involvement with the Fund for Community Redevelopment and Revitalization, an organization that worked with Rezko and Davis.
WND confirmed the tax bill (In 2006, the property tax was assessed at $22,162.47.) for the Obama home is mailed to Miceli;
1. Not to Obama
2. Not to the Northern Trust account through which Obama has claimed the home was purchased.
Records from the Cook County Treasurer's Office give the PIN number for the Obama property as 20-11-115-037-0000 and list Miceli as the person who receives Obama's property tax invoice by mail. (verified by Eric Herman, a spokesman for the Cook County assessor)the recording date, 6/21/2005, is in the amount of $1,650,000. The borrower is listed as Northern Trust Company.
Herman also told WND a second PIN number, 20-11-115-036-0000, identified the vacant lot next to the Obama mansion that was purchased by Rita Rezko, Tony Rezko's wife.
Miceli did not return a call WND placed to him at Miner, Barnhill & Galland.
Here, WND found conflicts between the tax records maintained by the Cook County Treasurer's Office and the deed information maintained by the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.
Rosslyn Whitlock, an Internet support specialist at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, confirmed to WND that the office has no information listed for the Obama home under the PIN number 20-11-115-037-0000, the number used by the Cook County Assessor's office for property tax purposes.
Records at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds list Rita Rezko as the holder of the warranty deed for the vacant lot at 5050 S. Greenwood adjoining the Obama mansion, under the PIN number 20-11-115-036-0000.
WND was able to locate warranty information at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds , which Herman at the County Assessor's office told WND was the "old PIN number" assigned to the Obama home at 5046 S. Greenwood Avenue, before the home was sold to Obama.
Neither spokesman could explain to WND the discrepancy in PIN numbers, nor why the Cook County Recorder of Deeds has no information filed under the new PIN number assigned to the property after the Obama purchase.
Records with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds under the PIN number 20-11-115-034-0000 indicate the mortgage is held by Northern Trust Company under trust number 10209, which Obama has indicated was the trust the Obama family used to purchase the home.
Meanwhile, WND has reported that since arresting Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has taken new interest in Rezko's involvement in the Obama mansion purchase.
A Kenneth Connor filed a civil complaint in October with the Illinois Circuit Court in Cook County alleging he was fired by Mutual Bank of Harvey, Ill., because he objected to land appraisals submitted on behalf of the Rezkos and the Obamas, with the complicity of the bank.
The appraisal was submitted by the Rezkos at an intentionally high figure, he claims, permitting them to borrow an additional $125,000 that amounted to a "political payoff" to Obama.
Conner told the FBI, months ago, when he initially was fired, that the bank and the Rezkos were engaged in "fraud, bribes or kickbacks, use whatever term you want," to benefit the Obamas.
Conner said his lawyer, Glenn R. Gaffney, also has been interviewed by the FBI about the Rezko-Obama deal since December 5th.
On the same day that Obama closed on the Greenwood property in 2005, the lot next door sold to Tony Rezko’s wife in the amount of $625,000. Six months later Obama paid $104,500 for a portion of the lot.
Rita Rezko sold the lot in 2007 for $575,000.
According to documents posted (which we cannot find- there is no search function) on the Obama-Biden website, Barack and Michelle Obama entered into a “Land Trust” Agreement, with William Miceli acting as their agent. All bills are to be forwarded to Miceli, including the property tax.
"This is curious because Land Trusts are employed to facilitate a later reconveyance or to hide the name of an owner of a certain parcel. Neither would seem likely here. And I am incredulous the bank would lend under these circumstances. It means the trustee or nominee would be on the mortgage and Obama on the note (and mortgage).Banks don’t like to do this. In fact banks don’t like to lend to trusts at all. "
Also apparently." a realtor in the Chicago area can ask them to call up a local title/escrow company and get a property profile pulled on this address. The title companies keep all these records electronically for immediate access in the process of title searches before they issue insurance on any transaction. The profile will have things like the Trust Deed, Transfer documents, tax documents, copy of the loan instrument (which includes term, payments, down payments, etc) as well as any other encumbrances or lien holders (like a second mortgage, line of credit, mechanics lien, etc)."
See Comments here for more on these comments
See also Strata Sphere here available it appears only as a cache - you are advised to copy it - Carter - Fuck at work ?
Especially very lengthy comment by John A. Shaw a former senior official of the Defense, State, and Commerce departments, and served on several White House staffs. He is a specialist in international technology transfer and arms sales, and in the economic development of the Middle East.
"Obama has his own personal housing crisis that is tied not into Fanny Mae, but into a corrupt international financial combine headed by Nadhmi Auchi, the convicted Iraqi billionaire at the center of the Elf Aquitaine corruption trial in France. Auchi has been shown to be the fountainhead of a source of corruption flowing from Iraq, to France, Italy, and the United States. His financial network, under a Luxembourg company called General Mediterranean Holdings, spread from Baghdad and the Middle East to Paris, (where Auchi successfully posited Saddam’s UN Oil for Food scheme), London, Washington, and Chicago, making very few ripples and raising no concerns. " ...etc etc.,
See also commentator sbd re payment made by wiring of funds from Lebanon by Auchi - April 4, 2007, to a bank account (the “MMDA account”) held at Northern Trust by the law firm of Freeborn & Peters (”Freeborn”) received an incoming wire transfer of approximately $3,499,471 from a bank in Beirut, Lebanon. The originator of the wire transfer was identified as General Mediterranean Holdings, SA (”General Mediterranean”)... also the strange payment by Rezko (or indebtedness) of $1,675,000 which was curiously the purchase price of 5046 S. Greenwood, Chicago.
All of which begs the question whay all this becomes public AFTER the election ? Questions as to his nationality - born in Hawaii ? Kenya ? Blago and his gang, Tony Rezko? Nahdmi Auchi , Ayers ? Dohrn ? .. are we going to have a President impeached before he is sworn in ?
BTW the Chicago Tribune in deep Financia doo doo and requiring a few favours has sanitised their site removing all reference to dodgy deals....
Obama "the first Jewish president" - has a deep understanding of issues that confront Israel and the Jewish community - Alan Solow
Alan Solow, is an attorney (Goldberg ,Cohn) from Chicago. He is a widely respected leader of the Jewish community. Nominating committee head James Tisch announced that he had been unanimously nominated to become the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations which will end May 31st, 2010." This is claimed to be U.S. Jewry's most prominent voice in foreign and domestic policy issues and encompasses 50 national Jewish groups across the Jewish political and religious spectrum .
The nomination will be presented to the full Conference for a vote at a General Meeting in early January.
Solow, who once lived in Obama's neighborhood, (which is centred on the synagogue in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago) is one of Obama's veteran supporters, having backed his campaign for the Illinois State Senate a dozen years ago.
"I said with a smile that he will be the first Jewish president," Solow was quoted as saying after Obama won the Democratic presidential nomination in late August. "He also has a deep understanding of issues that confront Israel and the Jewish community."
Solow says that Obama has always had "excellent relations with the Jewish community." "As a local senator, he was very effective and helpful in what we call 'the Jewish agenda,' the community issues, values. He has always had a deep understanding of Israel's need for security.
I went with him to Israel for a week in January 2006, and when he started the race for the presidency I had no doubt I'd support him. The first thing that impressed me about him was his intellect - he's one of the smartest people I've met - but he's also a warm and caring person who has a keen interest in issues that people of this country are worried about,"continues Solow. .....
"I said with a smile that he will be the first Jewish president. He also has a deep understanding of issues that confront Israel and the Jewish community. And I think his personal story reflects the story of Jewish immigration to the United States."Alan Solow is also very familiar with Obama's first appointment - his designated White House chief of staff.
"Rahm is an active member of Jewish community, his children go to the day schools and he was always recognized as Jewish when he was Clinton's advisor. But I don't believe that the fact that he's a devoted Jew and supports Israel has anything to do with his appointment. He's simply the best person for this job, because of his experience in Congress and in Clinton's administration, and because of his intellect. But his support of Israel fits with the president-elect's thinking."
Michael Bauer, a political activist from the community has known Obama for over a decade and supported his presidential campaign ..
"As a U.S. senator he visited Israel twice, and especially the second time I think was highly significant .... I've known the president-elect for over 10 years, and his values and principles never change. If you ask me whether I have confidence that he'll continue to be committed to Israel's existence as a Jewish state within secure borders - I have absolutely no doubt."
Bauer was also heavily involved in Rahm Emanuel's campaign for Congress.
"The fact that Joe Biden, with a long record of supporting Israel, is Obama's vice president-elect and Rahm Emanuel is his chief of staff - I'm not sure what reassurance anyone needs that the president-elect when he is president will remain a close ally of the State of Israel and the people of Israel."At a democratic forum In Cleveland , Ohio , in October 2008, 700 people heard Alan Solow and Denis Ross, Middle East advisor to Obama, and previously director for policy planning in the State Department under President George H. W. Bush and special Middle East coordinator under President Bill Clinton as well a co- founder of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) reassured Jewish voters that Obama would not only strengthen Israel’s security but also do a far better job of it than his rival Sen. John McCain.
Ross said he chose Obama as his candidate ,because U.S. standing in the world has never been lower than it is today.
"The U.S. cannot “be in a position where we do not shape world events ..... Where we don’t affect Iran’s behavior. Everything today takes place without us.”Solow told the meeting of his trip to Israel with Obama in 2006.
"Obama is pro-Israel and shares Jewish values,"Solow insisted,
“because he’s believed them for years, based on his personal vision of America. He understood what Torah meant - Love your neighbor as yourself.”During that 2006 trip, Palestinian students told Obama they wanted to vote for Hamas and asked why the U.S. wouldn’t accept that democratically elected government, Solow said. Obama replied that the U.S. would not deal with terrorists and would not recognize a Hamas-controlled government in the West Bank, Solow recalled.
During the height of the intifada in 2003, when terrorists frequently blew up Israeli buses, Obama supported the building of the security barrier. Every parent, he said, has the right to put his child on the bus and expect him to come home in the evening safe and sound, Solow related.
While touring South Africa, the Jewish attorney noted, Obama told students that Israel absolutely has the right to defend itself and fight back if attacked.
In telling stories about Obama, Solow maintained, “He has a Jewish soul. I like to say he’s going to be the first Jewish president of the United States.”
Obama picked up 78 % of the Jewish vote in comparison to McCain's 21% haul, according to exit polls and the Jerusalem Post 5/11/2008 - Exit polls: 78% of Jews voted for Obama... there is also an all-time record of Jewish reps in Congress. ...see list of all 45 names
Palestinian fighters ready as ceasefire endsAl Jazeera
For some reason these 3 M handy hooks featuring their multi use sticky , stick and come again Command adhesive only appear to have appeared on the shelves in Asia.
All tastes are catered for in the animal kingdom ...fancy a pussy Hook ?
Whilst some of the Neanderthals reject everything about EU legislation they calmly ignore the enormous benefits that EU Directives can bring. For example The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) - for integrated river basin management for Europe was finally adopted on 23rd October 2000, establishing a framework for Community action in the field of fresh water policy.
Clean , pollution free fresh water is an fundamental resource. Whilst many EU countries have river systems that can be affected outside their borders, the UK is largely independent - except in Northern Ireland.
This EU site provides a history of the legisltaive development, transposition into local laws, timetables, policies and procedures for river basin management covering Water quantity, quality, pollution and waste etc.,
The Defra webesite covering the WFD is here
and Northern Ireland is covered at this site which is part of the NI Environment Agency (NIEA).
They declare their policy to be
"To maintain or improve quality in surface waters and waters in underground strata as required by national policy, EC Directives and international agreements, and to generally manage river, estuarine, and coastal waters to be at least "Good" under the adopted classification schemes with no downward movement between classes."
Their detailed policy was set out in a document in 2001 POLICY FOR SETTING AND DELIVERING WATER QUALITY TARGETS where they say "Effective management requires targets." ... and "To deliver this duty The Environment and Heritage Department (EHS - now the NIEA) monitors the quality of fresh and marine waters, regulates and monitors polluting discharges, responds to incidents of water pollution, and promotes and delivers pro-active pollution prevention programmes. " Ho.Ho.Ho.
Rivers they say ...
1. Rivers should be Biologically GQA Class (B) [Good] or better based on the modal annual ‘three season’ classifications for 1995-2000 with no downward movement between classes;
2. Rivers should be Chemically GQA Class (B) [Good] or better based on the modal annual classifications for 1995-2000 with no downward movement between classes;
3. Monitored rivers should comply with all appropriate EC Directives including the EC Freshwater Fish Directive (78/659/EEC), EC Surface Water Directive (75/440/EEC), EC Dangerous Substances Directive (76/464/EEC) and the EC Nitrates Directive (91/676/EEC).
This document was superseded in 2006 by Aquatic Monitoring Strategy 2006-07 and Water Framework Directive Monitoring Plans Environment & Heritage Service March 2006
Portentously this substantial document is ....
"intended to provide an overarching framework and to outline the general approach that will be adopted to monitoring Northern Ireland’s aquatic environment for the years 2006 to 2007 and beyond, highlighting the drivers for the work, the main one being the obligation to meet the monitoring requirements of the EC Water Framework Directive (WFD) (2000/60/EC) . It covers surface water, groundwater and hydrological monitoring proposals and draws in particular on the UK WFD Technical Advisory Group (UKTAG)6 document’ Guidance on the selection of monitoring sites and building monitoring networks for surface and groundwater".Which is / was fine - until South Antrim SDLP MLA Tommy Burns made a Freedom of Information request of Environment Minister Sammy Wilson (also NI MP) and got a written reply.
The Minister explains that of the 237 rivers in Northern ireland over 200 are officially classified as ’polluted’and many of the waters have recently failed both chemical and biological tests conducted by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).
Water bodies are calssified on an scale of A-F and C - D - E - F are considered to be below standard. For example the Crawfordsburn River at the popular Co Down country park, showed D on the biological test ,C on the chemical test.
Similarly the Connswater River at the Con O’Neill Bridge sample point was graded with an E on the biological test and the River Lagan failed tests at numerous sample points.
In all some 66 rivers also failed to meet the quality criteria outlined under the EU Freshwater Fish Directive with regard to supporting fish life . This includes the Upper and Lower Bann at numerous points, the Erne River in Enniskillen and the Silent Valley Reservoir -half way along the dam wall.
“I suspect the problem is even worse than these figures suggest and this will be revealed in due course when more recent data becomes available,” said Tommy Burns pointing out that the data provided to him not including samples or tests from the Six Mile Water after recent devastating fish kills.
According to Tommy, " The minister himself has identified 356 individual organisations that have been caught repeatedly polluting rivers on no less than 1,610 occasions collectively, so he must see this.”
The Department of Environment said “The water environment, as far as this department is concerned, is in safe hands”.
Sinn Fein’s North Antrim MLA and the party’s environmental spokesperson Daithí McKay has expressed his ‘shock and sadness’ at figures released highlighting the degree of river pollution across the North.
For more press comment on the regions poluted rivers ..
River pollution kills 3,000 fish BBC
Anglers appeal for river pollution to stop on 6 Mile Water
" County Antrim anglers and Friends of the Earth have today accused the government of being “incompetent or incapable” of enforcing the legislation to protect the natural environment.
"The Northern Ireland Water company was fined £100 at Belfast Magistrates’ Court today for causing pollution at Colin Glen River." Government Website
GREEN PARTY CALLS FOR PROSECUTIONS AFTER 30 YEARS OF POLLUTION of River Quoyle Nov 2008 - Sammy Wilson was the winner of the Green Party's Green Wash award - the MLA most likely to damage the environment.
"Wee" Sammy achieved some fame when photographs of him with his friend , Sharon Mary Rivers, were taken on holiday in France and appeared over 7 pages in the Sunday World and the Irish Star, both published in Dublin - notable becasue neither were wearing anything more than a smile at the time.
Which led to his party's leader and Free Presbyterian Moderator the Rev Ian Paisley to publicly defended him.
"What a man does in his private life, whether I agree with it or not, is a matter entirely for himself and, in final accountability, to his maker - as long as it does not militate against standards of public decency or views he promotes in his public life," he said.
UPDATE : Saturday - Bert Waddicor a very successful pigeon flyer was a rigger on Sunderland Flying Boats in WWII. He spent 18 months at Lough Erne keeping a boat ready for immediate departure.
A Sunderland 25 (derived from the old S23 "Empire" class pasenger liners) would receive the Royal Family who had flown there in a smaller flying boat from a resevoir on the outskirts of London to carry them to Canada via Iceland. Still today very much a State secret as the concept of the Royal Family fleeing the UK should Hitler arrive is still an unacceptable truth.
Especially so as King Edward VIIIth the rightful heir would, who had pre-wat contacts with Hitler, would be installed - and the existence of mixed race Lord Patel as his illegitimate (and only) child born 25.1.43 in Bahamas General Hospital (Now Princess margaret Hospital) could have proved very problematic.
Incidentally the Duke of Kent died in Sunderland W4026 in a mysterious crash at the village of Dunbeath on the Caithness coast, on the 25th August 1942 on the way to Iceland.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Nobel Lecture 2005 by Harold Pinter - Art, Truth & Politics
How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice. But Bush has been clever. He has not ratified the International Criminal Court of Justice. Therefore if any American soldier or for that matter politician finds himself in the dock Bush has warned that he will send in the marines. But Tony Blair has ratified the Court and is therefore available for prosecution. We can let the Court have his address if they're interested. It is Number 10, Downing Street, London....
Look at Guantanamo Bay. Hundreds of people detained without charge for over three years, with no legal representation or due process, technically detained forever. This totally illegitimate structure is maintained in defiance of the Geneva Convention. It is not only tolerated but hardly thought about by what's called the 'international community'. This criminal outrage is being committed by a country, which declares itself to be 'the leader of the free world'. Do we think about the inhabitants of Guantanamo Bay? What does the media say about them? They pop up occasionally - a small item on page six. They have been consigned to a no man's land from which indeed they may never return. At present many are on hunger strike, being force-fed, including British residents. No niceties in these force-feeding procedures. No sedative or anaesthetic. Just a tube stuck up your nose and into your throat. You vomit blood. This is torture. What has the British Foreign Secretary said about this? Nothing. What has the British Prime Minister said about this? Nothing. Why not? Because the United States has said: to criticise our conduct in Guantanamo Bay constitutes an unfriendly act. You're either with us or against us. So Blair shuts up.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Medvedev and the Russian Bear tie up Serbian / South Stream / Gazprom Neft / INS deal to make inroads into Europe's soft underbelly
Finally, after talks lasting 11 months,( see Saturday, January 26, 2008 Putin plays the power card (again) in the Balkans ) Russia and Serbia have a mega bucks energy deal so that Russian state gas monopoly Gazprom Neft will now purchase 51% Serbia's oil monopoly NIS in exchange for building a gas pipeline through Serbia.
The deal was finalised today in the Kremlin between Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, and Boris Tadic, the Serbian President.
Alexander Dyukov, the Gazprom Neft president, said that his company would need to seek approval of Serbia's anti-monopoly agency for the deal to buy NIS, the Russian Interfax news agency reported. This means that if approval is given - and they have 130 days to think about it, the deal will be completed by May.
Not everyone is happy and economy minister , European leaning Mladjan Dinkic,of the panty waisted neo-liberal G-17 Plus has resigned. Critics point out that there are no guarantees that Russia will build the South Stream pipeline by 2015.
The US$13bn pipeline under the Black Sea would carry Russian natural gas to Bulgaria and Serbia before branching out to points in western Europe.
Others say that US$550 million (400 Mn Euros) for NIS is a giveaway and is really a hidden kickback for Russia's support of Serbia's bid to retain its claims on Kosovo. For what their opinion is worth Independent consultants Deloitte valued the whole company at 2.2 billion euros in September.
As part of the deal, Russia agreed to invest 550 million euros to modernize Serbian refineries and build a gas storage facility.
Reuters report that Vyacheslav Bunkov, an oil and gas analyst at Aton brokerage said that under the deal Gazprom essentially had received control of "all of Serbia's oil processing and sales network."
"Gazprom Neft begins its integration into Europe," he added.
One thing is certain , the guys in Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo and their masters will be none too happy with Mr Tadic.
On the 7th March 2008 kebab loving Home Secretary Jacqui Smith wrote a letter which received virtually no coverage in the UK MSM (The Times excepted) ...." After careful consideration, she has personally directed that you should be excluded from the United Kingdom on the grounds that your presence here would not be conducive to the public good." (text here)
The letter was addressed to an Israeli passport holder, Moshe Feiglin and the Home Secretary noted that he had made several statements which included ...
“In order to declare that we are right, we have to declare war. War now! It’s not the Arabs who are murdering mothers, but those merciful people who gave weapons to the murderers. It’s not the Arabs who are burning babies, but the peaceniks that recognised the justice of the Arabs cause. It’s not the cruel people who are bombing us, but the merciful people who showed them mercy. War now! A holy war, now”“War Now” article by MF, quoted on Channel 7 Israel National website
Moshe Feiglin is a Likud candidate in the forthcoming elections ( donate to his campaign here) The Israeli general election is scheduled for 10th February 2009.
Originally Feiglin got the 20th slot on the list, (about 48,500 people voted using a new computerised system = 49% of the Likud membership) upsetting the leadership and aware of the potential damage to the party’s image, especially in the United States Likud leader Benyamin Netanyahu used legal tricks and arcane party rules to demote Feiglin from slot 20 to slot 36. However even if not elecd himself feiglin has many right wing supporters who need his help for example , Gilad Erdan, came in third. He is a strong defender of conservative values and the of keeping all of Israel’s biblical lands…
Even Netanyahu's allies have deep rooted ties in the right wing including Benny Begin, the child of a terrorist (like Kadema leader Tzipi Livni) former PM Menachem Begin - who dandled the infant Tzipi on his knee. Benny Begin is opposed to the peace talks with the Palestinians as is another Likud mainstream candidate Israel's ex-army chief Moshe Yaalon.
Moshe Feiglin is the founder and president of Manhigut Yehudit - "Turning the State of Jews into the Jewish State ", who have a somewhat dirigiste but nonetheless populist views on Jewishness .."The distinguishing element of a Jew is the soul that every Jew possesses. It differs from the soul of a non-Jew."
They believe that "The Land of Israel was given by God to the Jewish People." and that Zionism as originally conceived by Theodore Herzl has been waylaid by the way the state of Israel has a fixation on international approval.
But ... they have a cunning plan. "Our plan is clear. Israel needs a Prime Minister that will lead Israel based on authentic Jewish values and concepts. Our candidate for the job is Manhigut Yehudit's leader, Moshe Feiglin. "
To accomplish our goal, we plan to take over the leadership of the Likud -- the only party in Israel that is a microcosm of Israeli society."
Not a message that either Bibi Netanyahu, or many other people , including Jacqui Smith want to hear ...... or allow to be heard.
For more information you must read their plan for their first 100 days in
On the first day they seize the Temple Mount - which harks back to Ariel Sharon's notorious visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City on 28th September 2001 which kicked off the Al Aqsa intifada ... which is exactly what Sharon wanted.
Things however really start to warmup on their third week in power ...
Total cessation of support to the Palestinian Authority. Beside all monetary support, electricity, communications, television and radio, raw materials etc. will no longer be transferred to the PA. Any attack on Israel will prompt the conquering of the area from which the attack was initiated. The residents of that area will be expelled and the infrastructure made inaccessible to any hostile elements.In one place the policy proposes holding a ceremony at every army base in which all non-lethal weaponry would be destroyed. Faced with Palestinian demonstrators, soldiers could only shoot to kill.
AMOTZ ASA-EL writing in the Jersualem Post last week (Dec 18, 2008) Middle Israel: Why Moshe Feiglin matters, identifies the weaknesses in the crazy Israeli electoral system.
He concludes ;
Meanwhile the pogrom against the Palestinians in the West bank and Gaza continues relentlesly.
..."Moshe Feiglin .... is bent on steering the country in a certain direction, one that Middle Israelis flatly reject, but the soon-to-be ruling party is too shallow to debate, and too weak to resist, even while this political alien nests in its own arterial system.
This is why, despite what Likud's leaders will tell you, Moshe Feiglin matters."
Britain's envoy to the Middle East, Bill Rammell, is sightseeing in Jerusalem and following up the the initiatives, outlined by Prime Minister Gordon Brown in a December 9th letter to Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, which are claimed to discourage Israel from expanding Jewish settlements. Ho.Ho.Ho.
Reuters quote him saying "This isn't about boycotting Israel. The settlements are not Israel," after meeting Israeli and Palestinian leaders and touring parts of the West Bank which included a visit , recorded by BBC to a hotel split by the 9 metre high exclusion wall used as a n IDF military barracks , and which the Arab owner is not even allowed to approach and a trip from the front to the rear involves a 2 hour car trip and passage through the barrier.
On the BBC4 Today programme he expressed his concern and said he was worried.
Regular readers (Saturday, May 07, 2005 Rammell free to fight off the terrorists again Saturday, May 07, 2005 ) will remember how Bill Rammell stopped off in Panama on the way to North Korea when 40 year old Martin Torrijos took office on September 1st 2004 as President of Panama.
His inauguration was attended by officials from around the world, including Secretary of State Colin L. Powell (his 2nd visit in 10 months) and Bill Rammell, UK Foreign Office Minister for Latin America whilst re-fuelling on his way to North Korea (DPRK)..
Torrijos criticized the previous President Moscoso for her pardoning 4 Cuban exiles accused by the Cuban government of trying to kill President Fidel Castro at a summit in Panama in 2000. “For me, there are not two classes of terrorism, one that is condemned and another that is pardoned. . . . It has to be fought no matter what its origins,” Torrijos said. A point on which the US Administration and George Bush agreed.
The four - Luis Posada Carriles, Gaspar Jiménez Escobedo, Guillermo Novo Sampol and Pedro Crespín Remón-were convicted of lesser offences in April and given prison sentences ranging from seven to eight years.
Curiously Nether Powell nor Rammell were moved to criticize this wholesale export of terrorists to the US.
No doubt he would have expressed his concern, even worry.
Feiglin and Fascism December 24th, 2008 by Gershom Gorenberg
The Rebel Prince Benjamin Netanyahu is the front-runner in Israel's election. Will voters notice that a radical rightist has hijacked Netanyahu's Likud party? The top of the Likud ticket is dominated by hardliners in debt to Feiglin
" Today, he (Feiglin) is closer to that goal than anyone expected. Netanyahu, it's true, is again the Likud's candidate for prime minister in the February election, and he's generally leading in the polls. Following the Likud's Dec. 8 primary for its Knesset candidates, however, Feiglin looks like the real power in the party. Though he himself is unlikely to enter the Knesset, he was able to exert more influence than Netanyahu did on the choice of candidates. The result is a slate of hard-right politicians indebted to Feiglin.
The idea of Netanyahu regaining power is disturbing enough. He supports West Bank settlement unreservedly and hopes to avoid substantive peace talks with the Palestinians. Economically, he is a doctrinaire free-marketeer. But a party beholden to Feiglin is a whole different level of danger. It's the difference between mere conservatives and the far fringe of the right.
This much is clear: The campaign packaging for the Likud will show Netanyahu's face. In his modulated MBA voice, he'll try to sell the Likud to voters as a pragmatic conservative party, willing to make peace if only the Palestinians agree to its conditions. Inside the package, however, is a party in thrall to a lean and hungry man offering extremist leadership for Israel. The question is whether voters will look inside, or care."
Hawks dominate Likud party vote
BBC ONline Tuesday 9th December 2008
Knesset elections : The Israeli system of prportional representation works like this. Seats are apportioned to the list derived by each Party however they wish. The main parties do it by a straight numerical vote of party members ( but this can be gerrymandered by rules etc.,) and shared as per the share of the popular vote.
There are 120 Knesset seats, so a 10% share gives 12 seats so the top 12 on the list get a Knesset seat.
Goodwill to all men - Guerilla Art on the West Bank and the EU - Israeli stitch up to legitimise genocide
Guerilla Art on the West Bank der Spiegel have a look No 5 is a beauty
The recent postponement of the vote in the European Parliament on the extension of existing EU programmes with Israel has been attributed to the great mass of letters received by MEPs, MPs and Ministers, showing the growing influence of civil society on attitudes towards Israel. see EU, Israel to strengthen ties despite objections
The new EU-Israel Action Plan is currently being drafted by the European Commission for discussion by the Member States at the beginning of the next year. So far, it does not include any concrete actions that will end Israel’s blatant disregard for human rights and International law. It does not even require Israel to meet its own obligations under the so-called ‘peace process’.
Inside the EU, it is feared that the Commission will not face sufficient objections from the public, MEPs and NGOs and will draft a weak document without any reference to human rights.
Write urgently to your MEPs urging them to make your objections to the Action Plan known to the External Relations Commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner (email@example.com), and/or write to her yourself copying your letters to your MEPs.
For more information go to European Commission's webpage to see the current EU-Israel Action Plan and go to: www.palestinecampaign.org for more information.
See also recent articles about events in Gaza
Sanctions Now – Upgrading, Hell No!
Jerusalem patriarch slams Israel during Gaza Christmas address
Gaza families eat grass as Israel locks border
Israel cancels transfer of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip
Seige as an Israeli policy
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Blago not off the hook. Yet. They are still looking fo something for him to do (and the little lady )
Surprise ! Surprise ! No Improper Contact With Governor, Says Obama Report NYT
An internal 5 page report issued on Tuesday by lawyers for President-elect Barack Obama ( written by Gregory Craig, the new White House counsel) found that his top advisers had numerous contacts with the office of Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and attempted to guide his choice to fill a vacant Illinois Senate seat, but none of the talks suggested an attempt to play along with the governor’s alleged attempts to sell the seat.Rahm Emanuel, (on vacation in Obamas birthplace Kenya currently) had 2 direct phone calls to Mr. Blagojevich and 4 with his (noe ex) chief of staff John Harris, about the Senate seat. He provided a list of six names of Illinois Democrats whom Mr. Obama favored to fill his Senate seat. He never "heard"of a suggestion that the governor expected a personal benefit in return for making this appointment to the Senate,” Lawyers who compiled the Obama review did not have access to wiretapped telephone conversations between Obama aides and the governor’s office.
The review was compiled from memory by Mr. Obama’s aides.
Mr. Emanuel was pushing Valerie Jarrett (as previously disclosed here) for the Senate seat. Mr. Emanuel said he made the recommendation before he knew that Mr. Obama “had ruled out communicating a preference for any one candidate.” Of course he didn't know what Obama's plans were , hardly ever sees the guy.
Ms. Jarrett had a conversation with a union official (?) , who told her that Mr. Blagojevich had expressed interest in becoming health and human services secretary in the Obama cabinet. She has now withdrawn her intrest in the seat - gossip says rahm wants her out of the way because she has such close ties to Michelle and Barrack.
The report (full text at Smoking Gun)said that Mr. Emanuel “discussed the merits of potential candidates and the strategic benefit that each candidate would bring to the Senate seat.” You bet.
The report says Mr. Emanuel gave the names of four Democrats from Illinois whom Mr. Obama “considered to be highly qualified,” including Dan Hynes, Tammy Duckworth, Representative Jan Schakowsky and Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. In later telephone calls (to whom ?) , Mr. Emanuel also mentioned the names of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Ms. Cheryle Jackson.
“Mr. Harris did not make any effort to extract a personal benefit for the Governor in any of these conversations,” Mr. Craig wrote in the report. “There was no discussion of a cabinet position, of 501c(4), of a private sector position or of any other personal benefit to the governor in exchange for the Senate appointment.”
President elect Obama is in Haaii and has no intention of discussing the matter. At a news conference three days after the election, Mr. Obama said he was staying out of the matter. “There are going to be a lot of good choices out there,” he said, “but it is the governor’s decision to make, not mine.”
In presenting the report to journalists Mr. Craig (who represented John Hinckley Jnr who tried to shoot Ronald Reagan and was WH counsel for President Clinton - he was at Yale with Bill and Shrillary)said the few conversations that occurred with the governor’s people were “completely innocent, completely appropriate.”... even though he hasn't heard the tapes. That's a brave statement to make.
People like Mr Rahm Emanuel very often have very tricky recall. Busy people. So much to do. So many deals to make.
SIR JOHN GIEVE : Well first of all we did, we did see something coming. We did spot the global imbalances, we worried about them.
We did spot some crazy borrowing going on, asset prices looking unsustainable and we said actually for a couple of years before the crash that a correction was coming.
PESTON : But you didn't, you didn't stop some of this crazy lending.
JG : We, but we didn't think it was going to be anything like as, as, as (sic) severe as it's turned out to be.
BBC Panorama The Year Britains's Bubble Burst text broadcast Monday 23rd December 2008 i Player
That's Sir John Gieve - ex Permanent Secretary at the Home Office during tenure of Jack Straw (until 2001), David Blunkett (2001-2004), and Charles Clarke (from 2004).
“Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, reported to Parliament today that the Home Office had not maintained proper financial books and records for the financial year ending 31 March 2005. Sir John Bourn therefore concluded that, because the Home Office failed to deliver its accounts for audit by the statutory timetable, and because of the fundamental nature of the problems encountered, he could not reach an opinion on the truth and fairness of the Home Office’s accounts.”UK National Audit Office report, Home Office: 2004-05 Resource Account 31st Jan 2006
This was Sir John Gieve who presided at a meeting in his office with David Blunkett - represented by Mrs Gieve, and his wife a solicitor when he was found to be mis-using Government funds and had misused the system for obtaining a visa for his mistresses maidservant.
This was examined by the House of Commons Select Committee on Public Administration 12th January 2005 Hansard
Q908 Mr Liddell-Grainger: We are talking about vested interests and interests in all this. Can I ask about your wife's involvement as a firm of solicitors with David Blunkett's case? Do you think that you, as permanent secretary, should have put your interests forward? You had to set up the inquiry, it was very much your baby (for want of a better word) and do you think you should have said to your wife's firm of solicitors that you thought it was getting too complicated and maybe have moved it on as well? Do you think you, personally, could have handled that slightly better?
Sir John Gieve: The inquiry was absolutely not into David's access dispute and there has been no suggestion that the Home Office should play any role in that or pay for it in any way. I think it is entirely up to David who he chooses as his solicitor. I do not think there is a conflict of interest in that respect.
Sir John was also involved in an exchange of letters when John de Menezes was murdered with Sir Ian Blair. Full details Monday, November 19, 2007 Blair / Blair how the IPCC were illegally kept out of investigation of the murder of De Menezes and also Thursday, August 02, 2007 22/7 Sir Ian Blair told lies from the start to the IPCC
Sir Ian Blair ex Commander of the met sent a letter to Gieve (which was curiously dated 21st July) , and is obviously properly dated 22nd July... it states ..." In the meeting we had with the Prime Minister yesterday " ...presumably in the aftermath of the 21/7 "bombings".42 minutes after the murder of de Menezes, both the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police (Blair)and the Prime Minister (Blair)were able to (quite illegally) keep the IPCC off the case.
Baklir said he wouldn;t et the IPCC become invloved . Sir John wrote back with the delightfully ambiguous reply ;
We agreed that we could not sensibly discuss the form of investigation while the counter terrorist operation is still underway. As I explained , I do not believe Section 17 can be suspended as you suggest.
Which allowed evidence to be lost and destroyed , altered, stories to be agreed on, officers to collude in writing up their notes ... it is also evident that he tried to stop their involvement altogether if what Lana Vandenberghe who worked for the IPCC says of letters she saw at the Commission about how the facts of the Jean Charles de Menezes were being misrepresented to the public were true - as she explained to Fergus Keane on BBC 4's Taking a Stand today is true.
Having fucked up big, big style at the Home Office, without any knowledge of banking, economics (although a scion of the family behind the tailors Gieves and Hawkes) and a frightful record of accounting at the Home Office he was moved sideways to the Bank of England.
Those unlike Lord Patel ,who has been following his disastrous career first heard of his role when Nortehrn Rock hit the rocks. It then emerged Sir John had been on holiday for two weeks in mid-August when the Bank was told of the problems at Northern Rock. ..and that's where he stayed. Un flappable ...er.. unaccountable. see Monday, September 24, 2007 Northern Rock Redux - Wisdom in hindsight, paralysed by inaction at the Treasury, and indecision at the Bank
Well he tells us ...." We, but we didn't think it was going to be anything like as, as, as severe as it's turned out to be. "
He is scheduled to leave the Bank sometime next year .. next week wouldn't be soon enough.
PS : It's also time the wanker Lord Mogg at OfGEM was given the opportunity to spend more time spending his various and very substantial pensions.
PPS : Another failure for Sir John Gieve at the Home Office NOMIS - see Saturday, August 23, 2008 LIDS / NOMIS / OASys - The Home Office systems that are on the edge of collapse - are PA the dog to kick or should it be Sir John Gieve ? Again ?
Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH), is a wholly owned a subsidiary of the Hong Kong (China) ultinational conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL), They have interest in 50 ports, including Rotterdam and Felixstowe and in 26 countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australasia (see complete list). HPH also owns a number of transportation-related service companies. In 2007, the HPH Group handled a combined throughput of 66.3 million (20 fooe container equivalent) TEU's worldwide. Last year trade rose 4 per cent in the first half to 32.8 million TEU, increasing revenue by 10 % more revenue to hit HK$19.5 billion. (US$2.13 Bn.)
Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) have signed an agreement with Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) in a share swap and HPH will become the majority shareholder of Amsterdam-based Ceres Container Terminals Europe B.V. (CTE) in the Netherlands. In exchange for the majority stake in CTE, NYK will have a minority stake in Europe Container Terminals (ECT) in Rotterdam.
Commenting on the agreement, John Meredith, Group Managing Director of HPH, said, "The investment in CTE will help strengthen HPH's presence in Northern Europe through the addition of extra container-handling capacity. CTE's strategic location allows it to attract deep-sea and feeder traffic as well as inland traffic."
CTE consist of 2 wholly owned subsidiaries, Ceres Paragon Terminals (CPT)(see pic) and Ceres Amsterdam Marine Terminals (CAMT).
CAMT is a Ro-Ro terminal that performs stevedoring activities for automobile carriers and has a number of warehouses for the storage of cocoa.
Scholars of Christ Church College, Oxford , the richest and oldest, endowed when Heny VIIIth was raping the monasteries, call themselves members of the House. The principal Quadrangle is dominated by Tom Tower whose clock maintains "Tom Time" pre dating Greenwich Mean Time and by which all college events are timed 5 minutes behind the rest of the world.
Tom Quad also has a door which leads to a mediaeval room in which new students "matriculate" by simply signing in a a ledger whose lists contain that of 24 Prime Ministers and outstanding people in every field of human endeavour over several centuries - inlcuding of course Wystan Hugh Auden and briefly, Auberon Waugh.
This elect crew develop a distinctive and apparently effortless superiority and an hauteur , of which Adrian Mitchell who died this week was a prime example.
Darling of the London literary glitterati, whose Hampstead drawing rooms echoed to his curious chanting and foot stamping , the self elected figurehead of the pacifists, peacemongers and as he saw it iconoclastic poet, he was a man of slight talent, but of considerable industry.
The Guradian obit yesterday by Michael Kustow ( in which he failed to mention his marriage to Maureen Bush, the mother of three of his children) provides the quote from his first collection "Poems" published in 1964 , an unsigned copy of which is a bibliographical rarity. "Most people ignore most poetry because most poetry ignores most people."
Mitchell was a moderately competent wordsmith , had he applied his energies properly, he could have been a half decent advertising copywriter - take the above often repeated quote - with a little tweak it could be a strapline on an ad for any product ranging from fence paint to intimate female sanitary hygeine products.
He tried journalism with little success, famous only for the subjects interviewed but not the resultant pieces - unlie say Ken Tynan. His nemesis came when the Sunday Times fired him for reviewing Peter Watkins' embargoed anti-nuclear film The War Game.
We now realise of course that such films were in fact Government organiased propaganda, and that the faux hysteria about their cemsorship only sevred to widen the audience when eventually shown. Richard Crossman the head of British Psy Ops during WWII was a Minister in the Labour Governmen who had secretly built the British nuclear weapons. One of his triumphs was when he lost his trousers on London Glasgow sleeper, The press brouha ha on the eve of the announcement that prescription charges were to be introduced and free NH glasses would be withdrawn removed discussion from the Press and TV news.
Mitchell fanced himself as a voice of the masses and was one of the leading lights in the booming poetry reading circuit. It was through this that Lord Patel had arranged for him to read inside a prison (or Youth detention centre).
His late arrival on the train from London meant the day started badly as he missed his lunch. This delay was copounded by getting lost and arriving late at ther grey forbidding venue on the outskirts of Wigan.
First time prisoners up to the age of 21 were to be gien one of the ever changing schmes for a "short sharp shock" and had compulsorty education.
The teacher had left and the 20 whey faced, spotty, youths had been detained over an hour and were missing their tea - as were the beefy ex Military Police who were managing to maintain a stony silence.
Launching Mitchell on the working or even criminal classes was , evidently a novel experience to him. Totally unprepared, he launched into a loud wailing repetive hymn of spitting hate with the repetition of some spittle flecked line such as "Tell me lies" and sketching a picture of a post nuclear holocaustic winter.
Curiously there was a paradoxical mirror image - the feckless bored youths were arrayed in denims with loose ill fitting jackets and wearing large scuffed boots.
Mitchell was arrayed in a perfectly tailored cutaway light blue denim jacket with beautifully pressed jeans - the uniform of the louche troubadour finished off with prfectly polished stacked heel Cuban boots at one end and a cute Greek sailors hat at a jaunty angle.
He tried another.
Flailing, he asked the beefy gaulieter for some chalk, to illustrate a point on the blackboard. It was explained that chalk for the use of writing of was locked up . After a delay, searching for and jangling of many keys, a single piece was found. Did they have some red chalk ?
The sullen youths bcame more sullen, the blank faced guard became catatonic.
In the uneasy silence in the car he said he wanted something to eat , which was tricky. We had to meet a train for him to travel on to Walney island to meet the poetry loving masses of Barrow where unknown to us they were already secretly laying down the keels of Polaris submarines.
On the outskirts of Preston we found a chip shop and Lord Patel could raise enough for a single bag of fish and chips. In the stony silence Mitchell scoffed the lot and was decamped outside Blackburn station.
Skilled in self promotion, unswerving in his belief in his role as a voice for the working class he was eclipsed by many. More poetry , and better was being written and performed - consider "She's leaving Home" from the Beatles Sgt Pepper album, troubadours like Leon Rosselson ,( Don't get married Girls, The man who puffs the big Cigar) Roy Bailey, (TONY BENN: "...the greatest socialist folksinger of his generation") and see Monday, September 11, 2006 Roy Bailey. Ex MBE and Working Class Hero and nor forgetting Andy Roberts, Viv Stanshall , John Fox, Lol Coxhill.
Putin on the prowl in Ukraine and Rawtenstall cut off from world - the louder the Bang the bigger the silence
The Russian bear is once again threatening EU gas supplies. Their annual fisticuffs with the Ukraine over unpaid bills and increased charges has led state controlled Gazprom, Russia's largest energy provider, to hint at doubts over gas supplies across Europe.
In a statement on Monday, Viktor Zubkov, the Russian first deputy prime minister and chairman of Gazprom, refused to guarantee that the dispute would not cause problems for gas supplies to Europe.
Ukraine transmits 80pc of Russian gas exports to Europe via its pipelines and a similar dispute in 2006 led to an interruption of supplies across the continent. See here for explanation of how cutting gas to Ukraine affects EU gas supplies- Tuesday, March 04, 2008 The Bigger the Bang - The Louder the silence No 17 : Massive gas Explosion at Nyagan, Siberia covered up... and gas cuts to Ukraine ??
Ofgem, the UK energy regulator, said it was "monitoring the situation closely" ( = it is getting ready to wake up Lord Mogg the totally ineffectual wanker who is chairman of the spavined regulator) while a spokesperson for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) added: "We urge both parties to treat this as a commercial matter and to seek agreement. We have diverse sources of gas supply which means we are not reliant on any single supplier. Russia is not cutting off Europe. A reduction in Russian gas deliveries via Ukraine should not pose an immediate risk to the supply of gas to the EU."
Which means we also have sources of LNG and supplies could be available within ...ooooh ... months although we can only store some 14 days supplies nationally at any one time.
Around 2pc of the UK's gas supply comes directly from Russia, Decc claimed. So that's alright then. See also Wednesday, April 02, 2008 Hymne Russe
It's Grim Oooop North
Gas leaks were reported on December 4th and the smell has increased until yesterday , whilst repairs being done, a massive explosion in the main gas pipeline also brought down power lines near a sub station in Rawtenstall, Lancashire.
The blast left 18,000 homes without gas and 17,000 without electricity.200 homes have been evacuated.
It is most likely the gas supply will not be resolved until after Christmas.
Areas affected include Bacup, Waterfoot, Rawtenstall, Newchurch and Crawshawbooth and residents were asked as a safety measure to turn off all gas supplies and equipment.
A United Utilities spokesman said about 17,000 homes were without electricity after the blast, but all were expected to be reconnected by 2000 BST Monday.
Don't really expect to read / see this on national news it's only 18,000 left without gas after it has taken the gas company since Decemeber 4th to mend a leak.
UPDATE : Saturday 2100 GMT
Russia, Iran and 12 other nations are members of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF). This is of concern to Gas importers who can see that an effort is underway in Moscow to recast GECF into a gas cartel similar to Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).(Which of course they deny)
In a speech Putin said
.."This means that despite the current problems in finances the era of cheap energy resources, of cheap gas, is of course coming to an end,"
Rawtenstall Gas explosion has now reached national news and some 300 engineers have been drafted in from across the country. District nurse cover to cope with Rossendale's older and vulnerable has been boosted. NHS Lancashire said it would mean more staff working over Christmas but a commitment to keep people in their own homes if possible.
Following the explosion evacuees were taken to Kay Street Baptist Church where volunteers from the Red Cross were on hand to provide help.
Monday, December 22, 2008
German SPD candidate in Hesse elections proposes tax on 2% of rich people's assets to raise €50 billion
During World War II there was a special super tax levied on incomes above a certain level in the UK as a Perpetual War Loan which was irredeenmable but paid 3.5% - although many people were encouraged to believe it would be redeemed in "1956 or later". They trade today @ £88.17 for £100 face value and provide a running yield of 3.97%.
In Germany , Torsten Schäfer-Gümbel, 30, is a Social Democrat candidate in the forthcoming election for the governor of the western German state of Hesse on January 18th.
To raise money ( €50 billion he says), and his profile, he suggests that the rich people, should be forced to invest 2% of their wealth in government bonds paying a maximum interest of 2.5 %. Which although a tax on assets not income resembles the war time tax in the UK.
"A compulsory state bond would be a rapidly effective instrument to mobilize additional funds to overcome the economic crisis," he told Bild newspaper today. "That would be very fair because only the very wealthy would be drawn on."
The projected proceeds of €50 billion would fund energy-saving buses and trains for public transport, new research projects and energy savings technologies.
Schäfer-Gümbel was unexpectedly chosen to fight for the seat on 8th November against the current conservative Hesse governor Roland Koch from power in the wake of an inconclusive state election last January. He was favoured by the Party after the prior candidate Andrea Ypsilanti stepped aside following failure to make an alliance with the Left Party against Koch.
His idea has met with little enthusiasm either with the rich or in Berlin. Government spokesman Thomas Steg rejected the idea , "Not every noise made in the Hesse campaign brings results in Berlin."
Thorsten Schaefer- Gümbel supports Lothar Bisky, now co-chairmen of the Left Party who was the chairman of the PDS in East Germany (and has been accused of being a Stasi informant). Bisky wa born in Rummeslberg which is now Miastko, Poland. He is also with Sahra Wagenknecht, MEP , born in Jena, E. Germany, a member of the National Committee of the Left Party and who is currently the chief spokesperson for the Communist Platform , an orthodox Marxist group (her doctoral thesis was on young Karl Marx's interpretation of Hegel) inside the party. She is also an alternate on the European Parliament's delegation for relations with Mercosur the South American regional Trade Association.
They are all associated with the campaign Hands off Venezuela (Venezuela Avanza ) of the Trotskyist International Marxist tendency and outspoken supporters of President Hugo Chávez.
Sahra is well known for having said that," ...the Berlin Wall was a "necessary evil" and that "there is really just as little democracy in capitalism as [there was] in the DDR.
Robert Eringer is a mysterious character, a journalist with a bewitching past and author of a book Ruse (Undercover with FBI Counter Intelligence) about his life chasing spies. A review of the book Real-Life Spy Puts 007 to Shame is available at the Santa Barbara Independent.
This is the full text of Dark secret of new EU president Vaclav Klaus by Robert Eringer
December 20, 2008
The European Union will have a new president in 12 days. Unfortunately, he was a long-term communist collaborator who may still be under the influence of Russian Intelligence, knowledgeable sources within the intelligence community have told The Investigator. Vaclav Klaus, 67, is President of the Czech Republic, which will rotate to leadership of the EU on January 1.
This is the first time a former Soviet-bloc country will lead the EU -- an irony compounded by Mr. Klaus's opposition, earlier this decade, to Czech membership in the political and economic union of 27 countries and almost 500 million Europeans.
Renowned for his arrogance, the prickly Mr. Klaus is no Santa. Often referred to as Europe's rudest politician, he is more like The Grinch. Such audacious behavior, perhaps, helps him mask a 46 year-old secret.
We can reveal exclusively that Mr. Klaus, while a 21-year-old student at the University of Economics, Prague, in 1962, was recruited by Czech counterintelligence officers and put to work as a spy against democratic reformers with whom he studied and later worked. For five decades he has concealed a murky past of betrayal and deception.
Codenamed "Vodichka," Mr. Klaus is said to have been "an avid and willing informant" who reported on the political reliability of his classmates -- two of whom were expelled because of the information he provided.
For his cooperation, Mr. Klaus was allowed to travel abroad on research projects --first to Italy in 1966, and three years later to Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.
Mr. Klaus is understood to have reported to Czech intelligence officers on the activities of Czech opposition groups within the United States during the aftermath of the "Prague Spring" rebellion.
In 1970 Mr. Klaus starred in "Operation Rattrap," staged by Czech counterintelligence with the assistance of Soviet KGB advisers. Mr. Klaus was publicly named as an "anti-socialist malcontent" and "purged" from the Economic Institute. Its purpose was to pose Mr. Klaus as a "victim" of the regime so he could continue to penetrate dissident circles as a deep-cover mole. The ruse was successful and Mr. Klaus effectively monitored opposition activities and reported dissident intentions, succeeding also in establishing a personal relationship with underground leader Vaclav Havel, who would become the Czech Republic's first democratically-elected president in 1993.
Mr. Klaus was officially "rehabilitated" by the state in 1987 to allow him to join the Economic Forecasting Institute of the Academy of Sciences -- "a nest of counterrevolution," in the minds of Czech counterintelligence officials, who wanted it infiltrated. Again, Mr. Klaus was their man. Successfully planted within its ranks, he informed on the activities of other members while further building his reputation as a subversive.
But in the 15 years before that, Mr. Klaus had been permitted a career at Czechoslovak State Bank -- most unusual for true critics of the communist regime. He also enjoyed travel privileges, which were practically impossible for genuine dissidents.
Mr. Klaus entered politics in 1989 as a member of the Civic Forum party and got appointed Minister of Finance. Three years later he became prime minister.
One of Mr. Klaus's first acts as a state official was to track down the operational file kept on him by Czech counterintelligence -- and shred it. However, unbeknownst to him, a duplicate "Red File" had been dispatched to Moscow, in October 1989, for safekeeping. It remains in the archives of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR).
Mr. Klaus was instrumental in pushing Civic Forum to the right, and the so-called Klaus-wing of the party became the core of the Civic Democratic Party, which he has led since its founding.
In December 1997 Mr. Klaus was forced to resign as prime minister due to complicity in a political funding and corruption scandal stemming from a secret Swiss bank account in his name containing US$5 million -- exposed at the time as secret donations in exchange for special favors.
Just over a year later, Mr. Klaus began a series of secret meetings with the SVR's Resident (station chief) in Prague.
An SVR officer told The Investigator, "We opened an operational file on Klaus under the codename 'Kolesnikov,' and did not rule out the possibility of a recruitment attempt (on the basis of possessing his file and being privy to his darkest secret)."
It is unclear whether Mr. Klaus's political career was resurrected with SVR assistance, but crystal clear that Mr. Klaus has since established an unusually close relationship with Russian supremo Vladimir Putin, who one year ago this month rewarded Mr. Klaus -- a fluent Russian speaker -- with the Pushkin Medal, ostensibly for promoting Russian culture.
Mr. Putin paid a rare state visit to the Czech Republic only after Mr. Klaus succeeded Vaclav Havel as President in 2003 - LP : The Czech president is not elected by popular vote but by a secret ballot of the parliament. In 2003 Klaus won narrowly, securing 142 votes out of a possible 281. He was re-elected at the beginning of this year. (Mr. Havel led the "Velvet Revolution," which brought freedom to Czechoslovakia). While hosting Mr. Putin, Mr. Klaus' submissive behavior was described by Czech journalists as "borderline sycophancy."
Ever since, Mr. Klaus's support for the Putin regime has been strong and unwavering. For example, when the European Union vehemently condemned Russia's invasion of Georgia earlier this year, Mr. Klaus sided with the Kremlin. "The responsibility of Georgia," he declared, "is unexceptionable and fatal."
An active critic of same-sex couples and the green movement, Mr. Klaus has called global warming a "false myth" and referred to Nobel Prize winner Al Gore as "an apostle of arrogance."
So no surprise that the Czech president took umbrage last week when the EU sealed a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent. "This is scandalous," he said, upset that French President Nicholas Sarkozy (current EU President) managed to push it through before his term expired. Mr. Klaus had hoped to quash it. "Oh God," proclaimed the Austrian daily newspaper Die Presse in reference to EU leadership, "Vlaclav Klaus will come next."
Indeed. This Euro-skeptic's imminent arrival as EU chieftain bodes not well for European unity -- or the world.
The opinions in the column are Robert Eringer's and not necessarily the newspaper's. Readers may write Robert Eringer c/o the News Press. P.O. Box 1359, Santa Barbara 93102. Or if you have a story idea for The Investigator, contact him at eringer33[at]aol.com. State if your query is confidential. - this is copied from Cryptome
You might also like to read Dan Bilefsky A fiery Czech is poised to be the face of Europe
International Herald Tribune - November 25, 2008
Profile: Vaclav Klaus, the provocateur from Prague Times Online Nov 16th 2008
Czech leader condemns environmentalism as the new communism
United States votes against rights to development and food as human rights and fundamental freedoms . Goodwill to all men
Seeing it's Christmas and a time for goodwill to all men it is worth reflecting on what the UN General Assembly are up to.
Sixty-third General Assembly - Third Committee - 46th & 47th Meetings (AM & PM)
THIRD COMMITTEE DRAFT TEXT ENDORSES RECOMMENDATIONS, FUTURE WORKPLAN OF HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL’S WORKING GROUP ON RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT - Document GA/SHC/3941 24th November 2008
Approves 8 Resolutions for General Assembly Adoption;
Right to Food, Mercenaries, Combating Religious Defamation Among Issues
Approved by a vote of 177 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 2 abstentions (Canada and Israel),the resolution on the right to development would have the Assembly call on the Council to continue to ensure that its agenda promotes and advances sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals and to lead to raising the right to development as set out in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, to the same level and on a par with all other human rights and fundamental freedoms (Annex IV).
By a vote of 180 in favour to 1 against (United States) and no abstentions, the Committee also approved a resolution on the right to food, by which the Assembly would “consider it intolerable” that more than 6 million children still died every year from hunger-related illness before their fifth birthday, and that the number of undernourished people had grown to about 923 million worldwide, at the same time that the planet could produce enough food to feed 12 billion people, or twice the world’s present population. (See Annex III.)
What are the chances that the President Elect will see changing these votes as a priority ?... or even speaking out against them ?
In September 2008, America’s Second Harvest changed its name to Feeding America. This new name best conveys our mission—providing food to Americans living with hunger—and will be supported through expansive public outreach campaigns that will raise awareness of domestic hunger and our work.
Check this site and go to the link in the 1st comment below.
The BBC report that the Finacial Times are reporting that Tata Motors, the owner of Jaguar Land Rover, is to inject "tens of millions" of pounds into their UK business.
Tata acquired Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford Motors for an all-cash deal of US$2.3 billion (£1.15 Bn at the then rate of exchange £$1= US$2) on May 2nd 2008 (Less than Ford paid for Jaguar alone). Shortly after (20/9) the The Indian News reported that the Tata board "has reviewed its fund raising plan " for the acquisition after considering " the current situation of the capital market and price changes in the stock market since May 2008". Tata had revenues globally of US$62.5Bn in the year to March - late last week, Tata announced a sponsorship deal with the Ferrari Formula One team.
According to the new financing plan, the board had decided to keep the share capital as low as possible. This was shortly after the announcement (31/7) of a joint venture with French bank Credit Agricole, that the Italian auto giant Fiat would be handling the financing of all new Jaguars and Land Rovers purchased across Europe. Fiat takes over financing for Jaguar/Land Rover in Europe
However if you read the Times today - Gordon Brown puts millions on table to save car maker Jaguar Land Rover
"A state package worth hundreds of millions of pounds will be negotiated in the new year to save a firm claimed by its Indian owner to be of key strategic importance to Britain’s economy."
Apparently Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya has received many international awards including the Padma Bhusan from the President of India for services to science, technology and industry and is an adviser to Tata Motors (and personal friend of the great patriarch Ratan Tata) and has been involved in talks with the UK Government.
This year his alma mater, IIT Kharagpur awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Sciences, the institution's highest accolade with previous recipients including Mother Theresa and Ratan Tata.
The Independent has a different tale from Sarah Arnott - The Indian giant with a begging bowl - JLR has laid off 850 agency staff , will thin out 600 posts with redundancy ,cut production at Castle Bromwich and Solihull in the West Midlands, and at Halewood on Merseyside.
Tata Motors, the Indian arm of the car business, lorry sales have fallen by 50% and the high-profile scheme to build the world's cheapest car , the nano (see pic) has been hit by scandal and delay.
Tata Steel, is seeing steel prices slumping it has lost 500 UK jobs at Corus, which cost them £6.2bn last year, and wants state aid from both the Dutch and UK governments.
Would we be right in thinking that Mr Tata has bitten off more than he can chew and now expects the UK tax payer to fund his extravagance ? Gordon is fast becoming a serial bailer - he should take heed of the future demands ....