"“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

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Gun crime does a number of things

246 people from 100 agencies crammed the Hanover Hotel, in Hinckley, Leicestershire, for the Independent Advisory Group on May 24/5th 2004.

On of the key speakers at this beano, was Commander Cressida Black who was Gold Commander on 22nd June when De Menezes was shot dead by Police.

The full proceedings are here, but this may be an interesting taster , pages 10/11

She said that gun crime has a large effect on communities. (Cressida was born and brought up and educated in Oxford) …. It is a sad fact that if a young black man is shot in London today, it is unlikely to hit the headlines. Gun crime does a number of things:

It wrecks lives
It creates fear
It effects confidence in and between communities
It erodes the confidence between the Police and other agencies
It has a huge economic cost with loss of investment and provoking “middle class flight”

There is often a lack of witnesses to incidents (!). The Black community can feel over policed and under protected. Consequently there is a need to improve trust between the Police and:

The communities we serve

The next result of these changes could be to produce better intelligence.

Trident, which ….is a [police led operation to deal with firearms crimes.

…The Trident approach emphasises :

Effective investigation
Focussed relentless pro-activity
Huge investment in intelligence
Effective joint working
Involving and engaging communities
Building confidence
Having independent advice

……well I can’t find a fault in the analysis of the problems that the shooting of inoccent people by Police on the streets of London causes. 10/10 on the Theory Paper and now 10/10 on the Practical. That girl will go far.

Gun crime does a number of things - must remember that line. Kinda catchy. By the way, to add a human touch , Cressida likes walking and has two "energetic" dogs. Useful to have if you take lengthy walks in the Oxfordshire country side when you have fucked up Gubment policy / image / credibility / big style.

You couldn't fucking make it up.

Iraqi lady with 'fluence in Texas and the meejah.

May Hasan Lamotte is "an Iraqi woman” who wanted to go to Crawford with her husband to tell Cindy Sheehan that her son died for a noble cause. She also wanted to diasagree with her call to pull the troop’s out of Iraq.

"I came after reading about Miss Cindy. they think their children are dead for nothing, and I am one who got freedom. I am grateful for her son and American soldiers. Everybody thinks (Casey) died for nothing. he gave his life as many other brave soldiers have to give me and my country freedom," she said.
A lot of people heard this on a syndicated feed across America, local TV and Radio talk shows, and national TV such as NBC’s “Hardball” with Chris Matthews, but no too much in the printed press. Hmmmmm….

Well.... May Hasan Lamotte (not a name you would want if you have a grasp of Parisian street talk) is the wife of Greg Lamotte ? Who ? Well Greg worked with CNN and his brother Larry did too, in the 1st Gulf War he was held captive.

Since then he has worked for Voice of America.(VOA). Where for example he also announced the publishing of a Bin Laden tape ARAB TELEVISION STATIONS AIRS BIN LADEN AUDIOTAPE,by Gregg Lamotte,Voice of America ,January 5, 2004

VOA is an a US propaganda / information international multimedia broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government, controlled through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Curiously The Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 bars the domestic dissemination of official American information aimed at foreign audiences. Section 501(a) of the Act provides that ;

“...information produced by VOA for audiences outside the United States shall not be disseminated within the United States ..a lthough transcripts are available to … representatives of United States press associations, newspapers, magazines, radio systems, and stations, and by research students and scholars, and, on, request, shall be made available for examination only to Members of Congress.”

The Gubment tell lies on your behalf, but, really they don’t want you to know what lies they have told…. Just in case you check up on them…they do have a website however, which so far, US citizens are allowed to access.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has a chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, former Editor in Chief Readers Digest, worthy men with interesting backgrounds and two ladies. One, Condileeza Rice is there because she is Secretary of State, as well as friend and frequent overnight stayer at the Austin gubernatorial mansion when Dubya was TX Governer. The other is glamorous Hispanic Blanquita W. Cullum (see pic with friend) BQ to friends and fans, has been a nationally syndicated talk host for over ten years and frequently appears on all the major networks and cable news outlets, she served as White House liaison to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and executive assistant to the deputy director of FEMA during President George H.W. Bush's administration. In this position, she held top-secret security clearance. Senate approved her selection by the President Bush in November 2002. She has an impressive history in broadcasting . Says her official biog. on the BBG website.

“Every year since 1995, she has been named by TALKERS magazine, the trade publication for the industry, as one of the Top 100 broadcasters in talk radio. Her nationally syndicated program, "Newsbeat" is heard coast-to-coast on the Washington based Radio America Network the " Voice of the Nation".(Radio America founder is James C Roberts, you can get a flavour of his Christian vision by referring to his evangelical writing on"Human Events On Line" - the site that offers you introductory offers on "Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades)".

She has also appeared with Chris Matthews on “Hardball”, on October 13th 2003 she said ;

“We're seeing more jobs, we're seeing businesses prospering better. Of course it's going to be a struggle, but I think Americans, and especially those people who supported the president in the past, really applaud what he's been doing.”
She’s obviously popular in Republican circles …as the Gonzales County Enquirer report for September 2004 shows …

Hot dogs, apple pie to be served after parade on Saturday

The Republican Party of Gonzales County will host an "All-American Lunch" of hot dogs and apple pie at the Alcalde Hotel after the Come & Take It Parade on Saturday, Oct. 2.

Guest speaker for the luncheon will be nationally known radio and TV personality Blanquita Cullum from Washington, D.C. Cullum will also be riding in a convertible sponsored by the GOP in the parade Saturday morning.

Currently she is hosting a "chick chat" show with Karen Silk, Cullum and Silk which fits in between Gordon Liddy's bileous nonsense and tributes to Ronald Reagan. I haven;t caught it yet - but I'm sure Cindy gets a fair hearing.

Thanks to sharonjumper's diary over at kos and crooks and liars for the image of Lamotte and Skippy the Bush Kangaroo

"A Good Day for Bad News ? "

The quantity of paper evidently available to ITN, CH 4 and pictures (some forensic evidence too grisly for publication) is remarkable. Hats off to ITN, but like the release of photographs of "bombs" discovered in a red Punto at Luton to ABC, one might consider the motives of the person(s) releasing such explosive (sic) (sick) material.

1. It's the August silly season for the Press.
2. Everyone in the Metropolitan media circus / Gubment circles is on holiday - Opposition spokesmen rare beasts and pretty lowly.
3. This story had to come out, so , how about "fixing" a story, so that when the complete evidence is produced (albeit we know it will be edited) ..that is old news , we dealt with it then.
4. So the ground is laid .."The Met of course have reviewed the position"..."revised procedures , training "... " the officers have been moved to other duties and one is having medical......"
5. It is of course possible that the "regrettable early release of information will affect the course of the enquiry".
6. Focus will of course be directed to the press who by releasing this will upset relatives .... who look perfectly capable of handling this tragedy, however distraught they might be.

Finally what are we having our attention re-directed from .... ? Ref : "The Wit and Wisdom of Jo Moore" Vol XIII of "Ten killer PR strategies for handling awkward news".(pic Jo Moore with her outstandingly honest boss (@ the time) Stephen Byers who has since admitted lying but not being able to remember why).

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

How the Police lied about killing J C De Menezes

This shocking photograph shows Jean Charles De Menezes dead on the tube at Stockwell on 22nd July 2005, the day after non-lethal bizarre rucksack explosions took place on London Transport Tube and Bus, apparently emulating the lethal bombings of 7th July.

ITN News have obtained documents and photographs (some too graphic to reproduce) that track the violent death of a completely inoccent man as a result of a "shoot to kill policy" initiated by the Police with help from Israeli law enforcement, without oversight by lawmakers, Ministers and unknown to the public.

At 9.30am when Jean Charles left his flat no 17 in Scotia Road, South London a surveillance officer wrongly believed he could have been Hussain Osman, one of the prime suspects, or another terrorist suspect. He was hindered in videoing and reporting because at the time he was having a piss.

Jean Charles took a No 2 bus, at this stage it is unclear whether police accompanied him on the bus. At this time “Gold Commander” (it was Commander Cressida Dick jead of Opeartion Trident) ordered he be stopped entering the tube system.

By 10am, elite firearms officers were provided with what they describe as "positive identification". Apparently identification was from a gym membership card - perhaps "Fitness First" a distinctive bag bearing their logo was photographed on the bus in Hackney.

De Menezes got off the bus entered Stockwell station where CCTV (previously reported to be not working) obtained a free “Metro” paper, he used his "Oyster" card to electronically open the barrier and proceeded (“normal walking pace”) normally down the escalator and quickening his pace got onto the tube and sat down.

The photograph shows he was not carrying a rucksack, and was wearing a lightweight denim blouson type jacket and not a bulky winter jacket as claimed by the Police at the time.

When he sat down, "Almost simultaneously armed officers were provided with positive identification." (By whom ?)

A member of the surveillance team is quoted in the report. He said: "I heard shouting which included the word `police' and turned to face the male in the denim jacket.

"He immediately stood up and advanced towards me and the CO19 officers. I grabbed the male in the denim jacket by wrapping both my arms around his torso, pinning his arms to his side.

"I then pushed him back on to the seat where he had been previously sitting. I then heard a gun shot very close to my left ear and was dragged away onto the floor of the carriage."

The report also said a post mortem examination showed Mr de Menezes was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder, but three other bullets missed, with the casings left lying in the tube carriage.

There are no details about how the train driver was later chased into the tunnel and held up against the wall with a pistol to his head.

Police have declined to comment while the mistaken killing is still being investigated.

Hours after the shooting, Police Commissioner Ian Blair in a Yahoo report (and many others) said the victim was "directly linked" to the investigations into attacks Thursday and July 7.

Curiously enough no record can be found on the BBC news website reporting his post killing intelligence. The following graphic with commentary from the BBC identifies the lies that they retailed about the incident – still available…we’ll check how long before they hit the Memory Hole.

The BBC did later report that Sir Ian Blair was “sorry”.

Sir Ian told Sky News: "This is a tragedy. The Metropolitan Police accepts full responsibility. To the family I can only express my deep regrets."

He said there was no reason to believe the four men sought over the failed bombings - whose images caught on CCTV were released on Friday - had left the country. … we now know of course that Osman Hussein AKA Hamdi Isaac was, as he spoke, legging it on Eurostar en route to Italy.

He acknowledged "somebody else could be shot" as the hunt continued, but added "everything is done to make it right". Apparently the assassin was sent on holiday.

Heads must roll, but would it be be unreasonable to ask for Sir Ian's on a plate ?

1: Jean Charles de Menezes enters Stockwell station (TRUE)
2: Witnesses say he vaults the automatic ticket barriers and heads for the platforms (FALSE)
3: He runs down an escalator after being approached by up to 20 plain-clothed police officers and tries to board a train (FALSE)
4: He apparently refuses to obey police instructions (FALSE) and after running onto a northbound Northern line train, he is shot dead

Muslimification of the Met..... this will be popular in the canteen.

Islam for Today report that The Metropolitan Police in London has accepted Hijab as a uniform option for Muslim women serving in the force. The announcement was made at a conference on the theme of “Protect and Respect: Everybody’s Benefit”.

Two models Shahnaz Shashudin and Syria Hussain are modelling the hijab uniform for women police constables in the Met. Muslim policewomen will now be allowed to wear a headscarf and the ankle length gown. Muslim police officers will now be allowed to pray on duty, demand halal food and have altered meal schedules during Ramadan.

Nur al-Cubicle found this, but curiously this has not been reported in any Google monitored news media.

Chavez secures South American markets for his oil in South Am..then tells George Bush to Fuck Off

Venezuela’s President Chavez spent 4 days on trip to key allies in the Southern Cone Economic Zone (Mercosur) countries, consolidating his vision of a South American energy structure… and according to his allies north of the Gulf of Mexico, reeking of cheque book populism…. A method of foreign influence they are familiar with.

In Uruguay, Chavez met President Tabaré Vazquez, and signed ten agreements, including the Social Charter of the Americas which is a document the Venezuelan government has been drafting, which, if adopted by the OAS, would commit all member countries to basic social rights, just as the OAS democratic charter commits them to the upholding of political rights.

An important agreement is to promote PetroSur—the continent-wide oil company Chavez visited , La Teja, refinery near Montevideo, which Chavez said Venezuela would help bring capacity, to process 50,000 barrels of Venezuelan crude per day. The aim is to double production and at a cost of US$600 develop it to refine Venezuela’s extra-heavy crude from the Orinoco Oil Belt. A vital part of Venezuela’s commitment to Uruguay would be to guarantee Uruguay’s oil supply for the next 25 years.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he met the Patagonian, Peronist President Nestor Kirchner, he and Chavez signed agreements for Venezuela’s supply of fuel oil and gas and for Argentina to construct tankers for the Venezuelan oil company’s fleet. The ship building agreement, which will generate at least 1,500 jobs, is for four tankers, worth $200 million. The first tanker will be named Eva Peron.

Chavez also went to, Rio Santiago, where a Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) tanker is being repaired and where the new tankers will be built. Chavez Frias has offered to send more tankers.

President Kirchner praised Chavez Frias for the purchase of US£800Mn of Argentinean bonds, saying the gesture of solidarity will not be forgotten.

Chavez Frias says the bonds should be called the Kirchner Bonds and the purchase is a sign of Venezuela's coherence in its regional integration discourse.

It must be remembered that Argentinean President Nestor Kirchner revoked a degree on obtaining office in 2003 that prohibited the extradition of Argentine officials accused of torture or murder during the 1976-83 military dictatorship's "dirty war" against leftist opponents.

In Brasilia, Chavez met President “Lula” da Silva to further the agreements already made to increase trade between the 2 countries from US$800 Mn in 2004 to US$3 Bn in 2005.

On the joint development of energy, plans for the Pernambuco refinery to handle Venezuelan crude were moved forward, and construction on this refinery should begin before the end of 2005 although the precise site location has to be decided.

The building of a gas pipeline connecting Venezuela’s Caribbean coast with Brazil, and agreeing for Brazil’s oil company Petrobras the opportunity to produce oil in Venezuela’s Orinoco Oil Belt, he world’s largest reserves of extra-heavy crude were furthered in the attempt to integrate the continents energy integration. “We want to give priority to Latin America to exploit this immense oil wealth,” said Chavez.

Chavez came to the defence of his ally who is currently facing charges of several members of his government have been accused of corruption. “I am absolutely certain that Lula is an honest man, a great partner…,” said Chavez, adding, “I feel that there is an action of the old political class, of the Brazilian right … it is a massive attack against the president of Brazil and this must come from some planning centre here within Brazil or—watch out—from outside the country.”

As a result Chavez was able this weekend in a speech at a youth festival in Caracas (see pic),. to threaten to cut off oil exports to the United States, and denounce the "aggressive" actions of the U.S. government against Venezuela, threatening that Venezuelan oil "instead of going to the United States, could go elsewhere."

Tensions rose when Venezuela recently stopped assisting the U.S. in their "War against Drugs". (Another one they seem to have lost)The US response wasto cancel the military visas of Venezuelan military personnel, working with U.S. anti-drug agencies. Venezuela then deported U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officials.

Venezuela controls the largest oil reserves in South America, making it the world's fifth largest oil producer and exports a vital 1.3 million barrels a day to the United States. That's 2 tankers every day.

Chavez has George "over a barrel"...1.3 Mn of them every day.....and George doesn't like it.

Reuters report that Ugandan troops have shot dead, Lieutenant-Colonel Lobul, a senior officer of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) near Okidi village, west of Kitgum town, near the Sudanese border, Captain Paddy Ankunda a military spokesman said on Sunday August 14th August 2005.Another report by William Bionx Akena, Uganda-CAN news correspondent in Gulu town, reports – the man was called Ogur and was described as notorious.

There have been 18 years of bloodshed resulting in the displacement of (depending upon the source) 1Mn to 2 Mn people, and the settling of 800.000 people in camps who rely entirely on food aid from the World Food program. Donors that have contributed to the Ugandan appeal so far this year include the United States (US$12.5 million), the United Kingdom (US$1.8 million), Germany (US$1.2 million) and Japan (US$0.9 million). (Source WFP Nairobi)

At the end of 2003, Jan Egeland, the United Nations undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, told the BBC:

"I cannot find any other part of the world that is having an emergency on the scale of Uganda that is getting so little international attention."

Since then the situation has deteriorated.

Uganda-CAN is a project of Africa Faith and Justice Network with offices in Washington, D.C. on the campus of Catholic University. Peter Quaranto, co-director, is a student of international peace studies at the University of Notre Dame. Opposite him is Michael Poffenberger, AFJN's new associate director. Fr. Bill Dyer is AFJN's new executive director. Visit their web site for more information.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Hot/Cold air Alert – it’s the data stupid!

I posted some observations on the report from the UK Meteorological Office Hadley centre which they published on Friday 12/8/05 in Science on their attempts to resolve the apparent paradox, that whilst the IPCC in 2001 suggested from direct observations that the Earth's surface had warmed rapidly since 1979, the air in the lower 8 km of the atmosphere above the surface had not. This difference however, most evident in tropical zones, directly contradicted climate models which simulated larger warming aloft, rather than at the surface they came to the conclusion after running datasets through 18 world climate models :

1. The models don’t work properly …

2. There is a problem with the data …

The good / bad news is that Science also published the views of 2 other sets of researchers which…. Well let’s cover what they say. First up to the plate is study leader Steven Sherwood, an associate professor of geology and geophysics at Yale. He worked with Researchers at the US' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)(1)who says ,

"Even though models predict a close link between atmospheric and surface temperatures, there has been a large difference in the actual measurements." Which he says, “This has muddied the interpretation of reported warming.”

The reason is the data collected were incorrect.
1) There was problem with the balloon radiosonde temperature recording units.

For the last 40 years radiosonde temperature information from balloons has been collected twice each day from stations around the world at local times that correspond to 00:00 and 12:00 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) . Some measurements were taken in daylight, others in darkness. The key to the error in climate change estimates lay in instrument design, according Sherwood et.al. With exposed sensors, measurement taken in daylight read too warm, whilst solar heating had a measurable impact on early designs, the effect became negligible in more recent designs. After taking this problem into account, and by separating out nightime and daytime data separately, rather than averaging them daily , the researchers estimate(sic) there has been an increase of 0.2 degree Celsius (°C) in the average global temperature per decade for the last thirty years (Total 0.6 C or 1 F’ ish).

Over the next century, global surface temperatures they extrapolate excitedly are expected to increase by 2 to 4°C. However, year-to-year and region to region increases may vary considerably ( a prudent note of scientific caution here) , with a smaller increase in the tropics but 10 degrees or more possible (wow!) in some Polar Regions.

“Unfortunately, the warming is in an accelerating trend — the climate has not yet caught up with what we’ve already put into the atmosphere,” said Sherwood in his down home folksy way. “There are steps we should take, but it seems that shaking people out of complacency will take a strong incentive.” Not to mention putting a great deal of emphasis on the “estimated” increase of 0.2 C per decade.

"It's like being outside on a hot day -- it feels hotter when you are standing in the direct sun than when you are standing in the shade," said Sherwood in a brave attempt at unfolding the mysteries of science for the common man , and concludes with a raffish, under scientist, arrogant remark that gets the headlines in downtown Palookaville….. "We can't hang our hats on the old balloon numbers."

The story doesn’t finish here folks, there is nothing like a combative climatologist to sneak in another blow from …well outta the sun.

2) There was a problem with defining the time / sighting of the Microwave Sounding Units (MSUs) and Advanced Microwave Sounding Units (AMSUs) flying on NOAA's polar orbiting weather satellites

On another tack, Carl Mears and Frank Wentz of Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) in Santa Rosa, Calif., have been busy examining satellite data, collected since 1979 by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather satellites. They have found that the satellites were subject to orbital decay caused, they believe, because the orbital period of a satellite changes slowly over that satellite's lifetime, due to friction with the outer reaches of the atmosphere. If due allowance is not made for such changes, spurious long-term trends can appear in the data, so if the satellite had drifted in orbit,it would throw off the timing of temperature. (remember 00:00 and 12:00 GMT) Essentially, the satellites were increasingly reporting nightime temperatures as daytime ones, heating from tropical sunlight was skewing the temperatures reported by sensors, making nights look as warm as days.

The University of Alabama in Huntsville estimate of the globally averaged trend since 1979 to the present has been +0.09 deg. C/decade, considerably below the surface thermometer estimate that has been hovering around +0.20 deg. C/decade for the same period of record…... and the 0.2 deg.C/decade that Sherwood’s revised ballon figures produced.

So RSS say, the satellite recession was leading to the recording of a false cooling trend. The team (see pic) also found an algebraic error in the calculations and have produced a revised final estimate of the global lower tropospheric trend through 2004 as +0.19 deg. C/decade, very close to the surface thermometer estimate, and this constitutes the primary news value of their report.

The happy ending is “Once corrected, the satellite and balloon temperatures align with other surface and upper-atmosphere measures, as well as climate change models”, says climate expert Ben Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California .

If you seek a more detailed review of these three papers you are advised to read “Some Convergence of Global Warming Estimates” by Roy Spencer who undertook the original University of Alabama in Huntsville, "UAH" studies, published on 11th August by the George C Marshall Centre they have undertaken a review of their procedures and calculations in the light of the RSS criticism and have proposed a decadal temperature rise of 0.12 C…Spencer says rather pointedly concerning the publication of the three papers simultaneously…

” I only hope that the appearance of these three papers together, with considerable overlapping of authorship, does not represent an attempt to make measurements fit theoretical models.” He also makes a plea that the shifts in the global warming debate is out of the realm of "is warming happening?" to .... "how much has it warmed, and how much will it warm in the future?". (Equally valid questions to debate are "how much of the warmth is man-made?", "is warming necessarily a bad thing?", and "what can we do about it anyway?"). This he says is where the debate should be….and so say all of us.

In a nutshell what these 3 papers tell us, is - Surface temperature records show temperature increase 0.20 degrees C per decade over the last 3 decades in tropical zones. (Although no-ne seems to have queried the accuracy of such man made datasets...yet ?)

Balloon tropospheric temperature records showed no temperature increase in this period. This has now been revised for two reasons, one there was a disparity in day / night time recording die to solar heating, which was lost due to diurnal averaging, and because radiosonde equipment improved in design to reduce this effect so long term linear comparisons were invalid. As a result it is estimated that the tropospheric temp erature rise was a decadal 0.20 deg. C.

Previous analysis of Satellite records failed to correctly take into account satellite recession and there was a small algebraic error in the original satellite studies as a result of these problems which were corrected it is estimated that the tropospheric temperature rise was a decadal 0. 19 deg. C.

The original team who worked on their satellite data have re-d0ne their calculations in the light of the revised views of satellite recession and algebraic error and say the decadal temperature rise is 0.12 deg C.

(1) (Co-authors on the paper were Cathryn Meyer at Yale and John Lanzante at the NOAA/ Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton. The research was funded by the NOAA Climate and Global Change Program and the National Science Foundation. )
Mears, C.A., and F.J. Wentz, 2005: The effect of diurnal correction on satellite-derived lower tropospheric temperature. August 11, online at http://www.scienceexpress.org.

Santer, B.D., et al., 2005: Amplification of surface temperature trends and variability in the tropical atmosphere. August 11, online at http://www.scienceexpress.org.

Sherwood, S., J. Lanzante, and C. Meyer, 2005: Radiosonde daytime biases and late 20th century warming. August 11, online at http://www.scienceexpress.org.

Uganda - another humanitarian crisis brewing.

Since 1986, the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) of self-styled mystic Joseph Kony, who many consider clinically insane, has carried out merciless attacks across the north of Uganda, ostensibly in an attempt to overthrow the government of President Yoweri Museveni and to have Uganda ruled in accordance with the Biblical Ten Commandments.

For 17 years the Acholi people of northern Uganda have been the victims of a brutal, unrelenting rebel insurgency.According to recent estimates from the UN World Food Programme (WFP), over 800,000 people in the three northern Ugandan districts of Gulu, Kitgum, and Pader have now been forced from their homes and are living (and being fed) in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

This represents 70 to 80 percent of the entire Acholi population.

The Ugandan army does not recognize the LRA as a bona fide rebel group, denouncing it simply as a terrorist organization. There is some support for this view; the group has been denoted a terrorist organisation by the US government, and has been included on the US State Department's 'Terrorist Exclusion List' since December 2001.(See footnote re pic)

The UN estimates, some 8,400 children have been registered as abducted by the LRA during raids between June 2002 and June 2003. This represents a sharp increase in the level of abductions, and brings to over 20,000 the total number of registered child abductions since 1990. Fewer than 100 children were reported to be abducted during 2001, a period when hopes were high that the conflict was slowly dying out.

Once captured, abducted children are often forced to take part in horrifying initiation practices, including the torture and murder of others. Many other children are forced to watch helplessly the beatings, killings, abductions, rape and murder of other people, who are sometimes their close relatives. Whilst girls are taken as sex slaves by the LRA leaders.

Apart from the Ugandan army's troubled campaign against Kony, there have been some, so far unsuccessful, attempts to bring a peaceful end to the war. These peace initiatives have included a presidential peace team, which was established by Museveni with a view to starting serious negotiations.

It was therefore interesting to see that on the 18th July 2005 Rochdale Liberal MP Paul Rowen took the opportunity to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs “what assessment he has made of the security situation in northern Uganda.” Ian Pearson was able to tell him that, “ the security situation has deteriorated since the expiry of the cease-fire in February and the onset of the rainy season. The Lord's Resistance Army continue to attack and loot for food and supplies.” Furthermore the Noble Lord Triesman of Tottenham, (David T as was, now adorning benches of the House of Lords and whom many will remember when he was in the Communist Party in the 70’s as a raving Trotskyite) discussed this with President Museveni on 4 July, although he remained silent upon what they discussed and any resulting actions the UK Government might make.

Dorcus Inzikuru won the first world women’s 3,000 metre steeplechase title in Helsinki this week to get Uganda its first gold medal ever in the 22-year history of the World Athletics Championship >>>

It is therefore fascinating to see the interest the Liberal MP has in the Dark Continent …which continues to trouble those intent on providing aid …in the case of Uganda, British Aid accounts for half the Government revenues, yet In April, Britain cancelled £5 million out of £40 million in aid to Uganda, and Norway followed suit 10 later, denying Uganda £2.4 million... after the President made slow progress in moving away from a one-party state….To put it into perspective The buildup of the Ugandan external debt under President Musaveni coincided chronologically with the Rwandan and Congolese civil wars which Musaveni was (at the behest of the US) very active.

With the accession of Musaveni to the presidency in 1986, the Ugandan external debt stood at 1.3 billion dollars. With the gush of fresh money, the external debt spiraled overnight, increasing almost threefold to 3.7 billion by 1997. In fact, Uganda had no outstanding debt to the World Bank at the outset of its "economic recovery program". By 1997, it owed almost 2 billion dollars solely to the World Bank.Those anxious to cancel African nation’s indebtedness may well ask, “ Where had the money gone ?”

Of course multiparty politics, was banned when Musaveni came to power in 1986, and the ruling National Resistance Movement has since been the only recognized political group. Internal and international pressure mainly from US , the EU, and Germany for more democracy, have it appears forced his hand and the president now says he supports a return to multi-party politics and a referendum was held on July 29th resulted in a low turnout of 47% (the opposition called, remarkably for a boycott) but a 92.5% majority to restore multi-party politics. But both internal and international pressure for more democracy seem to have forced his hand and the president now says he supports a return to multi-party politics.

The referendum is only partly about democracy. It’s also aimed at enhancing political power, in allowing Musaveni to stand in forthcoming (?) elections next year.

Diplomatic gossip tells of 1,000 killings per day, many of them by the boy soldiers armed (by whom ?) with AK 47's. It is evident that we have another "humanitarian crisis" beginning to boil in the Heart of the Dark Continent.The British High Comission in Kampala strongly advise against travel to, or transiting by road, the following areas in northern Uganda: Gulu (including Murchison Falls National Park, the northern section of which lies in Gulu district), Kitgum, Pader, Adjumani, Apac and Lira districts. These are all areas where LRA activity has been the highest and most recent.

In July 2005, there was an armed attack on a vehicle in the northern part of the Murchison Falls National Park. Vistors are strongly advised not to visit this park.

For this reason, the region known as West Nile (Nebbi, Arua, Moyo, and Yumbe districts in Uganda's far north west) should only be approached by air. Most visits to West Nile are trouble-free, but you should note that two US missionaries were murdered in Yumbe in March 2004.

PICTURE FOOTNOTE Lokeria Aciro recovers at a hospital in northern Uganda. She had her lips and ears cut off by an 11-year-old soldier of the LRA when she and other women left a refugee camp to gather firewood. The other women were taken by the rebels.Photo Ann Orr for more see Los Angeles TimesAug 9th © 2005

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