"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Leeds - International Conference on Space Security

Yorkshire CND, and the Praxis Centre of Leeds Metropolitan University held a superb International Conference on the neandertahl neo-cons wet dream of total space dominance. As the creepy crooks like Rove, Jeb Bush, Kristol, Feith, Wurmser et al crouch over for the ultimate white knuckle ride, they see their future coming.

If you want a potted and essential history, and a revealing view of the importance of Alaska in the story - checkout No Nukes North.

Postgraduate researcher Stacey Fritz, a ball busting campaigner from Fairbanks University has a historic tale of campaigning against a backdrop of one of the world's great wildernesses .... dotted with USAF bases and military funded University facilities for rocket testing.

Tales of pork and the military industrial complex.

Re-visit to hear about the other contributions to this brilliant day out in one of the worst designed academic buildings in the world. Meanwhile look at speaker Bruce Gagnon's blog

Recent blogs on same topic here

Oprah, Nagin, Compass,Katrina, Death, rape, shooting ....

Main Entry: ex·ag·ger·ate Pronunciation: ig-'za-j&-"rAt
Function: verb
Etymology: Latin exaggeratus, past participle of exaggerare, literally, to heap up, from ex- + agger heap, from aggerere to carry toward, from ad- + gerere to carry
1 : to enlarge beyond bounds or the truth

Louisiana National Guard Col. Thomas Beron was ready to hand over 10 dead bodies from the Dome to FEMA staff. In a freezer he had the bodies on some ice bags, 6 were from inside the Dome, 4 died of natural causes, 1 overdosed and another jumped to his death in an apparent suicide, 4 more bodies were collected from outside, only one appeared to be a homicide, although reports vary that the corpse showed stab or shot wounds (or both).

Beron and an Ohio National Guard commander sent 450 Ohio troops to search the Dome, top to bottom. They told them to mark locations of bodies on a map of the Dome, to rope off suspected crime scenes, and leave a chemical light sticks next to each one so they could be retrieved later.
“I fully expected to find more bodies, both homicides and natural causes,” he said.

They found nothing.

Following days of internationally headline reports of killings, rapes and gang violence inside the Dome, excited and emotional news anchors weeping, the doctor from FEMA was evidently ready “I’ve got a report of 200 bodies in the Dome,” Beron recalls the doctor saying .

At the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, just four bodies were recovered, despites reports of corpses piled inside the building. Only one of the dead appeared to have been slain, said health and law enforcement officials.

Dr. Louis Cataldie, the state Health and Human Services Department administrator overseeing the body recovery operation, said “We swept both buildings several times, because we kept getting reports of more bodies there,” Cataldie said. “But it just wasn’t the case.”
Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan said authorities had confirmed only four murders in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina - making it a typical week in a city that would expect more than 200 homicides this year.

Unidentified evacuees told of children stepping over so many bodies, “we couldn’t count.” NOLA’s police superintendent, P. Edwin Compass III, told Winfrey on Sept. 6 that “some of the little babies (are) getting raped” in the Dome. Mayor C. Ray backed it with his own tale of horrors: ‘’They have people standing out there, have been in that frickin’ Superdome for five days watching dead bodies, watching hooligans killing people, raping people.'’ Oprah throughout this tear jerking interview wore a face mask (pic) to protect her elborate make-up …? “..."It was anarchy inside that building," said Winfrey, who described a scene in which "gangs banded together and had more ammunition, at times, than the police." More sickening drivel here.

When later asked to corroborate the story, “The information I had at the time, I thought it was credible,” Compass said, conceding (unlike many police before him) his earlier statements were false.
Hizzonner Nagin later frankly acknowledged that he doesn’t know the extent of the mayhem that occurred inside the Dome and the Convention Center - and may never.

“I’m having a hard time getting a good body count,” he said. Well Mr Nagin , so far, the best information is 14 dead from the Dome and Convention Centre.

There was however, one reported shooting, a Louisiana National Guardsman who was attacked shot himself in the leg.

Rumours of rampant violence at the Convention Centre prompted Louisiana National Guard Lt. Col. Jacques Thibodeaux put together a 1,000-man force of soldiers and police in full battle gear to secure the centre on Sept. 2 at about noon.

It took only 20 minutes to take control, without any resistance being encountered, Thibodeaux said. What the soldiers found - elderly people and infants near death without food, water and medicine; crowds living in filth - shocked them more than anything they’d seen in combat zones overseas. They found no evidence, witnesses or victims of any killings, rapes or beatings, Thibodeaux said.

Fox News, a day before the major evacuation of the Superdome began, issued an "alert" as talk show host Alan Colmes repeated reports of "robberies, rapes, carjackings, riots and murder. Violent gangs are roaming the streets at night, hidden by the cover of darkness."

The Los Angeles Times in a “news” reported that National Guard troops "took positions on rooftops, scanning for snipers and armed mobs as seething crowds of refugees milled below, desperate to flee. Gunfire crackled in the distance."


Recent blogs on same topic here

Friday, September 30, 2005

Katrina dead mounts to 1,231 one month after it swept through the Gulf

1,231The unofficial death count (Robert Lindsay) for Hurricane Katrina 1/10/05 with 9more dead from Louisiana . Latest summary.

Louisiana: Thur., September 29: 923
Mississippi: Wed., September 28: 221
Florida: Wed., September 28: 14
Alabama: Wed., September 28: 2
Georgia: Fri., September 23: 2
Ohio: Fri., September 23: 2
Kentucky: Fri., September 23: 1
Evacuees*:: Fri., September 23: 57

Unofficial total: 1,231

*55 of the 57 evacuees died in Texas after evacuating the storm. Two more died in Tennessee. All of these deaths were considered to be storm-related

Of course finding bodies is only the start, identifyingthem is going to be a different and painstaking task..Seattle Times ..."

The official statewide death toll reached 896 (see above) yesterday, including 10 bodies that arrived Tuesday at a massive morgue operation in St. Gabriel, south of Baton Rouge LA.

Louis Cataldie, who heads the body-recovery effort, said officials had identified 32 of the 783 bodies handled by the primary morgue, and had tentative identifications of 340.

The 32 identified bodies were among those found at nursing homes and hospitals.

Older news story here gives similiar figure of total deaths, only 2 dead recorded for effects of Rita but people still missing on LA coast - plenty of other news stories , Carnival cruises in 6 month no bid contract works out at twice the cost of a caribbean cruise per week, Bechtel , Fluor in juicy no-bid reconstruction contracts with FEMA etc., etc.,

Those who want to know more about handling the nasty images that Katrina journalism produces see here for help, and for dealing with the trauma.

Congress had better start cranking up their ATM machine.

Recent blogs on same topic here

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Bigger the Bang the louder the silence.

Pre – launch publicity for the CD of the Rolling Stones Tour – “a bigger bang” centred on Sweet Neo Con :

You call yourself a Christian
I think that you're a hypocrite
You say you are a patriot
I think that you're a crock of shit

But one thing that is certain
Life is good at Haliburton
If you're really so astute
You should invest at Brown & Root.... Yeah

Yeah Mick – cutting edge. Ron Wood who lives in America was said to be kacking his pants that the Feds would pull him…

I bought the CD today and played it…. They don’t let us down .. but then you get to this…

dangerous beauty Track 11

In your high school photo
You look so young and naïve
Now I heard you got a nickname
The lady with the leash
Was it funny on your midnight shift
I bet you had your fair share of stiffs
Hey were onerous orders
I gotta admit

You’re a dangerous dangerous dangerous beauty
Disdainfully painfully beating up booty
You’re a dangerous dangerous dangerous beauty


‘Cos You’re a dangerous dangerous dangerous beauty
It’s so painfully plain to us
You were doing your duty

Who you got there in that hood
You look so fancy in those photographs
With your rubber gloves on
But you’re a favourite one
With the Chiefs of Staff
You’re doing such a wonderful job
You’re a natural at working with dogs
Keeping everyone awake at night
With a touch of the prods

You’re a dangerous dangerous dangerous beauty
If I was your Captain would you salute ,me
You’re a dangerous dangerous dangerous beauty
Are you one bad apple in a box
Dealing out electric shocks
I saw the gloves coming off
If looks could be killing
I bet you would shoot me
You’re a dangerous dangerous dangerous beauty
Pianfuly shamefully doing your duty
You’re a dangerous dangerous dangerous beauty

The “Lady with the Leash” ?… Lynndie England

The Dangerous Beauty ? …. Sabrina Harman

Both are now detained, England was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison with a dishonorable discharge wept. The child she had from Sgt Graner, who she claimed was the organiser of their systematic sadistic abuse will not see her for 3 years. Today the Court has ruled that the ACLU ‘s case under the Freedom of Information Act for the realse of 70 more colour photographs, and three videos of systematic abuse which only a few Senators have seen, may be released to the public.

The Government are said to be appealing the verdict ... apparently it might make the Iraqi's mad..... even the one's sold on the democracy idea. General Casey and General Myers (who spent the morning of September 11th 2001 shooting the breeze with Senator Mclellan , away from phones, TV's, Radios, mobiles, pagers, messengers oblivious that Manhattan was beig bombed and the Pentagon avross the Hudson was being hit by an airliner) didn't seem to think things were going badly in Iraq when questioned by a Congressional Committee today.

Now ...why the silence about this track ?

Recent blogs on same topic here

Ricin - of Mice and Men

A curious (and it appears comical) case appears again of a wannabe killer who was said to be using the terrorists wonder poison, ricin.

Dr. George Allen, Chairman of the Neurosurgery Department at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center had blighted the life of Dr. Ray W. Mettetal Jr by blocking his career as a nuerosurgeon. Mettetal held a grudge which resulted in on August 22, 1995 ( a 90 degree hot day) donning a fake beard, an “afro” wig, and a dark suit and wandering around the campus.

He was arrested for trespass and offered “British West Indies” identification (“ID”) in the name of Steven Ray Maupin. For about the next thirty minutes the officers had their dispatcher run computer checks on the name Steven Ray Maupin. In the meantime, Mettetal was perspiring heavily in the hot sun, and his fake beard and moustache had begun to peel off. He had a black nylon bag containing sketches and information about an automobile, fake tattoos, and a large hypodermic syringe filled with a clear liquid. They found more identification in the name of Steven Ray Maupin.

The next day, the Nashville police learned from the FBI that he was Ray Wallace Mettetal, Jr., a medical doctor from Harrisonburg, Virginia.

On August 25, 1995, three days after Mettetal’s arrest, Virginia police obtained warrants to search his home and office, in Mettetal’s home the police found bogus identification documents in the name of Steven Ray Maupin, fake hair, moustaches, makeup, a hospital uniform from the Vanderbilt medical center, and a book on disguise techniques that contained notes describing the home, cars, and personal history of Dr. Allen. The Maupin identification materials had Mettetal’s photo on them. After a news story appeared an employee at a Harrisonburg mini-storage unit facility saw the story and reported to the police that he had rented a unit in December 1994 to someone purporting to be Steven Ray Maupin.. The search of the unit turned up a large jar of ricin.

He was subsequently found guilty twice, Convicted in 1998 and 2000 of possessing ricin for use as a weapon, he spent seven years behind bars until an appeals court cleared him in both cases.

Mettetal cannot get a job and has asked the Court to test the “ricin” which he claims was not toxic on mice. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have today decided that Mettetal’s case against Vanderbilt Univerisyt and the Nashville police could proceed and that mice be tested at his cost ($750).

Mettetal has maintained all along he was only acting out a fantasy with the costume and trip to Vanderbilt.

Ricin is of course, an extract of castor oil beans and is often claimed to be a powerful toxin. It is however a large molecule and cannot be ingested or inhaled and has to be injected to be used as a poison.

Recent blogs on same topic here

Steward's enquiry - Jockey Club to probe "interference"

The stewards have got a job to do”, shouted a Policeman shepherding 82 year old, Labour Party and CND activist, Mr Walter Wolfgang as he returned, in the middle of a media scrum, to the New Labour 2005 conference in Brighton this morning.

It will soon “emerge” that the bulky and enthusiastic stewards who unseated and de-conferenced the modest Jewish refugee are “possibly” members of the BNP / Al Quaeda / Islamic Jihad and that the Police using s.44 of the Terrorist Act to prevent his return, had mistaken him for al Zarkawi / somebody else.

Mr Straw, straining to see, in the dim conference hall thought it was Richard Mugabe sending his good wishes.

The voices of dissent are unwelcome in New Labour – John Reid, without a trace of irony, closed the conference with a call for party unity.

At least they didn't shoot him. Dead. Eleven seven times.

Elsewhere at the Coference the BBC report, amateur snapper Great Grimsby MP Austin Mitchell (AKA Mr Austin Haddock MP the Fisherman's friend) had his camera seized by Police and the digital images all erased..."Security gone mad..."

Recent blogs on same topic here

Record Natural Gas Futures on NYMEX Brrrrrrrr!!!

November (front month end since closing October contracts Wednesday with intraday high of $14.60) natural gas struck a new record 15 cents to $14.25 per million British Thermal Units (BTU). The production situation for natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the hurricanes worsened a bit Wednesday.

Over 80% of Gulf daily natural-gas production was offline, compared to 78.6% on Tuesday, the U.S. Minerals Management Service said.

Energy Department update on stockpiles of natural gas in storage, is due out later today Thursday 10.00 am EST).

Other oil product were slightly lower in electronic trade with October unleaded gasoline futures down 0.4% at $2.33 a gallon and heating oil futures down 0.1% at $2.1385 a gallon.

It is going to be either a cold or expensive winter in the Northern States this winter – this will of course impact very heavily on Heating / Energy Assistance Programs for affected states. Very often these are not provided on an entitlement basis but “first come first served” until funds are depleted. The program usually runs through the months November until May.

Recent blogs on same topic here

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Crystal balls

Janet Yellen, the president of the San Francisco Fed, said in a speech in London to the UK MP’s today that the only thing that was clear in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita was that the Fed shouldn't let inflation get out of control. Yellen said the most likely forecast was that the hurricanes would cause a significant dip in growth in the second half of this year, followed by a rebound next year.

"Given this best guess, it made sense to me to continue the gradual" rate hikes at the Sept. 20 meeting, Yellen said.
Yellen also said there was a risk that federal spending on the recovery of the Gulf Coast might put the economy on an unstable upward track.

In Washington, Fed Governor Susan Bies, with rare insight into the way the market works, saidd rising energy prices will spill over into other sectors.
The Fed policymaker said she was particularly heartened that the storm didn't take a major toll (chart Diamond Offshore stock price YTD DO:NYSE) on Gulf Coast energy infrastructure. She’s not alone.

"We were glad to see over the weekend that Rita did not do as much destruction to oil as we had feared initially going in," she said to hammer the pint home to those Americans who hadn’t caught pictures of Rita ripping up the Texas boondocks.

The message from Fed officials has been fairly consistent - the negative impact on the economy from the hurricane is temporary and the principal concern is inflation, already at the high end of acceptable ranges, analysts said.

What did Greenspan say after stirring the chicken entrails – the usual oracular claptrap , he told the American Bankers Association that any decline in home prices would not necessarily be disruptive. He said it is "an open question" what the impact of higher mortgage rates or any drop in home prices would have on the economy.

Well my bet is that Fed funds will hit 4.5% in January … sooner … Dubya has to go to Congress and ask them to stick their paw into the magic hunni pot again real soon now. … to keep shelling out those bonds to the Far Eastern Banks who are in on the dollar shore up scam of the Trade deficit.

Meanwhile Sterling and the Euro stumble and the dollar picks up. Fuck inflation the RPI is a magical mystery number they make up anyway…. We’ll just fudge it again. God Bless hedonism or whatever Dubya calls it.

Who follows Greenspan …well as he would say ..”that’s an open question”. One thing to narrow the odds, it WON’T be woman.
The Dow and NASDAQ will go sidways (ish) and there will be some nicely priced IPO’s to get them away, which the careful stockpicker can pick to pay for his Christmas presents – Treo 700 the new Blackberry, an iPOD Nano in a scratch proof sable carrying case ?

Recent blogs on same topic here

Katrina passing through Georgia

A friend sent me this after a trip down South

Unhealthy surgery.

Blessed with classical good looks, a firm muscular body, a fine head of hair, all my own (albeit snaggly) teeth, and a youthful complexion I have never felt the need to resort to cosmetic surgery (Unlike Snr Berlusconi who has had several "treatments", includinghair transplant / eyelids / face lift - see pic). Last week, the small breasted, big buttocked, bent nosed and sad lined faces thronged Olympia for the Body Beautiful 2005 exhibition.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons claims to have recorded 16,367 cosmetic procedures in the UK 2004 - which is well up from a total of 10,738 in 2003. Of the people undergoing these procedures, 92% were women, and the most requested surgery was breast augmentation.

It is big and boomingbusiness. The most widely advertised group in the UK is Cheshire based Transform with 22 clinics and 30 years experience in preying on the vain in the UK.

It is an expensive, and one suspects, a very lucrative business, which unavailable on the National Health – except for injuries, post operative work for breast cancer.

Increasingly therefore many are combining a holiday trip with a visit abroad for cosmetic surgery in low cost clinics in a startling range of countries. You can combine a relaxing break, away from the pressures of daily life, with a stay in one of the overseas cosmetic surgery clinics which are now attracting patients from the UK , US Mainland Europe and amazingly Australia (where it was stated this week that 62% of adult makes are obese) the procedures are well established and the success rates are high for - Blepharoplasty (nose jobs), Liposuction, Otoplasty (ear jobs), Face lifts, Hair transplants, Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), Breast implants or reduction surgery, and Botox facial treatments even labia minora re-shaping and Anal bleaching (don't ask!).

Of course if it all goes wrong - don't expect much help or compensation.

The new you, for the wannabe glamour puss (pic Miss Lola Ferrari who had 3 successive implants and died) is just a plane ride away, and all this is peddled , wrapped up in a luxury holiday.

The destinations are many, various and remarkable -

in Tunis which was featured on GMTV program LK Today on Thursday 6th January 2005, Cosmetic surgery abroad in Barcelona, Evolution cosmetics in Johannesburg, DrKapositas in Athens, RS Cosmetic Clinic in Cairo , Beautiful Beings in Prague , Clinic beauCare in Brussels and Utrecht , Dr Toncic, Zagreb , Croatia. It is noteworthy that they look for customers from the UK, America and Australia.http://www.toncic.net/eng/index.html

Cosmetic dentistry is not available for adults on the NHS, or if available, involves considerable expense – this involves everything from teeth whitening, orthodontics, teeth replacement with titanium implants, and even sparkling “gem” implants. This is also available in such a package but is still in its infancy.

The British Hungarian service, Dr. Volom Aesthetic and also both General Dental Surgery, and Kreativ Dental, all based in Budapest will provide a total package , travel, hotels, airport collection – They all specialise in tooth insertion which they claim provides improved appearance, speech, comfort, eating more self-esteem and better oral health and convenience. It is noteworthy that they look for customers from the UK, America and Australia.

An Estonian clinic offers similar services in Talinn.

Meanwhile the UK , Health Minister Patricia Hewitt announced today that the UK has agreed a contract with the South African Netcare healthcare company for production line / low cost Cataract surgery – selection of the company is very controversial , some of whose Directors are up on charges (BMJ report) with some Israeli doctors on charges of having used donors for renal transplants who were paid to supply their organs. The donors were mostly poor Brazilians willing to sell a kidney for up to $10 000 (£5400; €8000) each. The recipients were Israelis who paid up to 10 times that amount for a kidney. Most of the transplantations, said to number in the hundreds, are alleged to have taken place in two hospitals owned by the Netcare group, with most done at St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban.

It is alleged that when the scheme was running, donors had their passports confiscated on arrival in South Africa, and were provided with a low standard of hotel accommodation. As the investigators arrested participants in the scheme, several of the poorer Brazilian donors found themselves not only without a kidney but without payment when they got back to Brazil.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Da Vinci Code - the Rochdale connection

Since Dan Brown's zillion seller novel, The Da Vinci Code, was published, many readers are buying into this brew of conspiracy theory, romance novel and pseudo-scholarship. It provides a “thought provoking” tableaux for ersatz history, liberal use of long-debunked heresies and flashy but baseless theories on everything from church tradition to architecture to the heads of a supposed medaieval secret society.

By appealing to the emotions and those wide open to belief in the Illuminati or the Truths of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion which allegedly give the key to understanding massively empowered but secret sects, he found in all this hokum a perfect marketing mix – now to made into a fillum.

Well in the green and pleasant fields (but unlikely ) fields of Rochdale, in the Pennines there is today living testimony with the Knights Templar and their crusading links with Jerusalem. (more on Templars here)The link was first proposed in the News from the Botanical Society of the British Isles by Alan Marshall, in 1991, mapping the lands of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem as detailed in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey, he tracked the current (then) known finds of Crocus nudiflorus the autumn flowering crocus. There are 11 sites locally, in an and around Rochdale, Heywood, Norden, Littleborough and Middleton.

Every year at Lammas tide (mid August to early October) this remarkable plant, the origin of Middle east culinary saffron - (from the Arab word zafranin), an interloper in the native flora, had puzzled botanists and folklorists. How had this denizen of the Middle East ended up on the Pennine Hills ? It is now evident that on the ancient meadows, grazed for centuries, never ploughed, this pretty crocus (nudiflorus because the leaves flourish and die in the spring leaving only the flower in the autumn) was planted by the returning Crusaders as a crop to harvest the rare and very expensive saffron threads, which are the intense yellow / orange threads or stamens of the flower or culinary saffron - from the Arab word zafranin.

The active colouring ingredient is the plant carotenoid, crocin, which is unusual in that it is soluble in water, and so makes it such a handy dye for rice, bread, sausages etc., The Moslems of course conquered Spain inthe 8th century they introduced saffron , rice and sugar and incorporated the intense saffron dye in their dishes , paella, chorizo sausages etc., ( Unlike say the carotenoids in carrots, orange peel etc.,)

Safranin is a bitter tasting glycoside, picrocrocin, which gives the sharp taste – and was supposed to lend the product magical aphrodisiacal powers.

Every year a gang of enthusiastic local botanists confirm the known ( and secret) sites but this year (today in fact) we found a new and previously unknown site only yards from a farm road , near a very busy leisure area which receives thousands of watersports enthusiasts every weekend , a very lively pub and a notorious rural “dogging car park”. Covering an area of some two tennis courts, there are many thousands of plants (Commercialy grown bulbs are available @ £1.50 each upwards)

These photographs were taken today. Imagine, these plants are the are the direct lineal descendants of bulbs planted by returning chevaliers and Crusaders in the 13th Century.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Government suffers SIW in War on Terror

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan was the first to be arrested in a protest outside the White House today. Police arrested dozens of people sat down along Pennsylvania Avenue, knowing they’d be taken into custody. After 3 warnings, police started making arrests. About 50 people were arrested in the first hour, with dozens of others waiting to be taken away. One man climbed over the White House fence. He was quickly subdued by Secret Service agents.

Sgt. Scott Fear, spokesman for the U.S. Park Police, said they would be charged with demonstrating without a permit, which is a misdemeanor.

Park Police Sgt. L.J. McNally said Sheehan and the others would be taken to a processing center where they would be fingerprinted and photographed, then given a ticket and released. The process would take several hours, he said.

Well, even Mafia Godfather John Gotti has been released on bail .....

Whistle blown for Full Time on US / Danish war efforts ?

In January 2004, while working for the Danish Defence Intelligence Service, Major Frank Søholm Grevil, who was trained as a chemical engineer and army officer worked for the Danish Defence Intelligence Service, ( DDIS). In January 2004 he approached a journalist on the daily newspaper, Berlingske Tidende, and told him that the Danish government had distorted the intelligence, concerning the threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. How did he know this ? Well, he had produced the intelligence reports.

As a result the Danish Prime Minister told Parliament : “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. This is not something we believe. We know it.”

Denmark had sent a submarine, a corvette and several hundred troops to participate in the American-British invasion. ( Yes. A submarine HDMS KRONBORG purchased from Sweden in 2001, which was to be sold to Bulgaria for use against smugglers in the Black Sea but has now been scrapped- see here for the remarkable story of Denmark’s submarine fleet)

Grevil made his revelation knowing it would be publicised, out of a sense of public duty, because of the intense debate over the war and subsequent failure of the Coalition forces to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The journalist wanted proof and Grevil supplied copies of confidential assessments of the alleged military threat posed by Iraq. These assessments incorporated a series of reservations that disagree with Prime Minister Anders Rasmussen’s subsequent emphatic statements that he knew that Iraq in March 2003 was in possession of weapons of mass destruction.

“There is no certain information about operative weapons of mass destruction,” one report stated dated 30 January 2003.

The reports Grevil supplied also had political analyses of the United States’ motives, which warned the Danish government that the US was intent on invading Iraq, in breach of international law.

These leaked reports made front-page headlines on the Sunday edition of the newspaper and led to a renewed political scandal about the basis for Denmark’s participation in the invasion.

Grevil was subsequently caught attempting to erase incriminating traces of his activity on a computer on which he had prepared copies of the leaked documents, and after a controversial trial lasting five days, he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment. Grevil is a widower and single father of two children, aged 12 and 17. (In neighbouring Sweden, the law prohibits investigators from probing where a "leaked" piece of information originated, and it is unlawful for journalists to disclose their sources.)

The scandal arising out of the failure to find weapons of mass destruction, exacerbated by Grevil’s revelations, led to the resignation of the Danish Minister of Defence, Svend Aage Jensby, in April 2004.

Denmark still has approximately 500 troops in Iraq, stationed in the British area in the south of the country. The submarine’s whereabouts are not known.

Following publication of a book “I nationens tjeneste - Majoren, der fik nok” (“In the service of the nation – the major who had had enough”), in which Grevil reveals the poor and inefficient organisation and obsolete focus on Eastern Europe that prevails within the DDIS, his former employer is determined to prosecute for breach of confidentiality.

The book, reveals that the most of the intelligence analysed by the service was second-hand, coming from unreliable American and British intelligence assessments. The Danish service itself had, according to Grevil, only “one single Iraq source”, and the information provided by this source was “several years old and thus of very limited value”.

It now appears that Major Frank Grevil was not the only mole in the Danish defence intelligence service,.For almost 18 months, the DDIS has hunted in vain for the person who in April 2004 fed TV 2 with two secret threat assessments about Iraq’s alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction, according to DDIS head Jørn Olesen.

That the uncertainty about the accuracy of what the Prime Minister told Parliament has arisen at all is due to the fact that the media have “hackneyed” a sentence taken out of context in three of the DDIS’s threat assessments that were not addressed to the prime minister at all, but to staff within the armed forces.

In Frank Grevil’s leaked documents from the start of 2003, the DDIS concludes that “there is no certain information about weapons of mass destruction, as Iraq has to a great degree succeeded in keeping a possible active programme secret. However, it is judged that Iraq is in possession of biological and chemical combat agents (BC combat agents), as well as the capability to deliver these [by missile].”

The greatest harmful effect of Frank Grevil’s leak is said to be the collaboration with foreign intelligence services.

If they cannot trust the DDIS, the sources dry up. Whether damage has been done by this specific case is difficult to answer, the DDIS head said: “After all, we cannot know what we have missed,” he said.

On July 6th 2005 President Bush had a Birthday breakfast with the Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen Discuss on his way to the G8 summit.

The Prime Minister said,

It's our common desire to spread liberty and promote democracy. We do not accept the thesis that certain peoples and nations are not yet ready for democracy, and therefore, better suited for dictatorship. We share the belief that freedom is universal, and we share the belief that in the struggle between democracy and dictatorship, you cannot stay neutral.

This is why Denmark contributes with more than 500 troops in Iraq; why we make an active contribution to the joint allied effort in Afghanistan; why we wish to promote democracy and reform in the Middle East; and why we urge all parties to find a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The President said

I want to thank you very much for your steadfast support for freedom and peace in Afghanistan and Iraq. I particularly want to thank the loved ones, the family members of the troops stationed abroad for the sake of peace and freedom, for their sacrifice. I know many miss their loved ones, and I know how hard it is for families during times of deployment. And I appreciate them very much. I also want to thank you very much for being such a key contributor to our common security within NATO.

Which must have been music to the Prime Minister's ears.

However On August 30th the Central Intelligence Agency were told that they can no longer use Danish airspace for flights to transport suspected terrorists around the world. Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller said the Danish government has told the United States that it is opposed to the unauthorized flights. Reports had surfaced in May that civilian aircraft secretly registered to the CIA had been sighted over Denmark. Human rights organizations claimed that the planes are used to transport terror suspects to places where torture is conducted.

Møller had originally denied that the government had knowledge of transports taking place in Danish airspace that violate “international conventions.”

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made it quite clear to U.S. officials that Denmark does not want its airspace used for purposes that are in conflict with international conventions,” wrote Møller, in response to an inquiry from Frank Aaen, the Red-Green Alliance military affairs spokesman [a Danish political Party].

Meanwhile there are reports that the UK have asked the CIA to become involved in the rendition and interrogation of suspects for the 7/7 London Transport bombings.

Brief Time line of Grevil “Whistleblower” case.

February 2004: Intelligence officer Frank Grevil delivers a series of classified reports from the Defence Intelligence Agency (DDIS) about Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction to the Danish daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende.

March 2004: Copenhagen’s Police charge Frank Grevil with having disclosed confidential information. He confesses and is dismissed from the DDIS.

April 2004: The Ministry of Defence published excerpts from the DDIS reports after the government has been accused of misleading the Danish parliament and the public about the Danish basis for war.

November 2004: The City Court of Copenhagen sentences Frank Grevil to six months’ prison and the prosecutor appeals the sentence. [The prosecutor thought he should be sentenced to one year’s imprisonment.]

September 2005: Appeals Court on Friday 23rd reduced the sentence for Frank Grevil to four months.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Fire next time....

An Israeli air strike attack on a car on Gaza's coastal road killed Mohammed al-Sheikh Khalil, described by Islamic Jihad as one of its "most senior commanders in Palestine". The group called for revenge and its gunmen threatened to abandon a cease-fire in effect since February.

Khalil's deputy, who was not immediately identified, was also killed and four people were wounded, medics said.
Photo Reuters

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Shooting Fish in a Barrel

Having erected the biggest prison on Earth, the curiously named Israeli Defence Forces have set about bombing it's inmates. Lessons evidently learnt in Sabra and Chatila.

Ha'aretz Editorial today ...

Now that the withdrawal is complete and the border crossings have become de facto international ones, Israel must treat attacks launched from the PA like attacks from any other country - which becomes an enemy state the moment such an action happens. Assertive security dialogue with the PA is the main weapon Israel should use, without compromise or concessions.

The BBC reports Israel launched a series of air raids from Saturday faternoon to Sunday morning and has also taken the unprecedented step of posting artillery pieces on the border with Gaza, and practice-firing.

Mr Sharon told his cabinet ...
“there would be no restrictions regarding the use of all means to strike at the terrorists".

"We don't intend here to stage a one-time action, but intend to carry out a continued action, whose aim is to hurt the terrorists and not to let up"

Meanwhile on the West Bank the Israeli army carried out a massive sweep of arrests, targeting Hamas activists and political leaders throughout the West Bank.

Palestinian sources reported the arrests of as many as 230 activists including teachers, students, doctors, journalists and professionals in the West Bank regions of Hebron, Bethlehem, Ram Allah, Nablus and Tulkarim. Many of them candidates in the forthcoming elections.

Picture shows 40 day old baby in jured in attack on Al Akram school with missiles injuring 15 people.

A Looking Glass War

The armchair Generals have been out in force …..

General Anthony Walker, a former Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff, told Scotland on Sunday:

"The soldiers should have said to the politicians 'f*** this, we are not going into this conflict until you tell us how you are going to deal with this country once we have won you the war'.

"But they didn't, and it now looks as though we will be there a lot longer than we planned."

On the Today program on Friday 23rd 2005 the former Chief of the Defense Staff, Lord Bramall, declared on BBC Radio 4 (Real Player) Friday morning (23rd Sep.) that the operation has degenerated into a disaster and a review of policy and a clear exit strategy for British forces is required. He also said that there were reservations in the military about the invasion at the time – if there were, they were kept remarkably well concealed – and evidently ineffective.

On the same program Michael Howard who has evidently either lost his marbles or the help of some people who understand what is going on in Iraq suggested that the Coalition of the Willing should “confront the armed militias” including the personal ones of the Prime Minister and the Interior Minister. I was waiting for him to say …”Bring ‘em on”.

The program also quoted Sir Michael Rose ex head of the SAS, a survivor of Bosnia and all round bore and know all, as saying that the UK should summon up the sinews and take the courage to withdraw their forces.

In the Independent Sir Hilary Synott, who administered southern Iraq in the early months of the occupation is reprted
"I wasn't all that surprised to see what happened," he said. "We needed a very large number of foreign police to train a police force which under Saddam was reduced to traffic duties and extortion - it was a massive task to rebuild a corrupt and hated police force into one devoted to the people.

"But we were never given sufficient resources, and they came too late. There was totally insufficient preparation for the post-conflict situation, and all the attention was on reconstructing the Iraqi military."
Well here is an armchair critic before the war started...

Canadian Spectator
Bush's gang of mad beekeepers / E Teague March 19, 2003

I've taken Baghdad what do I do now?

What is uncertain is the aftermath. This is the variable never publicly factored into the thinking(?) of the Tony Sopranos of Dubya's gang; their deeds plant the seeds of future, furious, frightening resistance. As many as half a million Iraqi soldiers may be intentionally killed and perhaps 100,000 civilians written off to collateral damage. Think of the grief of millions after this slaughter, the conversion of that grief into rage, combine that with the internecine struggles based on historical ethnic fault lines (that the Ba'ath Party has repressed), and we begin to appreciate the explosive complexity of post-invasion Iraq.

This invasion will also ignite the well financed fires of Arab and Muslim (of all shades, hues and fealties) humiliation and anger. Either in the sands of the desert or on city streets, far from this war, the body bags will build up.
Now the Scotsman on Sunday claims under a headline, “Scrap Basra police and start again orders MoD ….
"Defence Secretary John Reid is planning to scrap the 25,000-strong police force in southern Iraq and replace it with a new military-style unit capable of maintaining law and order.

Reid ordered a root-and-branch review of security in the troubled province following last week's disastrous clashes between British troops and Iraqi police.”

Curioser and curioser.

MD identified as "weak point" in Airport Security

The Manchester Evening News carries a reportWeak link in airport security” and quotes Chris Yates, aviation spokesman for Janes Publications:

"It's always been a weak point in security at Manchester. Any point in the perimeter where vehicles are required to gain access and people need to gain access to the apron is always going to be a weak link.”

“This doesn't necessarily mean Manchester Airport failed in their security. It just means this man managed to walk in where most of the traffic was going through."
A simple soul might say that if a member of the public breached the perimeter and got near to aircraft with a bag the first principle of security had failed.

"The security point (ie a gate which has been there with an entrance onto a busy road for 20 years or more) that we are talking about has been undergoing quite a lot of new construction recently and that I think will help improve things."

"But obviously if we are talking about bog-standard barriers across the road stopping people that's a weak link and perhaps we should be looking at a double-barrier system for vehicles where they drive through one barrier and then they are held where they can be checked and after that there is a second barrier."
So don’t worry if he had been driving a lorry we would have stopped him …… well when the work is finished.

Airport MD John (Pollyanna) Spooner boasted:

"The security at Manchester Airport is tighter than it has ever been. It is working better than ever.

"This incident provides a model example of how airport security is supposed to work. At no time was he not being pursued by security officers and then by police officers."
So that’s all right then. He simply ,” … ran across the taxiway and got close to two Continental aircraft preparing to fly to New York, and an Astraeus aircraft about to jet off to Naples.” …. Presumably if he had got any nearer they would have had to “shoot to kill”.

Well this citizen thinks the money spent on security at Manchester Airport is in really safe hands - I mean who would imagine some mad guy would run through an open gate ?

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