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

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

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

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

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller Nightmare Scenario

"Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller (pic) faces huge problem "....screams the Sun - which judging by the rather tasty vid filched from the changing rooms at Rigby & Peller corsetieres to Royalty is true....."Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller outlined the terrifying prospect" ...it continues.

"In a nightmare vision, Dame Eliza ... "(true enough .. but the fillum is a bit grainy) (YOU Tube here)

THIRTY active terrorist plots are under investigation by the security services.

MANY more have yet to be uncovered. (WOW!!!!!)

SIX major attacks have been foiled in the last six years.

FANATICS are poised to use biological, radioactive or even nuclear weapons.(Israelis maybe?)

RECRUITMENT to terror cells of young Muslims — some still schoolkids — is exploding, with many groomed to be suicide bombers, and MI5 is struggling to cope with a staggering 80 per cent increase in casework since January, leaving its 2,800 spooks at full stretch and potentially unable to “stop the next attack”.

yeah, yeah whatever.

Meanwhile 22 year old Samina Malik, 22, of Southall, west London, has been charged with four offences under the Terrorism Act 2000 which includes having a document entitled How To Win Hand To Hand Fighting. - no match for our Eliza judging by these pics.

2,800 spooks at full stretch.

The Morning After the Party failed

Will Bunch at Attytood puts on his tin foil hat and makes the case that Rove masterminded the Republican collapse .. a conspiracy too far ?

But it really boils down to one word:


Everything we watched Bush do since Wednesday morning seems to be geared in one direction: Bringing Democrats to the table on Iraq. The problem for the Democrats is this: They came to office without a plan for Iraq. Bush doesn't seem to have one either. Nobody does, although James Baker and his friends are said to be working on one. But now whatever emerges from the coming discussions will not longer be the GOP plan. It will be the Bush/Democrats' plan.

And we're afraid that the war planners are expecting things to get worse over there in 2007. Good politicians are able to ensure that when bad fallout is inevitable, that the blame can be shared.

Which sounds absurdist but maybe we misunderstaimate the man in the arras ?

Is Karl Rove not the evil genius we all thought he was, or is he brilliant beyond the reckoning power of us mere mortals? Whatever the strategery, the more we look at it, the more we think that Bush's difficult next two years may work out slightly better for him with a Democratic Congress.

Lord Patel commends you read it and the lengthy and evidently late Friday night beer goggle view of the Repug Universe ... e.g

One-third of Republican losses in the House came in congressional districts where the party had been tainted, to varying degrees, by scandal.

Those seats were in Arizona's 5th, California's 11th, Florida's 16th, New York's 20th, North Carolina's 11th, Pennsylvania's 7th and 10th, Ohio's 18th and Texas' 22nd congressional districts. Drawing from these races, the GOP's message to its ranks should be (taking them in order): If you want to take questionable Native American-tribe money, get entangled with a shady lobbyist, do favors for a client of a shady lobbyist, hit on teenage pages, have domestic-disturbance calls at your house, take bribes, funnel contracts to your lobbyist daughter, allegedly choke your mistress or run a congressional office infested with self-enriching charlatans -- please, go find some other party.
read on and enjoy !

Bajaur - Mushariff's nemesis ?

In the unlikely setting of an opening ceremony of the much needed Lahore-Faisalabad motorway passing through Shiekhupura in Punjab, President Pervez Musharraf took the opportunity to explain the lethal air attack on the Bajaur madrassa.

He claimed that they had been under observation for over a year and charged Maulana Liaqat of the Bajaur madrasa for training suicide bombers. Liaquat was believed to have been killed and it is alleged that Faqir Mohammed who was in the mosque on site was also killed , but this (which would have been a major coup) has not been confirmed.

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan have been isolated for centuries and been resistant to the efforts of Afghan kings, the British Raj, Pakistani generals, the Soviets and American Green Berets and assorted "elite" forces in recent years.

The size of Wales, with a population of some 3 million Pashtun, it has very strong ties to Afghanistan and has long been a centre of Al Quaeda activity . There are 7 FATA Agencies,and North and South Waziristan and Bajaur play the most significant role in the war on terrorism - Bajeur has played host to Al Quaeda leaders including Osama bin Laden and it's proximity to Kunar in Afghanistan makes it a regular route in and out .

Consequently military activity against AQ has been intense and in May 2005 in Mardan, in the SE of Bajeur bin Laden's secretary / sidekick Abu Farraj al-Libbi was arrested. 2 days later Pakistani security forces arrested thirteen alleged AQ operatives including Uzbek and Afghan nationals.

On January 12, 2006 suspected U.S. aircraft fired missiles at houses in the village of Damadola in the Bajaur Agency and killed 18 people where it has been subsequently claimed al-Zawahiri along with Mullah Omar were invited to a feast in the village.

Faqir Mohammed leader / founder of the Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Sharia, (Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM)) certainly was there and escaped - this group had (and still has) forcibly imposed Islamic religious laws in the Pashtun tribal areas of northwestern Pakistan in the 1990s. Whilst not claimed to be affiliated with AQ or the Taliban they have a common enemy and undoubtedly act in concert.

Qazi Hussain Ahmad, president of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and amir of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, addressed an anti-U.S., anti-Musharraf rally in Bajaur after the Damadola strike in January 2006. Qazi Hussain derided President Musharraf's government as an ally of the invaders and termed the political administration of the frontier region as spies for the allied forces stationed in Afghanistan.

Naturally the attack on the Madrassa at which a US drone was seen prior to the attack of Pakistani helicopter gunships is blamed on the US - Efwit has an interesting and it appears a well informed note on how the US pressured President Musharraf to act.

"They loaded us with evidence. The strike was absolutely inevitable," said a senior intelligence official, also speaking on condition of anonymity. Another official called the attack a "major test" of military and intelligence cooperation between the United States and Pakistan. "We thought about other options, but the Americans weren't ready to take any chances," he said. "We were caught between the devil and the deep sea." ...

Ansar Abbasi, the Islamabad bureau chief for the News International newspaper is quoted calling the attack "outrageous" and in a column pointed out that whilst it raised Musharraf's tough-guy image in the West, there was no national interest and it would simply exacerbate conflict between the army and the civilian populace. "Have we not fallen into a U.S. trap?" he asked.

The way the US sell it, they have 80 dead embryo suicide bombers dead.

The well informed CIA mouthpiece Bill Roggio at Fourth Rail ponders about the role of "the U.S. special operations terrorist hunter-killer teamsTask Force 145". This shadowy set up has (he claims) been ultimately was shown to be responsible for the April2006 raid in Danda Saidgai on the al-Qaeda training camp which resulted in the death of of Muhsin Musa Matwalli Atwah. He also points out that as the raid happened at dawn (5.00am) it would require night flying by the Pakistani's and hint that this is not their MO.

Earlier this week a suicide bomber killed 42 army recruits on an army parade ground at Dargai which has been claimed is a reprisal.a second unsuccessful bomber is also being sought. ( For those interested in these sort of things the Gulf News today quotes British junior foreign minister Kim "Rentagob" Howells saying there could be "no justification" for the bombing)

The Pakistani Parliamentary opposition in Islamabad led by the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) alliance (An Islamist political party that supports the Taliban and al-Qaeda)said it had planned a Fateha khawani prayer for the 82 dead from Bajaur and 42 dead army recruits in Darga (now 45 dead 20 wounded) Speaker Amir Hussain Chaudhry on Friday blocked the prayer and adjourned the House until Monday.

A bumpy ride ahead for President Mushariff.

For some recent background material read Lord Patel ...

Wednesday, September 13
Hekmatyar .. reports of his capture premature ... Afghanistan collapse continues

Sunday, September 10
Kim Howells is both mad and ignorant ... Taliban triumphant
British Minister hails Pak-Taliban deal in Waziristan

See this reference also .. Afghan.cc

It is very well known that Mullah Omar lives in Quetta and conducts the Taliban operations in southern Afghanistan provinces of Helmand, Kandahar, Oruzghan, Pakitiya, Paktika and Zabul while Gulubuddin Hekmatyar, another ISI old hand is in Bajaur agency to keep his Hizb-e-Islami fighters operational in Khost, Nangarhar and Nooristan and even his home province Badakshan."

Welshman on holiday causes trouble

The denizens of the Saloon Bar at "The Jolly Farmer" were busy last night forming a Committee for the Defence of People who are Attacked and Insulted by Dr Kim Howells and putting the finishing touches to their Mission Statement.

Whilst his Government is gradually having it's collective collar felt for dishing out Coronets for Cash, this gormless Welshman - who approaches every problem with an open mouth - was busy in Kenya giving the natives a good dressing down.

Which is a pity because most of the Ministers he met and had been dressing up, as hordes of delusional civil servants, and gravy train grubbers were in town to discuss climate change - the comic scenario whereby Notting Hill will soon be as warm as Nairobi and the beaches of Merseyside will be as delightful as Mombasa.

This hapless front man for the Foreign Office - whose staff includes the deeply corrupt Lord Levy took up the challenge of William Burke.

" I do not know how to draw up an indictment against a whole Nation" said Burke .. well Dr Kim had a good go ..

Kenyans, he announced,

"can be bought. From the person who works at the docks in Mombasa up to the government ... You can buy off politicians, you can buy off policemen. The weakness has been recognised by drug traffickers and probably by terrorists too ... and that is very bad news for us."
Mind you, this is well trodden ground .. those with a very long memory will remember how 2 years ago Sir Edward Clay, an ex Senior dip Nairobi, accused President Mwai Kibaki's regime of "vomiting on the shoes" of aid donors... remarks claimed by outraged Kenyan Ministers to be thos of a dipsomaniac , not a diplomat.

"Tonnes" of drugs were moving through the country", Howells blundered on..." and top officials were implicated."

"At the port [Mombasa] today, they said they had not come across a single drug since 1998. I replied very candidly that if that was the case, they must be the only port in the world not to have found a drug in eight years. They [the government] talk the talk but when it comes to action it's very disappointing. There is clearly complicity at very high levels."
Which is a bit rich from man who represents a country (not to mention its Gubment) with a record sized prison population of whom a third every day spend their time in a drug fuelled haze.

Adam Wood, the High Commissioner, no doubt a decent man, steeped in the niceties of statesmanlike talk , no doubt bore the look of a man consigned to pick up the pieces.

It looks as though our Committee is going to be kept busy .

Russia, Oil, Diamonds, Africa - the Empire expands

There has been a lot of press talk this week about Chinese expansion in Africa but President Putin has been busy expanding Rusian, trade, investment and influence whilst Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos (President since 1979) was in Moscow last week. (So was Bill Gates)

Zarubezhneft and the Ministry of Oil of Iraq started cooperation in 1967 this initially resulted in the construction and commissioning of the largest operating oil field in the country – North Rumaila with the annual production of 42 mln. tons of oil, Luheis and Nahr-Umr (total production - 4 mln. tons of oil per year).

After the introduction of sanctions they continued with supply and service contracts under the UN Oil-for-Food Programme. Then in 1997 Zarubezhneft, LUKoil and Mashinoimport signed an exploration and production contract with Iraqi Ministry of Oil for the second stage of the West Qurna oil field under the terms of production sharing agreement.

A 1999 contract between Zarubezhneft and North Oil Company of Iraq for a drilling contract of 45 wells of depths ranging from 1500 to 2400 meters in the North part of Iraq is still in force.

Zarubezhneft and Vagit Alekperov's LUKoil (18% owned by Conoco-Philips) signed a deal to to launch prospecting operations in Angola between the lower reaches of the Congo River and the Kwanza River, and in the shelf sector.

Zarubezhneft and Alrosa the Russian Diamond monopoly also sealed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Angola’s state-run Sonangol (Angola’s national oil and gas exploration and production company)and The Dark Oil Company for joint prospecting, exploration and production of oil and gas deposits on-shore between the South Congo and the North Kwanza basins, in the Kassanje, Ocavango, Etosha basisns, and also in off-shore areas.

Alrosa also signed an MOU with Empresa Nacional de Diamantes de Angola - Endemia (Angola’s national diamond mining company) for cooperation in diamond exploration and development, and personnel training in the fields of scientific research and technology.

Under the MOU Endemia will be entitled to use Alrosa's exploration, mining and ore treatment technologies. Alrosa will also provide training for Angolans employed in diamond projects and other commercial joint ventures where it has interest.

Alexander Medvedev, deputy board chairman of Gazprom, said this week that initial investment in Angola may total $100 million for developing a liquified naural gas plant - if volumes justify it.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Rummy on War Crime charges in Germany - Nuremburg The Sequel

German law provides "universal jurisdiction" allowing for the prosecution of war crimes and related offenses that take place anywhere in the world.

Time reports that new legal documents, to be filed next week with Germany's top prosecutor by 11 Iraqi prisoners held at Abu Ghraib and Mohammad al-Qahtani, a Saudi held at Guantanamo, whom the U.S. has identified as the so-called "20th hijacker" . These will include written testimony from Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the one-time commander of all U.S. military prisons in Iraq which claims inter alia ..

"It was clear the knowledge and responsibility [for what happened at Abu Ghraib] goes all the way to the top of the chain of command to the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ."

The Plaintiffs seek a criminal investigation and prosecution of ex Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld ....
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
Former CIA director George Tenet
Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone
Former assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee
Former deputy assisant attorney general John Yoo
General Counsel for the Department of Defense William James Haynes II
Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff David S. Addington
General Ricardo Sanchez - Senior Military officer in Iraq
General Geoffrey Miller Ex commander of Guantanamo
Major General Walter Wojdakowski - Senior Military officer in Iraq
Col. Thomas Pappas, - Ex head of military intelligence at Abu Ghraib.

Now that is the best fucking news of the week.

The Rock Steady Crew

The Iraq Study Group will conduct a forward-looking, independent assessment of the current and prospective situation on the ground in Iraq, its impact on the surrounding region, and consequences for U.S. interests.

The United States Institute of Peace is facilitating the group with the support of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Centre for the Study of the Presidency (CSP), and the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.

James A. Baker, III – Co-Chair born April 28, 1930
Former Secretary of State
Honorary Chair, James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University

Lee H. Hamilton – Co-Chair born April 20, 1931
Former Member of Congress
Director, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Robert M. Gates - Member born September 25, 1943
Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency
President, Texas A&M University
Now Secretary Department of Defence

Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. - Member born 15 August 1935
Former Advisor to President Clinton
Senior Managing Director, Lazard Frères & Co. LLC

Edwin Meese III - Member born 2 December 1931
Former Attorney General
Ronald Reagan Chair in Public Policy, The Heritage Foundation
Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution

Sandra Day O’Connor - Member born March 26, 1930
Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court (Retired)

Leon E. Panetta - Member born June 28, 1938
Former White House Chief of Staff
Founder and Director, Panetta Institute

William J. Perry - Member born October 11, 1927
Former Secretary of Defense
Professor, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University

Charles S. Robb - Member born June 26 , 1939
Former Governor of Virginia
Former U.S. Senator
Distinguished Professor of Law & Public Policy, George Mason University School of Law

Alan K. Simpson - Member born 2 September 1931
Former U.S. Senator from Wyoming

There are also 4 working groups whose membership is available here

* Economy and Reconstruction
* Military and Security
* Political Development
* Strategic Environment
* Military Senior Advisor Panel

All male (nearly) , only two younger than 75 years old, no Military men on the Group, No scientists, no engineers, no medical people, no agricultural people, no bankers ..... Political and Academic groupies.

This group of geriatrics is the best collection of people that the 300 Mn folks in North America can assemble to give advice about what to do after the disastrous military encounter in Iraq ? Nobody from the UK, Canada, Australia, the leading Coalition partners, nobody with any direct recent experience in Iraq ?

Now would someone please explain why this lot have a solution ?.. of course if things go even wronger for Dubya they will make a useful whipping boy.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

US - Draining Canada Dry

There are 15,000 natural gas wells in Canada and natural gas extraction volumes have slipped from the peak set in 2002, and output per well is now declining at an annual rate of 28%. On this basis there are only eight years of proven reserves left in Canada.

This is what David Hughes, a petroleum geologist with the Geological Survey of Canada told the World Peak Oil Conference held in Boston 2 weeks ago...."Natural Gas in North America: Should We be Worried?" His answer is empatically ...YES.

He says energy companies must add 3,000 more wells in Canada in 2007 just to keep output from declining.

Due to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA),Canada effectively gave up sovereignty over its fossil energy inheritance. As a signatory, Canada is prohibited from cutting back energy exports, even in the event of a domestic supply crunch.

Canadian natural gas is also critical for producing the pressurized steam needed to separate bitumen, a low-grade oil, from the tar sands of northern Alberta, the only oil-producing region left in North America that can increase output. Shrinking natural gas supplies would quickly reduce the low of bitumen into the U.S., further complicating Canada’s energy dilemma.

Hughes, quoted an un-named Canadian energy executive. “Using natural gas to produce oil from tar sands is akin to turning gold into lead,” to highlight the irony of sacrificing a premium energy source to make more low-grade fuel for export. He also quotes Dow Canada CEO on gas use for electricity/oil sands:"Utilizing Gas for low value uses like electricity generation and oil
sands as opposed to high value uses such as petrochemicals is like lighting candles with one hundred dollar bills".

About 25% of the crude oil and 80% of the natural gas imported into the United States comes south from Canada.

It is interesting to note the Short-Term Energy Outlook (and there is a message in that title) from the US Energy Information Administration says that Liquid Natural Gas, the principal competitor to Canada's piped natural gas will show ...." 2006 imports below 2005 levels because of price competition with Europe. The growing availability of supplies from liquefaction facilities in Trinidad and Tobago and Nigeria contribute to the expected increase in LNG imports in 2007. However, U.S. LNG imports will continue to be affected by price competition from other LNG-consuming economies, particularly in Europe. "

Sobering figures for the so called planners in the UK Department of Trade and Industry to consider as the UK accelerates towards an energy economy based on 80% of 2020 electricity production on imported gas.

Hughes, David: "North American Natural Gas Production Trend and Implications for Canadian Tar Sands Production,” 2006 Boston World Oil Conference, Boston University, October 2006.

See also Matt Simmons - Slide 34 "Risk of Peak Gas is worse than Peak Oil"

It is invidious to just quote these 2 papers from the conference. Read them all, the problems highlighted will affect the globe before climate change does.

Zbigniew Brzezinski and the Afghan Trap

Zbigniew Brzezinski proudly described the Afghan Trap in an interview he gave to a French publication called Le Nouvel Observateur in 1998:

Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs ["From the Shadows"], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

B: It isn't quite that. We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don't regret anything today?

B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

.... Curious because Robert Gates - Dubya's Dad's helper said they stopped the invasion of Iraq after Gulf War I was because they didn't want to get sucked into another Vietnam.

George Santayana is frequently quoted – "Those who don't know history are condemned to repeat it."

Perhaps all we have seen played out in the Iraq invasion really is the errant child proving how wrong his dad is/was ... and now with Baker, Roberts, et. al. Dad is having to clear up the mess his son has left us with.

ITV in merger talks with NTL

Excitement on the LSE as news of talks have been taking place for a merger between UK broadcaster ITV and cable operator NTL.

In a statement responding to a 'highly tentative' preliminary approach from NTL, ITV said the cable giant has yet to table a firm offer.

'The board of ITV has indicated its willingness to listen to any bona fide proposal, but to date no meeting has been held nor has any proposal been received,' ITV said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the cable operator has announced it is changing its name to Virgin Media after taking over Virgin Mobile in July.

The ITV CEO position is vacant and a rumoured successor is ex-Ofcom chief executive Stephen Carter inside an enlarged group because he is a former managing director of NTL. ITV shares have surged to 112.25 up 7% today.

Earlier this year, a group of private equity firms including Blackstone Group, Apax Partners (see previous post) and the investment arm of Goldman Sachs abandoned an attempt to take over ITV at approx 130 p per share, after its approach was rejected. Bid battle in store ?

Pic * watch out as Bill Webster makes a pass for Audrey after a night out with at the dogs.

Very satisfying investment for Apax

Central European Media Enterprises Ltd. (CME) (NASDAQ/Prague Stock Exchange: CETV) today announced financial results for the quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2006.

- Net Revenues Increase 29% - 388,825
- Operating Income Increases 38% -
- Segment EBITDA Increases 34% -

- Net Revenues Increase 56% - From US$ 248 Mn. to US$ 388Mn.
- Operating Income grows $57.5 million to $66.8 million -
- Segment EBITDA Increases 39% -

Profits have been turned into a loss as grants of shares have been poreviously been incoretcly handled and there has consequently been a restatement of the accounting for share grants.

The shares have risen from US$62 to US$77 in the last 3 months.Lord Patel looked at them last here.Since Jan. 2, 2003, CME shares have risen 1,100 %.

Since then on August 29, 2006 it was announced that Central European Media Enterprises Ltd entered into an agreement with funds advised by Apax Partners Inc (Prop Lord Cohen the Tresury Knight and Noo Labour fundee)who acquired a minority stake of 15.7% in CME for approximately US$190 million in cash. As part of this Apax will become a limited partner in a partnership holding all of the Lauder interests in CME. The remaining 50.3% interest in the partnership will be beneficially owned by Ronald Lauder and his family.

Ronald S. Lauder, bought Gustav Klimt’s portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer for US$135 million in June 2006.

Apax Partners - an interesting Private Venture Capital Company

In 1998 Mr Cohen, Chairman and Founder of Apax Partners & Co. Ltd, received the Jubilee Award by the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. This is the highest tribute ever awarded by the "State of Israel" in recognition of those individuals and organizations, that through their investments and trade relationships, have done the most to strengthen the Israeli economy.

Allan Barkat, managing director of Apax Europe (Israel) told The Jerusalem Post. (Nov 14 2000) "Over the last six months, Apax Partners has invested a total US$100m. - $25m. from the Apax Israel fund, and the rest from other Apax funds - in 10 Israeli companies, including Compugen (genomics-based drug and diagnostic discovery company), OnePath(provider of fiber optic transmission systems), and Kamoon(management software products in the financial services.)," he said. "I don't think any other fund, local or international, can make this claim for the period from May until now. Certainly, no other fund has as strong a commitment to Israel as Apax.".

Apax also announced that it plans to invest US$600 million in Israeli companies over the next three years.

CETV 9 months results show revenues grow 58%

Central European Media Enterprises Ltd. (CME) (NASDAQ/Prague Stock Exchange: CETV) run by Ronnie Lauder of Estee Lauder, today announced financial results for the Q3 and nine months ended September 30, 2006.

- Net Revenues Increase 29% -
- Operating Income Increases 38% -
- Segment EBITDA Increases 34% -

- Net Revenues Increase 56% - From US$ 248 Mn. to US$ 388Mn.
- Operating Income grows $57.5 million to $66.8 million -
- Segment EBITDA Increases 39% -

Profits have been turned into a loss as grants of shares have been poreviously been incoretcly handled and there has consequently been a restatement of the accounting for share grants.

The shares have risen from US$62 to US$77 in the last 3 months.Lord Patel looked at them last here on the prospect of them bidding for ITV.

Civilian VC won today 149 years ago at siege of Lucknow

The siege of Lucknow in India began in June 1857. Three months into the siege, a relieving force had itself been stranded inside the improvised fortifications. Shortage of food, disease and constant artillery fire meant that the occupants of Lucknow were all but finished.

Word arrived that another relieving force was on its way. The defenders decided that someone should go out through enemy lines to warn the approaching British army and guide it in.

Thomas Henry Kavanagh an Irishman in the Bengal Civil Service., volunteered on November 9th ,149 years ago . Disguised as a native irregular soldier, ‘and with my talwar [Indian sword] resting on my shoulder’, Kavanagh even engaged the enemy in conversation before eventually reaching safety. If he had been caught, as a spy he would have been killed.

Kavanagh made his way past checkpoints, swam the river Gomti and made contact with the British army.

The relief force did not attempt to enter the city, however they pacified the area long enough for the Residency inhabitants to begin withdrawing, women and children first, on November 18th. When the rearguard left, the city was given up to the mutineers, but the British flag which had flown day and night during the siege was removed to safety.

The National Army Museum retains a shield that formed part of the disguise worn by Kavanagh when he passed through the Mutineers’ lines at Lucknow to the camp of the relieving forces.

Kavanagh received the Victoria Cross (VC) for his bravery. The actual medal is said to be held at the Militaria Collection Of of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.He is one of only 5 civilian recipients of Britain’s highest gallantry award ( No woman has ever received it) . He also received the Indian Mutiny Medal.

Kavanagh's Boys Own Paper description of his remarkable enterprise is available here.

He died in Gibraltar on 11 November 1882 where he is buried. (see pic of his grave)

The grave is located in the North Front Cemetery of Gibraltar and its GOG (Government of Gibraltar) ID number is 4567.



Spiders on Motorways - safer / easier grass cutting for operators

The IDL2 Spider remote-controlled mower from Dvorak Slope Mowers in the Czech Republic is a (www.spider-cz.com) 400-lb, low profile 4WD mower is powered by a 17-hp / 500 cc Twin V 4 stroke Kawasaki petrol engine and cuts a 31.5-in. swath on slopes up to 40 degrees, typically the job of manual weed whackers. Speed is variable up to 7 km/hr (forward or reverse) and is controlled by a hydraulic pump that drives four separate hydraulic motors, one per wheel.

The operator has control of , stop/start, steering, speed, blade control and height.

The UK Highways Agency is testing the device on the M4 near Heathrow as forthcoming changes in Health and Safety legislation will affect the use of strimmers or weed whackers and this allows the user to operate the device from a safe position, reduces sound (it is rated at max. 100dB(A) LWA) exposure and eliminates vibration to the operator as well as eliminating physical dangers of riding on the mower on rough ground.

Impending changes to exposure of employees to vibration will take effect from July 2007 and are explained in an HSE leaflet (pdf alert). Vibration is calibrated as exposure action value (EAV) For hand-arm vibration the EAV is a daily exposure of 2.5 metres/second squared (m/s2 A (8)) . Strimmers typically are rated at 4.00 m/s2 .The exposure limit value (ELV) is the maximum amount of vibration an employee may be exposed to on any single day. For hand-arm vibration the ELV is a daily exposure of 5 m/s2 A(8).

Francis Cluett, area manager, for the Highways Agency said:

"Keeping the men and women who maintain our roads safe is a high priority for the Highways Agency. New technology, like the Spider, allows us to maintain the verges while workers stay at a safe distance from the traffic."

Dr Ken Young at the Warwick Manufacturing Group of Warwick University is leading a team developing a computer controlled robotic version of the4 Spider , which would ultimately enable teams of robots to cut playing fields or even golf greens.

The Spider is sold by Jacobsen (Division of Texron Inc.) in the US and Ransomes Jacobsen in the UK.

Deaths of US coal miners doubles

The excellent Confined Space alerts us to the fact that 44 US coal miners have been killed on the job so far in 2006, double the 22 who were killed in all of 2005, and the highest number of coal miners that have been killed in one year since 1995.

Kentucky miner,
Tony Swieney, 44, an underground mine section foreman, was struck on the head by a large electrical plug when he was dragging a large cable on Saturday afternoon at the McCoy Elkhorn Number 23 mine near Ashcamp, Pike County which mines the Fireclay and Pond Creek seams on the room and pillar system.

Mine Safety and Licensing spokesman Chuck Wolfe says the plug end of the cable was wrapped around a pole of the scoop canopy.

Wolfe says it appears the cable became snagged, the plug end whipped loose from the pole, and Swieney was hit in the head.

Swieney died on the way to the hospital. His death is the 15th coal-related fatality in the BlueGrass state this year.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rummy - the Wun percenter

Remember the great strategician's "one percent strategy" that the US must react to those threats with a 1% chance of occuring as being a certainty.

Evidently he was prepared for what he plainly saw as a 1 % chance the Dems would do so well.

Bio - fuels, Southern Hemisphere market growing fast

The world's largest biodiesel plant which will eventually produce 1.8 million metric tonnes of biodiesel a year, is being put up in a US$130Mn project by Australian renewable energy firm Natural Fuel Australia Ltd on Jurong Island in Singapore. Based on refined palm oil as feedstock, it will serve markets in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the west coast of the US. Part of what is projected to be worth globally, US$1 trillion by 2020.

There are also prospects of a world oversupply of glycerine as it will also produce 60,000 tonnes of pharmaceutical-grade Glycerin, which has uses in cosmetics and drugs production.

The plant represents one of Australia's largest single manufacturing investments in Singapore to date.

Richard Selwood, Managing Director of Natural Fuel, says of the bio - diesel market which is growing at 30% year on year

"At the moment, because it's grown from a very small base, the growth is quite spectacular, probably 30-plus percent per annum. I don't believe that a long term is sustainable. But the market, let's say, probably will be about 5 percent of the total fuel market."

The world's largest palm oil producers produce about 33 million tones of palm oil a year, or about 80 percent of the world's market. Natural Fuel says Singapore's easy and direct access to this crop as well as others from Australia (canola and soya) is a key part of its strategy to secure production feedstock.

Selwood says:
"We have long-term contracts with suppliers like ConAgra. They guarantee us the feedstock, which would be sourced out of RSPO (International Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) members in Malaysia and Indonesia. And we're also experimenting with growing soy crops in the top end of Australia, northern Australia, which can also be used in the Singapore plant. And because Singapore is so well located, we can source from anywhere in the globe."

Natural Fuel says the plant becomes profitable with mineral oils priced above US$40 and currently plans to build 3 other biodiesel plants in Houston in the United States, and in Darwin and Sydney in Australia.

World's largest independent terminal operator Royal Vopak will provide storage, pipeline, equipment and logistic services for its Singapore plant.

The Bio-fuels Australia Conference will be held on 20 - 21 November 2006, Hilton Hotel, Sydney, Details are available here

Biofuels Finance and Investment World will be held on 28 - 30 November 2006, Royal Garden Hotel, London, United Kingdom . Details are available here

Honda / RITE announce a major development in bio-ethanol production.

Takeo Fukui, President and CEO of Honda reviewed the state of Honda and their position in the market for road vehicles on July 20th 2005. (*PS)

In a little noticed remark in his review he identified the Brazilian market where ethanol fuel has been used since the mid 19809's since when Honda has been offering motorcycles and then automobiles that accept ethanol-gasoline fuel. The percentage of ethanol has increased from 10% to 20% and 25%, and now 100% ethanol fuel, called E100, is also available in the market. Honda he announced will introduce a FlexFuel car that accepts ethanol contained fuel at any percentage, before the end of 2006.

He also quietly added as a rider that Honda will continue to pursue efforts to utilize various non-gasoline energy sources, which is expected to have a large impact on the reduction of CO2.

On September 14th 2006 in a joint statement with Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE) , Honda announced that their cooperative research has resulted in ethanol production technology from soft-biomass, a renewable resource of plant-derived material. Even now few people have noticed the announcement.

Because Carbon dioxide (CO2) released by combustion of bio-ethanol balances the CO2 captured by plants through photosynthesis the total atmospheric CO" load does not increase. Bio-ethanol, therefore, a carbon-neutral fuel, but current production competes with food sources - sugar, corn, soya beans.

So like many others , RITE and Honda have focused on converting ethanol from cellulose and hemicelluloses, both found in soft-biomass- inedible leaves and stalks of plants, such as rice or corn straw.

The RITE-Honda process, combines bio-technology from RITE and the engineering technology of Honda.

The process consists of 4 stages;

I. Pretreatment to separate cellulose from soft-biomass
II. Saccharification of cellulose and hemicellulose
III. Conversion of sugar into ethanol using microorganisms
IV. Ethanol refinement

The largest obstacle to ethanol production with current technology is the inhibition of fermentation that disrupts the growth and function of microorganisms that convert sugar into alcohol, leading to extremely low ethanol yield. Honda and RITE have overcome this obstacle through using the patented RITE strain of micro-organisms and Honda's engineering to improve alcohol conversion efficiency.

Having developed the process they now intend to dvelop a mass scale continuous process.

A demonstration project is envisioned within a pilot plant.

RITE was established in 1990 as a joint investment of the Japanese government and private enterprises, with the goal of conducting fundamental research on countermeasure technology for global-warming, particularly climate change. Engaged in efforts to stabilize climate change through development of alternative energy research and CO2 sequestration technologies.

Process image (c) Honda / RITE

* PS It was of course the ocassion when he reported the progress on the Honda Jet which improves fuel efficiency by 40% compared to existing aircrafts in its class by combining excellent aerodynamic performance with the high fuel efficiency of Honda’s HF118 engine.

SECURITY ALERT - RED - War criminal on the loose

Donald Rumsfeld resigns.

E.on admits causing Europe wide power cuts - human error

The German electricity generator and power distributor E.ON has admitted it caused the Europe wide blackouts, by switching off a power cable across the River Ems to allow a cruise ship to pass.

This meant areas to the west were left with a power deficit, while cables in the east were overloaded.

Supplies cut out in Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Croatia and Italy.

However quick witted Swiss operators , connected to the German network, spotted the drop in supply and boosted domestic electricity output to compensate, said Monika Walser, spokeswoman for the Swiss power grid Etrans.

The BBC have prepared an excellent analysis in the form of an FAQ sheet about the outage which interested readers would benefit from reading.

Nepal - a nation waits - Howell speaks

Lest the limpid prose of the peripatetic Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister, Kim "Rentagob" Howells, (pic) dies on the mountain air ... let us record for posterity his moving words on the occasion of forthcoming comprehensive nepalese peace agreement on 16 November 06. (Staff - File in big Folder, Howell's statements of the pointless and Bleeding obvious)

"The UK congratulates the Government of Nepal and Maoists on their 8 November agreement. This agreement is a significant step towards peace in Nepal. We see it as a demonstration of both sides' commitment to building a stable and peaceful future.

"We now look to both sides to use the momentum they have created to implement the agreement together. The UK urges the Government of Nepal and the Maoists to respect and uphold the rule of law, without which any peace agreement will be inherently fragile. We welcome the opportunity to continue to support the peace process in a waythat is helpful for the people of Nepal."

How soon before he is rightly ennobled ? Shirley the House of Lords is a suitable resting place for this silver tongued emissary... The Marquis of Milford Haven ? Viscount of the Valleys ?

Democrats take control of the House !!!!!!!



Molseed - DNA breakthrough identifies the real killer ?

At noon on Oct 5, 1975, 11 year old Lesley Molseed slipped out to buy some bread for her mum, near her home in Delamere Road, Turf Hill, Rochdale, Greater Manchester. Her body was found 48 hours later at Rishworth Moor by the A672 Oldham to Halifax Road in Ripponden Yorkshire.

She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed 12 times.The killer masturbated over her fully clothed body.

The first policeman on the crime scene was from Greater Manchester Police, he went on to be the senior officer on the Stalker enquiry in Northern Ireland. The body was actually just inside the territory of the Yorkshire Police and the enquiry was handed over to them.

Stefan Kiszko of Turf Hill, Rochdale was convicted for life on 28th JUly 1976, at the end of an 8 day trial. Jurors return a 10-2 majority verdict after five hours of deliberation. Stefan spent 16 years in prison. He was released in 1992 when it became known that evidence that would have proved his innocence was witheld from the defence. He died of a heart attack the followng year at his mother's home aged 44; his mother, who had waged a long campaign to prove her son's innocence, died six months later.

Stefan Kiszko was born with the XYY syndrome, in which the male has an extra Y chromosome. This is a condition in which their are only slight slight - growth abnormalities and minor behavioural characteristics. A "behavioural abnormalities" of Stefan's was jotting down the registration numbers of a car if he had been annoyed by the driver. This led, in part, to his wrongful conviction - he had at some point prior to the murder unwittingly jotted down the number of a car seen near the scene of the crime. (A white car with red markings of some vague description was seen at the scene but nobody witnessed the attack.) It was argued that only someone at the scene could have known the number of this car... As part of his condition Stefan Kiszko would have been physically incapable producing spermatazoa found on the victim - a fact known at a very early stage by the Police medical advisors. This was never disclosed to his defence...

Stefan Kiszko confessed to the murder after two days of questioning by detectives, but later complained that the confession had been bullied out of him.

In 1994 DCI Richard (Dick) Holland, CS Dibb and orensic scientist Doctor Ronald Outteridge were formally charged with suppressing evidence in 1994 it was alleged they had destroyed the forensic evidence which could have proved the innocence of Stefan and the guilt of the real murderer.They also withheld statements from the defence, which proved the whereabouts of Stefan on the day of the murder.

In 1994 Holland and Outteridge were formally charged with suppressing evidence. On May 1st 1995 Magistrate Jane Hayward prevented the case from proceeding citing that because of the death of Jack Dibb the two remaining defendants could not receive a fair trial (it was called "abuse of process"). ( Holland and Outteridge both blamed the deceased CS Dibb for any wrong doing )

Statements made by three 10 year old girls who said that he had indecently exposed himself to them just days before the murder were a major factor in convincing the jury at the trial. When these women were re interviewed again in 1992 they all confessed to making the allegations up.

Today Ronald Castree 53, a former market trader from Brandon Crescent, Shaw, Nr. Oldham appeared in Calderdale Migistrates Court, Halifax. He was charged with the murder of Lesley Molseed in 1975 - at that time he is said to have been driving a taxi.He was remanded in custody to appear before Bradford Crown Court on November 14.

At the time of the murder of Lesley, Ronald Castree's first wife Beverley had just had Jason, the first of three boys. The marriage failed and Castree married Karen Curtin with 5 children 2 years ago.

Mr Castree is a well-known trader on Oldham Market. Until 18 months ago he also ran a shop, Arcadia Comics, in nearby Ashton-under-Lyne. Since then, his business has switched almost solely to dealings through eBay.

On 5th February 2003 despite the previous destruction of forensic evidence .Detectives in Halifax announce they have uncovered new DNA evidence left at the crime scene and seek the public's help.

Unconfirmed reports say that Castree had been arrested 9 months ago on an unconnected matter and DNA taken at the time has been the basis of identifying him as the murderer of Lesley Molseed. The Sun with it's remarkable access to official Police evidence reports "It is alleged to have shown a “direct hit” with a sample found at the scene of Lesley’s murder."

The Daily Mail reports "Yesterday retired Detective Superintendent Trevor * Wilkinson, 59, who uncovered the evidence that was to clear him, said: "You never give up hope that there will be a breakthrough.

"It is just a shame that someone had to spend 16 years in jail."

* Innocents: How Justice Failed Stefan Kiszko and Lesley Molseed
Jonathan Rose, Steve Panter and Trevor Wilkinson
Publisher: Fourth Estate, London, 1997 - ISBN: 1857024028 (Out of Print)
Update 14/11/06

See comments and go here for posting by Lord Patel on the case of John Humble whose DNA was found on the "lost" evidence of the Yorkshire Ripper.Thursday October 20th 2005
"Hoaxer's Tapes / Letters lost - Man arrested and charged"

Of interest in any "stitch up " theory of John Humble go to this posting of October 24th 2005 John Humble Stitch-Up - The Great Hoaxer stitch-up of John Humble.
John Humble, an innocent man becomes another victim of the Ripper to enable
the police to say the letters were indeed a hoax.

Signed Noel O'Gara author of
http://www.yorkshireripper.co.uk/hyper/ripper.htm and

The West Yorkshire Press release issued on Tuesday March 21st 2006 after Humble's trial was concluded , states very baldly.....

The envelope from which the DNA sample was obtained had been retained in the possession of the Forensic Science Service.

It also intriguingly notes that ....

West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team (HMET)was formed earlier this year (i.e 2006). It comprises 200 detectives, led by eight experienced Senior Investigating Officers, with individual specialisms including counter terrorism, kidnap, serial murder and cold case murder reviews.

Working from locations across West Yorkshire, HMET investigates the most serious of crimes and has been heavily involved in the West Yorkshire part of the investigation into the July 7th suicide bombings in London.
Humble at his trial in January initially pleaded not guilty and then changed his plea. At his appeal against sentence he again accepted guilt and sought mitigation because of that, but his sentence was left unchanged at 8 years. Reuters

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Iraqi Hell - Malebolge

The sentencing of Saddam Hussein by Craig Murray
Atlantic Free Press - Monday, 06 November 2006

" ......will be hailed as a "Turning-point" by the invaders, their leaders, puppets and media spokesmen.

So was the capture of Saddam,
- so were the elections,
- so was the formation of the government,
- so was the disbanding of the army.

It is unsurprising that there have been so many .....

.... a downward spiral is just an unending circle of turning points, and Iraq has been embarked on a helter-skelter ride to Hell."

"Saddam Hussein death sentence a milestone"
Here Here Here
"Saddam sentence called turning point" Here

Monday, November 06, 2006

It's a great time to buy or sell a home

The Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index is showing a YTD fall of 30.7%. The September 2006 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report shows that foreclosures are up more than 63 percent from September 2005.

High end home builder Toll Brothers (TOL) report tomorrow and have seen their shares fall 18.5% in the same period.

In August Toll said the number of new contracts in its fiscal Q3 fell 48% year on year. Chief Executive Robert Toll has said the slowdown has been triggered by an inventory oversupply and a decline in confidence, but that the market should firm up since interest rates are still relatively low and the economy is in generally good shape.

But today , Comstock Homebuilding Cos. (CHCI) said it swung to a quarterly loss of $5.8 million, from profit of $11.5 million in the year-ago quarter. The company said in the third quarter ended Sept. 30 it recorded a non-cash pre-tax charge of $1.8 million as a result of impairments to its real-estate inventory.”

“Total quarterly revenue fell to $35.3 million from $78.4 million a year earlier, as net new orders dropped 21%. The company said home-building gross margin for the quarter decreased to 6.8% from 30%.”

On October 24th the Bank of America (BAC) reported a note of default on approximately US$200 Mn was contested by the company and arbitration proceedings have commenced.

Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co., are second tier residential mortgage lenders, and announced Q3 earnings slumped 55% and the company booked a lower premium on loans sold and higher provisions for repurchases.

Net income dropped from US$41.3 Mn to US$18.4 Mn on revenue which fell 25 % from US$ 152 Mn to US$114.3 Mn well below analysts projections.

Total net revenue and gains disappeared from US67.2 Mn last year to US$52,000 this year....net interest was US$ 47.3 Mn and fell to US$18Mn.

"Our recent performance has been negatively impacted by fierce pricing competition, ongoing product contraction, anticipated higher delinquencies and losses, and activities associated with the acquisition of Aames Investment Corp.," the company said.

Accredited closed the $235 million acquisition of Aames Investment on Oct. 1.

On Friday real estate investment trust (REIT) Saxon Capital Inc. (SAX)published a Q3 loss as a result of

1. Higher short-term interest rates 2. Continued price competition 3. Increased loan delinquencies.
The company elects to be treated as a real estate investment trust (REIT) for federal tax purposes. From profits of US$32 Mn Saxon posted a loss of US $26.4 million a loss of 53 cents per share, compared with earnings for Q3 2005 of 63 cents per share.

Total net revenue and gains disappeared from US67.2 Mn last year to US$52,000 this year....net interest was US$ 47.3 Mn and fell to US$18Mn.

Saxon is in the process of being acquired by Morgan Stanley Mortgage Capital Inc. for $14.10 per share in cash, or a total of about $706 million. Shares closed today @ US$13.87 (= Market Cap of US$692) Saxon shareholders voted on Tuesday to approve the deal, which is expected to close in December.

Speaking at the recent annual conference of the Mortgage Bankers Association,(MBA) the chairmen and CEOs of Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and IndyMac predicted rising delinquency and a cooling mortgage market as rates reset. "Obviously we're going to have a period where delinquencies and foreclosures are going to exponentially grow," one of the executives said. "It's going to be a fairly tough correction," another added.

The MBA Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending October 27showed the index down 11.2 % percent year on year.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said yesterday at a conference organized by financial services firm Charles Schwab....

" The U.S. housing market will weaken further, but the sharpest decline is over as inventories of unsold homes thin".

"This is not the bottom, but the worst is behind us,"
he added.

...and you make of that what you want, houses not being built, mortgage applications declining , mortgage providers making losses, delinquency rates rising and set to rise more, sounds like the worst is just round the corner to me.

He also said in another of his meaningless Delphic utterances which serve to conceal ignorance more than they cloak penetrating insight ..."forces such as a flood of new workers into the world economy after the collapse of communism and the global integration of China were one-time events that will eventually stop playing a role in keeping long-term interest rates as persistently low."

"There is a turning point but I don't know where it is," he said.(WAPO)

Presumably Schwab pay him good money for this sort of crap.

But ... help is at hand standby for the housing rush ! The National Association of Realtors launched a major ad campaign this week to convince buyers that "It's a Great Time to Buy."... even if in Los Angeles County, prices fell 31% year on year and in Loudoun County, Washington, DC, the dollar value of property sold has fallen 44% from last September.

There is an excellent analysis of this wonderful ad @ The Big Picture

e.g Take the proposition "It's a great time to buy or sell a house" .
to ... er ....... "It's a great time to buy or sell shares in Google"

US Housing Bubble has popped

“The world economy is on track to grow at a 5.1% rate this year, but the risk of a severe global slowdown in 2007 is stronger than at any time since the September 2001 terror attacks on the United States,” said the International Monetary Fund in a report to finance ministers meeting in Singapore in September.

They mentioned 2 possible triggers:

1. A sharp slowdown in the U.S. housing market
2. Surging inflationary expectations that would force central banks to raise interest rates.

by Kurt Richebächer , The Daily Reckoning, October 27, 2006

Reichenbacher says there appears to be a widespread belief that the U.S. economy is now out of trouble because the Fed decided two weeks ago not to raise interest rates. He points out ;

The party is over. The greatest boom in American housing history is going bust. The impact on the economy is only just kicking in. Demand for homes is sharply down, while the number of vacant dwellings is ballooning - up more than 40% , for existing homes and more than 20% for new homes year over year.

U.S. economic growth has been “asset driven,” according to colloquial language. Sharp ( and miraculous) rises in house prices served private households as the wand providing them with prodigal borrowing facilities to increase their spending. For years, it was the economy’s single motor. The Fed estimates that mortgage equity withdrawals exceeded $700 billion, annualized, in the first half of 2006.... that's folks using the house equity as an ATM.

In 2005, (last full year for which US data are available), new borrowing by private households amounted to $1,241.4 billion. Disposable personal incomes grew $354.5 billion in current dollars and $93.8 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars. Spending increased $530.9 billion in current dollars and $264.1 billion in chained dollars.

This is how it works. US families offset stable (or even declining) dollar income with an unprecedented stampede into indebtedness, up so far by $5.3 trillion, or 77%. Soaring house (and stock prices) added a total of $15.6 trillion to the asset side of their balance sheets, households miraculously ended up with an unprecedented surge in their net worth from $41.5 trillion to $53.8 trillion in the first quarter of 2006.

This is what , Fed Chairman Bernanke noted in a speech on June 13 that “U.S. households overall have been managing their personal finances well.”

Except that those who cannot sell the houses for what they paid for them , and pay the realtor, attorney, moving costs etc., etc., probably don't agree with him.

Russian Poster Art on Flickr

1926 poster for the movie "Process o 3kh millionakh" ("The trial about the three millions").
Fickr - bpx

A stunning archive / collection of 1,469 Russian posters from the 1920's onwards. Enjoy!

How the US armed Saddam - and how Israel tried to

Sen. Robert Byrd.(D- West Virginia) Senate floor on October 4, 2002.

He speaks of biological weapons in the hands of Saddam Hussein as being something new. That is not new. That is not new.

This Nation itself helped to build, helped to create the building blocks of biological weaponry years ago when we sent to Saddam Hussein, this country made available to Iraq, back in the days when we thought that Saddam Hussein would be our friend. A few years later, after we provided Iraq help in making biological weapons, today we find he is our enemy.

This is the way it is. Yesterday's friend is today's enemy. We have known about the biological weapons for years. We helped Iraq to have the building blocks. Now we have claimed this is something new. This is not new. This is not a new pretext. We have known this all along. The Israelis knew these things. They knew what was happening in Iraq with respect to nuclear weapons. These things are not new, but they are new just before this election. That is what I am saying. Let us come back after the election and then debate, and then, who knows? I might join with the distinguished Senator in promoting a resolution to declare war, Congress declare war.

An interesting article can be found here by Sun Times reporter Robert Novak adds detail to these claims of the aged but sharp tongued Senator.

At a Senate Armed Services hearing the previous week, Byrd tried to disinter the history of the weapons supplied . ''Did the United States help Iraq to acquire the building blocks of biological weapons during the Iran-Iraq war?'' he asked Rumsfeld. ''Certainly not to my knowledge,'' Rumsfeld replied. When Byrd persisted by reading a current Newsweek article reporting these exports, Rumsfeld dismissively (and we know completely untruthfully) said, ''I have never heard anything like what you've read, I have no knowledge of it whatsoever, and I doubt it.''

There is in fact a Senate Banking Committee report dated May 25, 1994. In 1985 (five years after the Iraq-Iran war started) and succeeding years, which reported, ''pathogenic (meaning ''disease producing''), toxigenic (meaning ''poisonous'') and other biological research materials were exported to Iraq, pursuant to application and licensing by the U.S. Department of Commerce.'' It added: ''These exported biological materials were not attenuated or weakened and were capable of reproduction.''

The report details 70 shipments (including anthrax bacillus) from the United States to Iraqi government agencies over three years, concluding, ''It was later learned that these microorganisms exported by the United States were identical to those the United Nations inspectors found and recovered from the Iraqi biological warfare program.''

Such assistance followed on and was a consequence of President George H.W. Bush signing National Security Directive 26 on Oct. 2, 1989. Classified ''secret'' ( recently declassified) it said:
''Normal relations between the United States and Iraq would serve our longer-term interests and promote stability in both the Gulf and the Middle East. The United States government should propose economic and political incentives for Iraq to moderate its behavior and to increase our influence with Iraq.''

It was the Newsweek article (by Christopher Dickey and Evan Thomas) that so interested Byrd and which he quoted from to the Armed Forces Committee reported on Rumsfeld's visit to Baghdad on Dec. 20, 1983, that launched U.S. support for Saddam against Iran. Answering Byrd's questions, Rumsfeld said he did meet with Saddam and Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, but was dismissive about assisting ''as a private citizen . . . only for a period of months.'' Rumsfeld contended he was then interested in curbing terrorism in Lebanon. Of course.

Howard Teicher a Reagan National Security Council aide who accompanied Rumsfeld to Baghdad,on Jan. 31, 1995. in sworn court testimony said Rumsfeld relayed Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's offer to help Iraq in its war. ''Aziz refused even to accept the Israeli's letter to [Saddam] Hussein offering assistance,'' said Teicher, ''because Aziz told us that he would be executed on the spot.''

Teicher also described a still-secret National Security Decision Directive signed by President Reagan in June 1982 that set forth a U.S. policy of preventing Iraq from losing its war with Iran.
"CIA Director Casey personally spearheaded the effort to ensure that Iraq had sufficient military weapons, ammunition and vehicles to avoid losing the Iran-Iraq war,"
Teicher stated.

The Teicher affidavit merited only a brief reference in a "defense & diplomacy" round-up in the Washington Post (2/4/95). The New York Times also published a cursory account of the new information (2/5/95); almost all other major newspapers ignored it. Indeed, among America's major papers and networks, only the Miami Herald gave the trial (of Teledyne execs selling cluster bombs to Cardoen Industries) regular coverage.

His testimony of course supported the New Yorker article (11/2/92) by reporters Murray Waas and Craig Unger, claiming that Vice President George Bush in 1986 urged Saddam Hussein to intensify his air war against Iran--in order to increase Iran's demand for U.S.- made anti-aircraft weapons. Appearing two weeks before the '92 election, the New Yorker article was attacked in the conservative press. On the Wall Street Journal's editorial page (10/28/94), Steven Emerson mocked the article as a "Byzantine conspiracy theory."

See also here Robert Novak, Chicago Sun-Times, 26 Sept 2002

Much play has been made in the press about the gassing at Halabja ... perhaps Saddam should have had some accessories in court with him .. starting with Rumsfeld.

WWW - CERN and how the Sun affects the clouds and climate

Netcraft uses the domain name system to identify Web sites, identify location, operating system and Web server software they're running, and publishes a monthly report.

Bath (UK) based Netcraft 's first survey in August 1995 showed 18,957 world wide web sites in August 19995 when they started counting - in May 2004 there were 50 Million then some time last month 100 million.

Microsoft's Internet Information Server was launched in February 1996, and by the survey's fifth birthday the server market was largely divided up between Apache and IIS. This month Apache leads with 60.3% market share, with Microsoft at 31.0% and Sun at 1.7%.

Netcraft says the principal growth is in United States, Germany, China, South Korea and Japan.

Graph of growth of world wide web sites from the Netcraft site.

It is of interest that one of CERN's latest projects is called CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets).The goal of the experiment is to investigate the possible influence of galactic cosmic rays on Earth's clouds and climate. This represents the first time a high energy physics accelerator has been used for atmospheric and climate science.which they explain :

Scientific Background:

The roots of the CLOUD experiment can be traced as far back as two centuries, when the British Astronomer Royal, William Herschel, noticed a correlation between sunspots and the price of wheat in England.

This marked the first observation that Earth's climate may be affected by variations of the Sun.

However solar-climate variability has remained a great puzzle since that time, despite an intensive scientific effort. The well-known Little Ice Age around the 17th and 18th centuries - when sunspots all but disappeared for 70 years, the cosmic ray flux increased and the climate cooled - seems to be merely the latest of around a dozen similar events over the last ten thousand years. However there is no established mechanism for the brightness of the Sun to fluctuate on these time scales. The possibility of a direct influence on the climate of galactic cosmic rays (which are modulated by changes of the solar wind) is therefore attracting the interest of scientists. Satellite measurements suggest that the mechanism may involve an influence of cosmic rays on the amount of low cloud cover, which is the focus of the CLOUD experiment.

See also an article in the Sunday Telegraph "The sun is warmer now than for the past 11,400 years" By Christopher Monckton

Sunday, November 05, 2006

UK Coal - price hits high on 30% gains in 3 months

UK Coal.... Hurry Hurry Hurry said Lord Patel on July 24th when their shares closed at 184p

Now the Daily / Sunday Telegraph have woken up as the shares hit 245p.

UK Coal to mine its rich seam of property By Sylvia Pfeifer

Nice little earner for John Whittaker who took up 21% at the same time. Trust the many readers anxious to reap the fruits of capitalism took the advice. Trust the newspapers share tipsters to be right ahead of the news.

UPDATE Monday 6th November
Opened up 257 p up 12.50 up 5.11%

Haggard - Pilgrim Soldier

You thought Haggard was just an average family man who just keeps meth snorting, and a nice brisk rub down at weekends ? Read about his "Soldiers of Christ" in Harper's Magazine, a wonderful Christian Community .. and this guy is supposed to be on the inside track at the White House ?

Pastor Ted, who talks to President George W. Bush or his advisers every Monday, is a handsome forty-eight-year-old Indianan, most comfortable in denim. He likes to say that his only disagreement with the President is automotive; Bush drives a Ford pickup, whereas Pastor Ted loves his Chevy.

Jesus wept.

Shooting Fish in a barrel in Gaza.

From L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut). ... from Nur al Cubicle.

Women in Hanoun, Gaza Strip, offer themselves as human shields to save their sons and husbands, inside a mosque, from Tsahal. 2 died, and others were injured.

Tianman Square all over again but the world simply walks by as over 200 people have been slaughtered, 60% women and children since the Gaza pull out.

Gitmo 14 - Have a lawyer but don't talk to him.

Mahmood Khan, brother of Majid Khan, who was held for more than three years in a secret CIA prison said "We had no way of knowing who had him or where he was." Khan, is a Pakistani national who lived in the United States for seven years. It is claimed that he took orders from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the man accused of orchestrating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Mohammed allegedly asked Khan to research poisoning U.S. reservoirs and considered him for an operation to assassinate the Pakistani president.

Majid worked in the family petrol station which also made him a suspect in trying to destroy US oil stocks.
Yeah really.

Well Majid is in now Guantanamo Bay, one of 14 high-value detainees transferred in September from the "black" sites to the U.S. military prison. That doesn't help the family much.

Now the US Gubment in new court filings submitted to U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton on Oct. 26. claims the CIA interrogation methods are now among the nation's most sensitive national security secrets and that their release -- even to the detainees' own attorneys -- "could reasonably be expected to cause extremely grave damage."

The government, asserts that the detainees' experiences are so fucking secret that they should never be shared with the public and so is blocking lawyers' access to the 14 detainees.

CIA Information Review Officer Marilyn A. Dorn states that Khan ,

"was detained by CIA in this program, he may have come into possession of information, including locations of detention, conditions of detention, and alternative interrogation techniques that is classified at the TOP SECRET//"sensitive compartmented information." SCI."

This Alice in Wonderland world of US Justice is supported by , from outward apperances a fairly normal human being , Kathleen Blomquist, a Justice Department spokeswoman, just another cog in the machine of this perverted "Justice" , that details of the CIA program must be protected from disclosure. She said the lawyer's proposal for talking with Khan "is inadequate to protect unique and potentially highly classified information that is vital to our country's ability to fight terrorism."

But the real shitkicking override is that Government lawyers also argue in court papers that detainees such as Khan previously held in CIA sites have no automatic right to speak to lawyers because the new Military Commissions Act, signed by President Bush last month, stripped them of access to U.S. courts. That law established separate military trials for terrorism suspects.

You are fucked every which way pal in the this Kafkesque Universe.

More at Wapo and CNN and at Kurt Nimmo Washington Monthly

DTI continue to whistle in the dark over North Sea Oil production

The DTI Oil production figures for Q2 2006 have been made available as an Excel spreadsheet here.

The headline information appears to have escaped the attention of the Financial press and media generally - the picture it presents is deeply worrying for UK energy consumers (see pic). The scenarios so long forecast by "Forthcoming UK Energy Deficit" (FCUKED) seem to be coming perilously close.

OIL & OIL PRODUCTS 26th October 2006
Table 3.10 Indigenous production, refinery receipts, imports and exports
Oil production in the period June 2006 to August 2006 was 12.1 per cent lower than a year ago.
In 2005 Total Crude oil imports 52,211 thousand tonnes Exports 52,106
In 1st Qtr 2006 Imports 13,668 Exports 12,426
In 2nd Qtr 2006 Imports 13,187 Exports 10,469

In 2005 Total Crude Production 84,721 thousand tonnes
In 1st Qtr 19,795
In 2nd Qtr 17.391

The Government's Energy Review of July stated the UK would not be a net importer until 2010.

These figures show however the U.K. was a net oil importer of 1.6 million tons in the second quarter of 2006 compared with being a net oil exporter by 1.1 million tons in the same period in 2005.

In a remarkable report at cattlenetwork in early October a DTI spokesman (Nick Turton - no Press Statement appears to have been issued) ) said this was partly due to a fire last August at the Schiehallion oil field in the North Sea which knocked out 120,000 barrels a day for most of the month, and several other factors which helped push the U.K.'s oil output to its lowest level for 16 years.

DTI spokesman Nick Turton is quoted saying.

"The DTI expects the U.K. to return to being a net exporter in 2007 before becoming a permanent net importer in 2010."

He added the new Buzzard oil field should offset any losses from declining North Sea oil output from older fields between 2007 and 2010. The field is estimated to produce 200,000 bpd when it comes online.

According to DTI data, U.K. North Sea oil production declined 218,000 b/d in 2003. Since 2004, the depletion rate has remained mostly steady at 230,000 b/d. Now we find in the last Quarter it declined by an unprecedented 12.1%.

Yeah! Yeah! Whatever.

Lies, Damned Lies and Government Oil Production Forecasts?

Posted by Cry Wolf at the Oil Drum provides a fine detailed and well informed review of this excesive optimism (which is reflected by their Norwegian counterparts as he relates).

The DTI review also shows the lower forecast range for production in 2006 is around 1.5 mmbpd . But the Actual figures for production in August shows indigenous production of oil as 4.730 million tonnes along 0.483 million tonnes of NGL. Using the DTI conversion figures of 1 tonne = 7.5 bbls for crude oil and 1 tonne = 11.5 bbls for NGL this comes out as a mere 1.323 million barrels/day.

Whist these may appear the sort of blips one expects from a large industry with many competing factors, including the weather, threatened strikes by divers etc., the lower expectations have a massive impact on the Balance of Trade / Balnce of Payments.

Cry Wolf points out that The UK and the EU are very vulnerable, as the EU is already recording rising energy imports - much of it reliant on gas imports from Russia who are once again playing fast and loose with customers , this time Georgia.

Identifying the time lag that bad news always takes time to surface he says it is only a matter of time before news of oil imports giving rise to a deteriorating UK trade balance hits the news headlines in the UK.

It is difficult , he says to tell whether UK and EU parliaments are aware of the energy peril that faces them. The official pictures painted by UK authorities are optimistic whilst the reality for the EU is increasing competition for oil in a shrinking international oil export market.

EU wide energy outages overnight only serves to highlight the increasing perilous energy security situation the UK and the EU by years of inattention, supreme optimism. Sleepwalking.

Sleepwalk, talk
Faster and faster
One of these talking birds
Sleepwalk away from disasters
Like they never occured.

Too much devotion
Keeps me apart

Sleepwalk outta my heart

LYRICS © John Cooper Clarke.

On Sunday evening the BBC Panoram programme had a lengthy report about the reliance of Europe on the pipelines from Rissia though Ukraine and and an explanation of the events last New Year.

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