Tuesday, 21 December 2010

God in America

Ricky Gervais writes:
"75 percent of Americans are God-­fearing Christians; 75 percent of prisoners are God-­fearing Christians. 10 percent of Americans are atheists; 0.2 percent of prisoners are atheists."

American atheists have higher morals than non-atheists?

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Kosovo & Metohija province under the Albanian criminals

As the dust of war settles what was obvious to many, is now official. The US administration in a barbarian war against Serbia, Delivered the province to a gang of organ-snatching mafia ogres, in short the klepto-terrorist band known as the KLA, the Kosovo Liberation Army. Compared to these US allies, group like Hezbollah are a gentleman's club. Kosovo is lost for Western civilization for the foreseeable future, that was America's achievement by interfering in European affairs.

The Council of Europe is finally publishing a report naming Hashim Thaci, the KLA's prime minister and former war lord 27 times! Allegations of organ-trafficking against the KLA were first published by the former prosecutor of the Hague International War Crimes Tribunal, Carla del Ponte, in 2008, but conveniently forgotten.

Of course in Washington D.C., president Hussein Obama II will pretend nothing happened.

The BBC reports:

"The Drenica group within the KLA, which was led by Mr Thaci, is accused of involvement in organised crime, including drug-trafficking and the trafficking of human organs.
Leaders of the group are also said to bear "the greatest responsibility" for running the "KLA's ad hoc network of detention facilities" inside Albania as well as determining the fate of prisoners.
Evidence is also presented of organised crime activities continuing up to the present day.
Mr Marty's report argues that the abuses were sufficiently widespread to constitute a pattern in neighbouring Albania as well as in Kosovo.
It suggests that at least six detention centres operated in Albania and it adds that prisoners continued to be detained after the end of the 1999 Kosovo conflict.
In addition, it says, a "state-of-the-art" reception centre was used for the removal of captives' kidneys as part of the organised crime of organ-trafficking. Mr Marty's sources allege the organs were shipped out to private overseas clinics.
The report also appears to corroborate allegations of crimes, mainly against ethnic Serbs, at a farmhouse in the Albanian village of Rripe known as the "Yellow House".
The Yellow House allegations were contained in a joint investigation by the BBC and the Center for Investigative Reporting.
The draft Council of Europe report says a small number of deaths occurred there and goes on to claim that the house was used as a transit point where victims were processed according to their physical condition.
The end point, the report alleges, was at Fushe-Kruje where victims were killed and their organs removed. The report notes its proximity to Albania's main airport near Tirana
Yet another source spoke of driving trucks packed with shackled prisoners - mainly Serbian civilians from Kosovo - to secret locations in Albania where they were eventually killed.
He recalled hearing two of the captives begging to be shot rather than tortured and "cut into pieces".
"I was sick. I was just waiting for it to end," the source told me. "It was hard. I thought we were fighting a war [of liberation] but this was something completely different.
Very few Kosovo Albanians have publicly revealed crimes committed by their own side. And for good reason. Witnesses who have agreed to provide testimony for prosecutions of KLA commanders have faced intimidation and death threats.It has taken these men 10 years to speak to an outsider about the dark side of the war. They were breaking a code of silence that has held strong in Kosovo.
Some have been killed, according to United Nations officials in Kosovo."

map of Serbia with its rebel province of Kosovo

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Rudyard Kipling, The White Man's Burden (1899)

Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man's burden--
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden--
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper--
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man's burden--
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"

Take up the White Man's burden--
Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the White Man's burden--
Have done with childish days--
The lightly proferred laurel.
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!
'Pear's Soap' advertisement - the White Man's Burden

Rudyard Kipling - the poet's portrait for the cover of Time

Friday, 10 December 2010

Plane in emergency landing after dog attack

Last August in Congo a plane crashed because of a crocodile in the cabin, some laughed but not those among us that flew in the area (see details below).

Now the same almost happens in the US because of a 12-pound Manchester terrier named Mandy.

Or shall we say because of a dog owner?

A US Airways flight headed to Phoenix made an emergency landing in Pittsburgh after a dog on board bit a passenger and a flight attendant.

US Airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher says the flight left Newark, N.J., on Monday morning. Lehmacher says an elderly passenger carrying a dog let the animal out of its carrier and it bit the two.

Lehmacher said the company's policy is to allow pets in the plane's cabin if the pet and its cage can fit under a seat. The policy also states that the pet may not be let out of the cage.

Mandy became agitated after her sedatives wore off, Allegheny County Police Inspector David Walsh told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The flight, carrying 122 passengers and five crew, resumed without the woman and her dog.

The 89 year old woman boarded a different flight.

Maybe the TSA could charge the old lady of being a "terrierist"?


in case you had not seen this:
The Congo "Crocodile" air crash
(wikipedia: Bandundu Filair Let L-410 crash)

The 2010 Bandundu Filair Let L-410 crash occurred on August 25, 2010, after a Filair aircraft crashed on approach to Bandundu Airport in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing 20 people.

The aircraft was operating a passenger flight from N'Dolo Airport, Kinshasa to Bandundu Airport, Bandundu, Mai-Ndombe Province. At 13:00 local time (12:00 UTC), the aircraft crashed into a house approximately 1 kilometre short of the runway at Bandundu.

According to most sources, no one was injured on the ground. Of twenty-one people aboard the plane, one survived the crash. Local Radio Okapi reported that the aircraft ran out of fuel after being unable to land at Bandundu, but Filair later declared that 150 litres of kerosene were still on board, affirming that a technical problem had caused the crash.

Daniel Philemotte, the Belgian airline owner, was at the controls of the aircraft himself. Most of the dead were Congolese. Soldiers of MONUC were the first to reach the crash site and reported that no explosion appeared to have occurred, supporting the original hypothesis of fuel scarcity.

The lone survivor of the crash claimed that a crocodile hidden in a duffel bag had escaped. The frightened passengers then moved towards the front of the aircraft away from the crocodile. This affected the aircrafts weight and balance leading to a loss of control. The crocodile escaped as the plane approached its destination. The crocodile reportedly survived the crash but was killed by a blow from a machete.


The aircraft involved was a Let L-410 Turbolet, registered 9Q-CCN, with construction number 912608. It normally carries up to 19 passengers. The aircraft involved was previously registered ES-LLB, and was operated by Airest, an Estonian airline, until 2007, and was stored until Filair bought it in 2009.

Filair Let L-410 Turbolet 9Q-CDN, identical to the crashed aircraft

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

U.S. to Host World Press Freedom Day in 2011!!

Ahhhh the supreme irony, any remark is superfluous:

"The United States is pleased to announce that it will host UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day event in 2011, from May 1 - May 3 in Washington, D.C. UNESCO is the only UN agency with the mandate to promote freedom of expression and its corollary, freedom of the press.

The theme for next year’s commemoration will be 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers. The United States places technology and innovation at the forefront of its diplomatic and development efforts. New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals’ right to freedom of expression. At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information. We mark events such as World Press Freedom Day in the context of our enduring commitment to support and expand press freedom and the free flow of information in this digital age."

(from the State Department web site)

the Economist: America more religious than Iran

Lexington blogs on the Economist:

"More than eight out of ten Americans say they belong to a religion. More Americans than Iranians (four out of ten) say they attend a religious service nearly once a week or more."

Is a nation high on the 'opium of the people' the global enforcer?

image of God

Monday, 6 December 2010

15% probability of oil in the Portuguese offshore

Despite decades of exploration activity, and some sub-commercial production in the Lusitanian basin, Portugal has yet to discover a commercially viable oil deposit.

However the she search for oil is on again in the Portuguese offshore. This time Petrobas, Petrogal and Partex are the main players.

In a first phase USD$90 millions is being spent in 2 and 3D analysis of the the local formations. A test well is expected to cost USD$20 million. Petrobras estimates the chances of success at 15%, but reveals that their research points to a positive EMV, i.e. either very large reserves or an even larger disappointment.

Sources at the Colorado School of Mines were very skeptical about the conclusions reached by Petrobras and suggested other reasons beyond pure economics may explain the investment at this stage.

Can Portugal be the new Norway?

map of the Portuguese Exclusive Economic Zone in the Atlantic

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Combating piracy with Drones, not warships

Indian Ocean piracy area off Somalia
source: Google Earth blog

Millions of Euros have been spent in the inglorious mission of "Combined Task Force 150", the fleet based in Djibouti responsible for fighting piracy in Horn of Africa region.

Over and over again the fleet has captured pirates only to free them, allowing for repeated piracy acts to continue. Seldom have pirates been prosecuted with success.

Interested countries have a much more effective and economical way of solving this issue: Drones.

Drones have been used multiple times over Somalia and have to range to cover the area effectively. They also have the cameras and sensors to identify pirates beyond doubt without being detected. (Often pirates just drop their weapons on the water after seeing a naval vessel in the horizon). Furthermore, drones have the perfect weapons to sink with precision the pirates' vessels. Furthermore no risk of collateral damage exists!

The US can launch them from the usual places (the equipments are already in place). France can use bases in Djibouti... China and Russia also have their Unmanned Aerial Vehicles...

Will anyone miss the sunk pirates?

NATO / US, China, Russia - what are you waiting for?
MQ-9 Reaper / Predator drone in flight

Wikileaks - Silver lining for the US

The Cablegate scandal provides a very public way of scrutinizing the quantity and quality of the work of American diplomatic missions throughout the planet.

So, if you are a US diplomat you are probably keeping your fingers crossed to see your cables published, and hopefully discussed for the relevance of their content. Otherwise it is going to look like you've been slacking...

Clearly Wikileaks is doing a favour to the State Department. Can't people in DC see that and give Julian Assange some credit? Maybe even a job offer?

In previous leaks the Department of Defense and the US Armed Forces kept some semblance of dignity, whereas the State Department screams like an operetta virgin!

Furthermore it seems the US Government has not learned to live in the Internet age: it tries to use dirty tricks to deal with Wikileaks in a way that only further sinks its image.
The rape accusations*, the DNS issues, the dumping from Amazon, the end of Paypal service, the DDS attacks...

Altogether, these ongoing actions show a lack of dignity and an Obama administration that is not up to the challenges of the XXI century. At least Bush had an excuse, simply by who he was, while we are now starting to see that Obama's main line is not "change", but "pretense". The US reacted to the changing nature of the world in a way that makes China's handling of the Internet almost elegant.

The emperor's clothes are no more!

Warning to Assange:
Mr Assange has expressed his fears of extradition to the US. Many outraged souls across the Atlantic have demanded he be brought there to face "justice". However it is our belief that will never happen:
- for a minute imagine Mr Assange is put on trial by a US Federal Court using World War I espionage legislation. Further, imagine he gets a long custodial sentence.
- the would make Mr Assange the world's most famous political prisoner, and his jailer would be the Nobel peace winner, President Hussein Obama. What a delight for China, Cuba or even North Korea. The US would be further shamed on a daily basis for as long as Mr Assange would be in jail.
- so, Mr Assange should fear something else: he should fear for his own life. If the the US "intelligence" community gets its act together, he will have an accident on of these days, probably a fatal one. I'm sure the US still have some expertise from cold war times, certainly not all Americans in power think that the only way to solve issues it to invade countries...

* the sordid details:
- woman 1: had consensual intercourse once, but she complains that she was asleep during the second time.
- woman 2: had consensual intercourse but the condom came out in the process.
Julian Assange, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks