Very interesting stuff from The Prudent Investor blog
Tuesday, August 23, 2005, Iranian Oil Bourse Could Kill The US Dollar
Can the Iranian Oil Bourse become the catalyst for a significant blow to the position of worldwide power the US Dollar enjoys? Manifold supply fears have driven the price of crude oil nearwards its recent highs of $67.10 which are also only a notch below historical records in real dollar terms. With the world facing a daily bill of roughly $5.5 billion for crude oil at current price levels it becomes apparent that sellers and purchasers of the black gold are looking into all ways that could lead to a financial improvement on their respective side.
While the worldwide bottleneck of inadequate refining facilities and partly dramatic declines in production - for example in the North Sea - are two factors that cannot be eliminated in the short term there is one area left which could result in smiling faces of oil producers and (most) buyers likewise. Non US dollar thinkers are the victim of a transaction cost in the oil trade. The necessary conversion of local currencies into greenbacks can be considered a hidden tax, charged and enjoyed by the banking sector.
Until now oil is solely priced, traded and paid for in the greenback on both markets in London and New York. The Treasury Inflow Capital data from mid-2005 show that OPEC members have parked only a skimpy $120 billion in direct dollar holdings which are almost equally split between equities and debt paper. This is a clear indication that oil producers are investing their windfalls elsewhere. The yield spread between US and EU debt papers in favor of the EU is clearly another hint where the petrodollars might flow after conversion.
The Iranian Oil Bourse (IOB) will become a factor that could unsettle the dollar's dominant position.
Especially in the case of Iran it does not make sense to accept dollars only for its much desired commodity. Being seen as a hostile country by the USA for the intention to build its own nuclear reactors one wonders whether the new IOB will not try to attract other buyers than Americans who are particularly unwelcome in that corner of the globe. Iran has recently announced that the new oil exchange will start up its computers in early 2006.
continue at the link above...
A FORMER Scottish police chief has given lawyers a signed statement claiming that key evidence in the Lockerbie bombing trial was fabricated.
The retired officer - of assistant chief constable rank or higher - has testified that the CIA planted the tiny fragment of circuit board crucial in convicting a Libyan for the 1989 mass murder of 270 people.
The police chief, whose identity has not yet been revealed, gave the statement to lawyers representing Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, currently serving a life sentence in Greenock Prison.
The evidence will form a crucial part of Megrahi's attempt to have a retrial ordered by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC). The claims pose a potentially devastating threat to the reputation of the entire Scottish legal system.
The officer, who was a member of the Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland, is supporting earlier claims by a former CIA agent that his bosses "wrote the script" to incriminate Libya.
Last night, George Esson, who was Chief Constable of Dumfries and Galloway when Megrahi was indicted for mass murder, confirmed he was aware of the development.
But Esson, who retired in 1994, questioned the officer's motives. He said: "Any police officer who believed they had knowledge of any element of fabrication in any criminal case would have a duty to act on that. Failure to do so would call into question their integrity, and I can't help but question their motive for raising the matter now."
Other important questions remain unanswered, such as how the officer learned of the alleged conspiracy and whether he was directly involved in the inquiry. But sources close to Megrahi's legal team believe they may have finally discovered the evidence that could demolish the case against him.
An insider told Scotland on Sunday that the retired officer approached them after Megrahi's appeal - before a bench of five Scottish judges - was dismissed in 2002.
The insider said: "He said he believed he had crucial information. A meeting was set up and he gave a statement that supported the long-standing rumours that the key piece of evidence, a fragment of circuit board from a timing device that implicated Libya, had been planted by US agents.
"Asked why he had not come forward before, he admitted he'd been wary of breaking ranks, afraid of being vilified.
"He also said that at the time he became aware of the matter, no one really believed there would ever be a trial. When it did come about, he believed both accused would be acquitted. When Megrahi was convicted, he told himself he'd be cleared at appeal."
The source added: "When that also failed, he explained he felt he had to come forward.
"He has confirmed that parts of the case were fabricated and that evidence was planted. At first he requested anonymity, but has backed down and will be identified if and when the case returns to the appeal court."
The vital evidence that linked the bombing of Pan Am 103 to Megrahi was a tiny fragment of circuit board which investigators found in a wooded area many miles from Lockerbie months after the atrocity.
The fragment was later identified by the FBI's Thomas Thurman as being part of a sophisticated timer device used to detonate explosives, and manufactured by the Swiss firm Mebo, which supplied it only to Libya and the East German Stasi.
At one time, Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence agent, was such a regular visitor to Mebo that he had his own office in the firm's headquarters.
The fragment of circuit board therefore enabled Libya - and Megrahi - to be placed at the heart of the investigation. However, Thurman was later unmasked as a fraud who had given false evidence in American murder trials, and it emerged that he had little in the way of scientific qualifications.
Then, in 2003, a retired CIA officer gave a statement to Megrahi's lawyers in which he alleged evidence had been planted.
The decision of a former Scottish police chief to back this claim could add enormous weight to what has previously been dismissed as a wild conspiracy theory. It has long been rumoured the fragment was planted to implicate Libya for political reasons.
The first suspects in the case were the Syrian-led Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC), a terror group backed by Iranian cash. But the first Gulf War altered diplomatic relations with Middle East nations, and Libya became the pariah state.
Following the trial, legal observers from around the world, including senior United Nations officials, expressed disquiet about the verdict and the conduct of the proceedings at Camp Zeist, Holland. Those doubts were first fuelled when internal documents emerged from the offices of the US Defence Intelligence Agency. Dated 1994, more than two years after the Libyans were identified to the world as the bombers, they still described the PFLP-GC as the Lockerbie bombers.
A source close to Megrahi's defence said: "Britain and the US were telling the world it was Libya, but in their private communications they acknowledged that they knew it was the PFLP-GC.
"The case is starting to unravel largely because when they wrote the script, they never expected to have to act it out. Nobody expected agreement for a trial to be reached, but it was, and in preparing a manufactured case, mistakes were made."
Dr Jim Swire, who has publicly expressed his belief in Megrahi's innocence, said it was quite right that all relevant information now be put to the SCCRC.
Swire, whose daughter Flora was killed in the atrocity, said last night: "I am aware that there have been doubts about how some of the evidence in the case came to be presented in court.
"It is in all our interests that areas of doubt are thoroughly examined."
A spokeswoman for the Crown Office said: "As this case is currently being examined by the SCCRC, it would be inappropriate to comment."
No one from the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland was available to comment.
Yes, it's once more into the breach with Halliburton, the gargantuan government contractor that still pays Cheney, its former CEO, enormous annual sums in "deferred compensation" and stock options - even while, as "the most powerful vice president in American history," he presides over a White House war council that has steered more than $10 billion in no-bid Iraqi war contracts back to his corporate paymaster. This is rainmaking of monsoon proportions. Indeed, the company's military servicing wing, KBR, announced a second-quarter profit spike of 284 percent last week - a feast of blood and gravy that will send Cheney's stock options soaring into the stratosphere...
Chris Floyd's blog Empire Burlesque
Sir Ian Blair has urged the public not to let the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes overshadow the deaths of 52 victims of the London bombers."
it says: "the police took responsibility". where? to take responsibility seems to be a nice turn of phrase that has no bearing to reality whatsoever. quite to the contrary.
blair continues his lame attempt to justify a murder in cold blood, exploiting the deaths of 52 bomb victims to somehow account for this fatal accident. but as we know, de menezes was only implicated in the london bombings by way of a severe fuckup on behalf of blair's hired killers. he has nothing to do with the 52 victims that were bombed, it's not "one death out of 57".
this "context" which blair refers to, is the same cataclysmic and clearly wrong "context" that led to this fatal farce in the first place. the notion of "context" ecclipses any responsibility that an acting subject may have, elevating the whole occurrence into the realm of fate, a determinist view on a chain of events that was inevitable given the war on terror.
The majority of them are fleeing to Syria, which now has an estimated 700,000 refugees from Iraq, 20% of them Christians. Ba'athist Syria, under criticism from the US (see below) is a relatively safe haven for these refugees, who join Sunnis from Falluja and refugees from other parts of Iraq.
Syria is refusing them permission to work, driving many to desperate measures such as prostitution.
We await comments on this issue from those good Christians Tony Blair and George Bush... So far western governments are refusing to allow Christians refugee status, claiming that Iraq is now a safe country.
Apparently this is part of a process called Lakotization according to the blog "tdaxp" which has a tastefull photo with the caption, "the whore of Babylon". They translate the strange word as: "a type of network disintegration that can be used to destroy pre-modern networks eg: To destroy an enemy whose strength is his families, you must destroy his families. This is happening in Iraq, which is good news. Earlier I blogged about how we have turned Fallujah into an open air prison. Now we are going to the next stage, and destroying the families of the Fallujin.".
It makes more sense if you read the post on tdaxp
strange stuff... but that's the christian spirit for you...
read this and then see how Cohen totally misunderstands the terminology (Islamism, Islamist) he so confidently told me was the 'accepted term'...
"You make a distinction between the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hizb Allah, and al-Qaida or al-Qaida related-groups, that are more global in their actions?
I think there is a big difference between the two, in that what you have is Hamas, Hizb Allah, Jammat Islamiya, Muslim Brotherhood and these groups.
They may be seen on the one hand through the optic of using resistance or violence, in support of their objectives, but these groups all favour elections, they look for reform, they're looking for constitutional change in their society, and that is an important difference between these groups and some of the other Salafi, Takfiri, extreme radical groups who are looking for polarisation.
So what does al-Qaida want?
Well, I'm afraid I'm one of those people in the West that thinks this title, al-Qaida, has become so overused and used so widely, that I mean that's it's impossible any longer to say.
I don't think there is that organisational structure that is so often presented in the West, but I think it is quite clear the main objective is the removal of Western armies from Muslim lands and an ability to create a just society in Muslim lands. But their methodology is very different.
This is to oversimplify it, but it has some objectives which were evident in 1998 [the year Osama bin Laden declared a fatwa calling on his followers to kill American nationals and allies of the US, and the year of the East Africa embassy bombings] which was about polarisation and radicalisation and a short circuiting of the route to an Islamic society by an act of "shock and awe" that would radicalise the ummah [global Muslim community] and bring about an instant change.
But for many Muslims and many groups - including the Islamists - they would say it has alienated much of the ummah by the type and nature of the violence that has been used to radicalise the situation. And also some would say that it has made the conditions for Muslims worse off because of "the war on terror".
And certainly, some groups might point to the situation of the Palestinians as an example and say it has greatly deteriorated. So what have these acts achieved?
"The liberals who say I have deserted the left should ask themselves where they stand on Islamism"
Cohen in the Observer
'I'm sure that any halfway competent political philosopher could rip the assumptions of modern middle-class left-wingery apart'
but he doesn't... just brings out the same tired arguments that are reworked endlessly by pro-war rightwing comentators. bland asumptions levelled at a vague and perenial left that i've yet to meet...
His speech was interrupted at one point by a woman who stood up and shouted: "Rumsfeld, you lied to us!"
Rumsfeld paused during his remarks but made no mention of the incident as the woman was hustled from the room by hotel security. Several minutes later, as the defense secretary was departing, a man who had been sitting in an area reserved for reporters strode forward and yelled: "Mr. Rumsfeld, military families think you're lying to them!"
Dear Mr. David Lepper,
During he past weeks the British people have been subjected to a modicum, an almost incomparable, yet telling quantity, of fear that ourPrime minister has subjected upon the Iraqi people. Although two wrongs will never make a right, these actions represent or demonstrate the effect that our taxes and armed forces have upon the citizens of Iraq. Although our prime minister may have made irreparable damage in Iraq it is now evident that British citizens, not only ones who sign up to beTrained killers, but ordinary peaceful folk, now feel the effect of his disgusting actions. As my representative in parliament, I would please ask you to petition the necessary powers to give the police the new measures they crave to tackle the causes of terrorism at its heart; illegal, spurious wars in which tens of thousands are killed of which Mr. Blair must surely be a prime suspect. The unceasing curtailment of liberties and the 'war on terror' have thus far not been successful in preventing terrorism. It is vital thus to look rationally at how are plight can be changed.
I write this fully aware of your mixed response to the conflict in question but feel that we have a moral obligation to make those responsible, at the highest level, for the tragedies of these last few years pay, in whatever way possible, for their crimes.
(no resonse received, the police, since time of writing have grabbed the powers they crave by the balls and demonstrated them on some Brazilian chap: arbritary underground murder)
Will update when the bastard gets round to replying!
"Little progress is made on global nuclear disarmament. The United States rejects a series of arms control treaties and announces it will withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Terrorists seek to acquire and use nuclear and biological weapons."
why are we not worried anymore? the threat is as plausible as it was 20 years ago.
"As far as I know, it's just to degrade you. So when you leave here, you'll have these scars and you'll never forget. So you'll always fear doing anything but what the US wants."