Saturday, 26 February 2011

"Global warming" in the Baltic Sea: Tens of ships trapped in the ice

(image by sampotours)

The Sampo icebreaker is retired from active duty and nowadays takes tourists out into the icy waters of the Gulf of Bothnia. But right now it could probably be more useful assisting ships trapped in the ice...

The Baltic Sea has is covered by ice from the north down to the Swedish Öland island. On Thursday, 310,000 square kilometres of the sea were covered in ice, and the area is growing. This is the most extensive ice cover in 24 years, according to the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. Scores of ships lie iced in and icebreaker assistance is not available until next week, the YLE Finnish TV news reports. The situation is most difficult south of Kvarken, the narrowest part of the Gulf of Bothnia, where about forty vessels have been iced in.

A couple of days ago Russian authorities reported that a nuclear icebreaker is on its way to free ships trapped in the ice in the Gulf of Finland.

(image by Wikipedia)

Of course, the deep freeze is all a sign of global warming, if we are to believe Nobel Prize laureate Al Gore.

Russia plans to send new French built warships to Kuril islands

Russia has announced that it plans to send its soon to be delivered French Mistral helicopter carriers to  the Kuril Islands - the Japanese Northern Territories - which Russia occupies since the end of the Word War II:
Russia announced Friday that it may send one or even two of the high-tech warships it is buying from France to help protect a chain of islands that are being bitterly claimed by Japan.
The statement from Russia's top general is likely to infuriate the Japanese government and further escalate a simmering row that flared during an unprecedented November visit to the Kurils by President Dmitry Medvedev.

Read the entire AFP news article here.

Former Japanese ambassador to France, Kazuo Ogoura, now political science professor at Aoyama Gakuin University questions whether Russia can be a real partner for Japan and the West:

Russia is in danger of becoming an element of concern or a potential source of instability in East Asia.
Nationalism-oriented and authoritarianism-tilted Russian politics is likely to discourage movement in China toward democracy and may even encourage continuation of the dictatorial regime in North Korea. In any event, the latest political developments in Russia make people wonder once again whether Russia can be a real politico-economic partner to Japan, Europe, the United States and other like-minded countries in Asia and the Pacific.
The Russian stance and actions with regard to the Northern Territories is not, in essence, a bilateral issue between Japan and Russia; it is a litmus test of the Russian image and position as recognized by the international community.

Read the entire article in the Japan Times here.

It would be very sad indeed if French arms technology would be used against the interests of a key NATO partner country.

The green agenda

“Today’s debate about global warming is essentially a debate about freedom. The environmentalists would like to mastermind each and every possible (and impossible) aspect of our lives.”
Vaclav Klaus
Blue Planet in Green Shackles

Sometimes - at least here in Europe - one feels that all people support "green values". Who would not want to protect the environment and and enjoy a healthy life style? There is an ever growing flood of "green" articles and programmes in the media. The greens are now an important political force in many European countries, with Germany as a prime example. And most of the traditional parties have adopted much of the green agenda at least in their rhetoric. The entire global warming/climate change movement is based on the green/environmentalist ideology - or religion - which seems to be filling the vacuum left by the weakening role of the church.

Kevin Andrews, Australian shadow minister for Families, Housing and Human Services is one of the few politicians who has thoroughly studied the green agenda. His scholarly article in the Quadrant magazine is recommended reading for all people who still value Western Civilisation.

What most people do not realise, is that the green movement has its roots in the Marxist  totalitarian tradition.

Here are some of the highlights in the Quadrant article:

Many descriptions could be applied to the Greens, but none seems more accurate than Jack Mundey’s own description of “ecological Marxism”, which sums up the two core beliefs of the Greens. First, the environment or the ecology is to be placed before all else. This is spelt out in the first principle in the Greens Global Charter, to which the Australian Greens are subscribers: “We acknowledge that human beings are part of the natural world and we respect the specific values of all forms of life, including non-human species.”[34]
Second, the Greens are Marxist in their philosophy, and display the same totalitarian tendencies of all previous forms of Marxism as a political movement. By totalitarian, I mean the subordination of the individual in the impulse to rid society of all elements that, in the eyes of the adherent, mar its perfection.
Let me expand. According to the Greens’ ideology, human dignity is neither inherent nor absolute, but relative.[35] Humans are only one species amongst others. As Brown and Singer write: “We hold that the dominant ethic is indefensible because it focuses only on human beings and on human beings who are living now, leaving out the interests of others who are not of our species, or not of our generation.”[36] Elsewhere, they equate humans with animals:
The revolutionary element in Green ethics is its challenge to us to see ourselves in universal terms ... I must take into account the interests of others, on the same footing as my own. This is true, whether these others are Victorians or Queenslanders, Australians or Rwandans, or even the nonhuman animals whose habitat is destroyed when a forest is destroyed.[37]
What is revolutionary about this statement is not that the interests of another should be considered in an ethical judgment. Judeo-Christian belief extols consideration of others, as does Kant’s Golden Rule. Burke wrote of society being a compact across generations. What is revolutionary is the equation of humans and animals.
For many Greens supporters, environmentalism is ultimately an article of faith and belief. This is no better illustrated that in the controversy surrounding the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It has become increasingly clear that the process of “establishing” human-caused global warming has been manipulated by a small group of people, using mutual peer-review processes, and claiming to speak for many more scientists who had little input and no real opportunity to review the final documents. The closed-shop nature of the process is counter the scientific empiricism of the enlightenment, and marks another significant break with traditional Western culture.
For the Greens, a pristine global environment represents earthly perfection. It underpins their “ecological wisdom”[41] and is at the core of the new ethic.[42] It is to be protected and promoted at all costs. Hence, all old growth forests are to be locked up;[43] logging is to be prohibited; wealth is to be scorned;[44] economic growth is opposed;[45] exclusive ownership of property is questioned;[46] there should be a moratorium of fossil fuels exploration;[47] dam construction should be discouraged;[48] genetic engineering and agricultural monoculture is rejected;[49] world trade should be reduced;[50] and a barter economy encouraged.[51]
It explains why the Greens believe the world’s population is excessive and should be reduced,[52] and why human consumption should be cut.[5
What is at stake in the Greens’ “revolution” is the heart and soul of Western civilisation, built on the Judeo-Christian/Enlightenment synthesis that upholds the individual—with obligations and responsibilities to others, but ultimately judged on his or her own conscience and actions—as the possessor of an inherent dignity and inalienable rights. What is also at stake is the economic system that has resulted in the creation of wealth and prosperity for the most people in human history.

Read the entire article here.

Friday, 25 February 2011

The EU finally agrees sanctions

No more visa for the "Guide of the Great Revolution of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya"

The public pressure on the EU to take some kind of action with regard to the slaughter of peaceful demonstrators in Libya seems to have resulted in this:

Berlin/Brussels - European Union nations agreed Friday to impose an arms embargo on Libya and slap a visa ban and asset freeze on members of the regime, the German Foreign Office said.
The embargo is to cover both military hardware and goods which could be used to crack down on pro-democracy demonstrators. The decision is to be formalized next week, officials in Berlin said.

Well, this is at least something. However, it is clear that the sanctions are in reality very soft. Much tougher measures would have been needed!

(image by EU audiovisual service)

Another lecture from baroness Ashton

The unelected EU "foreign minister", labour baroness Cathrine Ashton recently lectured the world about "deep democracy" in Egypt. Now, she is lecturing readers of the New York Times about how to deal with mad dictators, citing how "the West" dealt with the Soviet empire:

Were the European Union to isolate every government that fails to live up to the principles of liberal democracy, we would face accusations of political imperialism. It is better to proclaim the principles of democracy, but deal with the world as it is.
That is how the West behaved toward the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe before the fall of the Berlin Wall. At the same time we engaged governments and supported groups that promoted democratic change from within. This meant that when the Wall fell, we had the connections as well as the ambition to help the countries of Eastern Europe move rapidly toward democracy, the rule of law and greater economic prosperity.

This is really over the top. It was, of course, the much scolded "warmonger", "Hollywood B-movie star" Ronald Reagan, together with Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II, who brought down the evil empire and changed the world. If the "realpolitik" of the continental EU leaders had prevailed, we would probably still have to deal with an imperial Soviet union.

Read the entire article in the NYT here.

(image by EU audiovisual service)

Finally EU takes action: Gaddafi picture taken down in EU Council building

The European Union has finally been able proceed from words to conrete action on Libya (in spite of  protests from the Berlusconi goverment?):

Brussels - Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi's fall from grace resonated in the European Union corridors of power on Thursday, as a picture of him in the company of one the bloc's former top officials was removed on Thursday.
The interior walls of the Justus Lipsius, the building that houses the EU Council - the secretariat of the bloc's member states - are decorated with pictures showing EU politicians, sometimes in the company of foreign dignitaries.
One of them, hung between the Italian and the Spanish press conference rooms, showed Gaddafi meeting with the EU's former foreign policy chief, Javier Solana.
On Thursday, it was gone.

Read the entire story here.

The EU Audiovisual Services, "Sharing the Sights and Sounds of Europe", has not yet removed this nice picture from their archives:

The offical caption to the photo is as follows:

"Handshake between José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, and Muammar al-Gaddafi, Guide of the Great Revolution of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya"

And this "historic" picture is there, too:

EU caption: "Gaddafi (in the middle, in blue) in front of his tent with his delegation", "Location: Brussels - Chateau of Val-Duchesse"

Europeans busy peddling arms to North Africa and the Middle East

EU countries have been busy peddling arms to North Africa and the Middle East in recent years. According to Kaye Stearman of British arms control group Campaign Against Arms Trade EU arms sales between 2008 and 2009, in North Africa alone, went from just under one billion euros to two million euros.

A recently published EU document outlines the figures for 2009:

The EU document, which refers to annual figures in 2009, says the bloc's member states granted export licenses worth 343 million euros ($470 million) to Libya. Italy was shown to have approved exports worth 112 million euros, the most taken up by military aircraft. It was followed by Malta which authorized the sale of an 80-million-euro consignment of small arms.
Germany was third on the list, with 53 million euros of licenses, mostly for electronic jamming equipment used to disrupt mobile phone, Internet and GPS communication.

Russia has been the biggest arms supplier to Libya, but French, Italian and German defense companies have been steadily increasing their business ties with Libya. It is interesting to note that US companies have largely kept out:

"As opposed to Europe, the general perception in the US is to take a much harder line on Gadhafi," David Hartwell, Middle East analyst at UK-based IHS Jane's told Deutsche Welle. "There's a lot of political pressure within Congress not to do big business with Gadhafi after the Lockerbie bombing," he said.

It certainly looks like European arms technology has been used by at least the regimes in Bahrein and Libya to silence their own citizens:

Analysts say that's hard to prove but reports that governments both in Bahrain and Libya may have done just that have sparked angry debates and accusations of double standards in some European countries.

"Only if we stop selling arms to these countries, then their governments have much less chance of repressing their populations," Kaye Stearman said.
She added however that there's little sign of that happening.
British Premier David Cameron who was on a tour of the Middle East this week paid a visit to the International Defense Exhibition (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi with more than 1,000 companies showing their military equipment and services. Cameron was accompanied by eight leading British arms industry executives.
"That sends an absolutely disastrous signal to pro-democracy movements in the Arab world," Stearman said.

Read the entire Deutsche Welle article here.

It certainly does not look like Britain would be planning to cut its arms sales to undemocratic Gulf regimes any time soon.
This from the IDEX 2011 home page:

Gerald Howarth MP, UK Minister for International Security Strategy, delivered his vision for greater international cooperation and highlighted the enduring connection between Britain and the UAE during the second keynote address: "We in Britain want to build strong, reliable, and enduring strategic partnerships throughout the Gulf region – strengthening existing alliances, and promoting alliances with new, important allies...The United Kingdom has a long historical connection with the UAE, and with the Arabian Gulf more generally. Over many years, our bonds of friendship, understanding, and respect have grown and endured – through good times and bad."

Thursday, 24 February 2011

The European Union unable to reach a common position on Libya

(EU Human Rights propaganda picture)

“Human rights are at the centre of the EU’s external action and the work of the newly established European External Action Service. We defend and promote human rights in all aspects of our work”
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

No matter how many hundreds or thousands of civilians are murdered by Libyan madman Gaddafi´s mercenaries, the European Union is unable to reach a common position:

Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya: The Arab revolution has taken German and European foreign policy makers by surprise. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle have yet to adopt a clear stance on the crisis.
The Arab world is in turmoil -- but German and European politicians can't keep up with events. It is reminiscent of 1989 when East Germany crumbled before everyone's eyes, even though some in the West had only recently praised the stability of what was thought to be the world's tenth most important industrial nation.

Back then, there was neither a concrete plan nor a strategy. Politicians muddled their way through but the outcome, fortunately, was a success.

Another region of the world is now in upheaval -- and politicians are looking similarly stranded.

Italy´s Berlusconi is not willing to desert his "friend", madman Gadddafi:

The European Union, meanwhile, has not been able to agree on a common position. Italy is against sanctions. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has friendly relations with Gadhafi and spoke to him on Tuesday. Two years ago the two countries signed a friendship treaty in which Italy pledged to pay €3.4 billion ($4.6 billion) in compensation for its colonial rule, over 25 years. In return, Gadhafi agreed to intercept immigrants travelling to Italy. In addition, Italy relies on Libyan gas and crude oil.

Read the entire article in Der Spiegel here.

Once again, the European Union shows that it is only a "paper tiger", despite all the talk about being a leading international player. So far, this is the only concrete EU action on Libya:

Declaration by the High Representative Catherine Ashton
on behalf of the European Union on Libya

The EU has decided to suspend negotiations with
Libya on the EU-Libya Framework Agreement
and is ready to take further measures.

Impressive, dear Baroness!

"Obama's Pathetic Response to Libya"

Elliot Abrams has some strong words for Barack Obama on Libya:

With a thousand Libyans (and perhaps many more) dead already from the Qaddafi regime’s attacks on its own population, and with reports of thousands of mercenaries and militiamen streaming toward Tripoli, President Obama finally spoke to the nation about this violence on Wednesday afternoon. He announced solemnly that he was sending Secretary of State Clinton to Geneva to visit the U.N. Human Rights Council and “hold consultations”—next Monday!  But fear not: Undersecretary of State Bill Burns is apparently traveling sooner than that to “several stops in Europe” and then even in the actual Middle East, to “intensify our consultations.”

This is not so much a feeble response as a non-response. It is an announcement to Qaddafi that we won’t even get the secretary of State moving for five more days—five more days of likely slaughter. The verbs the president employed in his remarks are toothless: we will “monitor” and “coordinate” and “consult.” We will “speak with one voice.” While he “strongly” condemned “the use of violence in Libya” the president could not bring himself to condemn the regime or its leader, the man who is imposing this reign of terror.

Read the entire piece here.

Another worthless study promises 6 million green jobs in Europe

Another worthless "study" promises 6 million extra green jobs in Europe if the EU increases its carbon emission cuts to 30%:

"Post-crisis Europe can revitalize its economy by tackling the climate challenge," according to the study, led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and commissioned by the German Environment Ministry.
It said a 30 percent cut could boost EU gross domestic product (GDP) growth by 0.6 percent a year, create up to 6 million extra jobs in Europe by 2020 and increase European investments from 18 percent of GDP to up to 22 percent.
By 2020, that would increase European GDP by 620 billion euros ($847.4 billion), or by 6 percent above business as usual trends, it said.

Read the entire article here.

One wonders why the Potsdam global warming propaganda institute does not suggest doubling the cuts to 60%? With the logic they are using, that would create 12 million new green jobs ....
There is, of course, the possibility that the Potsdam people might have got the job figure right. In that case the only thing wrong with their research is that they forgot to tell that the 6 million new jobs are going to China and other cheap labout countries, not to Europe. As a matter of fact, professor Carlo Jaeger, head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, indadvertedly spoke about this scenario in an interview for

The truth is that Europe is not so important anymore and its importance is decreasing. Our role is to be pioneers in engineering and technology and designing new solutions that can be imitated and imported and picked up by the Chinese, Indians and Brazilians.

There you have it!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Amnesty International: UN Security Council reaction to Libya "shameful"

Amnesty International has rightly called the UN Security Council reaction to the killings in Libya "shameful":

LONDON, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Amnesty International Wednesday accused the United Nations and African Union of abandoning Libya to dictator Moammar Gadhafi and demanded action.
The human rights group called the U.N. Security Council response, which has consisted only of calls for restraint, "shameful." The council, it said, must impose an immediate arms embargo and freeze the assets of Gadhafi and his inner circle, and the General Assembly should suspend Libya from the Human Rights Council.

Read the entire article here.

The de facto inaction of the UN Security Council is another proof of its utter uselessness. And the General Assembly is by no means likely to suspend Libya from the so called "Human Rights Council".

There has been a debate about reforming the Security Council for at least twenty years now, without any tangible results. It is now time to end this debate and start thinking about replacing the entire United Nations concept with something better.

Reuters wrong about EU´s future dependence on Russian gas

Ahead of Russian dictator Putin´s visit to Brussels, Reuters has cabled out a piece by one of their Moscow correspondents, Darya Korsunskaya. According to Ms. Korsunskaya "The European Union's $16 trillion economy dwarfs Russia's $1.5 trillion economy but Russia supplies 23 percent of the European Union's gas needs and the EU dependence on imports is likely to rise in the coming decades".

This is, of course, what what the Russians would like to believe, but in reality Europe is going to be less dependent on Russian energy. Ms. Korsunskaya completely "forgot" to mention the ongoing shale gas revolution, which e.g. will make Poland an energy exporter. “In ten-fifteen years Poland has a chance to become second Norway", says Poland´s foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski. And shale gas can be extracted in several other European countries as well.

Over the past two years, the Polish Environment Ministry has issued around 60 licenses for shale gas exploration in Poland, mainly to the U.S. companies, including Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Energy Lane.

ShaleGas World Europe 2011

Global warming in the Gulf of Finland - Russia sends nuclear icebreaker

Al Gore and his alarmist friends insist that cold winters are caused by global warming. Well, global warming really seems to have taken hold of the the Gulf of Finland, if we are to believe the countries largest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat:

Russian nuclear icebreaker races to help in Gulf of Finland

A Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker is on its way from Murmansk to the Gulf of Finland to help ships that are stuck in the ice there, says Atomflot, which administers Russia’s nuclear icebreakers.

According to the Russian Ministry of Transport, 67 ships were waiting for the help of icebreakers in the eastern Gulf of Finland on Monday.
Twelve icebreakers were trying to assist them, but the ice conditions were too difficult.
The ice situation off St. Petersburg has been severe from the beginning of February, with pack ice up to a metre thick.

Blairs "family friend" disappoints - the bloodshed continues in Libya

Madman Gaddafi´s son Saif  was thought to be a reformer and a friend of the West. Tony Blair, who once described him as a "family friend", must be quite disappointed:

In recent years, Gadhafi's son has been an important link between the two governments. He owns a house in London, is in his mid-30s and studied for a Ph.D. at the London School of Economics (LSE) from 2003 until 2008. He was regarded as a friend as the West and as a reformer, and he moved in the highest circles in London. His contacts included Prince Andrew, Britain's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, and former Economy Minister Peter Mandelson. Blair even called Gadhafi junior a "family friend."

But Saif al-Islam seems to have turned radical in response to the uprising. London observers could hardly believe their ears when he declared in a speech on Sunday that the Gadhafis would fight "to the last bullet." The LSE responded by saying it would return a major donation by the Gadhafi Foundation. Saif's former academic advisor at the LSE, the well-known politics professor David Held, said he was "appalled" by the speech, and that his former student had become "the enemy of ideals he once proclaimed."

Read the entire article in Der Spiegel here.

Meanwhile, the slaughtering of protesters goes on in Libya, and the West seems to be unable to produce anything else than condemnating declarations. Der Spiegel asks: The question now is how long Gadhafi can keep on waging war against his people.

Cameron defends arms sales to Arab states

David Cameron has reacted  angrily to mounting criticism over his arms export mission to the Middle East declaring that Britain has "nothing to be ashamed of for selling weapons to Arab leaders":

‘We have probably the toughest set of export rules probably anywhere in the world. It is obviously difficult to get it right on every occasion.’
An angry Mr Cameron told a journalist: ‘I simply don’t understand how you can’t understand that democracies have a right to defend themselves.

It would be interesting to hear Cameron´s definition of a democracy.

Fred Kaplan, writing in Slate, notes one case where Cameron definitely did not "get it right":

Britain sold Libya more than $6 million in ammunition including riot-control ammo, in the third quarter of 2010 alone—a chapter in shame that Prime Minister David Cameron (who recently flew to Egypt to strike a relationship with the nascent regime there) might wish to rectify.

Proof of global warming

(Image by

This has to be the definitive proof that global warming is happening: Thanks to milder winters (global warming), there are now more brown owls - and less grey ones - in Finland, reports Eli Rosenberg in the Atlantic Wire:

 there are those who have their own research and data to suggest global warming is not really happening.

BBC today has a much simpler example of how global warming is not only apparent, but visible to the naked, unscientifically-inclined eye: tawny owls are turning brown as a result of a warming climate, according to scientists in Finland. A study carried out over thirty years and published recently in the journal Nature Communications showed that while grey tawny owls had higher survival rates in colder environments, brown owls were becoming more common. Dr. Patrik Karell from the University of Helsink, the leader of the journal study, tells the BBC that they've gone from around 30 percent of the tawny population in Finland to around 50 percent, despite the fact that the grey color trait is the dominant gene when mixed.
And even as winters are getting colder again, that is, as alarmists tell us, of course also due to global warming. So, in a future scientific study, a decreasing number of brown owls must also be a sign of global warming ....

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The UN´s abysmal track record on Libya

Andrew Bolt looks at the UN´s pandering to madman Gaddafi:

First, Libya was last year elected onto the United Nations Human Rights Council -- the UN's highest human rights body -- by 155 of the 192 members, just a month before Freedom House listed it alongside North Korea as one of nine countries with the "worst human rights conditions" in the world.
Second, this UN Human Rights Council had the hide last month to subject Australia to a "peer review" of our own human rights record, when its members included not just Libya but China, Cuba, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, which is now also shooting its own pro-democracy protesters. These, our UN "peers"?
Third, the UN had Libya elected chairman of the organising committee for its 2009 Conference on Racism.
Once again Libya was allowed to pose as a great moral guide of the UN -- while actually turning the event into another festival of anti-Israel hate.
Fourth, the UN made Gaddafi's daughter Aisha a "Goodwill Ambassador" for its development program, despite her family's thievery of Libya's wealth, her endorsement of the IRA and her work on the defence team of Iraq's genocidal leader, Saddam Hussein, whom she called "an elected president who was wrongly hung".

Read the entire article in the Herald Sun here.

The UN Security Council is supposed to meet in order to discuss the situation in Libya. It is not likely that the council will act forcefully, as it should.

Libya is burning - UN´s Ban Ki-moon goes to Hollywood

While Libya is burning and hundreds of brave pro-democracy demonstrators are killed by Gaddafi´s thugs, Ban Ki-moon, the failed UN secretary-general, takes time out in Tinseltown. The UN is clearly desperate about the fact that its global warming flagship project has hit the rocks. The warmists´ last hope is that Hollywood will save the show with some new scare stories.

Now the beleaguered multi-national agency, fresh from a disappointing round of climate negotiations in Cancun, wants something more concrete: actual story lines in movies, television and social media drawing attention to the dangers of global warming.
The push comes at a time when public concern over climate change has plummeted in the polls and Congress has rejected federal legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
“Usually I speak to prime ministers and presidents, but that has its limits” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who arrived in Los Angeles on Monday for a high-profile Tinseltown outreach effort. “Movie producers, directors, actors — they have global reach.”
The day-long gathering will feature panels titled “The United Nations and Hollywood for a Greener and Better Planet,” “Making Global Warming a HOT Issue” and "Empowering Women and Protecting Children for a Safer World.”
Panelists include such top U.N. brass as the Indian economist Rajendra Pachauri, who chairs the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; a Nobel-prize winning group of scientists; and Christiana Figueres, the Costa Rican diplomat who heads the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and chaired the Cancun talks.
The secretary-general will host a lunch and dinner for several hundred writers, directors and producers andmeet with a handful in private. And he will participate in a "Facebook town hall" with several members of the band Linkin Park, which has used U.N. videos to raise money for Haiti relief efforts.

Read the entire L.A. Times article here.

I note that former railway engineer, Rajendra Pachauri also was in attendance. Maybe he is touting his less than successful smutty romance novel, Return to Almora (laced with steamy sex) for the movie moguls?. Or is Ban proposing a leading role for the Indian in a horror movie?

Sarkozy: "UAE is a beacon for moderation and stability"

Britain´s David Cameron is not the only European leader trying to promote arms sales to the United Arab Emirates. In a statement to a bulletin related to to the ongoing huge arms fair IDEX, French president Nicolas  Sarkozy said that "the UAE is a beacon for moderation and stability in the region that lacks such values and principles,". He added that "since the UAE has chosen the road of openness and proactive ideas it is natural to find France on its side to defend the shared values".

"Sarkozy reiterated that the relations between France and UAE were strategic, citing the defence agreement between the two countries signed in 1995, and boosted by the existence of the first permanent French base in the region. He noted that the bilateral relations extend to the cultural relations, referring to Louvre Museum and Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi."
He added that the French companies were aware about the strength of the UAE economy, citing their keenness to partake in the UAE economic development process.

Read the entire article here.

Sarkozy´s rosy view is not necessarily shared by all people in the UAE, reports the Canadian The Star newspaper:

Political science professor Abdulkhaleq Abdulla has idealistic young students like any other professor. Asked if they aspire to a fully democratic United Arab Emirates, he provides an almost plaintive response:
“I do.”
“Who wouldn’t want to have that, an elected body, an elected parliament and participation and better media . . . these are simple human rights to be observed by everybody,” says Abdulla, a lecturer at Emirates University, a modern school where female students outnumber males 3-to-1.
“I think everybody yearns for the time when you could express your feelings and your thinking as freely as possible. It’s awkward to be the best when it comes to human development indexes yet the worst when it comes to freedom and political liberty.”
There is little doubt liberty is lacking in the U.A.E. The organization Freedom House declared that the U.A.E. is “not free” after weighing the state of civil liberties and political freedoms

Another Canadian site, Canadian Press cites an American Middle East expert about the situation in the Gulf states:

Simon Henderson, a Mideast analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, described the Gulf rulers as digging in to protect systems whose time may be coming to an end.
"The king or emir is the CEO of a country and member of the ruling family are the shareholders, not the people," he said.
"That's the way it used to be," he added. "That was before people across the Middle East marched on the streets, demanding their rights now matter how brutal or how ancient the regime in power."

Read the entire article here.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Cameron´s credibility as promoter of democracy questioned

David Cameron was the first Western leader to visit Egypt after the uprising. There he had some nice words to say about freedom and democratic values. After the stopover in Cairo, Cameron - joined by eight leading British arms manufacturers - embarked on an arms export promotion trip to a number of undemocratic Gulf states.
Some of the brave people in Egypt, who chased out dictator Mubarak, may not have been convinced that Cameron was the right person to speak about democracy ....

After a hastily convened stopover in Egypt, where he spoke of being "inspired" by protesters, the PM began a long-scheduled trade mission by landing in Kuwait, a key military ally. Britain has approved 1,155 arms export licences for Kuwait since 2003, worth a total of £102.3m, according the Campaign Against the Arms Trade.
Key deals on the table this week include the sale of Eurofighters to the Gulf.
Meanwhile Gerald Howarth, a British defence minister, was also attending the region's largest arms fair, in Abu Dhabi, where a further 93 British companies are promoting their wares. They included companies selling rubber bullets and CS gas for crowd control as well as heavily armoured riot vans.

Read the entire news article here.

Libya :Gaddafi´s friend Berlusconi opposes EU sanctions

Finland´s foreign minister Alexander Stubb today suggested that the European Union applies sanctions against the Gaddafi regime. However, the EU foreign ministers were not able to agree on sanctions because Italy, with the support of some other southern countries were against the proposal:

According to unconfirmed reports, Libyan authorities killed at least 300 demonstrators in recent days in what would be the bloodiest response to the pro-democracy uprisings that have erupted in North Africa and the Middle East since January.
Italy, however, has led a camp of southern EU states wanting to avoid antagonizing Tripoli over concerns Libya could halt cooperating on migration policies.
Finland's Foreign Minister, Alexander Stubb, had urged the bloc to consider stronger measures.
'There was a suggestion, a proposal from our colleague Stubb, (but) many other colleagues responded that clearly we now need to think about a transition process, not about creating the conditions for a new confrontation,' Italy's Franco Frattini said.
Frattini also said it would have been wrong to call for Gaddafi's resignation in the wake of the crackdown.
'The European Union has never said who should go and who should stay,' he explained.
Stubb had earlier had asked: 'How can we on one side look at what's going on in Libya, with almost 300 people shot dead, and not talk bout sanctions or travel bans ... for Gaddafi, and at the same time put travel bans and sanctions in Belarus?'

Read the entire article here.

How right Stubb is, but it now seems clear that Silvio Berlusconi wants to protect his "friend" Moammar Gaddafi. Shame on Italy and its supporters!

Goodbye Gaddafi

Africas´s longest serving leader, the self-described "King of Kings" Moammar Gaddafi  seemingly has disappeared amid all the turmoil in his oil rich Libya. This is the beginning of the end for the leader, who already many years ago was described as "borderline insane" by the CIA (A rather polite description). Already tens of protesters have been killed by Libyan security forces. One must hope that the last days of this mad dictator will not lead to even more widespread bloodshed.

The West has hitherto turned a blind eye to the Gaddafi regime´s human rights violations. Now, when the Libyan people need help and support Obama, Merkel, Sarkozy and the others must in the strongest possible way condemn the killing of peaceful demonstrators and demand an end to the bloody Gaddafi regime.

Mount Putin

Kyrgyzstan´s parliament has voted to immortalise Russia´s Vladimir Putin by giving his name to one of its mountain peaks in the country´s northern Tian Shan range. The Mount Putin initiative was backed by almost all the deputies in the newly elected parliament.

However, one lawmaker, Nurlan Sulaimanov, was not happy about chosen peak and demanded that the diminutive Russian leader should be given a taller mountain; "Otherwise Vladimir Vladimirovich might be offended that we did not value him highly enough."

What do you think? According to our sources in Kyrgyzstan, Mount Putin should be the peak on the left in the bottom of this picture:

Putin has already indicated that he would like to climb his new namesake. He is also rumoured to have been thinking about erecting a huge Swiss style dacha right on the top (until he was shown this picture).
Putin recently excelled by singing the old Fats Domino hit "Blueberry Hill" in a televised show. He is probably already rehearsing for the next appearance, switching from hill to mountain top with this wellknown melody:

There ain't no mountain high enough
Ain't no valley low enough
Ain't no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you

Sunday, 20 February 2011

“the European Community’s best days are long gone—and there is worse to come”

(image by

“The Europeans failed to build a military to challenge the United States, despite lofty rhetoric to the contrary,” says Rosato. “They failed to pass a constitution. And they have been slowly eviscerating the single market and single currency.”
“Simply put,” he says, “the European Community’s best days are long gone—and there is worse to come.”

Pretty straightforward words from Notre Dame University political scientist Sebastian Rosato, but they are true nonetheless. Rosato has for many years carefully studied the creation and development of the European Union. The results of his studies can be found in his book "Europe United: Power Politics and the Making of the European Community" (Cornell University Press).

Rosato challenges the prevalent idealistic view that the EU was formed out of a sense of European border-transcending fraternity:

 the real reason behind pan-European cooperation was the cold-war menace posed by Europe’s once-powerful neighbor, the Soviet Union. Now, without that same threat, European nations are beginning to heed internal political pressure to look after their own interests and will gradually turn away from the EU bureaucracy.

As Germany, the driving economy of Europe, is increasingly asked to bail out ailing national economies in southern Europe, its leaders’ “patience could reach a breaking point,” Rosato says. “They bailed the Greeks out, but Greece is small. If Italy or Spain fails, Germany could well pull out.”
Another threat to the EU’s solidarity is that France or Germany, the strongest member states, could attempt to exercise more control over the powerful European Central Bank, Rosato says.
“At that point, you may have something called the European Union,” he says, “but if you have powerful independent governments running the show, it is a union in name only.”

Read the entire article by Notre Dame University´s Mark Shuman here.

Sometimes it takes an outside observer - like Rosato - to find out the reality behind the politically correct facade. One can only hope that Rosato´s book will be read by as many Europeans as possible.