Saturday, 23 April 2011

Western inaction with regard to the killings in Syria is shameful

The Washington Post rightly points out in its editorial that the Obama administration´s response to the killings in Syria is shameful:

FOR THE PAST five weeks, growing numbers of Syrians have been gathering in cities and towns across the country to demand political freedom — and the security forces of dictator Bashar al-Assad have been responding by opening fire on them. According to Syrian human rights groups, more than 220 people had been killed by Friday. And Friday may have been the worst day yet: According to Western news organizations, which mostly have had to gather information from outside the country, at least 75 people were gunned down in places that included the suburbs of Damascus, the city of Homs and a village near the southern town of Daraa, where the protests began.

Massacres on this scale usually prompt a strong response from Western democracies, as they should. Ambassadors are withdrawn; resolutions are introduced at the U.N. Security Council; international investigations are mounted and sanctions applied. In Syria’s case, none of this has happened. The Obama administration has denounced the violence — a presidential statement called Friday’s acts of repression “outrageous” — but otherwise remained passive. Even the ambassador it dispatched to Damascus during a congressional recess last year remains on post.

As a moral matter, the stance of the United States is shameful. To stand by passively while hundreds of people seeking freedom are gunned down by their government makes a mockery of the U.S. commitment to human rights. In recent months President Obama has pledged repeatedly that he would support the aspiration of Arabs for greater freedom. In Syria, he has not kept his word.

The European Union has been as passive as the Obama administration. EU "foreign minister", Baroness Ashton used some strong words of condemnation, but also appears to think that the bloody dictator Assad still is part of the solution:

"The Syrian authorities must immediately stop their violent response and fully respect citizens' right to peaceful demonstrations," Catherine Ashton said. "The killings are appalling and intolerable."

"I call on the Syrian government to carry out profound political reforms, starting with the respect for basic rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law," she said. "That process can only be made possible by putting an immediate end to all repressive

Read here what this blog thinks about Assad.

No end to EU waste and fraud

There is no end to the massive abuse and embezzlement of European Union money. The latest fraud reports come from Bulgaria:

The European Union anti-fraud office OLAF is currently investigating more than twice as many cases of abuse and embezzlement of EU funds in Bulgaria compared with the previous record-holder year, 2009.
The information was reported Tuesday by the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, citing data they have received from OLAF.
The current probes involving funds from the agriculture program SAPARD and funds for farming subsidies and development of rural regions are 65, compared to 26 at the end of 2009.
In 2009, when Bulgaria ranked first among countries with violations, there have been a total of 68 EU funds abuse probes in Bulgaria while they have now reached 85.

After farming, the largest number of violations is noted in the structural funds used for regional development, funds for the environment, human resources, and the so-called "external assistance" funds slated by the EU for the development of third countries.

Official EU promotional video

The money paid by the Structural Funds is the EU´s second biggest source of funding after the Common Agricultural Policy. Billions of euros of tax payers´ money are distributed to over 646,000 projects across 271 regions in the 27 members states. Last year the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in cooperation with the Financial Times created a unique database tracking the money, which in many cases have gone into the pockets of criminals, inluding members of the mafia.

The Bureau, in collaboration with the Financial Times, has created the only comprehensive database tracking every penny distributed through the EU’s Structural Funds to date.

As Europeans face the uncertainty of swingeing government cuts, the European Union continues to spend. Its structural fund programme distributes €347bn of European taxpayers’ money across 271 regions in 27 countries.
Yet a web of bureaucracy has hidden this spending. Even MEPs have not had a truly transparent view of the organisations getting the funds.
Over eight months the Bureau and the FT have collected data relating to billions of euros to reveal, for the first time, the 646,000 recipients that have received the funds.

Our research reveals:
  • How Italy’s most dangerous mafia, the ndrangheta, has become an expert at getting its hands on these funds
  • A decentralised, cumbersome and weak system allows, and rarely punishes, fraud and misuse
  • Millions of euros are going to multinational companies to help them move factories within the union despite guidelines discouraging this practice
  • Funds have been used to finance a hotel building boom on protected nature reserves in Spain
  • The lack of thorough checks means money is being wasted
  • Some of the world’s largest companies are receiving funding despite the programme being aimed at small and medium-sized companies
Read the entire article here.

"Europe's Missing Millions" - a BBC programme

Over the last seven years, the European Union has paid out billions of Euros in grants designed to revitalise Europe's poorest regions.
But an investigation for File on 4 has revealed the extent to which these payments are open to widespread fraud, abuse and mismanagement.
Angus Stickler tracks how money has gone astray across the 27 member states and asks why funding continues in regions with proven records of corruption and fraud. Throughout the EU there is evidence that money has been wasted or even stolen. In Southern Italy, money has gone to Mafia-controlled construction companies and bogus energy projects. Across the EU expensive projects lie unused and unfit for purpose, despite receiving funding of millions of Euros

Listen to the BBC File on 4 programme here.

Link to the FT and Bureau of Investigative Journalism structural funds database


The European Union has created an impervious bureacratic jungle, which - in spite of the efforts of its tiny anti-fraud office OLAF -  is impossible to control. Therefore, one thing is certain: Waste and fraud will continue to grow, until the tax payers have had enough.

Friday, 22 April 2011

The Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh

His Excellency, Ambassador Stefan Frowein and the EU flag (presumable before 2009)

The European Union has a vast network of  "embassies" - officially called Delegations - all over the world. This is how the EU External Action Service describes the network:

The EU maintains diplomatic relations with nearly all countries in the world. It has strategic partnerships with key international players, is deeply engaged with emerging powers around the globe, and has signed bilateral Association Agreements with a number of states in its vicinity. Abroad, the Union is represented by a network of 136 EU Delegations, which have a similar function to those of an embassy.

The EEAS will have a staff of about 5400 - probably many more at a later stage. The budget for this year is about 500 million euros, and it is expected to rise in the future. We are talking about a lot of money - paid for by the European tax payers.

Do we, the tax payers get full value for this rather lavish contribution?

One way to look at it, is to check how an - in this case randomly chosen - EU "embassy" manages to inform us about its work. For this purpose we chose to have a look at the Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh - with a staff of 50 people, led by Ambassador Stefan Frowein - through its website.

Let´s start with the main page:

The main item seems to be a picture or video (?) under the headline "Climate change, a call to action". Unfortunately there is only an empty white space, so nobody will actually know what this is all about (which actually is a good thing, knowing the EU´s disastrous climate change policy).

Then there is a "What´s new" section which is supposed to offer the people of Bangladesh fresh news about the activities of the Delegation. These are the headlines:

No news after 2009 on the Delegation´s home page!

On the main page you can also find a link to Ambassador Frowein´s speeches.
The newest speech is from 2009:


For somebody who visits the webpage of the EU Delegation to Bangladesh, it certainly looks like nothing has happened after 2009. That may be true - and even a good thing! Would it not therefore be time to shut down the 50 person embassy and allow His Excellency, Herrn Dr. Stefan Frowein to retire? That would save us, the European taxpayers, a lot of euros! If the EU Delegation to Bangladesh is at all representative of the other units in the EEAS network, there might be quite a number of other "embassies" to close, too. (This just as a free tip to the EU auditors.)  

PS 2

The website mentioned above is the one that Google gives as the first choice when searching for "EU Delegation Bangladesh". The Delegation appears to have a new, more updated website. But still, one wonders why the European Union is, in spite of its vast number of media and technical experts, not able to remove old outdated websites. (The Delegation even appears to have a new ambassador, Mr. William Hanna -  and the staff is now almost 60!). Even with the updated website, one has to ask the question: Do we need an EU "embassy" with a staff of close to 60 diplomats and other employees in Bangladesh? The answer should be clear: NO!

The video missing on the old web page is available on the new page. And it is as awful as could be expected. The EU is doing its best to indoctrinate people in developing countries to falsely believe that floodings and other natural catastrophes are caused by human induced global warming: 

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Australia going sceptic on global warming

Just a couple of years ago Australia was described as "the canary in the coal mine" and " the harbinger of change” with regard to global warming. But things are different now, reports CSR Asia´s Stephen Frost:

Two years later, such an article would be improbable. Climate change sceptics are no longer shut out of debates, and their voices are louder than ever. The mood has changed significantly, not the least because Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced a tax on carbon dioxide emissions (or a price on carbon). Business has started to fight back, saying the tax will be disastrous for Australian industry. The Business Council of Australia has this week entered the fray by asking whether a country that accounts for just 1.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions should be acting alone to develop a carbon pricing policy. And in recent weeks, Rio Tinto has described the tax as “disastrous”, Anglo American has announced the job impact will be “severe”, and BlueScope Steel’s Chairman Graham Kraehe said it would “condemn [the company] to a rusting museum”.
Prime minister Julia Gillard has pinned her political future on taxing carbon dioxide emissions, but a growing chorus of political commentators believe that the both the tax and her leadership are on the brink of collapse. Paul Kelly, a senior commentator writing for the national broadsheet, wrote today that “The omens are now unmistakable – the government’s effort to price carbon is a policy that is losing support in the community, within industry, inside the trade union movement and silently within [Gillard’s] Labor Party…”

But perhaps more importantly, the public debate over climate change and resulting policy is going badly for believers. Perhaps the most potent symbol of this is that Gillard’s personally appointed $180,000-a-year Climate Commissioner (Tim Flannery) has become the object of sustained criticism (and indeed ridicule) on the conservative side of politics. Journalists Tim Blair and Andrew Bolt have led the charge on this (Blair and Bolt are prolific and popular bloggers – with Bolt’s site receiving 2.5 million hits per month).
Read the entire article here
Australia may very well become "a harbinger for change", but not the kind of change the climate alarmists imagined.

Rotten Russia - a corrupted mafia state

Jamison Firestone, an American lawyer, who opened a law firm in Moscow in 1993, tells a sad story in the Foreign Policy Magazine about the criminal mafia state Russia:

When I opened my law firm, Firestone Duncan, in Moscow in 1993, I was aware of the dangers of doing business in Russia. The stories about "mafia" groups of tracksuited thugs extorting businesses were well known to me. What I never expected was that the Russian mafia would merge with the government; its members are now the same officials who are supposed to be protecting the public. (...)
The scale of the crime and the coverup is truly astounding. It directly involves the Russian deputy interior minister, the deputy general prosecutor, the head of the economic counterespionage unit of the secret police, the heads of Moscow Tax Offices 25 and 28, and a dozen judges, as well as hundreds of functionaries throughout the system. But the Kremlin has shown little willingness to prosecute this case. Instead, Medvedev has tried to deflect attention away from it and portray Sergei's case as an important investigation of Russian prison conditions after a possible death in detention due to "negligence."

As this farce plays out, Medevedev continues to make reassuring statements that he is serious about fighting corruption, that the rule of law is sound, and that international investors have nothing to fear in Russia. It is clear that the Kremlin is prepared to let things lie.

"The Russian Untouchables"  video gives more detailed information about the case Firestone is describing in his article.

"Watch Russian tax officials who stole $230 million from their people getting $43 million richer. See them buying multi-million dollar properties on Palm Jumeriah in Dubai, in Montenegro and Moscow, and getting payments to their Swiss bank accounts and offshore firms. Russian authorities refused to investigate the $230 million theft and declared these tax officials honest victims. Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year anti-corruption lawyer who exposed their scam, was tortured and killed".


US defense secretary  Robert Gates has, according to leaked cables described Russia as “an oligarchy run by the security services”. The Sergei Magnitsky case is further proof that Gates is right. Putin´s Russia is a rotten, corrupted, criminal mafia state, which should be thrown out from all democratic organisations and fora. But Europe´s leaders and the Obama administration still treat the third rate KGB spy Vladmir Putin and his puppet president Medvedev as respected colleagues. Putin´s Russia is EU´s (and soon apparently also NATO´s) revered "strategic partner". Obama considers the "reset" with this mafia state a high priority.

This behavior by the Western countries is shameful and should be condemned by all decent people!

Communist China continues its crackdown on critics

China´s communist rulers continue their massive crackdown on critics and lawyers trying to defend them:

The recent disappearance of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei made headlines around the world. But the Chinese regime has also targeted dozens of other critics and activists in a major crackdown. Many are still missing.

It was a trick that they thought would fool the censors, at least for a while. Rebellious Chinese bloggers, determined to continue writing about the arrest of artist Ai Weiwei even after his name was blocked by Internet watchdogs, started writing "Ai Weilai" instead of the artist's real name on their microblogs and in Internet forums. The term resembles Ai's name, but translates literally to "love the future." One user wrote: "We love the future and we need the future." But the ploy didn't help. The post was removed from the Internet.

With Ai Weiwei's arrest, the Chinese government has clearly demonstrated what the future holds for others who follow the artist's example. Ai was merely the most prominent victim of the regime in recent weeks -- he wasn't the first and he wasn't the last. Yet these heroes in the shadows don't spark diplomatic scandals. Even the majority of Chinese people know little about the courage of these few.

Human rights groups such as the Hong Kong-based Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) describe this as the authorities' toughest crackdown since 1998. Between mid-February and the end of last week, 30 people were detained, according to CHRD's figures. In addition, around 20 have disappeared, five were arrested and three were sent to labor camps for "reeducation."

The above-mentioned numbers only refer to incidents relating to the crackdown that the Chinese authorities launched following calls for a "Jasmine Revolution" in China. The regime has also acted against religious groups. For example, security forces recently detained more than 100 members of an underground church in a single day.

Unbridled Power
These are the actions of a government with unbridled power. One day the authorities detain activist Ni Yulan -- who is now confined to a wheelchair as a result of being tortured -- another day they sentence critic Liu Xianbin to 10 years in prison. Then they warn Zhao Lianhai, who fought for an investigation into the 2008 milk powder scandal, that if he doesn't stop speaking out, he's going back to prison. Zhao had dared to describe in a newspaper interview how he had been force-fed through the nose with a milk powder solution. He had also called for Ai Weiwei's release.

Beijing's demonstratively hard-line approach can be seen in its methods as well. Family members wait desperately for some sign of life from those who have gone missing, but unlike in the past, the government goes weeks without offering any explanation of these individuals' whereabouts. It makes no effort to even maintain an appearance of due process.
One lawyer at a prominent Beijing firm told American diplomats that breaches of the law had increased continuously since 2008. In a diplomatic cable obtained by WikiLeaks, the US Embassy quoted the lawyer as stating that China had entered its worst-ever period of abusing legal rights.

Read the entire article in Der Spiegel here


The Western democratic countries have been much too mild in their criticism against China´s human rights violations. And the reason is clear: the economic ties with China are considered too important. This lack of courage is shameful!  

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

EU now has a new "general" - Baroness Ashton

"General" Ashton arriving
(imagy by EU photo service)

Unelected EU "foreign minister", British Baroness Catherine Ashton is now trying to rival "general" Herman Van Rompuy as a military leader:

The EU has drawn up a "concept of operations" for the deployment of military forces in Libya, but needs UN approval for what would be the riskiest and most controversial mission undertaken by Brussels.
The armed forces, numbering no more than 1,000, would be deployed to secure the delivery of aid supplies, would not be engaged in a combat role but would be authorised to fight if they or their humanitarian wards were threatened. "It would be to secure sea and land corridors inside the country," said an EU official.
The decision to prepare the mission, dubbed Eufor Libya, was taken by the 27 governments at the beginning of April. In recent days, diplomats from the member states have signed a 61-page document on the concept of operations, which rehearses various scenarios for the mission in and around Libya, such as securing port areas, aid delivery corridors, loading and unloading ships, providing naval escorts, and discussing the military assets that would be required.
The planning has taken place inside the office of Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign and security policy chief. Officials are working on an "A-plan", the operational instructions that would specify the size of the force, its equipment and makeup, and the rules of engagement.
Diplomats and officials said this would not be finalised unless a request for an EU military mission came from the UN body the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha).
Valerie Amos, the head of Ocha, has privately told EU leaders she is reluctant to make the request and wants to explore all civilian options for the aid operation before seeking military help.

Read the entire article here

This talk about an EU ground force in Libya should not be taken seriously. If such an EU force ever will be sent to Libya, it will happen only at a very late stage, when there no more is any real danger from the Gaddafi forces. Right now, "general" Ashton´s troops are virtual troops, with the aim of giving the appearance that the EU is doing something.

“Anytime you can give Russia’s Gazprom a snub, it’s probably a good thing,”

Shale gas is already now creating new and interesting cooperation possibilities between Poland and the US. And transatlantic energy cooperation could play a big role on the European level, too - unless the environmental movement succeeds in stopping, or seriously delaying shale gas exploration in Europe:

Still, even now, in the early stages, Poland’s embryonic shale industry has created a “completely new set of common interests” between the United States, whose companies have developed this technology, and Poland, said Michael Sessums, economic counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw.
Polish geologists are starting to work with U.S. companies and institutes, while Polish universities have initiated cooperation with American universities.
The U.S. seems keen on increasing the energy independence and security of Poland and the EU.
“Anytime you can give Russia’s Gazprom a snub, it’s probably a good thing,” said Mr. Pursell of the energy-focused investment bank. Diversifying supplies of natural gas away from Russia—which has cut off gas supplies amid pipeline disputes in two of the past five winters—isn’t just an issue for Poland, but for all of Europe, he added.
The Polish Geological Institute, working with the U.S. Geological Survey, will publish its own initial estimate of Poland’s shale gas reserves later this year.

Read the entire article here

What David Pursell (energy expert at Tudor Pickering, an energy-focused investment bank) said about giving Russian Gazprom "the snub" is essential. EU leaders should understand that shale gas is a unique possibility for Europe to get rid of its dependence on Russian gas. They should seize this opportunity, which also could enhance transatlantic relations in general.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Europeans are not worried about climate change

Excellent news from Europe:
Only a quarter of Britons think that climate change is one of the most important environmental issues, according to a fresh MORI survey involving 18,000 people across the world. The results in other European countries were similar, according to the Ecologist magazine, which - not surprisingly - is very worried.

The comments from leading warmists are hardly surprising:

Direct contact with climatic events increases people’s awareness of climate change and makes them more likely to change their own habits, according to previous research by the Tyndall Centre. Professor Le Quere believes this phenomenon, combined with last year’s notoriously cold British winter, may explain why people in the UK are less concerned about climate change.

‘People tend to associate these events on a very short term and this can be a problem for climate policy. The actions that happen today will have impacts in 20 or 30 years and not just regionally, but worldwide.’

Some suggest a need to increase awareness of the links between everyday issues and climate change, which will in turn create more tangible reasons for people to change their habits. The Green Alliance say the survey highlights the need to make a connection between climate change and 'more concrete things that people care about' and that the Government's policy of 'nudging', favoured by David Cameron, was doomed to failure.

Dr Simon Buckell, from the Grantham Institute for Climate Change agrees. ‘People won’t sign up to expensive and systemic changes unless they are convinced by the evidence,' he says. 'They should be convinced there is a problem we need to do something about and that we have the correct policies to mitigate or adapt to these challenges. Science needs to show how current climate change affects economies and what that can mean going forward. Until people understand if there is, or isn’t a problem, people will be reticent to make a financial commitment.’

MORI researchers urged environmental campaigners to use public concern about energy security to their benefit, suggesting it could provide a 'hook by which campaigners can nudge the public towards many, if not all, pro-environmental behaviours'. WWF agreed saying it was now prioritising the push towards domestic renewable energy - particularly important given that fossil fuels account for around 85 per cent of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions and two-thirds of global emissions.

Read the entire article here

What is surprising, is that MORI researches have adviced "environmental campaigners" in the way mentioned above. Isn´t the research organization supposed to concentrate on doing the research - not acting as adviser to climate change propagandists! This does definitively not increase the credibility of MORI´s research.


The future of the euro and the EU: Finns show the way

The EU- and eurocritical party, the True Finns was, with over 19% of the vote, close to becoming the biggest party in the parliamentary elections in Finland. The social democrats, who also have criticized the way the euro bailouts have been handled, also did better than expected. It is likely that both the True Finns and the social democrats will join the new governemnt, which the leader of the biggest party, the moderately conservative coalition party will try to form.

The leader of the True Finns, Timo Soini, had this to say about his party´s historic win:

"I think if we are in the government, the line cannot be exactly the same as under the former government," he told YLE News on Monday morning.
"We shall renegotiate with the European Union and I think there will be a bunch of new suggestions. If we're in the government, we'll be in those negotiations and we'll have something to say. Something new is going to happen. And that's very good, because these bailouts clearly have not been working."
Soini said in advance that the election would be the referendum on the euro that Finns were denied before the government took them into the single currency. He has tapped into deep resentment on bailouts, with many Finns noting that the country battled its way out its own severe economic crisis in the early 199s without any outside help.
An Anti-Federalist Tack
As Finland's eurosceptic-in-chief sees it, the EU's entire approach to the financial crisis has been wrong since day one. He argues that German and French banks should have been forced to recapitalise and Greece allowed to default.
"I think that's the way it will go anyway," he says. "It's time for a new plan. Everybody wants to get rid of the turmoil in the economies and money markets. But the answer is not a federal state policy. It must be a policy that pays attention to the real hard facts of economics."
Soini also expressed hope for a broader change of course in EU evolution.
"The way the European constitution is going to deepen and these permanent mechanisms -- the direction is wrong," he said. "It just doesn't function."

Read the entire article here

The politicians - and also the voters - in other European countries - particularly in Germany - should pay attention to what Mr. Soini has to say, because he is right. When given a chance to expresss their views, people want to put a stop to what has been going in in the European Union during the last few years. As Mr. Soini says, "the direction is wrong"!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Pope Benedict: "Technology can't replace God"

(image by wikipedia)

This is Pope Benedict´s message to Richard Odingo ("If we could experiment with the atmosphere and literally play God, it's very tempting to a scientist,") and other believers of the climate change religion:

Reuters) - Pope Benedict led Roman Catholics into Holy Week celebrations, telling a Palm Sunday crowd that man will pay the price for his pride if he believes technology can give him the powers of God.
Under a splendid Roman sun, the German pope presided at a colorful celebration where tens of thousands of people waved palm and olive branches to commemorate Jesus' entry into Jerusalem the week before he was crucified.
The pope, who turned 84 Saturday, wove his sermon around the theme of man's relationship with God and how it can sometimes be threatened by technology.
"From the beginning men and women have been filled -- and this is as true today as ever -- with a desire to 'be like God', to attain the heights of God by their own powers," he said, wearing resplendent red and gold vestments.
"Mankind has managed to accomplish so many things: we can fly! We can see, hear and speak to one another from the farthest ends of the earth. And yet the force of gravity which draws us down is powerful," he said.
While the great advances of technology have improved life for man, the pope said, they have also increased possibilities for evil, and recent natural disasters were a reminder, if any were needed, that mankind is not all-powerful.
If man wanted a relationship with God he had to first "abandon the pride of wanting to become God," said the pope, celebrating his sixth Easter season as the leader of the world's some 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.

Read the entire article here