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Archive for June, 2006

I have found through Spanish blog El Cerrajero that there are some huge Western Comparies who are sposoring a calendar in which “members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, government departments and leaders” are shown.

The firms are

Marvellous eh?

The author of the blog asks:

what are now doing these famous Western corporations in China?

The same that Google and Yahoo do. The calendar is for sale and costs between $45 and $70 .

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I wrote yesterday about US giving misile to North Korea. Noisy Room.Net has a link to Captain’s Quarters Blog about the same topic:

The Japanese have spent the post-war period trying to live down their militaristic past. That past includes some quite a history on the Korean Peninsula, where their actions still reverberate to this day. Make no mistake; Kim Jong-Il’s threat against the Japanese comes not just from ideological motivations but also from a strong sense of vengeance for Japanese atrocities in the not-so-distant past. While Japan has changed tremendously since those final days of empire, they have yet to live down their actions in that region.

Now Japan may have to face the irony of re-militarization as a consequence of the atrocities of their grandfathers. It appears they have little choice, with North Korea wanting to make a habit out of launching missiles as “tests” over their territory. They agreed to send a small but significant force to Iraq, a singular event for a nation that had resolved to keep its military for strictly home defense. Now, with Pyongyang threatening their security, they may have to consider nuclearization as at least a negotiating tactic and possibly as a MAD strategy. Without doubt, they will need to make themselves part of the American umbrella against missile attacks, a defense that had been so controversial just a few years ago.

Japanese will start to produce their Patriot missiles according to Defense Industry Daily.

 

Well, really we must not worry about Kim Song Il, but about USA, Murtha dixit:

American presence in Iraq is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran, U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said to a crowd of more than 200 in North Miami Saturday afternoon.

Read at Tangled Web.

The Big Picture comments about this:

What does the average person make of a headline like this, from the Arizona Daily Star?

Murtha says US poses top threat to world peace.

La Russofobe points to a possible visit of Kim Song Il to Russia:

South Korean newspaper Choson ilbo yesterday reported that Kim Jong-il’s special armored train crossed the border of Russia. Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and frontier and railway administration said they don’t know anything about Kim Jong-il’s arrival. Experts believe the visit is quite likely, especially because North Korean leader has urgent problems to discuss with the Kremlin.

Choson ilbo informed that several witnesses saw Kim Jong-il’s special armored train cross Russian border. The date was not specified. Foreign Affairs Ministries of Russia and South Korea said they have no information concerning Kim Jong-il’s visit to Russia.

Foreign Affairs Ministry of China and US Department of State refrained from giving comments. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said that Japanese government is now clearing up the situation. Press Secretary of Far East Railroad’s Vladivostok branch Alexander Artamonov stated that his “department does not have any information on North Korean leader’s trips to Russia.”

Also DNA India has published this.

Regime Change Iran quotes a NYT article about the similar strategy Iran and North Korea are pursuing:

it has become clear that the two countries are also pursuing similar diplomatic strategies. North Korea’s threat to launch a long-range ballistic missile seems a clear echo of Iran’s recent strategy of resuming production of nuclear fuel. Iran was aiming to extract concessions from the Bush administration, and it has already won some modest diplomatic gains.

[By the way, the photo is marvellous, eh?]

If finally North Korea launches the missile, Japan could impose sanctions.

And it’s possible than the missile test could take place. Enzo Reale, from 1972, have sent me by email his article in Italian newspaper L’Opinione, in which he says that the presence of fuel in the surroundings of the missile-launcher. I translate the most important ideas -from my point of view-:

in 1998, a Taepodong I flied over Japan causing alarm and the reaction of the US Senate. It was next year when the moratory over the missile testing was signed. Pyongyang [as in that momment] does not confirm or deny anything, a tactical movement which is revelled as triomphant over Western diplomacy.

[…] Pyongyand has been succesful, because he has come again to the first place of the international scene and can then suppose that he is going to be granted more concessions in the new multilateral talks about the nuclear question. Assuming the nature of Him’s Goulag, no one can even imagine that he does not know the consequences of this king of movements.

[…] The test of the Taepodong 2 is in the end the last proof to consider that North Korea possess the know-how to develop the following version of the missile, the Taepodong 3, with power to fire into the interior of the US territory.

More as ever, in Occidentality. It contains the demand by US Senators to demand the White House to speak directly with N.Korea -I do not know how they are going to convince the other 4 negotiatiors- and Bush statement.

Also in: The Astute Blogger, Blue Star Chronicles -from which I have taken the cartoon, hehe-, Hyscience, Hyscience, Gateway Pundit, JunkyardBlog,

UDPATE: Hugo Chávez has announced he will visit Pyongyang to finish agreements on technology and scientific matters, but he did not give more details. Sean McCormack, Speaker of the US State Department, has said that he is not sure of what Chávez wants, but that “giving N. Korea’s aim, it is somewhat worrying“.

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Global Warming

The other day I saw this video in Ajopringue:

I have founded this post -marvellous one- about Global Warming from Darwin Catholic. Enjoy.

 

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ONe of the things that stroke more the investigators of the March 11th bombings in Madrid was how they were carried out. The fact that the bombs were detonated with mobiles was a “new” way of causing death. EL MUNDO has been making a very important journalist investigation about the “black holes” of the political and judicial investigation. Today they have published that ETA had made temporisers with mobiles back in 2002:

ETA had used mobile phones for terrorist attacks, but as a radio-command, But, the members of the Special Group for Deactivation of Explosives (GEDEX) of the Civil Guard localised in the apartment of the Piamonte St. some notes in esukera in which they described the proofs made by the Txirrita command to use the mobiles as temporizers, as the terrorists did in March 11th bombings.

The difference beetween the two classes is very easy to explain, although, it has several important consequences. When the mobiles is used as radio-command, what the terrorist want is that the bomb explodes after he makes a call. That means he has to be very near the place where it has to explode, because what he wants is to cause the maximum damage possible when the objective is near it. ETA has used them a lot against members of the Spanish Security Forces.

But if you use the mobile as temporizer, it is not necessary for the terrorist to be near the bomb. What the terrorist wants is to activate it without any interference (for example, the ones caused by machines used for inhibit frequency) in a pre-arranged momment. In this case, what it’s programmed is the alarm-clock (which it’s activated even when the mobile is off). So when the alarm goes on, it trasmit all the necessary energy to make the detonator explode. That is the way the culprits of Madrid bombings used the mobiles.

Several modified mobiles were found on 2002 and even a book with notes written in euskara, possibly by ETA terrorist Balbino Sánchez Olarra, who was electronic engineer. In the same register, Spanish Police found nearly 100 kilos of sodic clorate; 14 kilos of sulfur to make cloratite; 88 kilos of Tytadine Dynamite; 10 meters of detoning cable; 64 detonators and several temporisers. AND 3 MOBILE PHONES ALCATEL ONE TOUCH.

Even when they founded that, this information was kept hidden from the Judge. Even the Socialist Interior Minister, Rubalcaba, supported this idea in the Parliament, when was asked about the bombings.

Everything was discovered, though, by a report issued by Sánchez Manzano, from the Central Unity of Explosives’ Deactivation, who was sent last april to Judge Del Olmo.

This is the photo of the temporisers of ETA:

It’s written “Segurtasun Temporizadorea”, mark normally used by ETA in their temporisers.

Ex-Interior Minister Acebes has said that he was not informed about these facts.

Today we have been informed that the police found other temporiser, manipulated just teh way ETA did it. This time was in the house of Mohammed Almallah, one of the accused for the March 11th bombings who belonged to PSOE after the first time he was detained. In the summary of the March 11th bombings there are no mentions to this temporiser. In the same appartment was also obtained a notification from the Courts of Madrid issued to Maussili Kalaji, the policemen who freed the mobile phones of March 11th bombings, in a shop of his own.

Blogs treating this issue: Anghara, DOCE DOCE, zetapolleces, Apolo, Kickjor.

 

UPDATE: More photos:

The photo says: “the first image shows the manipulation on the mobile phone’s vibrator, for being able to weld the cables, while the second shows the perforation in the outer part to extract them and join them to the explosive. Both photos were taken by the Civil Guard“.

Mobil phone found in the Piamonte St. to Txirrita Command, prepared to be used as temporiser for bombs.

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Yesterday, Aznar was given the prize Jesús María Pedrosa (with video), who remembers the PP Councilman of that name murdered by ETA in June 4th 2000. The reason for it is “his support and compromise with terrorism’s victims in all his political life“.

He was insulted by some “abertzale” youths who were at the entrance of the hotel where the prize was given. Their shouts were mixed with the “freedom, freedom” that was shouted by PP militants who were also at the entrance. One of them even has intended to go near the “batasunos”.

In his speech, Aznar called Batasuna “ETA’s Trojan Horse for cheating the defenses of both the State of Law and the constitutional order”.”To negotiate politically with the illegalized party is a “mocking of legality and it means the submission of the political future of the Basque Country, in particular, and of Spain, in general, to the terrorists’ capacity of coertion”. He has called also for a rebelion, similar to the one who existed against nazism, fascism and communism. Mr Zapatero would answer he wants the Nobel Prize for the ending of ETA terrorism as the own terrorists were saying in a phone call, intervened by police, last March, 2005.

In the investigation of the payments to ETA, today is going to declare Javier Arzalluz and tomorrow will declare Gorka Aguirre. Judge Grande-Marlaska has freed the 2 businessmen detained because they paid ETA, because the prosecutor’s office has not accused them formally. The judge’s accusation was based in the declarations of the businessmen who put on the record at the payment they were doing it “because they wanted, that is was voluntarily made to benefit the “peace process”“.

PSOE is critisizing -as ever- Judge Grande-Marlaska and PP are critisizing them: yesterday was Rajoy, who said the Judge is only “doing his job”. But also Enrique Múgica, Socialist, whose brother was killed by ETA, told reporters yesterday “we cannot labeled this as a “peace process”, when the murderers, that is, ETA terrorists, do not show any repentance“. “We cannot compare this with Northern Ireland, there are no civil war here between bullies, here the bullies were only from a side and have killed more than 900 people“. And the Basque Government has asked the General Prosecutor of the State, to act against the Judge (HT: Apolo).

The businessmen from Basque Country and Navarra are going to unify their efforts to fight the terrorists by building an association. Its goal will be to denounce their defenceless state and speak aloud against ETA extorsion and the negotiation. But not all of them will stand out: they fear violence and attacks from the “abertzale leftists“.

Yesterday two ETA terrorists tried to be expelled from their trial by kicking the bullet-proof cristal which protects them from the public attending the process. They also said: “We are not going to answer any question, we are proud of belonging to ETA”. They are accused of killing a Civil Guard who intended to identify them (December 17th 2002), when they were going to Madrid for bombing several establishments of “El Corte Inglés”, a famous Spanish department store, on December 31th of that same year. They were carrying 130 kg of explosives.

As it’s presumed that tomorrow Mr. Zapatero will announce the beginning of the negotiation, the victims are going to give him their signatures against negotiation collected today in a vigil in Paseo del Prado (Madrid).

But the real problem is that we are going into a new State, without ANY vote -anything similar to Italy and its vote over the federalism is just a mere coincidence- and who consists in imposing a new social model, from the revision of the role of the Catholic Church -today PP MP, Mr Cuesta, has proposed to eliminate the public finance of the Church and last week to eliminate in Andalucía the crucifixes from public shools– and the historical memory, to the new Education Law or the gay marriage -yesterday was presented the first demand to obtain the divorce of a gay couple HT: Liberal Ripense-. In the new “social model“, the ETA negotiation is so important, because we do not know if the “aim of peace” justifies for him the methods for achieving it.

Bloggers writing about this: Etimologías, Prevost, Prevost,

NOTE: I am in favour of the Church’s self-financing: that way, this band of thugs peaceful-loving-respectful-caring-amiable people that we have for Government would not be one day and the next menacing with its financing. They have also said “the assistance activities of the Church will not be menaced by the new financing“. They are absolutely FEARFUL of what is going to happen, as the Catholic Church in Spain is the most important “holding” for assistance and help. I will post some day numbers of its labour.

Sent to Linkfest haven by D.Ox.

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Forum offered credits to their clients to buy the stamps, although the plans also served for paying the mortgages -in Spain most people have mortgages-. Finance Minister, Pedro Solbes denied on March 17th, that these kind of credits had a “financial nature”, what would have risen the supervision from both Spanish Central Bank and the National Assets Market Commision (CNMV) and also the guarantees to the investors, who would have had a Deposit Fund. He had denied that cualification when the firms assured a yearly minimum interest of 5-6.5%, which was qualified by the experts of the Tax Bureau -dependant from the Financial and Economy Ministry- as a “financial activity“.

Wikipedia explains this much more clearly:

As with equity investment, investment in tangible goods is not protected by a mandatory warranty fund under Spanish law (available only to registered financial institutions, which allowed the victims of the earlier Banesto and Gescartera scandals to recover a small part of their assets). Such investment is overseen by the Consumption departments of the regional governments instead of the Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores. Customers of Afinsa affected by the situation have formed several associations, as have customers of Forum.

As the majority owner of NASDAQ traded company Escala Group, the scandal deeply affected Escala’s share price, which plummeted more than 85% in the days after the arrests before recovering slightly.

They went up again after (103%) the Spanish authorities assured Escala was not affected.

The Times:

Investors were told they may not recover their money after the raids. Afinsa is not registered as a financial institution and is not subject to the same regulatory guidelines affecting other companies. Under Spanish law, Afinsa simply acts as an intermediary to buy investments for its clients.

As a result investors are not entitled to the same standard of protection as if they had bought shares or put their money in a bank.

Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, the Interior Minister, said yesterday the police operation was important and had been carried out with the co-operation of some of the alleged victims.

Feelings were running high among worried investors outside the companies’ offices. One investor, who gave his name as Felix, protested outside the offices of Fórum Filatélico in Madrid. He had looked forward to cashing in profits from his stamp investment when he retires in August. “My whole life is here,” he said. “Clearly I am nervous, but this is not the only reason. My wife is going to kill me. She wanted to take my money out of the company.” Another investor, called Roberto, said: “I have put a lot of money into this. This could ruin my life. I want my money back now.”

PP has accused the Government of leaving the affected unprotected. But Elena Salgado, Minister of Health and Consumption, has denied the consitution of a Fund, which was requested by PP and the affected, because “it would be unjust, because it would mean that the contributors ahould be ready to finance the haigher risk united to a higher interest rate these inversions have“. This proposal has been critisized hardly because of the conception of State that this happens to be based upon: a nanny State who provides about everything. The affected people have demonstrated in front of Central Offices of PSOE in Madrid.

More than 350.000 people are affected because of this fraud, who were eager to invest, as the rate was, in some cases between 14 and 16%, when the normal rates in other pension plans were 7,22%. The total compromised inversion was about the 10% of all the inversion in pensions plans at the end of 2005. The most affacted are people with very low income and self-workers, but the Government is going to give a very low payment for the affected people who are retired and do not have any other pension.

To pay the accumulated debt the Judges had to ask for help to determinate the real value of the stamps. But the operation is going to be difficult and if all the stamps they own are sold in the market, the price will fall completely as these two firms moved 80% of Spanish stamp’s market. Any of them determinated the value according to Edifil and Manfilsa’s catalogs. This has produced various abuses: Afinsa’s stamps have a value 10 times higher than the ones any other stamp collector would have payed for them.

The fact that the Financial Ministry had the proofs for the intervention of the societies 9 months ago and the proximity to the debate of the Statute of Catalonia and to the prosecution of 3 policeman for illegal detention of 2 PP militants -who had been accused of an inexistent aggression to Defense Minister Bono-made a lot of people guess this was not a mere “coincidence”. Although the Anti-Corruption prosecutor said that a lapse of 9 months is normal to ionvestigate this kind of cases, this margin was sufficient for Fórum to pick up 16.000 more investors. In the first report, the Tax Bureau pointed out that “the stamps were valued for more than 13 times its market value“. But the investigation went further to detect that the firms were destroying stamps for a total value of 5 million of euros and buying others for a much larger quantity than the ones accounted. Both are signs of a possible transfer of actives to foreign countries.

So the process for the liquidation of Afinsa has begun with the appointing of its administrators during this process. Afinsa’s ex-president and 3 of the members of the Management Council were freed.

And today it has begun the process for the liquidation of Fórum Filatélico, which has a financial hole of 2.700-3.400 millions of euros. The total compromises of the firm were between 3.500 and 4.200 millions of euros but its assets were only 410 millions. This is one of the causes of opposition to the provisional freedom of the ex-president of the company, Mr. Briones, now in prison, and other three members of the Mangement Council. They are accused of aggravated swindle, unloyal management, punishable bankruptcy, fraud against Public Treasury and money laundering -although it’s not clear this last one and they have risen the prohibition of the banks account’s disposal of several of the accused-.

The two of the have a “financial hole” of 4.166 euros, greater than the one discovered in Banesto in 1993.

The prosecutors have said that the firms were lying twice to the investors: first, when they were selling at prices much higher than real and then, by telling them, the rates came from a rise in their value, which was non-existent.

When Madrid is far the most affected city of all, Time.com choses Barcelona’s affected to finish its article with “I am ashamed to be Spanish“. As if Enron or Clearstream never existed eh???

And the Portuguese are worried about the scandal.

The bitter critics is for the Consumer’s Associations who did not make any move till today, when they are demanding the affected investors to affiliate themselves and, as a result to pay the respective fee.

Libertad Digital asks other questions. Among others:

  1. Why Socialist Minister Rubalcaba filtered this operation when the offices of the firms had not even begun?
  2. Why if the auditors alerted about some irregularities in Afinsa’s documents and the assurance firm Lloyds did not renew the insurance policy, no one raised the alarm about the stamps’ value?
  3. Can two societies like Afinsa and Fórum set up a swindle that last 25 years without any authority taking notice of it?
  4. How on earth a firm whose objective is to attract savings is under the control of the Health and Consumer Ministry.

There are other obscure things in this case: never has any Autonomous Community renounced to a exclusive competence of the granted to them by the Constitution. Well, in this case they have.

Last news are that Escala Group is going to sue Spanish Government for unjustified alarm.

More information: The Guardian, Fox News, Think Spain, Forbes.com, Cinco Días,

Blogs treating this:

  1. ZP no es bueno: Gestynsa, the auditor firm of Afinsa, is owned by Francisco Blázquez Ortiz, father of Jorge Blázquez, who works with Miguel Sebastian, Chief of Economical Office of Mr Zapatero’s Government. Mr. Blázquez pressured the Institute of Accountancy and Business Administration (ICAC, in Spanish) not to begin any process -administrative- against Gestynsa.
  2. Nescencia Necat: the post about the scandal by an affected of it. Compares this scandal with RUMASA, holding expropriated to its owner, Ruiz Mateos.

 

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ABC News:

Japan and the United States have agreed to deploy advanced Patriot interceptor missiles on U.S. bases in Japan for the first time, officials said Monday.

The agreement earlier this month came amid concerns that North Korea may be about to test-fire a long-range ballistic missile.

The U.S. plans to deploy the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles designed to intercept ballistic missiles, cruise missiles or aircraft as soon as possible, a Japanese Defense Agency spokeswoman.

The spokeswoman, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with agency policy, said the sites and timing for the deployment have not yet been decided.

The plan was first reported Monday in Japan’s largest newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun. It said the U.S. military would deploy three or four batteries of the surface-to-air missiles on the southern island of Okinawa by the end of the year and send 500-600 additional U.S. troops there.

BBC News:

The deployment would mark the first time the US has deployed surface-to-air missiles in Japan.

As part of ongoing diplomatic efforts to avert the North’s test launch, South Korea’s Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon was due to visit China on Monday.

He said he would ask Beijing to play a constructive role to resolve the issue.

China is one of North Korea’s few remaining allies, and still has some influence in Pyongyang.

[…] These PAC-3 missiles are designed to intercept ballistic or missiles, as well as aircraft.

The missiles would be deployed on the southern island of Okinawa, according to a report in Japan’s largest newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun.

An additional 500-600 troops would also be deployed, the newspaper said.

Recently US Navy was succesful in intercepting a medium-range test missile (Read at Captain’s Quarters).

UPDATE: The Dumb Ox links to two important news about this issue:

UPDATE 2: From Occidentality, an article from NYT about North Korean defectors -with its rational critic, we all now how is the NYT-:

[…] for much of her life she at least enjoyed an open media, and had the opportunity to see more than the apparatchiks had previously allowed. In fact, she learned some of her English from MTV. The North Koreans stumbling into the light of the South had few such opportunities, and it is remarkable that any manage the transition at all.

To hear North Koreans tell it, South Korea is bewildering precisely because it is at once familiar and alien. The South and North share a common language, but in half a century of division, South Koreans have adopted so many foreign words that the newcomers spend hours learning the language spoken in the South.

“Only after 10 years did I understand how the South Korean society works,” said Lee Joon Ho, 41, who arrived in South Korea in 1993, before the current wave of defectors.

UPDATE 3: Occidentality posts an interview with Mr. Chang, author of Nuclear Showdown: N. Korea takes on the world:

Where does China figure in all this? Is it losing control over North Korea?

It’s very possible that China and North Korea are in on this together. And essentially what they’re doing is this: Kim Jong-il will create a crisis, and China will ‘step in and solve it’.

You think it’s a bit of a charade?

You can’t discount the possibility that it is a very big charade. Over the long term, China is trying to use North Korea to keep Japan and the US off balance. But for the China too, it’s a losing game. Because over the long term, China is losing control over North Korea.

Sent to Mark My Words’ Open Monday Trackback.

 

 

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