Archive for July, 2006

Rockets in the garden, and France2

Monday, July 31st, 2006

SEE UPDATES

Solomonia posts Rockets in the Garden, with video showing Hizballah rocket launchers that hide in a residential home after firing. You won’t see anything like that in last evening’s France2 newscast (in French; available until approx. 2PM EDT), showing the building where reportedly 60 people died from the Israeli bombing. Four minutes into the program, the reporters are taken into the house next door to the building by one of the former residents of the bombed building, who explains that he’s not with Hezbollah but has a beard because he hasn’t been able to shave for 2 weeks.

The house next door is intact after the bombing. The owner (See Update 4 below) claims that he’s not with Hezbollah, but there are many photos of Nazrallah on display, including the daughter’s certificate from Hezbollah’s school. The homeowner very calmly claims that his family had taken shelter in the building that was bombed and they all died. The reporter, Loic de la Mornais, concluded the segment by saying that this area had become radicalized after the Israeli occupation.

There is no mention of any attacks on Israel

On Sunday, a total of 140 rockets – the highest number in a single day since the beginning of hostilities on July 12 – rained down on northern cities, including Nahariya, Kiryat Shmona, and Acre.

UPDATE: Via All Things Beautiful, IDF: Qana building fell hours after strike

Air Force Chief of Staff Brig.-Gen. Amir Eshel said Sunday night that the three-story building had been struck by the missiles a little after midnight and that it only collapsed seven hours later, at close to 7 a.m.

“It could be that there was something in the building that caused the explosion,” Eshel said.

I’ve been watching France2 for several years, and if their reporting is any indication, one can safely state that nothing Israel does can satisfy France, much less when it comes to Lebanon (via Pajamas Media). French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy:

“It was clear that we could never accept a destabilization of Lebanon, which could lead to a destabilization of the region,” Douste-Blazy said in Beirut.

“In the region there is of course a country such as Iran – a great country, a great people and a great civilization which is respected and which plays a stabilizing role in the region”

And, of course he wants a diplomatic solution.

Update 2 Milking it?
Update 3, EU Referendum wants to know, Who is this man? Who is this ubiquitous fellow wearing the green helmet?
Update 4: I don’t know who the guy in the green helmet is, but the man in the white t-shirt
has turned up not only in yesterday’s France 2 evening news, but also at
The Telegraph
where apparently he’s quoted as “Khalil Bourji, a 54-year-old neighbour” (and he made no mention of his family),
the front page of the Times,
and the front page of The Independent
, complete with Robert Fisk article.

Update, August 1
Stephen Pollard asks, Was Qana staged?
L’Ombre de l’Olivier looks at Qana-llywood, and Roger’s wondering, Is Qana another Jenin?
A nurse posting at France Echos (in French) notices that several of the dead children appear to have severe disabilities. At the bottom of the page, a commenter told the blogger that Euronews had said that “the building was occupied by handicapped children”, while the official version says that only the children of two families were involved.
The Weaponization of Children
The “Green Helmet” mystery continues

Update 2, August 1
Via Stephen Pollard, Lebanese website blames Hizbullah for Qana deaths

Anti-Syrian elements in Lebanon openly point finger at Hizbullah as guilty of killing of dozens of civilians in order to curtail plans for disarming group. ‘Hizbullah has placed rocket launcher on building’s roof and brought invalid children inside in bid to provoke Israeli response,’ they write.

This is absolutely monstruous: The Lebanese website is Libanoscopie (in French) states (my translation, emphasis added),

Hezbollah . . . put in place a Machiavelian plan by creating an event that would cancel the [deployment of the Lebanese army to South Lebananon, which would disarm the militia of the party of God]. Knowing very well that Israel will not have a state of heart to bombard civil targets, Hezbollan militants of Hezbollah installed rocket launchers on the roof of a building in Cana and brought in crippled children with the firm intention of creating a new situation, using the massacre of these innocents to take again the initiative of the negotiations.

I have no words to express my revulsion.

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Hezbollah in Latin America: history

Monday, July 31st, 2006

This post is the second in a series.

From Hezbollah, Illegal Immigration, and the Next 9/11, of April 28, 2006:

  • The greatest hub of terrorist activity in Latin America is in the border region of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, known as the Triple Frontier or Tri-Border Area, which has long been known as a haven for smuggling, counterfeiting, money laundering and drug trafficking. Officials estimate that at least 30,000 Middle Eastern immigrants reside in the Triple Frontier, with Hezbollah being the most active and dominant group in the area. In a detailed October 2002 New Yorker report, journalist Jeffrey Goldberg found that many immigrants in the area have established business with the help of loans provided by Hezbollah, businesses which are “taxed” by Hezbollah at 20 percent of gross revenues after the loans are paid off. Erick Stakelbeck of the Investigative Project cites Paraguayan Interior Minister Julio Cesar Fanego as saying that Hezbollah received anywhere from $50-$500 million from illegal activities in the Triple Frontier from 1999 to 2001 alone.
  • A research report issued by the Library of Congress Federal Research Division, Organized Crime and Terrorist Activity in Mexico, 1999-2002, quotes (p. 43) Mexican former national security advisor and ambassador the United Nations, Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, as saying that “Spanish and Islamic terrorist groups are using Mexico as a refuge.” The report also cites an El Norte Spanish-language news report that there are approximately 400,000 Arabic speakers in Mexico mostly located among the large Lebanese and Palestinian communities of the northern city of Monterrey, nearby the U.S.-Mexican border.
  • According to a Dec. 2003 report by Terrence Jeffrey of Human Events, the Mexican consul in Beirut, Imelda Ortiz Abdala, was arrested by Mexican authorities in November 2003 for her role in helping to smuggle Arab migrants into the U.S. from Mexico by selling Mexican visas, including the one sold to Mahmoud Khourani. Jeffrey has also recently written more about the Hezbollah/Mexico connection.
  • Hezbollah was responsible for the greatest anti-Semitic attack since the Nazi Holocaust when a suicide truck-bomb drove into the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994, killing more than a hundred people. As a result, Jewish synagogues and cultural centers around Latin America have been turned into virtual fortresses to protect them.
  • In May 2001, Mexican authorities announced that measures were being increased to dismantle terror training camps along the US border run by Hezbollah and the Spanish Basque Fatherland and Liberty Party (ETA).
  • In 2005, Mexican authorities arrested Amer Haykel, a British citizen of Lebanese birth, who was sought by US authorities for his connection to the 9/11 attacks. Haykel was arrested near the U.S. border in the northwest Mexican state of Baja California.
  • According to a June 2005 BBC report, Ecuadorian officials busted up an international Hezbollah drug ring run out of a Lebanese restaurant in Quito, in which authorities say cocaine was obtained in Colombia and trafficked to Europe, the Middle East and the rest of South America. Up to 70 percent of the profits from each $1 million shipment went to Hezbollah. In addition to the suspects arrested in Ecuador, 19 other people were arrested in connection with the Hezbollah drug ring in US and Brazil.
  • One major Hezbollah terrorist, still at large, has had his hands in all of the attacks against America — Imad Mugniyeh — chief of Hezbollah’s military operations. Reports indicate that Mugniyeh and Osama bin Ladin have met to establish a concordant and exchange technical expertise. National Security expert Patrick Devenny has called Mugniyeh, Tehran’s Terror Master, and has identified his critical role in Hezbollah’s operations in North and South America. Even in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, 20-year CIA veteran Robert Baer has said: “He is the most dangerous terrorist we’ve ever faced. He’s a pathological murderer. Mugniyeh is probably the most intelligent, most capable operative we’ve ever run across, including the KGB or anybody else.”
    • Additionally, the article mentions,

      America’s enemies have identified this vulnerability; according to a March 2005 Time Magazine report, al-Qaeda lieutenant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi instructed jihadists to bribe their way into Honduras and cross the U.S. southern border to attack soft American targets. From an intelligence perspective the indicators and warnings of the threat cannot be clearer.

      First post: Hezbollah in Latin America.

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      Mel, in today’s articles from Maria

      Monday, July 31st, 2006

      Hollywood Split Over Mel Gibson’s Future

      KOFI ANNAN’S DRUG DEALERS. I included another article on the subject in last Thursday’s post

      The Vocabulary of Untruth

      IS IT REALLY WAR THEY HATE?

      TARGET: HEZBOLLAH. WHY THE FIGHTING IS SO TOUGH

      But Arabs will fight to the bitter end for their religion, their families and the land their clan possesses. In southern Lebanon, Hezbollah exploits all three motivations. The Hezbollah guerrilla waiting to ambush an Israeli patrol believes he’s fighting for his faith, his family and the earth beneath his feet. He’ll kill anyone and give his own life to win.

      Pander and Run

      Other articles
      The Seattle shooting: Via P, According to this article,

      Yousef Shehadeb, 46, a member of the Islamic Center of the Tri-Cities, recalled Haq as quiet and something of a loner. Shehadeb said he and Haq’s father, Mian Haq, both work at the Hanford nuclear reservation, as do many members of the area’s Muslim community.

      Meanwhile, in Miami, Jewish synagogue and business vandalized (via Linda

      The Taliban’s War on Education
      Schoolgirls are still under fire in Afghanistan

      Don’t miss the carnival!

      Saturday posting: the happy map and science books

      Saturday, July 29th, 2006

      Via Juan, behold the Happy Map (PDF file). While on the happy subject, a study out of Princeton concludes once your income goes above an additional 12,000 dollars a year, it has little effect on your life’s happines. Maybe if you’re a tenured professor with a six-figure income, a subsidized mortgage, and help for the kids’ college tuition but I believe they’ll find a lot of volunteers willing to prove them wrong.

      I don’t know what science methodology was used for the happy map or the money study, but Russel Seitz, physicist, reviews 5 science books in today’s WSJ, and here they are, from oldest to most recent:

      The only one I’ve read from Dr. Seitz’s list is Longitude, and it’s excellent. After reading it, I bought The Husband the illustrated edition as a gift:

      This edition has all the unabridged text, and wonderful photos and maps that really bring to life the story. Please note that the print is very small, particularly for the illustrations, so you might want to remember when purchasing it.

      Another excellent by the same author is Galileo’s Daughter:

      The difficult life of Sister Maria Celeste is beautifully told, and is based on the translation of 124 surviving letters to Galileo by his daughter.

      Not listed by Dr. Seitz, but another interesting book on the subject of science and technology in history, is Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel

      While many will argue about Diamond’s thesis, the book is a fascinating, enjoyable, read.

      Starting this week, you can find all my book reviews and picks at my new page, Fausta’s buys.

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      British law enforcement . . .

      Friday, July 28th, 2006

      . . . is sorely lacking, as Clive Davis has found out.

      Anti-Semitism in Venezuela

      Friday, July 28th, 2006

      A newspaper ad (in Spanish) for an anti-Israel demonstration in Venezuela scheduled for yesterday (my translation; emphasis added):

      ANZOATEGUI mobilizes against the Israeli agression on the people of Lebanon.
      The Anzoategui Revolutionary Government, committed to the defense of human rights, committed to the view that the fight against terrorism and its many forms of oppression is a fundamental right of peace-loving men and women; in full use of justice, in view of the Israeli government’s decision for its troops to invade southern Lebanon thereby committing an act of genocide that violates the soverignty and integrity of the Arab world, [an act] whose magnitude and barbarism recall the invasion of Lebanon by Israel on June 6, 1982 when entire neighborhoods in Beirut were bombed indiscriminately causing death, the March 14, 1978 incursion when Isreal disrespected the international community by attacking with its allies a camp of Irish Blue Helmets sent by the UN, the illegal annexations in 1980 of Arab Jerusalem and in 1981 of the Golan Heights, violating UN Resolution 338, the Camp Daviod accords, and shutting down any peaceful solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

      Aware of the importance of preserving what has been attained in preserving peace, [aware that] Zionism’s fundamental practice is the extreme use of force, directly responsible for the massacres at Sabra and Chatilla, while the world watched in shame as war criminal Ariel Sharon allowed the Haddad phalanxes under the command of Elias Hobeika rend civilization apart with more than a thousand elderly, wounded, women and children refugees; plus livestock and domestic animals, that were also victims of the Zionist carnage.

      I could translate further but you get the gist.

      Venezuela News and Views explains that the ad was

      published in El Nacional (an opposition paper, read by the intellectual elite of Venezuela if anything because it carries the only literature section worth reading in Venezuela).

      and was paid for by the governor’s office of the State of Anzoategui. Venezuela News and Views concludes

      This is a first act in the road to “educate” the Venezuelan people

      Read the whole post.

      To quote Dr. Krauthammer,

      the world — governments, the media, U.N. bureaucrats — has completely lost its moral bearings

      In other Venezuelan news,
      Hugo continues his grand tour. Today’s stop: Iran, where he’ll be awarded “The High Medallion of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Additionally,

      Iranian firms have invested $1 billion in Venezuelan ventures to date, and the industry ministry says it hopes to expand this to $9 billion in the coming years.

      Since it’s Hugo’s 52d birthday, there’s probably the local equivalent of cake and ice cream on the menu.

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      Hugo goes shopping

      Thursday, July 27th, 2006

      For over a year now, I’ve been posting about Hugo’s shopping spree in what The Economist calls “a spectre [that] stalks the Americas“. In February 2005 The Economist listed

      In recent months, he has bought from Russia 40 Mi35 helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles. He is negotiating for up to 24 Brazilian Super-Tucano ground-attack planes and four Spanish naval corvettes.

      Hugo was barely starting to warm up back then.

      By last January, Hugo had signed contracts valued at more than $1 billion with Iran – with a nuclear program in sight – and in February this year Hugo committed $500,000 million towards a Chinese space satellite.

      This week the shopping spree continues.

      After visiting “fellow maverick” Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, Hugo went over to Russia, where Vlad sold him $3 Billion‘s worth of weapons, including

      • $1.5 billion worth of Sukhoi-30 jets (2 dozen jets)
      • short-range TOR-M1 tactical surface-to-air missiles
      • helicopters
      • possibly even a submarine

      While Mr. Chávez doesn’t trust the officers in Venezuelan navy and air force, and the US has a weapons ban on Venezuela, Vlad needs the money, as

      Moscow has cultivated ties with China and sought to forge its own line in the Middle East, restoring Soviet-era relations to regimes at odds with the U.S. such as Syria.

      and Hugo’s trying to buy Venezuela a seat in the UN Security Council. No wonder people are asking, Chavez, Ex-USSR: A New Axis? Publius Pundit has an excellent round-up of posts on Hugo’s travels, which has scheduled upcoming stops in Qatar, Iran, Vietnam and Mali.

      Speaking of Iran, Philomethean reports that an undetermined number of Iranians were present in North Korea earlier this month to witness that country’s multiple missile tests:

      It’s quite plausible that North Korea would sell one or more nuclear weapons to Iran for a few billion dollars.

      And the weapons can be carried by plane, of course. Coincidentally, just this week Iran and Venezuela signed an air transportation agreement note:

      considering that a straight flight between Iran and Venezuela is not economical for neither sides, it has been agreed that this flight stops in an agreed European country and then heads towards its destination.

      It’s not too much of a stretch to picture Belarus as the stopover, but would it be economical?

      Once the jets and the bombs are in the Caribbean, Hugo’s not even going to need Fidel to be able to get within firing range of major US cities. Worse prospects await his neighbors.

      Of course, I’m indulging in a most fanciful conspiracy theory, as Christian Oliver of Reuters would say.

      Let’s just dismiss all these stressful thoughts and have some fun with Hugo (in Spanish)

      and his little friend

      Maybe Christian Oliver can join in the chuckle.

      Just in case, let’ hope Hugo runs out of oil and money before the IOUs come due.

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      Dan Senor at the WSJ, a bust, and meanwhile at the UN

      Thursday, July 27th, 2006

      Dan Senor, in today’s WSJ, asks, Iraq’s Hezbollah: What’s behind Maliki’s anti-Israel animus? Moqtada al-Sadr and his Sadrists, the Sadriyyun, that’s what:

      While the Sadriyyun lack the sophistication, weaponry and social welfare services of Hezbollah, both are funded by Tehran; and both organizations represent the same ethnic, religious and socioeconomic demographic within their respective countries. Mr. Sadr’s organization is, in fact, about where Hezbollah was 20 years ago.

      Let’s ponder that for a moment.
      More from Taranto.

      Hillary, looking like Jimmy

      Jimmy Carter, wearing a bra, that is. This friend came up with a suitable Freudian observation: “Subconsciously, artist may have wanted to portay JC as HC”. Update 2 The Anchoress says that Hillary looks like the love child of Jimmy Carter and Eleanor Roosevelt, but I think it’s more like Jimmy and James Carville.
      Update, Friday, July 28 What has Steve Buscemi done to her? And don’t miss the video. The guy who did the Britney Spears giving birth statue came up with this beaut, too.

      At the blogs
      CNN Blogger Has Trouble Defining Terrorist: Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent can’t seem to be able to define the term. Here’s where to start, Tom.

      More items later. I’m back.

      Meanwhile, at the UN,
      First, an item you might miss: U.N. Employee Is Charged With Drug Smuggling, as part of a ring that brought 25 tons of contraband into New York in the past year and a half.

      Annan’s Claims On Casualties May Unravel because there’s documentation that

      A Canadian U.N. observer, one of four killed at a UNIFIL position near the southern Lebanese town of Khiyam on Tuesday, sent an e-mail to his former commander, a Canadian retired major-general, Lewis MacKenzie, in which he wrote that Hezbollah fighters were “all over” the U.N. position, Mr. MacKenzie said. Hezbollah troops, not the United Nations, were Israel’s target, the deceased observer wrote.

      After Kofi libelously accused the Israeli Defense Force of a “deliberate targeting” of four blue-helmeted U.N. observers, France2 (in French, available until 2-3PM EDT) reported that Kofi had apologized (2:30 minutes into the program), when in fact he didn’t. Kofi said he accepted PM Olmert’s words, and would order an investigation.

      Claudia Rosett says, Who’s Dissin’ Whom: There’s a disproportionate response all right. Update, via Atlas, take a look at the area of Beirut that is actually being targeted.

      The Beeb continues to spread its poison with headlines such as Israel troops ‘ignored’ UN plea, a poison which is having its effect:

      British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett has protested to the US about its use of Prestwick Airport in western Scotland to transport bombs to Israel.

      Update, via Jane, and the propaganda’s effect is felt by many.

      Call me a cynic (again!) but I forsee that the deceased observer’s email won’t feature prominently in Kofi’s investigation. Update, via SC&A: Neither will there be any mention of this:


      Update, Friday July 28: Linda explains,

      What the video does not show is the result of the terrorist raid. The terrorists you see in the film murdered six Israeli soldiers that night, aided and abetted by paid employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

      Read her entire post.

      One thing for sure, Kofi won’t be hiring Wretchard, who has a thorough analysis, and a hypothesis.

      John Batchelor looks at Iran, the War Elephant in the room, through the lens of the Spanish Civil War, and silence and denial in EUrope.

      As Richard points out, the EUropeans are not even in the game, while at the same time, they’re trying to get further out.

      Neo-Neocon asks, What hath the UN wrought?, while Sigmund, Carl and Alfred, Dr. Sanity, and Shrinkwrapped analyze the situation.

      Update Al Qaeda’s buzzards test their wings. They dream of flying “from Spain to Iraq”.

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      Blogging the bog find

      Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

      Fragments of an ancient manuscript found in an Irish bog are being hailed as comparable to the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Beeb doesn’t mention that the book was open on Psalm 83, which I found out from Kathy. Here’s Psalm 83

      [[A Song [or] Psalm of Asaph.]] Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.

      Psa 83:2 For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.

      Psa 83:3 They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.

      Psa 83:4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from [being] a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.

      Psa 83:5 For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:

      Psa 83:6 The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;

      Psa 83:7 Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;

      Psa 83:8 Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.

      Psa 83:9 Do unto them as [unto] the Midianites; as [to] Sisera, as [to] Jabin, at the brook of Kison:

      Psa 83:10 [Which] perished at Endor: they became [as] dung for the earth.

      Psa 83:11 Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna:

      Psa 83:12 Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.

      Psa 83:13 O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.

      Psa 83:14 As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;

      Psa 83:15 So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.

      Psa 83:16 Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.

      Psa 83:17 Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:

      Psa 83:18 That [men] may know that thou, whose name alone [is] JEHOVAH, [art] the most high over all the earth.

      Uncanny.

      Update Via The Anchoress,
      In summary, the nations where the ten ancient people groups and tribes mentioned in Psalm 83 live today, are Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian territories within Israel. Read also Gina Cobb‘s post.

      Uncanny, indeed.

      Update, July 27 Allahpundit says it was Psalm 84.

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      Hugo and Alex: Reuters’ mavericks

      Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

      To Reuters, the last European dictator and the latest South American dictator are mavericks:
      Venezuela, Belarus seal “anti-imperialist” alliance (via SC&A; emphasis added)

      MINSK (Reuters) – Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday he had forged a strategic alliance to stand up to U.S. imperialism with fellow maverick Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko.

      “Our countries must keep their hands at the ready on the sword,” Chavez, in ex-Soviet Belarus as part of a world tour, said on a visit to a military academy.

      Hugo did not give details about what the alliance would involve. I have the impression it has to do with armaments and ideology:

      Chavez leaves Belarus on Tuesday for Russia where he is to sign a deal to buy Russian fighter jets and helicopters. His tour will also take in Qatar, Iran, Vietnam and Mali.

      Chavez, the wanna-be dictador, visits Lukashenko, the last European dictator, with a foot note of Carlos Fuentes.

      Sepcifically, Fuentes — who’s definitely not one in the vast right-wing conspiracy — says of Hugo (article in Spanish, translation here):

      He is not a leftist. He is a fascist, not to be trusted, a passing phenomenon. He is ruining Venezuela, he is ill using the oil money. The main roads of the country are collapsing. He is a demagogue, a sort of tropical parakeet. He is trying to finish off Venezuelan democracy. He benefited from the void left by the political parties, but he Hill be removed by the Venezuelan society itself, one that I respect very much and that I cannot imagine ruled by this gorilla for ever.

      In other travel news, Hugo’s little friend was in Tajikistan talking tough while saying he was against any form of violence in the Middle East. I expect that Reuters will be calling him a maverick, too, as soon as Hugo arrives in Tehran.

      Update Chavez, Ex-USSR: A New Axis? (prior related post here)

      Update 2 Back in April I was posting about Venezuela’s oil shortfall. Today Publius Pundit posts,

      Citgo recently announced that it would end supply to gas stations in 10 U.S. states due to the fact that it no longer can internally access enough Venezuelan oil, and the effort to supply these stations with imported oil at world prices was a burden.

      Read the rest of that post.

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