Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Venezuela: Oil slide

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

From commenter Kermit,

Venezuela is importing oil as a direct result of its disastrous refinery fires a year ago. What is being imported is light sweet crude to act as diluent when blended with the very heavy crude oil so that it can be pumped from the fields to the terminals/refineries.

Without fully functioning refineries/upgraders, no diluent is being made (kind of like diesel)

Also being imported is diesel and gasoline.

There is severe ship congestion since terminals are not set up to receive the crude oil and refined products. Long waiting times (meaning a lot of extra cost in demmurage to shipowners)

Meanwhile, Venezuela Dollar Income Falls 30% on Lower Oil Prices

Venezuela’s average oil-export price last week fell to $72.80 a barrel, the lowest in four years, pushing the yield on the country’s benchmark bonds to almost 19 percent for the first time since the global financial crisis. Oil accounts for 97 percent of foreign exchange income, which the country needs to pay about $28.5 billion of bond principal due in 2016.

To defend oil prices, Maduro said he sent the country’s foreign minister to five oil producers, including Mexico and Russia, to drum up support ahead of the Nov. 27 meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which Venezuela co-founded. Back in the late 1990s, Venezuela ended a slump in oil prices by cutting production along with other OPEC and non-OPEC producers.

To rumors of selling refineries, Caracas Chronicles says, Go bold, go big

Today’s Louis Renault moment

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Venezuelan Embassy in Kenya allegedly involved in drug-trafficking

A witness in the case of the murder of Venezuelan Ambassador Olga Fonseca in Kenya 2012 told a court in Nairobi on Wednesday that the diplomatic mission would use the diplomatic bag for drug-trafficking purposes.

Take it away, Louis:

Next thing you know, she’ll be sending Hugo Chavez a get-well card

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

All in scorn, of course.

(h/t THS)

UPDATE:
Linked by Pirate’s Cove. Thank you!

South American drugs and Islamists

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

The article TRAFFICKING COCAINE IN THE NAME OF ALLAH highlights the terrorists’ sources of income,

But drug smuggling is not new to Africa. Latin American drug cartels have collaborated with Nigerian organized crime groups for decades; shipping heroin from Asia to the Europe and the U.S., and South American cocaine across the Sahara to Morocco, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, and by air and sea to Europe.

Not to be dismissed is Hezbollah, which for decades used its drug trafficking operations in South America’s Tri-border region and Mexico, to purchase used cars in the U.S. then ship them to Western African countries with large Middle Eastern communities. While the criminal activities of these groups are no secret, stopping their money laundering operations is difficult. Last summer’s seizure of $150 million from the now defunct Montreal brunch of the Beirut based Lebanese Canadian Bank, is an exception.

Drug trafficking’s enormous revenues have corrupted many countries in the region, and helped al Qaeda to buy the loyalty of public officials and law enforcement. The destitution of the Sahel region makes it easier.

Read the whole thing.

South American cocaine’s African routes

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

This will not come as a surprise to long-term readers of this blog: Al-Qaeda’s at the center of drug trafficking.

Revealed: how Saharan caravans of cocaine help to fund al-Qaeda in terrorists’ North African domain
The 37 foreign workers who died in the assault on an Algerian gas plant were victims of terrorists whose weapons may have been paid for by cocaine users of Britain and Europe, reports Colin Freeman.

Unlike their ancestors’ cargoes of spices, salts and silks, the contraband that Gao’s smugglers bring in today from Colombia is deemed strictly “haram”, or forbidden, by Islam.
Yet the city’s ever-zealous Islamist morality police have a good reason for turning a blind eye. For it is thanks to the trans-Saharan cocaine trade that Islamist groups like al-Qaeda have become a power in the region, building up formidable war chests to buy both arms and recruits.

The cocaine trade first exploded in this region five years ago, as Latino cartels, faced with a saturated market in the US, sought new routes to get their product to Europe’s borders. First the drug is shipped or flown across the Atlantic to lawless, corrupt coastal states like Guinea Bissau, then it is moved thousands of miles across the Sahara to Algeria, Morocco and Libya.

Now, though, the trade’s potential to wreak far wider havoc has become horrifyingly clear, in helping to bankroll the al-Qaeda movements behind both the Islamist take-over of northern Mali and the murder of western workers at the Algerian gas facility earlier this month.

The planes into Gao fly in directly from Venezuela, drugs’ #1 point of departure in Latin America.

In addition to the profiting, al-Qaeda terrorists use stimulants – cocaine, meth – during battle.

The war on terror and the war on drugs have joined into a new stage.

Read the whole report.


Benghazi “sloppiness”

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Yesterday on Meet the Press,

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Some individuals have been held accountable inside of the State Department and what I’ve said is that we are going to fix this to make sure that this does not happen again, because these are folks that I send into the field. We understand that there are dangers involved but, you know, when you read the report and it confirms what we had already seen, you know, based on some of our internal reviews; there was just some sloppiness, not intentional, in terms of how we secure embassies in areas where you essentially don’t have governments that have a lot of capacity to protect those embassies. So we’re doing a thorough-going review. Not only will we implement all the recommendations that were made, but we’ll try to do more than that. You know, with respect to who carried it out, that’s an ongoing investigation. The FBI has sent individuals to Libya repeatedly. We have some very good leads, but this is not something that, you know, I’m going to be at liberty to talk about right now.

Plweez.

The murders of four Americans during a seven-hour long attack, due to “sloppiness”?

Twitter users are rightfully outraged by President Obama’s callous dismissal of the incompetence that caused the tragic deaths of four Americans in Benghazi.

Wizbang:

Again, Mr. President — you’re trying to install an unsupported narrative here. This embassy was vulnerable for at least the 6 months prior to the attack on September 11th; it had been attacks twiceprior.  The security of this consulate was already at a dangerously low level.  There were warningsthree days before the attack, which were ignored. Even the Ambassador himself asked multiple times for more security. Instead of granting those requests, his security was actually cut back. (Related: State Department withdrew 16-member special forces team from Benghazi one month before 9/11/12 terrorist attack)

This is not about sloppiness. Sloppiness implies security was implemented, but did it in a manner leaving things in a state disarray. Mr. President, you didn’t implement anything, you removed it and in doing so, thereby leaving your Ambassador Stevens and his staff wide open to attacks. Attacks this administration was warned about from several sources. What transpired wasn’t sloppiness, it was criminal.

In other news, Al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen has offered to pay tens of thousands of dollars to anyone who kills the U.S. ambassador in Sanaa or an American soldier in the country.

UPDATE:
Linked by Hot Air (thank you!),

Ahem. Obama conducted an unauthorized war against Moammar Qaddafi that decapitated the regime the previous year, which gave free reign to networks of Islamist terrorists in eastern Libya. That was no secret; in fact, it was pretty well known that those “militias” participated in the uprising we enabled. There had been a series of attacks on Western interests by these networks in 2012 before the September 11th attack that killed four Americans, including a few attempts on Americans before that. Despite all this data, State deliberately dismissed military security for the consulate and insisted it could rely on local militias for security.

And this is “just some sloppiness, not intentional”?

The Benghazi timelines

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

The Three Benghazi Timelines We Need Answers About
Every White House sooner or later succumbs to the temptation to cover up an embarrassment.

The Benghazi episode is best viewed as a series of three timelines. When fully exposed, the facts of the “pre” period before the attacks will tell us how high up the chain, and in which agencies, fateful decisions were made about security precautions for the consulate and annex in Benghazi. We also stand to learn how the planning for the attacks could have been put in motion without being detected until too late.

Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb, who oversees diplomatic security, testified before the House on Oct. 10 that she and her colleagues had placed “the correct number of assets in Benghazi at the time of 9/11 for what had been agreed upon.” While not the stuff of a perjury charge, this testimony cannot be true, given the known outcome of the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate and the pleas for enhanced security measures that we now know Foggy Bottom to have rebuffed.

The second Benghazi timeline encompasses the five or six hours on the evening of Sept. 11 when the attacks transpired. A State Department briefing on Oct. 9 offered an account that was riveting but incomplete. When all of the facts of these hours are compiled, we will have a truer picture of the tactical capabilities of al Qaeda and its affiliates in North Africa. We will also learn what really happened to Amb. Stevens that night, and better appreciate the vulnerabilities with which our diplomatic corps, bravely serving at 275 installations across the globe, must still contend.

The third and final Benghazi timeline is the one that has fostered charges of a coverup. It stretches eight days—from 3:40 p.m. on Sept. 11, when the consulate was first rocked by gunfire and explosions, through the morning of Sept. 19, when Matthew G. Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, publicly testified before the Senate that Benghazi was a terrorist attack.

On the day he was killed – Documents show Stevens worried about Libya security threats, Al Qaeda before consulate attack

On Sept. 11 — the day Stevens and three other Americans were killed — the ambassador signed a three-page cable, labeled “sensitive,” in which he noted “growing problems with security” in Benghazi and “growing frustration” on the part of local residents with Libyan police and security forces. These forces the ambassador characterized as “too weak to keep the country secure.”
In the document, Stevens also cited a meeting he had held two days earlier with local militia commanders. These men boasted to Stevens of exercising “control” over the Libyan Armed Forces, and threatened that if the U.S.-backed candidate for prime minister were to prevail in Libya’s internal political jockeying, “they would not continue to guarantee security in Benghazi.”

Fox News sent a reporter to Benghazi,

Timeline of Benghazi terror attack, Part 1

Timeline of Benghazi terror attack, Part 2

BONUS,


More good news on the AIDS front

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Gel Cuts AIDS, Herpes Risk for Women (emphasis added),

The study was randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled—the gold standard for clinical research—and the results were statistically significant. “It’s a really well-done study,” said Bruce Walker, director of the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard dedicated to immunology and HIV vaccine research.

“This is a potential game changer,” said Dr. Walker, who was briefed on the results but wasn’t involved in the study.

The herpes virus, HSV2, renders women more susceptible to HIV, so blocking that virus could add to the gel’s ability to prevent HIV.

The gel, which the researchers estimate could prevent half a million infections over the next 10 years in South Africa, contained the antiretroviral drug tenofovir, provided free by California-based Gilead Sciences Inc., which markets it in the U.S. as Viread. Administered as a pill in cocktails, the drug is widely used to treat people already infected with the AIDS virus. Gilead referred questions to Gilead Foundation President and Chairman Howard Jaffe, who said the company would support continuing research and any attempt to win regulatory approval.

Gilead rose to the challenge,

Dr. Abdool Karim persuaded Gilead, which licensed the gel for no royalty to two not-for-profit organizations. “I haven’t seen a drug company do that before,” said Dr. Abdool Karim. Gilead has also given licenses to manufacture generic versions of the drug itself to companies in India and South Africa. It collects a 5% royalty from sales of the generic drug.

Let’s pray that they continue to make progress in the fight against AIDS. As you can see in the article, there is a desperate need:

A Desperate Need

Young women in many parts of Africa have extremely high HIV rates. Below, the prevalence of HIV in pregnant women in rural Vulindlela, South Africa, near Durban, between 2005 and 2008. This was a site for a successful trial of a gel women can apply to protect themselves from the virus.

Age HIV Prevalence (%)
16 and Under 10.6
17-18 21.3
19-20 33.0
21-22 44.3
23-24 51.1

Source: Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa

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Obama: Al-Qaeda is racist

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Obama can not bring himself to seeing anything through anything that has nothing to do with race; Jack Tapper reports,
President Obama, White House: Al Qaeda Is Racist

In an interview earlier today with the South African Broadcasting Corporation to air in a few hours, President Obama disparaged al Qaeda and affiliated groups’ willingness to kill Africans in a manner that White House aides say was an argument that the terrorist groups are racist.

Speaking about the Uganda bombings, the president said, “What you’ve seen in some of the statements that have been made by these terrorist organizations is that they do not regard African life as valuable in and of itself. They see it as a potential place where you can carry out ideological battles that kill innocents without regard to long-term consequences for their short-term tactical gains.”

Fer cryin’ out loud: al-Qaeda is a terrorist organization that is intent on killing anyone that does not submit to its fanaticism. As such, the United States embodies everything al-Qaeda stands against: individual freedom, human rights, rule of law. The Commander in Chief can’t get his brain to wrap itself around that notion, so he has to look at it in terms of race?

The rest of Tapper’s article is even more exasperating. Jack quotes a State Department official:

“Additionally, U.S. intelligence has indicated that al Qaeda leadership specifically targets and recruits black Africans to become suicide bombers because they believe that poor economic and social conditions make them more susceptible to recruitment than Arabs,” the official said. “Al Qaeda recruits have said that al Qaeda is racist against black members from West Africa because they are only used in lower level operations.”

The mind reels; if you go by this, you are tempted to ask, would Obama and the State Department official find al-Qaeda more palatable if al-Qaeda had an equal opportunity program?

Jennifer Rubin comments on Obama’s Race Obsession:

Oh, good grief. Al-Qaeda isn’t a racist organization — it’s an organization that kills regardless of race anyone who stands in the way of its Islamo-fascist vision. The notion that it is racist is not only ignorant but also transparently manipulative. Does the administration really think that Africans can only be motivated if they think race is behind the slaughter of their people? And does Obama mean to suggest that al-Qaeda is pro-white? The mind reels.

It is this sort of thing that fills one with dread and raises this question: is there no limit to the lengths Obama will go to avoid spelling out the real motive behind Islamic fundamentalist terror? It’s the Islamic fundamentalism, of course. The Obami, however, would rather make up a counter-factual narrative and introduce a potentially divisive racial theme (don’t we want Europeans to take the war on terror seriously? what about Indonesians?) into the worldwide war against terrorism than be candid with the American people. Despite his worldly credentials, Obama’s foreign policy is strikingly condescending toward the rest of the world. Muslims will get confused and upset if we identify radical Islam as the basis for terrorism! Africans won’t join us unless they think it’s all about race!

I think we need a post-post-racial commander in chief who doesn’t assume that the rest of the world is populated by dolts.

We certainly have enough dolts in office right now.

Related, in a way,
In Obama’s mind, it’s always about him, with a little racism thrown in

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Congratulations!

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

Ian Crittenden deserves our congratulations for his wonderful work on the Malawi Pangea Project.