Archive for the ‘Great Britain’ Category

Argentina: Same old, same old

Friday, November 29th, 2013

Cristina’s hitting the same old,

Argentina issue threats over Falkland oil
Argentina threatens fines and imprisonment for oil companies and their executives for any “illegal exploration” of hydrocarbons off the Falkland Islands

The Foreign Office added that hydrocarbons activities by companies operating on the continental shelf of the Falkland Islands are regulated by legislation of the Falkland Islands government, and in accordance with the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea.

Cristina will resort to any distraction from her chaotic fiscal problems and deals with Iran.

I suggest she focus on this bit of old news instead, World’s oldest prehistoric toilet unearthed in Argentina.

Biggest ever cocaine cache in UK came from Venezuela

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Britain’s biggest ever cocaine haul found
The largest shipment of cocaine ever seized in Britain has been uncovered in a yacht in Southampton docks, it was revealed today.

Officers believed that on the streets it would be cut with chemicals meaning it would become about 8 tonnes, enough to service one third of the entire UK cocaine market which is estimated at 25 tonnes per year.

The drugs seizure led to six members of an international crime gang being arrested in the Netherlands.

The load was discovered on a £1 million luxury yacht, the Louise. The yacht had been shipped to Southampton on a freight carrier from the British Virgin Islands in June and Dutch drug smugglers then planned to sail it to the Netherlands.

Dutch News has more (emphasis added)

The motor yacht Louise had been loaded onto a ship transporter bound for Holland while in the Caribbean, where it was already under surveillance. The transporter made a scheduled stop in Southampton where the yacht was searched by British and Dutch officials.


After six days, they eventually found the drugs hidden beneath the bathing platform at the back of the boat. The yacht’s owner had tried to pick the boat up in Southampton but were delayed by British officials who said it was no longer seaworthy while the investigation continued.

The drugs, with a street value of €45m, were probably hidden on the yacht in Venezuala, the department said. According to British media reports, the drug was 90% pure and represents the largest find of a Class A drug ever made in the UK.

As reported by The Telegraph in 2008, Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela ’supplies half of Britain’s cocaine’
President Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela has become the key trafficking route for most of the cocaine sold on Britain’s streets, anti-drugs officials believe.


Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Don’t Cry For Me Ameritina

Britain and Bolivia

Health care in Brazil
An injection of reality
Brazil’s pioneering state-run health system needs reform if it is to achieve its constitutional mandate of guaranteeing high-quality care for all

Seja simpática, faça o que pedem

Escondida Workers Reject Bonus Offer; Strike Continues

Joe Arroyo, Star of Salsa and Colombian Music Giant, Dies at 55

Joe Arroyo, a Colombian songwriter, singer and bandleader whose pan-Caribbean salsa hybrids and historically conscious lyrics made him one of his country’s most respected musicians, died on Tuesday in Baranquilla, his adopted home city in Colombia. He was 55.

Here he is, singing, En Barranquilla me quedo,

Lázaro Marlon Mesa Romero, Cuba Political Prisoner of the Week, 7/31/11

The Remittance Conundrum, via Babalu

An academic study released over the weekend shows that nearly half of all Cubans that receive remittances from abroad have absolutely no interest in leasing a self-employment license (ownership remains prohibited) from the Castro regime, while another 34% would only “think” about it. That leaves few that actually have or would.

US State Dept.’s Background Note, and Estudio: cubanos que reciben remesas no desean invertir

Five years

Two More Cuban Airports to Receive Charter Flights from U.S.

Ecuador’s autocrat cracks down on media freedom

Censorship in Ecuador
Rafael Correa seeks to bankrupt his media foes

Book review: Broken and broken-hearted

No Fatalities in Guyana Air Crash

A Prince of the Coffee Bean
Honduras Becomes Central America’s Top Producer, Helping to Fuel Its Economy

17 killed in prison fight in northern Mexico

Bloodthirsty! 1,500 murders ordered by leader of Mexican Murder, Inc.

Mexico: A Zeta Narcorepublic?
US Dept. of the Treasury Fact Sheet: New Executive Order Targets Significant Transnational Criminal Organizations

La Familia Michoacana cartel battered by U.S. agents

Humala Day 1: Changing constitutions (maybe)

Humala’s challenges

Cuba-Puerto Rico Flights to Return After 53 Years

They bark, Sancho…

Chavismo’s strategy. Well, sort of…..

Another Day, Another Bond Issued, this time by the Republic of Venezuela

Hugo Chavez’s opponents see an opportunity

The week’s posts,
Those “evil corporate jet owners” will be buying Mexican, after all
Is the FARC in retreat?
Who knew about Fast and Furious?
Mexican cartels expand into human trafficking
Carlos Eire pulls out the big stick

At The Conservatory,
Chavez Says He’ll Cheat Death and Leave Presidency in 2031


Argentina and the Falklands: A background post

Friday, June 10th, 2011

There has been a lot of reaction, both here and at my Facebook page, to Wednesday’s post on the USA’s statement at the Organization of American States siding with Argentina on Argentina’s demand for negotiations over the Falkland Islands.

Pablo Kleinman, commenting on Facebook, linked to his 2007 article, ¿De quién son las Malvinas? (Whose Falklands?) (link in Spanish), which sheds light on the islands’ background. Kleinman wrote the article on the 25th anniversary of the Falklands war. I translated it, so please, if you use any of this translation, link to this post and credit me (emphasis added):

Most Argentinians do not know today, and did not know in 1982, that the Argentinian colonization of the islands is little more than fiction, and when it took place it lasted barely longer than the Argentinian dictatorship than started the 1982 war. The fact that the Falklands are part of the American continental platform, or that are 500 kilometers away from the Argentinian coastline, two of the most used rationalizations when trying to claim Argentinian sovereignty over them, lacks weight in International Law.

During the lengthiest period of time when any Argentinian inhabited the Falklands, between 1826 and 1833, there never was any government representation in the islands. There was a governor only between 1829 and 1831; back then there were only some 40 people, workers at a fishery owned by the “governor”, a French entrepreneur from Hamburg named Louis Vernet.

Vernet had been ceded Soledad Island (East Falkland) for commercial exploitation as payment for a debt the Buenos Aires Government owed him. Aside from Vernet’s worker, among which Argentinians were a minority, a few gauchos and adventurers lived in the Falklands.

Vernet’s daughter was the only person born in the Falklands during that precarious settlement. “Precarious” since there was no town hall, no churches, nor any civil society of any type. Aside from the couple of years of the Frenchman’s enterprise, there was nothing more than a pirate encampment.

In 1833 the Falklands had some 20 inhabitants of various nationalities. All were expelled by the British. Interestingly, shortly after, dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas offered more than once to cede the islands to the United Kingdom to pay off a debt Buenos Aires owed British banking institutions. However, London ignored the Argentinian claim or offer.

The United Kingdom founded a colony in the Islands 165 years ago. That was when, for the first time in history, a constant human presence was established permanently in the Falklands. Generationally speaking, the Falklanders have been longer in the Falklands than the majority of Argentinians in Argentina. There should be no doubt, then, that the Falklanders are the legitimate masters of the Falklands, and that their will is to be respected, within the framework of the right of self-determinatioon recognized by international law.

Clearly, Argentina’s claim is a nationalistic mirage, not based in historical facts, but used for propaganda – and possibly economic – purposes.

In my original translation I used Malvinas; after consulting with Pablo Kleinman he said he would use the English term Falklands throughout the English text rather than Malvinas, so I changed the text above, and corrected the name of Soledad Island to East Falkland.

Commenter RAL:

The author of the piece makes two notable mistakes, one of which is oft repeated by the Argentine Government.

The settlers were not all expelled by the British authorities.

The British had first named the islands in 1690 and positioned a garrison there from 1765. The British forces were withdrawn in 1774 as a result of the logistics of the American Revolution but sovereignty was maintained. Argentina did not exist as a nation until 1816.

Vernett had British permission to settle the islands and the British authorities were keen for him to continue in 1833. As a result only two settlers left along with the mutinous Argentine garrison which had only been there two moonths and had already murdered their leader. The records of the Argentine ship ‘Sarandi’ are evidence of who left as it was used to remove all those who hadn’t been arrested for the crimes. Further evidence is provided by Charles Darwin who arrived on the islands in March 1833 in the Beagle. His diaries are avaiable on-line.

The Falkland islanders are entitled to exercise self-determination under the UN Charter. It is only Argentina’s beligerence that keeps them British.

For more information –

Cross-posted at The Green Room. Now up at Hot Air!

Linked by Coalition of the Swilling. Thanks!

Linked by Bits Blog. Thanks!


Lockerbie bomber: still “not dead yet”

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

Birthday bash for ‘dying’ Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi sickens crash victims’ kin

The Lockerbie bomber celebrated his 58th birthday on Thursday at a Libyan mansion, defying the imminent death Scottish officials predicted when they compassionately freed him from prison nearly eight months ago.

Compassionately, because,

Diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer while doing time, Megrahi was released in August by Scottish authorities, who were assured by doctors that he had less than three months to live.

Yeah, that, and the oil deal:

Gordon Brown’s government made the decision after discussions between Libya and BP over a multi-million-pound oil exploration deal had hit difficulties. These were resolved soon afterwards.

Oil may not buy you true love, but it sure can lubricate some “compassion”.

Sing it, lads!

Boredom can kill you

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Can’t wait for The Onion or Scott Ott to take a spin at this one: scientists in the UK found that bored bureaucrats drop like flies,
You really can be bored to death, scientists discover

Boredom could be shaving years off your life, scientists have found.

Researchers say that people who complain of boredom are more likely to die young, and that those who experienced ‘high levels’ of tedium are more than two-and-a-half times as likely to die from heart disease or stroke than those satisfied with their lot.

More than 7,000 civil servants were studied over 25 years – and those who said they were bored were nearly 40 per cent more likely to have died by the end of study than those who did not.

The scientists said this could be a result of those unhappy with their lives turning to such unhealthy habits as smoking or drinking, which would cut their life expectancy.

Yeah, substance abuse can do you in no matter whether you’re bored or not.

However, I’m curious as to whether the fact that the people studied were government workers had anything to do with it. Shouldn’t the study conclude that big government kills?

Specialists from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London, looked at data from 7,524 civil servants aged between 35 and 55 who were interviewed between 1985 and 1988 about their levels of boredom. They then found out whether they had died by April last year.

Those who reported feeling a great deal of boredom were 37 per cent more likely to have died by the end of the study.

No word as to whether the original scientists who interviewed the bored in 1985 were still around for the follow-up last year, or whether they, too succumbed to ennui.

MI5 told US about pantybomber a year ago

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Gordon Brown’s office declares that the UK notified the US over a year ago about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s links to terrorism:

MI5 told US about Detroit bomber’s terror links ‘a year ago’
Britain told American intelligence agents more than a year ago that the Detroit bomber had links to extremists, according to Downing Street.

The prime minister’s spokesman indicated that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was named in a file of people based in Britain who had made contact with radical Muslim preachers. The file was said to have been sent to the US authorities in 2008.


There is no suggestion that the US did not act on intelligence information that they received from the UK.”

Meanwhile at the US,

White House sources disputed the Downing Street account, stating that no such intelligence information was passed by Britain before the attempted Christmas Day attacks. The White House declined to respond officially.

Amazing that the Obama administration didn’t say that it’s all Bush’s fault since he was president then. But hey, President Obama briefed on Christmas terror threats days before Abdulmutallab incident

President Obama was briefed on potential holiday threats just three days before a Nigerian with Al Qaeda ties tried to bring down an airliner on Christmas Day, according to a report.

Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FBI Director Robert Mueller were at the briefing.

Administrative officials admitted after the attempted attack that they had “bits and pieces” of information that if knitted together could have foiled the Christmas Day plot.

“Never mind!”

“Outrage over Lockerbie bomber’s £2m bank account”

Monday, December 21st, 2009


Remember Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber? Yes, the guy who five months ago only had three months to live because of terminal prostate cancer? The guy who was sent to Libya to live his final days?

Yeah, the guy who was given a hero’s welcome, and who goes missing whenever he feels like it.

That guy.

Well, it turns out he held almost £2million in a Swiss bank account during his trial (h/t The Astute Bloggers):

Last night the Crown Office confirmed that a “substantial sum” had come to light in 2000, with one source estimating the figure at £1.8million.

Yes, you’d say that nearly $4 million is a “substantial sum”, for sure.

But his prosecutors ignored it:

Evidence of al-Megrahi’s riches was passed to prosecutors by the Swiss authorities in 2000, but was deemed inadmissible because legal proceedings had already begun.

“The state of his health notwithstanding, I hate the fact he may have access to that money,” said the former FBI officer. “It is unfortunate this could not have been raised at trial because I do believe it would have mitigated against his claim that he was not a Libyan agent – who has that much money to be allowed to sit in an account for that many years other than a government?”

Other opponents of al-Megrahi’s release seized on the news of his unexpected wealth as incriminating evidence of his role in the murder of 270 people on board Pan Am flight 103.

“What is becoming increasingly clear is this myth that he is an ordinary member of the public who was offered up as a sacrificial lamb is total rubbish,” said Paul McBride, a leading Scottish criminal QC.

No sh*t, Sherlock.

The outrage ought to be at Scotland’s authorities for releasing him, not at having come across the fact that he’s a terrorist and a criminal – after all he was tried, convicted and sentenced for it.

But let me ask you one question, are they seizing the moneys in the Swiss bank account and giving the money to the families of the people he killed?

Lockerbie bomber missing

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

The Scots freed him and Gedaffi gave him a hero’s welcome.

Now he’s missing.

Yeah, just out of the blue:

Mystery as Lockerbie bomber goes missing from home and hospital

Mystery surrounded the Lockerbie bomber last night after he could not be reached at his home or in hospital.

Libyan officials could say nothing about the whereabouts of Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi, and his Scottish monitors could not contact him by telephone. They will try again to speak to him today but if they fail to reach him, the Scottish government could face a new crisis.

Under the terms of his release from jail, the bomber cannot change his address or leave Tripoli, and must keep in regular communication with East Renfrewshire Council.

Megrahi’s given them the raspberry – with the help of the authorities, that is:

Back at al-Megrahi’s home, there was no sign of activity. One of three security officers sitting in a grey Mercedes car outside said: “They’ve all gone.” He refused to elaborate.

I am shocked, shocked, it happened.

Stern has a cow

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009


Climate chief Lord Stern: give up meat to save the planet

People will need to turn vegetarian if the world is to conquer climate change, according to a leading authority on global warming.

In an interview with The Times, Lord Stern of Brentford said: “Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world’s resources. A vegetarian diet is better.”

Direct emissions of methane from cows and pigs is a significant source of greenhouse gases. Methane is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas.

Especially if you’re downwind from the cows. But,

Hold on. If we eat less beef, pork and poultry, we’ll be eating a lot more beans, broccoli and cabbage, and producing a heck of a lot more methane ourselves.

Which would make taking public transportation even more unpleasant for Lord Stern (and everybody else) – if he takes public transportation, that is.

Stern wants to raise the price of meat to a point where we all turn vegetarians:

Lord Stern, the author of the influential 2006 Stern Review on the cost of tackling global warming, said that a successful deal at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December would lead to soaring costs for meat and other foods that generate large quantities of greenhouse gases.

Here in the US the Cap and Trade legislation will kill jobs.

And then there’s the redistribution of wealth from rich countries to poor ones: Lord Stern

warned that British taxpayers would need to contribute about £3 billion a year by 2015 to help poor countries to cope with the inevitable impact of climate change.

If you think your soy diet will save you from Stern’s scheme, think again:

UN figures suggest that meat production is responsible for about 18 per cent of global carbon emissions, including the destruction of forest land for cattle ranching and the production of animal feeds such as soy.

The basic idea is that people and animals are “bad for the planet.” Malthus is back in fashion, after all.

But things are not bad enough for Stern to give up his meat: He said

said that he was not a strict vegetarian himself

Useful word, “strict.”

UPDATE, Thursday 29 Oct.
Don’t miss Hoi Pollutants?