US tightens Cuba trade sanctions

October 11th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

The US government has announced that it will aggressively pursue those who violate the decades-old US trade embargo with Cuba.

A new task force has been set up to police the sanctions and those breaking them will face large fines.

The chief federal prosecutor in Florida said anyone who travelled illegally or traded with Cuba would be punished.

Come on America, give it a rest.

Why do Americans hate and fear Cuba so much? The American reaction towards Cuba is not merely the normal American xenophobia towards other nations – France, Germany, Canada, Mexico, the entire Middle East, Japan… and pretty much the rest of the world. No, this is something deeper, a chasm in the already suspicious American political psyche. Mention Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, China or even Russia and most Americans will hardly flutter their eyelids. Say Cuba and they’ll go off kilter, launch into a wild tirade and scream invectives about Castro, freedom, human rights, and Communism.


Team Nuke: New Member

October 10th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

As North Korea becomes the eighth confirmed nuclear power (Israel is not confirmed but considered the ninth) some of the blame has to go to the original five nuclear powers. When the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty went into effect in 1970, the five countries who had nuclear bombs – the US, France, China, Great Britain, and the USSR – agreed to work to reduce and eventually eliminate their nuclear arsenals.

Now, 36 years later, no disarmament talks are taking place between those countries. North Korea has been a “threshold” country since the late 80s. The fall of the Soviet Union eliminated shared security arrangements and prompted North Korea to aggressively pursue a nuclear weapon.

Non-Proliferation Treaty

Labels: War

A terror raid that doesn’t make the headlines

October 7th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink


Here’s a police seizure of weapons that wasn’t splashed all over the front pages.

This week a British National Party election candidate has been accused of possessing the largest amount of chemical explosives of its type ever found in the country. That’s right, the largest ever – imagine if he’d been an Asian man. Home secretary John Reid would have held a special press conference and it would have led every news bulletin.

The home of another man charged with similar offences contained a rocket launcher and a nuclear biological suit as well as BNP literature and chemicals!


Fast Car

October 6th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

This guy built this car for his PhD. Click the picture to read about it. He deserves to have passed with top marks.

Filling the Gap Between Shoot & Shout

October 5th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

I have got to get me one of these toys!
It’s called a Silent Guardian and it:

  • Provides a zone of protection
    that saves lives and protects
  • Minimizes collateral damage
  • Provides real-time ability to
    establish intent and
    de-escalate aggression
  • Does not cause physical harm;
    prevents injury and death
  • Provides precise effects at a
    longer range than current
    less-than-lethal systems

Sounds good don’t it?

I’ll let Raytheon tell you how it works from their flyer:

The system’s antenna emits a focused beam of millimeter wave energy. The beam travels
at the speed of light and penetrates the skin to a depth of 1/64 of an inch, producing an intolerable heating sensation that causes the targeted individuals to instinctively flee or take cover. The sensation ceases immediately when an individual moves out of the beam or the operator steers the beam away. Silent Guardian does not cause injury because of the shallow penetration depth of the millimeter wave.

I heard about it here, and the way this guy describes it, just makes it more appealing:

Imagine you’re at a protest – at a nuclear plant, perhaps, or a military installation. You approach the perimeter fence, carrying your placard. The loudhailers warn you to keep away. But you ignore them; this is a protest, after all. And then it happens. Your skin feels as if it’s on fire – a burning, relentless, intense pain as if you were touching a frying pan. You scream and jump back, trying to escape the sudden agony. You scrabble a few metres away and it stops. Then you look closer at the buildings that are the object of your protest. Did it come from there? You approach the fence again and the pain starts again – until you jump back.

“This technology is capable of rapidly heating a person’s skin to achieve a pain threshold that has been demonstrated by AFRL human subject testing to be very effective at repelling people, without burning the skin or causing other secondary effects.” The device, it adds, “is an alternative to lethal force.”

The human testing showed that the beams will penetrate even tiny openings and cracks in any physical barrier, including clothes, walls and shields. It is as though it wraps around corners to affect any piece of exposed body – the fingers or face, say, of those trying to hide.

Tests carried out with the Active Denial System at Kirkland Air Force Base in New Mexico between 2003 and 2004 raised questions about the safety of this technology in practice, since volunteers were asked to remove glasses and contact lenses to avoid the possibility of eye damage. Volunteers were also asked to remove metallic objects next to the skin to prevent hot spots forming. Demonstrators might not be so cooperative.

This is a sweet line: Raytheon: Aspiring to be the most admired defense and aerospace systems supplier

Provos have been transformed, says monitoring body

October 5th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

The Provisional IRA has undergone a “transformation”, disbanding military structures, standing down volunteers and following through on its political strategy of renouncing terrorism and crime, the Independent Monitoring Commission said yesterday.

Excellent news. Effectively, the Provisional IRA is disbanded.
Just got to bang up all the criminals who think they are paramiliteries.




Met orders review after Muslim refuses to guard Israeli embassy

October 5th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan police commissioner, last night ordered an urgent review of a policy that allows officers to refuse certain duties on moral grounds after a decision to excuse a Muslim policeman from guarding the Israeli embassy.

PC Alexander Omar Basha, who is attached to the force’s Diplomatic Protection Group, objected to being posted to protect Israel’s embassy in central London from possible terrorist attack because he disagreed with the country’s bombing of Lebanon. The officer had reportedly attended a recent anti-war protest.

What to do eh? Either you make the chap go against his morals, but then if you let a copper object to a duty, where will it end (uh, oh. I sound like a Daily Mail reader)?


West Bank settlements grew during Lebanon war

October 5th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

With media attention focused on the Lebanon war, Israeli wildcat settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank have mushroomed in recent months, a watchdog group has said.

Some 31 outposts sprang up in the West Bank as work on developing infrastructure, access routes as well as the installation of new mobile homes has steamed ahead in violation of the internationally backed roadmap for peace, the anti-settlement Peace Now watchdog said Tuesday.

“In the past months, the government of Israel has continued to evade its responsibility to evacuate the unauthorized outposts in the West Bank,” a report said.

“It appears that the summer of 2006, marked by the fighting in south Lebanon, provided a golden opportunity for the settlers to deepen their hold on the land without the media being available to cover it,” it said.

In 12 illegal outposts, the construction of permanent homes has likewise continued without hindrance from the authorities, it said.


Labels: Israel, Palestine

Eight die as Gaza factions clash

October 4th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

Eight Palestinians, including four civilians, have been killed and about 60 injured in gunfights between rival political factions in the Gaza Strip.

Abbas has been locked in an increasingly bitter power struggle with the government of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh over stalled efforts to form a unity coalition after Hamas trounced Fatah in parliamentary elections in January.

Palestinians hoped a unity government would ease Western sanctions that have prevented the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority from paying full salaries to civil servants for more than six months.

But the talks broke down after Abbas accused Hamas of reneging on a commitment to accept past peace deals with Israel.

October 2nd, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

Labels: Odds and Sods

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