Thursday, August 31, 2006

The hottest stars featured right here on J4P

Do you ever find yourself wondering how hot our sun is compared to the rest of the stars in the sky? No, I didn't think you did. However, is the kind of thing that appears to exercise my mind, when I wake up at 4 am for a wee wee. Because it was bugging me virtually all day at work, I couldn't wait to get home and find out. Thankfully, I located this nice illustration pretty quickly. This shows the relationship between the brightness of the star and its surface temperature. I'm now wondering why the white dwarfs and the supergiants don't lie on the same axis as the rest. Presumably this is something to do with a distortion caused by strange gravitational effects associated with these objects. But how does gravity affect surface temperature and the luminosity of the star? All ideas and explanations are welcome as I don't have time to look it up. The sizes shown are not to scale. To get a better idea of the difference in sizes of some stars compared to our sun look here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The World is Sick

Deborah Orr writes an important column in the Independent today (Israel has turned Gaza into a prison. There can only be one reason for such inhumanity). I urge you to read the whole article. Here is a sample:

They are, of course, maintaining the military siege of Gaza that they began a few weeks before the Lebanon offensive knocked it off the diplomatic agenda. Lyrically titled "Operation Summer Rains", it has now rolled into its 10th week, killing 202 Palestinians - 44 of them children - launching 267 air strikes and damaging hundreds of buildings, many bridges and the Gaza power plant……….

Gaza needs peacekeepers too, but the army's desire to keep outsiders away from this prison territory is so great that even a delegation from a political organisation as innocuous as Birmingham City Council was turned away last week……….

"In the east part of the city, eight people were killed, 17 injured including journalists from Reuters, heavy shooting from the gunboats. Every day hospitals receive killed and injured people, hospital use of diesel increased, to run the operation rooms, with the continuous use of the electrical generators ... no water no electricity no proper sewage system, public health greatly affected, no entertaining, no cash to buy food, increasing number of families rely on aid food alone, children do not have well balanced meals, the borders are closed, only opened rarely to let in some medications and humanitarian aid for the Unrwa, thousands of children suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome symptoms."…. Gaza is a prison now, and nobody can get out or in. This too is the wild crescendo of a covert policy the Israelis have been pursuing for years……Can the Israelis really believe that they - and the thousands of others processed out of the region since 1948 - will ever be able to shrug, accept this and get on with their lives? Can they believe that a pair of prison territories can be maintained indefinitely, while Israel flourishes merrily around them?

Silence is complicity on this issue. Not only are Bliar and Bush complicit in the terrorist attack on Lebanon but they are also guilty of this horrific siege of an entire people. A siege hidden from view by the BBC and many media outlets. No doubt Bliar will soon fly to the region to try and boost his rock bottom ratings. The world is sick to death of these political stunts and needs actions against poverty and injustice now. Not trick, not promises of aid, not vague promises of peace, not loans, not small amounts of debt cancellation, not help to corrupt governments, not fake elections, not rejection of real democracy, not torture, not 'economic growth', not arms, not tokens and certainly not the theft of third-world resources dressed up with the cloak of - ‘The War on Turrr’.

We are all complicit in a sense. Taxes that I have paid have helped to create the situation. When I sit down for a meal with my children each night and think of the billions who cannot do the same, I am truly ashamed. Can I ever absolve my conscience without physically sharing in the desperation of the poor? Without giving up all that I have?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Forced conversion to real journalism

Two journalists from the American Fox News channel were freed unharmed in Southampton yesterday after being forced at penpoint to convert to real journalism at the end of a two-week kidnapping ordeal.

Hours before their release, the two men appeared in a video, dressed in shirt and tie. They announced their conversion and criticised CNN and FOX for transmitting lies and disinformation on behalf of the US government.

Steve Centauri, 100, an American correspondent, and his freelance cameraman Olaf Wig, 86, a New Zealander, were later released and dropped off by MediaLens forces at a cafe in Southampton City. They were then driven to London.

"I am so happy to be out," said Centauri. "There were times I thought I was telling the truth, but I'm OK, thank Murdoch."

In Southampton, officials said they now believed that the kidnappers of the Fox News journalists were militants from one of the many local independent media activist factions and were not linked to the MediaLens network. Last week, the kidnappers said they were from a previously unknown group called the MediaLies Brigades.

But security officials said the name was a front for local activists and that they had known the identity of the kidnappers. They did not say whether a deal was struck with the kidnappers - whom they did not identify - for the release of the journalists.

Although pretenders have been seized in recent months in Southampton, this hostage-taking incident lasted much longer than any before and appeared more harrowing.

Centauri described how the pair had been dragged from their car at ballpointpenpoint in Southampton City two weeks ago. They were blindfolded and had their hands bound behind their backs. "That was just the beginning of our torment," he said.

They were driven to what he thought was a makeshift newsroom and made to lie face down on a copy of The Sun tabloid. "There was a coffee machine going constantly and I was thinking they could force me to write a real story and nobody would know. But I was also thinking that I was no good at writing as it was done by the Pentagon disinformation teams anyway, so I kept my hopes up."

As the days went by, the pair were questioned repeatedly by their kidnappers and had to write about their lives and previous reporting assignments in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Then they forced us to convert to real journalism at penpoint," said Centauri. "I have the highest respect for Journalism and learned a lot of very good things about it at Reuters, but it was something we felt we had to do because they had pens and we didn't know what the hell was going on."

The webmaster Olly, said he did not expect other right-wing journalists in Southampton to be kidnapped. "In principle, this is a promise that will not be kept," he said, declining to elaborate on what the promise was, whilst nibbling on a Snickers.

Before they left Southampton, the pair briefly met David Edwards head of the militant wing of MediaLens. Dr Edwards dismissed suggestions that foreign activists linked to FAIR had started operating in the Southampton Strip. "The kidnappers have no link to MediaLens, FAIR or any other organisation or faction," he said.

In previous Southampton abductions, penmen have demanded chocolates or have been motivated by local rivalries. In this case, however, the only demand made by the kidnappers was for Johann Hari to go on a diet. They gave a 72-hour deadline for him to start, which expired on Saturday.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Texmati Shexmati

The Observer today brings up the issue of Biopiracy (sometimes called bioprospecting by those involved). This article focuses on how European companies are exploiting the natural resources of third world countries for their own profit. The benefits of exploiting natural resources for developing medicines are obvious, yet some people see nothing wrong with patenting plants that have been grown for hundreds of years in other countries, or simply robbing plants without giving a shit about the welfare of the local farmers and peasants:

With great fanfare in April last year Syngenta [ a swiss origin biotech/pharma company] launched the Spellbound Busy Lizzie. The company claimed that 'after many years of research' it had produced a Busy Lizzie that 'can achieve, at maturity, trails of 70cm [about 28 ins with] masses of large flowers throughout the summer until the first frost'. ....
But behind the marketing glitz and talk of magical creatures, an analysis of the British patent taken out by Syngenta for its new floral 'invention' reveals that Spellbound's magical secret comes from a rare African plant, the Impatiens usambarensis. This grows in the unique ecological habitat of the Usambara mountain range in Tanzania, just south of Mount Kilimanjaro. In its patent Syngenta describes this plant as having 'no commercial significance'.

Syngenta's botanists discovered that by crossing the two plants, the Busy Lizzie displayed the much sought after 'trailing growth habits'. Despite admitting that such hybrids happened naturally in Tanzania, Syngenta claimed the new plant was its 'invention' and the British authorities granted the company a patent on 6 February 2004. The patent reveals that Syngenta obtained the seeds of the African plant from the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh that had cultivated them 'from a wild collection from Tanzania'. A botanical gardens spokeswoman said it had received the seeds in 1982 from the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. They had been deposited there in 1976 by Christopher Grey-Wilson.

This kind of opportunism is bad enough, but Syngenta have the temerity to excuse this by likening it to british gardeners growing foreign plants in their gardens. Funnily enough, I can't find one instance of a british gardener getting rich by growing foreign plants in their own garden. Maybe they are just too stupid to take out the patents.

However, this is not the first time Syngenta have been fingered (in the legal sense) in a case of biopiracy. In 2002, Syngenta tried to gain access to a collection of 19,000 strains of locally grown indian rice varieties, from Indira Gandhi Agricultural University (link). Unfortunately there are always individuals and institutions who are open to the possibility of a few 'donations' to their coffers by western biotechnology companies. In another case involving the same university, the head of forestry allegedly handed over local jatropha plants ( a valuable source of oil-rich seeds) without his employer's permission, to London-based D1 Oils. A short time later, this entrepreneurial spirit coincidentally found himself employment as the technical director of D1 Oils' Indian operations.

On its website D1 Oils states:

India is a key location for D1[no shit]. The Indian government has one of the most developed biodiesel promotion programmes in the world, and is encouraging the planting of jatropha as a biodiesel feedstock. The objectives of the programme include increasing fuel security, reclaiming waste and marginal land, and raising the living standards of rural communities.

D1’s first Indian joint venture, D1 Mohan Bio Oils Limited, was established with Mohan Breweries & Distilleries Ltd, a leading Indian brewer based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. D1 Mohan is planting jatropha in southern India on a contract farming model with financial support for farmers provided in the form of loan finance from the State Bank of India and Indian Bank. We recently entered into an agreement with Williamson Magor & Co. Limited, part of the largest tea plantation group in India, to form a joint venture company to develop jatropha plantations with farmers in North East India. We also have a number of jatropha seed purchase and oil supply agreements with Indian partners.

Funnily enough they neglect to mention how they acquired their technical director or the original plants.

In another case that I found particularly infuriating, Texas-based company Rice Tec, was granted a patent (1997) for basmati rice which has been grown in India for centuries. The patent applied to breeding crosses involving 22 basmati varieties from Pakistan and India. Whilst I believe the claim had to be withdrawn for most of the indian varieties following legal action, I am not sure whether the company still has a claim to the Pakistani varieties. According to a Parliamentary report, Pakistani rice growers were thwarted from challenging Rice Tec's patent on basmati rice when American lawyers demanded a deposit of £300,000. (The Guardian, 15 September 1999). The company now boasts of the following products on its website:

Kasmati Rice : Great tasting Indian-style rice grown in the United States. Delicious flavor. Exotic aroma. Fluffy texture. Long slender grains. Kasmati® is an essential ingredient for Indian or curry dishes, and will add a gourmet touch to any meal.

Texmati Rice: Texmati® is the most widely recognized brand of aromatic rice in the US and is frequently requested by name in recipes. Unlike regular rice, Texmati® when cooked, has the appetizing aroma of popcorn and a subtle nutty taste. It cooks up fluffy and separate in 15 minutes (our brown takes 45 minutes while our light brown takes 20 minutes). It can be served alone as a delicious side dish or can be used to enhance any recipe.

Jasmati Rice: Jasmati® is the American Jasmine Rice. Its appetizing aroma and soft texture make it ideal for a variety of Asian cuisines. Equally at home in desserts or Oriental foods, Jasmine Rice is a delicious alternative to ordinary rice.

Right that's it! I am applying for a patent on Yorkshire pudding and Cornish pasties in all south asian countries from Friday. Expect to see Rajshire® pudding and Karachish® pasties advertised on my blog soon.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Hell and Damnation

Bliar seeking ҹ4-million deal for Soul: report

Prime Minister Tony Bliar is preparing to sell his soul to an infernal mouse owned by the Infernal Prince Set for a whopping ҹ4 million underworld pounds ($666m), it was reported Saturday. Having originally sold his soul to Prince Lucifer (close cousin of His Satanic Majesty King Sshytan Van Goatshead), Bliar exercised his buy-back option at a preferential rate, after Prince Lucifer found himself in financial difficulties.

According to the Jahanumm Express, Bliar was said to have selected Harper mouse as his rodent "of choice", for a deal that would allow him to wipe out at a stroke the population of Basra, so that he could afford the mortgage on the six dungeon mansion in upmarket Di Yu (China town in Hell), purchased for his retirement from the world of the living.

But the prime minister's office has insisted that the claim, which coincides with Bliar returning from his summer holidays, was "categorically untrue." The Jahanumm Express quoted suffering insiders as saying the value of his soul could be more than ҹ7 million when sponsorship and other factors are taken into account.

Bliar's return to work has refueled speculation that the prime minister may be starting his `swansong' year as he prepares to step down towards the lower reaches of the nether world. Reports have suggested that he is again under growing pressure to announce the date for his departure from Earth.

The most likely date will be after he hangs as a war-criminal, following a world wide revolution widely expected in 2008. However, he is also reported to have "unfinished business" with Gordon Brown, and a televised duel to the death, could be on the cards instead.

His immediate concern is his planned visit to the Middle East to kill the peace process after supporting Israel's month-long bombardment of Lebanon, which killed only 1,300 civilians. Demons Weekly reports that this has not gone down well in the Dis Stockmarket where his stock has fallen by 20% since a record performance in spring 2003.

Apart from preparing for what could be his last rites, Blair is also reported to be concerned about the forthcoming deadline for him to break the four-year tentative peace in Northern Ireland by restoring internment for all Catholics and bringing back the Black and Tans.

Officials from Prince Set's Tarturus Palace have leaked plans by Bliar and President George W. Bush to foment a third world war involving nuclear weapons. Downing Street denied that this was on the agenda, saying that the Iranians had failed to produce a workable weapon, despite leaked blueprints and help from unnamed agencies. A complete nuclear exchange is therefore considered unfeasible, by the time Mr Bliar is due to expire.

Homeless in Leeds

Friday, August 25, 2006

Complaint to Beeb and Reply

The complaint relates to a breakfast time transmission from BBC breakfast. This had to be one of the most blatantly biased reports from the BBC that I have ever seen (and I have seen a fair few). What is even more staggering is the reply.

{Programme Name:} Breakfast News
{Transmission Date:}14 - 07 - 06

I would like to complain about the deliberate bias in the reporting of the current crisis between Israel and Lebanon. This is evidenced by the content of this specific news report (Breakfast News 14/07/2006). Your news report was completely one-sided in the following ways:

1. Footage was shown of injured Israeli civilians being placed into an ambulance and the correspondent reported that two Israeli civilians had been killed and several injured. In contrast there were no pictures of Arab civilian casualties (reported elsewhere as upwards of 50) resulting from bombing raids and shelling by Israel. The correspondent said " of course there have been casualties on the other side too" by way of acknowledging these casualties. There was no other mention. This is a disgraceful dismissal of Arab casualties in an offhand and passing manner. Why was insufficient and unequal coverage given to Arab casualties?
2. In an earlier part of the report, two identical repeated clips were shown of Hizbollah guerillas marching carrying flags. There was no purpose to repeating this clip except to emphasise in the mind of the viewer that these were fundamentalist fanatics. No comparative clips were shown of Israeli forces training.

3. The correspondent also said "this is not a helpless foe, the Israeli's are fighting. They are a well-armed militia with Katyusha rockets at their disposal." This is not my definition of well-armed, especially when you are facing the latest missiles, stealth bombers, apache gunships, armour piercing artillery shells and thermobaric weapons deployed by Israel. Not a word was said about the comparative strength of Israel or the weapons it is deploying.

In summary, my complaint specifically relates to unequal reporting of casualties in the crisis. Also it relates to footage that creates an image of suffering on the Israeli side whilst ignoring the far greater death and destruction on the Arab side. Thirdly, the depiction of the Arab side as well-armed and fanatical, without putting into context the strength and fanaticism on the Israeli side. I would like you to address each specific point in your reply. Thankyou for addressing this complaint.

The reply:
Dear [Kebz],

Thank you for your email of 14 July concerning 'Breakfast' on BBC ONE. I would like to apologise for the delay in replying. We know our correspondents appreciate a quick response, and it is a matter of regret to us that you have had to wait on this occasion.
I was sorry to learn that you felt the 14 July edition of the programme was unbalanced in its reporting of the casualties of the current Middle East crisis. I believe you felt footage of injured Israelis indicated a pro-Israeli bias, one which was supported by the report's treatment of Hezbollah.

Whilst I appreciate the strength of your views, I would assure you that, throughout our interviews and reports on the current conflict, we have tried to explain how the situation started and developed, and have given airtime to representatives from across the political spectrum.

However, I am sure you will appreciate that equal representation is not always possible or practical within individual programmes, and account also needs to be taken of the way a subject is covered over a period of time. Individual reports may give more time to one particular incident, but we regularly report the actions of - and consequences for - both sides. Although not every television or radio piece covers all aspects of the conflict, this does not constitute bias. We have covered the situation very extensively on our television, radio and online output, and for the full range of reports, I would advise that you visit the following sites:

We have also posted a 'facts and figures' article which details the number of casualties and extent of damage suffered by both sides:

In addition, the following articles are examples of our reports on Lebanese casualties:

Nevertheless, I appreciate you have strong views on this matter. Please be assured your concerns have been registered on our daily audience log, an internal document available to BBC management and News teams. This enables us to monitor audience reaction and develop future programming and policy.

Thank you once again for taking the time to contact the BBC.

[BBC robot]
BBC Information
Note the standard evasion that their coverage may be unequal in specific programmes but is balanced by other pieces elsewhere. The tone of this specific programme was very much pro-Israeli and the report beggared belief. The footage and the comments were specifically biased in a way that could in no way have been balanced by anything elsewhere. Nowhere in the links given is there anything that resembles a report that would favour the Lebanese in the same way.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Recorded Massage

Due to circumstances completely under our control, J4P refreshing updates are suspended whilst I bugger off for a couple of days. Rest assured the low quality of output will be maintained when I get back on Friday or Saturday. Unfortunately, quality guest bloggers are unavailable during this period and we thank you for your continuing impatience with our recorded massage. You have not been charged for reading this massage. However if you should wish to donate generously an offshore bank account number can be provided for tax-exempt relief. Please enjoy our archives and pretend you are watching J4P gold or something.

Bon nuit.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The news as it should be

British kit used in Lebanon by Israeli bombers.

British-made military munitions have been found in Lebanon by Hezbollah Defence Forces. The deadly cluster-bombs are brightly coloured and often attract the attention of children after being dropped by Israeli jets.

Officials in London are trying to establish who manufactured the illegal munitions and how they ended up in the hands of the Zionist extremists.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "The Hezbollah Defence Forces have confirmed to us that they have found some cluster-bomb munitions which they believe to be British, in southern Lebanon.

"We are seeking further details of the equipment to investigate whether it is British and, if so, by whom it was made and to whom it was sold. If the prime minister is found to be involved he will be in a lot of trouble."

There was nothing to suggest they were part of a batch sold by Britain to Germany in 2003 under a special export licence, a source said.

Reports that Lebanon had made a formal protest to the British Government were also untrue, the source added.

Meanwhile, Lebanon's defence minister said he was certain Hezbollah would not break the ceasefire but warned Israeli Occupation Forces of punishment if they fired rockets into the Arab state.

This strong warning showed concern that Zionists might try to restart the fighting by drawing retaliation from Hezbollah Defence Forces. He insisted Hezbollah would hold its fire.

Lebanon has started deploying 15,000 soldiers to the south, putting a government force in the region for the first time in four decades, as part of the ceasefire requirements.

They will joined by an equal force of international peacekeepers, but wrangling among countries keen to send troops has so far delayed assembly of the force.

Israeli PM Ehud Olmert said Israel would not accept the participation of peacekeepers from countries that do not have diplomatic relations with the Jewish state. The international community said "tough shit, you fascist war-criminal. Since when, do we have to listen to you about what forces can go on another countries territory?”

Read the original here.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

One Water in Africa

This is from the company that hired Brad Pitt for their marketing for this brand of water. I'd like to know what their markup is on the bottles and how much of that £1 goes toward 'administrative expenses'. My mum used to carry more than that inside a large clay pot, balancing it on her head whilst holding another one in her arms and walking three miles, half of which was up a very steep slope, so I am not impressed.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

H2O - A disaster coming to a city near you soon.

This article predicts the return of cholera to London, the mass migration of Africans leading to civil unrest in Europe and a crash of the chinese economy as limited fresh water supplies become critical. All possibly in just 9 years time. Analysts for the corporations including Shell and Coca-Cola are worried that water demand will reach critical levels in the next 20 years.

Globally, water usage has increased by six times in the past 100 years and will double again by 2050, driven mainly by irrigation and demands of agriculture. Some countries have already run out of water to produce their own food. ....The corporations were yesterday joined by the conservation group WWF and the International Water Management Institute which said water scarcity was increasing faster than expected. In China, authorities had begun trucking in water to millions of people after wells and rivers ran dry in the east of the country..........

In a further paper, WWF said yesterday that water crises, long seen as a problem of only the poorest, are affecting the wealthiest nations. "In Europe, countries along the Atlantic are suffering recurring droughts, while water-intensive tourism and irrigated agriculture are endangering water resources in the Mediterranean. In Australia, salinity is a major threat to a large proportion of its key agricultural areas", said Jamie Pittock, director of WWF's freshwater programme......

By 2010, 22 megacities with populations larger than 10 million face major water and sewerage problems. The situation is gravest in China, where 550 of the country's 600 largest cities are running short. Growing demand for water by industry leads to serious over-exploitaion with less and less water available for consumers and farmers.... Waves of immigrants flood in to Europe from increasingly drought-torn Africa............

Water becomes a key symbol of protest around the world and is seen as the most serious social and political issue of the generation. By 2015, multinational companies are accused regularly of taking too much water in developing countries, cholera breaks out in London, and governments start to use water as a form of social control, subsidising some sectors and rationing it to others. Great floods follow each other in quick succession. Deforestation leads to massive mudslides in Asia and increasing flooding affects Europe, damaging industry."

Note how, whilst the article briefly describes droughts in Africa, the focus is on us poor unfortunates who live in the west. WE will have to cope with 'civil unrest' and 'mass migration' as well as shortage of the wet stuff for our manicured lawns and golf courses. The fact is that civil unrest is rampant throughout most of Africa and that boatloads of desperate refugees are already being intercepted in rickety vessels on their way to Spain. Yet we do not acknowledge this plight and portray it as a danger to us from these coloured alien masses, who would take away our standard of living. Cholera is a part of daily life in Africa and parts of Asia, yet it is only news when London is in danger. Europe, the mediterranean, the countries of the Atlantic ocean and Australia are the area's of concern, because thats where we rich and mostly white people live. Anything that concerns us or has consequences on our wealth has to be considered. Note that the deforestation leading to mudslides in Asia affects Europe too and 'damages industry'.

We have betrayed Africa and the third world for too long. Only now that the chickens are coming home to roost are we waking up and saying 'gosh this could be awful'. I question the motive of the corporations for producing this kind of report. Obviously they are considering their own medium/long term survival, but is it also a call to do something about the third world? One fears that in fact this is just a warning for the rich to grab as many water resources as they can by force and to develop their own fresh water desalination plants, before it is too late. What will they do about the predicted waves of mass migration? I suspect it will be business as before with border guards being more ruthless with these pesky invaders.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Sleep Apnea

I suffer from mild sleep apnea which means that my breathing gets interrupted frequently during sleep. Despite being married for 14 years, it was after sharing a room with a stranger at a conference in Portugal, that this was pointed out to me. It is a progressive condition that gets worse with age. Frequently, particularly in the winter, I also find my airways severely congested in the mornings and a strong cuppa is required to get me started for the day. This new paper in the Monaldi chest archive explains the link:

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is characterised by repetitive episodes of upper airway occlusion during sleep. OSA has been shown to be associated with a variable degree of nasal inflammation, uvula mucosal congestion and airway hyperreactivity. The upper airway inflammation, whose clinical importance is uncertain, is characterised by leukocytes infiltration and interstitial oedema. In addition, recent data has shown the presence of neutrophilic inflammation in the lower airways. The current opinion is that airway inflammation is caused by the local, repeated mechanical trauma related to the intermittent airway occlusion typical of the disease. Another potential mechanism involves the intermittent nocturnal hypoxemia that through the phenomenon of the ischemia-reperfusion injury may induce the production of oxygen free radicals and therefore cause local and systemic inflammation. Finally, a state of low-grade systemic inflammation may be related to obesity per se with the pro-inflammatory mediators synthesised in the visceral adipose cells. Several authors stress the role of circulating and local inflammatory mediators, such as pro-inflammatory cytokines, exhaled nitric oxide, pentane and 8-isoprostane as the determinants of inflammation in OSA.

Airway inflammation in patients affected by obstructive sleep apnea. Sabato R, Guido P, Salerno FG, Resta O, Spanevello A, Barbaro MP. Monaldi Arch Chest Dis. 2006 Jun;65(2):102-5.

In the USA, the FDA have approved a new treatment called radiofrequency volumetric reduction of the tongue. This involves piercing the tongue, throat or soft palate with a special needle connected to a radio frequency generator. The inner tissue is then heated to around 170 degrees and shrinks, but the outer tissues are left intact. I haven't seen any results, but I pictured a large man with a very small tongue and a squeaky voice when I read about it.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Cocaine Importing Agency

News from Afghanistan
Opium cultivation has surged since the ouster of the Taliban in late 2001. The former regime enforced an effective ban on poppy growing by threatening to jail farmers — virtually eradicating the crop in 2000. But Afghan and Western counternarcotics officials say Taliban-led militants are now implicated in the drug trade, encouraging poppy cultivation and using the proceeds to help fund their insurgency."(That) kind of revenue from that kind of crop aids and abets the enemy," Chief Master Sgt. Curtis L. Brownhill, a senior adviser to the head of the U.S. Central Command, during a recent visit to Afghanistan. "They count on having that sort of resource and money."...."Now what they have is a narco-economy. If they do not get corruption sorted they can slip into being a narco-state," the U.S. official warned.

This is like McDonalds warning a 30st trucker that if he does not stop eating quarter pounders every day, he will become a fat bastard. The Taliban who went to great pains to eradicate poppy cultivation are now being accused of doing just the opposite. Despite 'intensive anti-drugs efforts' apparent "virtually all cultivated land in Helmand — including government-owned land — has been planted with opium poppies." Call me silly, but doesn't that suggest that it is people in the government who are responsible? I know just because they have a history of being warlords and running drugs in the past doesn't mean we should judge them. After all they are now responsible members of the democratic community who do their utmost for womens rights and such like. Not that the CIA would ever have anything to do with all of this either, despite minor prior slip-ups in Vietnam, Laos, Burma and a few other places where anti-communist heroes just happened to be drug-runners too.
CIA Dope Calypso 
by Allen Ginsberg, 1972

In nineteen hundred forty-nine
China was won by Mao Tse-tung
Chiang Kai Shek's army ran away
They were waiting there in Thailand yesterday

Supported by the CIA
Pushing junk down Thailand way

First they stole from the Meo Tribes
Up in the hills they started taking bribes
Then they sent their soldiers up to Shan
Collecting opium to send to The Man

Pushing junk in Bangkok yesterday
Supported by the CIA

Brought their jam on mule trains down
To Chiang Mai that's a railroad town
Sold it next to the police chief's brain
He took it to town on the choochoo train
Trafficking dope to Bangkok all day
Supported by the CIA

Touby Lyfong he worked for the French
A big fat man liked to dine & wench
Prince of the Meos he grew black mud
Till opium flowed through the land like a flood

Communists came and chased the French away
So Touby took a job with the CIA

and so on

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Burundi Project for School

Refugees - wake your conscience and wake up to reality

Refugees are not just refugees on world refugee day. They exist right now, shivering, hungry, alone, desperate and unwanted.

A treat for chocaholics

Feeling guilty at sneaking a chocolate into your coffee break this morning? I must admit that mid-week pangs led me to indulge in a little treat with my machine-formulated instant rehydrated latte this morning. However fear not intrepid J4P reader, chocolate has untold benefits for your health:

“Diet patterns are widely recognized as contributors to hypertension. Widely studied potential contributors include intake of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, soluble fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, alcohol, protein, and calories. We add to that list the effect of dietary flavanols present in certain cocoas, which have sufficient activity on vascular nitric oxide to influence blood pressure control. Kuna Indians who live on islands near Panama have little age-related rise in blood pressure or hypertension. On migration to Panama City, blood pressure rises with age, and the frequency of essential hypertension matches urban levels elsewhere. We have identified a specific food that probably makes an important contribution to cardiovascular status. Island-dwelling Kuna drink more than 5 cups of flavanol-rich cocoa per day and incorporate that cocoa into many recipes. Mainland Kuna ingest little cocoa, and what they take is commercially available and flavanol-poor. The flavanol-rich cocoa activates nitric oxide synthase in vitro and in intact humans in the doses that the Kuna employ. Vasodilator responses to flavonoid-rich cocoa are prevented or reversed by the arginine analog, N-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester. Island-dwelling Kuna have a 3-fold larger urinary nitrate:nitrite than do Mainland dwellers. As endothelial dysfunction is central to current thinking on cardiovascular pathophysiology, a food that enhances endothelial function could have broad implications. The list of candidate conditions that might be influenced is impressive, ranging from atherosclerosis and diabetes mellitus to hypertension and preeclampsia, to vascular dementias and end-stage renal disease.

Vascular action of cocoa flavanols in humans: the roots of the story. K Hollengberg N. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol 2006;47 Suppl 2:S99-102; discussion S119-21

Had a smoke too? Fear not:

“The circulating pool of bioactive NO and endothelium-dependent vasodilation is acutely increased in smokers following the oral ingestion of a flavanol-rich cocoa drink. The increase in circulating NO pool may contribute to beneficial vascular health effects of flavanol-rich food.”

Acute consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa and the reversal of endothelial dysfunction in smokers. Heiss C, Kleinbongard P, Dejam A, Perre S, Schroeter H, Sies H, Kelm M. J Am Coll Cardiol 2005 Oct 4;46(7):1276-83.

Previous studies have also shown that theobromine in chocolate is also more effective than codeine in suppressing coughs. In fact if you have any codeine in the cupboard, give it back to the pharmacy. Recent work in Manchester shows that it is no better than placebo against coughs.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Justice not vengeance

Polly Toynbee makes me sick!! This apologist for murderers has no conscience and no qualms about selling herself to whoever resides on the throne in Whitehall. Currently she is crawling up Brown's sphincter and making disparaging remarks about the current vicar. This sentence in her article sums up Toynbee and her ilk:
"As it is, Blair will leave office earlier than he would have done, for ever branded by his great Bush/Iraq error; Labour may lose power, blighted and paralysed by it. That is what happens in democracies - vengeance the democratic way."
According to Toynbee, the killing of hundreds of thousands, the wretched killing and torture ground that Iraq has become, is just another human error of judgement rather than a war-crime. Losing power is vengeance for nobody. There is no vengeance for the dead people nor for those whose loved ones are dead or mutilated. Nothing that could put things right the nightly terrors of Iraqs children. No vengeance that could take away the pain of losing your father, mother or child. No vengeance that could take away the fear of death squads prowling the streets carrying drills to maximise the pain before despatching their victims. No vengeance that can take away the poison of depleted uranium that will linger for millions of years taking its toll on future generations. A country, a people, a culture, a generation has been raped, mutilated and scarred mentally and physically. Is losing power sufficient punishment for a man who despite warnings, despite the protests that filled London, sided with the neoconservative butchers and the zionist warlords residing in Washington and Tel Aviv?

Dark Matter, Dark Energy and The Man with Three Branes

Kebz: Is there any evidence that these things [Dark Matter and Dark Energy] arise from the interaction of our universe with another? So in this scenario what we are observing are the effects of that interaction with gravity and perhaps other forces spilling over into our universe where the interactions are strongest? The interacting universes could exist in alternative dimensions and interact invisibly with our own time-space dimensions.

Jeff Filippini (Berkeley):

Good question - ideas something like this have actually been put forward in recent years!

Some theorists have suggested that dark matter may not be "stuff" in our own universe, but the gravitational shadow of matter in other universes. The idea is suggested by models in which space has more than the usual four dimensions (three of space, one of time). One possibility is that the visible universe is a sort of four-dimensional sheet (technically called a "3-brane") embedded in a higher-dimensional bulk (picture the 2-dimensional surface of a soap bubble floating in three-dimensional space). We don't perceive the other dimensions in these models because the interactions responsible for particle physics (electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces) are constrained to operate only along the brane. For example, since light rays can only travel along the surface of the brane, particles in the bulk (off the surface of the "soap bubble") would be invisible to our eyes.

Gravity, however, could leak away into the bulk. This may be why gravity seems so much weaker than the other forces of nature - its strength along the brane gets diluted by leaking away into the extra dimensions. The force of gravity in 5-dimensions between two objects will fall off as the inverse-cube of the distance between them, for example, much faster than the inverse-square law of 4-dimensional spacetime. If gravitational forces can leak only a short distance into the bulk, gravity could seem to follow an inverse-square law at large distances but become much stronger at very short distances.

As for dark matter (similar models may be interesting for dark energy, though I don't immediately know of an example), it could be the result of several branes like ours lying extremely close together in the bulk. We could never see the matter in these other branes, but their gravitational pull would affect our visible matter, just as dark matter does!

This is a very interesting alternative to our usual ideas about dark matter. It's not currently the favored explanation of most cosmologists, however. For one thing it depends on a rather complicated setup (a sheaf of branes extremely near each other, gravity that can leak a little but not very much, etc.). It's also not clear whether this theory should produce the observed structure for galaxies - blobs of stars embedded in much larger clouds of invisible gravitating mass. It's a very interesting possibility that's still being pursued, however.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Competition time

Any guesses as to what this is?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Millions and Billions

Government Signed PFI projects list March 2006

Cabinet Office 2 347.7
Crown Prosecution Service 1 26
DCA 14 371.4
DCMS 13 212.12
DEFRA 14 650.88
Dept for Transport 51 21955.57
DFES 144 4111.91
DoH 149 6571.96
DTI 8 180.8
DWP 11 1341
FCO 2 91
HM Treasury 2 189
Home Office 42 1186.8
MOD 55 4570.48
Northern Ireland 39 709.38
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister 65 1110.66
Scotland 93 3596.65
Wales 33 555.03
Office of Government Commerce (OGC) 1 10
HMRC 10 624.07
Grand Total 749 48412.41

"DFID works in partnership with African governments, civil society and other donors to help tackle poverty. UK assistance to Africa has doubled since 1997. We have already met our target to provide £1 billion a year in aid to Africa by 2005/6 and we are increasing steadily to reach £1.25 billion by 2007/8."

"Experts at the London School of Economics (LSE) say costs for the national ID card scheme could rise as high as £300 per person, on top of infrastructure costs of £18bn, according to a report seen by The Observer."
"Currently 4.8 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa die before the age of 5 every year - that is 9 deaths every minute. With one fifth of the world's births, Sub-Saharan Africa currently accounts for 45% of child deaths. Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where the number of child deaths is rising. If current trends continue, there will be 5.1 million deaths in 2015 with Africa's share rising to 57% of the total.Of the 45 countries in the region, 10 countries - including Zambia, Kenya and Zimbabwe - have gone backward since 1990. Another 19 countries will miss the MDG target by more than 35 years." UNDP report
"The Government plans departmental spending through the process of Spending Reviews, the last of which concluded in 2004 and set the Budget until 2007/08. Across the period, the Defence budget is set to increase from £29.7Bn in 2004/05 to £33.4Bn in 2007/08"
"the cost of the wars in Iraq - in which the bulk of the money has been spent - and Afghanistan, will exceed $US300 billion so far [up to 2005] and more than $US100 billion for 2005."

Ministers condemn claim by leading Muslims that Britain's stance is putting this country at risk

What else can they do? The link between our foreign policy and its role in generating terrorism is the elephant in the room they are desperate not to mention. Now they find themselves condemning their own MPs including loyalists for whom career always comes before community. Kim Howells is leading the charge against the enemy within. He says " I have no doubt that there are many issues which incite people to loathe government policies - but not to strap explosives to themselves and go out and murder innocent people.' This is a deliberate and cynical missing of the point as if to say that the muslim community is somehow excusing terrorism rather than highlighting the obvious and damaging effect of deliberate hypocrisy - such as supplying weapons to Israel and obstructing an immediate ceasefire whilst talking about peace. The muslim community is not stupid. No amount of spin and bluster can dress up the real damage caused by anti-muslim policies in support of the Bush Regime and the zionist regime. What is 'dangerous and foolish' is the insistence that there is no connection because that pretence antagonises the community even further. Yes, there has been terrorism in Muslim countries for decades but that was always aimed against West-friendly despots who rule without democratic legitimacy and carry out torture and persecution at the behest of their western political masters. The observer describes the 'controversy over the protest letter' but there is actually no controversy, just a desperate rearguard PR exercise by the Blair government to limit the spread of this kind of thinking into the broader UK electorate. Meanwhile arson attacks are taking place against mosques because of the hysteria and hatred stirred up against ordinary muslim members of the UK public by the governments ever-helpful media attack dogs. Stand by for more calls for muslim leaders to 'tackle the extremism in their midst'. I wish they would exercise this advice for themselves and tackle Blair the extremist in their own midst.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Eureka ........ and some more (painful) papers

Following discussion over on POV regarding my ability to...ahem.. get wood at altitude, I have had a look at literature to see whether hypoxia (conditions of limited oxygen) can actually affect the erectile ability and the link with NO. This paper seems to be the nearest confirmation of that theory:

Effects of hypoxia on endothelin-1 sensitivity in the corpus cavernosum. Filippi S,Marini M,Vannelli GB,Crescioli C,Granchi S, Vignozzi L,Luconi M,Ferruzzi P,Morelli A,Forti G,Ledda F,Maggi M. Mol Hum Reprod. 2003 Dec;9(12):765-74.

The penis remains in a hypo-oxygenated, flaccid state for a large majority of the time. In this study, we investigated the effect of changing oxygen tension on the expression and functional activity of endothelin-1 (ET-1) receptors in the penis.... In conclusion, prolonged (24 h) hypoxia stimulated several counter-regulatory mechanisms in penile tissue, including up-regulation of ETB and down-regulation of RhoA/ROK pathways, which may help to preserve CC hypo-oxygenation, allowing smooth muscle relaxation and, most probably, penile erection.

As a result of my search I came across several more unusual papers too:

Prolonged penile strangulation with metal clamps.Patel C, Kim R, Delterzo M, Wang R. Asian J Androl. 2006 Jan;8(1):105-6.

'Fracture' of the penis: a case seriesChung CH,Szeto YK,Lai KK.Hong Kong Med J. 2006 Jun;12(3):197-200.

Seven (64%) cases were attributed to sexual intercourse, three (27%) to penile manipulation, and one (9%) to rolling over the erect penis during sleep.
Case report: a novel solution to penile zipper injury--the needle holder.McCann PA.ScientificWorldJournal. 2005 Apr 6;5:298-9.

Penile injuries are relatively uncommon. The crush injury mediated by entrapment of the skin between the teeth and fastener of a zipper mechanism has been described. It is seen more commonly in uncircumcised children than adults. A number of treatment methods have been mentioned in the literature. An adult case presentation and novel method of management using two small needle holders is illustrated.

Painful attraction: a magnetic penile injury.Rice SA,Rajan P,Hansen R,Munro FD. J R Soc Med. 2005 Mar;98(3):122-3.

Scrotal and penile reconstruction after massive self-injection of liquid paraffin and petroleum jelly.Scholten E,Nanhekhan LV,Oudit D,Hage JJ.Plast Reconstr Surg. 2005 Jun;115(7):2168-9.

Penile amputation and emasculation: hazards of modern agricultural machinery.Dogra PN, Gautam G, Ansari MS.Int Urol Nephrol. 2004;36(3):379-80.

Progressive hair coil strangulation of penis.Ms S,Shamim M.J Coll Physicians Surg Pak. 2004 Oct;14(10):636-7.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Unusual papers

Accidental impalement injuries of the intraperitoneal rectum caused by the barrel of the self loading rifle. Jackson DS. J R Army Med Corps. 1985 Oct;131(3):164-6

Penetrating anorectal injury. An unrecognized hazard for surgeons.
Dennison AR,Britton BJ. Dis Colon Rectum. 1984 Sep;27(9):624-5.

In case you are wondering. I came across them during a PubMed search on collagen.

The Suspects – An exclusive advance look at the terrorists who nearly committed carnage on an imaginary scale.

High Wycombe

As the police investigation into the terror plot unfolded yesterday, the main focus of attention was on two brothers who lived in a semi-detached ex-council house in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. Their home in Walton Drive was raided by police in the early hours. ………..As word of their arrest spread, residents spoke of how the pair, both in their early 20s, seemed to shun local mosques and become insular after frequenting a local Islamic bookshop.
Phil Redfern, 26, a local builder and former acquaintance, said: "They used to come out and play football, but as they got older they got very secluded...There's a lot of Islamic bookstores popping up all over the place. It's different, the preaching down there."

Frequenting bookshops - now that is a sign of a true terrorist. They shunned local mosques but went to the bookstore instead! Bookshops are not noted for their sermons or prayer services and tend to be rather cramped for that kind of thing. Perhaps Mr Redfern knows how the preaching is different in a bookshop compared to the local mosque, but I have my doubts.
Zaffar Iqbal, a worker in the bookshop, said he knew the men's father…..He dismissed any suggestion that the brothers may have been radicalised at his shop. "This is not a munitions supplier, this is a bookshop," he said.

Bookshops tend to have literature of all different persuasions – a bit like a pick and mix sweet shop. Could the owners be interested in selling books and making money rather than reading all the literature and vetting it for potential inspiration for terrorism?
Another neighbour, Ashiq Rasul, also defended the brothers…. "These guys would never do any terrorism."
Half a mile away, other residents were seeking to come to terms with the arrest of another local man. They told how Don Stewart-Whyte became a changed figure a year ago when he converted to Islam. He lived quietly in Hepplewhite Close with his widowed mother. But former acquaintances said he had become less inclined to acknowledge his former friends and neighbours. "He grew a long beard and had shaved his head," one said. "The people he was hanging around with were different. Now he's with people who are religious. He doesn't speak to anyone around here since his conversion. We don't know what he does nowadays."

They are dangerous bunch these converters. You can’t trust ‘em. How dare he change his lifestyle and not frequent pubs and clubs with his former friends? Living quietly with his widowed mother is another clue. Why didn’t he make more noise? Could it be that the reason he became less inclined to acknowledge his former friends was that they looked at him in a funny way after his change of faith?
One neighbour of another unnamed suspect in Micklefield Road said the householder had caused some resentment by housing asylum seekers in his property until four months ago. Peter Whitelock, 77, who coordinates Neighbourhood Watch in the area, said: "There were people coming to the house at night-time, around midnight, almost every night."

Mixing with asylum seekers is dodgy business. Note the subtle link to the threat posed by asylum seekers promoted daily in our tabloids.
Another raid followed in nearby Folkestone Road at the home of Marylin Savant and her husband Ibrahim. On the electoral register are their sons Oliver and Adam, although neither of them lives there. Oliver, 25, was arrested elsewhere soon afterwards, but one family member said the experience had been terrifying for them all.
"Oliver is a just an ordinary family man who is expecting a new baby," said a relative. "He is a Muslim, he goes to the mosque but he is not the member of any organisation."
The relative said none of them had any idea why the arrest might have taken place and that Oliver's parents were blameless. "They are just two normal people. She is a bookkeeper and her computer was taken away. They are very upset and traumatised." Mrs Savant is believed to be of English origin while her husband was born in Iran.
A neighbour said Oliver, a former shopworker, had started growing a beard and wearing long white robes after converting to Islam in his teens. Another neighbour, Paul Kleinman, 66, a retired fireman, said he had known Oliver all his life. He said: "He was a very polite young man. I've known him since the day he was born. His dad invited me in for a drink. Oliver started putting on Muslim robes and growing his beard long a few years back."

Interracial mingling. Another sign of extremism. Mrs Savant ( related to The Marilyn Von Savant the American genius? ) would doubtless have been the financial organizer of Al-Qaeda in High Wycombe. These bookkeepers are not to be trusted especially if their sons grow a long beard. Let’s be grateful they hadn’t got around to buying any explosive baby milk for the unborn baby yet.
Two more arrests occurred soon afterwards in Stoke Newington. Two Bangladeshi men were arrested in their upstairs flat. "He had lived there for many years and was a very nice chap," a neighbour said of one of them.
"He was attacked by some youths and hit on the head with an iron bar a couple of years ago and he went into a coma. I think he's still recovering."

Being hit on the head with an iron bar and going into coma tends to radicalize people. They may pretend to be nice but something has activated a terrorist gene deep inside their brain.


In the Alum Rock area of Birmingham, two men were arrested in Belcher Road as detectives raided the offices of ACS Management Group. A 30-year-old builder who did not wish to be named said: "I heard some commotion so looked out of my back window and saw at least 20 police officers chasing a group of men over gardens of the houses to the rear of the shop." Neighbours reported seeing a lorry twice a week delivering unmarked packages. "There are a number of smartly dressed Asian and Somalian men who seemed to come and go at the property," one said.
He said the owners of the shop had erected a metal gate to restrict access to the garages at the rear and the business had changed names three times in the past year despite being staffed by the same people.
"The two Asian men who lived there had been there for years but kept themselves to themselves," he said.

If in doubt consult a local builder for expert knowledge on terrorism. All those unmarked packages delivered twice a week every week must add up to a fair bit of liquid explosive. The name changing obviously has nothing to do with a dodgy firm that declares itself bankrupt to avoid creditors and opens as a new business. That kind of practice is the exclusive MO of a terrorist operation. I’m pretty sure it will soon emerge that they didn’t pay any VAT, looked at child porn and had wads of cash under the mattress too.

Read the original here in The Gurniad

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Scream Hill !!!!!!

A smash in the face with the butt of the gun and the soldier falls to the ground, bleeding. The kidnappers pick him up, quickly tie his hands and blindfold him, and disappear into the night.

This might be the end of the kidnapping, but the nightmare has just begun. The soldier's mother collapses, his father prays. His commanding officers promise to do everything they can to get him back, his comrades swear revenge. An entire nation is up-in-arms, writing in pain and worry.

Nobody knows how the soldier is: Is he hurt? Do his captors give him even a minimum of human decency, or are they torturing him to death by trampling his honor? The worst sort of suffering is not knowing. Will he come home? And if so, when? And in what condition? Can anyone remain apathetic in the light of such drama?

This description, you'll be surprised to know, has nothing to do with the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit. It is the story of an arrest I carried out as an IDF soldier, in the Nablus casbah, about 10 years ago. The "soldier" was a 17-year-old boy, and we kidnapped him because he knew "someone" who had done "something."

We brought him tied up, with a burlap sac over his head, to a Shin Bet interrogation center known as "Scream Hill" (at the time we thought it was funny). There, the prisoner was beaten, violently shaken and sleep deprived for weeks or months. Who knows.

No one wrote about it in the paper. European diplomats were not called to help him. After all, there was nothing out of the ordinary about the kidnapping of this Palestinian kid. Over the 40 years of occupation we have kidnapped thousands of people, exactly like Gilad Shalit was captured: Threatened by a gun, beaten mercilessly, with no judge or jury, or witnesses, and without providing the family with any information about the captive.

When the Palestinians do this, we call it "terror." When we do it, we work overtime to whitewash the atrocity.


Some people will say: The IDF doesn't "just" kidnap. These people are "suspects." There is no more perverse lie than this. In all the years I served, I reached one simple conclusion: What makes a "suspect"? Who, exactly suspects him, and of what?

Who has the right to sentence a 17-year-old to kidnapping, torture and possible death? A 26-year-old Shin Bet interrogator? A 46-year-old one? Do these people have any higher education, apart from the ability to interrogate? What are his considerations? I all these "suspects" are so guilty, why not bring them to trial?

Arik Diamant is an IDF reservist and the head of the Courage to Refuse organization

Monday, August 07, 2006

SuperID - The new integrated network society

Can't wait to get your hands on the all branding spanking new superIDENTITY card? Don't worry about government incompetence in handling your personal details. Of course you are worried about handing over your intimate details to the people that brought us the Mellenium dome and the NHS supercomputer. But rest assured that they are already thinking of putting the database into more 'efficient' private hands. If you don't do enough shopping or eating burgers then you will be punished with higher taxes on your meagre salary courtesy of HM Inland Revenue PLC in association with Walmart. Not participificating in our freedom-fry loving society can be punishable by exile to the free-fire zone in former Southern lebanon now known as Northern Samaria territories of greater Israel. Not applying for the combined passport superidentity card may also bar you from travelling on public transport or the Microsoft Motorway Toll Network. Motto - Beware -our crashes may cause crashes.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Tony Blair confronts the critics back home

Blair Press conference
Tony Blair confronts the critics back home
by: Kebz on: 4th Aug, 06

Blair on ...
Labour dissent
The idea George Bush and I are at odds over this is complete rubbish. We have been at one particularly shoulder to shoulder. It's not surprising there are people who profoundly disagree with the policy ... this is a very, very difficult situation and when you see terrible scenes of bloodshed and the death of innocent Israeli civilians it is a terrible thing ... my job is to try to bring it to an end by insisting on avoiding a ceasefire until all the world’s problems are sorted out. Let us not pretend it is easy standing here in front of the press exuding fake sincerity, just having signed orders to speed up arms shipments to needy Israel.
Israeli actions
The reason why this problem has arisen is that, in defiance of previous UN resolutions, Hizbullah have continued to operate with their militias outside the control of the government of Israel down in the south of Lebanon. No one is giving anyone a green light [to continue military action]. That is just not correct. It is more like amber and whilst it may be illegal to go through amber, in practice you have to make a very difficult judgement as to whether stopping may be more dangerous than carrying on. The sale of green lights is a tricky business but if we didn’t sell them, somebody else would step in… hurting our industry and jobs.
Diplomatic strategy
The UK and France, with the US and others, are in intense negotiations - I hope it may be possible, even within 24 or 48 hours, for people to see the [UN] resolution we are working on. At the moment we have agreed on a title, but that shouldn’t prevent us from progressing to the first line and with hard work and dedication we may be at the second line by early next month. Then, provided the three of us are in the same place supporting Israel, it should be days to get ... [agreement].
Iran and Syria
Nobody is contemplating military action at this time [we planned that months ago]. If they want an opportunity to come into the international community and participate fully they can do so - but it's got to be on basis that they're not exporting terrorism around the region or in the case of Iran trying to acquire a nuclear weapon in breach of international law. I have personally seen signed export licences for terrorism originating from Tehran. I find it quite shocking that the president of Iran says the solution is to eliminate Israel, drive it into the sea and have Margaret [Beckett] and Condi [Rice] in his personal harem. How helpful is that at this moment in time, when the rockets that have been fired into Israel are very similar, if not identical, to those used against British forces in Basra? I mean the grey metal and the fins are a giveaway.
Leaving John Prescott in charge
In relation to whatever I'll be doing in the next few days, the most important thing is to realise that, wherever I am, I have got full communications with George ... The truth is that several of the leaders I am speaking to are actually on holiday as well. We are staying in the same cottage and Ehud will be setting up the barbecue whilst George and I set up the tent together.