Saturday, March 31, 2007

AL GORE should thank global warming, because if he, and all mammals are here (he's a mammal, isn't he?) it's thanks to it. More on this here.

Bring it on!

(The Nature article, if you're a subscriber, is here)

A POLL SHOWED that more Germans think that the US is more dangerous than Iran, and some at the German magazine Spiegel are starting to be concerned about it. Of course what they don't say is that Spiegel is itself to blame for a big part of the anti-Americanism in Germany (you only have to look at their covers), but I guess that some people start to realize is better than nothing. The Spiegel article is very good, read it all.

THE AFRICAN BLOGOSPHERE is split on reparations and the need of apology for slavery. A fascinating debate.

Friday, March 30, 2007

WHICH COUNTRY is Cuba's main food supplier?

The US.

I ASSUME you're all following the hostage crisis between Iran and the UK in Pajamas Media, right?

I HATE, HATE BLOGLINES: every time Bloglines announces system upgrades or some maintenance I am in fear. Lo and behold; they announced they were performing some "system upgrades" yesterday, and when I logged in this morning all my unread items were lost. Gone. Disappeared. I have lots of RSS subscriptions, and I rely on them to be there when I need them. Apparently they don't deserve that trust anymore.

Time to look for an alternative.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I'M TOO BUSY to blog on Spanish affairs in detail, but if you want to know what's going on over here just check my buddy John at Iberian Notes: he's on a roll.

DIDN'T THEY have enough with Oil-For-Food in Iraq? Apparently not:
A French judge is investigating bribes that Total executives allegedly paid Iranian officials to secure business in the Islamic Republic. Last week, the judge issued preliminary charges of abuse of company funds and corruption of foreign agents against Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie. The company and Mr. de Margerie deny any wrongdoing, but the Total experience is all too typical of the way European firms cut deals with dictators while their own governments provide political cover.

THIS IS ONE of these "only in America" moments that leaves most European flummoxed but that I think just shows why it's such a great country: Karl Rove rapping during the Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner. Video here (wait through the ad).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

IRANIAN TV has aired footage of the British sailors and marines held in Iran (video here). Let's see if any of the guantanameros so concerned with the Geneva Convention say something. The GC obviously forbids parading prisoners.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

NO, I HAVEN'T EVAPORATED: been busy with meetings all day. Too late now to blog (it's 9pm over this corner of the globe), so will see you all tomorrow...

Monday, March 26, 2007


Sunday, March 25, 2007

IT'S SUNDAY, so it's TV time!

Those are channels from around the world (basically US & UK): news, financial, film, kids, etc.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

RWANDA wants an apology from France for its role in the genocide that massacred almost one million people.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

THERE'S STILL hope for Europe:
Europe's citizens must be on their guard against political correctness and moralising politicians, says the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.

The former Portuguese premier and centre-Right politician is concerned that freedom can be the loser in European culture wars over climate change, cheap air travel, Islam and free speech.

"We should be aware of people who, sometimes for good reasons, try to establish what I call private moral codes, for this or that, be it climate change, religious behaviour or any kind of social behaviour," he says.

Mr Barroso, a former Maoist student firebrand who fought against the Portuguese dictatorship in the early 1970s, still regards himself as a freedom fighter, even when the calls for bans or restrictions are in a worthy cause, such as global warming or respect for Muslim communities.

"I was 18 years old when a democratic revolution came to my country. Before we could not read the books or listen to the music we wanted," he says, speaking in his 13th-floor office in the Berlaymont building in Brussels. "I am radical on these matters. If there is an excess of freedom, it is better to have excess than less." Europe has been deeply divided over controversies surrounding Islam.

Violent protests on the continent, in the Middle East and in Asia followed the publication in a Danish newspaper of cartoons caricaturing the Prophet Mohammed and the Pope faced calls to apologise after a speech on theology and the origins of Islam sparked international controversy.

But Mr Barroso backs the right to offend.

PALESTINIANS are supposed to be suffering from the international sanctions imposed after Hamas victory in the elections. However, according to official figures from the United Nations, United States, European Union and International Monetary Fund, Palestinians got more Western aid money than ever in 2006.

Controversies over the war in Iraq and U.S. unilateralism have overshadowed a more pragmatic and multilateral component of the Bush administration's grand strategy: its attempt to reconfigure U.S. foreign policy and international institutions in order to account for shifts in the global distribution of power and the emergence of states such as China and India. This unheralded move is well intentioned and well advised, and Washington should redouble its efforts.
That's the intro of an interesting article by Daniel Drezner at Foreign Affairs. Read it all.

CATHY SEIPP has passed away. Rest in peace.


MAURITANIA, the Middle East democratic model. Still imperfect, that's for sure, but much better than the rest of the countries in the area.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Remember the Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Gore global-warming pitch at the Academy Awards? Before they spoke, the screen at the back of the stage flashed not-so-subliminal messages about how to save the planet. My personal favorite was "Ride mass transit." This to a conclave of Hollywood plutocrats who have not seen the inside of a subway since the moon landing and for whom mass transit means a stretch limo seating no fewer than 10.
UPDATE. Robert Samuelson doesn't buy it either:
The actual politics of global warming defies Hollywood's stereotypes. It's not saints vs. sinners. The lifestyles that produce greenhouse gases are deeply ingrained in modern economies and societies. Without major changes in technology, the consequences may be unalterable. Those who believe that addressing global warming is a moral imperative face an equivalent moral imperative to be candid about the costs, difficulties and uncertainties.

BJORN LOMBORG about Europe's little dirty secret on global warming:
It will do next to no good - and again at very high cost. According to one well-established and peer-reviewed model, the effect of the EU cutting emissions by 20 percent will postpone warming in the 21st century by just two years, yet the cost will be about $90 billion annually. It will be costly, because Europe is a costly place to cut carbon-dioxide, and it will be inconsequential, because the EU will account for only about 6 percent of all emissions in the 21st century. So the new treaty will be an even less efficient use of our resources than the old Kyoto Protocol.
Leed el resto.

WHY THE SURGE is working.



THE 100-YEAR-OLD Photo Blog: superb.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

SO THERE'S those animal rights activists in Germany who want a polar bear cub euthanized; it was abandoned by its mother, and the Berlin zoo workers saved it and have been feeding and taking care of him. But the activists say it's unnatural that a bear becomes too dependent on humans and so they think it should be killed. To protect him.

Well, since this defies logic, I think it's quite unnatural too. When do we start euthanizing those jerks?

Monday, March 19, 2007

SPANISH LESSONS IN APPEASEMENT: Interesting piece by Aaron Hanscom on the latest threats by al-Qaeda, Iraq withdrawal notwithstanding.

In response to the latest Islamist threat against Spain, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español - PSOE) thought it appropriate to assure Spaniards that "Afghanistan is not Iraq." PSOE officials told news agencies that while the war in Iraq was "illegal," the mission in Afghanistan is being supported by the UN and includes 37 countries. It turns out Islamic terrorists don't care all that much about the distinction.

In a video issued this month by the Global Islamic Media Front, a hooded man warns that the presence of Spanish troops in Afghanistan "exposes Spain again to threats." The terrorist also delivers a message to all those Spaniards who flocked to the polls to elect the Socialists after the March 11 Madrid bombings: "The Spanish people have been tricked by a Socialist government which withdrew troops from Iraq and sent 600 to Afghanistan." So much for Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero's assurances that the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq would make the country safer.

The video was shown on "Voice of the Caliphate," a weekly video magazine launched by Al Qaeda in 2005. Titled "Messages for the Governments of Germany and Austria," it advises those two countries to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan and to cease helping the United States and the UN. The references to Spain's presence in Afghanistan are not new. Terrorism expert Javier Jordán notes that the March 11 cell referred to Afghanistan in their communiqués. In fact, the terrorists' very last message called for the end of the supposed "truce" earned after Spain's withdrawal from Iraq. Spain's continued military commitment to Afghanistan was reason enough to continue the jihad in Spain.

In fact, the danger facing Spain is greater today than it was on March 11, 2003. Fernando Reinares, former terrorism advisor to the Interior Ministry and senior analyst at the Elcano Royal Institute, told the Los Angeles Times, "It is undoubtedly true that Spain is much more of a target today than before." One reason for the increased threat level is that Al Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman Zawahiri, has been calling for the reconquest of Spain about as much as Hamas leaders call for the destruction of Israel. Last month he exhorted Islamists in the Maghreb -- the northwestern part of Africa where 80 % of the 300 terrorist suspects arrested in Spain since March 11 come from -- "to once again feel the soil of Al Ándalus beneath your feet." Previously Zawahiri had called for liberating Muslim land "from Iraq to Al Ándalus."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

KHALID SHEIKH MOHAMMED has confessed being the mastermind of 9/11 and the 'shoe bomber' plot.

UPDATE. The full transcript of the confession is here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

ZAPATERO SURRENDERED AGAIN, this time by abandoning the pledge of the Sahrauis for an independent land. The Sahrauis, once the pet cause of the Spanish left. For someone who worships the UN, Spain's PM has been quick to drop the Baker plan and accept that Morocco continues ruling the land.

A dumb decision in practical terms: yesterday Algeria -who is in the opposite side to Morocco and used to go side by side with Spain- announced it's raising the price of the natural gas it sells to Spain by a whopping 20%, and did it the day before an official visit by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia. Algeria supplies 60% of all natural gas that Spain uses.

UPDATE. One correction: Algeria supplies Spain with 44%, not 60%, of natural gas used.

GREAT PIECE by Jonah Goldberg arguing that political unity is overrated and often undemocratic.
Indeed, since at least the election of Ronald Reagan, the left and the right have grown ever more snappish with each other. Each feels entitled to take the wheel without suffering any backseat driving. Each side feels the other is illegitimate in some way, which somehow justifies their nastiness. That can be a shame, but really, it's not the end of the world.

We've seen worse. For example, in his 2004 book, "The Two Americas," Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg proclaimed: "Our nation's political landscape is now divided more deeply and more evenly than perhaps ever before."

This might strike some — say, anyone who's seen the scene in "Gone with the Wind," in which all those Civil War dead and wounded are laid out like cordwood — as a bit of an exaggeration. Call me crazy, but such bloodshed seems like a deeper sign of division than a bunch of partisan bloggers sweatily pounding their keyboards, or liberals and conservatives watching different cable news networks.

Denouncing partisanship doesn't make anyone pure of heart. Uniters can be motivated by selfishness just as dividers can be on the side of the angels. Have you noticed how the people most concerned about political polarization tend to be politicians in power? Arnold Schwarzenegger has refashioned himself as a "post-partisan" governor in the hopes of bridging the supposedly terrible divisions in California. Maybe the guy who called Democrats "girlie men" in 2004 really has had a change of heart. Or maybe it dawned on him that partisanship, although really useful for getting elected, is a handicap when it's time to govern or burnish your record.

[...] Many of our greatest heroes were men and women who were willing to rock the boat. If consensus is such a high political value, then the abolitionists, suffragettes and civil rights marchers are all villains.

Indeed, unity is overrated and often undemocratic. Decrying the "culture war" and "polarization" is something decent people are supposed to do, like recycling or paying more for organic breakfast cereal that tastes like cat litter. But the alternative is no great shakes.

Hillary Clinton leads an all-star cast of politicians who wax poetic on their desire to get beyond politics, move past partisan labels or put ideology aside. When you hear that rhetoric, consider this as a translation: "Those who disagree with me should shut up and get onboard the progress train."

I have never witnessed anyone who said that we need to get beyond ideology actually abandon his own position for the sake of unity.

For example, Al Gore constantly says the time for debating global warming is over and the time for unified action is now. But he says that because he wants the other side to stop being such a pain in his neck by disagreeing with him. Gore critics and fans alike can agree that he would be an idiot and an intellectual coward if, valuing unity over substance, he switched sides. Similarly, activists on both sides of the Iraq war may think that unity's nifty, but few seem willing to embrace the opposition's view to achieve it.

REMEMBER THE EVIL Zionist plan to damage the Temple Mount, bla bla bla? Well, the UNESCO will officially release its report tomorrow:

Israeli works near the Temple Mount did not cause damage to the historic site, a UNESCO report set to be published Wednesday states. However, the UN organization recommends that the excavations at the place be suspended in order to allow for international monitors to arrive in Jerusalem and supervise the project.

In the report, which was obtained by Ynet, UNESCO experts laud Israel for the transparency with which the works were being carried out, and note that the excavations conducted near the Temple Mount compound do not jeopardize its stability.

According to the report, the works near the Mugrabi Gate have been properly documented and supervised, in compliance with international professional standards.

Nevertheless, the organization criticizes Israel for failing to involve other institutes in the project, probably referring to the UN's World Heritage Committee and Muslim bodies, such as the Waqf.
Yeah, like they would have never filibustered the project. Anyway, the main point is that all the rage and hysteria was, of course, completely unwarranted.

I GUESS pulling out from Iraq didn't work so well, after all:
In a video posted on the internet yesterday, the date and authenticity of which have yet to be confirmed, Al Qaeda warned that the presence of Spanish troops in Afghanistan "once again puts Spain at risk."

The main message of the video, which was recorded in Arabic with subtitles in German, was directed at the governments of Austria and Germany, who are warned not to "follow the example of the socialist government in Spain, which has deceived the public by withdrawing its troops from Iraq and sending 600 more to Afghanistan. The countries of Islam are one nation, and the Spanish government has put the country at risk again by sending its troops to Afghanistan," warned the single masked spokesman.

Monday, March 12, 2007

SHATTERED SPAIN's scars won't heal:
Three years after the deadly bombings of March 11, 2004, Spain has become a deeply divided country, split into two in a way not seen since General Franco died and the country made a transition to democracy more than three decades ago.

LAST SATURDAY'S massive protest against Zapatero's anti-terrorist policies must have struck a real nerve indeed, because Socialist party officials and its allies are responding like mad. Apparently they are forgetting that the Spanish constitution contemplates the freedom of opinion and assembly not only to them -when they were protesting the Iraq war- but to everybody. It's a freedom they have been granting to Batasuna, ETA's political arm labeled as a terrorist organization by both the European Union and the US which was outlawed by Spain's Supreme Court, but that they seem to want to deny to the Popular Party now.

A few samples (all links in Spanish):

- Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, deputy prime minister, called the Popular Party "agitators" and reproached them of basing its strategy in "lies and propaganda." Remember, this is not a mere party official, but the number two in Spain's government. That is, she represents us all, not only the people who voted for her party.

- Manuel Chavez, the Socialist Party chairman and president of the Andalusian regional government, says that the Popular party has proven that it's less focused in the end of ETA than the end of the Socialist government. No less. He's probably dialing Joe McCarthy's number now.

- Luis Yáñez, a Socialist Euro MP, says the crowd reminded him of the demonstrations during the Franco regime in support of the dictator.

- Jose Blanco, PSOE's organization secretary, that is, one of the highest officials and main spokesman, says that the PP thinks that there were many people attending the protest, but that it was half of the people who have been killed in the Iraq war (implying that it was a war that Aznar's PP administration supported). He draws his 300,000 figure from his party calculations (remember, the probably swollen figure given by the PP was 2.2 million; quite unlikely, but no less unlikely than those 300,000), and from the discredited Lancet study which stated that 600,000 people have died in Iraq as a consequence of the war.

- Jose Blanco, again, saying there's an increasing number of people who believe that we must defend Spain from a leader like Rajoy, the chairman of the conservative Popular Party.

- Antonio Pastor, Socialist spokesman in the Basque parliament, said that the protest was "an unusual exercise, a masquerade, an act of shamlessness, of disloyalty against the state and of contempts towards its institutions." [for peacefully protesting on the streets?] He also said that the conservatives only have the elections in mind, which indicates its "moral and political misery" and that they "represent the far-right rather than the civilized right."

And that's only during the first 24 hours after the demonstration.

Not a small feat for people who have been chastising Bush all these years, saying he crushes the opposition's freedoms and labels his opponents with bad words. Just imagine he, and GOP officials, would have said a tenth of the above about Code Pinkers and other anti-war groups.

This country resembles Venezuela more and more.

NO QUESTION that losing the March 14 elections, only three days after the Madrid massacre, left the conservative Popular Party in shock, a shock that some people think they haven't really recovered yet. But this AP piece ends with an outright lie: "Conservatives question the Socialist government’s legitimacy, saying it took power through tragedy and unfairly refuses to resume a probe into a possible ETA link."

That's a very strong thing to say. But I live here, and have never heard such claim, quite the opposite: Popular Party officials have taken great pains to explicitely say over and over again that they are not questioning the legitimacy of the Socialist party victory, but that they want all possible lines investigated. If they are suggesting they have said it without really believing it, that's a judgement of intentions that a serious news organization can't make. I'm afraid I don't have time now to look for quotes, but actually it doesn't matter: it's the AP who should be able to back that extraordinary statement.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

GOOD PIECE by on the Wall Street Journal on Spain's current political scenario (requires subscription, but the link should work for a few days):
Shrouded in white canvas, the memorial commemorating the March 11 terrorists attacks will be unveiled outside Atocha rail station here tomorrow, the third anniversary. Though the exact design is secret, the high glass structure is said to reflect light at different angles in tasteful tribute to the 191 lives extinguished that day.

It will be out of place in Spain. The aftermath of 11M -- once eme, as that day in known in Spanish -- has been anything but tasteful. If America unified following 9/11, Spain split along sharply sectarian lines within hours of the commuter-train bombings. An election swung from the ruling and favored center-right Popular Party, whose support for the Iraq war the left quickly blamed for inviting terror, lost to the anti-American Socialists. The Islamist architects couldn't have hoped for a better result in striking three days before polling day. But those traumatic events have been followed by others, shifting the course of Spanish history in ways no one then imagined possible.
The outtro is quite blunt:
The dominant presence in this edgy Spain is the leader, Mr. Zapatero. With an undistinguished academic and political record, little travel experience and no foreign languages -- a man even Socialists didn't expect to win -- he was once dismissed as the "accidental prime minister." With the tensions currently building up in Spanish politics, the country can ill afford any more accidents.
Make sure you read the rest.

Eva Belén Abad Quijada, Spain, 30 years old

Óscar Abril Alegre, Spain, 19 years old

Liliana Guillermina Acero Ushiña, Ecuador, 26 years old

Florencio Aguado Rojano, Spain, 60 years old

Juan Alberto Alonso Rodríguez, Spain, 38 years old

María Joséfa Alvarez González, Spain, 48 years old

Juan Carlos Del Amo Aguado, Spain, 28 years old

Andriyan Asenov Andrianov, Bulgaria, 22 years old

María Nuria Aparicio Somolinos, Spain, 40 years old

Alberto Arenas Barroso, Spain, 24 years old

Neil Hebe Astocondor Masgo, Peru, 34 years old

Ana Isabel Avila Jiménez, Spain, 43 years old

Miguel Ángel Badajoz Cano, Spain, 34 years old

Susana Ballesteros Ibarra, Spain, 42 years old

Francisco Javier Barahona Imedio, Spain, 34 years old

Gonzalo Barajas Díaz, Spain, 32 years old

Gloria Inés Bedoya, Colombia, 40 years old

Sanaa Ben Salah Imadaquan, Spain, 13 years old

Esteban Martín De Benito Caboblanco, Spain, 39 years old

Rodolfo Benito Samaniego, Spain, 27 years old

Anka Valeria Bodea, Romania, 26 years old

Livia Bogdan, Romania, 27 years old

Florencio Brasero Murga, Spain, 50 years old

Trinidad Bravo Segovia, Spain, 40 years old

Alina Maria Bryk, Poland, 39 years old

Stefan Budai, Romania, 37 years old

Tibor Budi, Romania, 37 years old

María Pilar Cabrejas Burillo, Spain, 37 years old

Rodrigo Cabrero Pérez, Spain, 20 years old

Milagros Calvo García, Spain, 39 years old

Sonia Cano Campos, Spain, 24 years old

Alicia Cano Martínez, Spain, 63 years old

José María Carrilero Baeza, Spain, 39 years old

Álvaro Carrion Franco, Spain, 17 years old

Francisco Javier Casas Torresano, Spain, 28 years old

Cipriano Castillo Muñoz, Spain, 55 years old

María Inmaculada Castillo Sevillano, Spain, 39 years old

Sara Centenera Montalvo, Spain, 19 years old

Oswaldo Manuel Cisneros Villacís, Ecuador, 34 years old

Eugenia María Ciudad-Real Díaz, Spain, 26 years old

Jacqueline Contreras Ortiz, Peru, 22 years old

María Soledad Contreras Sánchez, Spain, 51 years old

María Paz Criado Pleiter, Spain, 52 years old

Nicoleta Diac, Romania, 27 years old

Beatriz Díaz Hernandez, Spain, 30 years old

Georgeta Gabriela Dima, Romania, 35 years old

Tinka Dimitrova Paunova, Bulgaria, 31 years old

Kalina Dimitrova Vasileva, Bulgaria, 31 years old

Sam Djoco, Senegal, 42 years old

María Dolores Durán Santiago, Spain, 34 years old

Osama El Amrati, Morocco, 23 years old

Sara Encinas Soriano, Spain, 26 years old

Carlos Marino Fernández Dávila, Peru, 39 years old

María Fernández del Amo, Spain, 25 years old

Rex Ferrer Reynado, Phillipines, 20 years old

Héctor Manuel Figueroa Bravo, Chile, 33 years old

Julia Frutos Rosique, Spain, 44 years old

María Dolores Fuentes Fernández, Spain, 29 years old

José Gallardo Olmo, Spain, 33 years old

José Raúl Gallego Triguero, Spain, 39 years old

María Pilar Gamiz Torres, Spain, 40 years old

Abel García Alfageme, Spain, 27 years old

Juan Luis García Arnaiz, Spain, 17 years old

Beatriz García Fernández, Spain, 27 years old

María de las Nieves García García-Moñino, Spain, 46 years old

Enrique García González, Dominican Republic, 28 years old

Cristina Aurelia García Martínez, Spain, 34 years old

Carlos Alberto García Presa, Spain, 24 years old

José García Sánchez, Spain, 45 years old

José María García Sánchez, Spain, 47 years old

Javier Garrote Plaza, Spain, 26 years old

Petrica Geneva, Romania, 34 years old

Ana Isabel Gil Pérez, Spain, 29 years old

Óscar Gómez Gudiña, Spain, 24 years old

Felix González Gago, Spain, 52 years old

Ángelica González García, Spain, 19 years old

Teresa González Grande, Spain, 38 years old

Elías González Roque, Spain, 30 years old

Juan Miguel Gracia García, Spain, 53 years old

Javier Guerrero Cabrera, Spain, 25 years old

Berta María Gutiérrez García, Spain, 39 years old

Sergio de las Heras Correa, Spain, 29 years old

Pedro Hermida Martín, Spain, 51 years old

Alejandra Iglesias López, Spain, 28 years old

Mohamed Itaiben, Morocco, 27 years old

Pablo Izquierdo Asanza, Spain, 42 years old

María Teresa Jaro Narrillos, Spain, 32 years old

Oleksandr Kladkovoy, Ukraine, 56 years old

Laura Isabel Laforga Bajón, Spain, 28 years old

María Victoria León Moyano, Spain, 30 years old

María Carmen Lominchar Alonso, Spain, 34 years old

Myriam López Díaz, Spain, 31 years old

María Carmen López Pardo, Spain, 50 years old

María Cristina López Ramos, Spain, 38 years old

José María López-Menchero Moraga, Spain, 44 years old

Miguel de Luna Ocaña, Spain, 36 years old

María Jesús Macías Rodríguez, Spain, 30 years old

Francisco Javier Mancebo Záforas, Spain, 38 years old

Ángel Manzano Pérez, Ecuador, 42 years old

Vicente Marín Chiva, Spain, 37 years old

Antonio Marín Mora, Spain, 43 years old

Begoña Martín Baeza, Spain, 25 years old

Ana Martín Fernández, Spain, 43 years old

Luis Andrés Martín Pacheco, Spain, 54 years old

María Pilar Martín Rejas, Spain, 50 years old

Alois Martinas, Romania, 27 years old

Carmen Mónica Martínez Rodríguez, Spain, 31 years old

Míriam Melguizo Martínez, Spain, 28 years old

Javier Mengíbar Jiménez, Spain, 43 years old

Álvaro de Miguel Jiménez, Spain, 26 years old

Michael Mitchell Rodríguez, Cuba, 28 years old

Stefan Modol, Romania, 45 years old

Segundo Víctor Mopocita Mopocita, Ecuador, 37 years old

Encarnación Mora Donoso, Spain, 64 years old

María Teresa Mora Valero, Spain, 37 years old

Julita Moral García, Spain, 53 years old

Francisco Moreno Aragonés, Spain, 56 years old

José Ramón Moreno Isarch, Spain, 37 years old

Eugenio Moreno Santiago, Spain, 56 years old

Juan Pablo Moris Crespo, Spain, 32 years old

Juan Muñoz Lara, Spain, 33 years old

Francisco José Narváez de la Rosa, Spain, 28 years old

Mariana Negru, Romania, 40 years old

Ismael Nogales Guerrero, Spain, 31 years old

Inés Novellón Martínez, Spain, 30 years old

Miguel Ángel Orgaz Orgaz, Spain, 34 years old

Ángel Pardillos Checa, Spain, 62 years old

Sonia Parrondo Antón, Spain, 28 years old

Juan Francisco Pastor Férez, Spain, 51 years old

Daniel Paz Manjón, Spain, 20 years old

Josefa Pedraza Pino, Spain, 41 years old

Miryam Pedraza Rivero, Spain, 25 years old

Roberto Pellicari Lopezosa, Spain, 31 years old

María del Pilar Pérez Mateo, Spain, 28 years old

Felipe Pinel Alonso, Spain, 51 years old

Martha Scarlett Plasencia Hernandez, Dominican Republic, 27 years old

Elena Ples, Romania, 33 years old

María Luisa Polo Remartinez, Spain, 50 years old

Ionut Popa, Romania, 23 years old

Emilian Popescu, Romania, 44 years old

Miguel Ángel Prieto Humanes, Spain, 37 years old

Francisco Antonio Quesada Bueno, Spain, 44 years old

John Jairo Ramírez Bedoya, Colombia, 37 years old

Laura Ramos Lozano, Honduras, 37 years old

Miguel Reyes Mateos, Spain, 37 years old

Marta del Río Menéndez, Spain, 40 years old

Nuria del Río Menéndez, Spain, 38 years old

Jorge Rodríguez Casanova, Spain, 22 years old

Luis Rodríguez Castell, Spain, 40 years old

María de la Soledad Rodríguez de la Torre, Spain, 42 years old

Ángel Luis Rodríguez Rodríguez, Spain, 34 years old

Francisco Javier Rodríguez Sánchez, Spain, 52 years old

Ambrosio Rogado Escribano, Spain, 56 years old

Cristina Romero Sánchez, Spain, 34 years old

Patricia Rzaca, Poland, 7 meses

Wieslaw Rzaca, Poland, 34 years old

Antonio Sabalete Sánchez, Spain, 36 years old

Sergio Sánchez López, Spain, 17 years old

María Isabel Sánchez Mamajón, Spain, 37 years old

Juan Antonio Sánchez Quispe, Peru, 45 years old

Balbina Sánchez-Dehesa France, Spain, 47 years old

David Santamaría García, Spain, 23 years old

Sergio dos Santos Silva, Brazil, 28 years old

Juan Carlos Sanz Morales, Spain, 33 years old

Eduardo Sanz Pérez, Spain, 31 years old

Guillermo Senent Pallarola, Spain, 23 years old

Miguel Antonio Serrano Lastra, Spain, 28 years old

Rafael Serrano López, Spain, 66 years old

Paula Mihaela Sfeatcu, Romania, 27 years old

Federico Miguel Sierra Serón, Spain, 37 years old

Domnino Simón González, Spain, 45 years old

María Susana Soler Iniesta, Spain, 46 years old

Carlos Soto Arranz, Spain, 34 years old

Mariya Ivanova Staykova, Bulgaria, 38 years old

Marion Cintia Subervielle, France, 30 years old

Alexandru Horatiu Suciu, Romania, 18 years old

Danuta Teresa Szpila, Poland, 28 years old

José Luis Tenesaca Betancourt, Ecuador, 17 years old

Iris Toribio Pascual, Spain, 20 years old

Neil Torres Mendoza, Ecuador, 38 years old

Carlos Tortosa García, Spain, 31 years old

María Teresa Tudanca Hernández, Spain, 49 years old

Jesús Utrilla Escribano, Spain, 44 years old

José Miguel Valderrama López, Spain, 25 years old

Saúl Valdez Ruiz, Honduras, 44 years old

Mercedes Vega Mingo, Spain, 45 years old

David Vilela Fernández, Spain, 23 years old

Juan Ramón Zamora Gutiérrez, Spain, 29 years old

Yaroslav Zojniuk, Ukraine, 48 years old

Csaba Olimpiu Zsigovski, Romania, 26 years old

Saturday, March 10, 2007

AGAIN, MADRID has taken to the streets in protest against Zapatero's anti-terror policies:

The rally is organized by the conservative Popular Party, now in opposition, and follow 65 smaller demonstrations across the country's cities yesterday evening. They're all against Zapatero's decision to allow one of ETA's biggest killers, Iñaki de Juana Chaos, to serve his reduced sentence at home after being in a hunger strike for about 100 days demanding his release. Of course the term 'hunger strike' is an euphemism: during the last weeks he was in a Madrid hospital with a more than lax regime for visits and his girlfriend staying with him. The police officers custodying him have publicly complained they were ordered not to search her, so who knows how many power-bars or other food she sneaked in. Anyway, Zapatero took the measure for 'humanitarian reasons' alleging he was in a very bad physical state, though it didn't seem an obstacle for him to take long 40-minute showers with her girlfriend (if you know what I mean) until the last day before he was sent home. Or leaving the hospital walking, as he did. Again, it's the police officers who say it, not me.

Many people, not only from the PP, view this as the last straw, as a measure in favor of a terrorist who just said he doesn't feel any remorse for killing and who belonged to a terrorist organization that just killed 2 inocent people in the Barajas airport bombing late last year. Even though Zapatero said then that he would stop negotiating with ETA, the truth is that soon after he has declared his intention to keep doing so. That's probably why today's protest is probably even bigger than the several million-man marches in recent months. Madrid public regional TV says it's 2.2 million, but Madrid regional government is PP so they're probably stretching the figures a little. In any event, it's another impressive gathering.

It's going to be interesting to see how the Zapatero government will react. I don't have much hope that he'll listen, though. His party went to the streets day in and day out against the Iraq war in 2003 when they were in opposition, saying it was a "genuine expression of popular feelings," but they have suddenly developed a pro-establishment view that reminds my to my late grandmother. The last few days, anticipating a big turnout in today's rally, they have been labeling the PP as extremists and agitators. Go figure.

They've also been using all kinds of rhetorical gimmicks, saying that the PP was the first democratic party that has refused to back the government in their anti-terrorist fight (what fight, some people asked). Or saying that when Aznar and the PP were in power they also sent ETA terrorists home for humanitarian reasons. What they don't say is that those terrorists Aznar sent home had cancer, AIDS or some other serious illness and were in a terminal state. In short, they were sent home to die, not to eat paella and get well. They weren't received as victorious heroes as De Juana was last week, but by grieving relatives who were accompanying his family member in his last days. Their health problems were not self-inflicted, and it wasn't up to them whether they would still have those problems or not. De Juana went by his own will into a hunger strike asking to be released or else. And the Spanish government simply caved in in order to not make ETA mad and keep negotiating with some bastards who had recently killed two people.

And that's why there's hundreds of thousands of people in the streets today. Again.

UPDATE. I've been writing fast because I wanted the post to go up as soon as possible; I'm noticing several style issues, but I think it's better not to re-do anyting now.

UPDATE II. Gateway Pundit has much more, and Toasted Bread is compiling reports of today's events.

Three years after bombs ripped through four Madrid trains, killing 191 people and injuring nearly 2,000, Spanish officials and experts say the country is potentially in more danger now than ever before as extremist groups reorganize just beyond Spain's southern coast.

As the trial began here last month, more arrests and prosecutions were announced, and senior officials say radicals in Morocco and other parts of northern Africa, many with ties to Spain, increasingly take their cues from Al Qaeda.

[...] Maghreb-based networks remain the most serious threat to Spain in terms of Islamic extremism, law enforcement officials said this week. They said militants had begun to set up a centralized command and a string of training camps in southern Algeria and northern Mali, and have launched recruiting efforts targeting their brethren who live in Spain.

"We are seeing the Al Qaeda-ization of the Maghreb militants, and that is the evolution that most worries us," a senior counter-terrorism official in the Spanish Interior Ministry said in an interview.

This metamorphosis, combined with the start of the 11-M trial and the anniversary of the attacks, has prompted authorities to raise the terrorism alert level nationwide, the official said.

Nearly 300 suspected Islamic militants have been arrested in Spain since the attacks. Roughly 80% are from the Maghreb, according to a study by Madrid's Elcano Royal Institute.

Last month, Ayman Zawahiri, the purported No. 2 in Al Qaeda, called on Islamic radicals in the Maghreb to "raise the flag of jihad" over North Africa and Spain "to once again feel the soil of Al Andalus beneath your feet," according to transcripts. Al Andalus refers to that part of Spain controlled by Muslim forces for seven centuries until their expulsion by a Roman Catholic army in 1492.

Friday, March 09, 2007

"BLAMING THE VICTIMS IN SPAIN: M-11, ETA and the Socialists:" another home run by Robert Latona. Wouldn't be fair quoting one or two sentences, it needs to be read in full.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

JIHAD.COM: a good report by CBS on the Internet as the new battlefield of Allah's soldiers:

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

BUH-BYE, "Peak Oil":
The Kern River oil field, discovered in 1899, was revived when Chevron engineers here started injecting high-pressured steam to pump out more oil. The field, whose production had slumped to 10,000 barrels a day in the 1960s, now has a daily output of 85,000 barrels.

In Indonesia, Chevron has applied the same technology to the giant Duri oil field, discovered in 1941, boosting production there to more than 200,000 barrels a day, up from 65,000 barrels in the mid-1980s.

And in Texas, Exxon Mobil expects to double the amount of oil it extracts from its Means field, which dates back to the 1930s. Exxon, like Chevron, will use three-dimensional imaging of the underground field and the injection of a gas — in this case, carbon dioxide — to flush out the oil.

Within the last decade, technology advances have made it possible to unlock more oil from old fields, and, at the same time, higher oil prices have made it economical for companies to go after reserves that are harder to reach. With plenty of oil still left in familiar locations, forecasts that the world’s reserves are drying out have given way to predictions that more oil can be found than ever before.

In a wide-ranging study published in 2000, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that ultimately recoverable resources of conventional oil totaled about 3.3 trillion barrels, of which a third has already been produced. More recently, Cambridge Energy Research Associates, an energy consultant, estimated that the total base of recoverable oil was 4.8 trillion barrels. That higher estimate — which Cambridge Energy says is likely to grow — reflects how new technology can tap into more resources.

“It’s the fifth time to my count that we’ve gone through a period when it seemed the end of oil was near and people were talking about the exhaustion of resources,” said Daniel Yergin, the chairman of Cambridge Energy and author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning history of oil, who cited similar concerns in the 1880s, after both world wars and in the 1970s. “Back then we were going to fly off the oil mountain. Instead we had a boom and oil went to $10 instead of $100.”

There is still a minority view, held largely by a small band of retired petroleum geologists and some members of Congress, that oil production has peaked, but the theory has been fading.
UPDATE. Related information on oil sands extraction in Canada, here.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

IRAQ'S HISTORICAL PARALLEL is not Vietnam, but Cambodia.


Saturday, March 03, 2007


How did a serious country, one that endured Antietam, sent a million doughboys to Europe in a mere year, survived Pearl Harbor, Monte Cassino, Anzio, the Bulge, Tarawa, Iwo and Okinawa, the Yalu, Choisun, Hue and Tet, come to the conclusion — between the news alerts about Britney Spears’ shaved head and fights over Anna Nicole Smith’s remains — that Iraq, in the words of historically minded Democratic senators, was the “worst” and the “greatest” “blunder,” “disaster,” and “catastrophe” in our “entire” history?

Don't miss what follows.