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Saturday, December 11, 2004

US "spent more than $65 million in the past two years to aid political organizations in Ukraine"

From Yahoo (click on title for the full article)
The Bush administration has spent more than $65 million in the past two years to aid political organizations in Ukraine, paying to bring opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko to meet U.S. leaders and helping to underwrite exit polls indicating he won last month's disputed runoff election.

U.S. officials say the activities don't amount to interference in Ukraine's election, as Russian President Vladimir Putin (news - web sites) alleges, but are part of the $1 billion the State Department spends each year trying to build democracy worldwide.

No U.S. money was sent directly to Ukrainian political parties, the officials say. In most cases, it was funneled through organizations like the Carnegie Foundation or through groups aligned with Republicans and Democrats that organized election training, with human rights forums or with independent news outlets.

But officials acknowledge some of the money helped train groups and individuals opposed to the Russian-backed government candidate — people who now call themselves part of the Orange revolution.

For example, one group that got grants through U.S.-funded foundations is the Center for Political and Legal Reforms, whose Web site has a link to Yushchenko's home page under the heading "partners." Another project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development brought a Center for Political and Legal Reforms official to Washington last year for a three-week training session on political advocacy.
Nothing very new here but it is interesting to see it admitted so clearly.
The four foundations involved included three funded by the U.S. government: The National Endowment for Democracy, which gets its money directly from Congress; the Eurasia Foundation, which gets money from the State Department, and the Renaissance Foundation, part of a network of charities funded by billionaire George Soros that gets money from the State Department. Other countries involved included Great Britain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

Grants from groups funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development also went to the International Center for Policy Studies, a think tank that includes Yushchenko on its supervisory board. The board also includes several current or former advisers to Kuchma, however.

A few days ago the Beeb reporter on the Ukraine election said that the assorted western powers (remember this is just the US figures) had paid $20 million for the election but justified it on the basis that the Russians had paid $200 mill. does anybody think their Russian figures arn't a lie as well. Does anybody think the Beeb didn't know they were lying to us?

Addendum - after the Georgian government was overthrown by a very similar "popular" rising following a very similar election result the new opposition held an election for which they got an overall result of 96.4%. The western powers & their fundees announced that this was a triumph for free democracy.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


This is a letter I have had in the Scotsman today. It was in reply to a letter of 3rd December from a ocean energy producer supporting more windfarms. As both are feeding from the same public trough they are more mutually supportive than in economic competition. To be fair it is possible that some forms of ocean power may be competitive on the other hand they are currently so far from being built that cost estimates are pretty theorectical & building turbines in remote areas with strong tidal races may prove more expensive in real life than on paper.

Renewable resource

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with other receivers of government subsidy in the energy industry may be a sensible strategy, but Richard Yemm’s letter (3 December) in support of wind factories has some basic errors.

His claim that "today, wind energy and hydro electricity are the only two utility scale renewable technologies available to the market" ignores the fact that nuclear can be sustained over, at least , the next 4.5 billion years. As that is close to the lifetime of this planet, it seems unlikely that either wind or wavepower will be much use thereafter.

By any fact-based definition, nuclear is a fully renewable resource. If a definition is required to include wind and wave but exclude nuclear, perhaps the term subsidy-demanding technologies would be more accurate.

A further error is in the statement that "robust energy supply systems have invariably utilised a wide range of core technologies". Historically, most energy systems have instead relied for the vast majority of their power on a very few basic reliable systems, with the esoteric stuff being very marginal.

Scotland has, for example, relied on nuclear for 45 per cent of its power, hydro for 10 per cent and coal for the rest. In recent years, gas has replaced much of the coal power and it is apparently hoped that, at some stage, after subsidy of sufficient billions, wind may pass the 2 per cent mark.

However, France is currently relying on nuclear for 80 per cent of its power (at less than a third of the cost of wind), and the fact that it is exporting power to all its neighbours means that its supply system must be considered "robust".

They left out a bit about France supplying 5% of the UK's electricity, tho' keeping in the reference to them supplying all their neighbours. France is currently spending 3 billion on building a nuclear reactor complex on the Cherbourg peninsula which is badly placed to serve French industry but as well placed as can be to serve British. Since hysteresis losses in transmission will probably amount to 10% crossing the Channel it would, of course be 10% more efficient if located in England & presumably France will be making a profit on this.

Sunday, December 05, 2004


I am dead chuffed to be able to repeat a posting of mine Jerry Pournelle has put on his site (The First Blog) this Saturday. This was in response to a news item about how, in Somalia, where there is no government free enterprise is actually working amazingly well & that, as an example, they have a mobile phone system considerably superior to their better, or at least more, governed neighbours.

Subject: SOMALIA: Cell Phone Service to Die For

If we are serious about providing aid to Africa I suspect the best thing we could do would be put enough equipment into geosynchronous orbit to run a cell phone network covering the continent.

I suspect it could be done for what we are currently spending on aid but on the other hand it wouldn't increase either the power or the Swiss bank balances of friendly dictators.

Neil Craig

I thoroughly recommend to anybody who would like to see how the world ought to be run.


Carla Del Ponte on the way the media are reporting the Milosevic "trial of the century"

"We are pleased not to be under examination every day from the press, from the media, from criticism all around," she stated.

Indeed - Milosevic, having utterly disproven every allegation made against him by Ms del Ponte is now proving, in the defence side of the case, that the western leaders, her employers, deliberately & knowingly started the war & are personally guilty of war crimes, genocide & child sex slavery. The fact that the BBC & indeed the rest of the media are censoring reports of this trial must indeed be a great relief to her & to the other corrupt mass murdering nazi child rapists such as Blair.

It is perhaps not surprising that the government have been able to find one Scots judge, Lord Bonomy, willing to participate in such a corrupt "trial", after all without a few such judges where would government find people to impartially investigate whether Blair lied about WMDs. More serious is the fact that it is the duty of every honest Scots judge who knows of a fellow judge being corrupt to say so. Every uncorrupt Scots judge has done so - unfortunately there are no uncorrupt Scots judges.

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