Saturday, 31 July 2010

DOS Attacks, one of the Guilty IPs

The following IP seems to be closely associated with denial of service attacks:

Domain Name ? (Israel)
IP Address 212.143.134.# (NV1378-RIPE)
ISP NetVision
Location Continent : Asia
Country : Israel (Fac ts)
State/Region : Hefa
City : Haifa
Lat/Long : 32.8156, 34.9892 (Map)

Should there now be a DOS attack against blogspot, Google's anti-hacking crew will know exactly where to start looking, as will NETCU and SOCA.

Deepwater Horizon: Medawar's Last Word

Now that it seems as if the "greatest ecological disaster in American history" was largely politically-motivated hype, see link, then one must return to Medawar's comment at the outset of the saga, which was that the real tragedy was the eleven men who died, and that it was amazing that American public and political opinion was outraged about something else.

And it has to be said, that actions by Transocean, particularly turning alarms off to keep things nice and quiet at night, and disabling automatic mechanisms that closed vents to stop explosive gases getting inside inhabited and control modules, will have contributed, hugely, to the death toll. And none of the lessons learned by British authorities from the Piper Alpha disaster, were paid any heed at all either by Transocean or by the American regulating authority, the MMS (see post below!)

And, yes, the governor of Mississippi was completely right to say that the political reaction to the "disaster" was doing more economic harm than the oil spill itself. And it's not just economic damage: the hype, hysteria and witch-hunting has completely degraded America's reputation in the United Kingdom and caused pure rage and fury in other countries where American firms have been the author of huge and genuine disasters, such as Bhopal, from which American culprits have walked, or run, away with the active assistance of the American government.

Richard Silverstein: Censorship by DOS Attack

The following is reproduced from Richard Silverstein's blog, "Tikun Olam" simply because it would appear to be the trigger for a sustained denial of service attack against his site. Reproduction shouldn't be taken as an endorsement of all of Mr Silverstein's views and actions (Lord knows: he might have done all sorts of bad stuff that Medawar doesn't know about.) But DOS attacks, particularly when it seems as if Israeli police computers may have been hacked or infected in order to launch it, are as threatening to modern society as piracy on the High Seas and Cash in Transit Robberies. Medawar hasn't reproduced any of the comments that were on the blog, because it is impossible to assume the commentator's permission and some of them were obscene.

The article was headed by a picture of an alleged Israeli torturer, which was obtained by Mr Silverstein in the pixellated condition you see below. A lot of the embedded links below seem to work now: presumably the URL information got copied across with them? Medawar is a bit surprised, but not complaining!

Identity of Former IDF Torturer Exposed, ‘Captain George’ is Doron Zahavi

doron zahavi captain george

Alleged Arab torturer Doron Zahavi aka 'Captain George' (Haaretz)

Yesterday, I reported here on a Haaretz story about the notorious “Captain George,” an IDF military intelligence interrogator accused in 2004 of sodomizing a Lebanese kidnap victim in order to secure information about the location of IDF officer, Ron Arad. Among the things I wrote was my complaint that Haaretz was protecting the real identity of George even though he no longer served in military intelligence.

With the help of a diligent Israeli researcher, I can now expose George’s real identity. He is Doron Zahavi, currently the Arab affairs liaison for the Jerusalem police. His job, as I noted yesterday, is to direct community relations and liaison efforts between the police and Jerusalem’s Arab residents.

In discussing the parameters of Zahavi’s job, a police spokesperson told Haaretz:

“The adviser must be an accepted and welcome figure in the Arab community, with excellent interpersonal skills – someone they feel they can trust, otherwise he cannot succeed in the job,” a senior police officer said.

doron zahavi exposed

ACRI complaint identifies Doron Zahavi by name

Apparently, Zahavi has performed his job so well he’s garnering rave reviews right and left from his Arab interlocutors. One, Jouad Siam, complained that in a February, 2010 interrogation, Zahavi threatened to destroy his home (Hebrew source) unless he disbanded a Silwan information center Siam had founded to counter the building efforts of settlers in his neigborhood. Here is how the ex-torturer now conducts himself. I’ll let you be the judge whether the leopard has changed his spots:

He [Zahavi] told us we were making problems and we had to close the center. I told him: “I thought we are in a democracy.” This raised the ire of ‘George,’ who said: “We Jews are fools. We treat you too well. I thought you would behave yourself.” ’George’ threatened that he would draw up a demolition order for his home if he refused to close the center.

According to Siam, “The entire conversation was conducted in shouts. He didn’t let me speak. He would ask and answer his own questions [without allowing Siam to respond]. At the end of the discussion, he told me to go home and behave myself.

Last February, the Association for Civil Right in Israel registered a formal complaint against Zahavi for his outburst. Among the claims listed was that Zahavi called Siam a “criminal” and said that the latter would be held responsible for everything that happened in Silwan. The interrogator asked about the source of Siam’s income and told him he would intervene with his boss. At the end of the meeting, Zahavi attempted to enlist Siam as an informant.

The police replied formally to the complaint claiming laughably that Zahavi had merely invited Siam to a “get to know you” meeting in which the police advisor sought to discover what issues particularly troubled the local Arab population. In the course of the meeting, Zahavi felt it necessary to inform his Arab interlocutor about activities in which he was engaged that violated the law. No mention in the police reply how founding an information center was a violation of law.

The publicly available ACRI complaint lists Zahavi’s real name. In that case, why would Haaretz not be able to use it? The whole situation baffles me. At any rate, thank God we’re not bound by any such nonsense and we offer the real Doron Zahavi to the world in all his glory. If a reader has a picture of Zahavi, please let me know.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Minerals Management Service

Although as far as the oil industry is concerned, the Minerals Management Service performs the same safety regulation function in the United States as the Health and Safety Executive does in the United Kingdom, the two bodies are subtly different.

Without wishing to appear too moralistic, inspection and regulation of highly complex oil rigs undertaking drilling operations in very deep ocean waters, requires concentration, persistent attention to detail and good judgment. The consumption of copious quantities of Cocaine and Methamphetamine, albeit provided at no cost to either the inspector or the taxpayer, interferes with all of these mental functions in such a way as to entirely neutralize an inspector's value to industry and the wider society.

It is difficult to entirely suppress the suspicion that some of the blame for the Deepwater Horizon disaster lies with the remarkably complete failure of the Federal Government to provide competent regulation of a complex and inherently hazardous industry subjected to strong competitive pressure. In such a business environment, it is much easier for companies to spend money, and more importantly, management time and effort, on safety, if they know that government will do its job and ensure that rivals do the same.

Medawar also has a little prediction: BP's much scorned initial estimate that the costs of the disaster would be somewhere around $3bn, will turn out to be pretty accurate once legal costs are stripped away and one counts only the money actually spent on the physical cleanup and compensation actually received by injured parties. What BP didn't realize, is that in America, for every dollar one pays to an injured party, the legal profession will take nine dollars for itself. And if one attempts to avoid this, by paying money straight out to the injured party so they don't even have to take one to court, an enraged legal profession, many of whose members have political posts and even Senate seats, will simply set up a whole slew of "inquiries" which will eventually cost nine times as much as the compensation paid out without the payment of Shystergelt.

Since Thatcher, successive UK governments have foolishly attempted to run an economy based almost entirely on the banking sector. This hasn't been too successful an idea in practice. America's folly is to try and make the legal profession the backbone of the economy as well as the controlling force in society. It is difficult not to prophesy a certain amount of doom at this point.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Improving Transocean

The UK's Health and Safety Executive has confirmed to Medawar that:

"In the UK Continental Shelf, the operator of a drilling rig has a general duty to control the risk of major accidents and comply with statutory provisions. It is most likely that the stated alarm systems will form part of a duty holders major hazard risk control measures. If these control measures are inhibited, in by-pass, or in silent logging modes during operations with risks of major accidents without other effective measures in place then it is likely they would be in breach of health and safety legislation."

Bad news for Transocean and the company's worldwide policy of turning safety alarms off at night to make things quieter in the control room! Deepwater Horizon had alarms that would automatically close vents to stop explosive gas mixtures penetrating to habitation and control modules of the rig. They turned them off. Mr Obama still thinks that BP is solely to blame for everything.

This link is to Transocean's Improvement Notices on the HSE website. They range from being told to make it possible for people to move around a rig without breaking their necks, to a more serious and pertinent issue regarding their failure to ensure that Blowout Preventers were correctly interacting with their control panels before installing them on the sea bed. (Some of the reported problems with the Deepwater Horizon BOP could have been in the control panel and they'd have looked the same. This is why it's so much better to test it thoroughly while you can still see both ends rather than having to make too many assumptions.)

The range of notices, too, indicates a progression from something major with a risk of wide-ranging catastrophe, to smaller (but potentially lethal to individuals) faults with walkways. This suggests that the regulator was regulating, and that his inspections were thorough and persistent enough to uncover the small details as well as the headline-grabbers. Even when the HSE found a headline-grabbing fault, they still went on looking for little faults as well. It would be a pity if the new Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, were, in his zeal to increase the frequency of oil rig inspections, to inadvertently force the inspectors to be less thorough and persistent.

The whole process, in the UK, is geared towards improvement rather than blame. It is not only more thorough than historical American regulation, but decidedly more constructive, too. Transocean shareholders might also note that they are almost certainly paying less compensation to widows from their North Sea operations than from their Gulf of Mexico operations, which is why only an idiot lobbies and bribes against reasonable regulation.

Meanwhile, it seems that BP, despite being "British", has stemmed the flow of oil in about half the time it took to cap the Ixtoc I oilspill which was in significantly shallower water.

The flow of oil continues, however, as an American tug has skillfully decapitated another well, abandoned two years ago by an American company. Something to spend BP's $20bn on now that "America's worst ever environmental disaster" seems to be petering out with a fraction of the predicted damage.

In fact, the amount of oil reaching the shore is less, so far, than the Amorco Cadiz disaster, which an American court eventually valued at $200M, Amorco paying nothing whatsoever in the twelve years it took to reach this decision. BP paid out ten times as much in the first month -and was fiercely condemned from every side of the American media and politics for its penny-pinching tardiness.

For the record, no oilspill in history has ever done anything like as much environmental harm as the US Department of Agriculture did when it told farmers in Oklahoma to plough their pastures, sow wheat and await prosperity. This resulted in a dustbowl which caused one of the biggest forced migrations of the 20th century, as American farming communities had to leave their now uninhabitable homes.

For all those who think this was a PR disaster for BP: America has done herself no favours whatsoever, not just in the UK, but worldwide, as the gulf between what America demands and what America does becomes ever more painfully apparent.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Gagging the Strasbourg Geese

This one is almost beyond belief: Transocean not only inhibited alarms on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, it would appear that all of its rigs, all around the world, are routinely operated in a similar state. This would imply that their rigs in UK waters are in breach of the law and that they should be prosecuted forthwith, regardless of what comes out of the current American Federal Blamestorming process. (President Obama said before it even started that the inquiry was going to find "British Petroleum" solely responsible for everything.)

It really is time we were told who owns Transocean's voting stock; BP's shareholdings and accounts are a matter of public record. (Although based in Houston, Texas, Transcoean is registered in Switzerland and this means that most investors will own what UK law would call debenture stock or preference shares, which do not come with a vote at board meetings, or even the right to attend these. Holders do, however, get paid before holders of voting shares if the company is liquidated -and the accounts are straight. It can be a criminal offence in Switzerland to even try and find out who the voting stock holders are, let alone what their holdings are worth and what their voting record on company policy has been. Swiss industrial equities are for investors who get a thrill out of wearing blindfolds.)

Thursday, 22 July 2010

More on Sheffield Forgemasters

This is interesting:
It seems that someone who wanted to force Sheffield Forgemasters to accept investment (ie: yield control of their company) from/to him, donated money to David Cameron's campaign and then "advised" the new Prime Minister that government loan guarantees to the firm were a breach of EU law. (Which doesn't appear to be true.)

This week, Mr Cameron has already shown himself to be profoundly ignorant of British history, claiming that the UK was a junior partner to the USA in 1940 in the fight against the Nazis.

In 1940, the USA was not fighting the Nazis -and the State Department and many other very powerful people, were still trying to get the White House to join the war on Hitler's side. President Roosevelt was apparently very tempted, because he saw an end to "British Imperialism" as an essential goal of American policy. Britain's main American ally at the time was J. Edgar Hoover, whom many liberals might call a "Nazi" but he saw the Nazis as America's deadliest possible enemy when the Kennedys and Harrimans (and Bushes) saw Hitler as a GOOD THING.

If that's the proof of Cameron's hugely expensive and prestigious education, then it's possible that he really is too ignorant to know when a chancer is lying to him for his own ends. He has just completed important negotiations with President Obama.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Compassion and Appeal

It may help some US Senators to understand that one reason why the Scottish Executive was so keen to grant compassionate release to the Lockerbie Bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, was that this was the only certain way of stopping him from mounting an appeal against his conviction, which would almost certainly have succeeded due to the poverty of evidence left if two key pieces are challenged. The consequences of such a successful appeal would have been disastrous for the United States, as it would have made the US Government (and probably Scotland) an absolute pariah in Europe and the Middle East. It would have caused huge problems for the United Kingdom, as a whole, as any criminal, anywhere, would have been able to resist extradition on the grounds that he wouldn't receive a fair trial in the UK. Short of dropping a bomb on a Chinese Embassy somewhere, there's nothing worse that could happen, diplomatically speaking.

Pan Am 103 was more probably destroyed by Palestinians working freelance for the Quds militia unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Any Libyans caught in the net may simply have been conned into providing a suitcase full of clothes for someone they thought to be working undercover for Libyan intelligence, which apparently happened all the time with the Libyan mission in Malta. It's very easy to exploit a system where people are trained not to ask awkward questions! So, no, the Libyans still aren't telling the truth, but they didn't do it.

As for Tony Blair giving the appearance of lobbying Libya on behalf of BP, it would be typical of him if appearance was all this was, and in fact he was lobbying on behalf of a far less reputable oil company, Taci Oil, which was able to use a below-market-price supply deal with the Libyans to undercut its competitors and gain a complete retail and wholesale fuel monopoly in Albania, now set to spread to neighbouring countries. The people behind this one are very grateful to the Blairs indeed.

Monday, 12 July 2010

How to Trigger a Full Review of the David Kelly Case

There has been a lot of public pressure recently, attempting to "force" the new Coalition government of the United Kingdom into holding a review into the case of David Kelly.
There have even been some allegations that incoming ministers are somehow colluding with Tony Blair to keep everything secret.

From Medawar's own contacts with the Ministry of Justice, a subtly different picture emerges.

Relevant papers in the David Kelly were highly classified by the outgoing government, as, incidentally, was the report by a Sergeant Hughes, into why Scottish Authorities missed dozens of chances over twenty years to prosecute Thomas Hamilton prior to the Dunblane Massacre. When this level of classification is invoked by a given government, they have the option to seal all relevant papers from that government's successors. This would appear to be what has happened: incoming ministers wanted an inquiry, but the civil service simply cannot let them see the sealed papers until something in the legal situation changes to make it the official business of the new Coalition. Ministers are effectively stymied from even saying in public what their problem is. They are in a legal bear-trap of Tony Blair's devising, and this may not be the only matter on which papers which the new government really ought to see, are barred from it.

Here is a little hint:
Ministry of Justice Officials refer to "recent publicity" about a group of doctors having prepared a application to the Attorney General under section 13 of the Coroner's Act 1988, to reconsider the decision made by the coroner, to adjourn the inquest under section 17A of the same act. However, the ministry finds that the application has not been formally submitted.

The Daily Mail has also published evidence from Mai Pederson, about Dr Kelly's physical frailities which would have prevented him from committing suicide in the manner presumed by Lord Hutton. (Like Lord Cullen's inquiry into Dunblane, Hutton's official remit made it impossible for him to ask the relevant questions, so no blame can really attach to them for any omissions. In Cullen's case, the omissions are very largely made good by Sergeant Hughes' now highly classified investigation and report.) But Ms Pederson seems to have communicated her evidence, separately and informally, to the Attorney General, where it is probably trapped by Mr Blair having apparently given the Cabinet Secretary formal notice that this is a matter which he considers necessary to keep secret from the new government.

If Ms Pederson were to send her evidence to the group of doctors, and if they were to formally submit their application under section 13 of the Coroner's Act 1988, to the new Attorney General, then the matter would cease to be an historical case on which the Blair administration is given protection from its successors. The new Attorney General would see the papers which, currently, he probably has less chance of accessing than he did as an opposition MP!

That would remove the principle barrier to progress on this issue.

As for Timothy Hampton:
The Ministry says that it has been unable to determine whether or not his remains, (or any part thereof,) has been returned to England and Wales. If they have been (or if they were), then the presence of the body in his district must be reported to the relevant coroner and then, since Dr Hampton apparently died in a fall, an inquest would normally be held, in accordance to the appeal court decision of 1983 in the case of Helen Smith.

There may be an equivalent legal challenge in Scotland, that would have the same paper-releasing effect on Sergeant Hughes' report, but Medawar cannot at the moment say what this is, only that Mr Blair went to even more extraordinary lengths to keep something secret there, than he did over the death of David Kelly.

So, if this blog is read by any of the relevant personnel:
It's not a matter of a legal battle against the new government, merely a need for a formal legal initiative to make this their business in the eyes of a Cabinet Secretary who is obliged, by laws meant for somewhat higher purposes than Mr Blair's shenanigans, to respect the confidentiality of anything that Mr Blair chose to designate a private matter for his own government.

The ball is currently in your court. The Coalition Government need you to pass the ball into their court, before they have any power to do anything with it. Do this, and who knows what they might find!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Vocational Stalkers

Any UK and near-Continent victims of stalking, whether ostensibly Animal Rights related or not, should take a look at the faces in this Daily Mail Article. (Most stalking victims have no idea why they are being stalked, those stalking them are usually so deranged as to believe that the victims are so "knowingly evil" that they not only understand why they are being stalked, but secretly accept that they deserve it.)

Medawar would be interested to hear from anyone who's seen any of these faces in stalking incidents, regardless of what cause, if any, the stalking seems to be in aid of. Should it transpire that any of them are paid money for stalking, and this is not unknown, then, as far as the Unemployment Service are concerned, they have a job, and action could be taken against them. One is reminded of the hapless individual, described by George Orwell, in Wigan in the 1930s, who fed his neighbour's chickens when they were away and was reported to the dole office by another neighbour as "having a job feeding chickens". Medawar wants to avoid that kind of petty injustice, but if someone is using state benefits to sustain themselves whilst spending each and every day skipping along the edges of the criminal law to make someone's life hell, there's not a taxpayer in the land who wouldn't want to see them stopped.