Friday, February 25, 2011

Cuba Oil Drilling Delayed (Yet Again)

Thursday, February 24, 2011
How could this be (sarcasm emphasized)?

The "experts" had assured us that Cuba would be drilling for oil in the Florida Straits by 2004. And again by 2010. And now by 2011.

Yet, the great Cuban oil hype continues.

My bet is that whenever (if ever) this rig infamous gets completed, it'll end up in Equatorial Guinea.

Ironically, news of this latest delay came as "experts" released another report insisting that the U.S. help Castro become a petro-dictator (as a opposed to a broke dictator).

From Reuters:

Arrival of Cuba offshore oil rig delayed again

Delivery of a Chinese-built drilling rig that will open the first full-scale exploration for oil in Cuban waters looks unlikely until at least August in the latest delay to beset the project, sources said this week.

They said an inspection of the newly-built, high-tech rig had been ordered to make sure it was in good shape after taking on water in transit from the Chinese shipyard where it was built to Singapore for completion in October.

The rig -- the Scarabeo 9, owned by Italian oil service firm Saipem SPLM.SI -- had been expected to arrive in Cuban waters in late June or early July after several earlier delays postponed its original delivery date of September 2009.

If the inspection turns up problems that need repair, the latest delay could stretch beyond August, sources said.

Targeting Officials Complicit in Abuses

Kudos to President Obama's initiative to single-out, designate and sanction Iranian officials complicit in human rights abuses.

The same should be done with Cuban officials, particularly in light of yesterday's brutal wave of over 130 known dissident arrests.

Another timely action would be to send the names of the two Cuban Air Force pilots (see pictures below) federally-indicted for the murder of three American citizens over international waters to Interpol for a Red Notice of capture.

From The White House:

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Designation of Iranian Officials Responsible for or Complicit in Serious Human Rights Abuses
The historic events unfolding in the Middle East underscore the importance of protecting human rights around the world, which all nations have a responsibility to uphold. In accordance with U.S. law and the Administration's commitment to supporting the universal rights of the Iranian people, the Departments of State and Treasury designated today two Iranian government officials responsible for serious human rights abuses against the people of Iran.

Today's designation of Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, Tehran Prosecutor General, and Mohammed Reza Naqdi, commander of the Basij Forces, supplements the list of eight Iranian officials designated in September 2010 for human rights abuses pursuant to the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010, which imposes sanctions against senior officials in the Iranian government who, based on credible evidence, were involved in the commission of serious human rights abuses during or after Iran's 2009 presidential election. The individuals designated will be subject to financial sanctions and visa ineligibilities under U.S. law. The list of names is not exhaustive and will continue to grow based on events in Iran, and as additional information and evidence becomes available.

As President Obama has said, human rights are a matter of moral and pragmatic necessity for the United States. The people of Iran should be able to express their opinions and their grievances without fear of reprisal from their government. The United States reaffirms its support to all those in Iran and around the world who are struggling to have their voices heard and rights respected. We continue to call upon the Iranian government to respect the rights of its people and we will continue to hold accountable those who infringe upon those universal rights.

This Afternoon in Calle Ocho

Honoring the lives of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, Armando Alejandre, Jr., Carlos Costa, Mario de la Pena and Pablo Morales.

This picture speaks for itself.

Thanks to our friends at Babalu.

LPP FrontLine Results...

Repression against dissidents in Cuba

March in Miami for the freedom of Cuba

Cubans leave Cuba for the sake of
Different organizations of the Cuban diaspora today marked the anniversary of the shootdown of Brothers to the Rescue and the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo with a march along Calle Ocho and a vigil in Hialeah Gardens where they asked for freedom on the island.
Joseph A. Churches | el Nuevo Herald

Miami turned to speak out for freedom in Cuba where thousands of exiles and other nationalities joined Thursday in a historic march in Little Havana as part of the celebration of 116 anniversary of the beginning of the War of Independence known as Grito de Baire.''
The march was organized by Radio Mambi and groups of the Cuban diaspora. Besides the patriotic date, the call was made on behalf of the cause of democracy and improving the conditions of political prisoners, as explained by its organizers.
"It's a historic mobilization demonstrating that the Cuban exile community is alive for the liberation and independence of Cuba,''said Frank Alonso, president of Unidad Cubana.
The event began shortly after 3 pm Eighth Street and Southwest 13 Avenue, and continued until 4 Avenue, close to downtown Miami.
Between shouts of "Viva Cuba libre''and" Enough,''thousands of attendees made it clear that the struggle for democratization of the island and the integrity of the dissidents are priorities.
The demonstration coincided with the acts of remembrance this week were organized locally by the first anniversary of the death of opposition Orlando Zapata Tamayo and the overthrow 15 years ago, the two planes of the anti-Castro organization, Brothers to the Rescue. In the attack, which occurred on February 24, 1996, killing all four crew in international waters.
Zapata activist died on February 23, 2010 after a hunger strike for 83 days for the release and improving conditions of prisoners of conscience. His death was an event that shocked the world public opinion and prompted reactions on several fronts against the Cuban regime. In terms of political activism, the sacrifice of Zapata redoubled efforts to denounce human rights abuses and civil liberties on the island.
The Florida Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said the solidarity of South Floridians and appreciated the outpouring of support from other fronts of the civil society. On Thursday said he was "shocked''by the massive attendance at Calle Ocho.
"All are present to defend freedom and democracy we want for our beloved country,''said Ros-Lehtinen." No matter the nationality, the march is one of unity.''
The evening reached its emotional when leaders of the Cuban diaspora, personalities from public life and government representatives addressed the audience with slogans of freedom and emotional speeches in defense of the Cuban dissidents.
The opposition has consistently suffered harassment and pressure from the authorities Castro in an effort to silence them. Recently an annual report of the Council of Rapporteurs of Human Rights in Cuba in 2010 concluded that the Cuban government stepped up the mechanisms of harassment and ordered at least 4,000 temporary arrests to stop freedom of movement of dissent.
The wave of arrests again become acute in the past 48 hours across the island. Among the opponents who were temporarily detained include the Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas, Sakharov Prize 2010. Branded as Fariñas Havana and the rest of the dissent of''mercenaries''U.S..
"Although everything has been a week of celebrations to demonstrate once again that the cause of freedom in Cuba and still lives here in exile,''said Mario Diaz-Balart, Republican congressman from Florida." We see that Throughout the world, liberty is sprouting and I'm sure that will happen in Cuba the same.''
A list of attendees at the march were Mayor of Miami, Tomas Regalado, and Hialeah, Julio Robaina. They also agreed county commissioners, state representatives and former congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, who highlighted the impact of the march.
"It's an important day and unity for all who love Cuba and want their freedom,''he said.
Regalado stressed over the course of the current international situation and the fact that the world "seeking freedom convulsing''he said.
"We have to take to the streets to denounce the abuses that exist in Cuba and denounce crimes such as those suffered by pilots of Brothers to the Rescue,''Regalado said." We think the Cuban exile community should send a message to the world with the same passion as ever.''
S: Translate LPPNEWS FrontLine Results


AP/Lefteris Pitarakis

Libyans hold mass protests in push to oust leader

Libya live report AFP – Protestors in Seoul on Friday. Libya was on edge Friday as heavily armed forces still loyal to Moamer …

BENGHAZI, Libya – Thousands of Libyans demanding Moammar Gadhafi's ouster rallied to show solidarity with the besieged capital, while the government moved to tighten its grip on Tripoli following opposition gains elsewhere in the country.
Tanks and checkpoints lined the road leading to Tripoli's airport, and security cordons went up around mosques where protesters might gather. Young armed men, some wearing green bands on their arms in a sign of loyalty to Gadhafi, checked vehicles for weapons.
Foreign mercenaries and Libyan militiamen loyal to Gadhafi have fought fiercely to roll back the uprising against his rule, attacking two nearby cities Thursday in battles that killed at least 17 people. But rebels made new gains, seizing a military air base, as Gadhafi blamed Osama bin Laden for the upheaval.
A Tripoli resident said people in the capital have received messages on their cell phones urging them to launch demonstrations after Friday prayers, and he said he expected thousands to comply despite fear of pro-Gadhafi militiamen who have been deployed on the streets.
The capital's central Green Square was the site of intense clashes earlier in the week between government supporters and protesters.
The resident said the government detained several activists in Tripoli late Thursday to try to prevent the demonstrations from taking place. Among those detained was Mukhtar al-Mahmoudi, a former member of Libya's Muslim Brotherhood, who in the past spent six years in jail, the resident said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
"Let us make this Friday the Friday of liberation," one of the messages read, according to the resident.
Gadhafi's crackdown — the harshest by any Arab leader in the wave of protests that has swept the Middle East the past month — has so far helped him maintain control of Tripoli, home to about a third of Libya's 6 million population. But the uprising has divided the country and raised the specter of civil war.
Signaling continued defiance, Gadhafi's son Seif al-Islam, vowed his family will "live and die in Libya," according an excerpt from an interview to be aired later Friday on CNNTurk. Asked about alternatives in the face of growing unrest, Gadhafi said "Plan A is to live and die in Libya, Plan B is to live and die in Libya, Plan C is to live and die in Libya.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch has put the death toll in Libya at nearly 300, according to a partial count. Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said estimates of some 1,000 people killed were "credible."
Residents in Tripoli have largely been holed up at home for days amid fear of pro-Gadhafi militiamen — a mix of Libyans and foreign mercenaries — and it was unclear how many would respond to the call.
But witnesses in cities under rebel control said they expected mass demonstrations in a show of solidarity.
Tens of thousands gathered outside a courthouse for prayer services in the eastern city of Benghazi, the coastal city where the uprising began on Feb. 15. Tents — some with photographs of people who had been killed in fighting — were set up on the square and protesters served breakfast to people, many carrying signs in Arabic and Italian.
"We will not stop this rally until Tripoli is the capital again," said Omar Moussa, a demonstrator. "Libyans are all united ... Tripoli is our capital. Tripoli is in our hearts."
A few tanks that were parked on the beach were covered with people.
Muslim cleric Sameh Jaber, wearing the traditional Libyan white robe and a red cap, told worshippers that Libyans "have revolted against injustice" and called for revenge against Gadhafi "because of what he did to the Libyan people."
International momentum also has been building for action to punish Gadhafi's regime for the bloodshed.
The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said Friday that the bloc needs to consider sanctions such as travel restrictions and an asset freeze against Libya to achieve a halt to the violence there and move toward democracy.
NATO's main decision-making body also planned to meet in emergency session Friday to consider the deteriorating situation, although Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said the alliance has no intention of intervening in the North African nation.
The U.N.'s top human rights official, Navi Pillay, meanwhile, said reports of mass killings of thousands in Libya should spur the international community to "step in vigorously" to end the crackdown against anti-government protesters.
Most of the eastern half of Libya has already broken away, and diplomats, ministers and even a high-ranking cousin who was one of his closest aides — Ahmed Gadhaf al-Dam — have abandoned Gadhafi, who has ruled Libya for more than four decades.
The rebels now control a swath of territory from the Egyptian border in the east, across nearly half Libya's 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) Mediterranean coast to the key oil port of Breqa, about 440 miles (710 kilometers) east of Tripoli.
Gadhafi is believed to be firmly in control only of the capital, some towns around it, the far desert south and parts of Libya's sparsely populated center.
A witness said police had disappeared from the streets and a committee had been formed to run things in Misrata, where pro-Gadhafi militiamen — a mix of Libyans and foreign mercenaries — battled with government opponents who had been guarding an airport outside the city.
"Now it is calm, but there are worries that the government is preparing lots of security forces and that there will be a massacre today," he said. "We are spread out all over the city and the youths are in control."
The witness, who like other residents and officials spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said a protest was planned later Friday in Misrata, Libya's third-largest city about 120 miles (200 kilometers) from the capital. He said a small group of youths might be dispatched to Tripoli after the opposition movement called for protesters to march on the capital, but the others had to stay behind to protect their city amid rumors the regime planned to attack again.
A doctor at Misrata's central hospital raised the death toll from Thursday's fighting to 20 protesters and one pro-government militiaman. He also said at least 20 people were wounded.
The opposition was in control of the city and thousands massed in the central square after prayers in support of protesters in Tripoli, according to the doctor and a witness.
The worst bloodshed Thursday was in Zawiya, 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of the capital Tripoli. An army unit loyal to Gadhafi opened fire with automatic weapons on a mosque where residents — some armed with hunting rifles for protection — have been holding a sit-in to support protesters in the capital, a witness said.
The troops blasted the mosque's minaret with an anti-aircraft gun. A doctor at a field clinic set up at the mosque said he saw the bodies of 10 dead, shot in the head and chest, as well as around 150 wounded. A Libyan news website, Qureyna, put the death toll at 23 and said many of the wounded could not reach hospitals because of shooting by "security forces and mercenaries."
Zawiya, a key city close to an oil port and refineries, is the nearest population center to Tripoli to fall into the hands of the anti-Gadhafi rebellion that began Feb. 15. Hundreds have died in the unrest.
The upheaval in the OPEC nation has taken most of Libya's oil production of 1.6 million barrels a day off the market. Oil prices hovered above $98 a barrel Friday in Asia, backing away from a spike to $103 the day before amid signs the crisis in Libya may have cut crude supplies less that previously estimated.
Associated Press writer Ben Hubbard contributed to this report.

Gaddafi accuses al-Qaeda of causing uprising ...

First he blamed the west and hallucinagenic drugs, and now it's Al-Qaeda...make up your mind Gaddafi!

Briefing Breaking News -- Libya Gaddafi Update -- 24/02/11 ...