Recently in "Foreign Policy" fiascos Category

According to the BBC, it seems that a substantial number of people in Venezuela object to to the dubious scheme concocted by their autocratic President Hugo Chavez and Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, which, incredibly, is meant to subsidise Transport for London buses, at the expense of the poor people of Venezuela, through a dodgy crude oil barter deal.

Any effect on bus fares in London will be virtually zero, since the UK Treasury will still levy fuel duty and VAT, per litre of fuel, irrespective of the "cheaper" (but non-zero) price of the fuel out of the oil refinery gates via this supposed barter deal.

The effect on the people of Venezuela will be proportionately much more, due to the lost oil revenue which they could have benefited from at market rates.

International oil barter deals are notoriously corrupt, e.g. the United Nations administered "oil for medicines" deals in the period between the liberation of Kuwait and the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq.

How many dodgy middlemen does Livingstone's oil barter deal involve ?

The signing ceremony in Caracas for the deal has been cancelled at the last minute, denying Ken Livingstone a media opportunity to pretend that he is some sort of world statesman.

Surely the London taxpayer should not be having to pick up the bill for Ken Livingstone's trip to see his communist friends in Cuba, where he seems to have decided to stop off en route. ?

How is it possible for the Metropolitan Police Anti-terrorism Branch SO13 to manage to lose a rucksack full of papers relating to current terrorism investigations ?

A laptop computer protected by UK Government approved Cryptography like Kilgetty or other hard disk encryption, would have been less of a risk, even if lost or stolen, than a rucksack full of papers.

Bag holding police anti-terror files lost in street
  • Rucksack had details of suspects and plots
  • Met imposes strict new rules on sensitive material

Hugh Muir, Sandra Laville and Richard Norton-Taylor
Monday June 26, 2006
The Guardian

Anti-terrorist police have been ordered to revamp security procedures after a bag containing details of bomb plots and suspects identified for surveillance was lost in the street.

The Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, has imposed strict new rules on the carrying of sensitive material after files were accidentally lost in a rucksack in south-east London. Sources yesterday told the Guardian the files held important information and that anti-terrorist officers were desperate to get them back before they fell into the wrong hands.

[...]

It is all very well for the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to claim that strict new procedures for handling secret documents have now been ordered, but these should already have been routine, following the incident only 2 years ago, when sensitive security documents relating to Heathrow Airport and the surrounding areas, were left at a petrol station,

How will there be any benefit yo Londoners, from the "private visit" to of the controversial Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías", the former failed military coup leader and now increasingly autocratic President of Venezuala, to meet Mayor of London Ken Livingstone ?

The fact that Chavez is refusing to meet the British Government seems rather peculiar.

Is he trying to buy some sort of influence with the windfall profits from high oil prices, which are high, ironically, partly because of the policies of the USA, which Chavez is in political conflict with ?

What has social reform in Venezuala or the international oil market got to do with the office of Mayor of London ?

What right has the Mayor of London to pretend that he speaks for us Londoners on matters of international foreign relations ?

Will Ken Livingstone demand that Hugo Chavez pays the London Congestion Charge during his visit ?

Ken Livingstone has no right to pretend to represent the views of Londoners abroad, especially on his pointless trip to China.

His wretched comparison of the Tiananmen Square massacre to the Poll Tax riot in Trafalgar Square as reported in The Daily Telegraph shows his sickening authoritarian communist attitude to human rights.

What did he feel about being at the site of the Tiananmen Square massacre? he was asked.

After commenting on the square's size and scale, he went on to make the comparison with Trafalgar Square.

When it was pointed out that the Metropolitan Police had not shot or killed anyone during the poll tax riot in London in March 1990, he suggested the comparison should be put into a longer context.

"If you go back to some of the early instances you will find many cases where innocent protesters were hacked to pieces with sabres - the Peterloo massacre, for example. There is no such thing as one country with a perfect record." In the Peterloo Massacre, the local militia waded into a crowd of radicals campaigning for universal suffrage on St Peter's Field, Manchester, in 1819, killing 11 and injuring 400.

On Tiananmen Square, estimates of the numbers of those killed by troops and tanks range up to 3,000, the figure given out by the Chinese Red Cross immediately afterwards.

The BBC reports that "Livingstone invites cleric back"

What is the cost of the police surveillance, which is meant to check to see if Yusuf Al-Qaradawi utters anything illegal, and presumably, also to protect him from extremists and demonstrators ?

How much of our money is Ken livingstone providing to subsidise the various conferences at which Al-Qaradawi is speaking ?

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