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February 06, 2020

Bad Weather, Pilot Error Likely Caused The Pegasus Airline Accident - But Why Did The Plane Break Up?

Yesterday a Turkish airplane crash landing killed three and injured some 179 people. The accident of the Boeing 737-800 seems to have been caused by a pilot mistake. But on a different airplane the outcome might have been better.

The Pegasus Airlines flight 2193 was arriving from Izmir, on Turkey’s west coast. At the time of the landing at the Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen airport on the Asian side of the city there was a thunderstorm overhead and the wind was shifty. The air traffic controller had cleared the plane to land with wind information given as 270 degrees at 22 knots, gusting to 30 knots. This translated to a 19 knot tailwind. The 3000 meter long runway was wet.

The Boeing 737-800 is one of the Next Generation series not of the 737 MAX series. The maximum allowed tailwind for this type during landing is 15 knots. The pilots should never have attempted to land under the prevailing conditions. They did it anyway but came in too high and too fast. They missed the landing zone by a large margin. The Flightradar24 granular data shows that the plane touched ground nearly 2000 meter behind the landing zone. The runway has only a short safety zone of 65 meters at the end of the runway. The ICAO standard asks for a 300 meter safety zone.


Source - bigger

The plane overrun the end of the runway at 64 knots and went down a 30 20 meter embankment. There the fuselage broke into three parts. Luckily no large fire broke out. Some footage of the landing can be seen here.

Cont. reading: Bad Weather, Pilot Error Likely Caused The Pegasus Airline Accident - But Why Did The Plane Break Up?

Posted by b at 19:45 UTC | Comments (88)

Democrats Deserve To Lose Unless They Change

The Democratic Party seems to intend to lose the 2020 elections.

The idiotic impeachment attempt against Trump ended just as we predicted at its beginning:

After two years of falsely accusing Trump of having colluded with Russia [the Democrats] now allege that he colludes with Ukraine. That will make it much more difficult for the Democrats to hide the dirty hands they had in creating Russiagate. Their currently preferred candidate Joe Biden will get damaged.
...
Trump should be impeached for his crimes against Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.

But the Democrats will surely not touch on those issues. They are committing themselves to political theater that will end without any result. Instead of attacking Trump's policies and proposing better legislation they will pollute the airwaves with noise about 'crimes' that do not exist.

There is no case for impeachment. Even if the House would vote for one the Senate would never act on it. No one wants to see a President Pence.

The Democrats are giving Trump the best campaign aid he could have wished for. Trump will again present himself as the victim of a witch hunt. He will again argue that he is the only one on the side of the people. That he alone stands with them against the bad politicians in Washington DC. Millions will believe him and support him on this. It will motivate them to vote for him.

The Senate acquitted Trump of all the nonsense the Democrats have thrown against him.


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Biden lost in Iowa and his poll numbers elsewhere are not much better. His meddling in Ukrainian politics will continue to be investigated.

Iowa caucuses count was intentionally sabotaged, first through an appn created by incompetent programmers on the payroll of a Buttigieg related company, then by a manipulated manual count by the Iowa Democratic party:

Cont. reading: Democrats Deserve To Lose Unless They Change

Posted by b at 15:57 UTC | Comments (294)

February 05, 2020

Open Thread 2020-09

News & views ...

Posted by b at 16:06 UTC | Comments (361)

February 04, 2020

Putin Prepares To Release Iowa Caucus Results

Unprecedented cybersecurity measures being taken to safeguard Iowa caucus results - Jan 29 2020

No one knows how many of Iowa’s 1,700 precinct leaders will opt to use a new smartphone app to report Democratic caucus results Monday night. But the security of that app will be the source of much scrutiny.

After reports of Russian hacking attempts in the 2016 presidential election, party leaders are taking unprecedented precautions to protect against cybersecurity breaches and the spread of disinformation on social media.

On Wednesday, Democratic Party officials in Iowa and Washington confirmed that the Democratic National Committee is deploying security staff to work with the state party to assist with any caucus problems.

---
Democratic Party @DNC - 22:16 UTC · Feb 3, 2020
For three years, we’ve been preparing for the process that officially kicks off tonight in Iowa: the Democratic presidential primary. Today our chair, @TomPerez, reflects on the reforms we’ve made to make this the most transparent primary in our history: How We Prepared for 2020
---
NPR Politics @nprpolitics - 5:33 UTC · Feb 4, 2020

"By all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious," Pete Buttigieg said in a late-night speech.
0% of Iowa caucus results are in.

---
Walker Bragman @WalkerBragman - 5:59 UTC · Feb 4, 2020

Not great optics here, folks:
- Dems paid company literally called Shadow to create caucus app
- Buttigieg campaign also paid Shadow, FEC records show
- Caucus app fails
- Buttigieg declares himself Iowa winner with no results

---

Pro-Israel Buttigieg backer Seth Klarman is top funder of group behind Iowa’s disastrous voting app

At the time of publication, twelve hours after voting in the Democratic Party’s Iowa caucuses ended, the results have not been announced. The delay in reporting is the result of a failed app developed by a company appropriately named Shadow Inc.

This firm was staffed by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama campaign veterans and created by a Democratic dark money nonprofit backed by hedge fund billionaires including Seth Klarman. A prolific funder of pro-settler Israel lobby organizations, Klarman has also contributed directly to Pete Buttigieg’s campaign.

---

The Sanders campaign published its internal count from some 40% of the precincts which they say are representative. Their unofficial result:

Sanders - 30%; Buttigieg - 25%; Warren - 21%; Biden - 12%; Klobucher - 11%; all others < 1%

What a clusterfuck.

Posted by b at 12:16 UTC | Comments (330)

February 03, 2020

Syrian Army Progress Leads To New Scuffle Between Turkey And Russia

The continuing Syrian army operation to liberate Idleb governorate is leading to a new clash between Turkey and Russia.

The governorate of Idleb is still largely occupied by Turkish controlled 'rebels' and al-Qaeda aligned Jihadi groups like Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). The Astana agreement between Turkey and Russia, signed in September 2018, included a ceasefire in the governorate, buffer zones, and the reopening of the M4 highway between the coast and Aleppo city and the M5 highway between Damascus and Aleppo. The ceasefires and the agreement between Turkey and Russia explicitly excluded the Jihadis.

The roads were never reopened for civilian Syrian traffic and several rounds of ceasefires continued to break down. A sustained Russian and Syria air campaign prevented the Jihadis from launching larger attacks. Meanwhile harassment fire from the Jihadis and all out attacks continue to kill civilians and soldiers in Aleppo city and other areas. Turkish observation posts which were meant to monitor the ceasefire are instead providing intelligence and supplies to the 'rebels'.

Six days ago, after the Syrian Arab Army liberated the city Maarat al-Numan southeast of Idleb city, we wrote:

Southeast Idleb Jan 28 2020

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Coming from the east the Syrian army crossed the M5 highway north and south of the city in a pincer movement. The Jihadis who had held the city fled westwards towards Kafranabel and Al Barah on the only roads left to move out. The city itself was taken without a fight. The map above does not yet reflect this latest development.
...
The move cuts off a Turkish observation point south of Maarat al Nunman. It is the third such point that is now surrounded by Syrian government forces. Earlier today a convoy of some 30 Turkish vehicles had entered Idleb governorate from Turkey. It is expected to erect a new observation point near Saraqib where the M4 and M5 highway come together. Saraqib will be the next target for the Syrian army campaign.

That is indeed what happened. Turkey build up a new heavily armed 'observation point' south of Saraqib with the intent to block further Syrian moves towards the city. Meanwhile the Syrian army moved nearer to Saraqib but also took time to secure its eastern flank.

The Turkish President did not appreciate that the Syrian army was making progress against his mercenaries:

Cont. reading: Syrian Army Progress Leads To New Scuffle Between Turkey And Russia

Posted by b at 17:25 UTC | Comments (192)

February 02, 2020

The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-09

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

> “Both overall enemy-initiated attacks and effective enemy-initiated attacks during the fourth quarter of 2019 exceeded same-period levels in every year since recording began in 2010,” the report said. <

Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-09

Posted by b at 14:51 UTC | Comments (235)

February 01, 2020

Novel Coronavirus Defies Conspiracy Theories As Data Shows Its Coming Decline

There are first signs that the novel Cornoavirus  (nCoV19) epidemic will come to an end within a month or so. An analysis from the Chinese media house Caixin provides the newest numbers (machine translated):

[O]n January 31, 2020, 2102 new cases of new coronavirus were diagnosed nationwide, 46 deaths were added, and 5019 suspected cases were added which increased by 6.1%, 7.0%, and 4.3% respectively compared with the previous day, and increased by 21.8%, 29.0%, and 23.3% respectively compared with the average of the previous three days.

There are some 12.000 recognized infected persons in total. More than 99.9% of all nCoV19 cases are in China. The growth per day is still strong but not exponential. With people now traveling less from, to and within China the epidemic will likely stay contained.

We had documented in an earlier post that neither the infectiousness nor the mortality of the novel Cornoavirus are especially severe. This New York Times graphic also explains that.


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More from Caixin (machine translated):

As of January 31, the cumulative number of severe cases accounted for 15.8% of the confirmed cases, and the mortality rate (accumulated death cases accounted for the cumulative confirmed cases) has remained at the level of 2.2% for 3 consecutive days.

Both numbers are relatively low and here are the first signs that the epidemic is coming to a halt:

Cont. reading: Novel Coronavirus Defies Conspiracy Theories As Data Shows Its Coming Decline

Posted by b at 20:08 UTC | Comments (321)

January 31, 2020

Happy BREXIT Day - Now For The Hard Part

Tonight Great Britain will leave the European Union.

Then comes the hard part.

Britain has until the end of this year to make a new trade deal with Europe, with the U.S., and with other countries.

But it does not have much negotiation power. Nearly 50% of Britain's exports go to the EU where 27 national parliaments will have to sign off any new deal. No deal means that Britain would lose a big chunk of that trade. In the U.S. Congress must also agree to a new trade deal with Britain. Lots of lobbyists will ask for open access to Britain's markets.

Those deals will make Brexit much less favorable than envisioned. One often heard argument for Brexit was that Great Britain would regain exclusive fishing rights within its economic zone. But some EU countries will likely ask for additional fishing rights in British waters in exchange for something Britain urgently needs.

The U.S. will want access to the British markets for its agricultural and healthcare industries. That will conflict with Britain's own farmers, food regulations and its much liked National Health Service.

Britain will have to negotiate two very large and complicated deals under severe time pressure. The EU might offer to extend the deadline under some conditions but Boris Johnson has promised not to ask for it. Comprehensive trade deals normally take several years to make. Negotiations about access for Britain's financial service industry to the EU market will be extremely complicated.

There was a time where Britain ruled the seas and where headlines like "Fog in Channel; Continent Cut Off" were not only funny but somewhat justified. But neither is still the case.

It is Britain that needs the deals not the other countries. The choices the Tory government will make throughout the negotiations are unlikely to be in favor of the average British citizen.

The economic damage all this will cause will not be felt at once but will most likely creep in through no or low growth, increased unemployment and higher prices.

There are also the national issues. Northern Ireland will economically be integrated with Ireland and may over time consider leaving Great Britain. The Scottish people had preferred to stay within the EU. They may again try to secede.

Five to ten years from now Great Britain will likely be much less great than it is today.

The EU can do well without Britain. The country was never really committed to the union and often played a negative role.

But the EU will also need to change its urge to centralize and regulate everything. If it continues on its path other countries may want to follow the British example despite the damage it will cause to them.

Posted by b at 18:19 UTC | Comments (139)

January 30, 2020

Those Who Have Visions ...

The former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt once famously said:

People who have visions should go see a doctor.

Yesterday U.S. President Donald Trump published a Vision for Peace, Prosperity, and a Brighter Future for Israel and the Palestinian People. The paper refers to 'vision' 28 times.

It is similar to this Lebanese 'Vision for Peace' for a brighter future for the people in North America which foresees some split of territory between natives and colonial settlers.


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Visions do not create rights. They have no legal grounds. They do not convey legality to anything.

Trump, his Zionist donors and the U.S. media seem to have trouble understanding that. They will be educated by those who continue to stand up for the rights of the Palestinian people.

Posted by b at 11:29 UTC | Comments (221)

January 29, 2020

Open Thread 2020-08

News & views ...

Posted by b at 13:59 UTC | Comments (376)

January 28, 2020

Syria: Army Liberates Maarat al-Numan - U.S. Plans New Mischief

Today the Syrian Arab Army liberated the city Maarat al-Numan in south-east Idleb. Before the war on Syria the city had some 60,000 inhabitants. This followed after several week of steady progress during which two dozens villages were taken from the Jihadis who currently rule the Idleb area.

Southeast Idleb Jan 28 2020

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Coming from the east the Syrian army crossed the M5 highway north and south of the city in a pincer movement. The Jihadis who had held the city fled westwards towards Kafranabel and Al Barah on the only roads left to move out. The city itself was taken without a fight. The map above does not yet reflect this latest development. Pictures by a Russian photographer show Syrian troops within the city. There is significant damage within the city from the bombing campaign that preceded the attack.

According to a BBC producer in Syria the Jihadis confirmed the takeover:

Cont. reading: Syria: Army Liberates Maarat al-Numan - U.S. Plans New Mischief

Posted by b at 16:28 UTC | Comments (101)

January 27, 2020

The Air War In Afghanistan Expands On Both Sides

Under the Trump administration U.S. air attacks in Afghanistan have sharply increased. But it now seems that the Taliban have acquired some means to counter them.

Last year the U.S. dropped a record number of bombs on Afghanistan leading to ever increasing casualties among civilians:

According to the Combined Forces Air Component Commander (CFACC) 2013-2019 Airpower Statistics released in late January, 7,423 missions flown in Afghanistan in 2019 resulted in weapons being released. There were more weapon releases in most months of the year than in any corresponding months since records were first released in 2009, with September recording the most for the year at 948.

The previous annual record was 7,362 set in 2018, and the last two years together have seen more weapon releases over Afghanistan than the combined number for 2012 through to 2017.

Twenty bombing strikes per day is a quite astonishing number. Many civilians get killed in this U.S. bombing campaign. The U.S. often seems not to know who it is hitting. This report from last week is typical:

A drone attack carried out by U.S. forces earlier this month in western Afghanistan that apparently targeted a splinter Taliban group also killed at least 10 civilians, including three women and three children, an Afghan rights official and a council member said Wednesday.
...
There was no immediate comment from the Afghan military or the U.S. forces. But Wakil Ahmad Karokhi, a provincial council member in Herat, said the Jan. 8 strike also killed the commander of a Taliban splinter group, known as Mullah Nangyalia, along with 15 other militants.
...
The commanders funeral the following day was held in the Herat provincial capital’s Guzargah neighborhood, and was attended by dozens of militants.

Karokhi criticized the strike as “huge mistake” saying the commander had been a useful buffer against the Taliban in Shindand district, taking up arms with his fighters against the insurgents “when no one else would do it" and leaving the area's civilians in peace.

The U.S. military and its allies and Afghan proxies are not the only ones fighting. The Taliban can hit back at helicopters and planes and, judging from the number of recent air incidents, they now have found effective means to do so. Two days ago they destroyed another helicopter:

Drexluddin Spiveyzai @RisboLensky - 9:44 UTC · Jan 25, 2020

Helicopter hit by missile in Kajaki area of #Helmand 4 soldiers wounded via @TOLOnews #Afghanistan

Its #Moldova flag. Helicopter got hit pretty bad. True miracle there are no deaths

#Taliban took responsibility for shooting down of military helicopter in #Helmand #Afghanistan

This is the 4th helicopter that went down in January

Video from Kajaki

Four helicopter losses in one month is quite significant.

Earlier today there were reports that a civilian Afghan airliner had come down. Those turned out to be false. But a plane had indeed crashed in Ghazni province south of Kabul. It was a military one:

Cont. reading: The Air War In Afghanistan Expands On Both Sides

Posted by b at 16:03 UTC | Comments (226)

January 26, 2020

The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-07

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

Related:

Interview with Iran's Foreign Minister Javed Zarif:
"It’s a Disaster for Europe To Be So Subservient to the U.S" -Spiegel

Related:

The OPCW Scandal and the Silence Cartel (pdf) English translation by Michael Kobs of the German report below
Der OPCW-Skandal und das Scheigekartell - Multipolar Magazine

Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-07

Posted by b at 15:34 UTC | Comments (234)

January 25, 2020

The Coronavirus - No Need To Panic


Bring Out Your Dead by beq
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I had a little bird,
Its name was Enza.
I opened the window,
And in-flu-enza.
The Influenza Pandemic of 1918

The picture and the rhyme are from a fifteen year old Moon of Alabama post headlined Bring Out Your Dead. Beq's title for her picture is from a medieval Mounty Pyton sketch (vid) around the 'black death'. We no longer have to fear the plague but every once a while a new virus catches up with humanity.

China is stepping up efforts to stop the spread of a the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV:

Chinese President Xi Jinping has held a special government meeting on the Lunar New Year public holiday to warn that the spread of a deadly new virus is "accelerating".

The country is facing a "grave situation" Mr Xi told senior officials, according to state television.

The coronavirus has killed at least 41 people and infected almost 1,300 since its discovery in the city of Wuhan.

Travel restrictions have already hit several affected cities.

And from Sunday, private vehicles will be banned from the central districts of Wuhan, the source of the outbreak.
...
Across mainland China, travellers are having their temperatures checked for signs of fever, and train stations have been shut in several cities.

An infected person transmits the virus to X healthy persons. In an epidemic the factor X is greater than 1. For the novel coronavirus the initial factor, also known as R0 or R naught, is 1.4-2.5 which is not especially high.

Cont. reading: The Coronavirus - No Need To Panic

Posted by b at 17:30 UTC | Comments (295)

January 24, 2020

Associated Press Sees "Hundreds" Where Pictures Show Millions

At 10:01 UTC today the Associated Press tweeted that "hundreds" gather in central Baghdad to demand that American troops leave the country.


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Thirty eight minutes earlier CNN had already reported that "hundreds of thousands" are protesting in Baghdad against the U.S. troop presence in Iraq.

Cont. reading: Associated Press Sees "Hundreds" Where Pictures Show Millions

Posted by b at 11:32 UTC | Comments (157)

New Boeing CEO Insists On Moving The Company Towards Irrelevance

Shortly after we published our latest Boeing piece, asking if the company can survive, the new Boeing CEO and former board member David Calhoun held a call with the media. It confirmed our pessimistic take.

Calhoun said that nothing was wrong at Boeing. It is just that foreign pilots are incompetent, that Boeing workers lack practice and that its customers have no idea what they are talking about. Safety, he says, is just a prerequisite for shareholder value, not an inherent value in itself. Dividends must continue to flow, even when that requires the company to take on more debt. Boeing should not develop new airplanes as its derivatives of very ones can beat the competition. Calhoun also wants to stay in his new positions as long as possible even though he lacks the competence to fill it.

In short - Calhoun said all the wrong things he possibly could have said:

Speaking from Boeing Commercial Airplanes headquarters at Longacres in Renton on a two-day visit to the area ahead of Friday’s expected first flight of the 777X, Calhoun acknowledged the design of the MAX’s new flight control system was flawed, but insisted that was not a product of any deliberate decision to put cost factors ahead of safety.

Instead, he said, the flaws came from long-standing assumptions about how pilots would react to a failure —assumptions that proved fatally wrong.

We do have documentation from several Boeing employees who say the exact opposite:

“We put ourselves in this position by picking the lowest cost supplier [...] and signing up to impossible schedules,” wrote a Boeing employee. “We have a senior leadership team that understand very little about the business and yet are driving us to certain objectives.”

“Time and time again, we are inundated with Boeing material specifying quality is key — this clearly is not the case in any of the decisions that are made,” wrote another. “Until an open and frank discussion takes place, the same errors, wasted opportunities, and financial losses will continually be absorbed.”

The above exchange of Boeing engineers was not just part of a "micro-culture not representative for Boeing", as Calhoun claimed. It was and is a widespread sentiment throughout the company:

Cont. reading: New Boeing CEO Insists On Moving The Company Towards Irrelevance

Posted by b at 6:39 UTC | Comments (92)

January 23, 2020

Open Thread 2020-06

News & views ...

Posted by b at 14:52 UTC | Comments (308)

January 22, 2020

Can Boeing Survive Its MAX Problems?

The Boeing 737 MAX saga continues and it now threatens to bring the company to the brink of insolvency:

Boeing now projects the 737 MAX won’t get Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) clearance to fly until midyear, about three months further out than previously expected, in a delay that could stretch the plane’s grounding to more than 15 months.

The MAX was grounded in March 2019 after two crashes of the plane type cost the lives of 346 people and revealed significant problems with the ill constructed Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) and other parts of the plane.

The cause of the new delays are additional problems with the planes' Flight Control Computers:

The issue is in the plane’s flight-control computer software. It was confined to how it performs validation checks during startup and doesn’t involve its function during flight, the people said.

The problem came to light when the latest version of the software was loaded onto an actual aircraft, according to one of the people. While it has been tested on planes in flight, most of the software reviews have occurred in a special simulator used by engineers on the ground.
...
Boeing has been working for more than a year on fixing software to ensure that MCAS is safe. The process has been bumpy at times as new glitches arose and tension flared with regulators.

This will come as no surprise for Moon of Alabama readers. Last June we discussed in detail how the necessary changes to the software of the old FCCs were likely to lead to new trouble:

Boeing says that it can again fix the software to avoid the problem the FAA just found. It is doubtful that this will be possible. The software load is already right at the border, if not above the physical capabilities of the current flight control computers. The optimization potential of the software is likely minimal.

MCAS was a band aid. Due to the new engine position the 737 MAX version had changed its behavior compared to the older 737 types even though it still used the older types' certification. MCAS was supposed to correct that. The software fix for MCAS is another band aid on top of it. The fix for the software fix that Boeing now promises to solve the problem the FAA pilot found, is the third band aid over the same wound. It is doubtful that it will stop the bleeding.
...
Boeing's latest announced time frame for bringing the grounded 737 MAX planes back into the air is "mid December". In view of this new problem one is inclined to ask "which year?"

It is estimated that each month the 737 MAX stays grounded will cost the company at least $1.5 billion. This month Boeing halted its 737 production line but it has not laid off any of its workers. This will further increase its costs. The cost per month will increase if the grounding continues for long. A slow delivery of the 400 mothballed 737 MAX Boeing built last year will have to be followed by an equally slow ramp up of the production of new planes. It will take until 2023 for Boeing to come back into some normal state. 

After the previous CEO Dennis Muilenberg was fired, the new CEO, former Boeing board member David Calhoun, will try to blame everything on his predecessor. On January 29 Boeing is expected to announce its fourth quarter results. It will likely take a very large charge on top of what it had already announced:

Analysts expect further large charges on top of the $9.2 billion in costs that was projected through September, the first six months of the grounding.

That consisted of a $5.6 billion write-off to cover compensation to airline customers and suppliers, plus $3.6 billion in increased future 737 manufacturing costs due to the extended period at lower production rates.

Next Wednesday, Boeing must now update those cost projections for a further nine months from September through June.

The total loss due to the 737 MAX failure is now estimated to reach $25-30 billion.

Under its previous policies Boeing increased its share price by buying back huge numbers of its own shares. That money should have been invested in new airplane types or be kept as reserve. Boeing is now bleeding cash and needs to take up more debt to stay solvent:

Cont. reading: Can Boeing Survive Its MAX Problems?

Posted by b at 16:46 UTC | Comments (113)

January 21, 2020

UN Security Council Hears OPCW Inspector Testimony About The Manipulation Of 'Chemical Attack' Reports

We have long maintained that the alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria, on April 7 2018 was faked by Jihadists shortly before they were evicted from that Damascus suburb.

By the end of last year leaked documents and a whistle blower from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had proven that the OPCW managers had manipulated the report their staff had written about the incident. The OPCW inspectors who had investigated the case on the ground in Douma found that there was no evidence that a chemical attack had happened. The murdered people seem in videos from the alleged attack must have died of other causes. The yellow canisters found at the locations of the alleged attack were not dropped from helicopters but clearly manually placed.


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Using the Arria-formula, a procedure to have witnesses testify to the UN Security Council, Russia and China invited other UN members to listen to the testimony of OPCW inspector Ian Henderson. He denounced the false final report the OPCW management had published. Henderson, a South African engineer, was a team leader at the OPCW where he had worked for more than twelve years.

Henderson's testimony can be watched here. Philip Watson transcribed Henderson's speech:

Cont. reading: UN Security Council Hears OPCW Inspector Testimony About The Manipulation Of 'Chemical Attack' Reports

Posted by b at 13:34 UTC | Comments (128)

January 20, 2020

Iran Counters EU Threat Of Snapback Sanctions

U.S. President Donald Trump wants to destroy the nuclear agreement with Iran. He has threatened the EU-3 poodles in Germany, Britain and France with a 25% tariff on their car exports to the U.S. unless they end their role in the JCPOA deal.

In their usual gutlessness the Europeans gave in to the blackmail. They triggered the Dispute Resolution Mechanism of the deal. The mechanism foresees two 15 day periods of negotiations and a five day decision period after which any of the involved countries can escalate the issues to the UN Security Council. The reference to the UNSC would then lead to an automatic reactivation or "snapback" of those UN sanction against Iran that existed before the nuclear deal was signed.

Iran is now countering the European move. Its Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced that Iran may leave the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) if any of the European countries escalates the issue to the UNSC:

Zarif said that Iran is following up the late decision by European states to trigger the Dispute Resolution Mechanism in the context of the JCPOA, adding that Tehran officially started the discussion on the mechanism on May 8, 2018 when the US withdrew from the deal.

He underlined that Iran sent three letters dated May 10, August 26 and November 2018 to the then EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, announcing in the latter that Iran had officially triggered and ended the dispute resolution mechanism and thus would begin reducing its commitments to the JCPOA.

However, Iran gave a seven-month opportunity to the European Union before it began reducing its commitments in May 8, 2019 which had operational effects two months later, according to Zarif.

Iran’s top diplomat said that the country’s five steps in compliance reduction would have no similar follow-ups, but Europeans’ measure to refer the case to the United Nations Security Council may be followed by Tehran’s decision to leave NPT as stated in President Hassan Rouhani’s May 2018 letter to other parties to the deal.

He stressed that all the steps are reversible if the European parties to the JCPOA restore their obligations under the deal.

The Europeans certainly do not want Iran to leave the NPT. But as they are cowards and likely to continue to submit themselves to Trump's blackmail that is what they will end up with. Britain is the most likely country to move the issue to the UNSC as it is in urgent need of a trade deal with the U.S. after leaving the EU.

Cont. reading: Iran Counters EU Threat Of Snapback Sanctions

Posted by b at 18:46 UTC | Comments (142)