Daily Archives: September 1, 2011

Cuba’s Terror Smoking Gun

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Terrorism: For years, Cuba’s apologists have debunked U.S. warnings of Havana’s sponsorship of terror. It withers in the face of news that Cuba has just set up a Hezbollah base.

According to a report in Italy’s respected Corriere della Sera Wednesday, three Hezbollah terrorists operating out of Mexico have left that country to establish a permanent “bridgehead” to the communist island, calling their clandestine operation “The Caribbean Dossier.”

Twenty-three other terrorists from the Iran-linked terror group are expected to join the operation, which has a startup budget of more than $500,000. Corriere reported that the mission in Cuba is to provide logistical support for upcoming terrorist attacks planned in the hemisphere.

This is what “state sponsor of terrorism” means, which is how the U.S. accurately classified this odious regime since 1982, even as Cuba’s leftist apologists have dismissed it, claiming Cuba is no threat.

Safely ensconced with the Castro brothers’ hospitality, Hezbollah’s operatives can carry out missions such as acquiring passports, recruiting informants and forging documents.

More disturbingly, they have been tasked to network with Hezbollah’s other terrorist cells in Venezuela, Paraguay and Mexico, all in need of logistical support for attacks.

The Italian newspaper reported that Hezbollah might be planning a major attack against Israeli targets in the Western Hemisphere in retaliation for Israel’s killing of Hezbollah’s chief assassin, Imad Mughniyeh, in Damascus in 2008. Mughniyeh was a Hezbollah terrorist leader implicated in the two huge attacks in Buenos Aires in the 1990s on Jewish targets — strikes that remain unpunished.

But the targets might not all be Latin American. With Hezbollah ordered to meet with, presumably in Havana, Mexico’s cartel traffickers that control illegal alien routes into the U.S., it’s likely terrorist attacks are in the works for America, too.

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“Once you create the networks, the guerrillas will be held ready for their missions,” Corriere reported of Hezbollah’s orders.

That’s classic terrorist networking coming into a place before a scourge emerges.

Make no mistake, it’s the Castro dictatorship that’s enabling Hezbollah. More to the point, it corresponds with the fact that the Castro brothers have always opened the doors wide to terrorist operatives — from Colombia’s FARC, M-19 and ELN terrorists, to Chile’s leftist terrorists of the Allende era, Nicaragua’s Sandinistas and Spain’s ETA Basque operations.

The Castro brothers have long been champions of Hezbollah, and there are no more “professionally trained” terrorists capable of carrying out large attacks than Hezbollah operatives.

Against all this, the Cuban regime screams whenever the State Department awards it the designation of state sponsor of terror. Just last week, Cubadebate.com, a Cuban state-controlled media organ, said the U.S. used “old, unprovable arguments” in its annual Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 that gave Cuba the terror title it deserves.

What’s outrageous is that the left has consistently echoed this line. Just last year, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson wrote:

“Cuba poses no terror threat. Cuba is not a failed state with territories out of governmental control. The idea that a Cuban citizen could get explosive artifacts or have terror accessories of any kind in the island is simply ridiculous.”

Filmmaker Michael Moore, academic Noam Chomsky, Code Pink founder Medea Benjamin and quite a few elected officials have made similar statements.

Original Article

How are they going to explain away a Hezbollah base in Havana now?

Westshore Shipbrokers: A Closer Look at Vessel Scrapping and Attrition in the OSV Market

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Offshore vessel market has been one area of the business that has had little to do with vessel scrapping. It was notable therefore that in the first quarter results for US-owner Tidewater that an announcement was made regarding the intention to scrap eleven vessels from its large fleet. Tidewater is arguably the largest offshore support vessel owner in the world, but the fleet is an ageing one so it is perhaps unsurprising that the news comes from this particular source.

Moreover a significant part of its fleet is already laid up in areas of the world where the standard of vessel is generally lower and older than anyway what’s seen in the North Sea.

When we take a look at the oldest vessels still in existence around the globe the majority of those over 30 years are AHTS vessels of an average of 6,300 bhp and are located largely in the Middle East, South East Asia and West Africa. About half as many are PSVs with an average of 1,200 dwt and are largely sitting in the US Gulf of Mexico.

Despite the deluge of older tonnage sitting in ports around the world owners are reluctant to send these old girls to the scrappers. An industry wide increase in required operating standards of vessels – even in regions such as the Middle East where traditionally these vessels could find employment, has seen a diminishing need for this older tonnage. Moreover the order books for new vessels is swelling again and as these brand new and higher spec vessels deliver everything else gets pushed further and further to the back of the queue.

Vessels that were scrapped over the last couple of years were largely 60s and 70s built and very much at the end of their useful lives. In addition many had been working in the US Gulf where a post-Macondo industry is at long last showing an  increased focus on safety and this extends to the support vessels. It’s easy for an analyst to sit and look at the figures, around 15% of the global AHTS fleet is over 30 years old and 13% of PSVs – so let’s get the burners out and keep the fleet in renewal. But it’s rarely as simple as that, as this older tonnage is fully paid up, cheap to run and in depressed markets often the only ones that can go low enough to get a charter, for an individual owner there’s simply no need to remove them. Moreover remuneration for the scrap of a vessel is calculated on the weight of the steel (light deadweight tonnage) but unlike tankers for example, the value of an offshore vessel is in its equipment and capability rather than the volume of steel that could be melted down. For the time being, arguments for not scrapping your older vessels may outweigh those for doing so, but in an increasingly safety and environmentally conscious industry that will soon change.

Written by Inger Louise Molver, Offshore Analyst at Westshore Shipbrokers AS

Original Article

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