Daily Archives: May 24, 2008

Grad student researching al-Qaida arrested and detained for 6 days

· Lecturers fear threat to academic freedom

· Manual downloaded from US government website

The Guardian | May 24, 2008

by Polly Curtis and Martin Hodgson

A masters student researching terrorist tactics who was arrested and detained for six days after his university informed police about al-Qaida-related material he downloaded has spoken of the “psychological torture” he endured in custody.

Despite his Nottingham University supervisors insisting the materials were directly relevant to his research, Rizwaan Sabir, 22, was held for nearly a week under the Terrorism Act, accused of downloading the materials for illegal use. The student had obtained a copy of the al-Qaida training manual from a US government website for his research into terrorist tactics.

The case highlights what lecturers are claiming is a direct assault on academic freedom led by the government which, in its attempt to establish a “prevent agenda” against terrorist activity, is putting pressure on academics to become police informers.

Sabir was arrested on May 14 after the document was found by a university staff member on an administrator’s computer. The administrator, Hisham Yezza, an acquaintance of Sabir, had been asked by the student to print the 1,500-page document because Sabir could not afford the printing fees. The pair were arrested under the Terrorism Act, Sabir’s family home was searched and their computer and mobile phones seized. They were released uncharged six days later but Yezza, who is Algerian, was immediately rearrested on unrelated immigration charges and now faces deportation.

Dr Alf Nilsen, a research fellow at the university’s school of politics and international relations, said that Yezza is being held at Colnbrook immigration removal centre, due to be deported on Tuesday.

“If he is taken to Algeria, he may be subjected to severe human rights violations after his involvement in this case. He has been in the UK for 13 years. His work is here, his friends are here, his life is here.”

Of his detention, Sabir said: “I was absolutely broken. I didn’t sleep. I’d close my eyes then hear the keys clanking and I would be up again. As I realised the severity I thought I’d end up in Belmarsh with the nutcases. It was psychological torture.

“On Tuesday they read me a statement confirming it was an illegal document which shouldn’t be used for research purposes. To this day no one has ever clarified that point. They released me. I was shaking violently, I fell against the wall, then on the floor and I just cried.”

Bettina Rentz, a lecturer in international security and Sabir’s personal tutor, said: “He’s a serious student, who works very hard and wants a career in academia. This is a great concern for our academic freedom but also for the climate on campus.”

Students have begun a petition calling on the university to acknowledge the “disproportionate nature of [its] response to the possession of legitimate research materials”.

A spokesman for Nottingham University said it had a duty to inform police of “material of this nature”. The spokesman said it was “not legitimate research material”, but later amended that view, saying: “If you’re an academic or a registered student then you have very good cause to access whatever material your scholarship requires. But there is an expectation that you will act sensibly within current UK law and wouldn’t send it on to any Tom, Dick or Harry.”

At its annual conference next week the University and College Union will debate a motion on “assaults on academic freedom by the DIUS [Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills]”. Sally Hunt, general secretary of the UCU, said: “If we really want to tackle problems like extremism and terrorism, then we need to be safe to explore the issues and get a better understanding. The last thing we need is people too frightened to discuss an issue or research a subject because they fear being arrested or reported.”

The higher education minister, Bill Rammell, said: “The government does not want to or has never asked for staff or students to spy on their colleagues or friends. We want universities to work with staff and students on campus to isolate and challenge the very small minority who promote violent extremism.”

Sabir’s solicitor, Tayab Ali, said: “This could have been dealt with sensibly if the university had discussed the issue with Rizwaan and his tutors. This is the worrying aspect of the extension of detention [under the Terrorism Act]. They can use hugely powerful arrest powers before investigating.”

Police were tracking movements of mentally ill Muslim convert patsie before restaurant attack

https://aftermathnews.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/nicky-reilly.jpg

Nicky Reilly was arrested at the scene on suspicion of detonating the nail bomb

It is understood Scotland Yard anti-terrorist officers are bemused by Devon and Cornwall Police’s rapid decision to reveal the claims that Reilly ‘was preyed upon, radicalised and taken advantage of’.

In normal circumstances, officers would take days – if not weeks – before coming to any conclusion about motives.

Daily Mail | May 23, 2008

By Michael Seamark and Colin Fernandez

The Muslim convert held after a nailbomb restaurant attack had been under surveillance by the security services, it was claimed last night.

Counter-terrorist officers suspected mentally-ill Nicky Reilly had forged links with known Islamic extremists at an internet cafe near his home.

The revelation raised serious questions about how he was able to travel on a bus with 54 passengers for the 44-mile journey from his home in Plymouth to Exeter, where the home-made bomb exploded.

The 22-year old – who detectives believe was exploited by militants – even received a text message of encouragement before setting off on his failed suicide mission on Thursday, say police sources.

Reilly (circled) was tracked on CCTV in Exeter city centre with the faulty nail bombs

The bomb was a ‘viable’ fireball-type device constructed of drain cleaner, kerosene, strips of aluminium foil and nails.

It was extremely volatile and may have been detonated by shaking. Reilly suffered severe cuts and facial burns when it went off in the lavatory of the Giraffe restaurant in a Plymouth shopping centre.

Police suspect the terrorists who built the bomb, and two similar devices found at the scene, thought they would have been powerful enough to blow out the front of the restaurant – causing untold death and injury.

The fact that Reilly, who had changed his name to Mohammed Rasheed, was ‘known’ to security services has echoes of July 7 bomber Mohammed Sidique Khan.

The leader of the suicide cell, which killed 52 people in London, was monitored by MI5. But he was not considered a priority and slipped through the net with disastrous consequences.

Armed guards stood at Reilly’s hospital bedside yesterday as the hunt began for those who turned the ‘gentle giant’ with a mental age of ten into a bomber.

Police with machine-guns and Taser stunguns swooped on two men as they sat drinking coffee yesterday outside a Plymouth cafe.

Witnesses said the men, who were of Middle Eastern appearance and had a child in a pushchair at their side, were searched and put into white paper suits before being driven away.

Reilly, a recent convert to Islam, had a diagnosed mental illness and had been in residential treatment, according to police sources.

The botched Exeter operation mirrors tactics used in Iraq of extremists taking advantage of the mentally or physically disabled to carry out suicide attacks.

Neighbours claimed Reilly, who is 6ft 1in and weighs 18st, repeatedly watched videos of the September 11 atrocity and used the burning Twin Towers as his computer screen saver. It is thought he may have been ‘brainwashed’ at a fish and chip shop near his home, a first-floor flat in a rundown area.

Police, who said Reilly had been ‘preyed upon and radicalised’, are searching the flat where he lives with his mother Kim, step-father and younger brother.

Neighbours painted a picture of a friendless, reclusive, vulnerable young man who used to collect James Bond model cars but in recent years came into contact with local Muslims.

One friend, 17-year- old Alli Turner, said: ‘When the Twin Towers happened he would constantly watch it on repeat. He also had a huge 9/11 poster on his wall.

‘He always used to say that he had been told you will get a better life when you die if you are a Muslim.

‘He once said he goes to “secret meetings” where no one is allowed if they are not a Muslim.

‘Nicky was never into drugs but he was on heavy medication. He tried to commit suicide several times.’

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Military Officers Challenge Official Account of September 11th

“Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th; malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists, themselves, away from the guilty.”

– George W. Bush

“It was all premeditated. Treason, a false flag military operation, and betrayal of the trust of the American people were committed on 9/11 by the highest levels of the US government and not one person responsible for the crimes, or the cover-up, has been held accountable for the last six years.”

– Former U.S. Air Force pilot Lt. Jeff Dahlstrom

Pakistan Daily | May 22, 2008

Twenty-five former U.S. military officers have severely criticized the official account of 9/11 and called for a new investigation. They include former commander of U.S. Army Intelligence, Major General Albert Stubblebine, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Col. Ronald D. Ray, two former staff members of the Director of the National Security Agency; Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, PhD, and Major John M. Newman, PhD, and many others. They are among the rapidly growing number of military and intelligence service veterans, scientists, engineers, and architects challenging the government’s story. The officers’ statements appear below, listed alphabetically.

Lt. Col. Robert Bowman, PhD “A lot of these pieces of information, taken together, prove that the official story, the official conspiracy theory of 9/11 is a bunch of hogwash. It’s impossible,” said Lt. Col. Robert Bowman, PhD, U.S. Air Force (ret). With doctoral degrees in Aeronautics and Nuclear Engineering, Col. Bowman served as Director of Advanced Space Programs Development under Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.

“There’s a second group of facts having to do with the cover up,” continued Col. Bowman. “Taken together these things prove that high levels of our government don’t want us to know what happened and who’s responsible. Who gained from 9/11? Who covered up crucial information about 9/11? And who put out the patently false stories about 9/11 in the first place? When you take those three things together, I think the case is pretty clear that it’s highly placed individuals in the administration with all roads passing through Dick Cheney.”

Regarding the failure of NORAD to intercept the four hijacked planes on 9/11, Col. Bowman said, “I’m an old interceptor pilot. I know the drill. I’ve done it. I know how long it takes. I know the rules. … Critics of the government story on 9/11 have said: ‘Well, they knew about this, and they did nothing’. That’s not true. If our government had done nothing that day and let normal procedure be followed, those planes, wherever they were, would have been intercepted, the Twin Towers would still be standing and thousands of dead Americans would still be alive.”

During his 22-year Air Force career, Col. Bowman also served as the Head of the Department of Aeronautical Engineering and Assistant Dean at the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology. He also flew over 100 combat missions in Viet Nam as a fighter pilot.

Lt. Jeff Dahlstrom Former U.S. Air Force pilot Lt. Jeff Dahlstrom wrote in a 2007 statement to this author, “When 9/11 occurred I bought the entire government and mainstream media story line. I was a lifelong conservative Republican that voted for Bush/Cheney, twice. Curiosity about JFK’s death, after a late night TV re-run of Oliver Stone’s movie, got me started researching and digging for the truth about his assassins.

“My research led me to a much more important and timely question: the mystery of what really did happen on 9/11. Everything that seemed real, turned out to be false. The US government and the news media, once again, were lying to the world about the real terrorists and the public murder of 2,972 innocents on 9/11.

“The ‘Patriot Act’ was actually written prior to 9/11 with the intention of destroying the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. It was passed by Congress, based upon the government’s myth of 9/11, which was in reality a staged hoax. 9/11 was scripted and executed by rogue elements of the military, FAA, intelligence, and private contractors working for the US government.

“In addition to severely curtailing fundamental rights of Americans, the 9/11 crime was then used by this administration, the one I originally voted for and supported, to justify waging two preemptive wars (and most likely a third war), killing over 4,500 American soldiers, and killing over one million innocent Afghan and Iraqi people.

“It was all premeditated. Treason, a false flag military operation, and betrayal of the trust of the American people were committed on 9/11 by the highest levels of the US government and not one person responsible for the crimes, or the cover-up, has been held accountable for the last six years.

“After reading fifteen well-researched books, studying eight or nine DVD documentaries, and devoting months of personal research and investigation, I have arrived at one ultimate conclusion: The American government and the US Constitution have been hijacked and subverted by a group of criminals that today are the real terrorists. They are in control of the US government and they have all violated their oaths of office and committed treason against their own citizens.”

Capt. Daniel Davis Capt. Daniel Davis is a former U.S. Army Air Defense Officer and NORAD Tac Director. After his military service, Capt. Davis served for 15 years as a Senior Manager at General Electric Turbine (jet) Engine Division and then devoted an additional 15 years as founder and CEO of Turbine Technology Services Corp., a turbine (jet engine) services and maintenance company.

In a statement to this author, Capt. Davis wrote, “As a former General Electric Turbine engineering specialist and manager and then CEO of a turbine engineering company, I can guarantee that none of the high tech, high temperature alloy engines on any of the four planes that crashed on 9/11 would be completely destroyed, burned, shattered or melted in any crash or fire. Wrecked, yes, but not destroyed. Where are all of those engines, particularly at the Pentagon? If jet powered aircraft crashed on 9/11, those engines, plus wings and tail assembly, would be there.”

Decorated with the Bronze Star and the Soldiers Medal for bravery under fire and the Purple Heart for injuries sustained in Viet Nam, Capt. Davis also served in the Army Air Defense Command as Nike Missile Battery Control Officer for the Chicago-Milwaukee Defense Area.

Capt. Davis continued, “Additionally, in my experience as an officer in NORAD as a Tactical Director for the Chicago-Milwaukee Air Defense and as a current private pilot, there is no way that an aircraft on instrument flight plans (all commercial flights are IFR) would not be intercepted when they deviate from their flight plan, turn off their transponders, or stop communication with Air Traffic Control. No way! With very bad luck, perhaps one could slip by, but no there’s no way all four of them could!

“Finally, going over the hill and highway and crashing into the Pentagon right at the wall/ground interface is difficult for even a small slow single engine airplane and no way for a 757. Maybe the best pilot in the world could accomplish that but not these unskilled ‘terrorists’. Attempts to obscure facts by calling them a ‘Conspiracy Theory’ does not change the truth. It seems, ‘Something is rotten in the State’.”

Major Jon I. Fox is a former U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot and a retired commercial airline pilot for Continental Airlines with a 35-year commercial aviation career. In 2007, in support of the Architects and Engineers[3] petition to reinvestigate 9/11, he wrote, “On hearing the military (NORAD/NEAD) excuses for no intercepts on 9/11/2001, I knew from personal experience that they were lying. I then began re-checking other evidence and found mostly more lies from the ‘official spokesmen’. Jet fuel fires at atmospheric pressure do not get hot enough to weaken steel. Structures do not collapse through themselves in free fall time with only gravity as the powering force.”

Commander Ralph Kolstad Retired U.S. Navy ‘Top Gun’ pilot Commander Ralph Kolstad started questioning the official account of 9/11 within days of the event. In a statement to this author, he wrote, “It just didn’t make any sense to me,” he said. And now six years after 9/11 he says, “When one starts using his own mind, and not what one was told, there is very little to believe in the official story.”

Commander Kolstad was a top-rated fighter pilot during his 20-year Navy career. Early in his career, he was accorded the honor of being selected to participate in the Navy’s ‘Top Gun’ air combat school, officially known as the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School. The Tom Cruise movie “Top Gun” reflects the experience of the young Navy pilots at the school. Eleven years later, Commander Kolstad was further honored by being selected to become a ‘Top Gun’ adversary instructor.

Commander Kolstad had a second career after his 20 years of Navy active and reserve service and served as a commercial airline pilot for 27 years, flying for American Airlines and other domestic and international careers. He flew Boeing 727, 757 and 767, McDonnell Douglas MD-80, and Fokker F-100 airliners. He has flown a total of over 23,000 hours in his career.

Commander Kolstad is especially critical of the account of American Airlines Flight 77 that allegedly crashed into the Pentagon. He says, “At the Pentagon, the pilot of the Boeing 757 did quite a feat of flying. I have 6,000 hours of flight time in Boeing 757’s and 767’s and I could not have flown it the way the flight path was described.”

Commander Kolstad adds, “I was also a Navy fighter pilot and Air Combat Instructor and have experience flying low altitude, high speed aircraft. I could not have done what these beginners did. Something stinks to high heaven!”

He points to the physical evidence at the Pentagon impact site and asks in exasperation, “Where is the damage to the wall of the Pentagon from the wings? Where are the big pieces that always break away in an accident? Where is all the luggage? Where are the miles and miles of wire, cable, and lines that are part and parcel of any large aircraft? Where are the steel engine parts? Where is the steel landing gear? Where is the tail section that would have broken into large pieces?”

But no major element of the official account of 9/11 is spared from Commander Kolstad’s criticism. Regarding the alleged impact site of United Airlines Flight 93 near Shanksville, PA, he asks, “Where is any of the wreckage? Of all the pictures I have seen, there is only a hole! Where is any piece of a crashed airplane? Why was the area cordoned off, and no inspection allowed by the normal accident personnel? Where is any evidence at all?”

Commander Kolstad also questions many aspects of the attack on the World Trade Center. “How could a steel and concrete building collapse after being hit by a Boeing 767? Didn’t the engineers design it to withstand a direct hit from a Boeing 707, approximately the same size and weight of the 767? The evidence just doesn’t add up.”

“Why did the second building collapse before the first one, which had been burning for 20 minutes longer after a direct hit, especially when the second one hit was just a glancing blow? If the fire was so hot, then why were people looking out the windows and in the destroyed areas? Why have so many members of the New York Fire Department reported seeing or hearing many ‘explosions’ before the buildings collapsed?”

Commander Kolstad summarized his frustration with the investigation and disbelief of the official account of 9/11, “If one were to act as an accident investigator, one would look at the evidence, and then construct a plausible scenario as to what led to the accident. In this case, we were told the story and then the evidence was built to support the story. What happened to any intelligent investigation? Every question leads to another question that has not been answered by anyone in authority. This is just the beginning as to why I don’t believe the official ‘story’ and why I want the truth to be told.”

Full Story

Trust drug may cure social phobia

“And it seems to me perfectly in the cards that there will be within the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing …a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda, brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods.”

– Aldous Huxley, 1959

“We hope and indeed we expect that we can improve sociability by administering oxytocin.”

– Dr Thomas Baumgartner, Zurich University

People who inhaled the “love hormone” oxytocin continued to trust strangers with their money – even after they were betrayed.

BBC | May 21, 2008

A nasal spray which increases our trust for strangers is showing promise as a treatment for social phobia, say scientists from Zurich University.

They found that people who inhaled the “love hormone” oxytocin continued to trust strangers with their money – even after they were betrayed.

Brain scans showed the hormone lowered activity in the amygdala – a region which is overactive in social phobics.

Drug trials are underway and early signs are promising say the scientists.

Nicknamed the “cuddle chemical”, oxytocin is a naturally produced hormone, which has been shown to play a role in social relations, maternal bonding, and also in sex.

Lead researcher Dr Thomas Baumgartner said: “We now know for the first time what exactly is going on in the brain when oxytocin increases trust.

“We found that oxytocin has a very specific effect in social situations. It seems to diminish our fears.

“Based on our results, we can now conclude that a lack of oxytocin is at least one of the causes for the fear experienced by social phobics.

“We hope and indeed we expect that we can improve their sociability by administering oxytocin.”

Powerful effect

Previous studies have shown that participants in “trust games” took greater risks with their money after inhaling the hormone via a nasal spray.

In this latest experiment, published in the journal Neuron, the researchers asked volunteer subjects to take part in a similar trust game.

They were asked to contribute money to a human trustee, with the understanding that the trustee would invest the money and decide whether to return the profits or betray the subjects trust by keeping the profit.

The subjects also received doses of oxytocin or a placebo via a nasal spray.

After investing, the participants were given feedback on the trustees. When their trust was abused, the placebo group became less willing to invest. But the players who had been given oxytocin continued to trust their money with a broker.

“We can see that oxytocin has a very powerful effect,” said Dr Baumgartner.

“The subjects who received oxytocin demonstrated no change in their trust behaviour, even though they were informed that their trust was not honoured in roughly 50% of cases.”

In a second game, where the human trustees were replaced by a computer which gave random returns, the hormone made no difference to the players’ investment behaviour.

“It appears that oxytocin affects social responses specifically related to trust,” Dr Baumgartner said.

Defence barriers

During the games, the players’ brains were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

The researchers found that oxytocin reduced activity in two regions which act as natural “defence barriers”.

They are the amygdala, which processes fear and danger, and an area of the striatum, which helps to guide future behaviour, based on reward feedback.

The amygdala has been found to be extremely active in the brains of sufferers of social phobia.

Dr Baumgartner’s colleague, Professor Markus Heinrichs, has begun a study where social phobia sufferers are given either oxytocin or a placebo, in combination with cognitive and behavioural therapy.

The trials are ongoing, but Dr Baumgartner said that early signs appear “promising”.

The hormone could also be a candidate for treating patients with autism, he says.

“Autistic people also have a fear of social situations and have problems interacting, so it is very likely that oxytocin could help,” he said.

“This hormone seems to play a very specific role in social situations so might be able to improve autism. But so far I am not aware of any studies.”

Mauricio Delgado, a psychologist at Rutgers University, said: “This study has significant implications for understanding mental disorders where deficits in social behaviour are observed.

“While a degree of wariness may protect one from harm, being able to ”forgive and forget” is an imperative step in maintaining long-term relationships.

“The reported oxytocin finding could provide a bridge for potential clinical applications.”

Bilderberg Luminary To Select Obama’s Running Mate

james-a-johnson

James A. Johnson (center): Ultra-elitist Bilderberg luminary and corporate capo who will select the potential future U.S. President.

Prison Planet | May 23, 2008

By Paul Joseph Watson

It has been announced that Bilderberg luminary and top corporate elitist James A. Johnson will select Democratic candidate Barack Obama’s running mate for the 2008 election and in turn potentially act as kingmaker for America’s future President.

Johnson also selected John Kerry’s running mate John Edwards in 2004 after Edwards had impressed Bilderberg elitists Henry Kissinger and David Rockefeller with a speech he gave at the globalist confab in Italy that year.

The news further puts to rest any delusions that Bilderberg is a mere talking shop where no decisions are made. In reality, the group is shaping some of the primary developments in the domestic and geopolitical arena today, particularly in the context of oil prices which continue to accelerate towards Bilderberg’s target of $200 dollars a barrel.

It also ridicules once again any notion that an Obama presidency would bring “change” to the status quo of America being ruled by an unelected corporate and military-industrial complex elite.

Full Story

Related

Obama’s Money Cartel
How Barack Obama Fronts for the Most Vicious Predators on Wall Street
Seven of the Obama campaign’s top 14 donors consisted of officers and employees of the same Wall Street firms charged time and again with looting the public and newly implicated in originating and/or bundling fraudulently made mortgages. These latest frauds have left thousands of children in some of our largest minority communities coming home from school to see eviction notices and foreclosure signs nailed to their front doors. These seven Wall Street firms are (in order of money given): Goldman Sachs, UBS AG, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse.

‘Dean of Oil Analysts’ Predicts $12-15-a-Gallon Gas

Business & Media Institute | May 22, 2008

By Jeff Poor

It may be the mother of all doom and gloom gas price predictions: $12 for a gallon of gas is “inevitable.”

Robert Hirsch, Management Information Services Senior Energy Advisor, gave a dire warning about the potential future of gas prices on CNBC’s May 20 “Squawk Box”. He told host Becky Quick there was no single thing that would solve the problem, due to the enormity of the problem.

“[T]he prices that we’re paying at the pump today are, I think, going to be ‘the good old days,’ because others who watch this very closely forecast that we’re going to be hitting $12 and $15 per gallon,” Hirsch said. “And then, after that, when oil – world oil production goes into decline, we’re going to talk about rationing. In other words, not only are we going to be paying high prices and have considerable economic problems, but in addition to that, we’re not going to be able to get the fuel when we want it.”

Hirsch told the Business & Media Institute the $12-$15 a gallon wasn’t his prediction, but that he was citing Charles T. Maxwell, described as the “Dean of Oil Analysts” and the senior energy analyst at Weeden & Co. Still, Hirsch admitted the high price was inevitable in his view.

“I don’t attempt to predict oil prices because it’s been impossible in the past,” Hirsch said in an e-mail. “We’re into a new era now, and over the next roughly five years the trend will be up significantly. However, there may be dips and bumps that no one can forecast; I wouldn’t be at all surprised. To me the multi-year upswing is inevitable.”

Maxwell’s original $12-15-a-gallon prediction came in a February 5 interview with Energytechstocks.com, a Web site run by two former Wall Street Journal staffers.

“[Maxwell] expects an oil-induced financial crisis to start somewhere in the 2010 to 2015 timeframe,” Energytechstocks.com reported. “He said that, unlike the recession the U.S. appears to be in today, ‘This will not be six months of hell and then we come out of it.’ Rather, Maxwell expects this financial crisis to last at least 10 or 12 years, as the world goes through a prolonged period of price-induced rationing (eg, oil up to $300 a barrel and U.S. pump prices up to $15 a gallon).”

According to associate of Maxwell at Weeden & Co., Maxwell is out of the country and currently unavailable for comment.
Maxwell’s biography on the Weeden & Co. Web site said he “has been ranked by the U.S. financial institutions as the No. 1 oil analyst for the years 1972, 1974, 1977 and 1981-1986,” according to polls taken by Institutional Investor magazine.

“In addition, for the last 17 years he has been an active member of an Oxford-based organization comprised of OPEC and other industry executives from 30 countries who meet twice a year to discuss trends within the energy industry.”

Although Maxwell’s prediction is for the long-term, not everyone supports high-end predictions, even in the short-term. CNBC contributor and the vice president of risk management for MF Global (NYSE:MF) John Kilduff said on “The Call” May 7that he expected gas prices to drop following the Chinese Olympics, as China’s economic boom slows down.

Mexico homicides jump 47 percent

More than 200 people have been killed so far this year in Juarez.

Associated Press | May 23, 2008

By E. EDUARDO CASTILLO

MEXICO CITY – Homicides related to organized crime jumped 47 percent in 2008, Mexico’s attorney general said Friday in a rare confirmation of how bad violence has become.

Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora told Radio Formula that 1,378 people have been killed so far this year, compared with 940 in the same period last year.

The statistic reflected what many in Mexico already knew: Drug-related killings have soared in recent months.

But the details were the first official snapshot on the rise in killings. The Mexican government has been reluctant to release homicide statistics, leaving the public to rely on informal tallies by the news media.

Medina Mora broke that silence, saying 4,152 people have been killed since President Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006 and declared war on drug cartels that controlled entire regions of Mexico. About 450 of those were police, soldiers, prosecutors or investigators.

Medina Mora said many of the recent killings have been concentrated along the U.S. border, while homicides in the central part of the nation have subsided.

The government says the violence reflects drug gangs’ desperation amid the nationwide crackdown, carried out by more than 20,000 soldiers and federal police.

“Evidently when they are cornered and weakened, they have to respond with violence,” Medina Mora said.

Analysts say recent arrests have created a power vacuum and gangs are battling for valuable drug routes and territory.

One of the hardest hit cities is Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas. A recent e-mail warning of a weekend bloodbath has alarmed many residents there.

Nobody seems to know who wrote the e-mail, which says gunmen will fire at malls, restaurants and other public places in “killings all over the city.” But many people have forwarded it to friends.

Juarez Police Chief Roberto Orduna said the threats must be taken seriously and issued a news release Thursday assuring residents that police would be more vigilant.

More than 200 people have been killed so far this year in Juarez.