Sunday, January 30, 2011

Matt 24 watch, 115: Preliminary notes on events in Egypt

I have had my attention drawn to the ongoing events in Egypt, and their implications, in light of what seems to be emerging as a link between Mr Mohammed El Baradei (Late of the IAEA) and the Egyptian-rooted Muslim Brotherhood. 

Yes, the same radical islamist group that is at the forefront of global Jihadism, and which has developed the 1982 100 year plan for global subjugation under Islam that was exposed by a Swiss Financial Police raid. (Cf. as well the HLF trial discovery document of the 1991 Settlement- Civilisation- Jihad plan for subjugation of the USA under Islamist rule [English text at p. 15, Civ-Jihad statements, p. 21 ff.].) 

A summary picture of the goals and strategy of the Muslim Brotherhood can be taken from this admission buried deep in the Wikipedia article on this movement:
. . . The general goals and strategic plans of the MB are only found in Arabic documents. One for Europe called "The Project" was found in 2001 in Switzerland [as already linked], another for North America was found in 2005 called the "General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America."[24] [as also already linked] An evaluation of this Memorandum was made for the US-Congress and for the Pentagon.[25] Their influence is fast growing, especially in Europe, but not easy to trace while the active members have to keep their membership secret.
One citation from the document "General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America"[26] makes the objectives of the MB clear: "The process of settlement is a 'Civilization-Jihadist Process' with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house [i.e. dar ul Harb, the house of war] by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions."

Main activity-plan

The main goals on mid-term as approved by the Executive office and the Shura Council are formulated in a 5-year action plan derived from transcripts:[27]

Primary goals

  • reinstatement of the caliphate [unified global civil and military leader of Islam under the mandate of Quran, Surah 9:5 and 29 etc,  to subjugate the globe] and reunite the "dar el Islam".
  • Strengthening the internal structure
  • Administrative discipline
  • Recruitment and settlement of the Dawa'a [the Islamic version of missions; literally a call to surrender preparatory to threat of invasion]
  • Energizing the organisations work
  • Energizing political work fronts (e.g. in civil political organisations)

Secondary goals

  • Finance and Investment
  • Foreign relations
  • Reviving Woman's activity
  • Political awareness to the members of the Group
  • Securing the group (To find out if they are being monitored, and if, how they can get rid of them)
  • Dawa'ah (the lecture/speech [i.e. rhetorical and propaganda promotion] of religion [i.e. Islam])
  • Media (influencing of and infiltration in the media)
  • Taking advantage of human potentials (e.g. infiltration in education, civil organisations)
Now of course, Mr Mubarak is a long-time military-backed authoritarian ruler, the heir of the line from Nasser and onward through Sadat, tracing back to the 1950's coup that overthrew the Egyptian monarchy that had been propped up by the British in their time as de facto colonisers of Egypt. 

Such an authoritarian ruler -- and, frankly, even a colonial regime -- is not a good, but may sometimes be a lesser of evils. 

I say this, bearing in mind how the collapse of the Wiemar republic in Germany and election of a certain Adolph Schicklegruber as Chancellor forever proved that while a stable and sustainable democracy is indeed a desirable form of government, it requires a stable, educated, level-headed and balanced, non-radicalised electorate not driven by rages or resentments real or imagined, if it is to work.

With that in mind, I had noticed that there were remarks that the level of protests surged after Friday Prayers just past, which is suggestive of a link to islamist jihadism. 

Accordingly, I was disturbed to read this in a current Caroline Glieck (Owner Jerusalem Post) column, as coming from Mr El Baradei in an interview with Germany's Der Spiegel just this week:
 "We should stop demonizing the Muslim Brotherhood. ...[T]hey have not committed any acts of violence in five decades. They too want change. If we want democracy and freedom, we have to include them instead of marginalizing them."
 In the same column, Ms Glick aptly noted of the Muslim Brotherhood:
This group, which forms the largest and best organized opposition movement to the Mubarak regime is the progenitor of Hamas and al Qaida. It seeks Egypt's transformation into an Islamic regime that will stand at the forefront of the global jihad. In recent years, the Muslim Brotherhood has been increasingly drawn into the Iranian nexus along with Hamas. Muslim Brotherhood attorneys represented Hizbullah terrorists arrested in Egypt in 2009 for plotting to conduct spectacular attacks aimed at destroying the regime.
[NB: Ms Glick also makes a connexion that should give us pause: "As IAEA head, Elbaradei shielded Iran's nuclear weapons program from the Security Council. He repeatedly ignored evidence indicating that Iran's nuclear program was a military program rather than a civilian energy program. When the evidence became too glaring to ignore, Elbaradei continued to lobby against significant UN Security Council sanctions or other actions against Iran and obscenely equated Israel's purported nuclear program to Iran's. "]
 Thus, we should take serious pause when we observe as well, from Haaretz:
 The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest opposition group, is in talks with other anti-government figures to form a national unity government without President Hosni Mubarak, a group official told DPA on Sunday . . . . Gamal Nasser, a spokesman for the Brotherhood, told DPA that his group was in talks with Mohammed ElBaradei - the former UN nuclear watchdog chief - to form a national unity government without the National Democratic Party of Mubarak.
 The same article adds:
Speaking to CNN later Sunday, ElBaradei said he had a popular and political mandate to negotiate the creation of a national unity government. 

"I have been authorized -- mandated -- by the people who organized these demonstrations and many other parties to agree on a national unity government," he told CNN.
"I hope that I should be in touch soon with the army and we need to work together. The army is part of Egypt," the opposition leader added.
No wonder, then, that Israeli Prime Minister Mr Netanyahu, has cautiously said:
"We are anxiously monitoring what is happening in Egypt and in our region," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said before his Cabinet's weekly meeting.

"Israel and Egypt have been at peace for more than three decades and our objective is to ensure that these ties be preserved. At this time, we must display responsibility, restraint and utmost prudence."
 In short, the developments in North Africa will bear watching, and are a cause for concerned prayer for peace and the rise of a sound and sober alternative.

Developing . . . END


UPDATE: Links and summary on Muslim Brotherhood added.

Capacity Focus, 1: LFTR/MSR, an alternative energy possibility

For about a decade, I have suggested that our region should keep an eye on Pebble Bed Modular Reactors [PBMRs] as a key potential energy technology. (NB: The proposed scale of the PBMR modules is ~ 100 - 500 MW units, perhaps smaller, which is well-suited to Caribbean utility scales for the larger islands. Where smaller islands have geothermal resources or similar opportunities, these should be pursued.)

Fig. A: A PBMR reactor (Source: MIT, fair use)

I am now suggesting that we monitor potential developments with Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTR, pronounced "lifter").

Such Molten Salt Reactors [MSRs] use Thorium, which is a far more abundant fuel and one that will be basically "burned up" in the process, leaving much less waste, and a waste that is hot for a much shorter time. Indeed, the LFTR apparently can burn up a significant part of existing radioactive wastes.

LFTRs are of similar scale to PBMRs, and are -- a test reactor was built and run at Oak Ridge national Laboratory, USA in 1965 - 69 --  a demonstrably safe [they used to shut it down on weekends, no problem], small footprint technology:

Fig. B: A LFTR (Source: Wikipedia, public domain. A short video clip describing the LFTR is here, and a 55 minute lecture is here.)

It is worth the while pausing to watch the 4 minute talk:

The essential idea, from HowStuffWorks, is:
A summary of how this technology works:
1) You start with a fluoride salt. In this reactor it will be heated so much that it melts.

2) You dissolve thorium fluoride in the liquid salt.

3) Thorium-232 absorbs neutrons and turns into Uranium-233. [That is, the pump has to be primed, so to speak.]

4) The Uranium-233 fissions and produces heat plus more neutrons [which keep the process going].
The fission products are relatively benign and short-lived compared to those of a traditional reactor.

Advantages include:
1) There is no pressure – unlike traditional nuclear reactors which contain high pressue steam. So the reactor cannot explode.

2) The fuel does not need to be shaped into pellets

3) The reactor can add fuel and remove waste at any time

4) There are no weapon-grade materials involved

5) Thorium is abundant and most of it is used up in the reaction
 Subtler advantages include that LFTRs are potentially quite small, and so can cost perhaps US$ 2,000 power 1 kW capacity, which is quite competitive with any other significant technology out there. Another is that since a LFTR uses Th dissolved in molten salt, the reactor loop is kept going by keeping the salt molten. A "plug" will allow the salt to simply deposit and cool down in a sump, being automatically and passively safe, indeed that is how the ORNL test reactor was routinely shut down for the weekend in the 1960's. The reactor is also naturally load following, i.e. if demand surges, power output automatically surges to compensate through an inherent negative feedback triggered by the temperature of the core.

Thorium is also fairly common as a mineral resource, being comparably abundant to say Lead, and is a lot more common than the major Uranium isotope used in making reactors, U235. Thorium ores also tend to have a lot of the rare earth metals used in high strength magnets, and in fact, that is what keeps many potential sources of these metals used in high efficiency motors -- such as would be needed for a viable electric vehicle -- expensive (as there is no real market for Thorium).

There are of course the usual debates over any nuclear technology, but Th is arguably unlikely as a route to nuclear proliferation, and in fact Th reactors could be used to burn up existing wastes.

Different estimates exist on time to deploy, some suggesting as few as two years, others, up to twenty. The upper end is probably driven by the balance of power in policy-influencing institutions, not least, because LFTRs have already been built and run.

So, energy experts and others interested in energy options in our region should keep an eye on this technology. END


U/D, Mar 4: I am retrospectively retitling this as the start for a new theme, Capacity Focus, joining three others: Matt 24 Watch, 1 Chron 12:32 Report, and Blog Visits. This theme will look at specific points that can serve as key elements of capacity building for development and leadership for our region.