Tuesday, November 30, 2010

One of the hats I wear is as an expert on the Internet a job that makes me an ordinary guy with a briefcase and a new pair of shoes fifty miles from home.  My expertise is supposed to be in geology, but the way it has worked though is most of the questions are how to get a job in the mining or oil and gas industries.  A job for which we are not the highly qualified expert, but we try.

How to Get a Job in the Mining Industry:

If you can't read German this is some miners at work in the 15th century by Georgius Agricola the father of mining engineering in his book De Re Metallica. This woodcut illustrates some early mining equipment that was in use then.    
The first thing you have to realize is that the mining industry is a lot of hard work, and not only that it is a boom & bust industry that operates on the whim of the overall economy of industry as a whole.  Mining is only one of the first steps on a long road until a finished product makes it to the final customer.

For the sake of this argument we will consider that you have a college education although some of the steps in this article apply to everyone.

·        Have an applicable specialty – basket weaving does not apply.
·        Get good grades – partying does not apply.
·        Most colleges have a placement agency that acts usually as a lifetime employment agency for their graduates, use it!
·        Most colleges also have career counselors that are often in your department, use them!
·        Prepare a good resume or CV before you go job hunting.
·        On the back pages of all trade journals there are usually help wanted ads, use them!
·        Most big mining companies have training programs, use them!
·        Most mining companies have web pages, read them if you are interested!
·        Most mining companies on their web pages have a listing you can click on saying, “Careers” or something like that, read them!
·        Practice the interview with a friend before you show-up for the real thing!
It takes a certain amount of patience to be a miner, and by the way if you have any questions you would like answered just leave them in the comments box at the bottom of this blog.

Mark Twain once defined a mine as a deep hole in the ground with a damned fool at the bottom, and a damned liar at the top – Maybe he got it right!

PH Mining Equipment Mind Map

Interactive Mind Map based on P&H Mining Equipment web. P&H designs and manufactures reliable and productive electric mining shovels, walking draglines and rotary blasthole drills for the surface mining industry worldwide. Source: PHMining.com.

Graphic organizers are visual representations of knowledge, concepts or ideas.
Click the figure below to see the Interactive Mind Map.

Mining Operations: P&H Mining Equipment Mind Map and News.
Zoom Mind Map
We always hear people stating we are running out of natural resources especially ores the problem is these people don’t really understand mining or where mineral resources might be hiding.  The real answer to this situation is simply the true size of the Earth; it is mind boggling.  Seventy-One percent of the earth’s surface is covered with water leaving the remaining 29% covered by land.  Virtually all the mines on earth are on the land with hardly any mining activity occurring at sea.  This is a situation that is apt to change in the years ahead. 

This is an aerial view of the Kidd Mine in Timmins, Ontario    NOAA

Even though mining activity is mostly confined to land areas even there we have barely scratched the surface.  The deepest mine on earth at present is the Mponend Goldmine in South Africa at 13,123 feet.  The deepest surface mine is Bingham Canyon in Utah having a depth of 3,397 feet.  On an average the crust of the earth is 14.7 miles thick ranging from 4 miles thick at its thinnest beneath the oceans to over 19 miles at its thickest beneath the continents!

Recent discoveries indicate that most mineral deposits have their origins from the so-called “Black Smokers” at spreading centers making it highly probable that most ore deposits are to be found on the ocean’s crust.  The ocean floor is also covered with another type of deposit called manganese nodules that in reality contain far more then manganese, but virtually any other metallic element all one has too do is go looking for them with a spectrometer.

There isn’t a mine in the whole world that is more then three miles deep leaving us a tremendous area that remains unexplored.  It must be remembered that modern mining techniques are less then a century old, so there is plenty of room for improvement.  I am sure the 49ers would hardly recognize the world of mining that exists today.

The source of The Amazon

According to this report out today from Peru's government newswire Andina, the source of the Amazon has finally been officialy nailed down to the Apacheta Quebrada, in the Caylloma region of Peru. The high resolution satellite image work done by The Geographical Society of Lima ratifies the findings of the 1996 'Amazon Source' expedition, with the Apacheta source winning out over the only other candidate by 691 metres.

And yes, before you ask The Amazon's near 7000km length beats out The Nile's 6,671km. 

President Santos, better than Uribe by about.....

....a light year.

I thought I might be able to put up with Santos as Colombia's President but I never thought I'd actually like him. He gets down to talks with Chávez, reaches agreements on amicable terms based on mutual respect. He patches up with Ecuador and gets the countries back on diplomatic terms, he makes the meetings with regional and local leaders all the time, is there for UNASUR, for Kirchner's funeral (at the drop of a hat he was in that plane and flying down to Buenos Aires), for next week in Mar Del Plata Argentina, next week at the UN, next week in Mexico for the Climate Change bash etc etc. And at the same time he's getting hard with the FARC and making significant progress against those scumbags without pissing off his neighbours in the slightest.

You go Juanma! Keep it up, man. Colombia made a good choice.

Geometry Problems 341 - 350

Ten Geometry Problems
Click the figure below to see problems 341-350 about Triangle, Quadrilateral, Pentagon, Hexagon, Inscribed circle, Tangent, Semiperimeter, Equal circles, Concurrent lines, Altitude, Concyclic, Cevian, Incircle.

Level: High School, SAT Prep, College geometry

What is (was) up Evo's nose?

Another cute leak this morning:

C O N F I D E N T I A L BRASILIA 000093 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/22/2019

Classified By: Ambassador Clifford M. Sobel, Reason 1.4
(b) and (d)

1. (C) In a conversation with Ambassador Sobel following the
January 15, 2009 La Paz meeting between Brazilian President Lula and
Bolivian President Morales, Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson
 Jobim (protect) confirmed an earlier rumor that Morales is
suffering from a serious sinus tumor. Jobim told the Ambassador
that Lula had offered Morales an examination and treatment at a
Sao Paulo hospital. Although there have been been public reports
that Morales needs surgery for "acute sinusitis," and related
otitis and headaches, according to Jobim his problems in fact
are caused by a serious tumor and the surgery will be an effort
 to remove it. Treatment has been put off, however, until after
 the constitutional referendum scheduled for January 25. Jobim,
 who attended the meeting between Lula and Morales, commented
that the tumor might explain why Morales has seemed unfocussed
 and not his usual self at this and other recent meetings. SOBEL

UPDATE: Bolivia is denying that Evo ever had a tumour. From this WaPo story:
"Morales' spokesman Ivan Canelas denied there had ever been any tumor, saying Morales had surgery last year for a problem with his nasal septum that was causing him constant colds. In a radio interview, he said the leaked cable "had a big dose of speculation.""

WhaaAAAAAaaaaAAAAt? Y-y-y-y-y-y-you mean it's remotely possible that the US Diplo corps in South America has been making shit up about Evo Morales? WHAT A SHOCKAH!

Focus Ventures (FCV.v) news

Terms looks fairly reasonable, too. Here's the NR:

Focus Acquires High-Grade Silver-Lead-Zinc Project in Peru; Samples up to 107 oz/t Ag, 11.7% Pb, 11.8% Zn over 0.7m

VANCOUVER, Nov. 30 /CNW/ - Focus Ventures Ltd. (TSX-V: FCV.V) is pleased to announce that it has signed an Option and Purchase Agreement to acquire the Santa Rosa Mine, a high-grade Ag-Zn-Pb deposit located 100km north of the Peruvian capital, Lima, and 70km southeast of Focus' Minas Chanca silver project.
The 551 hectare property is situated at an altitude of between 4,000m and 4,500m above sea level within the prolific Central Peru Polymetallic Belt, which hosts a number of world class silver, lead and zinc deposits such as Iscay Cruz, Uchucchagua and Cerro de Pasco. The Santa Rosa project represents the Company's fourth acquisition in its on-going search for high-potential, advanced-stage projects across Peru. Focus is currently CONTINUES HERE

Fronteer Gold (FRG) (FRG.to): Time for ten

Want a stock to play the move in spot gold this morning? Look no further:

FRG is out with more great drilling numbers today, more extension to Long Canyon (check the map), more reason to own. And of course, if you look very very carefully at that chart above you may be able to spot a trend.

FRG closed at U$9.42 last night. It'll be higher than that very soon and if we don't see 10 today, it's only a matter of time before we do. DYODD.

Deep disturbance

When it comes to narcotrafficking and the way drug kingpins spend their cash there has always been some eclectic tastes on display. Take the Mexican narco-fashion of 18k gold machine guns or diamond-encrusted bling dripping from each arm, neck and cellphone. Take Colombia's Pablo Escobar and his private zoo, complete with hippos and tigers and all sorts.

But this one posted up by The Mex Files this morning is really, deeply scary: Brazilian narcobosses and their shrine in honour of Justin Bieber. I can't bring myself to paste the photo here, so click thru and look over at RG's site and get the cold shivers down your spine, too.

Unfortunately for people with short attention spans and the tendency to believe anything they read, research and fundies analysis is still necessary in this market

Take for example the case of Malaga Inc (MLG.to), South America's only Tungsten (W) producer. Now, those with an MTV-length attention span might look at the uptick in Tungsten spot prices recently....

....then look at the non-stop NRs from Malaga telling them how they've been upping production (pity this move to 500tpd was promised for late 2008 and took two years to happen, but minor details, right?) and immediately conclude that the stock's a buy. And sure enough, the price chart seems to suggest just that (by the way, that spike to 40c was when Jay Taylor informed his sheep in glowing terms all about MLG last month.....more fool Taylor for not looking deeper and a nasty bit of retail bagholding on display).

But away from the world of shinyhappy people, corporate presentations and mouthbreathing traders the hard data coming from MLG still disappoints. This chart shows monthly production from its Pasto Bueno operation in Peru and, as is abundantly clear, that much-hyped move to 450tpd or 500tpd (I forget which number we're supposed to apply to now and which number is for the future with this company) hasn't done Jack for production so far.
Yup, October was just 49mt of tungsten, the joint worst month of the year and down even on the poor 54mt of September. You see, it really does pay to stop believing half-baked analyses and company blahblah and go around looking for yourself. In other words, DYODD, dude.

Chart of the day is....

...molybdenum, five year chart.
Still going nowhere.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bingo. Leslie Nielsen R.I.P.

My respects via his genius. Just 11 seconds long, but awesome all the same.

How to open a New Mine


A mine has to be located on a viable mineral deposit, but that isn’t necessarily so giving truth to the Canadian phrase defining a mine, “A mine is a hole in the ground with a fool at the bottom, and a liar at the top.” More then one mine has been built for the sole purpose of bilking the investors.

Aerial View of the Dome Mine in Timmins, Ontario

Opening a new mining site:

Mines are developed in places where viable mineral deposits are located before building a mine is even considered. The site is found through the efforts of a prospector or today in most cases the efforts of a team of exploration geologists working with geophysicists to locate ore bodies deep inside the crust of the earth. It should be remembered that a “showing” of ore doesn’t necessarily lead to the development of a mine. Usually there are as many as three hundred shows investigated before one is found that can support a mine.

Preliminary work:

Finding the future location is done by the exploration team that can range from a single prospector to an entire exploration team searching for a viable ore deposit. Once a deposit is found drillers are called in for diamond drilling to further explore the site, and get an idea on the size of the ore body by drilling a grid with spacing between the individual drill holes of usually 100 meters. Closer drilling is called for to further define specific portions of the ore body.
While the preliminary work is ongoing the mine promoters are busily getting the financing to continue the exploration of the site as well as gaining the additional money required to develop the mine. Most of this work is done on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) although there are others that include all the major stock exchanges in the world.
Virtually all the going on’s at the ore site and the financial efforts is reported on http://sedar.com an arm of the Toronto Stock Exchange that reports on virtually all the corporations in the world their filings, financial statements, 43-101 filings, press releases, and notices of stock holder meetings along with their results.


Once a viable ore body is discovered to develop it further is going to require a mining permit that by the time you have gone through the alphabet soup of various bureaucracies can take several years that together with lawyer’s fees that can be quite pricey. The toughest hurdle you will face is the local inland wetlands commission and even tougher if there is one the local planning and zoning board (P&Z). Most lawsuits are initiated at the local level although there are lawsuits aimed to stop the mine initiated by various other groups outside the local area. A mine usually requires several different permits, but the final one is issued by the local authorities.

Heavy mining equipment used in a surface mine.

Constructing and outfitting a mine:

Once the ore body has been proven and all the necessary permits are in place the actual construction and outfitting of the mine site can take place. This is going to require a decision on the part of management whether this is going to happen in-house or if it is going to be farmed out to independent contractors. There are enough independent contractors to both construct the mine and outfit it at the same time. Many mines are also operated by independent contractors hired by management to operate the mine under contract.
A decision also has to be made by management whether the mine is going to be a surface mine or an underground mine. Surface mines are the least expensive to operate, but there are situations that can arise making it more desirable to have an underground mine. This decision will determine the equipment required to operate the mine.
Mines are often built in remote locations requiring not only providing for the mine’s operation, but housing for the workers as well. A large mining operation can require the construction of a city that needs all the facilities like schools, hospitals, libraries and anything else found in a modern city. It will include all the infrastructure found in a modern town or city including roads not only those used in the ore extraction process, but for other means of transportation including in many cases an airport,


These are only some of the steps required to open a mine there are a legion of others that are apt to crop up as the building and operating of a mine continues.

Focus on gossip

So apparently, the reason why Focus Ventures (FCV.v) stock has done this in the past few days.....

......is that the company is about to release news of a new property deal in Peru. Ts getting crossed and i's getting dotted right about now on this one, in fact.

Strange, you'd have thought that jungledrums getting out like this would be frowned upon by Ridgway&Co, what with their normally decent industry reputations, but it seems that they don't care so much. DYODD dude and watch those wires to see if the IKN dope is vrai, faux ou salade.


VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Nov 29, 2010 (Marketwire via COMTEX) -- The following issue(s) have been halted on the TSXV today:

Company / Compagnie Focus Ventures Ltd.

TSX-V Symbol / Symbole FCV

Reason / Motif Company request pending news

Halt Time (ET) / Heure de l'Arret 15:05 E.T.

Peru's gold production: ¡La Puta Madre De Dios!

Outrage is the only word left here. Peru's metal production numbers for October are out today and show the utter contempt this country has for its environment and the Amazon basin region of Madre de Dios (MDD). This chart shows monthly gold production from MDD:

This chart shows the percentage of the nation's gold production coming from the wasteland it's creating from the jungle:

So what we have is an area that is being decimated in the way you can see in these photos that is under the supposed control of a newly created environment ministry, which up to May 2010, produced around 10% of Peru's gold. Suddenly that's up to 18.8% of the total! Nobody cares about the destruction, just show us the freakin' money, right Twobreakfasts? Will anybody make this into an issue? Can anybody stop this most awful of situations from getting any worse?


Greystar (GSL.to) versus Owly, today's big match-up

In the red corner, Greystar Resources reports on its public hearing last week. Here are some snippets, click through for the while thing.
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 29, 2010) - Greystar Resources Ltd.  is pleased to announce that the Public Hearing to consider the Company's Angostura Project Environmental Impact Study ("EIS") was held on November 21st, 2010 in California, Santander, the community nearest to the project......Steve Kesler, President and CEO of Greystar commented, "We are very pleased that.....".......There was strong support for the project, and the opportunities it would bring, not just for California, but for Santander and the country as a whole......  the EIS review will continue.......Greystar.... has stressed its commitment to create a lasting and positive contribution toward sustainable development...... will utilize leading technology...... no impact on water supply or quality ...... 

In the blue corner, Owly:

How does that saying go again? Oh yeah, I remember: Money Talks, Bullshit Walks. Gotta wonder how nervous the dude from Can of Corn who pumped GSL a few days ago is feeling right now...

Strateco Resources (RSC.to): The intro to yesterday's IKN Weekly

Here's the note that kicked off IKN82, sent out to subscribers yesterday.

Don’t believe everything you read (especially in company news releases)

Reader and regular mailpal ‘MP’ brought a story to this author’s attention on Saturday that wouldn’t normally get picked up by your humble LatAm-centric marketwatcher. On Friday morning, Strateco Resources (RSC.to) announced in a news release entitled “Strateco Recieves (sic) Strong Support at Public Hearings on the Matoush Uranium Project” (1) that public hearings regarding its project in Quebec, Canada had gone swimmingly and love was in the air. Here’s how the NR began:

BOUCHERVILLE, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Nov. 26, 2010) - Strateco Resources Inc...is pleased to announce that it received strong support at public hearings held in Mistissini and Chibougamau on November 23 and 25 in relation to the underground exploration phase of the Matoush project. Nearly 50 people, organizations, companies and local and regional authorities confirmed their support for the project in letters, briefs and presentations.

One of the supporters who tabled a brief in favour of the Matoush project was the Conference regionale des elus de la Baie-James ("CREBJ"), whose members include Luc Ferland, the Member of National Assembly for Ungava (Quebec), Manon Cyr, mayor of Chibougamau and Steve Gamache, mayor of Chapais, stressing the importance for Strateco to obtain the Cree Nation of Mistissini's support.

A little later, down on paragraph four, this was noted:

At the public hearing in Mistissini, the chief of the local community, Richard Shecapio, indicated that the community does not support the Matoush project. Strateco intends to develop and deepen relations with the Mistissini Cree in order to respond appropriately to their concerns and eventually secure their support. The Grand Council of the Crees did not formulate a position at the public hearings.

Check out the NR yourself (1) to get the whole feel, but what this author took away from reading it was that RSC enjoyed support, support and more support for three paragraphs, but also noted some opposition to the project on paragprah four. In other words, a pretty normal state of affairs for a junior miner that will always have its supporters and opposition for a project but hopes that majority voices in support will prevail. The result of the RSC NR can be seen in this chart, as the stock rose 13.75% on strong volume Friday and closing just under a new 52 week high.
So far so good, but the reason MP mailed me was clued up in his mail title line “Compare and Contrast” because it also featured a report of the public hearings dated Saturday November 27th in the French language media “lapresseaffaires” (2) that paints a very different picture. On reading the report, even somebody with no previous knowledge of the issue can see the key for RSC’s project is approval from the local Cree Mistissini Nation and that the Mistissini have rejected the project in categoric terms. Here are a couple of excerpts (translated):

“The junior company has for three years tried to sell its uranium project to the inhabitants of the Cree Nation of Mistissini. Chief Richard Shecapio announced the response of the community during the public hearing last Tuesday: Mistissini opposes the project.

“The announcement visibly shook Strateco Resources management.


“In an era when the social acceptance has become necessary for the survival of a mining project, this announcement is not trivial. “It was a big surprise for all of us”, admitted the President and CEO of Strateco, Guy Hébert.


“On the eve of the public hearings, the Chief of the Mistissini, Richard Shecapio, convened a meeting so that his community could provide its views on the project. The participants voted 93% against. This is the decision that the Chief announced to the commissioners during the public hearings.

Citing in particular the long-term effects on the environment and animals, Mr. Shecapio explained that uranium exploration “goes against fundamental Cree values.”

The Chief said he was disappointed by the responses given by the mining company during the consultataion period. “Strateco has failed to engage the community. Strateco has failed to win the trust of the people.”

The Grand Council of the Crees, that groups together 10 communities, gave its support to the Mistissini Nation. In a communique Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come said that the Mistissini decision had not been taken lightly and had been made after years of reflection.

According to Mr. Coon Come, the Cree are open to mining development, “But the Mistissini community has judged that in the case of this project the potential negative impacts greatly outweigh the benefits.”


“We are conscious that the project will not be able to go ahead without the support of the Mistissini Crees” (said the Mayor of Chibougamau and project supporter, Manon Cyr).

IKN back. Now, I know what I know and I don’t know what I don’t. What’s more, The IKN Weekly is not the IKN blog and we avoid as much as possible the pontification and opinionating you see on the public site. In this case for example, I don’t know whether the French language website or its reporter have a political or social bias or a dog in this hunt, I don’t know whether the Mistissini Cree position is one that will never change or whether it’s part of a negotiation strategy, I don’t know anything about the previous track record of RSC, its Pres/CEO Hébert, its team or even its project up there in the cold parts of the world. Et cetera. But what I do know is that if the lapresseaffaires report had been published on Friday morning instead of Saturday, it would have had an effect on the share price action that day.

It will be interesting to watch how RSC.to trades on Monday. It will also be interesting to note how Hébert and his team respond to the lapresseaffaires report.

The people getting rich off the tinfoilhat brigade

Over the weekend I was sent this interview with Ted Butler, the man who (as he'd have us all believe) saved the whole wide world of silver from the grasping clutches of JP Morgan by the power of his intellect alone. I managed to read the whole fawning Q&A session without getting nauseous but haven't seen so much twaddle and arrogant self-righteousness for many a moon, that's for sure.

So here's what I wrote back to the person who sent me the interview, reproduced for your Monday morning entertainment.


Ted Butler is a charlatan. Look at this chart:

Where are the Ted Butler Comex Gold manip lessons, or the Ted Butler LME copper manip lessons? THEY ARE EXACTLY THE SAME CHARTS! Silver's rise is a product of true supply and demand, not some rigging done by the middle men that sit between you and the metals.

So what happens with Butler, or GATA, or that brainless twerp Jim Willie, or that religious nutcase Jason Hommel is that they call the metal's move correctly. OK fine, not going to deny them that, but first they call a basic binary trade right for all the wrong reasons and they then lump on all the ridiculous baggage they want because they called the metal right.
  • Butler: Silver is up and that proves I'm right about JPM manipulations
  • Hommel: Silver is up and the rapture is on the way...toldya so
  • Willie: Gold is up and it proves I'm right about the Amero on the way
  • GATA: Gold is up and it proves we're right about the manifold windmill tilting all these years even though we can't read a freakin' balance sheet to save our ignorant lives..
It's bullshit. Look at copper, man! Look at the inverse relationship gold and silver has with the US dollar!

 chart courtesy sez_me_man (someone who's worth listening to re silver)

But these people will never, ever tell you that because they all have their own neat and profitable scams going on, namely "sell that newsletter". They attract thousands upon thousands of conspiracy theorists that WANT to believe all this shit and feel justified by a price movement that's utterly out of the control of the so-called manipulators over the longer term.

Basic point: If gold/silver whatever were successfully manipulated, they wouldn't have gone up.
Basic point: Where are the "copper manipulators"? Where are the "oil manipulators"?

Now, I'm not saying there is no manip in the market because there is. Always has been, always will be. But 1) it's not illegal, 2) they can affect things over a shorter-term and not over long periods because 3) nature abhors a vacuum and will seek to fill in any market advantage offered (look at the GBP and George Soros...he didn't manip the GBP to win his multi-billion dollar bet, he saw the manip that the UK govt was doing and simply took the other side of the trade).

These people aren't stupid, they're sly. They're on to a good little thing and so stoke the fire as much as they can, thereby parting the innocent and gullible from their hard-earned cash. They make me want to vomit, the lot of them.

Chart of the day is....

...the ten year price chart overlay for silver, copper and gold.

I may have a rant about this one later.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The IKN Weekly, out now

IKN82 has just been sent to subscribers and you don't always feel better when you scratch an itch, believe me. 

Anyway, this week is da bomb!

Kaleidoscope based on: Loss, 1964 by Bridget Riley

Bridget Louise Riley is an English painter who is one of the foremost proponents of op art.

The National Gallery Exhibition: Bridget Riley Paintings and Related Work
Date and time 24 November 2010 – 22 May 2011
Sunley Room Admission free.
Click the figure below to see Loss (1964).

Kaleidoscope based on: Loss, 1964 by Bridget Riley
Read more

Bridget Riley: Loss, 1964 Golden Rectangles

Bridget Louise Riley is an English painter who is one of the foremost proponents of op art.

The National Gallery Exhibition: Bridget Riley Paintings and Related Work
Date and time 24 November 2010 – 22 May 2011
Sunley Room Admission free.
Click the figure below to see Loss (1964).

Bridget Riley: Loss, 1964 and Golden Rectangles
Read more

Bridget Riley, Op Art - Index

Click the figure below to see the index.

Bridget Riley, Op Art - Index
Read more

The US Embassy on the Honduras Coup

My stars, this is good stuff. Here's the link and here's the text:




E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/23/2019


Classified By: Ambassador Hugo Llorens, reasons 1.4 (b and d)

1. (C) Summary: Post has attempted to clarify some of the
legal and constitutional issues surrounding the June 28
forced removal of President Manuel "Mel" Zelaya. The
Embassy perspective is that there is no doubt that the
military, Supreme Court and National Congress conspired
on June 28 in what constituted an illegal and
unconstitutional coup against the Executive Branch, while
accepting that there may be a prima facie case that Zelaya
have committed illegalities and may have even violated the
constitution. There is equally no doubt from our perspective
that Roberto Micheletti's assumption of power was
illegitimate. Nevertheless, it is also evident that the
constitution itself may be deficient in terms of providing
clear procedures for dealing with alleged illegal acts by
the President and resolving conflicts between the branches
of government. End summary.

2. (U) Since the June 28 removal and expulsion of President
Zelaya by the Honduran armed forces, the Embassy has
consulted Honduran legal experts (one cannot find a fully
unbiased professional legal opinion in Honduras in the
current politically charged atmosphere) and reviewed the
text of the Honduran Constitution and its laws to develop a
better understanding of the arguments being parlayed by the
coup's supporters and opponents.

Arguments of the Coup Defenders

3. (SBU) Defenders of the June 28 coup have offered some
combination of the following, often ambiguous, arguments to
assert it's legality:

-- Zelaya had broken the law (alleged but not proven);

-- Zelaya resigned (a clear fabrication);

-- Zelaya intended to extend his term in office

-- Had he been allowed to proceed with his June 28
constitutional reform opinion poll, Zelaya would have
dissolved Congress the following day and convened a
constituent assembly (supposition);

-- Zelaya had to be removed from the country to prevent a

-- Congress "unanimously" (or in some versions by a 123-5
vote) deposed Zelaya; (after the fact and under the cloak
of secrecy); and

-- Zelaya "automatically" ceased to be president the moment
he suggested modifying the constitutional prohibition on
presidential reelection.

4. (C) In our view, none of the above arguments has any
substantive validity under the Honduran constitution. Some
are outright false. Others are mere supposition or ex-post
rationalizations of a patently illegal act. Essentially:

-- the military had no authority to remove Zelaya from the

-- Congress has no constitutional authority to remove a
Honduran president;

-- Congress and the judiciary removed Zelaya on the basis
of a hasty, ad-hoc, extralegal, secret, 48-hour process;

-- the purported "resignation" letter was a fabrication and
was not even the basis for Congress's action of June 28;

-- Zelaya's arrest and forced removal from the country
violated multiple constitutional guarantees, including the
prohibition on expatriation, presumption of innocence and
right to due process.

Impeachment under the Honduran Constitution

5. (U) Under the Honduran Constitution as currently
written, the President may be removed only on the basis of
death, resignation or incapacitation. Only the Supreme
Court may determine that a President has been
"incapacitated" on the basis of committing a crime.

6. (U) There is no explicit impeachment procedure in the
1982 Honduran Constitution. Originally, Article 205-15
stated that Congress had the competence to determine
whether "cause" existed against the President, but it did
not stipulate on what grounds or under what procedure.
Article 319-2 stated that the Supreme Court would "hear"
cases of official or common crimes committed by high-level
officials, upon a finding of cause by the Congress. This
implied a vague two-step executive impeachment process
involving the other two branches of government, although
without specific criteria or procedures. However, Article
205 was abrogated in 2003, and the corresponding provision
of Article 319 (renumbered 313) was revised to state only
that the Supreme Court would hear "processes initiated"
against high officials. Thus, it appears that under the
Constitution as currently written, removal of a president
or a government official is an entirely judicial matter.

7. (U) Respected legal opinion confirms that the removal of
a president is a judicial matter. According to a 2006 book
by respected legal scholar Enrique Flores Valeriano -- late
father of Zelaya's Minister of the Presidency, Enrique
Flores Lanza -- Article 112 of the Law of Constitutional
Justice indicates that if any government official is found
to be in violation of the Constitution, that person should
be removed from office immediately with the ultimate
authority on matters of Constitutionality being the Supreme

8. (U) Many legal experts have also confirmed to us that
the Honduran process for impeaching a President or other
senior-level officials is a judicial procedure. They
assert that under Honduran law the process consists of formal
criminal charges being filed by the Attorney General
against the accused with the Supreme Court. The Supreme
Court could accept or reject the charges. If the Court
moved to indict, it would assign a Supreme Court
magistrate, or a panel of magistrates to investigate the
and oversee the trial. The trial process is open and
transparent and the defendant would be given a full right
of self-defense. If convicted in the impeachment trial,
the magistrates have authority to remove the President or
senior official. Once the President is removed, then the
constitutional succession would follow. In this case, if a
President is legally charged, convicted, and removed, his
successor is the Vice President or what is termed the
Presidential Designate. In the current situation in
Honduras, since the Vice President, Elvin Santos, resigned
last December in order to be able to run as the Liberal
Party Presidential candidate, President Zelaya's successor
would be Congress President Roberto Micheletti.
Unfortunately, the President was never tried, or
convicted, or was legally removed from office to allow a
legal succession.

The Legal Case Against Zelaya

9. (C) Zelaya's opponents allege that he violated the
Constitution on numerous grounds, some of which appear on
their face to be valid, others not:

-- Refusing to submit a budget to the Congress: The
Constitution is unambiguous that the Executive shall submit
a proposed budget to Congress by September 15 each year
(Art. 367), that Congress shall approve the budget (Art.
366) and that no obligations or payments may be effectuated
except on the basis of an approved budget (Art. 364);

-- Refusing to fund the Congress: Article 212 states that
the Treasury shall apportion quarterly the funds needed for
the operation of the Congress;

-- Proposing an illegal constitutional referendum: The
Constitution may be amended only through two-thirds vote of
the Congress in two consecutive sessions (Art. 373 and
375); a constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution,
as Zelaya promoted, is therefore unconstitutional; however,
it is not clear that proposing a constituent assembly in
itself violates the constitution, only that any changes
ensuing from that assembly would be invalid;

-- Defying the judgment of a competent court: Zelaya
insisted on pushing ahead with his constitutional reform
opinion poll after both a first-instance court and an
appeals court ordered him to suspend those efforts;
however, while he clearly intended to follow through with
the poll, he never actually did it;

-- Proposing to reform unreformable articles: Since
Zelaya's proposed constituent assembly would have unlimited
powers to rewrite the constitution, it violated Article
374, which makes certain articles unamendable; once again,
though, Zelaya never actually attempted to change the
so-called "carved in stone" articles; it was only assumed
he intended to;

-- Dismissing the armed forces chief: The Supreme Court's
Constitutional Hall ruled June 25 that Zelaya was in
violation of the Constitution for dismissing Defense Chief
Vasquez Velasquez; the Constitution (Art. 280) states that
the President may freely name or remove the chief of the
armed forces; but the court ruled that since Zelaya fired
him for refusing to carry out a poll the court had ruled
illegal, the firing was illegal.

10. (C) Although a case could well have been made against
Zelaya for a number of the above alleged constitutional
violations, there was never any formal, public weighing of
the evidence nor any semblance of due process.

The Article 239 Cannard

11. (U) Article 239, which coup supporters began citing
after the fact to justify Zelaya's removal (it is nowhere
mentioned in the voluminous judicial dossier against
Zelaya), states that any official proposing to reform the
constitutional prohibition against reelection of the
president shall immediately cease to carry out their
functions and be ineligible to hold public office for 10
years. Coup defenders have asserted that Zelaya therefore
automatically ceased to be President when he proposed a
constituent assembly to rewrite the Constitution.

12. (C) Post's analysis indicates the Article 239 argument
is flawed on multiple grounds:

-- Although it was widely assumed that Zelaya's reason for
seeking to convoke a constituent assembly was to amend the
constitution to allow for reelection, we are not aware
that he ever actually stated so publicly;

-- Article 239 does not stipulate who determines whether it
has been violated or how, but it is reasonable to assume
that it does not abrogate other guarantees of due process
and the presumption of innocence;

-- Article 94 states that no penalty shall be imposed
without the accused having been heard and found guilty in a
competent court;

-- Many other Honduran officials, including presidents,
going back to the first elected government under the 1982
Constitution, have proposed allowing presidential
reelection, and they were never deemed to have been
automatically removed from their positions as a result.

13. (C) It further warrants mention that Micheletti himself
should be forced to resign following the logic of the 239
argument, since as President of Congress he considered
legislation to have a fourth ballot box ("cuarta urna") at
the November elections to seek voter approval for a
constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution. Any
member of Congress who discussed the proposal should also
be required to resign, and National Party presidential
candidate Pepe Lobo, who endorsed the idea, should be
ineligible to hold public office for 10 years.

--------------------------------------------- -
Forced Removal by Military was Clearly Illegal
--------------------------------------------- -

14. (C) Regardless of the merits of Zelaya's alleged
constitutional violations, it is clear from even a cursory
reading that his removal by military means was illegal, and
even the most zealous of coup defenders have been unable to
make convincing arguments to bridge the intellectual gulf
between "Zelaya broke the law" to "therefore, he was packed
off to Costa Rica by the military without a trial."

-- Although coup supporters allege the court issued an
arrest warrant for Zelaya for disobeying its order to
desist from the opinion poll, the warrant, made public days
later, was for him to be arrested and brought before the
competent authority, not removed from the county;

-- Even if the court had ordered Zelaya to be removed from
the country, that order would have been unconstitutional;
Article 81 states that all Hondurans have the right to
remain in the national territory, subject to certain narrow
exceptions spelled out in Article 187, which may be invoked
only by the President of the Republic with the agreement of
the Council of Ministers; Article 102 states that no
Honduran may be expatriated;

-- The armed forces have no/no competency to execute
judicial orders; originally, Article 272 said the armed
forces had the responsibility to "maintain peace, public
order and the 'dominion' of the constitution," but that
language was excised in 1998; under the current text, only
the police are authorized to uphold the law and execute
court orders (Art. 293);

-- Accounts of Zelaya's abduction by the military indicate
he was never legally "served" with a warrant; the soldiers
forced their way in by shooting out the locks and
essentially kidnapped the President.

15. (U) The Armed Forces' ranking legal advisor, Col.
Herberth Bayardo Inestroza, acknowledged in an interview
published in the Honduran press July 5 that the Honduran
Armed Forces had broken the law in removing Zelaya from the
country. That same day it was reported that the Public
Ministry was investigating the actions of the Armed Forces
in arresting and deporting Zelaya June 28 and that the
Supreme Court had asked the Armed Forces to explain the
circumstances that motivated his forcible exile.

16. (C) As reported reftel, the legal adviser to the
Supreme Court told Poloff that at least some justices on
the Court consider Zelaya's arrest and deportation by the
military to have been illegal.

Congress Had no Authority to Remove Zelaya

17. (C) As explained above, the Constitution as amended in
2003 apparently gives sole authority for removing a
president to the judiciary. The Congressional action of
June 28 has been reported in some media as acceptance of
Zelaya's resignation, based on a bogus resignation letter
dated June 25 that surfaced after the coup. However, the
June 28 Congressional resolution makes no mention of the
letter, nor does it state that Congress was accepting
Zelaya's resignation. It says Congress "disapproves" of
Zelaya's conduct and therefore "separates" him from the
office of President -- a constitutional authority Congress
does not have. Furthermore, a source in the Congressional
leadership told us that a quorum was not present when the
resolution was adopted, rendering it invalid. There was no
recorded vote, nor a request for the "yeas" and "nays."

18. (C) In sum, for a constitutional succession from Zelaya
to Micheletti to occur would require one of several

Zelaya's resignation, his death, or permanent medical
incapacitation (as determined by judicial and medical
authorities), or as discussed previously, his formal criminal
conviction and removal from office. In the absence of any of
these conditions and since Congress lacked the legal
authority to remove Zelaya, the actions of June 28 can only
be considered a coup d'etat by the legislative branch, with
the support of the judicial branch and the military, against
the executive branch. It bears mentioning that, whereas the
resolution adopted June 28 refers only to Zelaya, its effect
was to remove the entire executive branch. Both of these
actions clearly exceeded Congress's authority.


19. (C) The analysis of the Constitution sheds some
interesting light on the events of June 28. The Honduran
establishment confronted a dilemma: near unanimity among
the institutions of the state and the political class that
Zelaya had abused his powers in violation of the
Constitution, but with some ambiguity what to do about it.
Faced with that lack of clarity, the military and/or
whoever ordered the coup fell back on what they knew -- the
way Honduran presidents were removed in the past: a bogus
resignation letter and a one-way ticket to a neighboring
country. No matter what the merits of the case against
Zelaya, his forced removal by the military was clearly
illegal, and Micheletti's ascendance as "interim president"
was totally illegitimate.

20. (C) Nonetheless, the very Constitutional uncertainty
that presented the political class with this dilemma may
provide the seeds for a solution. The coup's most ardent
legal defenders have been unable to make the intellectual
leap from their arguments regarding Zelaya's alleged crimes
to how those allegations justified dragging him out of his
bed in the night and flying him to Costa Rica. That the
Attorney General's office and the Supreme Court now
reportedly question the legality of that final step is
encouraging and may provide a face-saving "out" for the two
opposing sides in the current standoff. End Comment.


Bridget Riley: Arcadia 1, 2007 and Golden Rectangles

Bridget Louise Riley is an English painter who is one of the foremost proponents of op art.
The National Gallery Exhibition: Bridget Riley Paintings and Related Work
Date and time 24 November 2010 – 22 May 2011
Sunley Room Admission free.

Click the figure below to see the interactive illustration of Arcadia 1.

A fun Chávez wikileak

French Elysee Diplomatic Advisor Jean-David Levitte, on September 11th 2009:
"Levitte observed that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is "crazy" and said that even Brazil wasn't able to support him anymore. Unfortunately, Chavez is taking one of the richest countries in Latin America and turning it into another Zimbabwe."
Gotta wonder about these Frenchies, what with Brazil having come out with unmitigated support for Chávez time and again since that 'advisor' shot his mouth off to the US visiting delegation to Paris. Anyway, apart from that and the usual US paranoia about hezbollah in Paraguay, there doesn't seem to be much about LatAm in the leaked documents, so forget this corner of the world and worry more about Saudi Arabia wanting to bomb the frak outta Iran, methinks.

UPDATE: One more. Apparently The USA was worried about Argentina's President Cristina and the state of her mental health. Oh that's caring of them, isn't it?

UPDATE 2: Sketch adds another in the comments section. Thanks Sketch, here it is:
Have you seen the one from the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa?

""there is no doubt that the military, Supreme Court and National Congress conspired on June 28 in what constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup against the Executive Branch,"

"There is equally no doubt from our perspective that Roberto Micheletti's assumption of power was illegitimate."

"Forced Removal by Military was Clearly Illegal"

"Congress Had no Authority to Remove Zelaya"

Bridget Riley: Movement in Squares, 1961 and Golden Rectangles

Click the figure below to see the interactive illustration.

A thought for wikileak Sunday

Less out of choice and more because of a scratch-that-itch thing, I've spent the last few hours picking over the pending wikileak dump that's supposed to happen later today and the morality or otherwise of it all. I keep coming back to one thing and it gets shared here as a random musing more than anything else.

We, i.e. the John&Joan Qs Citizens of this world, have been told to accept a more intrusive government that knows more and more about what we do and how we spend our lives because "only people with something to hide will be worried". However, according to what we've seen out of the US State Dept the last 72 hours this line of logic doesn't work when the people turn tables on governments.

Hillary's about to find out what an intrusive pat-down really feels like. On with the show.

a song for sunday

Sir Walter Raleigh.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mining and Blasting - Index

Click the figure below to see the index.

Mining and Blasting - Index.
Read more

Blasting at the Super Pit

Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, Mining and Blasting at the Super Pit.
Click the figure below to see the video.

Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, Mining and Blasting at the Super Pit - Video.
Read more

Blasting at Nickel West Mt Keith

Mining and Blasting at Nickel West Mt Keith in Western Australia.
Click the figure below to see the video.

Mining and Blasting at Nickel West Mt Keith in Western Australia - Video.
Read more

OT: Danger Chess!

Work out the side rules by yourself.

h/t to raulm89 over at twitterland

Flying Over the Super Pit

The Super Pit is an open-cut gold mine approximately 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi) long, 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mi) wide and 512 metres (1,680 ft) deep. The mine operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and a visitor centre overlooks it.
Click the figure below to see the video.

Kalgoorlie, Flying Over The Super Pit - Video.
Read more

Freebie Time: Google/Google Apps Giveaways

These are sure to warm the cockles of any webnerd's heart, a whole bunch of free papers from Google on what they do and how it can make your life wonderful. All these are 100% free, no-strings attached offers (as always). You just click through the one (or ones) of your choice, fill in the simple form (that asks for no financial details or card numbers) and it's done. Get yours today.

5 Simple Ways to Get More Out of Google Apps Learn how CIO Jeremy Lawrence saved money for his organization, The Mind Research Network, by..
Moving to the Cloud In this eBook, learn from companies that have migrated to Google Apps and explore the results from key IT leaders on..
Cloud Computing - Latest Buzzword or a Glimpse of the Future? Learn how Cloud Computing frees up budget for companies hand-cuffed by IT..
Why Cloud-Based Security and Archiving Make Sense Cloud computing is one of the most significant trends in IT today...
Why Cloud-Based Security and Archiving Make Sense Learn how email archiving has become a critical “best practice” for..
3 Tips for Every Start-Up or Entrepreneurial Venture Considering Google Apps When you're focused on building the next of power ultra-fast,..
The Critical Need for Email Archiving Learn how Google Message Discovery can help organizations remain secure, compliant, and responsive to..

Two good reads for Saturday

This is a wonderfully entertaining read and reminds me of the brilliant brains this author has been lucky enough to meet and listen to along the way. It's an acceptance speech for a lawyer's award in Canada. I've never heard of the man (Leon Getz) nor the award, but as it was featured on David Baines' blog I thought it worth a read. That turned out to be a smart decision. Here's an excerpt:
"F.E. Smith, the great English barrister, once said of Winston Churchill that he had spent the best years of his life preparing his impromptu remarks. These are my impromptu remarks.

"It is said that following a lengthy and somewhat difficult argument in the Supreme Court of Canada, the late Senator Farris took a lengthy Mediterranean cruise to recoup his energy.  Some weeks into the cruise he received a cable from one of his juniors.  It read: "Justice triumphed". The Senator replied:  "Appeal at once".

Here's a throwback to when Time Magazine used to be a fascinating and obligatory read (whatever happened to it?). Anyway, this Time report on Peru, world's number one counterfeit money producer, shows a side of the country that's been less promoted these last few years (wonder why). It's a very solid piece of reporting and will enlighten the English language reader to the flipside of the 'progress' made in Peru this decade. Here's an excerpt.
"The largest single haul so far came in early September, when police officers raided a printing press in Lima's San Juan de Lurigancho district. While the house had been under surveillance for some time, officers were stunned to discover the extent of the operation. The final tally of the six different currencies produced was just above $27 million. Fake U.S. $100 bills accounted for nearly one-third of the total, while euros accounted for another $4 million. The rest of the bills were Bolivian, Chilean, Peruvian and Venezuelan currency.
"A month earlier, agents ran a sting operation that netted $1 million. The drop-off point was the food court at an upscale Lima shopping center built into cliffs overlooking the ocean. The counterfeiters agreed to sell each $100 bill for $5 to an undercover agent. The three people arrested had initially agreed to sell $3 million in fake bills. Around 20 illegal printing presses have been dismantled in Lima, each capable of turning out mass amounts of bills.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Friday OT: The Jam; Going Underground

The only tough choice about this week's OT is selecting my fave track from The Jam. Do we go for the word picture of 'Down In The Tube Station At Midnight', do we plump for the social snapshot of the times that is 'Town Called Malice', maybe head straight back to where it all started with 'In The City'.

In the end, Going Underground gets the nod.....

.....because the public gets what the public wants. Damn, these guys were GREAT together.