Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Boat with 70 Iraqi refugees smashes against rocks in Australia

Twenty-seven bodies are recovered from the churning waters off tiny Christmas Island. Another 41 people are rescued and one person makes it to shore of an estimated 70 on the boat. Authorities believe the asylum-seekers are from Iraq and Iran.

More (graphic video in link)

I have always advised the Iraqis I know never to take this disastrous route. But for some Iraqis in desperate situations, the benefits (real or perceived) far outweigh the risks of such a perilous journey. They tend to be younger college graduates, both single and with families, who do not have a very realistic idea of what awaits them during the trip to Australia. The local "handlers" also play a big role in this tragedy as they can receive up to $10,000 in cash for a single person and they keep the circumstances of the journey ambiguous until the moment the refugees are told to crowd onto one of these boats.

My cousin made it all the way to Malaysia two years ago and then decided to return home when other Iraqis there described this crazy boat journey to Australia. He had been kidnapped twice in Baghdad by a local gang whose members were linked to an Iraqi police checkpoint in the neighborhood. His family paid hefty ransoms only to be told that their son would return to them in a coffin the third time if they don't leave their house. When he returned to Iraq he told me he would rather die a quick death by a bullet outside his house than to drown in stormy seas halfway across the globe.


JG said...

A terrible tragedy. What an indictment of those who 'liberated' Iraq, that young people would take such extreme measures in order to escape.

I saw some footage on the news today. Shocking stuff.

Freddie Starr said...

JG ate my hamster!

Petes said...

[JG$]: "A terrible tragedy."

Yes, indeed.

"What an indictment of those who 'liberated' Iraq, that young people would take such extreme measures in order to escape."

The gangsters on the police checkpoint Zeyad mentioned liberated Iraq?

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

I had heard about this yesterday, but didn't know the countries of origin of the refugees. It's always a horrible thing when people who seek a better life are so tragically killed. The natural elements they must contend with, such as the sea in Australia or the desert in the US are dangerous enough, but there should be a place in hell reserved for those who take advantage of such desperate people.

I'm sorry this happened. You are right, Zeyad, to advise people not to try this.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.       said...

      "What an indictment of those who 'liberated' Iraq…"

Ol’ JG appears to proceed from the same theory as was advanced by the French, pre-invasion; i.e. that the Iraqi are unfit to govern themselves and require the ‘strong hand’ of a dictator to maintain some semblance of peace amongst them.

Marcus said...

@John, from the other thread:

"Mucous [Marcus]: "I won't be much affected myself" [from the bursting of sweden's obvious property bubble]!

John: "I guess not. Your oil stock is looking pretty strong going into 2011. How does $100.00 a barrel sound?"

You've noticed my COP shares are up 35%? I can then inform you that my Gazprom investments on the NYSE are up 20% this year also. It's looking GOOOOD. You see, people in the real world know that PeteS's ideas about this new energy regime (that they cannot explain where it will come from) are but pipe dreams. We WILL face peak oil eventually and it won't be pretty. But until then one can reap a handsome payoff by investing in hydrocarbons. It will be a bumpy road but the less there is of the stuff the more it will be worth. That said, I have hedged by placing some funds in Solar, as I see that as the most promising alternative energy prospect. Solarfun, on NYSE, I chose. I wish I had placed my bet on Trina Solar instead as thay have outperformed Solarfun, but at least I'm break even so far. Where do you have what savings your wellfare check allows for John? Bottles that can one day be recycled en masse? Hang on to those empty bottles John, there are austerity programs looming that can severely afflict a freeloader like yourself.

John: "And then, who knows, you might get really lucky and the US will find another unsuspecting country to invade. Nothing like a good war to drive up your portfolio, eh Mucous??"

I'm banking on and hoping for peace. You should know I've argued against war for a long time here.

Marcus said...

And on the matter of personal finance. I know I've said before that there are great companies in the US to invest in but I was reluctant because I thought the dollar was valued too high. That was when I got one dollar for 8:50 Kronor, now I get it at 6:80 so it's another matter, which kind of proves I was right back then. I'd had lost 20% in the currency fluctuation alone if I'd bought Dollars at 8:50 and few stocks would have compensated for that.

Well, now that the property bubble seems ready to pop in Sweden, long overdue, within the next few years I have even less confidence in the Swedish Krona. And the Euro... well I wouldn't buy even one of them from an investment perspective. Who knows if there will even be Euros in 10 years time? No, when it comes down to currencies I think the Dollar is the best bet today, even with all the "quantative easing" [printing new Dollars] that is happening.

The Norwegian Krona looks like a safe haven with their massive foreign reserve and their solid state finances, but to find a decent company there except for Statoil is difficult - there is so little intel to go on.

Gold? Hard to hold unless you buy physical bullion and that can turn out to be a bubble by itself.

I wish I could buy physical oil but that's kinda hard to do... So getting my hard earned away from Sweden and Europe and into Dollar denominated assets I see as the best bet, right now. But this currency thing I admit is very confusing and not something I even pretend to understand, I go with my greedy, capitalist gut feeling instead.

Marcus said...

Oh... and I bought shares in Bank Of America on Nov-22 at $11,339 and less than a month later it's at $12,62 and going strong. 11% increase in three weeks, that's the stuff I like. I wouldn't want to miss out on all that bailout money from the US taxpayer! :)

Petes said...

Marcus you can buy a one month forward contract on physical oil ... problem is, each month you have to either cash out of your position or take delivery. In the latter case you can rent storage at $1/bbl/month. Don't think you can do it by single barrels though -- a VLCC will cost you $2m/month.

There must be oil derivatives you can buy too. Don't airlines buy oil futures as a matter of course? Not physical, obviously, but do you really want to handle the smelly stuff...

RhusLancia said...

I bought 100 barrels of oil, and I made a deal with the guy where I only had to keep half of it at my house.

Ukht Al-RhusLancia said...


RhusLancia said...

Happy holidays, Uncle!

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Bank of America...*sniff*...timing is everything. Although I did start reinvesting my penny dividend. So maybe in a thousand years I'll make back what I lost. :D

I was watching Fareed Zakaria's show this morning and he mentioned something about Putin thinking making the Euro the main reserve currency would be a good idea as the dollar isn't as reliable as it used to be. Hmmmm...possibly in for a rude awakening?

Marcus said...

Lynnette, I believe the idea of a fictive world reserve currency based on a basket of the more important currencies and gold is an interesting concept. I don't see it happening any time soon though.

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