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China-Russia energy deals mark 'new era'

(China Daily)

Sino-Russian partnership cemented as leaders pursue common interests

China-Russia energy deals mark 'new era'

President Hu Jintao and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev attend a ceremony to mark completion of an oil pipelline project between the two countries at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday. [Wu Zhiyi/China Daily]

BEIJING - China and Russia signed more than a dozen agreements on Monday to boost energy cooperation as leaders of the two countries hailed a deepening strategic partnership.

President Hu Jintao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev witnessed the signing of 15 commercial deals as well as one on fighting terrorism, separatism and extremism.

One of the key deals was signed by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Russia's Transneft over the operation of the oil pipeline that stretches from Skovorodino in eastern Siberia to Daqing in Northeast China.

The Russian section of the pipeline was completed last month, and the two leaders attended the completion ceremony of the Chinese section after their meeting on Monday.

"The two nations should ensure the safe and normal operation of the oil pipeline, and reach the designated amount of oil supply as early as possible," Hu said during the talks. He called the pipeline a "milestone" for energy cooperation between the two countries.

According to contracts signed earlier, Russia is due to supply oil to China through the pipeline, nearly 1,000 km long, from Jan 1 next year with an annual capacity of 15 million tons of oil.

CNPC also signed an agreement with Russia's Gazprom, the world's largest gas producer, to export natural gas to China.

Russia's Itar-Tass News Agency said Russia is planning to launch gas supplies to China in 2015 and to sign commercial contracts before the middle of next year.

Gazprom said that under that agreement it will supply China with 30 billion cubic meters of gas annually for 30 years starting in late 2015. The final deal is expected to be signed next summer, the AFP reported, quoting Gazprom.

"Russia is ready to meet China's full demand in gas," Itar-Tass quoted Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin as saying.

Sechin also said bilateral cooperation in the gas industry is strategic. "Russia is China's natural partner," he said.

Other deals signed include a protocol of memorandum of understanding on coal cooperation and a strategic agreement on peaceful utilization of nuclear energy.

A letter of intent on investment between the China North Industries Corporation and RUSAL, the world's largest aluminum producer, was also signed as was a contract on the design for the No 3 and No 4 units of the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant in Lianyungang.

An additional agreement on buyer's credit for export between the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Russia's VTB Bank was signed as well.

The two presidents also issued a joint statement on the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Medvedev said the documents would give a "new impetus" to the Sino-Russian relationship.

"Never before have our ties been characterized by such a high level of mutual trust," Medvedev said, adding that his government welcomed Chinese investments in high-tech industries including aircraft production.

Hu and Medvedev touched upon all the major international issues of common concern.

"It is an unshakable principle that the two countries' cooperation on global issues are within the framework of our strategic partnership," said Medvedev, vowing that it has always been a priority in Russian diplomacy to develop the strategic partnership with China.

Hu called for the two countries to further strategic cooperation in international and regional affairs, and "continue to firmly support each other in important issues that concern each other's core national interests".

Chinese experts see the meeting and signing of agreements as a "new era" between the two countries that have a lot of core national interests in common.

Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, considered the gas supply deal as especially important.

"It means that all-round cooperation is to be launched," said Lin, noting the meeting and the agreements meant Sino-Russian ties on energy had entered a "new era".

Russia's intent to strengthen its role in the Asia-Pacific region drives its cooperation with China, said Ding Peihua, a researcher on Russia studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

"The two countries are both new emerging economic powers and members of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China)," noted Ding. "They have a lot of common interests such as anti-terrorism".

According to Ding, another factor driving Russia's cooperation with China is its wish to play a larger role in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Although Russia and the United States want to cooperate, their current and historical divergences of interests hinder substantial results in their cooperation," said Ding.

It was the fifth meeting between Hu and Medvedev this year. Top legislator Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao also met Medvedev on Monday.

The Russian leader brought a large delegation for the three-day visit which started in Dalian on Sunday. Medvedev will go to Shanghai on Tuesday.

Pan Zhanlin, a specialist on Sino-Russian relations and former Chinese ambassador to Yugoslavia, said the joint statement of strategic partnership proves that the fundamentals of bilateral relations have not changed and the strategic partnership is deepening.

Pan said although Russia needs technology and capital from the West, it also values relations with the East. "Its two-direction diplomacy are parallel, not contradictory," said Pan.

Yang Jing, Wang Chenyan, Xinhua and AFP contributed to this story.

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What Monsanto’s fall from grace reveals about the GMO seed industry

grist.org

I got caught up in a cyclone of travel, meetings, and speechifying the last two weeks, so I'm a bit behind on the latest news in the food world. But I did take note of Andrew Pollack's Oct. 4 New York Times story on the recent plight of genetically modified (GM) seed giant Monsanto, long-time Wall Street darling and bête noire of the sustainable food movement.

Pollack summed up Monsanto's woes like this:

As recently as late December, Monsanto was named "company of the year" by Forbes magazine. Last week, the company earned a different accolade from Jim Cramer, the television stock market commentator. "This may be the worst stock of 2010," he proclaimed.

On Tuesday, Forbes publicly lamented its decision to deem Monsanto "company of the year." The headline was cutting: "Forbes was wrong about Monsanto. Really wrong." How did Monsanto go from Wall Street hero to Wall Street doormat?

According to The Times' Pollack, Monsanto's troubles are two-fold: 1) the patent on Roundup, Monsanto's market-dominating herbicide, has run out, exposing the company to competition from cheap Chinese imports; and 2) its target audience -- large-scale commodity farmers in the south and Midwest -- are turning against its core offerings in genetically modified corn, soy, and cotton seed traits.

I agree with Pollack's diagnosis, but I want to add a third and even more fundamental problem to the mix: Monsanto's once-celebrated product pipeline is looking empty. As I'll show below, its current whiz-bang seeds offer just tarted-up versions of the same old traits it has been peddling for more than a decade: herbicide tolerance and pest resistance. Meanwhile, judging from the company's recent report on its latest quarterly earnings, the "blockbuster" traits it has been promising for years -- drought resistance and nitrogen-use efficiency -- don't seem to be coming along very well.

Why do I say that? In my days as a reporter covering the stock market, I read a lot of company financial reports. When a high-tech company like Monsanto disappointed Wall Street analysts with its financial performance, it would strain to draw attention to "next-generation" products that promised huge future returns to investors. But in its report on its disappointing quarter last week, Monsanto did no such thing. It gave zero details about next-generation seeds, and instead focused on its "revamped pricing approach." Translated, that means that after years of constantly jacking up prices, the company is being forced to slash them to keep farmers interested. The loss of pricing clout is devastating for a high-tech company like Monsanto.

What gives? Why is the company that once ruled the Big Ag universe like Darth Vader now whimpering like a mouse?

Stuck in the mud

As Pollack delicately puts it, Monsanto "has been buffeted by setbacks this year." The most famous one is the rise of Roundup-resistant "superweeds," first in the south and then in the Corn Belt, that has forced thousands of farmers to reconsider the merits of Monsanto's flagship Roundup Ready crop varieties.

Monsanto's response has been to roll out its much-ballyhooed SmartStax corn seed, "stacked" with a mind-boggling eight foreign genes. Colluding with its arch-rival Dow AgroSciences -- whatever happened to antitrust, again? -- Monsanto loaded the new wonder-seed with multiple varieties of the toxic gene from Bt, a naturally occurring bacteria that had been used as a pesticide for years before Monsanto came along. Each of the Bt varieties in SmartStax targets a specific insect. To address the problem of Roundup-resistant "superweeds," the SmartStax seed combines Monsanto's Roundup Ready trait with Dow's trait for resistance to its own proprietary herbicide, Liberty. Now corn farmers can douse their fields freely with not one but two broad-spectrum herbicides!

In a press release heralding the advent of SmartStax when it was still in development back in 2007, a Monsanto exec expressed the company's hopes and dreams for the new product:

"By bringing together the two companies that have developed and commercialized the trait technologies widely used in agriculture today, we can provide farmers an 'all-in-one' answer to demands for comprehensive yield protection from weed and insect threats," said Carl Casale, executive vice president of strategy and operations for Monsanto. "Farmers will have more product choices to optimize performance and protection, and that translates into a higher-yielding opportunity and a new growth proposition for their businesses and ours."

But as I say above, SmartStax is just a mashup of various forms of the only two traits Monsanto has ever brought to market: herbicide tolerance and Bt toxicity.

And unfortunately for Monsanto and its once fat-and-happy shareholders, SmartStax corn is starting to look, well, not so smart. According to The Times' Pollack, early data from this year's corn harvest suggest that SmartStax is "providing yields no higher than the company's less expensive corn, which contains only three foreign genes." As a result, the company is having to slash prices on both SmartStax and its new soybean seed, cleverly called Roundup Ready 2 Yield. Oops.

The evident failure of SmartStax to deliver yield gains may be the straw that crushes Monsanto's long-time claim that its products offer farmers dramatically higher yields than do conventional seeds. In a 2009 paper called "Failure to Yield," Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, showed that since their public debut in 1996, GM traits have actually provided, at best, marginal yield gains -- and in fact in some cases have caused yields to decrease.

So why is Monsanto merely rearranging and stacking up last year's traits, and not rolling out new ones?

Tough row to hoe

Here's what I think, from years of listening to industry critics like Gurian-Sherman and the Center for Food Safety's Andrew Kimbrell: It is one thing to splice a particular trait like herbicide or pesticide resistance into the corn genome. You isolate the gene in an organism like Bt that kills insects, splice it into the corn genome, and watch it express itself.

But transforming a crop's way of taking up water and fertilizer -- the goal of engineering crops that can withstand drought and use nitrogen more efficiently -- is infinitely more complex. These intricate processes developed through millions of years of evolution. They don't involve a single gene, but rather groups of genes interacting in ways that are little understood. And as the Union of Concerned Scientists' Gurian-Sherman told me in an interview, in the process of achieving a complex trait like drought resistance, breeders often generate unintended traits, such as susceptibility to disease. These are known as "pleiotropic effects" -- simply the idea that changing one aspect of a thing can create multiple, unpredictable effects. Pleiotropy is the scourge of GMO breeders looking to create the next generation of miracle transgenic seeds.

In his 2009 paper No Sure Fix [PDF], Gurian-Sherman shows that attempts to create nitrogen-efficient GM seeds that actually work well in the field have so far failed -- and that conventional breeders have actually managed to generate significant gains in nitrogen-use efficiency in the field without resorting to transgenic methods.

In his Times piece, Andrew Pollack reports that Monsanto "hopes" to introduce another complex trait, drought-tolerance in corn, sometime in 2012. My experience as a business reporter tells me that if Monsanto execs were confident in their ability to do so, they would have trumpeted it in their dismal recent quarterly report.

From my perspective, what we're seeing is signs that GMO technology is much cruder and less effective than its champions have let on. After decades of hype and billions of dollars worth of research, much of it publicly funded, the industry has managed to market exactly two traits. More devastating still, it has failed on its own terms: it has not delivered the promised dazzling yield gains.

As Monsanto execs scramble to win back their mojo with Wall Street investors -- the lot that brought us the dot-com and housing busts in the past decade alone -- the rest of us would do well to remember that the surest path to a bountiful future lies in supporting biodiversity, not in narrowing it away by handing the globe's seed heritage to a few bumbling companies.

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Could this be a Tea Party Theme Song Russ Steele

(From Gail,news contributor)

After writing this song and sending out on an e-mail list a Tennessee middle school football coach was termination for alleged political incorrectness. I think he has a bigger career as song writer.

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Sex survey at D.C. school triggers controversy

dailyindia.com

Washington, Oct 16: A Washington D.C. middle school is facing the wrath of parents after distributing a sex survey to seventh-graders, which asked whether they knew how to apply a condom.

The survey, whose respondents were both boys and girls, also interrogated the kids' sexual orientation among other adult sex based questions.

As per the reports from MyFoxDC.com the survey, developed by Metro TeenAIDS, a group dedicated to helping young people fight against HIV/AIDS, was intended to raise awareness of sexually transmitted diseases and teach the children how to avoid them.

However, some parents at Hardy Middle School complained that the questions crossed the line, sparking the principal to put the survey on hold.

Other questions included: How sure are you that you know the difference between oral, vaginal, and anal sex? Would know where to get condoms if/when you or a friend needed them? Can correctly put a condom on yourself or your partner?

The survey also asked about the student's history of sexual activity and what types of sex.

"Unfortunately, the opt-out letter to parents regarding this unit in the health class went home on the same day that the assessment was administered. As a result, there was not enough time to allow for parental response before the unit began," Fox News quoted school officials as saying.

The Georgetown Dish also reported that D.C. mayor Mayor-elect Vincent Gray said, "Raising awareness among students about HIV and AIDS is certainly an important and necessary task schools must carry out, and families have an important role to play in the planning and execution of the sex education curriculum."

To parents who are concerned the survey revealed too much information for a 12-year-old, Metro TeenAIDS' executive director, Adam Tenner said that most of those 12-year-olds are much more experienced sexually than those parents might think.

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Caught on Tape: A Lobbyist's Golf Party for Lawmakers

(From Ben, news contributor.)

Can it get any worse then these bustards in office? The below links really illustrates the out right crap that happens everyday in this country by our law officials. The first link is the real story here and the other two are related stories. As an American I’m so sick and tired of this so called, “this is how it is done here to help out ourselves. When in the hell are the people of this country going to say, if one more politician make any deal that benefits him or any of his buddies using our tax dollars, you will go right to jail today. Every single one of them should be out of office today not tomorrow. I pound my fist everyday; I have stopped crashing my head against the wall, because it’s getting really sore. After all this bulls#%@ that has been going on for so long and I can’t believe it is still happening, WHAT!!!!!!! Can anyone tell me why people are not so outraged at these out of control and I just can’t even put into words, still are able to sleep at night knowing that they are putting every single person in this country in the poor house, except for them self’s.

ABC News Investigates with Brian Ross did a segment on state level legislators and their cozy relationship with lobbyists that interviews the Sunlight Foundation's executive director Ellen Miller.

ABC News Investigates - A Lobbyist's Golf Party for Lawmakers - Ellen Miller - 10-20-10

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/caught-tape-state-house-scoundrels/story?id=11893438

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/caught-tape-lobbyists-golf-party-lawmakers/story?id=11921636

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/caught-on-tape-partying-lawmaker-hits-on-young-reporter/

Tax Stimulus

Sometime this year, we taxpayers will again receive another 'Economic Stimulus' payment.

This is indeed a very exciting program, and I'll explain it by using a Q & A format:

Q. What is an 'Economic Stimulus' payment ?

A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.

Q.. Where will the government get this money ?

A. From taxpayers.

Q. So the government is giving me back my own money ?

A. Only a smidgen of it.

Q. What is the purpose of this payment ?

A. The plan is for you to use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.

Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China?

A. Shut up.

Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the U.S. economy by spending your stimulus check wisely:

* If you spend the stimulus money at Wal-Mart, the money will go to China or Sri Lanka .

* If you spend it on gasoline, your money will go to the Arabs.

* If you purchase a computer, it will go to India , Taiwan or China .

* If you purchase fruit and vegetables, it will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala .

* If you buy an efficient car, it will go to Japan or Korea .

* If you purchase useless stuff, it will go to Taiwan .

* If you pay your credit cards off, or buy stock, it will go to management bonuses and they will hide it offshore.

Instead, keep the money in America by:

1) Spending it at yard sales, or

2) Going to ball games, or

3) Spending it on prostitutes, or

4) Beer or

5) Tattoos.

(These are the only American businesses still operating in the U.S. )

******* Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading.

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Anwar Al Awlaki Terrorist? Or Pentagon / CIA Asset? YOU MAKE THE CALL!

Read more at beforeitsnews.com.

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Foreclosure Map

Link

Related below from Walter Burien - CAFR1.com

Per the article copied below "Predatory Property Tax Collection" here is the why government did this. The feds put it through last year at the recommendation of a few private associations that represented many local governments and it was the government that pushed forward to require the banks and mortgage companies to do the tax collection tied directly into the mortgage. (Quicker money for the local governments) Read the new mortgage documentation and the banks have been required to collect property taxation up front for the local government.

Government in most venues had to wait four (4) years to move forward with foreclosure for delinquent property taxes. Well now that they have assigned the banks to do the collection, the banks usually move on foreclosure in six months which gets a new head in the door to pay the same levied property taxes quicker.

I note that is a severe conflict of interest and that all who own a home should move on code enforcement against their local governments.

The property tax is for the benefit of the local government (the beneficiary) of which in many venues when established the people securing their interests to protect themselves made sure there were strict time-lines and procedures required before a local government could try to grab your home for past due property taxes.

Well, it appears they have bypassed those restrictions with this one tactic. BUT, being that the local government is the beneficiary of that property tax collected through the mortgage they are also the primary responsible party by assignment or allowance for assignment as the underling direct beneficiary. In doing so or by participation, they have broken their own laws and statutes firmly put into place on their books that allowed them to collect property taxes in the first place.

In fact based on the damaged parties (number of home owners effected) the potential of claim value from these type of collection actions actions to bypass standing local government restrictions; statute; and law here for the direct benefit of those same local governments, it would be good grounds for suspension of that or any local governments charter (shut them down) for having participated for the purpose of financial gain.

Walter Burien - CAFR1.com


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IN REPLY TO THE FOLLOWING:

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The Big Wall Street Banks Have Found A New Way To Strangle The American People: Predatory Property Tax Collection

The Economic Collapse
October 21, 2010

It turns out that the big Wall Street banks have found a dirty new way to make loads of cash from U.S. homeowners, and they really, really don't want to talk about it. So what is this dirty new business? America's biggest financial institutions have become property tax collectors, and it is extremely lucrative.

From coast to coast, the big Wall Street banks are buying up thousands upon thousands of tax liens and are making a killing by socking distressed homeowners with predatory interest, outrageous penalties and almost unbelievable legal fees. In some areas, the big banks are able to foreclose on these homes in as little as six months. The elderly and the poor are the most common targets of these practices. An absolutely brilliant expose in the Huffington Post has brought these issues to light, and it is creating quite a controversy in the financial world. The big banks are doing nothing illegal here. Local governments are offering to sell thousands of tax liens and somebody is going to end up buying them. But something seems extremely unsavory about the big Wall Street banks capitalizing on the economic downturn that they were so instrumental in causing in such a predatory manner.

Today, millions of American families are barely hanging on to their homes by their fingernails. Millions are out of work and millions of others are barely making enough to put food on the table. Meanwhile, property taxes have absolutely soared in most areas of the nation over the past decade. Many Americans are finding that when that time rolls around they simply do not have a big chunk of extra money to pay a property tax bill.

So millions of American families, including many that have completely paid off their homes, now find themselves in danger of being thrown out on to the street over an unpaid property tax bill.

For many local governments, the headache of trying to collect on thousands of property tax liens is just too much, so they are glad to outsource the work of collection.

So how do the big Wall Street banks get involved? Well, it goes something like this.

1) The big Wall Street banks set up or invest in shell companies that will disguise who they really are.

2) These shell companies run around and buy up all of the tax liens that they can get their hands on.

3) Predatory levels of interest (in some states as high as 18 percent), fees and penalties rapidly pile up on these unpaid tax liens. The affected homeowners quickly end up owing much, much more than what the original tax bills were for.

4) If the collecting firm has to hire a lawyer, then that gets charged to the homeowner as well. The bloated legal fees for some of these lawyers can end up being the biggest expense of all.

5) If the tax liens do not get paid, the collecting firms move in to foreclose as quickly as legally possible.

According to the Huffington Post, Wall Street banks such as Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase have been gobbling up several hundred thousand tax liens from local governments. It appears that distressed housing markets are being particularly targeted.

Many of these tax liens are sold in online auctions, so it is unclear if many local government officials even realize who the big money behind many of these shell companies is.

Once again, this is all perfectly legal, but it is more than a little distasteful.

The following video by the Huffington Post does a good job of summarizing what they found. The truth is that there is a huge difference between the letter of the law and true justice.

Just consider the following tragic story from the Huffington Post article

Barbara Carpenter, a 58-year-old disabled Ohio retiree, found herself in such a situation. The former worker for the American Red Cross struggled to save her Toledo home from a JPMorgan entity called Plymouth Park Tax Services, which in recent years has been among the nation's top buyers of tax liens.

It's a great neighborhood and the house is in good condition, said Carpenter, who paid $67,000 for the one-story home in 2004. But she fell behind in paying her taxes and a certificate for $1,500 in unpaid taxes was sold off to Plymouth Park, which is based in New Jersey.

Carpenter's lawyer, Joseph Westmeyer, said Plymouth Park routinely charges an upfront fee of around $1,500 as soon as it buys the lien and 18 percent interest on the debt. If they don't get paid, they foreclose.

It's not a good deal for poor customers,†said Westmeyer. Carpenter wound up selling the house in August for less than half what she had paid. Plymouth Park received about $12,000 in legal fees and other charges, including some additional taxes, Westmeyer said, quoting from court records.

Does that sound like an honorable way of making money to you?

Would you like to make your living by throwing elderly women out of their homes and into the street over unpaid tax bills?

Unfortunately, this problem is not going to go away any time soon. One out of every six Americans is enrolled in a government anti-poverty program. Tens of millions of Americans are barely hanging in there. In addition, tens of millions of elderly Americans live on fixed incomes. Meanwhile, property taxes just continue to go up in many areas of the United States.

Unless the U.S. economy experiences a dramatic turnaround, we are going to continue to see large numbers of Americans get behind on their property taxes, and the big banks will continue to be there to scoop up the tax liens.

Large numbers of poor and elderly Americans that don't even have a mortgage will lose their homes and it will all be perfectly legal. Executives at the big banks will be having a good laugh about their huge bonus checks as thousands upon thousands of our most vulnerable citizens are dumped out into the street.

But weren't the big banks largely responsible for causing the housing crash and the economic meltdown that followed?

Yes.

But so far none of them is really paying any kind of a price. The big banks got bailed out by the U.S. government, and now it looks like the Federal Reserve is preparing another round of backdoor bailouts to help them out again.

But do the big banks show any mercy on the poor and the elderly who have gotten behind on their property taxes?

Not at all.

This is 2010 a time when greed dominates the financial world and when most banks don't seem to know a thing about kindness or mercy.

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The War On Terror

by Paul Craig Roberts

Does anyone remember the "cakewalk war" that would last six weeks, cost $50-60 billion, and be paid for out of Iraqi oil revenues?

Does anyone remember that White House economist Lawrence Lindsey was fired by Dubya because Lindsey estimated that the Iraq war could cost as much as $200 billion?

Lindsey was fired for over-estimating the cost of a war that, according to Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, has cost 15 times more than Lindsey estimated. And the US still has 50,000 troops in Iraq.

Does anyone remember that just prior to the US invasion of Iraq, the US government declared victory over the Taliban in Afghanistan?

Does anyone remember that the reason Dubya gave for invading Iraq was Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, weapons that the US government knew did not exist?

Are Americans aware that the same neoconservatives who made these fantastic mistakes, or told these fabulous lies, are still in control of the government in Washington?

The "war on terror" is now in its tenth year. What is it really all about?

The bottom line answer is that the "war on terror" is about creating real terrorists. The US government desperately needs real terrorists in order to justify its expansion of its wars against Muslim countries and to keep the American people sufficiently fearful that they continue to accept the police state that provides "security from terrorists," but not from the government that has discarded civil liberties.

The US government creates terrorists by invading Muslim countries, wrecking infrastructure and killing vast numbers of civilians. The US also creates terrorists by installing puppet governments to rule over Muslims and by using the puppet governments to murder and persecute citizens as is occurring on a vast scale in Pakistan today.

Neoconservatives used 9/11 to launch their plan for US world hegemony. Their plan fit with the interests of America's ruling oligarchies. Wars are good for the profits of the military/security complex, about which President Eisenhower warned us in vain a half century ago. American hegemony is good for the oil industry's control over resources and resource flows. The transformation of the Middle East into a vast American puppet state serves well the Israel Lobby's Zionist aspirations for Israeli territorial expansion.

Most Americans cannot see what is happening because of their conditioning. Most Americans believe that their government is the best on earth, that it is morally motivated to help others and to do good, that it rushes aid to countries where there is famine and natural catastrophes. Most believe that their presidents tell the truth, except about their sexual affairs.

The persistence of these delusions is extraordinary in the face of daily headlines that report US government bullying of, and interference with, virtually every country on earth. The US policy is to buy off, overthrow, or make war on leaders of other countries who represent their peoples' interests instead of American interests. A recent victim was the president of Honduras who had the wild idea that the Honduran government should serve the Honduran people.

The American government was able to have the Honduran president discarded, because the Honduran military is trained and supplied by the US military. It is the same case in Pakistan, where the US government has the Pakistani government making war on its own people by invading tribal areas that the Americans consider to be friendly to the Taliban, al Qaeda, "militants" and "terrorists."

Earlier this year a deputy US Treasury secretary ordered Pakistan to raise taxes so that the Pakistani government could more effectively make war on its own citizens for the Americans. On October 14 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered Pakistan to again raise taxes or the US would withhold flood aid. Clinton pressured America's European puppet states to do the same, expressing in the same breath that the US government was worried by British cuts in the military budget. God forbid that the hard-pressed British, still reeling from American financial fraud, don't allocate enough money to fight America's wars.

On Washington's orders, the Pakistani government launched a military offensive against Pakistani citizens in the Swat Valley that killed large numbers of Pakistanis and drove millions of civilians from their homes. Last July the US instructed Pakistan to send its troops against the Pakistani residents of North Waziristan. On July 6 Jason Ditz reported on Antiwar.com that "at America's behest, Pakistan has launched offensives against [the Pakistani provinces of] Swat Valley, Bajaur, South Waziristan, Orakzai, and Khyber."

A week later Israel's US Senator Carl Levin (D,MI) called for escalating the Obama Administration's policies of US airstrikes against Pakistan's tribal areas. On September 30, the Pakistani newspaper, The Frontier Post, wrote that the American air strikes "are, plain and simple, a naked aggression against Pakistan."

The US claims that its forces in Afghanistan have the right to cross into Pakistan in pursuit of "militants." Recently US helicopter gunships killed three Pakistani soldiers who they mistook for Taliban. Pakistan closed the main US supply route to Afghanistan until the Americans apologized.

Pakistan warned Washington against future attacks. However, US military officials, under pressure from Obama to show progress in the endless Afghan war, responded to Pakistan's warning by calling for expanding the Afghan war into Pakistan. On October 5 the Canadian journalist Eric Margolis wrote that "the US edges closer to invading Pakistan."

In his book, Obama's Wars, Bob Woodward reports that America's puppet president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, believes that terrorist bombing attacks inside Pakistan for which the Taliban are blamed are in fact CIA operations designed to destabilize Pakistan and allow Washington to seize Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

To keep Pakistan in line, the US government changed its position that the "Times Square Bombing" was the work of a "lone wolf." Attorney General Eric Holder switched the blame to the "Pakistani Taliban," and Secretary of State Clinton threatened Pakistan with "very serious consequences" for the unsuccessful Times Square bombing, which likely was a false flag operation aimed at Pakistan.

To further heighten tensions, on September 1 the eight members of a high-ranking Pakistani military delegation in route to a meeting in Tampa, Florida, with US Central Command, were rudely treated and detained as terrorist suspects at Washington DC's Dulles Airport.

For decades the US government has enabled repeated Israeli military aggression against Lebanon and now appears to be getting into gear for another Israeli assault on the former American protectorate of Lebanon. On October 14 the US government expressed its "outrage" that the Lebanese government had permitted a visit by Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who is the focus of Washington's intense demonization efforts. Israel's representatives in the US Congress threatened to stop US military aid to Lebanon, forgetting that US Rep. Howard Berman (D,CA) has had aid to Lebanon blocked since last August to punish Lebanon for a border clash with Israel.

Perhaps the most telling headline of all is the October 14 report, "Somalia's New American Primer Minister." An American has been installed as the Prime Minister of Somalia, an American puppet government in Mogadishu backed up by thousands of Ugandan troops paid by Washington.

This barely scratches the surface of Washington's benevolence toward other countries and respect for their rights, borders, and lives of their citizens.

Meanwhile, to silence the whistleblower website WikiLeaks and to prevent any more revelations of American war crimes, the "freedom and democracy" government in DC has closed down WikiLeaks' donations by placing the company that collects its money on its "watch list" and by having the Australian puppet government blacklist WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks is now akin to a terrorist organization. The American government's practice of silencing critics will spread across the Internet.

Remember, they hate us because we have freedom and democracy, First Amendment rights, habeas corpus, respect for human rights, and show justice and mercy to all.

October 16, 2010

Paul Craig Roberts [send him mail], a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, has been reporting shocking cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. A new edition of his book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, co-authored with Lawrence Stratton, a documented account of how Americans lost the protection of law, has been released by Random House.

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'US Seeking to Rewrite Iraq War History'

beforeitsnews.com

'The US is seeking to redeem itself after the "horrible" Iraq war but has no qualms about changing history to achieve this, says justice and political activist Dahlia Wasli.

Washington continues to ignore studies by independent organizations questioning the accuracy of the US military's tally of the civilian death toll in Iraq, Wasli told Press TV on Saturday. "I guess in any empire, we like to rewrite history to make ourselves look good. This is just another step in declaring 'mission accomplished,” she added.


"This was the first statement by Bush back in 2003 that which have done what came to do. Now Barack Obama has made his mission accomplished comment."

While the US military claims 77,000 Iraqis were killed between January 2004 and August 2008, a former Iraqi lawmaker has dismissed the figure, protesting that the estimate is misleading as it does not include assassinations and victims of US military operations.

In 2006, a study conducted by the British medical journal The Lancet, revealed that 655,000 Iraqis had died in the war. The Opinion Research Business (ORB)'s study, similarly, put the number of post-invasion deaths at over 1 million.'

Read more: 'US Seeking to Rewrite Iraq War History'

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Monsanto Now "Owns" Blackwater (Xe)?

beforeitsnews.com

A report by Jeremy Scahill in The Nation (Blackwater’s Black Ops, 9/15/2010) revealed that the largest mercenary army in the world, Blackwater (now called Xe Services) clandestine intelligence services was sold to the multinational Monsanto. Blackwater was renamed in 2009 after becoming famous in the world with numerous reports of abuses in Iraq, including massacres of civilians. It remains the largest private contractor of the U.S. Department of State “security services,” that practices state terrorism by giving the government the opportunity to deny it.

Many military and former CIA officers work for Blackwater or related companies created to divert attention from their bad reputation and make more profit selling their nefarious services-ranging from information and intelligence to infiltration, political lobbying and paramilitary training – for other governments, banks and multinational corporations. According to Scahill, business with multinationals, like Monsanto, Chevron, and financial giants such as Barclays and Deutsche Bank, are channeled through two companies owned by Erik Prince, owner of Blackwater: Total Intelligence Solutions and Terrorism Research Center. These officers and directors share Blackwater.

One of them, Cofer Black, known for his brutality as one of the directors of the CIA, was the one who made contact with Monsanto in 2008 as director of Total Intelligence, entering into the contract with the company to spy on and infiltrate organizations of animal rights activists, anti-GM and other dirty activities of the biotech giant.

Contacted by Scahill, the Monsanto executive Kevin Wilson declined to comment, but later confirmed to The Nation that they had hired Total Intelligence in 2008 and 2009, according to Monsanto only to

keep track of “public disclosure” of its opponents. He also said that Total Intelligence was a “totally separate entity from Blackwater.”

However, Scahill has copies of emails from Cofer Black after the meeting with Wilson for Monsanto, where he explains to other former CIA agents, using their Blackwater e-mails, that the discussion with Wilson was that Total Intelligence had become “Monsanto’s intelligence arm,” spying on activists and other actions, including “our people to legally integrate these groups.” Total Intelligence Monsanto paid $ 127,000 in 2008 and $ 105,000 in 2009.

No wonder that a company engaged in the “science of death” as Monsanto, which has been dedicated from the outset to produce toxic poisons spilling from Agent Orange to PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), pesticides, hormones and genetically modified seeds, is associated with another company of thugs.

Almost simultaneously with the publication of this article in The Nation, the Via Campesina reported the purchase of 500,000 shares of Monsanto, for more than $23 million by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which with this action completed the outing of the mask of “philanthropy.” Another association that is not surprising.

It is a marriage between the two most brutal monopolies in the history of industrialism: Bill Gates controls more than 90 percent of the market share of proprietary computing and Monsanto about 90 percent of the global transgenic seed market and most global commercial seed. There does not exist in any other industrial sector monopolies so vast, whose very existence is a negation of the vaunted principle of “market competition” of capitalism. Both Gates and Monsanto are very aggressive in defending their ill-gotten monopolies.

Although Bill Gates might try to say that the Foundation is not linked to his business, all it proves is the opposite: most of their donations end up favoring the commercial investments of the tycoon, not really “donating” anything, but instead of paying taxes to the state coffers, he invests his profits in where it is favorable to him economically, including propaganda from their supposed good intentions. On the contrary, their “donations” finance projects as destructive as geoengineering or replacement of natural community medicines for high-tech patented medicines in the poorest areas of the world. What a coincidence, former Secretary of Health Julio Frenk and Ernesto Zedillo are advisers of the Foundation.

Like Monsanto, Gates is also engaged in trying to destroy rural farming worldwide, mainly through the “Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa” (AGRA). It works as a Trojan horse to deprive poor African farmers of their traditional seeds, replacing them with the seeds of their companies first, finally by genetically modified (GM). To this end, the Foundation hired Robert Horsch in 2006, the director of Monsanto. Now Gates, airing major profits, went straight to the source.

Blackwater, Monsanto and Gates are three sides of the same figure: the war machine on the planet and most people who inhabit it, are peasants, indigenous communities, people who want to share information and knowledge or any other who does not want to be in the aegis of profit and the destructiveness of capitalism.

* The author is a researcher at ETC Group

Source:Pravda

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