Dubai—World’s Tallest House of Cards

India may hold whip hand in this power game

Robert Fisk – Independent November 27, 2009

Allah was kind to Dubai yesterday. Just when the emirate’s unspeakable wealth appeared on the point of collapse – stock markets, of course, naturally ‘trembled’ – along came the feast of Eid al-Adha and sent all the kings and emirs and sheikhs off to their diwans to celebrate the decision by the father of monotheism – the Prophet Ibrahim himself – not to kill his son Ismail. But then again, Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid al-Makhtoum, knew that the week-long holiday in Dubai would close down the local markets even if it couldn’t stifle the rumours.
Among the latter came the old canard that Sheikh Mohamed will have to hand over his immensely profitable Emirates Airlines to his Abu Dhabi cousin, the ever-beneficent Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, who seems to spend much of his time bailing out Dubai’s outrageous tourist and oligarchical ambitions. Indeed, Dubai may have the tallest tower in the world and the largest man-made island but it would help if it paid off the Japanese company that has just built the emirate’s first metro system – even if trains to the airport cannot carry passenger baggage.
There are, however, two basic truths about Dubai which, predictably, have not found their way into market speculation or newspaper analysis. The first is that Dubai may soon find itself a satellite not of its Abu Dhabi capital but of India. The biggest merchants in Dubai are Indian – they run the gold market, even the bookshops in Sheikh Mohamed’s playpen – and west India is only two hours’ flying time away. In fact, until 1962 – and you have to be an oldie to understand the emirates’ economic world – the Indian rupee was the currency for most of the Gulf, including even Kuwait.
Sheikh Mohamed’s angry dismissal of his three top executives a week ago will not change this, although it might curb those who took too much advantage of the Dubai boom. The ruler may indeed have to reflect upon the future of Emirates, not to mention the invalid Dubai World, if he is to appease his friendly cousin up the road in Abu Dhabi, but in the end the emirs all know that Dubai – like the US and British banks that crashed so spectacularly this year – is too big to abandon. If Dubai World really defaults, then the rating agencies will start downgrading the whole shebang and the sheikhs and financial elite of the UAE will find it hard to get money.
There’s always been a cosy relationship, of course, between haughty, starchy old Abu Dhabi and playboy Dubai. Sheikh Mohamed likes tourism and foreigners and racehorses and even the Russian oligarchs whose henchmen apparently fought a gun battle in the world’s tallest building a few months ago.
Abu Dhabi, holder of the world’s sixth largest crude oil reserves, believes in industry and art, occasionally poking gentle fun at its bling emirate to the east; the creation of Ettihad Airlines – ever expanding in the face of Emirates Airlines’ success – was both a joke and a warning.
But deep in their golden mosques, the ruling family are asking themselves some serious questions this Islamic holiday. Why was the call for a moratorium on debt so crudely and unprofessionally put together?
As one fine source – Independent readers must take on trust how high up the ladder he is, but he should have known of this announcement and didn’t – said privately last night: "It came as a shock and a surprise to everybody, not only to me but to anyone I know. All the information I had till yesterday was that everything was in hand. We had the finding for everything coming due this year – there was the $10 billion [£6 million] issued back in February and then nearly $8 billion over the past month – the money’s there.
"So it’s a puzzle, particularly since it was very clear, to people who knew, that the bond coming due in December was a litmus test. Everyone was planning to repay it. The people of Abu Dhabi didn’t know this was going to happen. The market did not expect anything like this."
Too true. If Dubai World and all the other conglomerates symbolising Dubai were already in the process of being restructured, why Wednesday’s extraordinary statement? There was talk in Dubai last night of a "Diwan revolution" although you’d think this had commenced when Sheikh Mohamed started ditching his top guys seven days ago. As one financial journalist in the Gulf put it: "To get a six-month standstill on payments for creditors, you can’t just announce it before you’ve talked to them. They’re not going to get the creditors to accept this in a couple of weeks."
Unless, of course, Sheikh Mohamed planned the whole fandango with Sheikh Khalifa. Unlikely, since Dubai’s decision to allow foreigners to buy property in the emirate was taken without any reference to the nation’s laws – or warning to Abu Dhabi. Or, rather than worrying about London and Tokyo, perhaps we should be watching the Indian stock market…
www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-india-may-hold-whip-hand-in-this-power-game-1828753.html

Gore Flees in Panic from Chicago Book Signing

Gore Flees in Panic from Chicago Book Signing

November 25, 2009 (LPAC)—Not since Henry Kissinger fled a team of LaRouche organizers, in the back of a delivery truck in New York City’s Central Park in the early 1980s, has an obese fascist moved so fast to escape an angry crowd, as Al Gore did today in Chicago. Appearing at a bookstore in the downtown Loop, Gore was confronted by a team of demonstrators from a grass roots group called "We Are Change," as he was signing his latest fascist screed on the global warming swindle. Gore bolted from the bookstore, raced down an alley, jumped into a waiting car, and tried to speed off, with protesters chasing after him and banging on the car. Midwest LYM organizers, who were also on the scene to confront the global warming swindler, provided an eyewitness account of Fat Albert’s flight of fear.

Make no mistake about it. This little encounter is typical of the kinds of things going on all over the country, as the fascists who brought you the near-destruction of the United States and an onrushing global Dark Age, are no longer walking the streets, smug in the belief that they are literally getting away with murder. The mass strike dynamic is playing out in thousands of ways, every day, and the recent revelations about the "smoking gun" emails from the East Anglia University global warming propaganda center, have made Al Gore’s life a little more miserable.

As Percy Shelley wrote in "The Mask of Anarchy," "We are many, they are few."

Coalition shaken as minister breathes fire against MQM

[SEE:  Eyewitness: Karachi]

Coalition shaken as minister breathes fire against MQM

 

The Sindh home minister has once again dug out the incident which resulted in the killing of around 50 people in one of Karachi’s worst political violence on May 12, 2007. – File photo

 

KARACHI: The PPP-Muttahida coalition got a jolt on Thursday after Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza accused the MQM of getting 3,500 criminal cases against its members wrapped up through a ‘cyclostyled order produced by the prosecutor-general of the provincial government’.

Dr Mirza, speaking at the inauguration ceremony of a PPP media centre, appealed to Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to reopen and investigate all cases wrapped up under the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).

A spokesman for MQM played down the flare-up, saying the remarks were the minister’s personal opinion, and not the stance of People’s Party.

The minister said the record of the cases was enough to ‘open the eyes of the media and the nation’.
He said he would present within a week the record of all cases which had been suppressed by hoodwinking the Sindh government and the judiciary.

He made a dig at MQM leader Farooq Sattar for his assertion that his party was not involved in corruption, wondering whether Dr Sattar was sent to prison for ‘distributing charity’.

He also accused MQM of obstructing the entry of the chief justice at the behest of then president Pervez Musharraf.

Dr Mirza said reconciliation was based on the principle of forget and forgive, but ‘our colleagues are instruments of the establishment and if it is a war, we also know how to fight a war. We fought a war for 12 years and power was not given to us in charity.’

Talking to a TV channel later, Muttahida Qaumi Movement coordination committee member Salim Shehzad said: ‘People conspiring to destabilise the government want to spawn rifts between us. We are allies of the government and want it to complete its tenure.

‘We will not play into anyone’s hands. Nor will we be part of any conspiracy. We did criticise the government, but did not level allegations nor will we do it now.’

He said the minister’s statement might be his personal opinion, and not the policy of the Pakistan People’s Party. If it was PPP’s policy then President Asif Ali Zardari should express it, he said.

Salim Shehzad said the cases had been abolished through a tribunal under the ordinance and if Dr Mirza deemed it a fraud, then the entire NRO would be a fraud.

Shehzad said that if the home minister wanted to reopen the criminal cases, he should go ahead and do so. ‘The MQM is ready to face them.’

If the Supreme Court or high court ordered reopening of the cases, the MQM would welcome the decision, he said. However, he asserted that in addition to the criminal cases, all other cases should also be reopened.

‘No threat could frighten us in past nor will it happen in future,’ he said.

The MQM leader said the cases against the MQM had been filed during PPP’s rule and all of them were criminal, and not related to corruption.

In reply to a question about bitterness with the PPP, he said MQM’s stance on the NRO might be the reason.

He said the country was facing crises and the circumstances necessitated forbearance.

‘If we go wrong somewhere, we will apologise. If they are wrong then they should set their direction right,’ he said.

The MQM leader said some members of the coordination committee would meet PPP leaders soon for patching up differences.

Shehzad said a member of the committee had come up a poem that spoke about December as the moment of truth for the government.

The composition had ruffled feathers, he added, but clarified that it was the individual’s personal opinion, and not the party’s stance.

APP adds: Dr Mirza said: ‘Our friends want to destabilise democracy by becoming a tool of the establishment.’

He said a criminal would always be a criminal no matter whether he was in ‘dhoti, sherwani or Sindhi topi’.

‘If someone wants our accountability, we too know how to hold others accountable,’ he said.

Jailed militant’s hoax calls drove India, Pakistan to brink of war

Jailed militant’s hoax calls drove India, Pakistan to brink of war

By Azaz Syed

Omar Saeed Sheikh, a detained Pakistani militant, had made hoax calls to President Asif Ali Zardari and the Chief of Army Staff, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, in a bid to heighten Pak-India tensions after last year’s terrorist attacks on Mumbai. — File Photo by AP

detained Pakistani militant, had made hoax calls to President Asif Ali Zardari and the Chief of Army Staff, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, in a bid to heighten Pakistan-India tensions after last year’s terrorist attacks on Mumbai, investigators have told Dawn.

‘Omar Saeed Sheikh was the hoax caller. It was he who threatened the civilian and military leaderships of Pakistan over telephone. And he did so from inside Hyderabad jail,’ investigators said.

The controversy came to light after Dawn broke the story, exactly one year ago, that a hoax caller claiming to be then Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee was making threatening calls to President Zardari.

It was on the night of Nov 26 last year that Saadia Omar, Omar Sheikh’s wife, informed him about the carnage in Mumbai. The sources said that the information was passed on to Omar in Hyderabad jail through his mobile phone, which he was secretly using without the knowledge of the administration.

All but one of the attackers who India alleged were Lashkar-i-Taiba terrorists were shot dead by security personnel.

Saadia kept updating Omar about the massacre through the night and small hours of the morning. On the night of Nov 28, when the authorities had regained control over the better part of the city, Omar Saeed, using a UK-registered mobile SIM, made a phone call to Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

He told an operator handling Mr Mukherjee’s calls that he was the President of Pakistan.
Indian officials started verification as part of security precautions and, after some time, the operator informed Omar Saeed (who was posing to be Pakistan’s president) that the foreign minister would get in touch with him soon. Omar now made a call to President Asif Ali Zardari and then the Chief of Army Staff.

He also made an attempt to talk to the US secretary of state, but security checks barred his way.

The presidency swung into action soon after Mr Zardari’s conversation with the adventurous militant.

President Zardari first spoke to Prime Minister Gilani and informed him about the happenings. He also took Interior Minister Rehman Malik into the loop.

In Rawalpindi, Gen Kayani immediately spoke to the chief of the Inter Services Intelligence, Lt- Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

According to sources, not only President Asif Zardari was taken in by Omar’s audacity but the COAS was also baffled by his cheekiness.

Gen Kayani, sharing his thoughts with close associates, said he had been bewildered by the caller’s threatening tone.

But Maj Gen Athar Abbas, the military spokesman, finds the report unbelievable. ‘I am not his (Army chief’s) operator. I don’t know who puts calls through to him, but I think this can’t be true,’ said an incredulous Athar Abbas.

Interestingly, when Omar Saeed Sheikh was making these hoax calls, the Lashkar-i-Taiba (LET) chief was also in Karachi, but it is not known whether Omar Saeed was acting under the guidance of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi or on his own.

INVESTIGATIONS: On the other hand, investigators got into the act without wasting time, coming up with their findings within hours.

Their conclusion was that the phone call which came from the Indian external affairs ministry was actually their (Indians’) check.

They said the calls to President Zardari and the army chief were made from a Britain-registered SIM.

Gen (retired) Pervez Musharraf, in his autobiography, had alleged that Omar Saeed was an agent of MI6, the British intelligence agency.

The very next morning, Nov 29, Hyderabad jail was raided by intelligence agencies and over a dozen SIMs were recovered along with two mobile sets. Majid Siddiqui, the jail superintendent, was suspended.

‘I don’t know much but it is true that some mobile SIMs and mobile sets were recovered from Omar Saeed Sheikh when he was in Hyderabad jail.

I got him transferred to Karachi jail because that is a far better place for such high-profile terrorists,’ Allauddin Abbasi, DIG Prisons, Hyderabad, told Dawn over phone.

The authorities had a word with Saadia Omar too. She was advised to ‘control’ herself. The matter was then placed in the files of secret agencies marked as ‘secret’.

The Federal Investigation Agency never interrogated Omar Saeed about the Mumbai attacks. Dawn’s efforts for getting the viewpoint of Tariq Khosa , the FIA chief, drew a blank.

more about "DAWN.COM | Pakistan | Jailed militant…", posted with vodpod

HIGH PROFILE: Omar, currently confined in a high security cell of Karachi Jail, has a long record of militancy, from kidnapping foreigners in Mumbai in 1994 to kidnapping Daniel Pearl in Jan 2002.

Omar Saeed Sheikh was freed by India in Dec 1999 as part of a deal that saw New Delhi agreeing to release a number of militant leaders in exchange for the freedom of hostages on board an India plane hijacked to Kabul.

Soon after his release from Indian captivity, Omar Saeed developed close relations with the LET leadership, including Zakiur Rehman Lakhwi.

He was invited to a training camp in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Azad Kashmir, where he spent a couple of days delivering lectures to recruits.

Sources said Lakhwi wanted Omar to join LET and give the organisation an international face.

In Feb 2002, Omar was arrested for the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl.

Dubai default fears send banks scrambling

[I wonder why Dubai is having cash flow problems?]

The Palm Jumeirah (Copyright Nakheel)

Dubai default fears send banks scrambling

A construction crew hard at work in Dubai.— Photo from File

DUBAI: Banks outside the Gulf played down on Friday their exposure to Dubai debt, after fears the emirate could default and even derail world economic recovery prompted a sell-off in global markets.

Stocks from Tokyo to London were haunted by concerns that banks were exposed to state companies in Dubai, whose rise from a desert backwater into the business hub of the world’s top oil exporting area had lured expatriate money and executives.

The crisis began on Wednesday when Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates federation, asked to delay payment on billions of dollars of debt issued by conglomerate Dubai World and its main property subsidiary Nakheel, developer of three palm shaped islands that once lured celebrities and the super-rich.

‘We have seen a classic risk aversion reaction in the markets over the past 24 hours. The dollar has slumped, the yen is stronger,’ a Societe Generale note said.

‘Anybody who thought the exit profile for markets from the great recession and the great financial crisis was going to be a smooth one was kidding themselves.’ Dubai World had $59 billion of liabilities as of August, most of Dubai’s total debt of $80 billion.

The numbers pales in comparison to the $2.8 trillion in writedowns the International Monetary Fund estimates US and European lenders will have made between 2007 and 2010 as a result of the global credit crisis.

‘The events in Dubai in recent days are one of the hiccups if you like, one of the difficulties, which affirms that we were right to highlight the uncertainty ahead of us and that the road ahead could be a bumpy one,’ European Central Bank Governing Council member Athanasios Orphanides said.

International banks’ liabilities related to Dubai World could be as high as $12 billion in syndicated and bilateral loans, banking sources told Thomson Reuters LPC.

French banks said their exposure to the Dubai crisis was limited and Italy’s central bank said Italian banks should face no problems linked to the Gulf trade and tourism hub. Those sentiments were echoed by Chinese banks.

Those statements tempered losses in European stocks after investors around the globe fled shares, oil and other risky assets, fuelling flows into the low-yielding yen and safe-haven government bonds.

‘At this stage, this set back, looks to be one that is very much country specific,’ the SocGen note said.

Abu Dhabi Exposure

While European and Asian banks scrambled to distance themselves from the Dubai crisis, lenders in Abu Dhabi, a fellow member of the UAE federation and home to most of the country’s oil, appeared to have major positions.

They lent heavily to Dubai firms at the height of the property boom that saw the emirate build the world’s tallest tower but went bust with the financial crisis in 2008.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank has at least $2.18-$2.45 billion exposure to Dubai World and related entities, forcing the bank to book more provisions, a senior executive of the bank said. First Gulf Bank has at least $1.36 billion.

JP Morgan said in a research note it was ‘less concerned’ about global banks’ direct exposure to Dubai World and was not worried about Abu Dhabi, a major oil producer which is sitting on hundreds of billions of dollars.

‘We are more concerned about the spillover effect within the UAE with CDS spreads in Abu Dhabi increasing,’ it said.

‘It remains unclear if the Dubai government will support the liabilities of government related entities and how … neighbours will weather the storm.’ The price of insuring Gulf debt surged again on Friday.

Credit default swaps (CDS) for Dubai rose more than 100 basis points but CDS prices were way below previous peaks in the global financial crisis late last year and earlier this year.Nakheel’s Islamic bond prices extended losses, falling 30

points to a record low of 40, according to Reuters data.The $3.52 billion bond at the centre of the crisis, which was originally due to mature on Dec 14, 2009, had traded as high as 110 on Wednesday before the Dubai government said it would ask creditors to agree on a standstill of debt held by Nakheel and Dubai World until May 2010.

The debt crisis in Dubai has also pushed up debt insurance costs for other sovereigns in the Gulf, a wealthy region Western firms had turned to for help at the height of the credit crunch.

Analysts expect Dubai to receive financial support from Abu Dhabi, though it may have to abandon an economic model focused on developing swathes of desert with foreign money and labour.

But the prospect of a bailout did little to allay concerns. — Reuters

French utility Electricite de France to Join Russia’s South Stream Project

 

Eni Welcomes EDF Entry In South Stream – CEO >E

MILAN (MF-Dow Jones)–Eni SpA (E) Chief Executive Paolo Scaroni said Thursday that the Italian oil giant is in favor of widening the shareholder structure of South Stream to French utility Electricite de France SA (EDF.FR).

Speaking at an event in Milan, Scaroni said that in principle the company welcomes the arrival of EDF because it would add strength to the project.

Scaroni also added that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy are scheduled to meet Thursday and that they will sign a memorandum of understanding for the entry of EDF into the South Stream pipeline project.

Scaroni noted that the entry of EDF depends on Eni’s green-light.

The South Stream project, headed by Eni, Italy’s biggest energy company by market value, and Russian gas producer OAO Gazprom (GAZP.RS), aims to bring gas from the Caspian area under the Black Sea and landing in Bulgaria, bypassing Ukraine.


-By Rosario Murgida with MF-Dow Jones and Sabrina Cohen, Dow Jones Newswires, +39 02 5821 9906; sabrina.cohen@dowjones.com

Rosy Oil Production Predictions Based On Bush’s “Fudged” Numbers

Camelina (Camelina sativa), a member of the mustard family, is a summer annual oilseed plant. A.K.A., “False flax.”

Distorted IEA Figures Help Biofuels in Central Asia

 

The recent revelations of a International Energy Administration whistleblower that the IEA may have distorted key oil projections under intense U.S. pressure is, if true (and whistleblowers rarely come forward to advance their careers), a slow-burning thermonuclear explosion on future global oil production. The Bush administration’s actions in pressuring the IEA to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves have the potential to throw governments’ long-term planning into chaos.

Whatever the reality, rising long term global demands seem certain to outstrip production in the next decade, especially given the high and rising costs of developing new super-fields such as Kazakhstan’s offshore Kashagan and Brazil’s southern Atlantic Jupiter and Carioca fields, which will require billions in investments before their first barrels of oil are produced.

In such a scenario, additives and substitutes such as biofuels will play an ever-increasing role by stretching beleaguered production quotas. As market forces and rising prices drive this technology to the forefront, one of the richest potential production areas has been totally overlooked by investors up to now – Central Asia. Formerly the USSR’s cotton “plantation,” the region is poised to become a major player in the production of biofuels if sufficient foreign investment can be procured. Unlike Brazil, where biofuel is manufactured largely from sugarcane, or the United States, where it is primarily distilled from corn, Central Asia’s ace resource is an indigenous plant, Camelina sativa.

Of the former Soviet Caucasian and Central Asian republics, those clustered around the shores of the Caspian, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have seen their economies boom because of record-high energy prices, while Turkmenistan is waiting in the wings as a rising producer of natural gas.

Farther to the east, in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, geographical isolation and relatively scant hydrocarbon resources relative to their Western Caspian neighbors have largely inhibited their ability to cash in on rising global energy demands up to now. Mountainous Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan remain largely dependent for their electrical needs on their Soviet-era hydroelectric infrastructure, but their heightened need to generate winter electricity has led to autumnal and winter water discharges, in turn severely impacting the agriculture of their western downstream neighbors Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

What these three downstream countries do have however is a Soviet-era legacy of agricultural production, which in Uzbekistan’s and Turkmenistan case was largely directed towards cotton production, while Kazakhstan, beginning in the 1950s with Khrushchev’s “Virgin Lands” programs, has become a major producer of wheat. Based on my discussions with Central Asian government officials, given the thirsty demands of cotton monoculture, foreign proposals to diversify agrarian production towards biofuel would have great appeal in Astana, Ashgabat and Tashkent and to a lesser extent Astana for those hardy investors willing to bet on the future, especially as a plant indigenous to the region has already proven itself in trials.

Known in the West as false flax, wild flax, linseed dodder, German sesame and Siberian oilseed, camelina is attracting increased scientific interest for its oleaginous qualities, with several European and American companies already investigating how to produce it in commercial quantities for biofuel. In January Japan Airlines undertook a historic test flight using camelina-based bio-jet fuel, becoming the first Asian carrier to experiment with flying on fuel derived from sustainable feedstocks during a one-hour demonstration flight from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. The test was the culmination of a 12-month evaluation of camelina’s operational performance capability and potential commercial viability.

As an alternative energy source, camelina has much to recommend it. It has a high oil content low in saturated fat. In contrast to Central Asia’s thirsty “king cotton,” camelina is drought-resistant and immune to spring freezing, requires less fertilizer and herbicides, and can be used as a rotation crop with wheat, which would make it of particular interest in Kazakhstan, now Central Asia’s major wheat exporter. Another bonus of camelina is its tolerance of poorer, less fertile conditions.

An acre sown with camelina can produce up to 100 gallons of oil and when planted in rotation with wheat, camelina can increase wheat production by 15 percent. A ton (1000 kg) of camelina will contain 350 kg of oil, of which pressing can extract 250 kg. Nothing in camelina production is wasted as after processing, the plant’s debris can be used for livestock silage. Camelina silage has a particularly attractive concentration of omega-3 fatty acids that make it a particularly fine livestock feed candidate that is just now gaining recognition in the U.S. and Canada. Camelina is fast growing, produces its own natural herbicide (allelopathy) and competes well against weeds when an even crop is established. According to Britain’s Bangor University’s Centre for Alternative Land Use, “Camelina could be an ideal low-input crop suitable for bio-diesel production, due to its lower requirements for nitrogen fertilizer than oilseed rape.”

Camelina, a branch of the mustard family, is indigenous to both Europe and Central Asia and hardly a new crop on the scene: archaeological evidence indicates it has been cultivated in Europe for at least three millennia to produce both vegetable oil and animal fodder.

Field trials of production in Montana, currently the center of U.S. camelina research, showed a wide range of results of 330-1,700 lbs of seed per acre, with oil content varying between 29 and 40%. Optimal seeding rates have been determined to be in the 6-8 lb per acre range, as the seeds’ small size of 400,000 seeds per lb can create problems in germination to achieve an optimal plant density of around 9 plants per sq. ft.

Camelina’s potential could allow Uzbekistan to begin breaking out of its most dolorous legacy, the imposition of a cotton monoculture that has warped the country’s attempts at agrarian reform since achieving independence in 1991. Beginning in the late 19th century, the Russian government determined that Central Asia would become its cotton plantation to feed Moscow’s growing textile industry. The process was accelerated under the Soviets. While Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan were also ordered by Moscow to sow cotton, Uzbekistan in particular was singled out to produce “white gold.”

By the end of the 1930s the Soviet Union had become self-sufficient in cotton; five decades later it had become a major exporter of cotton, producing more than one-fifth of the world’s production, concentrated in Uzbekistan, which produced 70 percent of the Soviet Union’s output.

Try as it might to diversify, in the absence of alternatives Tashkent remains wedded to cotton, producing about 3.6 million tons annually, which brings in more than $1 billion while constituting approximately 60 percent of the country’s hard currency income.

Beginning in the mid-1960s the Soviet government’s directives for Central Asian cotton production largely bankrupted the region’s scarcest resource, water. Cotton uses about 3.5 acre feet of water per acre of plants, leading Soviet planners to divert ever-increasing volumes of water from the region’s two primary rivers, the Amu Darya and Syr Darya, into inefficient irrigation canals, resulting in the dramatic shrinkage of the rivers’ final destination, the Aral Sea. The Aral, once the world’s fourth-largest inland sea with an area of 26,000 square miles, has shrunk to one-quarter its original size in one of the 20th century’s worst ecological disasters.

And now, the dollars and cents. Dr. Bill Schillinger at Washington State University recently described camelina’s business model to Capital Press as: “At 1,400 pounds per acre at 16 cents a pound, camelina would bring in $224 per acre; 28-bushel white wheat at $8.23 per bushel would garner $230.”

Central Asia has the land, the farms, the irrigation infrastructure and a modest wage scale in comparison to America or Europe – all that’s missing is the foreign investment. U.S. investors have the cash and access to the expertise of America’s land grant universities. What is certain is that biofuel’s market share will grow over time; less certain is who will reap the benefits of establishing it as a viable concern in Central Asia.

If the recent past is anything to go by it is unlikely to be American and European investors, fixated as they are on Caspian oil and gas.

But while the Japanese flight experiments indicate Asian interest, American investors have the academic expertise, if they are willing to follow the Silk Road into developing a new market. Certainly anything that lessens water usage and pesticides, diversifies crop production and improves the lot of their agrarian population will receive most careful consideration from Central Asia’s governments, and farming and vegetable oil processing plants are not only much cheaper than pipelines, they can be built more quickly.

Source: OilPrice.com

China-Pak military nexus a matter of serious concern: Antony

China-Pak military nexus a matter of serious concern: Antony

A k antony

Pak is yet to demonstrate any will to act against terror groups on its soil, says Antony.

Voicing great concern over the military nexus between China and Pakistan, Defence Minister A K Antony said on Friday that India will have to be vigilant at all times.

"The nexus between China and Pakistan in the military sphere remains an area of great concern," he said speaking at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) founders’ day event in the capital.

"We have to carry out continuous appraisal of Chinese military capabilities and shape our responses accordingly. At the same time, we need to be vigilant at all times," he said.

New Delhi feels the China-Pakistan military nexus is detrimental to its interests and the strategic balance in the South Asian region.

Another area of concern for India is Chinese transfer of equipment and technology for Pakistan’s nuclear weapon programme. China has helped Pakistan build two nuclear reactors in the Punjab province and continues to support its nuclear programme.

China is Pakistan’s largest defence supplier. These include short-range ballistic missiles, fighter aircraft, frigates with helicopters, T-85 tanks, jet trainers besides arms and ammunition.

The Defence Minister said India is hopeful that China would reciprocate to its initiatives aimed at mutual prosperity and understanding.

"India wants to develop a friendly and cordial relationship with its neighbours including China. We continue our efforts. At the same time, there are issues that are a matter of concern to us," Antony later told reporters.

The minister accused Pakistan of not taking credible steps to put an end to terror groups operating from its soil.

India needs to "closely monitor" the developments in Pakistan, he said, noting "the terror infrastructure in that country remains intact and is actually thriving".

"Pakistan is yet to demonstrate any will to take speedy action against terrorists and international criminals," he said.

India, he said, was making sincere and continuous efforts to resolve long-standing issues with countries in its immediate neighbourhood.

Antony said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s willingness to resume dialogue with Pakistan must be seen in the context of India’s eagerness for peace in the region

"We have always striven for peaceful relations with all our neighbours. As a vibrant democracy and a prospering economy, we cannot ignore the security calculus in the region," he said.

Nuclear Test Site Workers Win Small Compensation for Cancers

Test site workers win round for claims


By KEITH ROGERS
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

After nine years of denials and setbacks in a government program to compensate former Nevada Test Site employees for work-related illnesses, the retired nuclear weapons workers and survivors got some good news this week.

The agency charged with reconstructing their exposures to radioactive and toxic materials, which is key to proving or disproving their claims, has reversed its previous stance, saying instead the historic data needed for dose reconstructions are insufficient.

After a review of the tedious process, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health is recommending special status that will give more than 500 former Nevada Test Site workers the benefit of the doubt.

Their claims for at least $150,000 apiece plus medical expenses will be processed without having to estimate the exposures through costly and time-consuming dose reconstructions if the institute’s recommendation is approved by a work group next month and later by a presidential advisory board and is accepted by the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Congress would have a chance to reject the recommendation, but that is unlikely, according to sources close to the program.

Dose reconstruction is a process of going back in time and trying to determine about how much radiation a particular worker was exposed to.

Approving the special status would mean former test site workers or their families from the days of below-ground nuclear weapons testing, 1963 to 1992, would have to show only they worked at the test site for 250 days during that period and were afflicted by one of the more than 20 cancers covered by the program.

"As presented in this position paper, NIOSH believes that there is insufficient information to adequately support … reconstructing internal dose with sufficient accuracy," reads the report issued Wednesday.

The report recommends special status for all employees from the Energy Department, its predecessor agencies, contractors and subcontractors who worked at the test site, 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas, from 1963 to 1992.

Workers during the years of above-ground nuclear weapons testing in Nevada, 1951 through 1962, already have been granted special exposure status.

In the years since the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program was announced in 2000, John Funk, chairman of the nonprofit Atomic Veterans and Victims of America Inc., has advocated reform in the program. Many times he has asked officials for the departments of Energy and Labor to put test site workers on par with out-of-state groups of Cold War nuclear workers that have been granted what is known as "special exposure cohort" status.

"They caved in because everything they tried didn’t work," he said Thursday, reacting to the NIOSH position paper.

"I’m glad to hear it. This has been long and hard," Funk said.

Funk praised the efforts of Sanford Cohen and Associates, an independent contractor that conducted a review funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Sanford and Cohen stood in our corner. Those guys put up a hell of a battle for us," he said.

A report last year by Lynn Anspaugh, a health physicist from Henderson and a Sanford Cohen associate, found that records and data about exposures were either flawed or missing and that the NIOSH model for dose reconstruction based on records of 100 co-workers was not defensible because the records weren’t representative of all areas of the test site.

In an e-mail Thursday, Anspaugh said, "We are gratified that NIOSH has finally moved to bring this long process to an end."

Similarly, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., who has backed a petition for special status for test site workers, said in a statement that he is "so pleased to share this good news with Nevada’s energy workers, who were instrumental to our nation winning the Cold War."

"I look forward to the advisory board taking up the favorable NIOSH recommendation as soon as possible so that our sick test site workers and their families can finally get the compensation they deserve," Reid said.

Some former workers have died since their claims have been denied or while they waited for government agencies to act on their claims.

The Labor Department took over the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program from the Department of Energy in 2004 after Congress determined the Energy Department was taking too long to handle a backlog of cases.

So far, the program has cost the government at least $391 million to administer and has resulted in more than $2.47 billion in compensation to claimants nationwide.

Contact reporter Keith Rogers at krogers@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0308.

Nabucco Investment Decision Postponed

[United States pipeline projects are intended to give the US the ability to deny Russia European revenue from its gas and oil, in addition to preventing deliver of fuel going to China.  Turkish efforts are clearly to accomodate both US and Russian interests in a common pipeline system.  One seeks exclusion and control, the other commonality of interests, the free-flow of energy and the harvesting of transit fees.]

Nabucco Investment Decision Postponed

Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 210

November 13, 2009 10:14 AM Age: 14 days

By: Vladimir Socor

OMV and Nabucco spokesman Christian Dolezal

On November 11 the Austrian OMV-led Nabucco management announced that the investment decision on the project will be postponed, from early 2010 to the fourth quarter of that year. There is no clear explanation for this sudden change.
Only seven days earlier, the same Vienna office had sounded confident that the project was advancing on schedule. According to OMV and Nabucco spokesman Christian Dolezal on November 4, “construction work will start in 2011 and, as things now stand, the first gas will flow in 2014” (www.news.Az, November 4). In that spokesman’s interview, and also in its newsletter circulated in early November, the Austrian-led Nabucco management mentions “detailed discussions” ongoing with the European Investment Bank (EIB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the United States Export-Import Bank (EXIM), and other lending institutions; as well as discussions in prospect with the U.S. International Finance Corporation (IFC), Hermes, and SACE (Nabucco Newsletter, November 2009).
If the level of investor confidence is truly such as to necessitate postponing the decision by one year, the reasons behind this remain unexplained publicly by the project company or by the European Commission, which strongly backs the Nabucco project.
One obvious confidence-undermining factor is Turkey’s AKP government, which blocks the westbound route for Azerbaijani gas, the main source of supply for Nabucco’s first stage. After almost two years of obstruction, and despite signing the inter-governmental agreement with the European partners in July, Ankara seems entrenched in its refusal to sign a transit agreement for Azerbaijani gas to Europe.
Ankara’s position on this issue seems irrational at first sight, given the AKP government’s ambition to turn Turkey into an energy transportation corridor on a colossal scale. Its strategy, however, relies mainly on Russia (and, as a more distant prospect, Iran) to fulfill the AKP’s grand ambition. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government is in discussions with the Kremlin on building the South Stream, Blue Stream Two, Samsun-Ceyhan, and other gas and oil pipelines in Turkey or through Turkish waters. Ankara even favors using part of Nabucco’s capacity to carry Gazprom’s gas to Europe.
Compared with the Russian projects (grandiose on paper), Nabucco with Azerbaijani gas may seem a small currency of exchange to the AKP government. Indeed, the government is using Nabucco as a bargaining chip in the negotiations with the European Union on the Cyprus issue and on Turkish accession to the E.U.
E.U. officials (and some U.S. counterparts) routinely tell the AKP government how crucial its cooperation is to Europe’s energy security and other major Western goals. That flattering language does not appear conditional on Ankara’s actual performance on Nabucco and other issues. It inspires the AKP government to entertain an exalted view of its importance to Europe and overplay its hand.
Nabucco may indeed look expendable –or a tradable card– to Turkey, and not fully convincing from upstream to downstream, unless clearly integrated into the broader framework of the Southern Corridor project for Central Asian gas to Europe.
Azerbaijan has presciently advocated that integrated Caspian-Central Asian strategy for years. The European Commission has clearly set this policy in its November 2008 communication on energy security strategy. However, this message has not been articulated with the necessary consistency and clarity by E.U. officials and Nabucco project management in recent months. Nabucco’s appeal can fade, if promoted as a self-contained project without explicit links to the comprehensive Caspian-Central Asian gas strategy.
The proposed White Stream pipeline on the seabed of the Black Sea is a component of the Southern Corridor plan. White Stream can provide a transportation solution for future Turkmen gas –via Azerbaijan and Georgia– to Europe, circumventing Turkey. It does not rival the Turkish overland transport solution, but can significantly supplement it. E.U. funding for White Stream’s feasibility study can signal that gas producer and consumer countries would not be pressured by a Turkish transportation monopoly. Diversification of gas transportation routes is a policy as valid in the Black Sea basin as elsewhere (EDM, October 30).
A deceptive appearance of progress on Gazprom’s South Stream has contributed to the recent spell of Nabucco skepticism. Slovenia is about to sign up for South Stream while Croatia is seriously considering the possibility (this would require Russia to enlist local support for ousting Hungarian MOL from Croatia). Routing South Stream through Slovenia would implicitly put Austria under some pressure to join.
All this seems to make Vienna nervous again. On November 11 Chancellor Werner Faymann held talks with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow on the possibility of Austria joining South Stream. At the concluding news conference, Putin declared that both Russia and Austria are convinced of South Stream’s merits and have agreed to complete an agreement on Austria joining the project (Interfax, NTV, November 11).
On that same day, the Austrian OMV-led Nabucco management surprisingly announced by e-mail to mass media the postponement of an investment decision on the Nabucco project.

Cost of US Domineering May Deprive West of Access to Caucasus/Caspian Oil and Gas

Azerbaijan may spurn West

BAKU: On a windswept hilltop looking down at the Azerbaijani capital Baku, Turkish flags flutter over a monument that testifies to decades of close ties between the two nations.

Surrounding an obelisk bearing the Turkish crescent and star, stone blocks carry the names of dozens of Turkish soldiers who died while fighting for Azerbaijan’s independence before it was absorbed into the Soviet Union in 1922.

For Turks and Azerbaijanis, who share close ethnic and linguistic roots, the monument is a symbol of what officials in both countries frequently describe as “brotherly” relations.

So it came as a shock when Azerbaijan — angry over Ankara’s efforts at reconciliation with Azerbaijan’s arch-rival Armenia — removed the Turkish flags flying over the monument in October.

After some soothing words from Ankara, the flags soon returned. But anger at Turkey is running deep in Azerbaijan, and tensions are threatening not only a partnership that has been crucial for both countries, but also Western interests in an area of great strategic importance.

Diplomats and analysts say resentment in Azerbaijan is aimed not only at Nato member Turkey for pursuing ties with Armenia, but also at the United States and Europe for pushing Ankara towards a deal.

That could see Azerbaijan turn away from nearly two decades of looking to the West, threatening vital energy supplies to Europe and sowing further instability in the volatile South Caucasus region between Russia and Iran.

“It’s not only Azerbaijan whose interests are put at risk by this abruptive, not carefully prepared… rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia,” Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov told AFP in an interview.

The interests of Europe and the United States also stand to suffer, he said, while warning that “reactions from Azerbaijan will be even more harsh” if Turkey ratifies a deal to establish diplomatic ties and open its border with Armenia. At the centre of the dispute is the mountainous southwestern Azerbaijani region of Nagorny Karabakh, where ethnic Armenian separatists, backed by Yerevan, seized control from Baku during a war in the early 1990s that left 30,000 dead. Negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the region have been stalled for years and tensions remain high, with frequent fighting and deadly shootings along a fragile ceasefire line.

Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in solidarity with Azerbaijan over the Karabakh conflict, and Baku insists the border should not re-open until the region’s status is settled.

The United States and Europe had pushed for Ankara to reach a deal with Armenia earlier, making it appear that Baku’s interests have been set aside, said Vladimir Socor, a regional expert with the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation.

“Azerbaijan is justifiably irritated with Western policy on this issue,” he said. “Azerbaijan correctly feels that its own security concerns and the Karabakh issue are simply not being taken into account to a sufficient degree, if at all, by the United States and by the major European powers.”

Socor said that by ignoring Azerbaijan’s interests, Western powers are jeopardising years of effort to gain influence in the strategic Caucasus region and to tap the vast energy reserves of the Caspian Sea.

Since gaining its independence with the Soviet collapse in 1991, Azerbaijan has been at the heart of Western efforts to transport oil and gas from the Caspian to Europe, decreasing Western reliance on Russian supplies.

Baku is the starting point for two major pipelines carrying oil and gas from the Caspian, through Georgia and Turkey, to hungry European consumers.

Efforts are underway to expand the network into Central Asia, and Azerbaijan is also considered a key potential supplier for the European Union’s flagship Nabucco gas pipeline. But in the wake of the Armenia-Turkey deal, Azerbaijan has threatened to seek alternative export routes and in recent months has signed new supply deals with both Russia and Iran. Azimov, the deputy foreign minister, said the West needs to realise that pushing for a deal between Turkey and Armenia without taking Baku’s interests into account will have consequences.

“The question that needs to be asked is: Are we important? And if we are, then issues have to be solved in a way providing for all interests,” he said.

Lobotomies are Making a Come-Back

[They can burn really tiny holes in your brain now.  Not like the bad old days with the ice picks.  These egotistical maniacs really don't know what damage they are doing, or why it sometimes helps.]

Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times

Karen Quintal, with a Leksell frame screwed into her skull before surgery for a tumor.

Surgery for Mental Ills Offers Hope and Risk

By BENEDICT CAREY

The man, Leonard, a writer living outside Chicago, found himself completely unable to wash himself or brush his teeth. The teenager, Ross, growing up in a suburb of New York, had become so terrified of germs that he would regularly shower for seven hours. Each received a diagnosis of severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, or O.C.D., and for years neither felt comfortable enough to leave the house.

But leave they eventually did, traveling in desperation to a hospital in Rhode Island for an experimental brain operation in which four raisin-sized holes were burned deep in their brains.

Today, two years after surgery, Ross is 21 and in college. “It saved my life,” he said. “I really believe that.”

The same cannot be said for Leonard, 67, who had surgery in 1995. “There was no change at all,” he said. “I still don’t leave the house.”

Both men asked that their last names not be used to protect their privacy.

The great promise of neuroscience at the end of the last century was that it would revolutionize the treatment of psychiatric problems. But the first real application of advanced brain science is not novel at all. It is a precise, sophisticated version of an old and controversial approach: psychosurgery, in which doctors operate directly on the brain.

In the last decade or so, more than 500 people have undergone brain surgery for problems like depression,anxiety, Tourette’s syndrome, even obesity, most as a part of medical studies. The results have been encouraging, and this year, for the first time since frontal lobotomy fell into disrepute in the 1950s, the Food and Drug Administrationapproved one of the surgical techniques for some cases of O.C.D.

While no more than a few thousand people are impaired enough to meet the strict criteria for the surgery right now, millions more suffering from an array of severe conditions, from depression to obesity, could seek such operations as the techniques become less experimental.

But with that hope comes risk. For all the progress that has been made, some psychiatrists and medical ethicists say, doctors still do not know much about the circuits they are tampering with, and the results are unpredictable: some people improve, others feel little or nothing, and an unlucky few actually get worse. In this country, at least one patient was left unable to feed or care for herself after botched surgery.

Moreover, demand for the operations is so high that it could tempt less experienced surgeons to offer them, without the oversight or support of research institutions.

And if the operations are oversold as a kind of all-purpose cure for emotional problems — which they are not, doctors say — then the great promise could quickly feel like a betrayal.

“We have this idea — it’s almost a fetish — that progress is its own justification, that if something is promising, then how can we not rush to relieve suffering?” said Paul Root Wolpe, a medical ethicist at Emory University.

It was not so long ago, he noted, that doctors considered the frontal lobotomy a major advance — only to learn that the operation left thousands of patients with irreversible brain damage. Many promising medical ideas have run aground, Dr. Wolpe added, “and that’s why we have to move very cautiously.”

Dr. Darin D. Dougherty, director of the division of neurotherapeutics at Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard, put it more bluntly. Given the history of failed techniques, like frontal lobotomy, he said, “If this effort somehow goes wrong, it’ll shut down this approach for another hundred years.”

A Last Resort

Five percent to 15 percent of people given diagnoses of obsessive-compulsive disorder are beyond the reach of any standard treatment. Ross said he was 12 when he noticed that he took longer to wash his hands than most people. Soon he was changing into clean clothes several times a day. Eventually he would barely come out of his room, and when he did, he was careful about what he touched.

“It got so bad, I didn’t want any contact with people,” he said. “I couldn’t hug my own parents.”

Before turning to writing, Leonard was a healthy, successful businessman. Then he was struck, out of nowhere, with a fear of insects and spiders. He overcame the phobias, only to find himself with a strong aversion to bathing. He stopped washing and could not brush his teeth or shave.

“I just looked horrible,” he said. “I had a big, ugly beard. My skin turned black. I was afraid to be seen out in public. I looked like a street person. If you were a policeman, you would have arrested me.”

Both tried antidepressants like Prozac, as well as a variety of other medications. They spent many hours in standard psychotherapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder, gradually becoming exposed to dreaded situations — a moldy shower stall, for instance — and practicing cognitive and relaxation techniques to defuse their anxiety.

To no avail.

“It worked for a while for me, but never lasted,” Ross said. “I mean, I just thought my life was over.”

NEXT PAGE »

The Shia-Sunni faultline

The Shia-Sunni faultline


G Parthasarathy

Just as the hapless people of Iraq emerged from the trauma of the American invasion and the consequent ethnic and sectarian violence that engulfed their country, the fledgling democratic Government was confronted with new challenges. On August 21 the Shia majority Iraqi Parliament called on its Sunni dominated neighbour, Saudi Arabia, to “cease funding anti-Government terrorists in Iraq”. A senior official of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s ruling Dawa Party, Mr Haidar al-Ibadi noted on August 20 that “there are regional powers that pay billions of dollars to push for the failure of Iraq’s democracy”. He criticised a “multi-billion-dollar plan by Saudi Arabia and other states” to launch terrorist attacks across the country and to undermine public confidence in the elected Government. Another leading Iraqi MP, who is a member of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr Sami al Askari, averred: “Saudi Arabia is not happy that Shias lead this country.” The Iraqis note that three Sunni Arab countries — Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt — are yet to establish diplomatic missions in Baghdad.

While Iraq accuses Saudi Arabia of meddling in its internal affairs, Saudi Arabia and Yemen accuse Shia-dominated Iran of promoting unrest in their Shia minorities. In September, Yemen claimed it seized a vessel carrying weapons from Iran for rebels of its minority Zaidi Shia sect and detained its Iranian crew. As internal tensions in Yemen spilled across its borders into neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Air Force strafed rebel bases along the Yemen-Saudi border. On November 11, Saudi Arabia imposed a naval blockade of the Red Sea coast of northern Yemen. The Saudi Army is now operating against Shia rebels along its borders with Yemen. Saudi Arabia fears Iranian instigation of its Shia population in its oil-rich eastern provinces. Responding to Saudi actions, Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki warned: “Regional and neighbouring countries should not interfere in Yemen’s internal affairs,” adding, “Those who choose to fan the flames of conflict must know that the fire will reach them.”

Iran asserts that neighbouring Pakistan is joining Saudi Arabia, with American encouragement, to promote terrorist violence in its Sunni majority border Province of Sistan Balochistan. Iran accuses Pakistan of arming and supporting a shadowy Wahaabi-oriented Balochi group, Jundallah, to destabilise Sistan Balochistan. On May 28, the Jundallah struck at the provincial capital Zahidan during ceremonies by the Shia community to mark the death of the daughter of Prophet Mohammed. This terrorist attack left 25 worshippers dead and 125 injured. On October 18 the Jundallah again struck at a meeting convened by the Deputy Commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, killing 42 people, including the Deputy Commander. An outraged President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused “certain officials” in Pakistan of cooperating with the Jundallah and providing shelter and support to its leader Abdelmalek Rigi. Saudi Arabia and Iran are fighting a proxy war in Pakistan and Afghanistan. While Saudi Arabia has backed the Taliban in Afghanistan and Wahaabi-oriented groups like the Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in Pakistan, Iran has responded by aiding the Shia minority and anti-Taliban groups along its borders with Afghanistan and sectarian Shia groups in Pakistan.

Superimposed on the rivalries, conflicts and prejudices that have characterised Persian-Arab relations for centuries, matters have been further complicated by the roles of the US and Israel, which significantly influence developments in the region. While Jews and Persians have historically been allies, Iran’s Revolutionary Government has adopted a policy of hostility towards Israel and the US. The Israelis, in turn, have covert links with Arab countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Israel has stridently opposed Iran’s nuclear programme, claiming that Tehran has ambitions to make nuclear weapons. The Obama Administration is trying to find a solution that permits Iran to enrich uranium, while ensuring that it neither qualitatively not quantitatively possesses enough highly enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons. Israel, however, continues to warn that if Iran, which has threatened to “wipe Israel off the map”, is not stopped, it will strike militarily at Iranian nuclear facilities. Any such action could well lead to Iran seeking to cut off access to two-thirds of the world’s oil supplies coming from the Persian Gulf, sparking a global economic crisis.

India has a vital stake in the stability of the region, extending from Pakistan and Afghanistan, across the Straits of Hormuz. An estimated four million Indians now live in the six Arab Gulf kingdoms — Oman, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. India gets around 75 per cent of its oil supplies from these countries. Indians living in these countries remit the bulk of the $ 55 billion that India gets as remittances. Tensions and conflicts in this region could send global oil prices skyrocketing. This will adversely affect our balance of payments and send our foreign exchange reserves spiralling downwards, as we already have an adverse balance of trade of around $ 120 billion. Apart from India’s increasing dependence on the Gulf Arab states for its oil supplies, there is now a growing demand for natural gas, for which an agreement was signed with Qatar. While Qatar has fulfilled the terms of the agreement signed with India, Iran has proved to be an unreliable supplier, unilaterally repudiating a contract signed with India in 2005 for supply of an estimated $ 40 billion of natural gas over 25 years. Iran, however, remains an important source of natural gas. Given the political situation within Pakistan and growing regional tensions, India will have to secure foolproof guarantees of assured supplies before inking any deal on a gas pipeline from Iran, which traverses through not only the violence prone Sistan Balochistan province of Iran, but also through volatile Pakistani Balochistan.

Given the complexities of the emerging situation in its western neighbourhood, India will have to steer clear of getting involved in Persian-Arab rivalries. But, at the same time, given its close relations with Iran, Israel and the US and as a member of the Board of Governors of the IAEA, India should play a more active role in resolving the stand-off resulting from Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Samuel Huntington had prophesised a “clash of civilisations” between the Christian and the Muslim worlds. What we are witnessing in our neighbourhood is a clash between Persian and Arab cultures, superimposed on a sectarian Shia-Sunni divide.

Hired Assassins Killing in Pakistan, Some Kill for Us, Some Kill for You–All the Dead Pakistani

[Expect to see more stories like these in the coming days, as the Army and ISI facilitate America's "under the radar" invasion of their country.   We are seeing the final act of a US/Pakistani psycho-drama, staged to ease the people into accepting Bush/Musharraf's war, something that would have been unthinkable in the two previous attempts to wage war against the Pashtun people.  SEE:  Before Obama Escalates the Afghan War, He Must Tell Us WhoWe Are Fighting]

A tale of two stories

By Cyril Almeida

Military men have been up to some very bad things, we’ve learned this week. But the very different reactions to two seemingly unrelated stories in the media tell us at least one thing: things aren’t going to get better any time soon.

First, over to Jeremy Scahill, writing in The Nation, US: ‘At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the centre of a secret programme in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, ‘snatch and grabs’ of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan.’

Before you reach for your pitchfork to skewer evil Americans up to no good inside Pakistan without our leadership’s knowledge — military or civilian — consider what else Scahill has reported: ‘He [a former senior Blackwater executive] said that Blackwater is also working for the Pakistani government on a subcontract with an Islamabad-based security firm that puts US Blackwater operatives on the ground with Pakistani forces in counter-terrorism operations, including house raids and border interdictions, in the North West Frontier Province and elsewhere in Pakistan.’

‘Government’ can be misleading since it implies the civilian side of the state, but the story makes it clear elsewhere who inside Pakistan is really working with Blackwater: ‘According to the executive, Blackwater works on a subcontract for Kestral Logistics, a powerful Pakistani firm, which specialises in military logistical support, private security and intelligence consulting. It is staffed with former high-ranking Pakistani army and government officials.’

The reaction to these revelations should be severe; we don’t need America’s version of non-state actors, mercenaries, really, running around our country, whatever their purpose or utility. The fact that the Pakistan Army — that so-called bastion of professionalism and custodian of our national security — has acquiesced in or enabled the activities of these non-state actors as opposed to elected representatives — the so-called ‘bloody civilians’, aka politicians — doesn’t make it any better or well-thought-out an idea.

But here’s the problem: the selective outrage of the media and the public enables military men to remain immune from accountability.

On Tuesday, a front-page headline in Dawn proclaimed: ‘Intelligence agencies looking into oil, gas deals’. The accompanying article goes on to report: ‘According to sources, a team of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) has collected record of the proposed transactions and interviewed the managing director of the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and some senior officials of the petroleum ministry.’

Who authorised agencies run by the military to investigate commercial affairs? To whom is the ISI/MI team going to present its findings? To what purpose will the findings be applied? None of these questions have appeared to worry many here.

Fixated as the media and the public are on the corruption allegations that are churning the political waters at the moment, it seems to matter little who is probing corruption and why — just as long as someone is, there’s hope that the ‘dirty’ politicians can be drained from the swamp. It’s a simple, visceral reaction in a messy place where there are few good options: corruption, bad; those fighting corruption, good.

But bad as corruption may be, the revelation of the ISI/MI probe is, or ought to be, equally, if not more, unsettling. It is yet another piece of evidence that the transition to democracy, already shaky because of the political sins of the politicians, is headed in the wrong direction, and that the military is perhaps quietly working to nudge it in that wrong direction.

A bold pronouncement? Consider this. It is an open secret by now that President Zardari and the army high command have rocky relations. Neither really likes the other and some of that dislike is personal and some policy-driven. But the publicly known disagreements so far have been about policy issues: who controls the ISI, what is our declared nuclear posture, what conditions attached to US aid are acceptable.

Inserting the ISI and MI into the civilian domain to probe corruption, however, is not about policy, it is about politics. Only the incorrigibly naïve would believe that the intelligence team was sent over to fight corruption in the system.

But the point here is larger than the fate of Zardari or the government. The point is this: a law unto itself, the army’s actions remain frighteningly immune from accountability — and the lack of public and media opposition to its ‘good’ but possibly illegal actions (such as sending its intelligence operatives to investigate a very narrow, specific case of alleged corruption that could affect the presidential camp) means that there is absolutely no chance that the army’s bad and possibly illegal actions can ever be stopped.

In real terms, there is virtually nothing that can be done to stop Blackwater and its ilk from operating here. Secret military operations are the blackest of black holes, and if the media and the public kick up a fuss over Blackwater, the army will quietly switch to some other opaque tactic. And if that is subsequently exposed, too, the army will switch to a third.

Meaningful civilian oversight of the army is obviously a distant goal, but it will remain a chimera — an impossible idea — if the public and the media and the politicians never push back against the army on the smallest of issues.

That’s exactly what the corruption probe by the ISI/MI team should be: a relatively small matter on which there should be no ambiguity in denouncing it and demanding it be shut down at once.

There is, of course, no straight line between the army’s corruption probe and its murky arrangements with Blackwater. But the two stories fit into a bigger picture of the army setting and playing by its own rules. And unless the army gets its knuckles rapped for minor misdemeanours, why should it ever worry about being held accountable for its major sins?

cyril.a@gmail.com

UKRAINE BLACK LUNGS

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ClimateGate Is Not the First Time Progressive Scientists Have Lied To the World

ClimateGate Is Not the First Time Progressive Scientists Have Lied To the World

by Andrew Marcus

Now that global warming is being exposed as a gross manipulation of junk science, it is important to remember that this is not the first time in our nation’s history that the Progressive community has used junk science in order to force their social agenda on an unsuspecting population.

eugenicstree

Back in the early 1900’s, up through World War Two, the progressive movements of America and Europe committed large scale genocide with their progressive Eugenic “science”. In fact the term genocide was coined to describe what the Progressive Eugenic movement did in this country and in Germany.

Not many people understand the crime these American Progressives committed, because public educators and other liberal professors just can’t wrap their rigid minds around the concept that the origins of their current religion are soaked in the blood of their own dark history.

The whole ugly truth about how American Progressives directly inspired Adolf Hitler and his Reich, is contained in a masterpiece of writing by Edwin Black, War Against The Weak.


From the book’s website:

Ultimately, 60,000 Americans were coercively sterilized — legally and extra-legally. Many never discovered the truth until decades later. Those who actively supported eugenics include America’s most progressive figures: Woodrow Wilson, Margaret Sanger and Oliver Wendell Holmes.

American eugenic crusades proliferated into a worldwide campaign, and in the 1920s came to the attention of Adolf Hitler. Under the Nazis, American eugenic principles were applied without restraint, careening out of control into the Reich’s infamous genocide. During the pre-War years, American eugenicists openly supported Germany’s program. The Rockefeller Foundation financed the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute and the work of its central racial scientists. Once WWII began, Nazi eugenics turned from mass sterilization and euthanasia to genocidal murder. One of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute doctors in the program financed by the Rockefeller Foundation was Josef Mengele who continued his research in Auschwitz, making daily eugenic reports on twins. After the world recoiled from Nazi atrocities, the American eugenics movement — its institutions and leading scientists — renamed and regrouped under the banner of an enlightened science called human genetics.

To see just how involved the American Progressive movement was in the global effort to murder the “inferior” in the name of their junk science of Eugenics, we dare you to click through to this Google Books page for Black’s book, War Against The Weak. The link highlights the word Progressive everywhere it appears in the text.

And before the folks at Media Matters try to destroy the source of the detailed research which reveals how America’s Progressive movement collaborated with the Nazis to commit genocide, we would simply like to wish you good luck with that.

Again, from Mr. Black’s website:

In 2005, Black won the World Affairs Council’s award for the Best World Affairs Book for Banking on Baghdad, and the Doña Gracia Medal for Best Book of The Year. In 2004, he won the coveted Rockower First Prize Award for Investigative Journalism from the American Jewish Press Association for “Funding Hate,” his acclaimed, syndicated investigation of the Ford Foundation’s systematic funding of hate groups. In 2003, he received the top two editorial awards from the American Society of Journalists and Authors: Best Book of the Year for IBM and the Holocaust and Best Article of the Year for “IBM in Auschwitz” in the Village Voice. Also in 2003, Black received the International Human Rights Award from the World Affairs Council for War Against the Weak.

We would also like to direct Neo-Progressives doubters, who still don’t want to believe the truth about their movement’s blood stained history, to listen to this interview Tavis Smiley conducted with Mr. Black on NPR.

Edwin Black is unimpeachable! His reputation as a consummate researcher is undisputed by every liberal rag in the land. He doesn’t care about the politics of his discoveries. He only cares about finding the truth.

The Progressive movement in this country is so fond of highlighting the darkest elements of the history of these United States, but for some reason, they always leave out the significant role the Progressive movement had in all of those ugly chapters.

That’s probably because if people were educated as to the history of Eugenics, they might make the connection that the anti-miscegenation inspired Ku Klux Klan was a direct product of American Progressives, who loathed the idea of interracial breeding. Golly that would be embarrassing!

People might also come to the conclusion that the National Socialist movement in Europe was a Progressive movement. None of this makes for very good PR.

None of this is to say that Neo-Progressives are Nazis. They are not. Obama is not Hitler and we have said as much on Founding Bloggers. But when the government proposes a federal mandate requiring everyone to buy a product or service, or face jail time, that sure does feel like some flavor of social fascism.

Either way, the Neo-Progressives should at least be held to their own standard, and have their racist history hung around their necks like a scarlet letter.

The Progressive movement owns the Klan.

The Progressive Movement owns Nazi Eugenics.

The Neo-Progressive Movement owns Global Warming.

As a side note, how ironic is it that so many Jews and Blacks lead today’s Progressive movement, when the same ideology murdered millions of them throughout the previous century? I would think Progressive is the last thing a Jew or Black person would want to identify with. Despite the abysmal track record of the movement, they are embracing the newest flavor of scientific fraud, global warming, perpetrated in a recycled effort to socially engineer society according to today’s Progressive standards.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Commander Accuses Western Coalition of Collusion with Somali Pirates

Commander Accuses Western Coalition of Collusion with Somali Pirates

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Iranian commander blamed the western coalition forces deployed in the Gulf of Aden of assistance and complicity with Somali pirates in the volatile waters.

“Why don’t the coalition forces, which enjoy super hi-tech equipment, annihilate the buccaneers of the region forever and why do they provide the ground for the continuation of their activities through their suspicious supports?” Commander of Iran’s first Naval Zone Fariborz Qaderpanah asked, speaking in a detailed interview with FNA on Tuesday.

Noting that many analysts believe that there are secret hands at work which are disturbing security in the Gulf of Aden, Qaderpanah lamented that certain countries which are the root cause of insecurity in the region make suspicious statements to justify their presence.

Elsewhere, he further stated that pirates’ experience and practice as well as the hi-tech weaponry supplied by the western states to the pirates have rendered them so skillful that they can now grab a vessel at the earliest.

Earlier on Monday, Qaderpanah had said that at present 30 battleships and gunboats from different countries are deployed in the Gulf of Aden.

The Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, when Somali raiders hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off the coast of Yemen.

The Gulf of Aden – which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea – is an important energy corridor, particularly because Persian Gulf oil is shipped to the West via the Suez Canal.

The Iranian Navy recently dispatched fourth fleet of its warships to the Gulf of Aden to defend the country’s cargo ships and oil tankers against continued attacks by the Somali pirates.

According to UN Security Council resolutions, different countries can send their warships to the Gulf of Aden and coastal waters of Somalia against the pirates and even with prior notice to Somali government enter the territorial waters of that country in pursuit of Somali sea pirates.

Obama Hoping to Escalate Without Increasing Popular Resistance

U.S. Is Seeking 10,000 Troops From Allies in Afghanistan

Jerome Delay/Associated Press

An Afghan vehicle cleared a NATO checkpoint run in part by French Foreign Legion forces northeast of Kabul this month. The United States is seeking more help from NATO in Afghanistan.

Published: November 25, 2009

WASHINGTON — The United States is scrambling to coax NATO allies to send 10,000 additional troops to Afghanistan as part of President Obama’s strategy for the region. Those countries appear willing to provide fewer than half that number, American and allied officials said Wednesday.

NATO members and other foreign allies have expressed reluctance to send more soldiers because of the Afghan war’s growing unpopularity in their countries and increasing concerns over corruption in President Hamid Karzai’s government.

The Obama administration views a substantial contribution from its allies as a way to keep the American troop increase lower and blunt domestic political criticism of the Afghan war. It would also allow the administration to come close to the military’s request for 40,000 additional troops without relying totally on the already stretched American armed forces.

After weeks of deliberation, Mr. Obama is to announce his Afghan war policy on Tuesday. Administration officials say that a strong speech explaining Mr. Obama’s strategy for achieving success would provide them with fresh ammunition to galvanize support in foreign capitals.

The administration confronts several hurdles to garnering more allied contributions. In Britain, which has pledged an additional 500 troops, Defense Minister Bob Ainsworth said Tuesday that Mr. Obama had taken too long to decide on a new strategy, harming the British government’s ability to rally public support for the war.

The British government is facing opinion polls showing that around 70 percent of the public favors an early withdrawal. That figure has nearly doubled in the past six months, as the country has sustained its worst casualties — 97 killed so far this year — since it first deployed troops to Afghanistan after the Taliban were toppled in 2001.

Germany and France have balked at committing any more forces to a war that has so little public support that they can barely maintain current troop levels.

The Netherlands and Canada have begun discussing plans to pull out. Canadian defense officials told reporters traveling with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in Halifax last week that they had no intention of sending troops in the future, and that they remained committed to withdrawing by the end of 2011.

Even if the allies make commitments for 5,000 or more new troops after the president’s address on Tuesday at West Point, NATO officials say, those commitments will include troops already in Afghanistan to provide security for recent elections and trainers for the Afghan Army and the police.

And it remains unclear whether several thousand NATO and other foreign troops are really the equal of a similarly sized American force in terms of military capacity. Some countries may continue to restrict how their forces may be employed. In addition, a force that is cobbled together from too many nations — a few hundred here and a thousand there — might not have the unit cohesion of an American force, military analysts said.

Washington has not yet made formal troop requests to allies, but there have been diplomatic and other conversations seeking commitments in principle, carried out by senior American officials; the NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen; and Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain.

Mr. Obama’s aides have signaled that he intends to commit close to 30,000 additional American troops, on top of the 68,000 already there.

The president is likely to ask NATO allies to fill the gap between whatever new American troop contribution he announces and the approximately 40,000 that the NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, favors to carry out his proposed counterinsurgency strategy, according to administration officials. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the policy had not been formally announced.

After Mr. Obama gives his speech and Mr. Rasmussen delivers a statement of support, NATO foreign ministers are to meet in Brussels next Thursday and Friday to discuss Afghanistan. But troop commitments are not likely to be discussed in detail before a so-called force-generation conference on Dec. 7, also in Brussels, American and allied officials said.

Informal commitments of several thousand additional allied troops have already been made, but they include some of the 10,000 more European troops that were sent to Afghanistan by governments last year, as well as troops sent for the recent presidential election, NATO officials said.

While some countries are planning to pull these troops out, “there will be pressure on allies to keep those forces in Afghanistan,” a senior NATO official said.

Mr. Rasmussen spent Wednesday in Rome, for instance, talking to the Italian government about that very topic, and it appeared ready to send more troops, officials said. Mr. Rasmussen has also been to Warsaw, which officials said would contribute more troops.

Mr. Brown said Wednesday that he was “now optimistic,” after canvassing allies, that a number of countries “will indeed make available increased numbers of troops, and more police trainers and civilian support.” He said he hoped the figure would be 5,000 troops.

Other NATO officials said that figure was roughly accurate, even low. With new contributions expected from Poland, Italy and Britain, the major exceptions for the moment are Germany and France, the officials said.

Georgia, which is trying to secure its ties to NATO and its future membership in the group, has agreed to send another company, officials said, and may end 2010 as the largest non-NATO contributor.

France, however, is standing firm on its refusal to consider sending more troops beyond the 3,750 now in Afghanistan. It increased its troops by a battalion of 800 last year, added 200 more this year, and plans to send 150 more gendarmes to help train the Afghan police, said Christophe Prazuck, a spokesman for the French military.

From Nov. 1, France has also redeployed its troops out of Kabul into a new task force with 2,500 troops based east of the capital. But President Nicolas Sarkozy told the newspaper Le Figaro in mid-October, “France will not send a single soldier more.”

The new German government has not committed to more troops, but Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg told military leaders in Berlin on Tuesday that “Germany will rethink and adjust, maybe even strengthen its military commitment to make Afghanistan a success.”

The German mandate to keep its troops in Afghanistan is up for approval by Parliament in December. Right now the country has roughly 4,300 soldiers there. Mr. Guttenberg has steadfastly maintained that the government will not review the level of forces until after an international Afghanistan conference at the end of January, though he recently authorized an additional 120 soldiers to help deal with the worsening situation in northern Afghanistan.

Eric Schmitt reported from Washington and Steven Erlanger from Paris. Reporting was contributed by John F. Burns from London, Nicholas Kulish from Hamburg, Germany, and Elisabeth Bumiller and Michael R. Gordon from Washington.

‘Homo International’ Controls East & West — Soviet Defector

‘Homo International’ Controls East & West — Soviet Defector

klimov.gifBy Richard Evans
(For Henrymakow.com)


In 1947: a young officer of the Soviet Military Administration (SVAG) in occupied East Germany defected to the West.  Gregory Klimov (left) didn’t have any Soviet weapons secrets but he brought something far more valuable to the CIA.  He understood the hidden workings of Soviet system.

Klimov discovered that the Soviet system was dominated by a secret society of sociopaths bonded by a common pathology termed ‘the power complex’. “This complex is usually associated with suppressed sadism, which in turn is result of latent homosexuality. Anybody who has knowledge of this forbidden area can influence and promote these leaders-to-be to position of power”.

Klimov observed that admission up the ladder of the power structure required membership in the usual secret societies – “Masons, Shriners, Illuminates,  Theosophy, etc. – are clubs, where degenerates observe behavior of possible candidates and upon verifying real homo-sadistic inclination of the person – promote him into the real world of power.  Of couse there will be some normal curious bystanders, who always be in the background crowd as decoration. The real purpose of this clubs is to select active sado-homosexual maniacs who will not stop at committing any crime in order to be recognized and promoted to the position of power.”

Klimov uses the term ”degenerates” to identify this secret brotherhood. Degenerates can’t produce or invent or perform necessary tasks. They control and delegate.  Through a system of fear and envy.

They rely upon a social structure of hierarchy based upon fear and covetous envy – the essence of sado-masochism.  It’s the ‘dog eat dog’ rat race culture.  As a translator and communications expert, Klimov saw normal productive individuals like himself were essentially prisoners in the system serving these degenerate ‘superiors’ out of fear.

bush_kisses_gannon.jpg(left, Bush Kisses Johnny Gosch, aka Jeff Gannon)

These degenerates come about as result of inbreeding.

“When close relatives marry each other – children will be degenerates. This is an old, well-known fact. If a group of religious leaders forbid marrying outside of sect  – this sect in 4-5 generations will be full of degenerates. Do you know any sect, which forbids marriages to outsiders and has been doing that for the last 5,000 years? [Jews? or Sabatean Jews? ed.] Many degenerates have some unusual qualities like incredible desire to dominate, ABNORMAL wish to rule, ABNORMAL thirst for power.”

DEFECTOR

In his book Soviet Defectors: the KGB List, Vladislav Krason wrote of Klimov, “Having come to the conclusion … that the hard-won victory over the Nazis was stolen by Stalin and his henchmen in the Party and KGB, Klimov decided he had no future in his fatherland.”

Klimov himself wrote, “were it not for a secret agreement between the Americans and Soviet command to hand over deserters, the West would have been flooded with Soviet Army deserters.”

Uncertain that the US Military governor of West Berlin wouldn’t hand him over as a deserter, Klimov risked his life escaping to the American zone, gambling on having sufficient value to disappear through the black hole of the CIA.

Working inside the top secret level of the CIA it wasn’t long before he recognized the same culture of degenerates operates both sides behind the scenes.

Krason writes, “Klimov’s own encounter with the American authorities left a bitter taste with him that especially shows in his later writings”.

‘Homintern’ is a play on ‘Comintern’.  The Communist International.  But Klimov’s Homintern pre-dates the Soviet system by at least 5,000 years.

Klimov’s discovery of a sado-homo-cidal mafia at the top levels of power whether East or West coincides with Jim Garrison’s 1967 independent investigation into the Kennedy Assassination. Garrison was told of the Washington DC ‘homosexual elite’ which constitutes the secret government.  Garrison concluded that a primary reason Kennedy was so blatantly and brutally murdered before the American public was their contempt for Kennedy’s heterosexuality.

ANTI SEMITISM?

Some of Klimov’s later books are rumored to contain anti Semitic statements.
As those books aren’t available in English this reviewer has found no such statements to quote.

A web search of sites in English does indicate some anti Semtic websites have latched onto his ‘theory’ of “degenerate-ocracy” in support of their own paradigm, but the following quote of Klimov seems inconsistent with the spirit antisemitism.

Q. 9: What do you think about “pure blood” nations?

A.: Good God hates racism in any form. Good God hates any concepts of “chosen” nations.
ANYBODY who tries to keep pure blood by forbidding marriages to the other normal people risks the danger of increasing degeneration process of his own nation. Especially if it is small nation. Keep in mind, that we are talking here about normal marriages between residents of community of normal people.

SEE — KLIMOV’S “QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

NEXT:  Protocols of the Soviet Wise Men: The nature and culture of the Beast.

Politicians share personality traits with serial killers: Study

Politicians share personality traits with serial killers: Study

June 15, 2009 |  5:58 am

Using his law enforcement experience and data drawn from the FBI’s behavioral analysis unit, Jim Kouri has collected a series of personality traits common to a couple of professions.

Prison Walls

Kouri, who’s a vice president of the National Assn. of Chiefs of Police, has assembled traits such as superficial charm, an exaggerated sense of self-worth, glibness, lying, lack of remorse and manipulation of others.

These traits, Kouri points out in his analysis, are common to psychopathic serial killers.

But — and here’s the part that may spark some controversy and defensive discussion — these traits are also common to American politicians. (Maybe you already suspected.)

Yup. Violent homicide aside, our elected officials often show many of the exact same character traits as criminal nut-jobs, who run from police but not for office.

Kouri notes that these criminals are psychologically capable of committing their dirty deeds free of any concern for social, moral or legal consequences and with absolutely no remorse.

“This allCapitol Hill Domeows them to do what they want, whenever they want,” he wrote. “Ironically, these same traits exist in men and women who are drawn to high-profile and powerful positions in society including political officeholders.”

Good grief! And we not only voted for these people, we’re paying their salaries and entrusting them to spend our national treasure in wise ways.

We don’t know Kouri that well. He may be trying to manipulate all of us with his glib provocative pronouncements. On the other hand …

He adds:

“While many political leaders will deny the assessment regarding their similarities with serial killers and other career criminals, it is part of a psychopathic profile that may be used in assessing the behaviors of many officials and lawmakers at all levels of government.”

– Andrew Malcolm

The Reason the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) Was Created

[In the people’s eyes, the dance of the Army and the TTP validates Pakistan’s fighting America’s war.   In the previous attempts to fight this war for Bush, the Army relented, when the people began to rebel.  By creating the fake Taliban, the Army and the ISI maneuvered the Pakistani people into believing in America’s war in NWFP and FATA.  Pakistan has fallen under the spell of the American war of lies.  Their own government has sold them out at very high cost to the Pashtun people.  Will you continue to allow the treason that leads to your destruction?]

Driving the TTP out

Zafar Hilaly
For all their brave talk of fighting, dying and teaching the army a lesson, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in South Waziristan did what they always do when confronted by a larger force: they fled. A number, of course, stayed back, possibly as a rearguard to slow the army’s advance. That would make sense, as from their well-positioned locations they could extract a heavy toll from the army. As it happened, the death toll was relatively light. In all, 550 insurgents, less than five per cent of the estimated numbers of the TTP force, were killed at the cost to the army of 100 brave soldiers and officers.
The TTP in South Waziristan had behaved much in the same way as in Swat. In fact, they acted as insurgents do all over the world when confronted by a regular army, which is to avoid set-piece battles so that they may live to fight another day. That is not to say that the operation was not a success. In fact, a great deal was achieved by the operation, and at a far lower cost in lives than expected.
By driving the TTP out of their strongholds in South Waziristan the army deprived them of the use of a safe haven, training facilities, bomb-making laboratories, etc. They also forced the retreating TTP to abandon a sizeable amount of weaponry and explosives, all of which will have to be replenished at considerable cost and much travail.
Insurgencies are wars of attrition and also a test of stamina and morale. The loss of strategic territory and weaponry weakens the insurgents, lowers morale and correspondingly inflates the will, effectiveness and resolve of the army and the nation. While the army has emerged the victor in South Waziristan, to maintain its ascendancy it will have to pursue and engage the enemy wherever they retreat. The TTP must know that if they are not going anywhere, nor is the army; and that, until such time as they relent, surrender or are defeated, neither will the army.
What bodes well for the future is the acceptance by the public of the legitimacy of operation Rah-e-Nijat. Public “acceptance” and “legitimacy” are key elements in determining the eventual success or failure of anti-insurgency strategies, just as they were in the dozen or so similar operations elsewhere in the world. William Polk’s study of insurgencies further reveals that no matter how much alien occupiers wish to improve the condition of the local populace, when pitted against native insurgents the sympathy of the local population will invariably be with the latter. It is mostly for this reason that America cannot win in Afghanistan and why we can, even though we may not.
Of course, these are as yet early days of the civil war that is fast enveloping Pakistan. The TTP leadership is alive and yelling revenge. They have responded with a spate of bombings in Peshawar; although when they realised that the public reaction was hostile their spokesman chose to blame the bombings on the Americans.
Public anger against the Taliban is often accompanied by ire against the authorities for failing to protect the population. And because it is always difficult to acknowledge our own failings the public places the blame on foreign conspiracies. Actually, the public seem not as much lost as bewildered. They have no idea what to believe, let alone who. They cannot comprehend what is happening to their world and resent the fact that they cannot mend it.
Unless, therefore, the suicide bombings are thwarted more effectively, current support for the government will dissipate, giving way not only to anger but worse: hopelessness and a feeling that the government is helpless. And it is precisely when the public’s pity at their own fate turns to contempt for the government that the insurgents step forward and offer themselves as alternative rulers, promising peace and an end to the slaughter, in return for the loyalty of the populace.
We saw this earlier in Swat when the police ran away, local officials were killed and the TTP stepped in to take on the job of maintaining law and order and dispensing justice. We also witnessed the absurd spectacle of TV channels broadcasting the speech of Sufi Mohammed proclaiming a new order that ironically would have made TV channels and Parliament redundant.
Although it was sobering to be confronted with what the future would look like if the TTP prevailed, more troubling was the fact that the whole nation viewed the spectacle being enacted in Swat so passively. Not a single man took to the streets against the brutalities of the TTP. And Parliament actually called for negotiations with the TTP, undoubtedly out of a sense of fear and foreboding, rather than patience and wisdom. Sadly, terror and force, the means that wins the easiest victory over reason, was being allowed to prevail.
The feeble and flaccid public response to the happenings in Swat was a revelation. It gave the enemy hope and showed how close we, as a society, are to the abyss. And were it not for the media’s incessant screening of the young woman squealing while being whipped, would anyone have bothered or the army worked up the resolve to act? It is said that the army can only act with the support of the people. One discerned no such support among the people of Dacca in 1971. Luckily for the Jews, Moses did not conduct a poll before he set off. The fact is that when great changes occur in a nation’s history, when great principles are involved, the majority are often wrong. Remedies often lie not in the ceaseless deliberations of many but the actions of a few.
As a result of the current vacuum in leadership, the clear direction which the nation so sorely requires is missing. The sarkar is rudderless. Mr Zardari feels wronged because people are laying the blame for the confusion that prevails at his doorstep. Yes, they are, but only because he not only errs, he blunders. Mr Zardari has responded by accusing people of jumping the gun and writing his political obituary. Actually, not only are they jumping the gun, they have hurdled the cannon; and what is being written now is not his political obituary but an epitaph which normally follows, and not precedes, an obituary. In other words, they are writing what they sense he has become—history. What, then, does the future hold? Who knows? Except, that it does seem dark and, at times, irretrievably so.
But if Mr Zardari, though more so his American mentors, display a mite of common sense and read the writing on the wall and depart—in the case of Mr Zardari, from office, and in the case of the Americans from Afghanistan—perhaps the darkness we are in will not stretch beyond the first light of day. Were the Americans to depart from Afghanistan the song that Al Qaeda, the Lashkars and the TTP sing will have little resonance. The Al Qaeda variety, in particular the Arab lot, who have had a hand in the murder of as many as 800 tribal maliks of FATA, can expect a cruel end when the tide turns, as it will. The Laskars, Jaishes and the TTP are more the concern of the establishment. They created them and now should snuff them out.
All this could happen, given time and proper leadership in Pakistan; and less paranoia and more imagination on the part of America. It is a shame, therefore, that the government is urging the Americans not to leave Afghanistan. How can those who, when they came should never have stayed on, be urged to continue a while longer? And after eight years, is Pakistan still not ready to cope on its own with the challenges it faces? Why should our leaders who act as if they are not afraid of God be scared of the adversary? Told that all Europe had fallen to the Nazis and asked how England expected to defend itself, an English cartoonist replied, “Very well, then alone.” Are we up to it?
The writer is a former ambassador. Email: charles123it@hotmail.com

‘Iran can take legal action over Russian missiles’

‘Iran can take legal action over Russian missiles’

TEHRAN: Iran can take legal action against Russia if it fails to honour a deal to supply Tehran with an advanced air defence missile system, a top general said on Tuesday.
Russia, Tehran’s sole ally among world powers, has so far not delivered the S-300 missiles to Tehran, in a delay which Iranian officials blame on growing pressure on Moscow from Washington and Iran’s arch-foe Israel.
“The Russians are under the pressure of the Zionist lobby and America and so have not fulfilled their commitments,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Brigadier-General Mohammad Hassan Mansourian as saying.
“As this is an official agreement it can be pursued through international legal bodies,” said Mansourian, the deputy head of Iran’s air defences.
On November 11, the Iranian armed forces chief of staff, General Hassan Firouzabadi, said that Russia was now six months late in delivering the missiles.
It was the first time that an Iranian official had spoken of a delivery date for the missile system, under a deal which has never been officially confirmed by Moscow.
Earlier in the month, Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi urged Russia to ignore Israeli pressure to scrap the deal and to honour its obligations.
“We have a contract with Russia to buy S-300 missiles. I don’t think it is right for Russia to be seen in the world as a country which does not fulfil its contractual obligations,” Vahidi said at the time. “Russia has to fulfil the contract and not be influenced by Zionist pressure.”
Last month, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that Iran had not yet paid for the missiles because Moscow has not given its final approval for the deal, which has set alarm bells ringing in the West.
Under the contract, Russia would sell Iran five batteries of S-300PMU1 missiles for around 800 million dollars, Interfax reported.
The S-300PMU1 — codenamed the SA-20 Gargoyle by Nato — is a mobile land-based system designed to shoot down aircraft and cruise missiles.
Western governments fear Iran could use the system to boost defences around its nuclear sites against any Israeli or US air strike.
Neither country has excluded the possibility of military action to prevent the Islamic republic acquiring an atomic bomb, an ambition which Iranian officials strongly deny.

Before Obama Escalates the Afghan War, He Must Tell Us Who We Are Fighting

Before Obama Escalates the Afghan War, He Must Tell Us Who

We Are Fighting

By:  Peter Chamberlin

Who is “al Qaida,” that we must continue killing and destroying entire nations to eliminate them?  The world has too much riding on this war to abide Obama blindly continuing it without a valid mission. Defining an “exit plan” is not the same thing as defining the mission.  He cannot be allowed to simply launch yet another escalation without a clear mission, while shrugging-off questions about “al Qaida.”  The world must know who the enemy is, before the cycle of destruction is amplified in another blind rage without a reason.

“Al Qaida,” the base, in Arabic, is not the great threatening beast that has been used to frighten the little children.  “Al Q” is a group of a few hundred Arab terrorists, gathered together by America and Saudi Arabia in a network that was overseen by Osama bin Laden in Peshawar, Pakistan.  The CIA network recruited anti-Soviet fighters from all over the world, to serve agency interests.  They were never under bin Laden’s command.   American propagandists have created the illusion of a terrorist army of thousands of fighters, by lumping together bin Laden’s small group with the massive intelligence network that brought them all to Afghanistan, under the single rubric of “al Qaida.”

The original Arab-Afghan fighters loyal to bin Laden have all but been eliminated from the region, with the last remaining hold-outs scattered throughout the region.  If there is no “al Qaida” in Afghanistan, then who or what are we after, other than the Taliban?  The network itself?   Are we completing the destruction of Afghanistan and Pakistan in order to eliminate our own network?   If we fight against our own network, then why is an escalation needed?  Wouldn’t it be far easier and cheaper to simply defund it, turn off the switch in Langley, Virginia to the terrorist production line?

Or is the switch to the terrorist production line really in the Pentagon?  Since the military is the only beneficiary of another escalation into Afghanistan it is logical to assume that they are behind the whole endeavor.  The war is not about Afghanistan or Pakistan, but about maintaining another huge military presence there.  Pakistan is the jumping-off point to all the planned missions for Central America and securing the pipeline routes anticipated for the region.  See the following admission from a military operative in the know, as obtained by author Jeremy Scahill:

The military intelligence source said that the Blackwater/JSOC Karachi operation is referred to as “Qatar cubed,” in reference to the US forward operating base in Qatar that served as the hub for the planning and implementation of the US invasion of Iraq. “This is supposed to be the brave new world,” he says. “This is the Jamestown of the new millennium and it’s meant to be a lily pad. You can jump off to Uzbekistan, you can jump back over the border, you can jump sideways, you can jump northwest. It’s strategically located so that they can get their people wherever they have to without having to wrangle with the military chain of command in Afghanistan, which is convoluted. They don’t have to deal with that because they’re operating under a classified mandate.”

The world is in flames because Bush and Cheney chose to light it all up.  Nineteen men with razor blades attacked us and they decided that waging war upon the entire world was the best way to pay them back and imitate justice.  Obama is carrying the whole sick operation forward, because he is a coward—he is deathly afraid of the prospects of challenging the powerful Zionist war lobby that made him what he is today.

Who are we fighting, Obama?  Do you even know who the enemy is?

peter.chamberlin@naharnet.com

CIA’s Nazi Angel of Death Josef Mengele ‘Created Twin Town in Brazil’

[This is proof of just one Nazi scientist working in S. America until the late seventies.  See "Project Paperclip" to understand our own government's importation of Mengele's colleagues into the United States after the war.  We will probably never really know all the evil they have been up to here.]

CIA’s Nazi Angel of Death Josef Mengele ‘Created Twin Town in Brazil’

One in five pregnancies in the small Brazilian town have resulted in twins – most of them blond haired and blue eyed

By Nick Evans in Buenos Aires
http://www.telegraph.co.uk
23 Jan 2009

The steely hearted “Angel of Death”, whose mission was to create a master race fit for the Third Reich, was the resident medic at Auschwitz from May 1943 until his flight in the face of the Red Army advance in January 1945.

His task was to carry out experiments to discover by what method of genetic quirk twins were produced – and then to artificially increase the Aryan birthrate for his master, Adolf Hitler.

Now, a historian claims, Mengele’s notorious experiments may have borne fruit.
For years scientists have failed to discover why as many as one in five pregnancies in a small Brazilian town have resulted in twins – most of them blond haired and blue eyed.

But residents of Candido Godoi now claim that Mengele made repeated visits there in the early 1960s, posing at first as a vet but then offering medical treatment to the women of the town.

Shuttling between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, he managed to evade justice before his death in 1979, but his dreams of a Nazi master race appeared unfulfilled.

In a new book, Mengele: the Angel of Death in South America, the Argentine historian Jorge Camarasa, a specialist in the post-war Nazi flight to South America, has painstakingly pieced together the Nazi doctor’s mysterious later years.

After speaking to the townspeople of Candido Godoi, he is convinced that Mengele continued his genetic experiments with twins – with startling results.

He reveals how, after working with cattle farmers in Argentina to increase their stock, Mengele fled the country after fellow Nazi, Adolf Eichmann, was kidnapped by Israeli agents.

He claims that Mengele found refuge in the German enclave of Colonias Unidas, Paraguay, and from there, in 1963, began to make regular trips to another predominantly German community just over the border in Brazil – the farming community of Candido Godoi.

And, Mr Camaras claims, it was here that soon after the birthrate of twins began to spiral.

“I think Candido Godoi may have been Mengele’s laboratory, where he finally managed to fulfil his dreams of creating a master race of blond haired, blue eyed Aryans,” he said.

“There is testimony that he attended women, followed their pregnancies, treated them with new types of drugs and preparations, that he talked of artificial insemination in human beings, and that he continued working with animals, proclaiming that he was capable of getting cows to produce male twins.”

The urbane German who arrived in Candido Godoi was remembered with fondness by many of the townspeople.

“He told us he was a vet,” said Aloisi Finkler, a local farmer interviewed by Mr Camarasa. “He asked about illnesses we had among our animals, and told us not to worry, he could cure them. He appeared a cultured and dignified man.”

Another farmer, Leonardo Boufler, said: “He went from farm to farm checking the animals. He checked them for TB, and injected those that were infected. He said he could carry out artificial insemination of cows and humans, which we thought impossible as in those days it was unheard of.”
But the Nazi eugenicist did not concentrate on animals alone.

A former mayor and town doctor, Anencia Flores da Silva, set out to try to solve the town’s mystery. He interviewed hundreds of people, and discovered one character who crept on cropping up: an itinerant medic calling himself Rudolph Weiss.

Dr da Silva said: “In the testimonies we collected we came across women who were treated by him, he appeared to be some sort of rural medic who went from house to house. He attended women who had varicose veins and gave them a potion which he carried in a bottle, or tablets which he brought with him. Sometimes he carried out dental work, and everyone remembers he used to take blood.”

The people of Candido Godoi now largely accept that a Nazi war criminal was an inadvertent guest of theirs for several years in the early 1960s. The town’s official crest shows two identical profiles and a road sign welcomes visitors to a “Farming Community and Land of the Twins”. There is also a museum, the House of the Twins.

While the twins birthrate varies widely in different countries, it is typically about one in 80 pregnancies – a statistic that has left Mr Camarasa certain in his claim that Mengele was successfully pursuing his dreams of creating a master race, a real-life Boys from Brazil.

“Nobody knows for sure exactly what date Mengele arrived in Candido Godoi, but the first twins were born in 1963, the year in which we first hear reports of his presence,” he said.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/brazil/4307262/Nazi-angel-of-death-Josef-Mengele-created-twin-town-in-Brazil.html

CIA Experiments With Magic, Part of Quest for Psychic Soldiers

[These sickos left no stone unturned, in their quest to alter the mind of man and gain access to the ultimate source of power.]

When the CIA tried its hand at magic

By Tom Scocca

“The instant the performer sees the spectator take a cigarette, cigar, or pipe, he takes the packet of matches from his pocket, tears off one match, and holds packet and match ready to ignite the match,” the magician John Mulholland wrote in a manual in the 1950s. “He does these things openly because what he does can only be looked upon as a friendly and courteous gesture.”

Mulholland’s instructions were written not for stage magicians, but for the covert operatives of the CIA. At the height of the Cold War – in the era of nuclear missiles and submarines, amid the tangled cloak-and-dagger maneuverings of espionage and counterespionage – the agency was also secretly doing something else. It was trying to learn to do magic.

The CIA hired Mulholland to explain techniques of sleight-of-hand and surreptitious signaling so that agents could use them in the field. His text, which was originally supposed to have been destroyed, has now been recovered, declassified, and reprinted as “The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception.” It deals mostly with basic stagecraft, minus the stage. If, before you struck a match, Mulholland advises the reader, you had stuck a pin into the back of the matchbook, it would be possible to pull the pin out with the fingernail of the left ring finger, the whole maneuver physically concealed by the matches and psychologically concealed by the broad, open gesture of lighting a match.

Or instead of a pin, one could glue a small pill to the back of the matchbook. And with practice, one could pick the pill off and make it fall at the moment the matches were passing above a drink belonging to the – what was the word? – “spectator.” Words, too, require a little legerdemain, when the readers are secret agents and the point of the maneuver is to drug or poison someone. Here is a trick with a pin that also works with a pill. Foreground, background.

Former CIA deputy director John McLaughlin writes in a forward to the manual that “[a]s best we know,” the drink-spiking techniques “were never actually used.” The assurance would be more reassuring if the authors who had recovered the manual, H. Keith Melton and Robert Wallace, had not included their own historical overview of CIA trickery. In it, they explain that Mulholland’s writing was part of the secret MKULTRA program, whereby the CIA sought methods and materials “capable of employment in clandestine operations to control human behavior.” And part of MKULTRA did involve dosing unsuspecting subjects with LSD and other drugs.

The Soviets were doing it, after all, or were believed to be. The trickery manual and Melton and Wallace’s accompanying history usher the reader into the closed loop of ethics of the Cold War, as it was waged in both the covert and overt arenas: The Reds were a foe so ruthless, they had to be fought ruthlessly. Techniques of stage magic – developed and taught in secrecy, according to the magicians’ code, for the sake of entertaining willing audiences – were transferred to the realm of nonconsensual secrecy, to be used on people who were not asking to be fooled.

At the time, so was every other form of deception. In the superpower struggle for power and influence around the world, the CIA was secretly funding and engineering everything from literary journals to coups and armed rebellions. It was total warfare, but with creeping breadth in place of nuclear intensity. Both the ideas and techniques of secret war pervaded the culture – the corrosive belief in hidden conspiracy and the nifty thrill of spycraft itself, the codes and disguises and miniature cameras.

Melton and Wallace have rounded up some of the extreme forms of covert activity. The Soviets deployed a cyanide-bullet gun concealed in a cigarette pack; the Americans countered with a “nondiscernable bioinoculator” gun shooting tiny poison darts. A pop-up dummy took the place of an agent diving out of a moving car. A person was transported in a St. Bernard costume in a crate to a fake veterinary office. A radio was hidden in an artificial scrotum, to be worn over the real scrotum; miniature lock-picking tools were packaged in a suppository capsule.

Mulholland’s actual manual evokes a more understated, but eerier, figure – not a dashing hero with infinite James Bond-ian technology at his disposal, but a gray, anonymous person who “should be so normal in manner, and his actions so natural, that nothing about him excites suspicion.”

Beyond a few points of conjuring philosophy – the hand is not quicker than the eye; “[a] trick to be good must be simple in its basic idea” – Mulholland focuses on a few tricks for secretly dropping things or picking them up, and on how to do those tricks in an unremarkable manner. He supplies instructions on making and concealing droppers for liquids, a protocol for handling multiple small items so that one of them ends up in a pocket, and advice on how to put on a stupid face: “The more facial muscles are relaxed and eyes thrown out of focus, the greater the effect. Doing these actions to a mild degree merely shows a lack of alertness or disinterest.”

Today Mulholland’s account of real-world stagecraft amounts to an etiquette manual for a lost moment of history. The matchbook trick depends on people smoking and drinking. There is a survey of the many pockets found in every man’s suit, and which ones are most natural for casually slipping objects into. Mulholland dwells on the particular challenges faced by a female agent dumping powder into someone’s drink with a hollowed-out pencil – when she sketches a map or diagram, as pretext for bringing the loaded pencil into play, a male mark will inevitably try to commandeer the pencil himself to correct her drawing. Perhaps if she finds an excuse to sketch women’s clothing, Mulholland allows, “he will not wish to redraw the sketch.”

Such finesse is hard to detect in the present-day scandals over the crude and brutal treatment of captives by the CIA. The agency that came up with this manual – to say nothing of the dog costume, hollowed-out silver dollars, and schemes to put depilatory drug powder in Castro’s boots to make his beard fall out – is the same agency currently complaining that its employees will be unable to do their jobs if the United States enforces the existing laws against torture. Agents who would have been willing to stab themselves with a needle laced with shellfish toxin and die anonymously behind enemy lines have given way to people worried about possibly being investigated and prosecuted stateside. Reading the manual, you wonder: When did the brave men with a wealth of tricks concealed in their suit pockets become such hapless crybabies?

Or, on second thought, maybe they just want us to think they’re hapless crybabies.

Tom Scocca is working on a new book, “Beijing Welcomes You.’’

Media America

Media America

By Case Wagenvoord

23 November, 2009
Countercurrents.org

Some readers of this blog may get the impression that I hate America. Nothing could be further from the truth. I love this country in all of its flawed and contradictory complexity. The America I have issues with is what I call Media America, which consist of the three thorns our mainstream media would have us believe is the True America.

In the eyes of the media, America consists of: Wall Street, the Pentagon and the Capital. My argument is that not only do the three fail to represent America, they constitute a real threat to our democratic republic.

If we picture them as three moving circles in a Venn diagram, we see that they are slowly converging and will continue to do so until the three are one in a Holy Trinity of the Damned. (Granted, there is a celebrity circle, but that stands off by itself as a generator of the Bread and Circuses that keep the masses distracted.)

Whenever pundits wax eloquent about the “American character,” they are usually speaking of the one-percent that clawed their ways to the top of their respective circles. This overlooks the fact that the majority of the country is made up of decent people who simply want to get on with their lives under increasingly difficult circumstances.

Given the diverse complexity of our country, it is impossible to speak of an “American” anything. We are not a melting pot; we are a hodgepodge of nonlinear contradictions, currents, countercurrents and diverse opinions and beliefs. Unlike Media America, this America is real.

Media America is bent on self destruction. It rolls on; driven by a malignant energy that is slowly moving it towards the abyss. It cares little about the destruction and destitution created as it rolls across earth’s landscape, while, the media sings its praises in a voice loud enough to drown out the moans of its victims.

It is all an exercise in perception management. Pancake makeup is slathered on the beast’s face, the gore is wiped from its lips and its foul breath is sweetened with PR mouthwash. The beast smiles and speaks in measured and soothing tones as it calms and reassures. Its rhetoric soars as the disenfranchised are crushed beneath its wingtips. Bright lights hide the toxic shadow it casts.

The American Way is the product of madmen and bears no relationship to the real America that struggles to make it from one day to the next while its masters party on. This is the America that never reaches the surface of our media swamp.

Case Wagenvoord is a citizen who reads. He blogs at http://belacqaujones.blogspot.com and welcomes comments at Wagenvoord@msn.com.

Doctors’ Protest Against Police Torture Jam-up Lahore Traffic

Massive jams after protests

LAHORE

MASSIVE traffic jams were witnessed on The Mall and the Allama Iqbal Road due to protest demonstrations by doctors and paramedics from 12 districts of the province and female students of the Sheikh Sardar High School, Garhi Shahu, in the City on Monday.

The blockade of the roads caused the traffic mess on all the link roads as well. The demonstrations troubled commuters and pedestrians as traffic remained jammed for several hours.

The doctors and paramedics of the Punjab Rural Support Programme (PRSP) held a protest rally from the Ferozepur Road to The Mall, demanding the government regularise their service following the Punjab governmentís regularisation policy in all the sectors. The protesters blocked The Mall at the Regal Chowk for three hours and police had to resort to baton-charge to disperse them.

Earlier, scores of doctors and paramedics from 12 districts of the province under the banner of the Punjab Rural Doctors Association (PRDA) gathered at the PMA House, Ferozepur Road, where DCO Lahore Sajjad Bhutta held talks with doctors but he could not convince the doctors against holding the protest. The doctors and paramedics marched from the Ferozepur Road to the Mozang Chowk and the Queens Road towards the Charing Cross.

However, police blocked their direct access to the Charing Cross/Assembly Hall as the PML-N meeting, chaired by PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif, at the CMíS Secretariat was in progress and diverted them towards the Regal Chowk where they were again stopped.

Later, MPA Dr Asad Ashraf held negotiations with the protesters, but he did give any assurance to the doctors and paramedics for their regularisation and talks remained unsuccessful.

However, after increased public pressure, the PRDA leaders stopped their protest and dispersed after giving 15 days ultimatum to the Punjab government to fulfill their demands.

When asked to comment on the demands of the PRSP doctors and paramedics, Health Secretary Anwaar Ahmad Khan said the PRSP, a government-owned NGO, was a separate body having its own appointments and funds, therefore, it did not come under the purview of the Health Department or had a share in its annual budget. Therefore, on the advice of the officials concerned, the Punjab government had decided not to regularise doctors under the category following a summary moved for regularisation of the PRSP doctors and paramedics.

Meanwhile, the office-bearers of the Pakistan Medical Association, Punjab, condemned the torture of the doctors, lady doctors and other paramedics by the police.

Meanwhile, the female students of the Sheikh Sardar High School staged the demonstration in front of their school near the Garhi Shahu Police Station by blocking the main Allama Iqbal Road. They obstructed traffic on both sides of the road and chanted slogans against the land grabbers who were allegedly trying to occupy their school’s property. They were carrying banners and placards inscribed with demands of action against land grabbers.

White House Pretends to Focus on War’s End, Even as It Announces Major Escalation

White House discusses end to Afghan war

By Sami Abraham

WASHINGTON: Participants of a discussion at the White House have called for ending the war in Afghanistan, describing it a misuse of the US taxpayers’ money and asked to divide Pakistan into three parts.

The discussion, organised by the White House Office for Public Engagement, was held in the Eisenhower Executive Building to devise the future policy on Pakistan and Afghanistan. The participants were told that terrorism could not be eliminated from the region until the Kashmir issue was resolved and the Indian involvement in Balochistan was ended.

Another participant said Pakistan should be divided into three parts — North and South Pakistan and Balochistan.He said there were about 20,000 seminaries in Sindh alone and they should be either closed or taken over by the government without any delay.

Zardari Blocks Airing of ‘Meray Mutabiq’ in Dubai

Zardari forces closure of ‘Meray Mutabiq’ in Dubai

Dr Shahid faces life threats; Geo programme to be telecast from another location; bar widely condemned

News Desk

KARACHI: Under immense pressure from President Asif Ali Zardari on the Dubai government, ‘Meray Mutabiq’, the popular programme of Dr Shahid Masood on Geo TV, was banned from being telecast on Monday night from the Dubai studios of Geo TV.

Dr Masood presented his programme from a different location without the use of his studio and technical facilities and announced that he had been stopped by the local authorities from presenting his programme.

The popular talk show host also disclosed that he had received serious life threats from PPP leaders who had told him to come to Pakistan and conduct his programme from this country and then “we will see you”.

In an exact replay of the Musharraf era, the use of influence and pressure on a foreign government by the president of Pakistan is a direct attack on the freedom of the press in Pakistan, the Geo TV management said in a statement on Monday night.

It announced that the programme will still be telecast from a different location, as was done on Monday night.The management of Geo TV condemned the action of the Pakistani authorities to use the influence of a foreign government to deny freedom of expression and the Press.

Monday night’s programme of Dr Shahid Masood featured Group Editor of The News Shaheen Sehbai and Editor Investigations of The News Ansar Abbasi, who condemned the action, and with one voice declared that the action would not force Geo TV to succumb to government pressure.

Shaheen Sehbai expressed shock and regret and said the action showed that the PPP leaders had pushed the panic button in desperation otherwise there was no reason why they could not tolerate the voice of any journalist or any TV talk show host.

Sehbai said the action by the PPP rulers was a direct negation of democracy and freedom of speech and would be resisted by all democracy and freedom loving people in Pakistan and round the world. In today’s world of instant communications, Internet, U-Tube, SMS, emails, Twitter and private phone-videos, such a ban was nothing but sheer stupidity.

Journalist Ansar Abbasi said the journalists community had fought similar bans throughout their careers, specially under dictators, and they had always won and they will again win this time. But he said the regrettable part was that the curbs had been imposed by a government which called itself democratically elected.

Dr Shahid Masood in his statement revealed that he had been receiving threats to his life and the banning of his show in Dubai was a clear proof of the desperation and panic in the government. He, however, expressed his determination to continue speaking the truth and exposing the corruption and wrongdoings of the government, without fear.

Geo TV has always raised issues of public importance and had been in the vanguard of the movement for the restoration of the judges, against corruption of public money and for democracy and rule of law.

These issues had resulted in a similar ban imposed by the former dictator General Musharraf for three months after the imposition of the Nov 3 emergency but Geo TV and its journalists and TV hosts stood their ground and finally saw the dictator disappear into the dustbin of history.

The government action against Geo TV programme was immediately condemned by a wide spectrum of political leaders, media organisations and human rights bodies. Spokesman of the PML-N Ahsan Iqbal said it was an attack on the democratic freedom guaranteed under the Constitution and his party strongly condemned it. Chairman of the Pakistan Human Rights Commission Iqbal Haider called it a crude attack on all democratic norms and a violation of constitution which will be fought with full force.

Global Warming Is a Brilliant Diversion for the Elite–Everyone Wants to “Save the Earth”

[People are beginning to wake-up to the nature of the plot.  It has always been a diversion, intended to channel discontent away from efforts to actually oppose the ruling elite and their plans for a new world order, into the feel good about yourself resistance against the Empire that happens to be supported by all the leaders of the Empire.  How can environmentalism be real resistance, when all the bad guys are on your side?]//

Global warming misdirection causes resource misallocation

Imagine if President Barack Obama had assumed office with only two major crises–the economy, which is a house afire, and healthcare, which is a sinking ship. Think of how much extra flexibility he would have had in ordering his agenda, how much extra political capital he could have conserved for the legislative battles ahead.

With that as an unlikely beginning, let me tell you that this is the 8th in a series of articles about a series of emails and attachments beetween prominent climate scientists and paleoclimatologists that was leaked out onto the Internet last week, and has become something of a media firestorm since.

Click here to see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7.

The fanatic determination of some scientists, called The Team, to keep a catastrophic scenario of global warming before the public eye and on the political agenda involved a lot of chicanery. They cut their data series to obscure the fact that global warming slowed after 1998. They tried to cheat the peer review process, perhaps even to the extent of having an unsympathetic journal editor replaced. They deleted emails, told others to delete emails and threatened to delete data files–data files which have since disappeared.

And they trashed other scientists, trampling them underfoot if they showed any sign of independence or disagreement with their party line–anything to do with the environment had to be CO2, all CO2, twenty four hours a day. In yesterday’s article we wrote on the effect this might have had on the career of a climate scientist who dared to disagree with them.

Today we’ll talk about broader implications. If President Obama had not felt constrained to make an omnibus energy package his second priority (after the economy), it is certainly possible that healthcare would be a done deal by now. Obviously that’s speculation, but the tireless drumbeat of alarmist propaganda, inspired by the scientists whose emails we’re all reading, means we will never know. Their hysterical hockey sticks, as translated by the non-scientists who tried to panic the public, succeeded in keeping global warming at the top of the political agenda, even while it was at the bottom of public concerns. President Obama lost out because of this–and perhaps so did we all.

Or take biofuels–please. Global commodity prices, and in particular the price of food, have pushed tens of millions back into poverty, because in our race to find a fuel that was friendlier to the environment, we began to convert corn into fuel. Let them eat cake, I guess. Had we adopted a saner approach to dealing with the effects of global warming, we wouldn’t be standing by while Archer Daniels Midland gets richer while the poorest of the poor get poorer.

And would an energy policy not fueled by hysteria really be pushing so hard for windmills? Wouldn’t we be looking at smaller, more efficient ways to move towards green energy generation?

As for research–if you think of the $50 to $70 billion reputedly spent on climate research over the past decade, can you imagine if we had invested that into research on clean energy instead?

A well-financed campaign, slickly produced and artfully marketed, has attempted to influence world policy on environmental issues. Global warming activists like to make the claim that that campaign was run by skeptics financed by big oil against measures to curb global warming. But that is false. The big money campaign, financed by NGOs and big energy companies like General Electric, spent 100 times as much money trying to convince us all that the scientists who were hiding and changing data, playing pathetic political games and hobnobbing with the great and the good on their junkets to climate conferences around the world, were rock solid with the science and dead on with their predictions of disaster.

But if their science is as solid as their ethics, it may prove to be a house of cards.