Tuesday, June 10, 2008

‘Perhaps 60% of today’s oil price is pure speculation’










he price of crude oil today is not made according to any traditional relation of supply to demand. It’s controlled by an elaborate financial market system as well as by the four major Anglo-American oil companies. As much as 60% of today’s crude oil price is pure speculation driven by large trader banks and hedge funds. It has nothing to do with the convenient myths of Peak Oil. It has to do with control of oil and its price. How?

First, the crucial role of the international oil exchanges in London and New York is crucial to the game. Nymex in New York and the ICE Futures in London today control global benchmark oil prices which in turn set most of the freely traded oil cargo. They do so via oil futures contracts on two grades of crude oil—West Texas Intermediate and North Sea Brent.

A third rather new oil exchange, the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME), trading Dubai crude, is more or less a daughter of Nymex, with Nymex President, James Newsome, sitting on the board of DME and most key personnel British or American citizens.

Brent is used in spot and long-term contracts to value as much of crude oil produced in global oil markets each day. The Brent price is published by a private oil industry publication, Platt’s. Major oil producers including Russia and Nigeria use Brent as a benchmark for pricing the crude they produce. Brent is a key crude blend for the European market and, to some extent, for Asia.

WTI has historically been more of a US crude oil basket. Not only is it used as the basis for US-traded oil futures, but it's also a key benchmark for US production.

‘The tail that wags the dog’

All this is well and official. But how today’s oil prices are really determined is done by a process so opaque only a handful of major oil trading banks such as Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley have any idea who is buying and who selling oil futures or derivative contracts that set physical oil prices in this strange new world of “paper oil.”

With the development of unregulated international derivatives trading in oil futures over the past decade or more, the way has opened for the present speculative bubble in oil prices.

Since the advent of oil futures trading and the two major London and New York oil futures contracts, control of oil prices has left OPEC and gone to Wall Street. It is a classic case of the “tail that wags the dog.”

A June 2006 US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report on “The Role of Market Speculation in rising oil and gas prices,” noted, “…there is substantial evidence supporting the conclusion that the large amount of speculation in the current market has significantly increased prices.”

What the Senate committee staff documented in the report was a gaping loophole in US Government regulation of oil derivatives trading so huge a herd of elephants could walk through it. That seems precisely what they have been doing in ramping oil prices through the roof in recent months.

The Senate report was ignored in the media and in the Congress.

The report pointed out that the Commodity Futures Trading Trading Commission, a financial futures regulator, had been mandated by Congress to ensure that prices on the futures market reflect the laws of supply and demand rather than manipulative practices or excessive speculation. The US Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) states, “Excessive speculation in any commodity under contracts of sale of such commodity for future delivery . . . causing sudden or unreasonable fluctuations or unwarranted changes in the price of such commodity, is an undue and unnecessary burden on interstate commerce in such commodity.”

Further, the CEA directs the CFTC to establish such trading limits “as the Commission finds are necessary to diminish, eliminate, or prevent such burden.” Where is the CFTC now that we need such limits?

They seem to have deliberately walked away from their mandated oversight responsibilities in the world’s most important traded commodity, oil.

Enron has the last laugh…

As that US Senate report noted:

Until recently, US energy futures were traded exclusively on regulated exchanges within the United States, like the NYMEX, which are subject to extensive oversight by the CFTC, including ongoing monitoring to detect and prevent price manipulation or fraud. In recent years, however, there has been a tremendous growth in the trading of contracts that look and are structured just like futures contracts, but which are traded on unregulated OTC electronic markets. Because of their similarity to futures contracts they are often called “futures look-alikes.”

The only practical difference between futures look-alike contracts and futures contracts is that the look-alikes are traded in unregulated markets whereas futures are traded on regulated exchanges. The trading of energy commodities by large firms on OTC electronic exchanges was exempted from CFTC oversight by a provision inserted at the behest of Enron and other large energy traders into the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 in the waning hours of the 106th Congress.

The impact on market oversight has been substantial. NYMEX traders, for example, are required to keep records of all trades and report large trades to the CFTC. These Large Trader Reports, together with daily trading data providing price and volume information, are the CFTC’s primary tools to gauge the extent of speculation in the markets and to detect, prevent, and prosecute price manipulation. CFTC Chairman Reuben Jeffrey recently stated: “The Commission’s Large Trader information system is one of the cornerstones of our surveillance program and enables detection of concentrated and coordinated positions that might be used by one or more traders to attempt manipulation.”

In contrast to trades conducted on the NYMEX, traders on unregulated OTC electronic exchanges are not required to keep records or file Large Trader Reports with the CFTC, and these trades are exempt from routine CFTC oversight. In contrast to trades conducted on regulated futures exchanges, there is no limit on the number of contracts a speculator may hold on an unregulated OTC electronic exchange, no monitoring of trading by the exchange itself, and no reporting of the amount of outstanding contracts (“open interest”) at the end of each day.” 1

Then, apparently to make sure the way was opened really wide to potential market oil price manipulation, in January 2006, the Bush Administration’s CFTC permitted the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the leading operator of electronic energy exchanges, to use its trading terminals in the United States for the trading of US crude oil futures on the ICE futures exchange in London – called “ICE Futures.”

Previously, the ICE Futures exchange in London had traded only in European energy commodities – Brent crude oil and United Kingdom natural gas. As a United Kingdom futures market, the ICE Futures exchange is regulated solely by the UK Financial Services Authority. In 1999, the London exchange obtained the CFTC’s permission to install computer terminals in the United States to permit traders in New York and other US cities to trade European energy commodities through the ICE exchange.

The CFTC opens the door

Then, in January 2006, ICE Futures in London began trading a futures contract for

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil, a type of crude oil that is produced and delivered in

the United States. ICE Futures also notified the CFTC that it would be permitting traders in the United States to use ICE terminals in the United States to trade its new WTI contract on the ICE Futures London exchange. ICE Futures as well allowed traders in the United States to trade US gasoline and heating oil futures on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Despite the use by US traders of trading terminals within the United States to trade US oil, gasoline, and heating oil futures contracts, the CFTC has until today refused to assert any jurisdiction over the trading of these contracts.


Persons within the United States seeking to trade key US energy commodities – US crude oil, gasoline, and heating oil futures – are able to avoid all US market oversight or reporting requirements by routing their trades through the ICE Futures exchange in London instead of the NYMEX in New York.

Is that not elegant? The US Government energy futures regulator, CFTC opened the way to the present unregulated and highly opaque oil futures speculation. It may just be coincidence that the present CEO of NYMEX, James Newsome, who also sits on the Dubai Exchange, is a former chairman of the US CFTC. In Washington doors revolve quite smoothly between private and public posts.

A glance at the price for Brent and WTI futures prices since January 2006 indicates the remarkable correlation between skyrocketing oil prices and the unregulated trade in ICE oil futures in US markets. Keep in mind that ICE Futures in London is owned and controlled by a USA company based in Atlanta Georgia.

In January 2006 when the CFTC allowed the ICE Futures the gaping exception, oil prices were trading in the range of $59-60 a barrel. Today some two years later we see prices tapping $120 and trend upwards. This is not an OPEC problem, it is a US Government regulatory problem of malign neglect.

By not requiring the ICE to file daily reports of large trades of energy commodities, it is not able to detect and deter price manipulation. As the Senate report noted, “The CFTC's ability to detect and deter energy price manipulation is suffering from critical information gaps, because traders on OTC electronic exchanges and the London ICE Futures are currently exempt from CFTC reporting requirements. Large trader reporting is also essential to analyze the effect of speculation on energy prices.”

The report added, “ICE's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and other evidence indicate that its over-the-counter electronic exchange performs a price discovery function -- and thereby affects US energy prices -- in the cash market for the energy commodities traded on that exchange.”

Hedge Funds and Banks driving oil prices

In the most recent sustained run-up in energy prices, large financial institutions, hedge funds, pension funds, and other investors have been pouring billions of dollars into the energy commodities markets to try to take advantage of price changes or hedge against them. Most of this additional investment has not come from producers or consumers of these commodities, but from speculators seeking to take advantage of these price changes. The CFTC defines a speculator as a person who “does not produce or use the commodity, but risks his or her own capital trading futures in that commodity in hopes of making a profit on price changes.”

The large purchases of crude oil futures contracts by speculators have, in effect, created an

additional demand for oil, driving up the price of oil for future delivery in the same manner that additional demand for contracts for the delivery of a physical barrel today drives up the price for oil on the spot market. As far as the market is concerned, the demand for a barrel of oil that results from the purchase of a futures contract by a speculator is just as real as the demand for a barrel that results from the purchase of a futures contract by a refiner or other user of petroleum.

Perhaps 60% of oil prices today pure speculation

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley today are the two leading energy trading firms in the United States. Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase are major players and fund numerous hedge funds as well who speculate.

In June 2006, oil traded in futures markets at some $60 a barrel and the Senate investigation estimated that some $25 of that was due to pure financial speculation. One analyst estimated in August 2005 that US oil inventory levels suggested WTI crude prices should be around $25 a barrel, and not $60.

That would mean today that at least $50 to $60 or more of today’s $115 a barrel price is due to pure hedge fund and financial institution speculation. However, given the unchanged equilibrium in global oil supply and demand over recent months amid the explosive rise in oil futures prices traded on Nymex and ICE exchanges in New York and London it is more likely that as much as 60% of the today oil price is pure speculation. No one knows officially except the tiny handful of energy trading banks in New York and London and they certainly aren’t talking.

By purchasing large numbers of futures contracts, and thereby pushing up futures

prices to even higher levels than current prices, speculators have provided a financial incentive for oil companies to buy even more oil and place it in storage. A refiner will purchase extra oil today, even if it costs $115 per barrel, if the futures price is even higher.

As a result, over the past two years crude oil inventories have been steadily growing, resulting in US crude oil inventories that are now higher than at any time in the previous eight years. The large influx of speculative investment into oil futures has led to a situation where we have both high supplies of crude oil and high crude oil prices.

Compelling evidence also suggests that the oft-cited geopolitical, economic, and natural factors do not explain the recent rise in energy prices can be seen in the actual data on crude oil supply and demand. Although demand has significantly increased over the past few years, so have supplies.

Over the past couple of years global crude oil production has increased along with the increases in demand; in fact, during this period global supplies have exceeded demand, according to the US Department of Energy. The US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently forecast that in the next few years global surplus production capacity will continue to grow to between 3 and 5 million barrels per day by 2010, thereby “substantially thickening the surplus capacity cushion.”

Dollar and oil link

A common speculation strategy amid a declining USA economy and a falling US dollar is for speculators and ordinary investment funds desperate for more profitable investments amid the US securitization disaster, to take futures positions selling the dollar “short” and oil “long.”

For huge US or EU pension funds or banks desperate to get profits following the collapse in earnings since August 2007 and the US real estate crisis, oil is one of the best ways to get huge speculative gains. The backdrop that supports the current oil price bubble is continued unrest in the Middle East, in Sudan, in Venezuela and Pakistan and firm oil demand in China and most of the world outside the US. Speculators trade on rumor, not fact.

In turn, once major oil companies and refiners in North America and EU countries begin to hoard oil, supplies appear even tighter lending background support to present prices.

Because the over-the-counter (OTC) and London ICE Futures energy markets are unregulated, there are no precise or reliable figures as to the total dollar value of recent spending on investments in energy commodities, but the estimates are consistently in the range of tens of billions of dollars.

The increased speculative interest in commodities is also seen in the increasing popularity of commodity index funds, which are funds whose price is tied to the price of a basket of various commodity futures. Goldman Sachs estimates that pension funds and mutual funds have invested a total of approximately $85 billion in commodity index funds, and that investments in its own index, the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI), has tripled over the past few years. Notable is the fact that the US Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, is former Chairman of Goldman Sachs.

F. William Engdahl is an Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. He may be contacted at info@engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net


1 United States Senate Premanent Subcommittee on Investigations, 109th Congress 2nd Session, The Role of Market speculation in Rising Oil and Gas Prices: A Need to Put the Cop Back on the Beat; Staff Report, prepared by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, Washington D.C., June 27, 2006. p. 3.

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How Airports Profit From Your Wait

In 2007, travelers lost 320 million hours to flight delays. This means the airlines are paying extra for crew, fuel and maintenance. Passengers are missing connecting flights, business meetings, dinner and hotel reservations. A May report from Congress' Joint Economic Committee put the total losses at $40 billion annually.

Everyone is frowning, except the vendors in the terminal.

In 1990, only about 30% of airport revenue came from retail, parking, concessions and other business partnerships. The majority of revenue came from charges to the airlines: landing charges, passenger and cargo fees, security and hangar charges, and others.

In recent years, however, the portion of revenue coming from non-aeronautical sources has risen to 50%, and at larger airports as high as 60%. An International Civil Aviation Authority study released in September of 53 North American airports found that in 2005, a year in which the airlines lost $10 billion, the airports earned $2 billion. Only five airports failed to turn a profit.

The top 50 North American airports had $4.6 billion in sales, according to the 2007 edition of Airport Revenue News' annual Fact Book. The largest airports by sales volume, Atlanta and Chicago, each do nearly $300 million a year.

Ultimately, the airports don't want the delays, says Pauline Armbrust, the president of Armbrust Aviation Group, which publishes Airport Revenue News. "They need the repeat traffic. Airports don't want delays because it makes people too unhappy," says Armbrust. "But the concessionaires do benefit."

Nobody blames Starbucks when their flight is delayed; in fact, they'll likely buy a latte while they wait. What else is there to do?

"They can see big spikes in their sales when there are delays," says Armbrust.

The concessionaire industry is largely privately owned. Four of the five largest companies are private: the Paradies Shops, Hudson Group, Delaware North Companies and SSP America; the fifth, HMSHost, is owned by the publicly traded Italian firm Autogrill. These firms develop proposals for space in airports around the country and then assemble the shops, restaurants and other services in the space.

The companies mostly began as local businesses bidding for space from local airport authorities, growing with the industry and never seeing a benefit from going public. The Paradies Shops, a family-owned firm in Atlanta, claims 48 consecutive years of profitability and growth. Paradies started with a single toy shop at the Atlanta airport and gradually expanded to over 500 stores in 65 airports today. It operates CNBC-themed newsstands, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 10 and Big 12 merchandise shops; and New York Times-themed booksellers.

And prospects are looking better and better. Ever-increasing traffic at U.S. airports--the Federal Aviation Administration projects the number of U.S. travelers growing 2.7% per year through 2025--has led to a proliferation of services. The picture is one of increased passengers experiencing increased delay times, longer time spent waiting for flights after clearing security (an unintended consequence of the post-Sept. 11, 2001, policy of telling passengers to arrive at flights two hours before takeoff), and policies at many airports to keep prices in the terminal from differing too much from those on the street. Travelers find themselves essentially locked into a shopping mall.

As passengers become more accustomed to shopping in airports, the offerings have gone increasingly upscale and diverse, says Ann Ferraguto, a principal of AirProjects, a retail consulting firm specializing in airports.

A study from Airports Council International found that 26% of airports have DVD rentals ("Due to a maintenance problem, your flight has been delayed three hours, care to rent the Transformers movie?"), 48% have children's play areas, 11% have videogame stations, 28% have live music, 34% have massage services and 17% have nail salons.

For example, one of the largest concessionaires, SSP, owned by a Swedish private equity firm, announced a deal with the Palm to put five-star steakhouses in airports. Can a first-class business traveler with a two-hour layover (uh-oh, runway congestion, make that three hours) really be expected to content himself with boneless buffalo wings at Chili's Too?

"We typically look at things on a per-passenger basis," says Ferraguto. Over the past decade, "on a per-passenger basis we have seen sales grow by as much as 25% to 50%," she says.

As much as the concessionaires may benefit from passengers being trapped, like Tom Hanks in The Terminal, in the long run, their fate is tied to aviation as a whole. If oil prices continue to rise and people stop flying because they can't afford to buy tickets, nobody wins. But in the meantime, while you wait, looks like Hudson News has the new issue of Forbes. Why not grab a copy?

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Oil seen hitting $150 this summer: Goldman analyst

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Oil prices are likely to hit $150 a barrel this summer season, the global head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs said on Monday, as tighter supplies outweigh weakening demand.

"I would suggest that the likelihood of that happening sooner has increased tremendously ... sometime in summer," Jeffrey Currie told an oil and gas conference in the Malaysian capital, referring to oil at $150 a barrel.

Goldman Sachs, the most active investment bank in energy markets and one of the first to point to triple-digit oil more than two years ago -- a once unthinkable level -- said last month oil could shoot up to $200 within the next two years as part of a "super spike."

Forecasts that oil could head towards $150 and above have multiplied over the past month as prices broke through several records, the latest being last Friday, when oil soared more than $11 a barrel on Friday, its biggest one-day gain ever.

Oil hit an all-time high of $139.12 on Friday on the back of a weak U.S. dollar and mounting tensions between Israel and Iran.

Goldman Sachs forecast almost a month ago that U.S. crude would average $141 a barrel in the second half of 2008, up from a previous projection of $107, due to tight supplies.

"Demand for oil is weak but supplies are even weaker," Jeffrey Currie told the conference, citing supply disruptions in Nigeria and struggling output rise in Russia.

Investment bank Morgan Stanley, another big Wall Street energy player, said on Friday that crude may reach $150 by July 4 due to robust Asian demand and falling inventories.

(Reporting by Chua Baizhen, writing by Maryelle Demongeot; Editing by Ben Tan)

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Digital copyright: it's all wrong

A draft treaty proposes draconian measures to protect copyright.

THE forces of reaction are fighting back. As they often do, they are carrying out their planning in secret, in the knowledge that if more people knew of their activities they would not be allowed to get away with it.

The US (surprise, surprise) has circulated a draft "Discussion Paper on a Possible Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement" (ACTA) for the next G8 meeting, in Tokyo in July. The full text of the document has been published on Wikileaks (wikileaks.org).

The ACTA draft is a scary document. If a treaty based on its provisions were adopted, it would enable any border guard, in any treaty country, to check any electronic device for any content that they suspect infringes copyright laws. They need no proof, only suspicion.

They would be able to seize any device - laptop, iPod, DVD recorder, mobile phone, etc - and confiscate it or destroy anything on it, merely on suspicion. On the spot, no lawyers, no right of appeal, no nothing.

The draft contains other draconian measures. It proposes a governing body for copyright protection that would operate outside organisations such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the UN. In short, it proposes a global police force, answerable to no one, with intrusive powers that vastly exceed those currently available to adherents of the concept of intellectual property.

The proposed treaty is being sponsored by a small group of US Congress members, all of whom Wikileaks says have received significant contributions from major record companies and film studios. As they say, "follow the money".

The first newspaper to break the story was Canada's The Ottawa Citizen, which in a story by Vito Pilieci on May 24 picked up on the Wikileaks posting. Since then the blogosphere has been rife with stories about the move. Most commentators are outraged that such a proposal is even being considered.

For 10 years in this column and elsewhere I have been arguing that the concept of copyright, and by extension most forms of so-called "intellectual property", are irrelevant in the digital era. I was once, with just a few others, a voice in the wilderness. Now most people I talk with agree.

The copyright mafia have tried all sorts of things, including the absurdity of Digital Rights Management (DRM), which attempts to use technology to hobble technology. They have maliciously prosecuted individuals for the "crime" of copying music from one medium to another.

DRM is struggling, but we still see stupidity everywhere. Apple doesn't let you copy stuff off your iPod - you have to use third-party software to perform what should be a simple task. Foxtel's iQ and Austar's MyStar don't let you copy stuff off those boxes to other media.

Downloaded movies self-destruct after a limited time. It is still illegal in Australia to copy a CD to another CD (only "format shifting" is allowed), or to record a TV show for any other purpose than watching it once.

Whether this absurd treaty becomes reality or not, it indicates the lengths to which some are prepared to go. They will use any means to fight a technology that threatens their anachronistic monopoly of the distribution of digital content.

Clever people are taking advantage of the technology to develop new business models and reach new audiences. Bands are bypassing record companies and going direct to consumers. Authors are publishing online. Small moviemakers are finding new outlets through the wonders of the internet.

The big record companies and film studios have a clever answer - turn everybody into criminals. Use treaties and laws to try to prevent people doing what comes naturally and, in the digital age, easily.

The most that can be hoped of the proposed ACTA treaty is that, if it comes into being, it will further expose the futility of legislating against the key advantage of digital technology - the ease with which content can be stored, copied and transmitted. Where the technology is liberating people and content, the powers of reaction are attempting to stifle it.

Fortunately they are on the wrong side of history. When the full details and consequences of this treaty become widely known, I believe the effect will be the opposite of what its authors intend. It contains so little understanding of the way the digital world works that the backlash against it will be massive, accelerating the inevitable death of the out-of-date business models it is vainly trying to protect.

graeme@philipson.info

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VIDEO: Eruption Changing Galapagos


Man flees N Korea after 33 years

Map

A South Korean fisherman who says he was kidnapped by North Korea more than three decades ago has escaped.

Yun Jong-su, 66, is in South Korean custody in China waiting to return home, said Choi Sung-yong, head of an abductees' association.

Mr Yun says he was captured along with 32 other crew members while fishing off South Korea's eastern coast in 1975.

Since then he has married and now says he fears for the safety of his wife and daughter in North Korea.

Mr Yun is said to have escaped from North Korea into China in May, taking refuge at the South Korean consulate in the Chinese city of Shenyang.

He is now awaiting passage back to South Korea, said Mr Choi.

But Mr Yun fears his wife and daughter - who he had hoped would follow him - have been arrested since his escape, Mr Yun told the Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo in an interview.

'Overwhelmed with joy'

Mr Yun says he has worked in a farming machinery factory in Kaechon, a city in central North Korea, since his kidnapping.

Mr Yun's brother, Ju-seung, told AP news agency: "I am overwhelmed with joy... since I came to know that my younger brother is still alive."

Some 480 civilian South Koreans - mainly fishermen - are thought to have been taken by the North.

In addition, more than 500 prisoners of war from the 1950-53 Korean War were never repatriated, according to the South Korean government.

The North denies holding any South Koreans against their will.

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Mandela hideaway restored for all

Lilliesleaf Farm
The Lilliesleaf Trust bought eight buildings to restore in the complex

A hideaway used by Nelson Mandela when he was a political activist nearly half a century ago has been restored and opened as a museum.

Lilliesleaf Farm in the Rivonia suburb of Johannesburg was a site used by the African National Congress from which to launch its armed struggle against the apartheid state.

But leading members of the ANC were arrested there in 1963, and faced what became known as The Rivonia Trial. Mr Mandela and his colleagues were subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment.

The farm is just half an hour's drive from the centre of Johannesburg, and over the years, the plush suburb of Rivonia has grown up around it.

But back in the 1960s, this was an isolated place. It made Lilliesleaf an ideal "safe house" for members of the ANC's military wing ¿ Umkonto we Sizwe .

Nelson Mandela came to live here in 1961 when he was on the run. He used the name "David" and posed as a caretaker and slept in one of the small outhouses.

But 18 months later, the farm was raided by the police, and the ANC's high command was arrested, while advancing the plans for an armed struggle.

Stark reminder

Tour guide Jacqueline Otukile says it is important that Lilliesleaf Farm has been preserved.

"We need to know where Nelson Mandela started the struggle of the South African people," she says.

One of the projects that the Lilliesleaf Trust has been involved in is a search for a gun that Mr Mandela acquired during military training in Addis Ababa - and that he said he buried outside the property.

However, despite intensive investigations at the site, it has not been found.

Over the last four years, Lilliesleaf has been extensively rebuilt as part of its transformation into a heritage site.

But the black-and-white photographs from the 1960s are a stark reminder of the struggle for political freedom.

It is something that South Africans will never be allowed to forget.

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Two Navy destroyers unable to fire their missiles - because they've been removed to save cash

Two Royal Navy destroyers could not fire their missiles if they came under attack - because they have been removed to save cash.

Type 42s HMS Exeter and HMS Southampton have been working without their Sea Dart guided missile system since Christmas, it was revealed today.

To go with the cutbacks, at least half a dozen operating crew have been transferred to other ships.

The missiles, used to protect the destroyers and larger aircraft carriers against air attack, have been stored away even though HMS Exeter has sailed to the Mediterranean twice and joined a NATO-led operation in that time.

Two Royal Navy destroyers could not fire their missiles if they came under attack (file picture)

It has provoked anger from defence sources who claim the navy is suffering from short-term cost cutting.

Rear Admiral David Bawtree, the former Commander of Portsmouth Naval Base, said: "It seems to be a sign of the times that there is a lack of willingness to spend money.

"It is surprising that the destroyers are sailing without their primary defence, though I would add they still have lesser gun defences.

"But you only have to look at the comments in the media about Army pay to see there is disgruntlement, and spending is much, much lower now than during my time."

Sea Dart - first used successfully in the Falklands War in 1982 - will be phased out as the new Type 45 Daring class destroyers come into service.

But Southampton and Exeter are still supposed to be fully operational until 2009.
Even the Navy website for HMS Southampton advertises that Sea Dart is her primary armament.

Former naval officer and editor of Warship World, Mike Critchley, said: "You cannot claim to have ships doing a job before the Type 45s come in when in fact they are missing vital abilities.

"As a taxpayer it is not reassuring to see an expensive destroyer like Exeter engaged in not much more than a PR tour."

Defence Select Committee member and Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock said: "I am very surprised to learn that we have warships coming out of British waters without their main air defences.

"Questions need to be put to the Navy asking how that was allowed to happen because you cannot have ships deploying without important equipment."

A Royal Navy spokesman said: "I can confirm that Sea Dart was deactivated in both ships last year, as part of a short-term financial planning decision to save money.

"It was carried out in Exeter during the summer, and then in Southampton after her deployment to the South Atlantic at the end of the year.

"The ships have a specific operating staff for Sea Dart and they have been transferred to other ships, and the missiles have been moved to storage. However, the firing equipment has remained in the ships and that means Sea Dart can be reinstated if operational priorities change.

"With regards to HMS Exeter and her visits to the Mediterranean, a risk assessment would have been carried out and the level of danger was not felt to be excessive."

The Sea Dart is a surface-to-air missile system built by British Aerospace (BAe) and has been in use since 1977.

It is fired from the deck of the ship out of a cradle carrying two missiles at a time, and targets planes and other missiles.

A specially-trained weapons crew and warfare team operate the system, which can protect a fleet from threats up to 40 nautical miles away.

It was originally fitted to both the Type 42s and Invincible class aircraft carriers, but was removed from the carriers during refits between 1998 and 2000 to create space on the flight deck for the RAF Harrier GR9 aircraft.

Since then the destroyers, which are supposed to support and protect the carriers, have retained the system.

The Sea Dart was used during the Falklands War and is credited with seven kills, including a British Gazelle helicopter downed by friendly fire.

The system continued to be used in the 1991 Gulf War, and was credited with the first validated engagement of a missile by a missile when it downed an Iraqi silkworm weapon.

The Type 42s have a range of other weapons. The ship carries a 4.5 inch medium range gun, which is maintained for use at any time, and with a Lynx helicopter embarked the ship gains further offensive power.

The navy's new Type 45s will not carry Sea Dart but will be fitted with a more modern missile system.

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Impeachment Happening in Congress Right Now!

Congressman Dennis Kucinich is on the floor of the House of Representatives right now introducing 35 articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush.

Yes, 35. He'll be reading for a while.

Watch C-Span Now!

If you don't have cable, go to a bar and tell them to put it on C-Span 1!

Or watch at the Video/Audio tab at
http://c-span.org

Take your laptop outside and turn the volume up!

More details coming later tonight!

Action in the House coming later this week!

Good websites to watch for updates and actions:
http://kucinich.us

http://democrats.com

http://afterdowningstreet.org

Let Justice roll down like waters in a mighty stream . . .

There's going to be at least one article of impeachment that interests you and perhaps even mentions you. Watch for updates.

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Bilderberg 2008 and AIPAC 2008 compared: Obama and Hillary attend Bilderberg

Apart from the AIPAC meeting, attended by all 3 American presidential hopefuls (Obama, Clinton, McCain) and over 300 Congress people, and not much about it on any networks - other than Comedy Central's serving news as a joke (irony is when the comedy news show has more news and better analysis of today's issues than 24 hour cable news networks).

No, I Can't! Obama and The Israeli Lobby by Uri Avnery is a nice article with some tasty quotables:

AFTER MONTHS of a tough and bitter race, a merciless struggle, Barack Obama has defeated his formidable opponent, Hillary Clinton. He has wrought a miracle: for the first time in history a black person has become a credible candidate for the presidency of the most powerful country in the world.

And what was the first thing he did after his astounding victory? He ran to the conference of the Israel lobby, AIPAC, and made a speech that broke all records for obsequiousness and fawning.

That is shocking enough. Even more shocking is the fact that nobody was shocked.

"And what was the first thing he did after his astounding victory? He ran to the conference of the Israel lobby, AIPAC, and made a speech that broke all records for obsequiousness and fawning.

That is shocking enough. Even more shocking is the fact that nobody was shocked."
Even more shocking, is that no one apart from people in the know, in the news business and Congressional employees did not notice.

At least in the USA.

All the three presidential hopefuls made speeches, trying to outdo each other in flattery. 300 Senators and Members of Congress crowded the hallways. Everybody who wants to be elected or reelected to any office, indeed everybody who has any political ambitions at all, came to see and be seen.

All three presidential candidates, and the majority of Congress people came to AIPAC, the American ISRAELI Political Action Committee, and this has almost no coverage on American TV!

Obama, 12 hours after winning the democratic presidential nomination, rushed to AIPAC's conference and made the most kiss-Israeli-ass speech ever given by an American politician, never mind a future president - and it is a non-issue, not newsworthy!

The world looked on and was filled with wonderment. The Israeli media were ecstatic. In all the world's capitals the events were followed closely and conclusions were drawn. All the Arab media reported on them extensively. Aljazeera devoted an hour to a discussion of the phenomenon.

The most extreme conclusions of professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt were confirmed in their entirety.

The most extreme conclusions of professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt were confirmed in their entirety? The conclusions that a foreign country has such a powerful lobby that it influences American foreign policy?

That the lobby is so powerful that presidential nominees, the majority of Congress, all come to demonstrate American politicians devotion to a foreign country? And their willingness to give more support, more money, more American kids in US Army uniforms to sacrifice for the cause of a foreign country?

But at least this was somewhat covered on American TV (the afore mentioned Daily Show on Comedy Central).

But right now, there was another important conference going on (just ended). It is the Bilderberg group that was meeting. And there is none, zero, zilch mention of it on American TV.

What is the Bilderberg group?

Wikipedia on Bilderberg:
The Bilderberg Group, Bilderberg conference, or Bilderberg Club is an unofficial annual invitation-only conference of around 130 guests, most of whom are persons of influence in the fields of business, media and politics.

The elite group meets annually at luxury hotels or resorts throughout the world — normally in Europe — and once every four years in the United States or Canada


Some of the Western world's leading financiers and foreign policy strategists attend Bilderberg. Donald Rumsfeld is an active Bilderberger, as is Peter Sutherland from Ireland, a former European Union commissioner and chairman of Goldman Sachs and of British Petroleum. Rumsfeld and Sutherland served together in 2000 on the board of the Swedish/Swiss engineering company ABB. Former U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary and former World Bank head Paul Wolfowitz is also a member. The group's current chairman is Etienne Davignon, the Belgian businessman and politician.


But that is Wikipedia.

How do we know that a meeting was taking place at all?

Simple - the Bilderberg group released a press release stating that it is meeting - link is here, from the yahoo.biz Business Wire.
CHANTILLY, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The 56th Bilderberg Meeting will be held in Chantilly, Virginia, USA 5 – 8 June 2008. The Conference will deal mainly with a nuclear free world, cyber terrorism, Africa, Russia, finance, protectionism, US-EU relations, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Islam and Iran. Approximately 140 participants will attend, of whom about two-thirds come from Europe and the balance from North America. About one-third is from government and politics, and two-thirds are from finance, industry, labor, education and communications. The meeting is private in order to encourage frank and open discussion.

So the meeting has just ended.

The meeting tackled the topics of 'nuclear free world' (aka how to disarm Iran and allow Israel to keep its nuclear arsenal), 'cyber terrorism' (aka this freedom of expression on the net is starting to really bother us, your overlords), Africa (how to better exploit its natural resources while starving the people), Russia (Putin did not allow Jewish bankers to dominate Russia after Yeltsin - naughty!), finance (money is good), protectionism (or how to destroy nation states), Islam and Iran (lets bomb Iran).

I am only half joking in my snide remarks in the parentheses.

So, we know from the official release that the Bilderberg group did just meet, on American soil.

Lets google.

The hits I get are from various blogs, and most notably from prisonplanet.com

Hmm, curious.
Lets go to Reuters.com:
No results were found.
Your search for 'Bilderberg ' produced 0 results.


OK..... strange.

Lets go to CNN and search for Bilderberg:

We get Wikipedia, prisonplanet.com and blogs.

Oh wait, there is a CNN article on the Bilderberg... oh, it is from 2003.

The people who control the world: Jon Ronson goes looking for 'Them'.
(CNN) -- Every generation gets its world-controlling cabal.

The Middle Ages had the Knights Templar. The 18th century had the Masons and the Illuminati.

Our modern age has golf-playing businessmen and 12-foot lizard-men. Or so Jon Ronson was led to believe.

Ah it is soooooooooo funny. You see, the guy writing this article is a comedian. And, haha, goodness, every generation gets its world-controlling cabal (I would think it is much more a very VERY recent phenomena, but I digress).

And that business men playing golf with lizardmen - genius!

Obviously, everybody who even goes on CNN and searches for 'Bilderberg' deserves this scatological article. Beacause, haha, there is nothing to see, you conspiracy nutter!

FOX "news"...
One story, here:
HUME: Well, the politicians laugh it off, and if you ask anybody in a position of authority in Washington about the idea that there is a plan well underway to create a North American Union along the lines of the European Union, which would be compose, among other things, of a great big superhighway system that would connect all three countries.

(snip)

KRAUTHAMMER: I love this stuff, because if you ever doubt your own sanity, all you have to do is read this stuff and you know that you are OK.

Part of this great conspiracy is recent evidence that the governor of Texas, who is a Republican, who supports this highway from Laredo into Oklahoma, was recently at the Bilderberg conference, which is, supposedly, one of these trilateral conferences involving financiers who want to globalize the world and pull strings.

"I love this stuff, because if you ever doubt your own sanity, all you have to do is read this stuff and you know that you are OK."

Haha, Charles Krauthammer, one of the people who was instrumental into involving America in its quagmire in Iraq on behalf of Israeli interests, calls anybody who questions the North American Union a kook, a nutter, and if you ask questions, you are insane.

"Part of this great conspiracy is recent evidence that the governor of Texas, who is a Republican, who supports this highway from Laredo into Oklahoma, was recently at the Bilderberg conference, which is, supposedly, one of these trilateral conferences involving financiers who want to globalize the world and pull strings."


Yes, yes, my goodness, the Bilderberg conference is, supposedly, one of these trilateral conferences involving financiers who want to globalize the world and pull strings - the whole idea of that is just laughable, haha, only troofers and insane people would believe that, haha, hee hee, smirk smirk.

Lets go to ABC News webpage and search for our favorite 'B' word.

We get one hit, one lousy story:
from an ABC blog, no less...
Bill Clinton: All These 'Paranoid' People 'Scream at Me Everywhere'

The young man began screaming at the President about going to the Bilderberg Group meeting in 1991, when he was a candidate for President. He was shouting "1991 Bilderberg" repeatedly to get Clinton's attention and implying that discussions there led to unfair trade policies like NAFTA.
(snip)
"What'd you say? You'll go what? Yeah what about it? Wait - wait -wait," Bill Clinton said as the man interrupted him and the crowd booed the man. "Look, this is the deal folks. All these people that are paranoid about the world come and scream at me everywhere."

Eventually Clinton was able to answer.

"You said you would go if I answered the question. Alright so here's the answer," Bill Clinton said. "I happened to be in Europe then on my way to Russia. I was invited to Bilderberg by Vern Jordan, a friend of mine and a genuine hero of the civil rights movement. And to the best of my knowledge NAFTA was not discussed by anybody in my presence. I was talking to people who happen to be from Europe who did not give a rip about NAFTA."

The one story about Bilderberg involves a young man screaming at president Clinton. And, riiiiight, Bill just happened to be invited to a Bilderberg meeting, on a whim. He didn't plan to attend and be in Europe for it - it was the other way around - he was in Europe, strolling around some city or other, and then he gets invited.

Surprise!

This story is from March 12, 2008.

Do you notice one thing here?

Of course you do.

The Bilderberg conference happened just now, has just ended yesterday, according to the press release in "Chantilly, Virginia, USA 5 – 8 June 2008".

And on CNN, ABC, FOX and even the great Reuters, we get nada, zilch, zip. The search of these web pages brings back either nothing, or links to blogs, or, at the very worst, articles that insult my intelligence.

The Bilderberg conference just ended yesterday, and there is absolutely, positively NO mention of it in the media here in the USA.

Perhaps the conference is unimportant, perhaps the attendees are not important, perhaps this is not news worthy?

But even going by the ABC article, Bill Clinton, attended a previous conference. In 1991. He admitted it while talking to the crowd in 2008, to answer a heckler's shouts.

Bill Clinton attended Bilderberg group meeting in 1991.

He was a United States president from January 20, 1993 to January 20, 2001.

Now, linking these two sets of dates together: Bill Clinton attending Bilderberg in 1991, and Bill Clinton becoming an American president on January 20, 1993 is useless, and proves nothing.

Simply a coincidence, just like it was by a coincidence that Bill Clinton happened to be in Europe, and by chance was invited to a Bilderberg meeting.

From the ABC article:
Clinton finished: "I had a very good time talking to those Europeans about European affairs and what was happening in Russia. But I was not somehow polluted by it into sacrificing America's economic interest".

Of course Bill, we believe you. You have such an awesome record of speaking the truth, always. America was not discussed at that particular meeting, and it's not like you were invited to see if you would be acceptable to the world's elite as America's next president.

It was all a gigantic coincidence...

So, having established that Bill Clinton himself attended a Bilderberg meeting, we can (donning our Sherlock Holmes caps) deduce that perhaps, just perhaps this whole 'B'-word thing is important.

I want to see just how important - I want to discover who the attendees were at the conference that just ended June 9, 2008.

Lets google....

Hmm, curious but I am no longer surprised, no official media come up.
Infowars, prisonplanet, blogs, blogs and more blogs.

No ABC, no CNN, no FOX, no Reuters.

Obviously this, the 2008 edition, of Bilderberg group, is not newsworthy and American people need not be bothered with it... Just like in 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997.... etc etc etc etc etc etc.

So, lets see who was invited to the 2008 world elite schmooze fest.

Unfortunately, since there are no mainstream media sources on this, I will have to use (shudder, shock, fear!) unofficial sources - like blogs (egad! they are unreliable, unlike ABC, CNN, FOX and Reuters).

Lets go to liveleak.com:
Bilderberg Attendee List 2008
Chantilly, Virginia, USA
5-8 June 2008

CURRENT LIST OF PARTICIPANTS (I show you only a few - remember, there are around 130 guests or so, according to Wikipedia):

USA Rockefeller, David Former Chairman, Chase Manhattan Bank

USA Kissinger, Henry A. Chairman, Kissinger Associates, Inc.

USA Bernanke, Ben S. Chairman, Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System

USA Perle, Richard N. Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (listed as USA, should be Israel)

USA Wolfowitz, Paul Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research

USA Rice, Condoleezza Secretary of State

INT Zoellick, Robert B. President, The World Bank Group

DEU Ackermann, Josef Chairman of the Management Board and the Group Executive Committee, Deutsche Bank AG

USA Alexander, Keith B. Director, National Security Agency

INT Almunia, Joaquín Commissioner, European Commission

NLD Balkenende, Jan Peter Prime Minister (Netherlands)

GBR Clarke, Kenneth Member of Parliament

ITA Draghi, Mario Governor, Banca d'Italia

USA Farah, Martha J. Director, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience (I thought that THIS one is very VERY interesting)

USA Feldstein, Martin S. President and CEO, National Bureau of Economic Research

USA Ford, Jr., Harold E. Vice Chairman, Merill Lynch & Co., Inc.

USA Graham, Donald E. Chairman and CEO, The Washington Post Company

FRA Jouyet, Jean-Pierre Minister of European Affairs

NLD Netherlands, H.M. the Queen of the (Queen of the Netherlands).

ESP Spain, H.M. the Queen of (Queen of Spain)

There are many many more. From Europe and USA.

Interestingly, there is also this cbsnews.com blog report (shocking, that the actual interesting news are on blogs these days, even from mainstream media):

Barack Obama took the meaning of “secret meeting” to a different level last night, after he slipped away from the traveling press in order to meet with Hillary Clinton. While it is not uncommon for a presidential candidate and for the president to have private meetings, it is uncommon for those meetings to be as secretive and misleading as this one turned out to be.

The controversy began to develop after a campaign rally in Bristow, Virginia, when the press was whisked away to Dulles Airport outside of Washington, D.C., to board a flight to Chicago. According to campaign staffers, Obama had scheduled interviews with local Chicago television reporters and would meet up at the airport shortly. After waiting for Obama for over an hour, the situation on the plane quickly went from tiresome to alarming once the pilot informed the press that the doors had been locked and the plane was about to take off.

Now, this is worth it I promise.

Reread the last paragraph, from the "The controversy began to develop".
Some highlights:
"the press was whisked away to Dulles Airport outside of Washington, D.C., to board a flight to Chicago".

"Obama had scheduled interviews with local Chicago television reporters and would meet up at the airport shortly".

"After waiting for Obama for over an hour, the situation on the plane quickly went from tiresome to alarming once the pilot informed the press that the doors had been locked and the plane was about to take off."


Kidnapping reporters is normal for a democracy, for a country like... say... Zimbabwe. But in the United States of America?

Article on the CBS blog continues:
"As the plane rolled down the tarmac, the press quickly realized that Obama had never boarded the flight and we had all been duped."

"Minutes later, communications director Robert Gibbs casually informed the press that Obama had stayed behind in Washington for “meetings”, without specifying who the meetings were with. As we began to frantically call our assignment desks to alert them that the presumptive Democratic nominee was running free in Washington, the plane took off for Chicago, leaving us trapped on a plane."

Reread the last one.

The plane's doors were LOCKED, and the reporters were NOT ALLOWED to leave.

Gibbs failed to explain why the press was fooled into believing that Obama would be on the flight to Chicago and why we were not given the chance to de-plane once we learned that Obama would be staying in Washington. He simply said, with a mischievous grin, “We could have sat on the runway for a couple of hours so we decided to go."


Again, situations like that are normal... in Mugabe's Zimbabwe, in Stalin's Russia, in Mao's China... but in America?!

“We could have sat on the runway for a couple of hours so we decided to go." (so that you couldn't leave).

This is not a misunderstanding, this is not a mistake...
This is kidnapping.

Article ends with:
Upon landing in Chicago, Gibbs informed the weary travelers that Obama had indeed met with Clinton as part of the end of the primary process. Details surrounding the meeting were not released, nor was the location disclosed. Shortly thereafter, both campaigns released the following statement:

“Senator Clinton and Senator Obama met tonight and had a productive discussion about the important work that needs to be done to succeed in November.”

Ahh, nothing to see here, Americans.

Obama just wanted privacy for his meeting with Hillary, because the pesky press would ... well, what exactly?

Report the news that Clinton and Obama met, which was reported anyway?

What the fuck is going on here?!

When the plane with the kidnapped reporters landed, "Gibbs informed the weary travelers that Obama had indeed met with Clinton as part of the end of the primary process. Details surrounding the meeting were not released, nor was the location disclosed."

Why couldn't the press just be informed of this entirely normal fact, an official/unofficial meeting between two politicians from the same party, perhaps to discuss Hillary's chances of becoming a vice president.

There is nothing earth shattering here - so why the fucking circus, why kidnap the reporters, why why WHY.

Something stinks.

Look at the dates.

Look at the location Obama was in.

Obama's operatives duping the press happened June 5 / June 6, at the Dulles International Airport in Virginia.

During the ongoing Bilderberg conference, which was taking place in Chantilly, Virginia.

And looking at the homepage for the Dulles International Airport, we see:
"Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is located in Chantilly, VA on 12,000 acres of land 26 miles from downtown Washington, DC."


This is too easy.

Obviously, this is all a gigantic, unbelievable coincidence, and suggesting anything else will make one a target of snide remarks in polite company who get their news from television.


Dare I go there?
But but but... Alex Jones is insane, a troofer, and a certified nut!

Just for the hell of it, lets go to his page and see what he thinks:
What's New at Bilderberg 2008?:
here have been rumors circulating that Obama and Hillary Clinton may have attended the conference Thursday night. News outlets say they were meeting somewhere in Virginia in that area under closed doors (including the private meeting announced by the mainstream). Chantilly is only a few miles from Dulles International Airport where Obama's press was duped. Obama's/Hillary's campaign office would not confirm/deny they visited Bilderberg.

"Chantilly is only a few miles from Dulles International Airport where Obama's press was duped."

This is Dulles, Virginia, by the by, NOT Dulles Texas...

So Obama and Clinton were a few miles away from the Bilderberg meeting in Chantilly, Virginia.

Now, and only now, this whole kidnapping of the American press by Obama's people, locking the doors on a plane and then taking off without letting anybody get out, only now it starts to make sense.

After all, Obama meeting with Hillary in an official/unofficial meeting to discuss the presidential campaign and her chances of becoming a vice president under Obama is not earth shattering, nor anything particularly abnormal.

Just politics as usual.

Hillary and Obama attending the secretive Bilderberg meeting, now THAT would be intreresting...

Of course, that never happened...

So, lets sum up.
A secretive conference of various world leaders in various fields (presidents, ministers, CEO's, scientists, media barons and influential media personalities) takes place every year, and is not reported in the American media.

This year, it took place in Chantilly, Virginia, USA 5 – 8 June 2008.

In Virginia.

In USA.

Just ended yesterday.

Attended by, among other people, these notables:

USA Rockefeller, David Former Chairman, Chase Manhattan Bank

USA Kissinger, Henry A. Chairman, Kissinger Associates, Inc.

USA Bernanke, Ben S. Chairman, Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System

USA Perle, Richard N. Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (listed as USA, should be Israel)

USA Wolfowitz, Paul Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research

USA Rice, Condoleezza Secretary of State

INT Zoellick, Robert B. President, The World Bank Group.

Heavy hitters, movers and shakers on the international arena.

Not newsworthy, not reported in any US media, no articles, no mention TV, newspapers, radio...

The USA's federal reserve chairman, and Kissinger, and the president of the World Bank, just happened by chance to take a few days vacation in America, alongside about 130 of their bankers, presidents, CEO's, media moguls, scientists closest friends.

And, as a practical joke, reporters whose sole job is to follow Obama and report on everything he does are kidnapped, put on a plane, all doors locked, the plane then takes off and, despite protests of the reporters on board, flies away...

Haha, just a practical joke, entirely normal in.... Mugabe's Zimbabwe... in Soviet Union... in Castro's Cuba.... in America.


Now, people in this country will continue to watch their TV "news", never go on the internet, oblivious to all, all the while hearing reports on TV denigrating blogs, "troofers", "tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorists" (alongside the obligatory smirks and forced laughter by the pundits on TV and radio).

People in this country will choose to remain ignorant, to not question, to look at Obama, the annointed one, and hope that his bullshit speeches about change actually mean something.

People in this country will believe that the system we have running this country (and indeed the world) is some sort of an imperfect democracy, where their votes and their opinions mean something.

It is best to leave them to their illusions.

Because the more you know, the more you start thinking about it, the more distraught you become.

And then the realization hits you - there is nothing you, the ordinary Joe Schmoe, citizen of America or European Union, can do about it.

In the brave new world to come, you don't count.

Remember my mention of Martha J. Farah being an interesting choice to attend the 2008 Bilderberg meeting?

She stands out from all the politicians, CEO's and media barons because she is a scientist.

Martha J. Farah webpage:
Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Natural Sciences
Director, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience
University of Pennsylvania

Much of my career has been devoted to understanding the mechanisms of vision, memory, and executive function in the human brain. In recent years I have shifted my research focus to a new set of issues that lie at the interface between cognitive neuroscience and "the real world."

These new issues of interest to me include the effects of socioeconomic adversity on children's brain development and emerging social and ethical issues in neuroscience ("neuroethics"). In addition, some very talented students and postdocs have pulled me into their investigations of other topics, including decision making, mood regulation and neurogenetics.


"understanding the mechanisms of vision, memory, and executive function in the human brain"

"shifted my research focus to a new set of issues that lie at the interface between cognitive neuroscience and 'the real world.'"

"the effects of socioeconomic adversity on children's brain development and emerging social and ethical issues in neuroscience ("neuroethics")"

"investigations of other topics including decision making, mood regulation and neurogenetics"


I realize I am blowing your mind here.

Usually, I stay away from what might be considered "tin foil conspiracy" stuff.

But fuck it, I call it as I see it. And I have no pressure from advertisers, nor an editor who gets his marching orders (indirectly) from the folks meeting at Chantilly, Virginia.

And don't worry, this woman was surely not invited into the 'B'-word group meeting for the world's elite to explore their options re: mind control and mass manipulation.

I mean, all they did was ask her a few questions, that's all...

Besides, ordinary media does a superb job of staying on message and molding opinions in the so called world's "democracies", in USA and Europe. No need to get too... scientific... about controlling the masses.

Of course, it is entirely possible that this woman was invited just to talk about cloning... and that will be the possible argument that the naysayers will bring as they will write their scathing, dismissing comments and beat their chests, secure in their ignorance.

After all, she is an expert in neuroethics...

Except that neuroscience is NOT about cloning.
Wikipedia:
Neuroscience is a field that is devoted to the scientific study of the nervous system. Such studies span the structure, function, evolutionary history, development, genetics, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, informatics, computational neuroscience and pathology of the nervous system. Traditionally it is seen as a branch of biological sciences. However, recently there has been a surge in the convergence of interest from many allied disciplines, including cognitive and neuro-psychology, computer science, statistics, physics, and medicine. The scope of neuroscience has now broadened to include any systematic scientific experimental and theoretical investigation of the central and peripheral nervous system of biological organisms.

"The scope of neuroscience has now broadened to include any systematic scientific experimental and theoretical investigation of the central and peripheral nervous system of biological organisms".

The study of the human brain.

The study of what makes us, humans, tick.

And on the optimistic thought that the world elite are slowly, gingerly exploring the mind control topic seriously now, I bid you pleasant dreams and say good night...

Bonus Material: Debunked?
CNN: Obama, Clinton hold talks in Feinstein's living room.

This is the official story now.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton met privately Thursday night at the Washington home of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a key supporter of Clinton's presidential campaign, Feinstein said Friday.

She left them in her living room with nothing other than water and comfortable chairs for what she called a positive meeting. No one else was in the room, and no one is giving details of what was discussed.

"They talked. I went upstairs and did my work," Feinstein said Friday. "They called me when it was over. I came down and said, 'Good night, everybody; I hope you had a good meeting.'

"They were laughing, and that was it."

The meeting began at 9 p.m. and lasted about an hour, Feinstein said.
(snip)
On Thursday, reporters on Obama's press plane learned that the candidate was not aboard when it departed Virginia, where he had been campaigning. Aides said staff members had "scheduled him some meetings" in Washington.


Interesting.

If this is true, WHY the whole circus and why the whole hush hush lets play Mission Impossible scenario (cue the MI music)?

One thing I get out of this official narrative now is this:
"On Thursday, reporters on Obama's press plane learned that the candidate was not aboard when it departed Virginia, where he had been campaigning. Aides said staff members had "scheduled him some meetings" in Washington."

Meetings... plural.

And also this:
"The meeting began at 9 p.m. and lasted about an hour, Feinstein said."

Plenty of time for other meetings, if any. An hour is not a long time.

How long was Obama's "freedom" from TV reporters anyway?

Watched the Daily Show tonight (I know - talk about one's media sources) and the curious thing I noticed Jon say is that, as he was running the news footage of Feinstein's house, he mentioned that no one saw either Obama or Clinton enter or leave the house.

He even made a joke about it (at Bill Clinton's expense).

I find it hard to believe that a horde of reporters, who surrounded Feinstein's house, whose sole job was to get a photo, any photo, blurry or not, of either Obama, Clinton or better yet both together anywhere NEAR Feinstein's house would fail to do so.

After all, neither Clinton or Obama are that hard to miss.

The whole Chantilly, VA sequence is amazing and would is more than an astronomical coincidence.


It's this:
Look at the dates.

Look at the location Obama was in.

Obama's operatives duping the press happened June 5 / June 6, at the Dulles International Airport in Virginia.

During the ongoing Bilderberg conference, which was taking place in Chantilly, Virginia.

And looking at the homepage for the Dulles International Airport, we see:
"Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is located in Chantilly, VA on 12,000 acres of land 26 miles from downtown Washington, DC."


vs. this:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton met privately Thursday night at the Washington home of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a key supporter of Clinton's presidential campaign, Feinstein said Friday.

She left them in her living room with nothing other than water and comfortable chairs for what she called a positive meeting. No one else was in the room, and no one is giving details of what was discussed.

"They talked. I went upstairs and did my work," Feinstein said Friday. "They called me when it was over. I came down and said, 'Good night, everybody; I hope you had a good meeting.'

"They were laughing, and that was it."

The meeting began at 9 p.m. and lasted about an hour, Feinstein said.

Original here

Law creates underclass of child criminals

Britain has been condemned as a bleak place for children, where thousands are needlessly criminalised for misdemeanours and where the gap between the education and health of the rich and poor is growing.

The four Children’s Commissioners for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have issued a report for the United Nations condemning the punitive youth justice system and the vilification of teenagers as yobs.

The commissioners say that Britain is breaching the Children’s Rights Convention in several areas.

The number of crimes committed by children fell between 2002 and 2006, but, according to research cited by the report, convictions rose by 26 per cent, leading to fears that a young criminal underclass is building. In the past misdemeanours were dealt with by cautions; the trend now is for police to bring charges.

Britain detains more children than any other country in Western Europe, with 2,900 under18s locked up in the past year. Thirty children have died in custody since 1990, yet there has never been a public inquiry into conditions in youth detention centres.

The report for the UN was written jointly by Sir Al Aynsley-Green, the Children’s Commissioner for England, Keith Towler, for Wales, Kathleen Marshall, for Scotland, and Patricia Lewsley, for Northern Ireland. The four were appointed by Labour as the guardians of children’s interests.

The UN is assessing whether the Government has fulfilled its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Britain is assessed on its performance every five years.

In 2003 the UN criticised the UK for being one of the few developed countries to allow children to be smacked – a punishment that breaches the convention. The Government says that it has no intention of changing the law.

The commissioners’ report cautions that antisocial behaviour legislation has resulted in more children being drawn into the criminal justice system.

Children who receive ASBOs can have their names and photographs published – a breach of their right to privacy under the UN convention, the authors said. They also attacked the use of the legislation to break up groups of law-abiding young people who are simply “hanging around”.

The report was bleak about children’s health and education services. One in ten children aged between 5 and 16 has a clinically recognisable mental disorder, it said.

Improvements to the health of poorer children have been minimal, while richer youngsters are fitter and better fed than ever before. There is increasing evidence that poorer children are not getting access to proper health care, particularly dental care. More than 1.3 million children live with parents with drink problems. Teenage girls who live in deprived areas are still four times more likely to become pregnant than those in affluent areas.

The report also questioned whether enough was being done to end child poverty. Poor families pay out a bigger proportion of their income in tax than richer families and punitive prepay tariffs often mean that they pay much higher prices for gas and electricity.

The report accuses the media of consistently portraying young people as thugs or yobs. Research found that in 2005 71 per cent of all media stories about young people were negative and that one third of articles mentioning young people were about crime.

“The Government must urgently address the widely held intolerance of children in public spaces,” the report says.

Original here

'Military coup' in Zimbabwe as Mugabe is forced to cede power to generals

Police,US & British ambassador pics

(N/A)

The JOC is a shadowy security politburo made up of military and police generals, senior intelligence officers, prison service officials and leaders of the ruling Zanu (PF) party

Image :1 of 2

The campaign of terror sweeping Zimbabwe is being directly organised by a junta that took over the running of the country after Robert Mugabe’s shock election defeat in March.

Details of the organised violence are contained in a report released today by Human Rights Watch, corroborated by senior Western diplomats who describe the situation in Zimbabwe as a “military coup by stealth”.

The human-rights group and the diplomats name Zimbabwe’s effective rulers as the Joint Operations Command, a shadowy security politburo made up of military and police generals, senior intelligence officers, prison service officials and leaders of the ruling Zanu (PF) party.

The report maps a chain of command leading down from the JOC to senior officers responsible for individual regions, and the local politicians and so-called “war veterans” and Zanu (PF) youth militias who carry out much of the violence as a proxy military force.

The report said that the scale of the attacks exceeds anything seen previously during Zimbabwe’s long history of electoral violence, and that for the first time militias are being armed with weapons such as AK47s, hand-guns and rifles. They have also used military transportation and even attacked from military bases.

A senior Western diplomat traced the military takeover to the days after the March 29 election, when a stunned Mr Mugabe was preparing to stand down before the generals moved in. “The generals didn’t let him go,” the diplomat said. “Afraid that Mr Mugabe’s departure would expose them to prosecution, they struck a deal guaranteeing his reelection.

“This is a military coup by stealth,” the diplomat said. “There are no tanks on people’s lawns, but the Joint Operations Command runs this country.”

The military takeover has meant an explosion in the level of violence in Zimbabwe, as well as the de facto militarisation of food distribution prompted by last week’s ban on aid agencies.

Witnesses interviewed by HRW identified numerous senior security officers who report directly to the JOC as being involved personally in the violence, suggesting they are carrying out orders from above. Police involved in the attack on American and British diplomats last week were quoted as saying that their orders came “directly from the top”. Documents leaked by disgruntled army officers name 200 of them, each assigned an area to oversee in OperationMakavhoterapapi? or Operation Where Did You Put Your Vote?, a campaign to punish those who voted for the Movement for Democratic Change, particularly in traditional Zanu (PF) strongholds, and to prevent them from voting in the June 27 presidential run-off when Mr Mugabe goes head to head with Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader.

The use of the “war veterans” and youth militias as proxy forces was intended to cover up the State’s role in the violence. But in many cases documented by HRW, military involvement was explicit. Scores of attacks in Harare and surrounding townships have been carried out by uniformed soldiers. One victim described armed soldiers going from house to house in the township of Chitungwiza searching for MDC supporters and beating them: “I did not know my assailants, but they were in army uniform and drove an army truck. They were boasting of being given a three-day assignment to ‘bring hell’ to the people.”

Army officers have been personally involved in a number of “reeducation” meetings at which local residents are forced to renounce opposition and swear allegiance to the ruling party after being beaten and tortured. Beatings at such meetings account for at least eight deaths. The Army has denied any involvement in the violence.

The extent of Mr Mugabe’s acquiescence to the terror tactics remains unclear, but the moment he agreed to stay on, the diplomat notes: “Mr Mugabe became beholden to the generals to stay in power.”

Searching for the truth

— Human Rights Watch was founded in 1978 as Helsinki Watch, to monitor the compliance of Soviet bloc countries with the Helsinki accords

— After growing to cover other regions in the 1980s, the various committees were united in 1988 as Human Rights Watch

— The charity, whose home is New York, is the largest US-based human-rights organisation

— Human Rights Watch shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for a joint campaign with other organisations to ban landmines

— Fact-finding teams visit countries where there have been allegations of human rights abuses. They visit the locations of abuse, interview victims, witnesses and others. The teams publish their findings in books and reports

— Researchers collected and corroborated stories of refugees from Kosovo and Chechnya, helping to shape the response of the international community to rights abuses there

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Lawyer: Gitmo interrogators told to trash notes

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- The Pentagon urged interrogators at Guantanamo Bay to destroy handwritten notes in case they were called to testify about potentially harsh treatment of detainees, a military defense lawyer said Sunday.

The lawyer for Toronto-born Omar Khadr, Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler, said the instructions were included in an operations manual shown to him by prosecutors and suggest the U.S. deliberately thwarted evidence that could help terror suspects defend themselves at trial.

Kuebler said the apparent destruction of evidence prevents him from challenging the reliability of any alleged confessions. He said he will use the document to seek a dismissal of charges against Khadr.

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, said he was reviewing the matter Sunday evening.

The "standard operating procedures" manual that contained the purported instructions was made available to Kuebler last week as part of a pretrial review of potential evidence, the Navy lawyer said.

"The mission has legal and political issues that may lead to interrogators being called to testify, keeping the number of documents with interrogation information to a minimum can minimize certain legal issues," the document is quoted as saying in an affidavit signed by Kuebler.

The document could support challenges by other detainees to suppress confessions at Guantanamo, where the U.S. military says it plans to prosecute as many as 80 of roughly 270 detainees before the first U.S. war-crimes tribunals since World War II.

The case against Khadr, who was captured in Afghanistan when he was 15, is on track to be one of the first to trial. He faces war-crimes charges including murder for allegedly throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. Special Forces soldier during a 2002 firefight.

Kuebler said the nature of the interrogations is particularly relevant in Khadr's case because prosecutors are relying on evidence "extracted" from him at Bagram air base in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo.

"If handwritten notes were destroyed in accordance with the SOP, the government intentionally deprived Omar's lawyers of key evidence with which to challenge the reliability of his statements," Kuebler said in an e-mail to reporters.

The operations manual, which dates to January 2003, was attached to a 2005 report on an investigation into detainee abuse allegations at Guantanamo, Kuebler said. A summary of the findings was released at the time, but the defense lawyer said the section including the manual has not been made available publicly.

The so-called Schmidt-Furlow report documented degrading treatment, including one instance of a top terror suspect forced to dance with another man and behave like a dog. But investigators stopped short of saying torture occurred.

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Pentagon 'urged notes destroyed'

Omar Khadr (file image dated 2005)
Canadian Omar Khadr was 15 when he was captured

Guantanamo Bay interrogators were told to destroy handwritten notes in case they were called to testify on detainee treatment, a military lawyer alleges.

The lawyer, Lt-Cmdr William Kuebler, said the instructions were contained in a Pentagon operations manual.

He said this apparent destruction of evidence at the prison camp stopped him from challenging alleged confessions in the case of his client, Omar Khadr.

He would use the document to seek a dismissal of the charges, he said.

Mr Khadr - a Canadian - is the only Westerner still held at the jail.

The 21-year-old is accused of killing a US soldier and wounding another during a battle in Afghanistan in 2002.

Mr Khadr was 15 when he was captured during the firefight at a suspected al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan.

He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

Two weeks ago, Canada's Supreme Court ruled the Canadian government had acted illegally by handing over documents from an interview with the suspect by its own intelligence services a year after his capture.

'Crucial to the case'

The manual on "Standard Operating Procedures" which reportedly contained the instructions was obtained by Lt-Cmdr Kuebler from prosecutors last week as part of a pre-trial review of evidence, he said.

Keeping the number of documents with interrogation information to a minimum can minimise certain legal issues
Pentagon manual, according to Lt-Cmdr William Kuebler

The lawyer said the evidence was crucial to the case as prosecutors were relying on evidence extracted at Afghanistan's Bagram air base and Guantanamo.

"The mission has legal and political issues that may lead to interrogators being called to testify, keeping the number of documents with interrogation information to a minimum can minimise certain legal issues," Lt-Cmdr Kuebler quoted the document as saying in a signed affidavit.

Correspondents say the document could support challenges by other detainees to the use of confessions as evidence.

Last week the trial by military tribunal of five Guantanamo inmates began at the camp. They face charges relating to the 9/11 attacks on the US.

The trials have already raised questions about not just the treatment of detainees, but also the legitimacy of American military commissions.

Later this month, the US Supreme Court is to rule on the rights of prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay, threatening a possible delay or even halt to the proceedings.

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