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Keystone XL pipeline: TransCanada sends final offers to 100-plus Nebraska landowners

Keystone XL pipeline
© Associated Press

A stake in the ground wrapped with tape that marks the route of the Keystone XL pipeline in Tilden, Nebraska, on March 17, 2014
Lincoln - As the Republican leader in the U.S. Senate pledged quick approval of the Keystone XL pipeline early next year, final offers were landing Tuesday in dozens of Nebraska mailboxes.

TransCanada Corp. said it mailed new offers of right-of-way payments this week to more than 100 Nebraska landowners who have refused to sign an easement contract.

The letters also say the company will pursue eminent domain against landowners who don't agree to terms by Jan. 16. The company says Nebraska law requires condemnation proceedings to start within two years of the state's approval of the pipeline route, which occurred Jan. 22, 2013.

"This really is an effort to reach voluntary agreements rather than going through the eminent domain process," said Andrew Craig of Omaha, Keystone's land manager. "We always prefer to go through negotiations."

The director of a leading pipeline opposition group said there are 115 landowner holdouts, and she expects them to refuse the latest offer. Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska also argued that the company lacks a legal basis to use eminent domain since the state's pipeline routing law has been declared unconstitutional and is under review by the Nebraska Supreme Court.

"This is not about money," Kleeb said. "This is about their family legacies, their land and protecting their water."

The state's highest court could rule on the pipeline case as early as Friday.

While landowners were opening envelopes Tuesday, Sen. Mitch McConnell was promising to put a Keystone XL bill at the top of the agenda when the Senate convenes in January. Passage of legislation approving the pipeline is likely in a Republican-controlled Senate, which could set up an early veto confrontation with President Barack Obama.

Congressional Republicans have been pushing for approval of the pipeline for years. Obama has resisted because of environmental concerns.

"We're optimistic we can pass it and put it on the president's desk," McConnell said
Evil Rays

World War III scenario: NATO begins soft invasion of Donbass


NATO troops: blindly stumbling into WWIII.
Another ceasefire in Donbass for the first time in many months is without the artillery cannonade. Peaceful cities again became peaceful. Machine gun bursts and single shots from small arms don't count. Ukrainian troops folded their heavy rocket artillery and are performing a rotation. Battered units of UAF are being replaced by fresh troops. This is where the fun begins.

One of my friends got a call from a friend living in a prosperous European country and hysterically reported that the husband of her relative, a soldier of one of the divisions of NATO, was sent to Ukraine, changed into Ukrainian uniform and delivered to the location of Donetsk airport. She also reported that according to this soldier, almost all who, under the pretext of rotation, comes to the airport - are Europeans and Americans. NATO troops are taking this strategic object under their control.

Comment: Kiev has seemingly been using foreign mercenaries at the airport for months. See: SOTT EXCLUSIVE: Updates from Ukraine and Novorussia: Poroshenko shipped arms to rebels, Givi promises a surprise Cassad is usually a trustworthy source. Let's hope Zoteev is wrong here...

Holly

Proxy War Against Russia: Ukrainian Nazis teaming up with 'Chechen' terrorists

kadyrov
Yesterday, Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov told NTV channel he'd like to quit his post as leader of Chechnya and help the local militias in Novorussia (Donetsk and Lugansk) fight their Ukrainian attackers. This comes after Kiev's corrupt officials initiated criminal proceedings against him last week and threatened to put him on an international 'wanted' list. He responded:
They can keep saying whatever they like. But I am going to ask the (Russian) president for permission to quit my post in order to go to Donbass to protect the interests of those citizens who are fighting there now.
The day after the probable false-flag terror attack in Chechnya's capital city Grozny on December 4, several members of the Ukrainian Rada, including Yuri Beryoza, Andriy Levus and Ihor Moiseychuk voiced their support for the terrorist attack, calling for a "second front" to open in Russia's Caucasus region. One of these fools, Moiseychuk, even implied a wish for Kadyrov's assassination, uploading a video of him shooting an assault rifle at a photograph of Kadyrov.
Magnify

Reading between the lines: Lavrov's recent interview with France 24

lavrov
Lavrov statements once again scared the Russian bloggers/LiveJournal political scientists. Blogger 'Friend' dissects Lavrov's statements to calm their fears.

People who periodically confuse the TV series Home 2 with the war in Donbass, send texts for Strelkov/Gubarev, and demand to bring in troops to the TNT channel - are particularly paranoid. Their paranoia progresses so quickly that in no time they will be mortified by just the word "Ukraine," in response reciting: "Putiiin Duuumped, La-La-La-La-La-La! Putiiin Duuumped, La-La-La-La-La-La".

A special case of such a fright we discuss below. But honestly, we would not be commenting on it, if in addition to words which caused panic among LiveJournal 'political scientists', there would not be very important and fundamental statements.

If you are really concerned about one issue or another, always start with a review of the primary sources of information. The transcript of the interview of Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to "France 24" can be found here.

We highlight a few things that caused some noise and have essential implications.

Comment: See also: Lavrov tells French media 'NATO is not Russia's enemy'

USA

Of mercenaries and proxy armies: Why is this Texas plumber's pick-up truck being used by 'Islamic jihadists' in Syria?


ISIS is a US proxy army, exhibit A
Mark Oberholtzer isn't an Islamic fighter in Syria. He's never been to Syria. And the plumber from Texas City, Texas, says he certainly would never willingly aid fundamentalist rebels.

So it's hard for him to understand how his Ford F-250 pickup truck - including his logo for Mark-1 Plumbing and his phone number - wound up in a propaganda picture sent out by the extremist Ansar al-Deen Front from the front lines of the war in Syria.

Mr Oberholtzer says he's been getting hundreds of phone calls and faxes since the Ansar al-Deen Front tweeted a picture of his old truck with an anti-aircraft gun in the back, according to the Galveston County Daily News.

'A few of the people are really ugly,' he told the newspaper.

Some threatened his life.

Mr Oberholtzer says he has hired a lawyer and wants to make Twitter remove the posting, CBS News reports.

Comment: The answer to this 'riddle' is perfectly simple: the CIA/US government purchased this used car as part of the war material for its proxy army of mercenaries ('ISIS', 'Al Nusra', 'Free Syrian Army', 'Ansar al-Deen' whatever, they're all the same) to carry on what it was no longer willing to send US troops in to do: 'pacify the natives', remove unwanted regimes, and secure control of the Middle East oil valve. The British Foreign Office has been doing this in the exact same location since MI6 agent 'Lawrence of Arabia' got the Arabs to do London's dirty work during WW1.

Attention

Obama announces US will lift sanctions and establish embassy in Cuba

US President Barack Obama
© AFP Photo / Saul Loeb
United States President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the US is initiating plans to rebuild its relationship with Cuba following decades of disputes between the two nations.

Speaking from the White House in Washington, DC, Pres. Obama said Wednesday that the US is seeking to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba and soon plans to open an embassy in Havana, authorize sales and exports between nations and make changes to current travel laws that for decades have restricted traffic between the two countries.

"Today, the United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba," Obama said as he offered to "extend a hand of friendship" while unveiling what he called "the most significant changes in our policy in more than 50 years."

"We will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interest," Obama said.

Raúl Castro, the president of Cuba, announced in a statement televised concurrently with Obama's that his nation will "reestablish diplomatic relations" with the US.

Comment: One can't help but wonder if this sudden decision is a response to keep Cuba from getting closer to Russia.

Eye 2

Torture report leaves no doubt - Bush Administration guilty of war crimes

© Eric Draper / The White House via The New York Times
A handout photo of CIA Director George Tenet, center with President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in the Oval Office, Washington, March 3, 2003
Reading the 499-page torture report just released by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was a disgusting experience. Even after many years of writing books and articles about the Bush torture policy, I was unprepared for the atrocious pattern of crimes our government committed against other human beings in our name.

One of the most hideous techniques the CIA plied on detainees was called "rectal rehydration" or "rectal feeding" without medical necessity - a sanitized description of rape by a foreign object. A concoction of pureed "hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts and raisins" was forced into the rectum of one detainee. Another was subjected to "rectal rehydration" to establish the interrogator's "total control over the detainee." This constitutes illegal, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a humiliating outrage upon personal dignity.

Several detainees were waterboarded, a technique whereby water is poured into the nose and mouth to cause the victim to think he's drowning. One detainee in CIA custody was tortured on the waterboard 183 times; another was waterboarded 83 times. Waterboarding has long been considered torture, which is a war crime. Indeed, the United States hung Japanese military leaders for the war crime of torture after World War II.

Other "enhanced interrogation techniques" (EIT) included being slammed into walls, hung from the ceiling, kept in total darkness, deprived of sleep - sometimes with forced standing - for up to seven and one-half days, forced to stand on broken limbs for hours on end, threatened with mock execution, confined in a coffin-like box for 11 days, bathed in ice water, dressed in diapers. One detainee "literally looked like a dog that had been kenneled."

The executive summary of the torture report was made public, but the 6,700-page report remains classified. The summary depicts the CIA at best, as keystone cops, at worst, as pathological, lying, sadistic war criminals. The CIA lied repeatedly about the effectiveness of the torture and cruel treatment. Interrogations of detainees were much more brutal than the CIA represented to government officials and the American public.

Bush's CIA directors George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden should be charged with crimes, along with their minions who carried out the torture.


Comment: It's not just Bush's people who are complicit, but also the Obama Administration who have done everything in their power to protect Bush and his cronies and to keep all the crimes committed by them hidden. They are just as guilty.

Chess

Lavrov tells French media 'NATO is not Russia's enemy'

Lavrov
© Desconocido

Comment: Lavrov continues Putin's policy of gentlemanly comment on the actions taken against Russia by her adversaries and their lackeys. Russian has answered every aggressive step with calm language that gives opportunities for climbing down from extreme positions. Any reasonable person would welcome the opening. But the psychopathic elite, living in their fantasy world, simply can't go there.


The NATO military alliance is not Moscow's enemy, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov told French media that suggested the opposite. Lavrov also expressed disappointment over the fact that Russia had overestimated EU's independence from the US.

Speaking to France 24 in Moscow, Lavrov stated that the military doctrine of the country never mentioned that NATO is Russia's enemy, even though the French media suggested that there is such an impression in the Western world.

"What [Russia's military doctrine] says is that the security risks for Russia, among other things, are NATO expansion to the East and the movement of military infrastructure of NATO closer to the Russian borders - not NATO itself, but its militarized movement to the East is considered by the Russian military doctrine as a security risk and threat for Russia," he said.

Lavrov said that, due to Russia's stance in the Ukrainian crisis, NATO had cut off all ties with Russia, "severed all practical cooperative mechanisms, including on Afghanistan, including on counter-terrorism, some other specific things."
Bullseye

Paul Craig Roberts on the collapse of the ruble and the meaninglessness of markets


Paul Craig Roberts - Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
Former Assistant Treasury Secretary Dr. Paul Craig Roberts thinks the only thing that explains the plunge in the Russian ruble is that it is being attacked by America. Roberts contends, "It is not a currency crash in the sense there are no economic reasons for the ruble's fall. Unlike the United States, which has a massive trade deficit, and if the currency markets were not rigged, the dollar would be collapsing, the Russian economy has a trade surplus. Therefore, there is no pressure on its currency for economic conditions." Dr. Roberts goes on to say, "This is not some independent action of market forces. So, it's either hedge funds, currency speculators like Soros, or it's an Act of War on behalf of the United States government by the Federal Reserve or the Exchange Stabilization Fund. . . or possibly both hedge funds working with the federal government."

Manipulating the markets, any market, is supposed to be illegal, but don't count on the bankers going to jail. Dr. Roberts, who has a PhD in economics, thinks,
"The big banks, the big Wall Street money, are essentially agents of the government. This is why they don't get prosecuted. This is why they can break all kinds of laws, commit felonies and settle with a fine. This is what we've been watching in the financial arena. When these financial gangsters are caught, instead of being indicted and put on trial, they pay money."

Comment: Central control of World markets/economy has become so opaque that it impossible to discern the details of what is actually going on. The very word "market" has lost its traditional meaning with the explosive growth of paper derivatives which now control all "markets" in real goods and commodities.

For more on the recent omnibus spending bill and Elizabeth Warren's scathing assessment of the Citigroup attachment see:

Ron Paul: All I want for Christmas is a real Government shutdown

Magic Hat

Ukrainian Freedom Support Act - The Devil's in the details

© Unknown
The latest anti-Russian bill to come out of Washington does a lot more than simply arm Ukraine, although that's destabilizing enough as it is. Contained within the Act are powerful provisions that expand NATO's influence in Russia's backyard and continue the War on Syria.

The Ukrainian Freedom Support Act (UFSA) is essentially the actionable successor to the recently passed House Resolution 758, which itself has been referred to as the declaration of the New Cold War. It's exceptionally noteworthy for fulfilling John McCain's threat to arm Ukraine, but it's the other decrees within it that have gone unnoticed by the mainstream media, although they're just as troubling, if not more so. And unsurprisingly, Congress somehow found a way to group its War on Syria into the UFSA, showing that it truly exploits any opportunity to push through its agenda of regime change there even if it has absolutely nothing to do with the bill at hand.

The Three Amigos

The UFSA is just as much about Moldova and Georgia as it is about Ukraine, as all three countries are collectively grouped together except for when it comes to assisting with internally displaced persons. For example, when it comes to 'the three amigos', UFSA says that sanctions will be imposed if:
  • Russia (or any actor affiliated with it) sends "defense articles" to those countries without the consent of its government'
  • And Russia "withholds significant natural gas supplies from countries such as Ukraine, Georgia, or Moldova" and NATO members.
And that the three are to be 'rewarded' with:
  • Major non-NATO ally status (which allows them to purchase weapons only reserved for NATO allies);
  • And a prioritized information campaign run by Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, where these countries are given a greater focus than the other former Soviet states.
Putting it all together, it is clear that the US has strategically incorporated Moldova and Georgia into its legislation about Ukraine, providing proof that it is Washington and not Moscow which is 'widening the battlefield' of the New Cold War. This isn't the first time either, as all the amigos were first lumped together in May when the so-called Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014 was unveiled, which served as the predecessor of House Resolution 758.
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