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Wed, 20 Oct 2021
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Eye 1

U.S. looks to Monsanto to feed the world

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At the annual World Economic Forum this past weekend in Davos, Switzerland, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Director Rajiv Shah stood beside CEOs from Monsanto and other infamous giant corporations, and announced U.S. support for a "New Vision for Agriculture."

Yes, you should be worried.

Claiming that "large-scale private sector partnerships [can] achieve significant impact on global hunger and nutrition," Shah introduced the initiative's 17 agribusiness "champions": Archer Daniels Midland, BASF, Bunge Limited, Cargill, Coca-Cola, DuPont, General Mills, Kraft Foods, Metro AG, Monsanto Company, Nestlé, PepsiCo, SABMiller, Syngenta, Unilever, Wal-Mart, and Yara International.

What!?! Are you kidding me? Most of these agribusiness giants could be listed in an edition of Who's Who in Environmental Destruction, Hunger and Human Rights Violations. A few minutes' of investigation on GRAIN, CorpWatch, Food & Water Watch or PAN's chemical cartel page will prove this point.

Feeding the corporations

The plan, USAID tells us, is for the U.S. to leverage private sector investments for agricultural "growth," using our taxpayer dollars through Obama's Feed the Future initiative. Back in September, I wrote about the corporate Trojan Horse lurking within Feed the Future. There's always been some green window dressing scattered throughout the plan, claiming that the initiative will follow Southern country priorities, support gender equity, respect local and Indigenous knowledge, etc.

Back then, Rajiv Shah & Co. were making only thinly veiled references to the Initiative's plan to "discover" and "deliver breakthrough technologies" (guess whose) to poor hapless farmers in the global South.

Now, however, USAID has abandoned all pretenses of respecting a people's agenda, and baldly acknowledges that large-scale private sector partnerships with some of the world's worst corporate actors lies at the core of Feed the Future. We are given the example of Feed the Future's project in Tanzania, where an "investment blueprint" to establish "profitable, modern commercial farming and agribusiness" and designed to last for "years to come" has been set up with Monsanto, Syngenta, Yara and General Mills, among other multinational corporations. USAID "hopes to expand the blueprint in the future to at least five additional African countries."

Vader

Middle East protests follow color revolution scenario - Engdahl

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© Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters pray during 'day of departure' demonstrations to force President Hosni Mubarak to resign
Protests inspired by the revolt in Tunisia have dominoed along Egypt, Yemen and Algeria. William Engdahl has drawn comparisons between popular uprisings in the Middle East to the color revolutions seen in post-Soviet countries.


Eye 1

Diplomatic Car Runs Over Twenty Peaceful Protesters In Cairo


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Bad Guys

Government Document Claimed To Be Captured from Egyptian Thugs

camels/thugs
© unknown
Hosni Mubarak's thugs and death squad invading a peaceful protest.
Below is a scanned copy of an official document, Circular No. 60 / b / M, issued by the Office of the Egyptian Interior Minister Habib al-Adli. The document bears the emblem of the Egyptian Interior Ministry; a handwritten note is written on the top-left of page 1, it reads "send by fax to the centers - highly secret". The document could have been captured from a ransacked government office, or from a hooligan captured on the streets. It has in the meantime been widely spread in Arabic media.

The document landed today morning in my inbox. It was sent to me by an Egyptian source, it reveals that the Egyptian Interior Ministry has implemented a plan to create chaos and looting, violence and terror in response to the angry demonstrations since last Friday, and the days after, which seek the end of the Mubarak regime, (and now also seek the execution of Mubarak after he refused to leave his position in peace and his regime perpetrated bloody crimes and massacres against the opposition demos). The document shows part of a plan which targets the nation, attempts to instill fear in the demonstrators and force them to end their demos.

The document was issued by the Office of the Egyptian Interior Minister and states that the plan detailed is based on the deployment of criminal elements in the middle of demonstrators, to foment chaos in conjunction with the deliberate withdrawal of the police and security forces from the streets of all cities.

The document reveals that among the activities of the plan is the intensive spreading of rumors through the Egyptian media (official TV, radio, news), like the use of screaming and wailing of female elements of the security forces, showing them asking for help because of looting and the decline of security.

Bad Guys

US Plan: Replace Mubarak with Torture-Linked 'CIA Point Man'

Mubarek
© AFP
A US plan to see Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak leave office immediately is reportedly in the works and would see a transitional government formed by Mubarak's vice-president, a former head of Egypt's spy agency and an alleged "CIA point man" who facilitated the "extraordinary rendition" of terrorism suspects.

US officials are discussing a plan with Egyptian officials that would see Mubarak quit immediately and hand over power to a transitional government run by Vice President Omar Suleiman, the New York Times reported Thursday.
Even though Mr. Mubarak has balked, so far, at leaving now, officials from both governments are continuing talks about a plan in which, Mr. Suleiman, backed by Sami Enan, chief of the Egyptian armed forces, and Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, the Defense Minister, would immediately begin a process of constitutional reform.

The proposal also calls for the transitional government to invite members from a broad range of opposition groups, including the banned Muslim Brotherhood, to begin work to open up the country's electoral system in an effort to bring about free and fair elections in September, the officials said.
As spy chief, Suleiman reportedly embraced the CIA's controversial "extraordinary rendition" program, in which terror suspects snatched by the Americans were taken to Egypt and other countries without legal proceedings and subjected to interrogations.

Attention

U.S. in Contempt Over Gulf Drill Ban, Judge Rules

BP oil
© badjonni / Flickr Creative Commons
The Obama Administration acted in contempt by continuing its deepwater-drilling moratorium after the policy was struck down, a New Orleans judge ruled.

Interior Department regulators acted with "determined disregard" by lifting and reinstituting a series of policy changes that restricted offshore drilling, following the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, U.S. District Judge, Martin Feldman of New Orleans ruled yesterday.

"Each step the government took following the court's imposition of a preliminary injunction showcases its defiance," Feldman said in the ruling.

"Such dismissive conduct, viewed in tandem with the re-imposition of a second blanket and substantively identical moratorium, and in light of the national importance of this case, provide this court with clear and convincing evidence of the government's contempt," Feldman said.

President Barack Obama's administration first halted offshore exploration in waters deeper than 500 feet in May, after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig off the Louisiana coast led to a subsea blowout of a BP Plc well that spewed more than 4.1 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Arrow Down

Canada: Interest Rate Rise Could Trigger House Price Collapse, Report Says

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© The Canadian Press / Darren Calabrese
A real estate agent puts up a "sold" sign in front of a house in Toronto Tuesday, April 20, 2010. Canadian homes could lose as much as a quarter of their value over time once interest rates start rising, says a new report.
A new report predicts that Canada's housing market is poised for a collapse and is only waiting for the trigger of rising interest rates expected for later this year - a view that flies in the face of many other forecasts.

Capital Economics calculates Canadian home prices could fall by about 25 per cent - and even as much as 35 per cent - over the next three years once the Bank of Canada begins tightening monetary policy.

Most economists expect the central bank will begin doing just that in late spring or early summer, with the trendsetting rate rising from the current one per cent to over two per cent by the end of the year.

And the Bank of Canada is expected to keep hiking the policy rate next year until it returns to normal levels - about 3.5 per cent - by the end of 2012.

That would have profound implications both for home values and the economy, says David Madani, Canadian chief economist of Capital Economics.

"Even small rises in official interest rates have been shown to have a big effect on homeowner confidence in other countries under similar circumstances," Madani said Thursday.

"If the Bank of Canada does resume its monetary tightening this year, this could easily prove to be a tipping point for a house price collapse."

Star of David

Egypt's blood is on Obama's hands

egypt protest sign
© Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images
A sketch of Hosni Mubarak and the words '30 years of devastation and treason'

The United States and Israel were caught off-guard by the size and ferocity of the demonstrations in Egypt, but they have since regained their balance and caught up to events. The two allies have settled on a strategy to preserve the Mubarak dictatorship (in some form) and assure that US-Israel regional hegemony will not be challenged. Thus, the Obama administration will continue to offer lip-service to democracy and human rights, while behind-the-scenes operatives coordinate efforts with Mubarak to maintain Washington's stranglehold on power in Cairo.

The first step in this process is to quash the rebellion with force.

Yesterday, after promising he would not use violence against the protesters, Mubarak deployed his goons to Tahrir Square where they attacked the the assembly with batons, rocks, and clubs. Men on horseback and camels charged into the crowd sending droves of protesters fleeing in panic. Al Jazeera reported that hundreds of people were injured in the melee. It's clear that the so-called "Mubarak supporters" were not civilians at all, but members of the feared Egyptian security forces in disguise. The Obama administration is aware of the clashes but has refused to condemn the perpetrators.

Bad Guys

Biometric Recognition: More Than a Fictional Spy-Thriller

Biometrics
© Computer World
DARPA defines biometrics as "the science and technology of measuring and analyzing biological data." Biometric technology has a trickledown theory, where military technology eventually makes its way into civilian applications. Biometric recognition is not just something from a fictional spy-thriller.

Since 9/11, the government and law enforcement increased the use and collection of biometric identification in the name of security to identify terrorists or criminals. Yet civil liberty advocates worry about the increased use of biometric recognition as well as the storage and management of government databases. However, biometric recognition technologies continue to emerge.

According to Wikipedia, uniquely identifying a person via biometric characteristics can be physiological like fingerprints, facial recognition, DNA, palm prints, iris or retina recognition, and odor/scents; or behavioral like voice or gait recognition. Biometric technology has been around for a long time, but here's a look at some current and future uses.

Vader

Police Van Running Over Peaceful Protesters In Cairo

This video of the Egypt Police hit and run has been posted on Al-Jazeera's website and on YouTube.