Puppet Masters


TSA 'pre-check' is slammed as report shows ex-terrorist breezed on through

© www.propublica.org
First we will screen you, then we will scan you just like groceries.
A program that allows one million pre-approved fliers to cruise through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints is under scrutiny by Congress following a report by federal inspectors that a former terrorist was let through last summer.

Specific findings from a report by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) investigation were either classified or confidential, and therefore reserved for the closed session of Wednesday's hearing before the House Committee on Homeland Security's sub-committee on transportation security.

In the open portion of the hearing, DHS Inspector General John Roth testified that while the concept of the Pre-Check program is a "positive step towards risk-based security screening," the agency ought to limit it to "trusted populations." Roth complained that the TSA "has not accepted the majority of our recommendations" from the report.

TSA Chief Risk Officer Ken Fletcher countered that the Pre-Check program was part of the measures the agency adopted to increase efficiency. Between risk-based screening, such as behavior detection, and programs such as Pre-Check, the agency has "significantly increased" its ability to move people through checkpoints while saving $319 million, Fletcher's prepared statement claimed.

"Trying to eliminate all risk results in poor security, unnecessarily burdens the aviation industry, and will create greater pressure on civil rights and liberties," Fletcher told lawmakers. "Perfect security is unattainable," he quoted from the 9/11 Commission report, adding, "and in my view, its pursuit is unsustainable."

Comment: We are more threatened by the local police and the "government protectorates" than a terrorist. TSA airline passenger security fees increased last July because of a congressional budget deal allowing the now increased fee to pay down the federal deficit in lieu of supporting TSA security measures. We can now rest assured we have safe flights and a cushioned landing for congress. Never forget: You are the government's ATM.

Star of David

Israel apologist BBC, facing accusations of bias, admits coverage of Israel/Palestine is "tough"

© Reuters / Amir Cohen
Photographers take pictures of Israeli troops just outside the northern Gaza Strip
BBC Director-General Lord Hall has admitted that reporting on the Israel-Palestine conflict is "tough," but insists the corporation aims to be balanced in its coverage.

The BBC chief added that the broadcaster is committed to its coverage of the Middle East, including Israel and Palestine.

Hall made the comments at a Jewish charity event when questioned about the corporation's coverage of last summer's conflict in Gaza.

Laura Marks, senior vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, expressed her disappointment with the BBC's coverage of the war between Israel and Hamas.

She told Hall: "Over the summer, your coverage of Gaza rather dented my trust in the BBC...and whilst I fully appreciate the enormity of the problem and the disaster facing civilians in Gaza, I think that Jews in the country felt that you did not put the case for both sides."

"How would you respond to a feeling in this room that the BBC did not cover the problem facing Israel clearly because it had the humanitarian problem facing the people of Gaza - which overrode all of your coverage?" she asked.


Revolving door: Google's execs average one meeting a week at White House

© Reuters / Larry Downing
Google executives have met with White House officials an average of once a week since US President Barack Obama took office in 2009, according to a new report.

Visitor logs for the executive mansion and Obama administration emails obtained by the Wall Street Journal suggest that employees of the search engine giant sat down with the president's team roughly 230 times during the last six years, including a slew of meetings with White House and Federal Trade Commission officials during the FTC's antitrust investigation of Google that concluded in January 2013.

Ultimately, the FTC's five-person panel unanimously agreed to end the probe without finding the tech titan at fault. Now according to WSJ journalist Brody Mullins, documents acquired by the paper "describe meetings involving Google, senior White House advisers and top FTC officials between the staff's recommendation in August 2012 and the vote in January 2013."

Comment: Further proof of big corporations excessively involved in US politics.

Gold Seal

Russian Security Council exposes U.S. anti-Russian agenda, threat to world stability and peace

© Reuters / Jason Reed
The recently approved US National Security Strategy for 2015 has a clear anti-Russian orientation, according to analysis released by Russia's Security Council (SC).

"The analysis of the strategy conducted by specialists of the Security Council of the Russian Federation indicates that compared to the previous edition of the 2010 the new one is based on clearly anti-Russian tendencies and forms a negative image of our country," reads the statement released by the top Russian consultative agency on national security.

The strategy is based on the principles of American Exceptionalism and the alleged right for unilateral enforcement of US interests in various parts of the world, the message reads.

The council stated that the changes in the US security concepts could have many negative consequences for relations between the two countries. Moscow foresees that Washington and its allies would apply a lot of effort to attract traditional allies of Russia into the anti-Russian camp and also to diminish Russia's influence on the post-soviet political space.

Comment: Would you look at that: a government that actually tells the truth! Russia doesn't seem to be backing down in its efforts to expose the U.S. for what it really is: a military bully that foments illegal regime change and endless warfare all over the world. Now, the question is: when will the rest of the world wake up to these facts? Who will contain the threat to world peace and stability that the U.S. poses? Forget ISIS and ebola - or the fiction of 'Russian aggression' - the U.S. is the world's biggest enemy.


Fired Ukrainian governor Kolomoysky taped threatening to 'take over' power plant Ukrtransgaz

© Reuters / Valentyn Ogirenko
Igor Kolomoysky
Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoysky has allegedly threatened to send volunteer battalions from eastern Ukraine to Kiev to seize a leading energy firm and power plant. The ex-governor's gamble comes after one of the companies was shut for non-payment.

The audio recording of a conversation, in which a man sounding like Kolomoysky, the former Dnepropetrovsk governor fired by President Petro Poroshenko at the weekend, is heard voicing threats to the head of Naftogaz, has been posted by Ukrainian journalist-turned-MP Sergey Leshchenko on his Facebook page.

Kolomoysky tells Naftogaz chief Andrey Kobolev that he is not going to pay the debts "as a matter of principle."

"We will not pay with a gun to our temple, you hear me?" he tells Kobolev in the alleged conversation. "If you move the valve, give the command, we will take over this plant and the case is over," Kolomoysky warns.

"And if you *** [show off], we'll grab your Tsentrogaz or as it's called Transgas [apparently meaning Ukrtransgaz]. We can transfer people to Kiev from the ATO area," he adds, referring to the Kiev government's so-called "anti-terrorist operation" in eastern Ukraine.

Kolomoysky concludes: "No need to experiment with your own country."

It was not immediately clear when the alleged conversation had taken place.

Comment: The rats are now turning on each other. Poroshenko does seem to have a little better sense of self-preservation. This article contains a small but significant remark regarding the Minsk ceasefire talks:
Korban (along with others in his faction) also had this to say: Peter Poroshenko has decided to implement one of the decisions of the secret protocol of the Minsk agreements. In it was the item on the destruction of the "Right Sector".
If he is to survive, Poroshenko must accomplish this. Every move made that goes against the goals of the Right Sector (which amounts to genocide of any person not considered "pure" Ukraine) ups the threat of his assassination. Removing Kolomoysky from an official position is a start, but he is still in a position to take the entire country down financially, and possibly create his own fiefdom via his private army. Perilous times for Ukraine.


Say what? Afghan president says time to apologize to Taliban

© Reuters / Gary Cameron
Afghan President Ashraf Ghaniю.
After 13 years of war aimed at rooting out the Taliban, the Afghan president declared in Washington that torture and mistreatment only intensified resentment in some members of the Taliban, so it's time to heal wounds and apologize.

Speaking during his first visit to Washington, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, who became president last year, said peace with the insurgents was "essential" and that some Taliban members suffered legitimate grievances.

"People were falsely imprisoned, people were tortured. They were tortured in private homes or private prisons," he said, Reuters reported.

"How do you tell these people that you are sorry?" he lamented.

Comment: Seems like the Afghan president is driving down the middle of the road.


The Guardian caught peddling more lies for the War Party, this time about Ukraine


The Guardian, fount of neo-liberal lies for the War Party.
The western media is busily trying to prop up their failed narrative of "Russian aggression" in Ukraine in a desperate attempt to legitimize their consciously deceitful reporting. To do so, they are now relying not on experts or western intelligence reports, but a discredited blogger and his corporate media chums.
On February 17, 2015, The Guardian ran a story with the headline "Russia shelled Ukrainians from within its own territory, says study." The title alone is enough to convince many casual observers that yes, the mainstream media reporting on the civil war in Ukraine has been correct all along. You see, it's all because of Russian aggression, or so the meme would go. But closer analysis of this story, and the key players involved, should cause any reasonably intelligent and logical person to seriously doubt the veracity of nearly every aspect of the story.

Let's begin first with the headline and subhead which, as anyone in media knows, is often all that will be read by many readers. The headline leads with a conclusion: Russia shelled Ukraine from within Russian territory. Simple. Clear. Why bother reading further? Well, in reality, the article both overtly and tacitly admits that the so called "study" (more on that later) has not reached that clear conclusion, not even close. Here are some key phrases sprinkled throughout the piece that should give pause to any serious-minded political observer or analyst.

Comment: Such a pattern of consistent lying to the public in the interest of the British financial-military establishment speaks to The Guardian newspaper being the proponent - not opponent - of Britain's entrenched imperialism.

The Guardian is owned by the Scott Trust.

On its board of directors is Sir Anthony Michael Vaughn Salz, an executive vice chairman of Rothschild Group, and director of NM Rothschild & Sons Ltd, the Group's London branch.

He holds numerous other executive posts, including one as 'non-executive board member' at the UK's Department of Education.

What then are the chances of The Guardian newspaper ever (truly) being at odds with the British Foreign Office, the City of London, the British military-industrial complex, or the British cabinet? The Guardian cannot report the truth where it conflicts with the Establishment's interests because it is part of said Establishment.


Saudi Arabia starts bombing Yemen Shiite Houthi rebels

© Reuters / Fahad Shadeed
Saudi Arabian forces, joined by nine other countries, have launched a military operation in Yemen against Shiite Houthi rebels, the Saudi ambassador to the US said. The offensive, which started with airstrikes, will also involve "other military assets."

According to Ambassador Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, the military operation in Yemen started at 7 p.m. EST (11 p.m. GMT). The US is not participating in the operation, the envoy stressed.

Al Arabiya reported that warplanes of the Royal Saudi Air Force bombed positions of Yemen's Houthi militia, targeting their air defenses.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait issued a joint statement saying that they "decided to repel Houthi militias, Al-Qaeda and ISIS (Islamic State) in the country." The Gulf states said they were responding to a "major threat" to the stability of the region, saying that their cause is to "repel Houthi aggression" in Yemen.

Comment: And the match is lit. Armed with US weapons, Yemen rebels advance on President as Saudi Arabia prepares for war

Heart - Black

Sick Connecticut Republican calls sex assaults with witnesses a 'great party'

Connecticut Republican state representative said during discussion of a bill regarding campus sexual assault on Tuesday that if there are witnesses to a reported sexual assault then it must have been a "really great party."

According to Hartford's WFSB, Republican state Rep. Mike Bocchino now says that the remarks are being taken out of context.

He was responding to a Democratic-sponsored bill that would require both parties to consent to sex by saying "yes" before engaging in intimate contact. Advocates of the law hope to curb sexual assaults and clarify the lines of consent in order to address the problem of rape and sexual assault on college campuses.

Bocchino was raising what he said is an issue with both parties stating their consent. Who is to believe their stories, he asked, if there are no other witnesses?

Snakes in Suits

Colorado Republican says brutal attack on pregnant woman was God's revenge for abortion laws

© State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt
Colorado Republican lawmaker blamed abortion laws for a brutal attack last week on a pregnant woman in his state.

State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs), a demon-obsessed former Navy chaplain elected last year to the state House of Representatives, discussed the case Wednesday on his "Pray In Jesus Name" program, reported Right Wing Watch.

Michelle Wilkins, who was seven months pregnant, was lured to the home of a Longmont woman advertising baby clothes for sale on Craigslist.

Instead, police said 34-year-old Dynel Lane stabbed the 26-year-old pregnant woman and "removed" the fetus from her body and went to a hospital, where she claimed she had a miscarriage.