Puppet Masters


Glasgow Commonwealth Games organisers sign deal with major weapons company to provide security


Selex ES, an Anglo-Italian defence firm which manufactures weapon-targeting systems and supplies drones, has won the contract to provide surveillance cameras, security fencing and communications equipment for more than 20 venues, including the athletes’ village, for the Games
The organisers of this summer's Glasgow Commonwealth Games have been accused of signing a "totally unacceptable" deal with a major arms company to provide security for the £524m event.

Selex ES, an Anglo-Italian defence firm which manufactures weapon-targeting systems and supplies drones, has won the contract to provide surveillance cameras, security fencing and communications equipment for more than 20 venues, including the athletes' village, for the Games.

The company, which is owned by the Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica, the world's ninth-largest arms firm, is a significant employer in Britain, with 2,000 staff in Scotland and manufacturing bases from Bristol to York. Its clients include governments with poor human rights records including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.

Anti-arms trade campaigners said the involvement of Selex ES in a major sporting event was immoral and part of a pattern of defence companies that sell to repressive regimes seeking "legitimacy" by involvement with high-profile events.

What radicals failed to achieve, one drone strike accomplished in an instant: There is now an intense anger and growing hatred of America

© Unknown
The young man reached across the table and pushed the timer's red button. Looking up at the faces of a few members of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, Farea Al-muslimi, a Yemeni youth activist and former U.S. exchange student, nervously began to speak. He told the senators that just a week before a U.S. drone had unnecessarily vaporized a member of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula along with three other men in his remote village, instantly turning the populace against the United States. What is considered risk-free by the national-security state, Al-muslimi warned, is anything but. "What radicals had previously failed to achieve in my village, one drone strike accomplished in an instant: there is now an intense anger and growing hatred of America," he testified.

In five short minutes, Al-muslimi had cut through the sterile, bureaucratic abstractions of the U.S. drone wars and delivered an impassioned plea to his second homeland: stop terrorizing innocent Yemenis with remote-control killing. His message could easily be spoken by any number of Afghans, Pakistanis, or Somalis as the U.S. global war on terrorism enters its twelfth year.
Eye 1

Feeling safer yet?: German chancellor Angela Merkel denied access to her NSA file

Angela Merkel
© Ronny Hartmann/AFP/Getty Images
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. The US government's refusal to allow Merkel access to her own NSA file contrasts with the ease with which Germans can see files relating to the activities of the Stasi.
Frustration with US government rises over failure to clear up questions about surveillance of German chancellor's phone

The US government is refusing to grant Angela Merkel access to her NSA file or answer formal questions from Germany about its surveillance activities, raising the stakes before a crucial visit by the German chancellor to Washington.

Merkel will meet Barack Obama in three weeks, on her first visit to the US capital since documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA had been monitoring her phone.

The face-to-face meeting between the two world leaders had been intended as an effort to publicly heal wounds after the controversy, but Germany remains frustrated by the White House's refusal to come clean about its surveillance activities in the country.
Cow Skull

"Trust Us": The government continues to insist on our trust despite an incontestable track record of deceit and incompetence

© Sodahead
On June 7 Barack Obama made his first public statements about the NSA surveillance programs leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden. After justifying the programs as subject to congressional and judicial oversight, he insisted he did not want "to suggest that, you know, you just say 'trust me, we're doing the right thing, we know who the bad guys are.'"

But, he added, "If people can't trust not only the executive branch but also don't trust Congress, and don't trust federal judges, to make sure that we're abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we're going to have some problems here."

The problem isn't so much that the American people don't trust their government with unprecedented powers in the realm of national security, but that the government continues to insist on our trust despite an incontestable track record of deceit and incompetence.
War Whore

Death from above: How American drone strikes are devastating Yemen

© Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP Images
An unmanned U.S. Predator drone
On the ground in a country where unmanned missile attacks are a terrifyingly regular occurrence

The people of Yemen can hear destruction before it arrives. In cities, towns and villages across this country, which hangs off the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, the air buzzes with the sound of American drones flying overhead. The sound is a constant and terrible reminder: a robot plane, acting on secret intelligence, may calculate that the man across from you at the coffee shop, or the acquaintance with whom you've shared a passing word on the street, is an Al Qaeda operative. This intelligence may be accurate or it may not, but it doesn't matter. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, the chaotic buzzing above sharpens into the death-herald of an incoming missile.

Such quite literal existential uncertainty is coming at a deep psychological cost for the Yemeni people. For Americans, this military campaign is an abstraction. The drone strikes don't require U.S. troops on the ground, and thus are easy to keep out of sight and out of mind. Over half of Yemen's 24.8 million citizens - militants and civilians alike - are impacted every day. A war is happening, and one of the unforeseen casualties is the Yemeni mind.
Arrow Down

Human rights crisis after coup and the deterioration of Egypt - thanks to U.S. support and intervention

© Laurence Turner/Uniquedesign.net
We recently visited Egypt leading a delegation of lawyers to observe the situation of human rights in that country. We were troubled by what we saw and heard. We are also troubled by the United States' support for a government installed by a military coup.

The United States and more than 160 States have agreed to respect and ensure the right to participate in one's government, for example, by agreeing to article 25 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights. Nevertheless, as this right came under serious attack in Egypt, the United States continues to support the Egyptian military as it imposes its will on the Egyptian people. This support should stop until and unless the freely and fairly elected government is restored.

The military coup that took place in Egypt on 3 July 2013 is a serious violation of the right to participate in one's democracy. It is a violation of the rights of the majority voters in the Egypt's presidential and parliamentary elections in 2011 and 2012.
Bad Guys

Psychopath Zbigniew Brzezinksi counsels fellow psychopath John Kerry: Stand Firm!

© Headline Digest
It's time for the secretary of state to insist on America's position on Middle East peace

We commend Secretary of State John Kerry's extraordinary efforts to renew Israeli-Palestinian talks and negotiations for a framework for a peace accord, and the strong support his initiative has received from President Barack Obama.

We believe these efforts, and the priority Kerry has assigned to them, have been fully justified. However, we also believe that the necessary confidentiality that Secretary Kerry imposed on the resumed negotiations should not preclude a far more forceful and public expression of certain fundamental U.S. positions:


U.S. disapproval of continued settlement enlargement in the Occupied Territories by Israel's government as "illegitimate" and "unhelpful" does not begin to define the destructiveness of this activity. Nor does it dispel the impression that we have come to accept it despite our rhetorical objections. Halting the diplomatic process on a date certain until Israel complies with international law and previous agreements would help to stop this activity and clearly place the onus for the interruption where it belongs.
Stock Down

Insiders tell all: Both the stock market and the SEC are rigged (but we know that already)

obama wall street

President Obama Nominates Mary Jo White for Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission
Since bestselling author Michael Lewis appeared on 60 Minutes on March 30 to promote his new book, Flash Boys, and explained how the U.S. stock market is rigged; and Brad Katsuyama, the head of IEX, an electronic trading platform who plays a central role in the Lewis book, did the same on CNBC a few days later, the debate has gone viral.

But Lewis and Katsuyama were not the first to blow the whistle on rigged U.S. stock markets. Sal Arnuk and Joseph Saluzzi, Wall Street insiders and co-founders of Themis Trading LLC literally wrote the book on Broken Markets in 2012 and have been exposing details of the rigging on their blog ever since.

Wall Street Journal reporter, Scott Patterson, mapped out the exotic and corrupt order types permitted by the stock exchanges to fleece the little guy in his 2012 book, Dark Pools, which follows the trading career of Haim Bodek, who has set up his own web site to blow the whistle on just how badly the stock market is rigged.

Following all the media hoopla, the FBI has recently announced that it has opened an investigation into the allegations. But under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the FBI is not in charge of rigged stock exchanges - the Securities and Exchange Commission is. But according to insiders, the SEC has stood down in much the same fashion that it ignored warnings about Bernard Madoff from whistleblower Harry Markopolos for years. The explanation for the SEC's inaction, many traders feel, is that the SEC itself is rigged against Main Street in favor of big Wall Street firms. That view has found support among the SEC's own insiders.

Rebel videos, photos show US-made rockets in Syria

© Screenshot from youtube video by asim zedan
Recently emerged videos and photos show Syrian rebels armed with what experts say are US anti-tank rockets. These are the first significant American-built armaments to be seen in the country, as the civil war reaches a stalemate.

Although it was not possible to independently verify the footage - most of which has now been removed from YouTube - analysts said that BGM-71 TOW anti-tank rockets, made by the US, were shown in the videos. However, they added that the rockets could have been supplied by an American ally such as Saudi Arabia, possibly with Washington's tacit agreement, Reuters reported.

"With US-made TOW anti-tank missiles now seen in the hands of three groups in the north and the south of Syria, it is safe to say that is important," said Charles Lister, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution Doha center, who was one of the first people to identify the weapons.

Afghanistan Newspeak: 10 ways the US skews the narrative

As the clock ticks down to the promised withdrawal from Afghanistan, the US military is trying to figure out how to market the idea that the international intervention has actually accomplished its core mission - bringing peace and stability to a nation that has known little of either for the past 35 years.

The solution: a little Newspeak.

As George Orwell described the wonders of this invention: "It means a loyal willingness to say that black is white ... But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary."

Welcome to the war in Afghanistan.

Comment: Also see: U.S. troops are needed in Afghanistan to 'protect women'? Really?