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Bad Guys

Jailhouse democracy: How the US rules the Middle East through puppet dictators

During the beginning of his first term in office President Obama promised "to remake the Middle East into a region of prosperity and freedom". Six years later the reality is totally the contrary: the Middle East is ruled by despotic regimes whose jails are overflowing with political prisoners. The vast majority of pro-democracy activists who have been incarcerated, have been subject to harsh torture and are serving long prison sentences. The rulers lack legitimacy, having seized power and maintained their rule through a centralized police state and military repression. Direct US military and CIA intervention, massive shipments of arms,military bases, training missions and Special Forces are decisive in the construction of the Gulag chain from North Africa to the Gulf States.

We will proceed by documenting the scale and scope of political repression in each US backed police state. We will then describe the scale and scope of US military aid buttressing the "remaking of the Middle East" into a chain of political prisons run by and for the US Empire.

The countries and regimes include Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Yemen, Jordan and Turkey . . . all of which promote and defend US imperial interests against the pro-democracy majority, represented by their independent social-political movements.
Arrow Up

The Bundy Paradigm: Will you be a rebel, revolutionary or a slave?

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - John F. Kennedy
Bundy Ranch
© OffGridSurvival
Supporters gathering outside the Bundy Ranch.
Those tempted to write off the standoff at the Bundy Ranch as little more than a show of force by militia-minded citizens would do well to reconsider their easy dismissal of this brewing rebellion. This goes far beyond concerns about grazing rights or the tension between the state and the federal government.

Few conflicts are ever black and white, and the Bundy situation, with its abundance of gray areas, is no exception. Yet the question is not whether Cliven Bundy and his supporters are domestic terrorists, as Harry Reid claims, or patriots, or something in between. Nor is it a question of whether the Nevada rancher is illegally grazing his cattle on federal land or whether that land should rightfully belong to the government.

Nor is it even a question of who's winning the showdown - the government with its arsenal of SWAT teams, firepower and assault vehicles, or Bundy's militia supporters with their assortment of weapons - because if such altercations end in bloodshed, everyone loses.

What we're really faced with, and what we'll see more of before long, is a growing dissatisfaction with the government and its heavy-handed tactics by people who are tired of being used and abused and are ready to say "enough is enough." And it won't matter what the issue is - whether it's a rancher standing his ground over grazing rights, a minister jailed for holding a Bible study in his own home, or a community outraged over police shootings of unarmed citizens - these are the building blocks of a political powder keg. Now all that remains is a spark, and it need not be a very big one, to set the whole powder keg aflame.

As I show in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, there's a subtext to this incident that must not be ignored, and it is simply this: America is a pressure cooker with no steam valve, and things are about to blow. This is what happens when a parasitical government muzzles the citizenry, fences them in, herds them, brands them, whips them into submission, forces them to ante up the sweat of their brows while giving them little in return, and then provides them with little to no outlet for voicing their discontent.
Stormtrooper

SWAT: Military-style units from government agencies are wreaking havoc on non-violent citizens

© National Review Online
Military-style units from government agencies are wreaking havoc on non-violent citizen

Regardless of how people feel about Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's standoff with the federal Bureau of Land Management over his cattle's grazing rights, a lot of Americans were surprised to see TV images of an armed-to-the-teeth paramilitary wing of the BLM deployed around Bundy's ranch.

They shouldn't have been. Dozens of federal agencies now have Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams to further an expanding definition of their missions. It's not controversial that the Secret Service and the Bureau of Prisons have them. But what about the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? All of these have their own SWAT units and are part of a worrying trend towards the militarization of federal agencies - not to mention local police forces.
Map

French police asks hoteliers to "report guests from Eastern Europe" - Hospitality Union protests "racial profiling"

© Jerome Bon
Tension is mounting between police and hoteliers in Montpellier, after an official email apparently requested all visitors from Eastern Europe should be reported to authorities.

The email from the Regional Service of Judicial Police (SRPJ), seen by the Languedoc-Rousillon regional broadcasting arm of France 3 asked hoteliers and restaurateurs to "report the arrival in your institution of individuals, groups or families from Eastern Europe", including, if possible, the licence plates of their vehicles.

Jacques Mestre, regional president of the Union of Hospitality Trades and Industries (UMIH), claimed that the email effectively asked him to discriminate against visitors from Eastern Europe and warned that it amounted to "racial profiling".
Propaganda

Psychopathic N.Y. Post Propaganda Screed: The Pulitzers reward traitors and treason

© Shutterstock
It's official: Treason is cool and traitors are acceptable sources for journalists. The Pulitzer Prize says so.

In giving the 2014 Public Service award to The Washington Post and The Guardian for publishing stories based on Edward Snowden's stolen documents, the Pulitzer judges gave their stamp of approval to news organizations that cooperate with criminals and compromise national security. No doubt the lesson will trickle down to scoop-hungry young journalists that they should cultivate people willing to betray America.

And why not? Those scribes whose sources steal the most important documents could win a Pulitzer and be the toast of anti-Americans around the world. No responsibility for catastrophe is required.

Other ambitious young people might conclude there is glory in being the next Snowden. If they're really successful, they might get to be part of a propaganda event with Vladimir Putin, as the fugitive Snowden was last week.
Megaphone

U.S. has lost the moral authority to talk about a free and open internet sez U.S. ex-government official


Brazil president Dilma Rousseff was a target of US surveillance
A meeting in Brazil this week will reveal whether Washington has succeeded in preventing international anger over the Edward Snowden revelations clouding discussions about future governance of the internet.

São Paulo is to host a two-day international meeting, starting on Wednesday, called by Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, one of the international leaders who was a target of US surveillance.

International unrest over US and British internet surveillance has weakened Washington's ability to shape the debate about the internet's future, according to people involved in the process.

"The US has lost the moral authority to talk about a free and open internet," said a former senior US government official.

The São Paulo meeting had the potential to become deeply political and expose rifts between countries over future control of the internet, said Greg Shatan, a partner at law firm Reed Smith in Washington. "It was called under extraordinary circumstances, it's a reaction to a perceived crisis," he said.
Megaphone

Pope calls for end to war, condemns waste exacerbating hunger

© REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis waves as he arrives to deliver the Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) benediction at the end of the Easter Mass in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican April 20, 2014.
Pope Francis, in his Easter address before a huge crowd, on Sunday denounced the "immense wastefulness" in the world while many go hungry and called for an end to conflicts in Syria, Ukraine and Africa.

"We ask you, Lord Jesus, to put an end to all war and every conflict, whether great or small, ancient or recent," he said in his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message.

Francis, marking the second Easter season of his pontificate, celebrated a Mass to an overflowing crowd of at least 150,000 in St. Peter's Square and beyond.

The crowd stretched back along all of Via della Conciliazione, the boulevard between the Vatican and the Tiber River.

Speaking under a sunny sky after a midnight rainstorm soaked the tens of thousands of flowers that bedecked the square, Francis weaved his message around the suffering of people across the globe.
Bad Guys

Ukraine shootout threatens to bury Geneva peace deal - CIA probably responsible

Kiev ridicules claims by Russians that violence at Slavyansk checkpoint was caused by far-right Ukrainian nationalists

slavyansk cars
© Maysun/Corbis
The wreckage of the vehicles after a midnight shootout at a Slavyansk checkpoint.
An international agreement to defuse the crisis in Ukraine was all but shredded on Sunday after a shootout in the separatist town of Slavyansk.

Three days after the Geneva deal brought modest hopes for a resolution to the gravest east-west stand-off since the end of the cold war, the midnight incident at a checkpoint - in which reports said as many as five people were killed - unleashed a torrent of accusations and counter-accusations that bodes ill for international peacemakers.

Russia claimed that far-right Ukrainian nationalists opened fire at the checkpoint just outside the town, seized by an armed pro-Russian militia two weeks ago. The foreign ministry in Moscow accused Kiev of failing to disarm "extremists and terrorists" and blamed the clash on the Right Sector, a nationalist Ukrainian group that has supported the pro-Western interim government in Ukraine.

The new self-proclaimed mayor of Slavyansk, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, said Russian troops were urgently needed to protect the civilian population. He threatened to "personally shoot" Ukraine's interior minister Arsen Avakov if he could.

The authorities in Kiev described the incident in the early hours of Sunday as a "crude provocation", made for Russian TV. They said some of the details of the shootout were so implausible as to be ridiculous.


Comment: What a bunch of hot air! Liars are quick to dismiss and ridicule the truth, but they always forget one thing: evidence to back up their 'version' of events.

Pocket Knife

Bizarre French court ruling bans village from using their name

© MarkMatters.com
The Mayor of Laguiole has appealed directly to French President François Hollande after a court ruled that the village's name was the property of a knife manufacturer.

Vincent Alazard's plea comes after the Court of Appeal ruled that the village's name cannot be attached to any product other than those under the Laguiole brand, several of which are made in China.

It is the latest twist in a long-running legal battle which has reportedly so far cost residents €100,000.

Despite the mounting legal costs the Aveyron village is considering a further legal appeal. Its 1,300 inhabitants are also said to be planning a march on the Élysée Palace.
Powertool

French cancel auction of Nazi property after Jewish protest: political pressure, insulting emails

© AP Photo/Vermot de Pas Auction House
This image provided Monday April, 14, 2014 by French auction House Vermot de Pas shows Nazi leader Hermann Goering's passport. The auction house is abandoning plans to sell dozens of items from Nazi Germany including a small wooden box bearing three swastikas that was once owned by Adolf Hitler. The Vermot de Pas house says about 40 items including passports of Nazi leader Hermann Goering, silverware and a German aviator's watch will not be sold as planned on April 26.
A planned auction in Paris of personal items belonging to Adolf Hitler and Herman Göring has been cancelled.

The Conseil des Ventes Volontaires (CVV) said that the sale at Drouot on April 26 would not go ahead following protests from Jewish organisations. It said that the auction house had decided to cancel the sale.

The Vermot de Pas auction house, which had organised the sale said that it had faced "political pressure" including "insulting emails and phone calls".

The 40 items intended for sale included a monogrammed towel belonging to Adolf Hitler, a wooden chest emblazoned with swastikas, Herman Göring's passport and a 17th-century manuscript presented to Göring in 1935.
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