Puppet Masters


Framed? Ricin suspect released from jail, detention and preliminary hearing cancelled after FBI finds no evidence

FBI ricin search
© Unknown
The Mississippi man charged with sending poisoned letters to President Barack Obama, a U.S. senator and a state judge was released from jail on Tuesday, federal official said, though the reason for the release wasn't immediately clear.

Jeff Woodfin, chief deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service in Oxford, Miss., said Paul Kevin Curtis has been released from custody. Woodfin said he doesn't know if there were any conditions on the release.

The development comes hours after officials canceled a detention and preliminary hearing without explaining the reason for the change.

His lawyer Christi McCoy, who has been pushing for the charges to be dropped, said in a text message Tuesday that she could only confirm that her client has been released.

Here we go again - Preparing for major terrorism exercises in three U.S. cities

US Great Seal
© Wikimedia Commons
The federal government has begun preparing three U.S. cities for large-scale, 10-day terrorism-response exercises scheduled this month. Beginning sometime between May 7 and May 29, local, state and top level federal authorities will respond to simulated weapons of mass destruction attacks in three cities - Denver, Portsmouth, N.H., and the Washington, D.C.-area.

Denver or Portsmouth will face either a simulated biological or a chemical weapons attack. The D.C. metropolitan area will respond to a radiological attack drill - which could range from simply an exposed container of radioactive material to a small nuclear detonation.

Innocent family ripped from their home at gunpoint; Police storm the property looking for terrorists

On Friday, April 19, 2013, during a manhunt for a bombing suspect, police and federal agents spent the day storming people's homes and performing illegal searches. While it was unclear initially if the home searches were voluntary, it is now crystal clear that they were absolutely NOT voluntary. Police were filmed ripping people from their homes at gunpoint, marching the residents out with their hands raised in submission, and then storming the homes to perform their illegal searches.


This was part of a larger operation that involved total lockdown of the suburban neighbor to Boston. Roads were barricaded and vehicle traffic was prohibited. A No-Fly Zone was declared over the town. People were "ordered" to stay indoors. Businesses were told not to open. National Guard soldiers helped with the lockdown, and were photographed checking IDs of pedestrians on the streets. All the while, police were performing these disgusting house-to-house searches.

Comment: Police state anyone?! Welcome to the good old U.S.A!


New York City proposes raising minimum age for cigarette purchases from 18 to 21

cigarette packs
© Mark Lennihan, file/Associated Press
In this March 18, 2013 file photo cigarette packs are displayed for sale at a convenience store in New York. No one under 21 would be able to buy cigarettes in New York City under a proposal unveiled Monday, April 22, 2013 to make the city the most populous place in America to set the minimum age that high.
No one under 21 would be able to buy cigarettes in the city under a proposal unveiled Monday to make it the most populous place in America to set the minimum age that high.

Extending a decade of moves to crack down on smoking in the nation's largest city, the measure aims to stop young people from developing a habit that remains the leading preventable cause of death, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said as she announced the plan. Eighty percent of the city's smokers started lighting up before they were 21, officials say.

"The point here is to really address where smoking begins," she said, flanked by colleagues and the city's health commissioner. With support in the council and Mayor Michael Bloomberg's backing, the proposal has the political ingredients to pass.

But it may face questions about its effectiveness and fairness. A retailers' representative suggested the measure would simply drive younger smokers to neighboring communities or corner-store cigarette sellers instead of city stores, while a smokers' rights advocate called it "government paternalism at its worst."

Under federal law, no one under 18 can buy tobacco anywhere in the country. Four states and some localities have raised the age to 19, and at least two communities have agreed to raise it to 21.
Bad Guys

Bloomberg says interpretation of Constitution will 'have to change' after Boston bombing

 Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
© John Moore/Getty Images
Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday the country's interpretation of the Constitution will "have to change" to allow for greater security to stave off future attacks.

"The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry," Mr. Bloomberg said during a press conference in Midtown. "But we live in a complex word where you're going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change."

Mr. Bloomberg, who has come under fire for the N.Y.P.D.'s monitoring of Muslim communities and other aggressive tactics, said the rest of the country needs to learn from the attacks.

"Look, we live in a very dangerous world. We know there are people who want to take away our freedoms. New Yorkers probably know that as much if not more than anybody else after the terrible tragedy of 9/11," he said.

"We have to understand that in the world going forward, we're going to have more cameras and that kind of stuff. That's good in some sense, but it's different from what we are used to," he said.

Over half of Guantanamo Bay prisoners now on hunger strike as number increases

Guantanamo protest
© Unknown
Mass protest prompted by site authorites' Koran search - seen by inmates as 'religious desecration'

Over half of all detainees at the US-run Guantanamo Bay military prison are now taking part in a hunger strike, with many being force-fed, a US military spokesman confirmed today.

The number of prisoners on hunger strike has risen to 84, an increase of 32 since last Wednesday, with 16 now receiving "enteral feedings," a process involving being force-fed via tubes.

Canadian government uses Boston bombing to pass bill to limit civil liberties

Vic Toews
© Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews rises in the House of Commons.
The Harper government is using the Boston Marathon bombing to expedite the passage of a relatively slow-moving bill that would restrict civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism.

Some of the measures in S-7, the Combating Terrorism Act, have previously been law but expired because they were so-called sun-set provisions introduced in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

The Conservative have cleared time in their legislative agenda Monday and Tuesday to conduct third-reading debate on S-7, legislation that would authorize police to pre-emptively detain Canadians and hold them for up to three days without charging them.

The bill would also allow authorities to imprison a Canadian for up to 12 months if they refuse to answer questions posed by a judge in what are called investigative hearings.

Comment: As we have witnessed in the USA with the Patriot act after 9/11, here it is the Canadian government exploiting recent events to continue diminishing civil liberties.


What's next for Boston Marathon suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: 5 legal questions

© Reuters
“No Miranda warning to be given” now, the DOJ official said.
With Dzhokhar Tsarnaev taken alive, the focus now turns to how the Obama administration is going to seek to bring the Boston Marathon bombing suspect to justice.

Lawyers have already made one potentially critical decision: He hasn't been read his Miranda rights, at least for now. This means that FBI investigators may have a shot at trying to question him about other potential plots he may be aware of and whether anyone other than his deceased brother was involved in last Monday's bombing or Thursday night's crime spree.

But if Tsarnaev's injuries leave him incapacitated for a protracted period of time, the Miranda issue may be of less significance.

As soon as he's coherent, he's likely to go before a judge or magistrate, even in the hospital. The judicial officer will formally advise Tsarnaev of the preliminary charges used to detain him and tell of his right to an attorney, even if investigators haven't done that by then.

On Sunday, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said Tsarnaev was still in stable but serious condition and has not been questioned yet. "He's in no condition to be interrogated at this point in time," Davis said on "Fox News Sunday." "He's progressing, though, and we're monitoring the situation carefully."

One tricky issue now is how prosecutors and the FBI will balance the duty to get Tsarnaev before a judge promptly with their desire to do the initial public-safety interview.

Meanwhile, a host of other questions are already bubbling up, from whether he'll be tried in civilian or military court to whether he'll face the death penalty for crimes that include killing three people in the explosions and a police officer on the MIT campus.

Merkel says euro members must be prepared to cede sovereignty

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that euro zone members must be prepared to cede control over certain policy domains to European institutions if the bloc is truly to overcome its debt crisis and win back foreign investors.

Speaking at an event hosted by Deutsche Bank in Berlin alongside Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Merkel also defended her approach to the crisis against critics who argue she has put too much emphasis on austerity, saying Europe must find a way to deliver both growth and solid finances.

The comments came two months before European leaders are due to gather in Brussels to discuss moving towards a so-called "fiscal union".

Expectations are low, in part because an easing of the crisis has reduced pressure on leaders to produce a big leap forward in integration, but also due to differences between Germany and its partners, notably France, over the next steps.

Police State: Boston lockdown - The new normal?

© AP Photo
There are worries that the lockdown effort contained ‘an element of overreaction’.
The unprecedented manhunt in Boston that concluded successfully Friday night earned law enforcement authorities the gratitude of the nation.

But as relief replaces fear, the debate about what this episode means for the future is already beginning. And one of the most unsettling questions is whether the violence-related lockdown of a major U.S. city - an extraordinary moment in American history - sets a life-altering precedent.

There are already worries that the effort to protect the people of Boston contained an element of overreaction. Local authorities told the city and nearby suburbs to "shelter in place" throughout the day and into the evening. They closed businesses, shuttered government buildings and suspended all public transportation in the metro area.

That decision concerned some political leaders and policy experts.