Puppet Masters


Afghan children bear brunt of NATO's unexploded bombs

© Reuters / Omar Sobhani
Ordnance left by parting international troops kills or injures about 40 people a month - the vast majority children.

International troops pulling out of Afghanistan have left behind a lethal legacy of unexploded bombs and shells that are killing and maiming people at a rate of more than one a day. The vast majority are children.

Bombs dropped from the air coupled with munitions left behind in makeshift firing ranges in rural Afghanistan have made parts of the countryside perilous for locals who are used to working the land for subsistence and raw materials.

Since 2001, the coalition has dropped about 20,000 tonnes of ammunition over Afghanistan. Experts say about 10% of munitions do not detonate: some malfunction, others land on sandy ground. Foreign soldiers have also used valleys, fields and dry riverbeds as firing ranges and left them peppered with undetonated ammunition.

Foreign troops in Ukraine? Of course! But they're not Russian

US-backed president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, was among the elites gathering in Davos, Switzerland this week to attend the 2015 World Economic Forum. During his speech he made the remarkable claim that 9,000 Russian troops were currently fighting in Ukraine on behalf of the independence-seeking areas of the country. These 9,000 troops have brought with them tanks, heavy artillery, and armored vehicles, he claimed. "Is this not aggression?" he asked the gathered elites.

Comment: Oh puhleeze, Poroshenko! This is the first trick in the propagandist's playbook: asking questions loaded with implied but unfounded premises. The question is not "is this aggression?", but "is this true?" And no, it's not. It it were there would be that thing people in the reality-based world like to call 'evidence'.

The US was quick to amplify Poroshenko's claims, with US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power Tweeting today:

State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki was asked whether the US might at least admit that the missiles fired by the Kiev authorities into residential areas in eastern Ukraine this week were a violation of the September ceasefire agreed upon in Minsk, Belarus. She refused to admit as much, and in fact she refused to even admit that the shells killing scores of civilians this past week were fired by the US-backed regime in Kiev. "Russia is not complying" with the agreement was all she would say.

Comment: That is just low, Psaki. But then again, it's hard to stick to your scripted talking points and admit simple facts at the same time. That just shows how inhuman your talking points are - that you cannot acknowledge the illegal killing of civilians because it might expose your 'official' policy' as having absolutely no moral bearing.


Holocaust 2.0: Welcome to the jungle

Fritz Gerlich was a German journalist during Hitler's rise to power. He was well known for his biting criticism of der Führer. One of his most controversial moments was turning Hitler's image into a composite where his facial features were exaggerated and he was arm in arm with a black woman.

In the article, Fritz suggested that readers apply Hitler's own science of physiognomy to Hitler himself, and when applied, it's clear Hitler isn't even Aryan, but of a Mongolian subtype. This insult was the final nail in the coffin for Fritz, who had consistently used the power of the pen to combat Hitler each step of the way. He was arrested and dragged off to Dachau while working on yet another Hitler exposé, and killed a little over a year later.

Gerlich serves as but one example of many journalists who were threatened, beaten and murdered for revealing the truth. Only in the dark can evil things hide. I draw this piece of history to your attention, dear reader, because I want to talk about some other modern-day journalists who were killed under questionable circumstances. It seems we have yet to learn the lessons we said we'd never forget.

Comment: Check out the first in this series:

Holocaust 2.0: Coming soon!


GMO agri-businesses invade Ukraine's bread basket

gmo corn
© unknown

At the same time as the United States, Canada and the European Union announced a set of new sanctions against Russia in mid-December last year, Ukraine received US$350 million in US military aid, coming on top of a $1 billion aid package approved by the US Congress in March 2014.

Western governments' further involvement in the Ukraine conflict signals their confidence in the cabinet appointed by the new government earlier in December 2014. This new government is unique given that three of its most important ministries were granted to foreign-born individuals who received Ukrainian citizenship just hours before their appointment.

The Ministry of Finance went to Natalie Jaresko, a US-born and educated businesswoman who has been working in Ukraine since the mid-1990s, overseeing a private equity fund established by the US government to invest in the country. Jaresko is also the CEO of Horizon Capital, an investment firm that administers various Western investments in the country.

Charlie Hebdo attacks used to justify increasing fascism in Europe, intel agencies to blame?

After the bloody events in Paris, when journalists of Charlie Hebdo were murdered in the broad daylight, all across the globe numerous journals have been discussing who could benefit from this tragedy.

In some countries (primarily Muslim) the manifestations against the provocative publications of controversial cartoons of the Prophet that mocked the religious feelings of all Muslims are still on the rise. Some experts have linked these provocative anti-Muslim cartoons with the acquisition of Charlie Hebdo by the Rothschilds in December 2014, the latter of whom are constantly worrying about their profits. But now they can be fairly content since after these tragic events the number of copies sold increased tenfold!

Another group of experts believes that the attack on French journalists was the result of direct actions of Western intelligence agencies. Therefore, the consequences of the Charlie Hebdo massacre can be compared to those of 9/11 attack, such as the tightening of security in Europe. These agencies have been seeking ways to create obstacles to the spread of Islam in Europe, along with obtaining legislative support to establish total surveillance over the activities and private lives of Europeans. Political elites behind such agencies believe that democratic rights, the protection of which has been the focal point of all populist political speeches in the West, should be narrowed. Police control in Western countries is increasingly intrusive with each passing day, as the growing distrust and discontent of the European population becomes more apparent. Western elites have failed to put forward comprehensive social and economic measures that could ease this growing angst, therefore an increase in political activity, anti-government demonstrations, and electoral control over ruling parties was inevitable.

The recent two-day meeting of Foreign Ministers of the EU in Brussels, summoned to discuss the "urgent measures to strengthen the fight against terrorism." can be regarded as damning evidence against Western elites. It was of little surprise for experts that the topic of these discussions was the adoption of a EU version of the US Patriot Act, that is used by Washington to control not only its fellow citizens, but "allies" alike.
Snakes in Suits

Buying Democracy: Koch brothers plan to spend $900 million for 2016 presidential election

© Bo Rader/The Wichita Eagle, via Associated Press
Charles Koch in 2012. The Kochs and their advisers have built a robust array of political organizations
The political network overseen by the conservative billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch plans to spend close to $900 million on the 2016 campaign, an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history.

The spending goal, revealed Monday at the Kochs' annual winter donor retreat near Palm Springs, Calif., would allow their political organization to operate at the same financial scale as the Democratic and Republican Parties. It would require a significant financial commitment from the Kochs and roughly 300 other donors they have recruited over the years, and covers both the presidential and congressional races. In the last presidential election, the Republican National Committee and the party's two congressional campaign committees spent a total of $657 million.

Hundreds of conservative donors recruited by the Kochs gathered over the weekend for three days of issue seminars, strategy sessions and mingling with rising elected officials. These donors represent the largest concentration of political money outside the party establishment, one that has achieved enormous power in Republican circles in recent years.

Green Light

Genetically modified potatoes close to arriving at U.S. grocery stores

© Reuters/Philippe Wojazer
A new genetically modified potato is closer than ever to arriving in American grocery stores, but while advocates claim it can actually reduce the risk of cancer, opponents say not nearly enough is known to ensure public safety.

Created by the J. R. Simplot Company, 'Innate' potatoes were created by inserting extra genes into them - genes that are modified but that otherwise exist naturally in the potato. Through genetic modification using RNA interference (RNAi), scientists used these genes to shut down a few of the potato's other original genes - a process called gene silencing.

Some of the genes being shut down are those that cause bruising and create acrylamide when potatoes are baked or fried. Acrylamide is an amino acid which, in tests conducted on rats, has increased the animals' risk of getting cancer.

Comment: That's a great marketing strategy and one hell of a sales job. The fact that acrylamide has been linked to cancer doesn't mean GMOs are good for you or that eating them will prevent cancer.

There are also financial incentives behind gene silencing, and the Innate potato was designed to solve a big monetary problem. Farmers currently throw out 1.4 billion pounds of potatoes due to browning and bruising, costing them 15 percent of their profits each year. The fewer potatoes thrown out because of this, the more profit they can recoup off their yield.

While the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the new varieties in November, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to give the green light on the potato. It is looking into how the genetic modification has altered the chemical makeup of the potato, and whether that raises safety concerns.

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) is worried about the USDA granting the Innate potato a non-regulatory status, since GMO foods are not required to be labeled. As a result, the new potato will be sold to consumers without their knowledge.

Comment: See also:


Fact-checking group rates Fox News as worst TV outlet for promoting mostly lies and false information

© Fox News
Fox News host Sean Hannity
Fox News promotes the most false information among TV news outlets, according to a fact-checking watchdog - and the problem is only getting worse.

Politifact regularly examines claims made on air by pundits, hosts, or paid contributors and rates those statements by accuracy.

The latest scorecard showed more than 60 percent of the claims made on Fox News were mostly false or worse - and half of all claims were either demonstrably false or outright lies.

Politifact found that 39 percent of the claims made on air during Fox News broadcasts had some basis in fact, with 10 percent that could be proven as true, 11 percent rated as mostly true, and 18 percent that were half true.

However, a nearly equal number - 38 percent - of the claims made on Fox News were demonstrably false, while 26 percent of them were mostly false, and 11 percent were mocked as "pants on fire" falsehoods.

Ukraine Chief of Staff acknowledges no Russian troops in Donetsk

© Sputnik/ Igor Zarembo
The chief of Ukraine's General Military Staff Viktor Muzhenko acknowledged that Russian regular army units were not involved in combat action in the troubled Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

"Right now the Ukrainian army is not engaged in combat operations against Russian regular units," he underscored.

Muzhenko added, however, that he had information about Russian civilian and military individuals fighting alongside independence supporters in the country's east.

Comment: But the misinformation campaign by the West has already done it's damage to make Russia look like the aggressor.

Eye 1

Unraveling the mysterious origins and benefactors of Boko Haram

Notice the weapons, equipment and uniforms, Boko Haram is obviously well-funded.
The most entertaining mysteries are the ones with compelling protagonists, enigmatic and often surreptitious antagonists, and surprising or shocking conclusions. Indeed, without these essential elements, one is unlikely to read the story at all. However, when it comes to politics and geopolitics, somehow our mass media storytellers - the scores of journalists, military and counter-terrorism 'experts,' and establishment mouthpieces - fail to even point us in the right direction. Not only do they not follow the threads of the story, they prefer to pretend they simply aren't there.

And so it is with the great 'mystery' of Boko Haram, a group that in just a few years has become one of the most recognizable terrorist entities in the world. Having carried out heinous massacres of men, women, and children, abducted thousands of innocents, and destroyed whole towns, Boko Haram now symbolizes just that perfect blend of barbarism, religious and ideological fundamentalism, and non-white skin, which come together to cast them, in the eyes of westerners especially, as the manifestation of evil - the devil incarnate that can only be destroyed by the forces of righteousness. You know, the 'good guys.'

But what happens when there are no 'good guys' to be found? What happens when you follow the story only to find the most cynical of intentions from every player involved? Such is the case with this Boko Haram story, and indeed the regional politics and geopolitics of West Africa as a whole.

In trying to unravel the labyrinthine web of political, economic, and strategic threads connecting a number of significant actors, it becomes clear that no analysis of Boko Haram is worth reading unless it approaches the issue from three distinctly different, yet intimately connected, angles.

First, there is Nigeria's domestic politics, and the issue of Boko Haram and the perception of the government and opposition's responsibility for the chaos it has wreaked. With elections scheduled to take place in February, Boko Haram and national security have, quite understandably, become dominant issues in the public mind. The mutual finger-pointing and accusations provide an important backdrop for understanding how Boko Haram fits both into the public discourse, and into the strategies of political networks behind the scenes in Nigeria, and the region more broadly.