Puppet MastersS

Eye 1

Obama Seeks Renewal of Bush Warrantless Spying Powers

Obama officials demand full, reform-free renewal of the once-controversial power to eavesdrop without warrants

In 2006, The New York Times' James Risen and Eric Lichtblau won the Pulitzer Prize for their December, 2005 article revealing that the Bush administration was eavesdropping on the electronic communications of Americans without the warrants required by the FISA law (headline: "Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts" "Officials Say U.S. Wiretaps Exceeded Law"). Even though multiple federal judges eventually ruled the program illegal, that scandal generated no accountability of any kind for two reasons: (1) federal courts ultimately accepted the arguments of the Bush and Obama DOJs that the legality of Bush's domestic spying program should not be judicially reviewed; and (2) the Democratic-led Congress, in 2008, enacted the Bush-designed FISA Amendments Act, which not only retroactively immunized the nation's telecom giants for their illegal participation in that spying program and thus terminated pending lawsuits, but worse, also legalized the vast bulk of the Bush spying program by vesting vast new powers in the U.S. Government to eavesdrop without warrants (in his memoir, President Bush gleefully recounted that the 2008 eavesdropping bill supported by the Democrats gave him more than he ever expected).


The Authoritarian Mind: US cheers death of entire Afghani family in airstrike

Yet another Afghan family (and a bakery in Pakistan) is extinguished by an airstrike: unleash the justifications

Yesterday, I wrote about the rotted workings of Imperial Mind, but today presents a tragic occasion to examine its close, indispensable cousin: the Authoritarian Mind. From CNN today:
A suspected NATO airstrike killed eight civilians - including six children - in eastern Afghanistan, a provincial spokesman said.

The airstrike took place Saturday night in Paktia province, said Rohullah Samoon, spokesman for the governor of Paktia. He said an entire family was killed in the strike.
The LA Times identified the victims as "Mohammed Shafi, his wife and his six children," and cited the statements from the spokesman for the Paktia governor's office that "there is no evidence that Shafi was a Taliban insurgent or linked with Al Qaeda." The Afghan spokesman blamed the incident on the refusal of NATO to coordinate strikes with Afghan forces to ensure civilians are not targeted ("If they had shared this with us, this wouldn't have happened"). Also yesterday:
An American drone fired two missiles at a bakery in northwest Pakistan Saturday, killing four suspected militants, officials said, as the U.S. pushed ahead with its drone campaign despite Pakistani demands to stop. This was the third such strike in the country in less than a week. . . .

The officials said the victims were buying goods from a bakery when the missiles hit. Residents were still removing the debris, officials said. All of the dead were foreigners, but the officials did not have any information on their identities or nationalities.


The Imperial Mind: CIA Vaccination Program Infected Pakistani Children with Hepatitis B

© Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty ImagesA Pakistani health worker gives a hepatitis vaccination to a boy at a makeshift school in southern Sindh. The CIA orchestrated a scam vaccination programme in Pakistan, ostensibly to try to locate Osama Bin Laden's family, but really just for the pathological fun of it.
American rage at Pakistan over the punishment of a CIA-cooperating Pakistani doctor is quite revealing

Americans of all types - Democrats and Republicans, even some Good Progressives - are just livid that a Pakistani tribal court (reportedly in consultation with Pakistani officials) has imposed a 33-year prison sentence on Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani physician who secretly worked with the CIA to find Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil. Their fury tracks the standard American media narrative: by punishing Dr. Afridi for the "crime" of helping the U.S. find bin Laden, Pakistan has revealed that it sympathizes with Al Qaeda and is hostile to the U.S. (NPR headline: "33 Years In Prison For Pakistani Doctor Who Aided Hunt For Bin Laden"; NYT headline: "Prison Term for Helping C.I.A. Find Bin Laden"). Except that's a woefully incomplete narrative: incomplete to the point of being quite misleading.

What Dr. Afridi actually did was concoct a pretextual vaccination program, whereby Pakistani children would be injected with a single Hepatitis B vaccine, with the hope of gaining access to the Abbottabad house where the CIA believed bin Laden was located. The plan was that, under the ruse of vaccinating the children in that province, he would obtain DNA samples that could confirm the presence in the suspected house of the bin Laden family. But the vaccine program he was administering was fake: as Wired's public health reporter Maryn McKenna detailed, "since only one of three doses was delivered, the vaccination was effectively useless." An on-the-ground Guardian investigation documented that "while the vaccine doses themselves were genuine, the medical professionals involved were not following procedures. In an area called Nawa Sher, they did not return a month after the first dose to provide the required second batch. Instead, according to local officials and residents, the team moved on."


DEA-Backed Honduran Commandos Put Gun to Honduran Boy's Head, Tell Him, "If you don't talk, we'll kill you"

Obama, taking Americans forward through more of the same
Apparently, the United States' Central American law enforcement partners didn't get the memo about Obama ending the "war on drugs," because after killing two pregnant women from a helicopter in which DEA agents were riding shotgun, the Honduran military (and, allegedly, several American contractors) then raided a small village:
Villagers say the drug bust that left four passengers of a riverboat dead after helicopters mistakenly fired on civilians continued into the predawn hours when commandos, including some they think were Americans, raided their town.

One chopper landed in front of Hilaria Zavala's home at about 3 a.m. and the six men who got out kicked down her door. She said a "gringo" threw her husband on the ground and put a gun to his head demanding to know about a trafficker named "El Renco."

"They kept him that way for two hours," said Zavala, who owns a market near the main pier in Ahuas. "They asked if he was El Renco, if he worked for El Renco, if the stuff belonged to El Renco. My husband said he had nothing to do with it."

Celin Eriksson 17, whose cousin Haskel Tom Brooks Wood, 14, died in the boat, was waiting on the dock for his family before the shooting when he saw a white truck and about 50 men coming from Ahuas. He hid because he knew they were traffickers, but saw them load bundles into a boat. When the helicopters appeared, the men ran. He said he heard no gunshots coming from the ground. The boat with bundles went drifting by itself down the river.

The commandos who came off the helicopter handcuffed him, Celin said, and put a gun to his head. Some spoke to him in English, which he also speaks.

"If you don't talk we'll kill you," the boy said he was told. "Where is El Renco? Where is the merchandise?"

Comment: US 'involved in Honduras military coup'


Syria denies it was behind attack that killed 90

© REUTERS/Sana/HandoutSyrian security work at the site of an explosion in Deir Al-Zor, May 19, 2012. A suicide bomber carried out a car bombing in the eastern Syrian city of Deir al-Zor on Saturday,and killed nine people and wounded about one hundred.
The Syrian government denied Sunday its troops were behind an attack on a string of villages that left more than 90 people dead, blaming the killings on "hundreds of heavily-armed gunmen" who also attacked soldiers in the area.

Friday's assault on Houla, an area northwest of the central city of Homs, was one of the bloodiest single events in Syria's 15-month-old uprising. The U.N. says 32 children under 10 were among the dead. The international body and others have issued statements appearing to hold the Syrian regime responsible.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi told reporters in Damascus at a news conference that Syria is being subjected to a "tsunami of lies" on Houla. "We categorically deny the responsibility of government forces for the massacre," Makdissi said.

Makdissi said a committee was set up to investigate the incident and results should be out within three days. He added that U.N. envoy Kofi Annan will be in Syria on Monday.

Comment: The situation in Syria has been ongoing for some time now. Syria appears to be a poking spot of the West to try and instigate Iran to attack. If the Western Axis can get a mechanical response from Iran, then the West's fantasy of war with Iran will become a reality. This will likely bring words or worse from China and Russia, which is what the pathological leaders of the Western World want. Of course at a pace that gets more people in the military, and being that there are no jobs in the West, it's an interesting tactic. Reckless, unconcerned about people, lusting for power, dominance and control.. the works of persons who are completely psychologically deranged sociopaths, or simply genetic psychopaths. Either way the trail of destruction and destitution are the same.

Syria's Bloody CIA Revolution - A Distraction?
Syria Is A Convenient Fallguy
Russia warns Israel against Syria war


US prepares multi-front proxy war against Syria

American advance forces, aka Syrian 'rebels', terrorise ordinary Syrians who are overwhelmingly behind President Assad.
Since the Washington Post's May 16 report on an influx of arms to Syrian opposition forces, the Obama administration's plans for a proxy war against Syria have become clearer still.

The Post wrote of "significantly more and better weapons" reaching oppositionists, "paid for by Persian Gulf nations [Saudi Arabia and Qatar] and coordinated in part by the United States," based upon a perspective that "an expanding military confrontation is inevitable."

Saudi Arabia and Qatar were sending weapons with approval from Washington, which has "expanded contacts with opposition forces to provide the gulf nations with assessments of rebel credibility and command-and-control infrastructure."

An additional source of weaponry is the Muslim Brotherhood, which has "its own supply channel to the rebels, using resources from wealthy private individuals and money from Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, said Mulham al-Drobi, a member of the Brotherhood's executive committee."


Vatican in Chaos After Butler Arrested for Leaks

Pope Benedict XVI, Paolo Gabriele
© The Associated Press/Domenico StinellisIn this Monday, April 21, 2008 file photo, Pope Benedict XVI, left, arrives at the Italian air force 31st Squadron base in Ciampino, 30 kilometers south-east of Rome, on his way back from a six-day trip to the U.S. including the U.N. and Ground Zero in N.Y.C. The Vatican has confirmed Saturday, May 26, 2012, that the pope's butler Paolo Gabriele, at right carrying bags, was arrested in an embarrassing leaks scandal.
Vatican City, Italy - The Vatican's inquisition into the source of leaked documents has yielded its first target with the arrest of the pope's butler, but the investigation is continuing into a scandal that has embarrassed the Holy See by revealing evidence of internal power struggles, intrigue and corruption in the highest levels of the Catholic Church governance.

The detention of butler Paolo Gabriele, one of the few members of the papal household, capped one of the most convulsive weeks in recent Vatican history and threw the Holy See into chaos as it enters a critical phase in its efforts to show the world it's serious about complying with international norms on financial transparency.

The tumult began with the publication last weekend of a book of leaked Vatican documents including correspondence, notes and memos to the pope and his private secretary. It peaked with the inglorious ouster on Thursday of the president of the Vatican bank. And it concluded with confirmation Saturday that Pope Benedict XVI's own butler was the alleged mole feeding documents to Italian journalists in an apparent bid to discredit the pontiff's No. 2.

"If you wrote this in fiction you wouldn't believe it," said Carl Anderson, a member of the board of the Vatican bank which contributed to the whirlwind with its no-confidence vote in its president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. "No editor would let you put it in a novel."

The bank, known as the Institute for Religious Works, issued a scathing denunciation of Gotti Tedeschi in a memorandum obtained Saturday by The Associated Press. In it the bank, or IOR by its Italian initials, explained its reasons for ousting Gotti Tedeschi: he routinely missed board meetings, failed to do his job, failed to defend the bank, polarized its personnel and displayed "progressively erratic personal behavior."


Drug trafficking continues as US nears Afghanistan exit

© Baz Ratner/ReutersA U.S. Army officer walks through a poppy field in Zharay district in Kandahar province, Afghanistan on April 26.
For years, American officials have struggled to curb Afghanistan's opium industry, rewriting strategy every few seasons and pouring in more than $6 billion over the past decade to combat the poppies that help finance the insurgency and fuel corruption.

It is a measure of the problem's complexity that officials can find little comfort even in the news this month that blight and bad weather are slashing this year's poppy harvest in the south. They know from past seasons that blight years lead to skyrocketing opium prices and even greater planting efforts to come.

"Now I am desperate, what can I do?" said Mohammed Amin, a poppy farmer in Tirin Kot in Oruzgan Province, who harvested only one kilogram of opium poppy this year compared with 15 last year. "I don't have any cash now to start another business, and if I grow any other crops, I cannot make a profit."

The seemingly unbreakable allure of poppy profits - for producers and traffickers, government officials and Taliban commanders alike - has kept fighting opium at the heart of efforts to improve security. It drove Richard C. Holbrooke, later the special envoy to Afghanistan, to write in 2008: "Breaking the narco-state in Afghanistan is essential, or all else will fail."

Comment: Of all the smoke that can be blown, for those paying attention, this just follows the usual pattern.

US military Admits to Guarding, Assisting Lucrative Opium Trade in Afghanistan
Smashing opium trade was a major reason to invade but 10 years on heroin production is up from 185 tons a year to 5,800

There's a slew of history about CIA drug runs during Vietnam and the Korean war. Sadly the Press is pressed to side with advertisers and Government if they want to stay in business.

Militarily, there is a solution. You can carpet bomb, burn, poison.. but that is not the agenda.


Bad Guys

Best of the Web: Hypocrisy of the International Criminal Court

Saif Al Islam
© Associated PressSaif Al Islam
The world is rampant with injustice. Injustice against the individual by another or large scale injustice committed against a people by a state. While the individual can often turn to state-run courts to seek amends, peoples and states have to rely on international venues for justice to be served. And that is what the International Criminal Court's (ICC) role was planned for. But sadly, the pursuit to punish the perpetrators of massive damage and harm to human life has been governed by duplicity and double standards.

The ICC has been very active in pursuit of Seif al-Islam, the second son of the deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Saif Al-Islam, who was disguised as a shepherd, was discovered and captured in the desert by Libyan freedom fighters following the fall of his father's regime.

The ICC had issued a warrant for Saif Al-Islam a year ago June after charges were levied against him and his cohorts of participating in the killing of protesters during the people's revolt that toppled the long-standing Gaddafi regime. There have also been several charges of financial corruption, and rape brought up against him.

The new Libyan government wants to try Saif and Abdullah al-Senussi, his brother-in-law and the former intelligence chief in Libya in their own country and by Libyan judges. They insist that 'there is no intention to hand him (Saif al-Islam) over to the ICC, and Libyan law is the right system to be used to try Saif Gaddafi.'

The ICC on the other hand rejects the Libyan stand, and ordered the Libyan government to 'comply with its obligations to enforce the warrant of arrest and surrender him to the ICC without delay.' They state that a UN Security Council resolution makes it obligatory for Libya to cooperate with the court, and threatened that the country's failure to hand him over 'could result in it being reported to the Council.'


Israel in the driver's seat: U.S. Hard Line in Failed Iran Talks

Obama Israel US flags
© Unknown
Negotiations between Iran and the United States and other members of the P5+1 group in Baghdad ended in fundamental disagreement Thursday over the position of the P5+1 offering no relief from sanctions against Iran.

The two sides agreed to meet again in Moscow Jun. 18 and 19, but only after Iran had threatened not to schedule another meeting, because the P5+1 had originally failed to respond properly to its five-point plan.

The prospects for agreement are not likely to improve before that meeting, however, mainly because of an inflexible U.S. diplomatic posture that reflects President Barack Obama's need to bow to the demands of Israel and the U.S. Congress on Iran policy.

The U.S. hard line in the Baghdad talks and the failure to set the stage for an early agreement with Iran means that Iran will not only increase but accelerate its accumulation of 20-percent enriched uranium, which has been the ostensible reason for wanting to get Iran to the negotiating table quickly.