Puppet MastersS

Bad Guys

"The Quiet American": the death of J. Christopher Stevens

© AFP J. Christopher Stevens
In his sardonic 1955 novel The Quiet American, Graham Greene offered a devastating portrait of Alden Pyle, a young American covert agent in Vietnam, exuding idealist notions of democracy and Americanism while trying to cobble together a "third force" to stem the tide of the Vietnamese revolution. Unleashing mayhem upon the country's population in the process, he ultimately becomes the victim of his own political intrigues.

"I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused," Graham Greene's narrator says of Pyle.

The description seems apt as the eulogies pour in for J. Christopher Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya, who was slain together with three other Americans in an armed assault on the American consulate in Benghazi Tuesday.

No one should take joy in the violent death of a 52-year-old man. But for all the tributes to his "idealism" and - in the words of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - his commitment to "advancing America's values and interests," it is impossible to understand the demise of Stevens without recognizing that this was an individual with blood on his hands who, like the fictional Pyle, fell victim to the very forces he helped unleash.


The US Embassy Protests

Yemen Protests
© Yahya Arhab/European Pressphoto AgencyChanting “Death to America”, hundreds of protesters stormed the US Embassy in Yemen’s capital of Sana’a on Thursday.
Protests at US embassies throughout the Middle East against an anti-Islamic video are a devastating popular verdict on the policies of the United States government.

Protests have spread to at least eleven countries, including Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Iran, Morocco, Sudan, and Bangladesh.

Popular anger over the video, a political provocation by right-wing circles in the United States, has brought to the surface deep popular anger over Washington's Middle East policies. Since mass working class uprisings last year toppled US-backed dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt, the Obama administration has relentlessly backed right-wing regimes against popular opposition and escalated bloody proxy wars in Libya and Syria.


Riling the base: British fundamentalist Muslims protest outside US embassy over US-Israeli propaganda movie

British Muslims have staged a protest rally outside the US Embassy in London against the US-made film which insults Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
British Muslims burn a US flag during a demonstration against the anti-Islam film, outside the US Embassy in London on September 14, 2012.
Some 150 demonstrators chanted anti-US slogans and burnt a US flag outside the embassy in Grosvenor Square, on Friday. The rally had been organized by Muslim cleric and former solicitor Anjem Choudary.

The protesters also carried posters reading "America the Enemy of Islam and Muslims," "Democracy and freedom on death row" and "Islam is coming."

Scotland Yard said two people were arrested at the scene.

Bizarro Earth

Sudan protesters break into U.S., German embassies

© Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin AbdallahSudanese demonstrators stand in front of the burning German embassy in Khartoum after Friday prayers September 14, 2012. Sudanese demonstrators broke into the U.S. and German embassy compounds in Khartoum and raised Islamic flags on Friday in state-backed protests against a film that insults the Prophet Mohammad, witnesses said.
Khartoum - Sudanese demonstrators broke into the U.S. and German embassy compounds in Khartoum and raised Islamic flags on Friday in state-backed protests against a film that insults the Prophet Mohammad, witnesses said.

Police armed with tear gas and batons had clashed with protesters for almost an hour but retreated from the front of the embassy after a police car struck a demonstrator and left him on the ground in a pool of blood.

A Reuters witness saw another person lying motionless on the ground nearby but it could not be confirmed whether either man was dead. Sudanese authorities had no immediate comment.

Witnesses said guards inside the U.S. embassy, a vast compound comprising several buildings and tiers of fences, fired warning shots after several protesters clambered over the outer security wall and hoisted a black Islamic flag above a balcony.

Earlier in the day police fired tear gas to try to scatter some 5,000 demonstrators who had surrounded the German embassy and nearby British mission. But a Reuters witness said policemen stood by when the crowd forced its way into Germany's mission.


Anti-Islam Film: Deadly protests as Kentucky Fried Chicken and Hardee's Set Ablaze and Ransacked in Lebanon

The unrest over an amateur anti-Islam film made in America spread to Lebanon today as an angry mob set fire to a Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Hardee's. One protester was killed and twenty five wounded by police who opened fire as they cracked down on the mob who turned their anger on the American fast food chains.

The KFC was set alight after the mob - many wearing face masks- ransacked the interior. The American embassy in Tunisa is also under attack with protesters setting fire to trees inside the compound. It adds to unrest in Sudan where an angry mob attacked the British and German embassies, Bangladesh where tens of thousands have taken to the streets, and India - where there are widespread protests in Muslim Kashmir.

© ReutersIn flames: A Hardee's and a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) fast food outlet burns after protesters set the building on fire in Tripoli, northern Lebanon
Additional Images


Obama Has Appealed Yesterday's Indefinite Detention Ruling

© Getty
This sent a chill down my spine. In the midst of my interview with Tangerine Bolen, a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the NDAA's indefinite detention provisions & coordinator of StopNDAA.org, she received an email from her lawyer to inform her that the Obama administration has already appealed yesterday's historic court ruling. That court ruling found indefinite detention to be unconstitutional, and issued a permanent block of that provision. Listen to the full interview directly below.

For a man who doesn't want the ability to order the military to abduct and detain citizens - without charge or trial - it is quite odd that his administration is appealing yet again.

Alarm Clock

Fed to buy more debt in effort to boost sluggish economy

The bond buying will continue until employment improves.

That's the message the Federal Reserve delivered when it announced it will take new steps to boost the sluggish recovery including buying an additional $40 billion of mortgage debt every month for the foreseeable future.

"The employment situation remains a grave concern," Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said at an afternoon news conference to explain the central bank's decisions.

The Fed said the fresh security purchases, which it will start on Friday, would come on top of its so-called Operation Twist program, in which it is selling short-term bonds to buy longer-term Treasury debt.

"These actions, which together will increase the committee's holdings of longer-term securities by about $85 billion each month through the end of the year, should put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and to help make broader financial conditions more accommodative," the Fed said in a statement.

Comment: An attempt to create an economic buffer as: Dollar no longer primary oil currency - China begins to sell oil using Yuan

Take 2

CIA/Mossad handiwork: Mystery deepens over US video that triggered diplomatic crisis in Egypt and Libya

Cast say they were misled as evidence suggests film was post- dubbed and questions arise over funding and identity of director.

The anti-Islamic video that inflamed mayhem in Egypt and Libya and triggered a diplomatic crisis is at the centre of a growing mystery over whether it is a real film - or was ever intended to be.

Initial reports about The Innocence of Muslims being a $5m production made by an Israeli-American director named Sam Bacile unravelled on Wednesday as ruins of the US consulate in Benghazi continued to smoulder.

Bacile - originally described as a California-based Jewish real estate developer - appeared to be a fake identity, and Hollywood could find no trace of his supposed feature-length attack on the prophet Muhammad. The blasphemous, 13-minute "trailer" posted online - a ramshackle compilation of scenes which depicted Muhammad as an illegitimate, murderous paedophile - was real, but there was growing doubt that a film existed.


US Congress approves extension of secret surveillance under FISA

© Agence France-Presse/ Win McNamee
The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to extend the government's power to warrantlessly wiretap Americans for another five years by reauthorizing the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Lawmakers in the House agreed from Washington, DC on Wednesday afternoon to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act's Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA), a polarizing legislation that has been challenged by privacy advocates and civil liberties organizations alike around the country. The extension was approved by a vote of 301 to 118.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was first signed into law in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter, but amendments added two decades later under the George W Bush administration provide for the government to conduct widespread and blanketing snooping of emails and phone calls of Americans. The FISA Amendments added in 2008, specifically section 702, specify that the government can eavesdrop on emails and phone calls sent from US citizens to persons reasonably suspected to be located abroad without ever requiring intelligence officials to receive a court order.

If the US Senate echoes the House's extension of the act, the FAA will carry through for another five years until 2017, ensuring the federal intelligence community that they will be able to conduct surveillance on the correspondence of the country's own citizens well into the future. If no action is taken, the FAA is slated to expire at the end of 2012.

Earlier this year, a plea from two US senators to see how many times the FAA has been used was refused by the National Security Administration. Last month, San Francisco's Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit against the US Justice Department for failing to adhere to Freedom of Information Act requests for documents pertaining to the program.


Ongoing clashes in Cairo as police blanket US embassy protesters in tear gas

Egyptian security forces are firing tear gas at a crowd of angry protesters near the US embassy in Cairo. Some 30 protesters were injured and 12 arrested, journalists on Twitter quoted the Egyptian Interior Ministry as saying.

Hundreds of protesters are gathering outside the US embassy in Cairo and hurling stones at security personnel, who are retaliating by firing tear gas and warning shots at the crowd.

On Wednesday, several hundred protesters rallied in front of the embassy, chanting "leave Egypt" and demanding that the US apologize for an American-made film that mocks Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

Dozens of riot police were then deployed in the area to contain the demonstrators and divert them into side streets. Clashes continued into the night, with protesters throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at police.

Some of the protesters were injured, state news agency MENA reported. Witnesses wrote on Twitter that as many as several dozen people may have been injured. At least six police officers suffered injuries during the clashes, said Alla Mahmoud, a spokesperson for Egypt's Interior Ministry.