Puppet MastersS


Bizarro Earth

Olympic Police State Lingers in UK

There were speculations before the Olympics that the British government is using the games as an excuse to impose a police state in London that would be otherwise impossible; now that seems to have come true as the 'un-free zones' remain after the sports event.
Image
British councils and police retain powers to single out public spaces and suspend certain freedoms, including handing out leaflets and protesting there that means one will be punished in those zones for doing a perfectly legal thing.

According to a map published on September 11 by Manifesto Club freedom campaign group, there are a dizzying 435 such zones in London that cover almost half of the whole area of the city, mostly in its central parts.

Citizens can be fined or prosecuted in the restricted zones, now also imposed on some other cities, for leafleting, walking a dog, using alcohol, just being there, and in London, for protesting.

There are 110 leafleting zones in London where you should have a license if you want to hand out leaflets -- that is you will not be free to even campaign for a human rights or relief cause unless the government sees it fit.

There are also 32 active "dispersal zones" as well as many inactive ones in the British capital.

Boat

U.S. warships headed to Libya after deadly consulate attack: officials

Warning: Story contains graphic images

Image
© Reuters/Esam Al-FetoriA man walks inside the U.S. consulate Wednesday after it was attacked and set on fire by gunmen the day before.
U.S. officials say the Pentagon is moving two warships to the Libyan coast, in the aftermath of the attack in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador and three others.

Officials say one destroyer, the USS Laboon, moved to a position off the coast Wednesday, and the USS McFaul is en route and should be stationed off the coast within days. The officials say the ships, which carry Tomahawk missiles, do not have a specific mission. But they give commanders flexibility to respond to any mission ordered by the president.

The destroyers have crews totaling about 300. There have been four destroyers in the Mediterranean for some time. These moves will increase that to five. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss troop movements.

Bizarro Earth

US embassy in Yemen stormed in film protest

Image
Protesters could be seen climbing over the gates of the embassy compound
Protesters angered by an anti-Islam film made in the US have stormed the grounds of the American embassy in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.

Police shot in the air in an attempt to hold back the crowds, but failed to prevent them gaining access to the compound and setting fire to vehicles.

A number of people were reported to have been injured.

On Tuesday, the US ambassador to Libya was killed in a fire started after the US consulate in Benghazi was stormed.

Security force reinforcements in Sanaa used tear gas, water cannon and live fire to drive back protesters.

They have now regained control of the Sanaa compound, but protests are continuing outside.

Earlier on Thursday, US officials said they were investigating whether the attack in Libya was planned, citing suspicions that a militant jihadist group may have co-ordinated the violence.

Three other US consul staff and several Libyans died in that attack, along with Ambassador J Christopher Stevens, who is believed to have died from smoke inhalation.

Light Sabers

Best of the Web: Dollar no longer primary oil currency - China begins to sell oil using Yuan

Image
© TIME/Facts Global Energy
On Sept. 11, Pastor Lindsey Williams, former minister to the global oil companies during the building of the Alaskan pipeline, announced the most significant event to affect the U.S. dollar since its inception as a currency. For the first time since the 1970's, when Henry Kissenger forged a trade agreement with the Royal house of Saud to sell oil using only U.S. dollars, China announced its intention to bypass the dollar for global oil customers and began selling the commodity using their own currency.


Comment: Lindsey Williams: "The most significant day in the history of the American dollar, since its inception, happened on Thursday, Sept. 6. On that day, something took place that is going to affect your life, your family, your dinner table more than you can possibly imagine."

"On Thursday, Sept. 6... just a few days ago, China made the official announcement. China said on that day, our banking system is ready, all of our communication systems are ready, all of the transfer systems are ready, and as of that day, Thursday, Sept. 6, any nation in the world that wishes from this point on, to buy, sell, or trade crude oil, can do using the Chinese currency, not the American dollar. - Interview with Natty Bumpo on the Just Measures Radio network, Sept. 11


This announcement by China is one of the most significant sea changes in the global economic and monetary systems, but was barely reported on due to its announcement taking place during the Democratic convention last week. The ramifications of this new action are vast, and could very well be the catalyst that brings down the dollar as the global reserve currency, and change the entire landscape of how the world purchases energy.

Bad Guys

Politics and Plutocrats: A Parade of Inequality

oligarch on pile of cash graphic
America is currently engaged in the most expensive presidential contest in world history. In the United States, money doesn't just talk - it dictates. How can we hope to make progress on the path to sustainability when the road is blocked by barricades of bullion backed by battalions of billionaires? How do we break through the political gridlock?

Dave Brower's wife, Anne, once put a wise spin on this dilemma. "What we need," she said, is "a cure for greedlock."

Earth's richest 1,000 individuals now control as much wealth as the poorest 2.5 billion people on the planet. This super elite uses its vast wealth to control the media, influence politicians, and bend laws to their favor. In the US, the wealthy dominate our government: 47 percent of US representatives are millionaires, as are 67 percent of US senators. The Center for Responsive Politics reports Congressional wealth has increased 11 percent between 2009 and 2011.

Not only is our economy out of balance with nature, our economy is also out of balance with the practical limits of physical and fiscal reality. As the Occupy movement has indelibly framed it, we are now a society divided not only by haves and have-nots, but we are a nation - and a world - divided into the 99 percent and the 1 percent.

Imagine if a tree were engineered like the US economy - with half of its mass centered in the top 10 percent of its height and 40 percent of its mass concentrated in the very topmost branches. Whether redwood or oak, such a tree would not be stable in a windstorm. It would be destined to topple. Of course, nature has better sense.

Bad Guys

Ground Zero Redux

9/11
In David Cronenberg's awesome Cosmopolis (France/Canada, 2012), based on the homonymous novel by Don DeLillo, young billionaire Eric Packer (Robert Pattison) slowly cruises New York in his white limo, installed in a cushy leather throne with incrusted screens.

He feels ... nothing; he essentially sucks up the world into his own inertia. Outside his moving silent chamber, it's total chaos, with activists spraying rats in posh restaurants and a tense threat of imminent apocalypse.

This is the world morphing into, or being gobbled up by, dematerialized ultra-capitalism; a world in a state of crisis, driven by violence, and with violence as the only possible horizon. As a libidinous art dealer (Juliette Binoche) tells Packer: "It's cyber-capital that creates the future."

A walk in the dead of a New York night to Ground Zero offers extra context to Cosmopolis. This is where our post-apocalyptic modernity began, 11 years go - and where cyber-capital still creates at least some of the future. As Cosmopolis shows, turbo-capitalism is not only in crisis; turbo-capitalism, in shorthand, IS crisis.

Ground Zero remains an eerie sight deep in the dead of night. There's the memorial. There's the new unfinished glass tower. And there remain holes the size of Ground Zero all over the official narrative.

Arrow Down

Best of the Web: Survey Suggests Widespread Distrust of US Extends Beyond Middle East

Anti-U.S.  protest in Pakistan
© Rajput Yasir/Demotix/CorbisAn anti-US protest in Pakistan. The poll found 78% of Pakistanis did not trust America to act responsibly.
American influence on the world stage is being sapped by widespread distrust of US intentions, not just in the Middle East and south Asia but also among traditional European allies, according to a survey of global opinions.

Suspicion of America outweighed faith in its good intentions by large margins in the Arab world and Pakistan, and even its heavyweight European ally Germany was more sceptical than trusting, a YouGov survey found. British and French opinion was more positive but still deeply divided.

Negative Arab and Pakistani perceptions of America as overweening and untrustworthy clearly pose a daunting foreign policy challenge for the Obama administration. The fact that 78% of Pakistanis questioned by YouGov said they did not trust America to act responsibly underlines Washington's serious lack of soft power in the region as it attempts to extricate itself from Afghanistan.

Attitudes towards the US in the Arab world were nearly as negative. Those respondents in the Middle East and north Africa who said they trusted America were outnumbered by more than two to one by those who said they did not, and 39% said they did not trust America at all.

Attention

Death of Adnan Latif Must Force the Death of Guantanamo

gitmo
Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif's death at Guantánamo was announced yesterday on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11. This sad case is a stark illustration of the United States government bypassing human rights obligations in its counter-terrorism policies, leaving scores of detainees in Guantánamo to live, and sometimes die, in indefinite detention.

Latif was seized by Pakistani police in December 2001 near Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, handed over to U.S. custody, and transferred to Guantánamo on Jan. 17, 2002. He had been held at the naval base ever since, in deteriorating mental and physical health. Reportedly, Latif was born in 1976 in Yemen. According to his lawyer, David Remes, Latif was a mentally disturbed man who maintained that he went to Afghanistan seeking medical care because he was too poor to pay for it. But he got caught up in a military sweep and the U.S. government alleged that he was recruited by al Qaeda to travel to Afghanistan and that he trained and fought with the Taliban.

Reportedly, the Department of Defense recommended Latif for transfer as far back as 2004, and again in 2006, 2008, and 2009. In July 2010, District Court Judge Henry Kennedy ruled that the government had not proved its case for holding Latif by "a preponderance of the evidence" and concluded that Latif's detention was unlawful.

Red Flag

Gitmo Prisoner who Died September 8 First Cleared for Release in 2009

Image
During then nearly 11 years that Guantanamo Bay has held prisoners of the war on terror, nine people have died there - six of which were ostensibly suicides. The ninth man who died on September 8 doesn't seem to have left the planet by his own hand, though the official cause of death has not been released.

Yemeni Adnan Farham Abdul Latif, though, was apparently sedated and depressed, and mostly left in solitary confinement. He made numerous suicide attempts during his stint in Gitmo, as well. So we'll have to see whether he finally succeeded, or whether the cause of his death was something else.

But it gets worse. Latif, who spent nearly a third of his life in Gitmo after being captured by Pakistani police near the Afghanistan border in December 2001, was first cleared for freedom...in 2009.

Attention

Statement by Lawyers for Adnan Latif, the Latest Prisoner to Die at Guantánamo

Image
This article was published simultaneously here, and on the "Close Guantánamo" website, which I established in January with US attorney Tom Wilner. Please join us - just an email address is required to be counted amongst those opposed to the ongoing existence of Guantánamo, and to receive updates of our activities by email.

Over the weekend, Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a Yemeni, became the ninth prisoner to die in Guantánamo. Adnan had been repeatedly cleared for release - under President Bush and President Obama, and by a US court - but had never been freed, like so many others in that disgraceful prison, which remains an insult to the rule of law ten years and eight months since it first opened.

Adnan was one of the prisoners profiled in the major report I wrote in June, Guantánamo Scandal: The 40 Prisoners Still Held But Cleared for Release At Least Five Years Ago, and the overturning of his successful habeas corpus petition by politically motivated judges in the D.C. Circuit Court in October last year - and the refusal of the Supreme Court to rebuke the court, just three months ago - was notorious amongst attorneys for the prisoners and those interested in justice and the law, even though - sadly and shockingly - it had not awakened appropriate outrage in the mainstream media.