Puppet MastersS


DARPA: Humming Bird Spy

The US has developed a pocket-size drone dubbed the Nano Hummingbird for the way it flaps its tiny robotic wings as a mini-spy plane capable of manoeuvring on the battlefield and in urban areas.

The battery-powered drone, which looks like a bird for potential use in spy missions, was built for the Pentagon's research arm as part of a series of experiments in nanotechnology. It is the result of a five-year effort, announced on Thursday by the Pentagon and AeroVironment of California.

Equipped with a camera, the drone can fly at up to 18km/h and hover and fly sideways, backwards and forwards, clockwise and counterclockwise, for about eight minutes.

Industry insiders see the technology eventually being capable of flying through open windows or sitting on power lines, capturing audio and video undetected.

The Hummingbird would be a departure from existing drones, which closely resemble traditional aircraft. The next step is likely to be further refinement of the technology, before decisions are made about whether the drones would be mass-produced and deployed.


Cheney's Office Misled Colin Powell on Iraq Threat, Former Aide Says

Lawrence Wilkerson, the former chief of staff of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, said Friday that former vice president Dick Cheney's office misled his old boss with bogus information to sell the Iraq War to the American people. This talk with MSNBC's Cenk Uygur Friday came in the wake of Iraqi defector Rafid Ahmed Alwan Al-Janabi nicknamed "Curveball" admitting he lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

This video is from MSNBC, broadcast Feb. 17, 2011, snipped via Attention101.


Millions of Dollars Owed Denied to Gulf Oil Spill Cleanup Crews

"I've been bullied," says Rick Myers, owner of Rhino Construction in Bay St. Louis, MS. Myers, who had 650 workers clearing beaches at the peak of cleanup efforts, says his weekly payroll of $1.4 million during that time didn't take long to burn a hole in his pockets. He, like almost all contractors, took out loans to pay his workers while waiting to receive his payment. Five months later, Myers and other contractors, are still waiting.

"I worked 20 hour days, 7 days a week for 3 months. It was exhaustive. And we did what was asked of us, and we're not getting anything in return," says Myers, who's asking for $650,000 still owed to his company, and an estimated minimum of $280 million owed to the 40 other small businesses he's representing.

Mike Evans, owner of T.H.E. Construction in Taylorsville, MS, says he and the other subcontractors essentially financed BP's cleanup effort, and now they're all suffering for it.


Best of the Web: A Time-Lapse Map of Every Nuclear Explosion Since 1945

Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created a beautiful, undeniably scary time-lapse map of the 2053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project's "Trinity" test near Los Alamos and concluding with Pakistan's nuclear tests in May of 1998. This leaves out North Korea's two alleged nuclear tests in this past decade (the legitimacy of both of which is not 100% clear).

Each nation gets a blip and a flashing dot on the map whenever they detonate a nuclear weapon, with a running tally kept on the top and bottom bars of the screen. Hashimoto, who began the project in 2003, says that he created it with the goal of showing "the fear and folly of nuclear weapons." It starts really slow - if you want to see real action, skip ahead to 1962 or so - but the buildup becomes overwhelming.

Comment: Still think smoking is to blame for lung cancer? Folks, the truth is revealed here: they are blaming the victims for their own evil...


Arrest warrant reissued for former Pakistani dictator Musharraf for the murder of Benazir Bhutto

Former Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf
A Pakistani court has reissued an arrest warrant for the country's former President Pervez Musharraf for his alleged involvement in the murder of ex-Premier Benazir Bhutto.

On Saturday, Pakistan's anti-terrorism court reissued the arrest warrant for Musharraf, who is in self-imposed exile in London and has stated that he does not intend to appear at any court hearing to face questions over his alleged dereliction of duty over the 2007 assassination of Bhutto, AFP reported.

"Last week the court had issued the arrest warrant, but it could not be served at Musharraf's residence in Islamabad and we were told that he does not live there," said Special Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali.

"Today the court reissued the warrants and adjourned the hearing till March 5," he added a week after the country's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) was tasked with bringing the former military ruler to court on the 19th of February.


Bahrain killings bring Mid-East turmoil to epicentre of world oil supply

© UnknownBahrain killings bring Mid-East turmoil to epicentre of world oil supply
Escalating violence in the oil states of the Persian Gulf and North Africa have pushed Brent crude prices to a 30-month high of $104 a barrel, and raised widespread concerns over the stability of global oil supplies for the first time since the Mid-East turmoil began.

At least four protesters were killed in a bloody crack-down in Bahrain after tanks entered the capital and security forces smashed a tent city in the main square, opening fire with grapeshot. The situation is fraught with risk since a Sunni monarchy rules a Shia majority with mixed Iranian ancestry and sympathetic ties to Tehran.

"Bahrain is the main danger, not because it is intrinsically important, but because it could trigger intervention by Saudi Arabia," said Faysal Itani, a Mid-East expert at consultants Exclusive Analysis. "We have heard reports that the Saudis have already dispatched troops and equipment to put down the uprising".

Up to 20 people may have been killed in Libya's "Day of Anger" as the Ghaddafi regime faced its first big threat, while there was a fifth day of violent clashes in Yemen. Iran's plans to send two warships through the Suez Canal to bolster its Syrian ally led to hot words with Israel, notching up tensions further.


British death merchants supplied Bahrain with weapons for murdering protesters

© John Moore/Getty ImagesMedical staff receive an injured protester after police cracked down on their encampment, killing at least four and wounding many more
MoD to review arms export licences after Bahrain clears protesters with UK-made crowd-controls weapons such as teargas and stun grenades

The British government has launched a review of arms exports to Bahrain after it emerged that the country's security forces were supplied with weapons by the United Kingdom.

After a bloody crackdown in the capital, Manama, left up to five people dead and more than 100 injured, Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said the government will "urgently revoke licences if we judge that they are no longer in line with the [UK and European Union] criteria".

Despite long-running concerns among activists over Bahrain's human rights record, British firms were last year granted licences, unopposed, to export an arsenal of sometimes deadly crowd control weapons. Licences approved included exactly the kind of weapons and ammunition used by Bahraini riot police to clear the Pearl Roundabout protest encampment, including shotguns, teargas canisters, "crowd control ammunition" and stun grenades.

"We closely consider allegations of human rights abuses," said Burt. "We will not authorise any exports which, we assess, might provoke or prolong regional or internal conflicts, which might be used to facilitate internal repression."

Che Guevara

The Arab Revolutions and Us: Start Quaking in Your Boots!

In his latest debate on the France 2 TV channel, discussion show anchor Yves Calvi expressed alarm about the possible rise of Islamism in Egypt and Tunisia. However, here we will consider how, if we leave the emotionally-charged media coverage to one side and attempt to analyse the contradictions between the West and the Arab world rationally, these revolutions are less of a threat than an example for us Westerners to follow. We have the opportunity to create a fairer world. Why be afraid?

Astonishing. On Monday 7th February, the title of the discussion programme Mots Croisés, ('Cross words'), presented by Yves Calvi on France 2, was "The Arab revolutions and us". While no-one dared challenge the legitimacy of the popular moments setting Tunisia, Egypt and other countries in the region alight, the presenter and some of his guests nevertheless raised the Islamist spectre, a sure-fire way to send a shiver down viewers' spines. There was talk of "fears of an Iranian scenario", "enthusiasm for freedom but also a sense of anxiety" or indeed "prudent rather than unconditional support". With great subtlety, Calvi also asked whether democracy was "playing into the hands of the fundamentalists". Special praise also goes to prominent 'intellectual' Alain Finkielkraut who, true to form, managed to slip in his view of "a phenomenon heading more towards a clash of civilisations than the establishment of a democracy looking to provide its people with a dignified and decent life."

Should Westerners be afraid then of the Arab revolutions ? Is the Near and Middle East, indeed the whole world, at risk of plunging into chaos ? Are we about to be overrun by bearded burqa-wielding fanatics, in an assault on civilised Europe ? To answer these questions, we need first to analyse the profound contradictions between the West and the Arab world. As we shall see, the differences have very little to do with a heated clash of civilisations, and are very much linked to a system based on the quest for maximum profit which has led the West to pillage and oppress the Arab peoples. Naturally, Calvi and his guests refrained from analysing these systems, preferring rather to base their discussions on irrational fears - so much better for viewing ratings. It also means we can seek to subjugate the savages and the fundamentalists without once calling ourselves into question.

Bad Guys

No Iran Warships Set to Enter Suez Canal, Egypt Says, And Yet Israel's Schizoid Delusions Persist

© Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty ImagesIsraeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said yesterday that Iran was planning to send two gunboats through the canal to Syria, which would involve sailing through the eastern Mediterranean, off Israel’s coast.
Egypt's Suez Canal Authority said no Iranian warships have applied to use the route since yesterday, when Israel's foreign minister accused Iran of a "provocation" by planning to send two naval vessels to Syria via the waterway.

"No Iranian war vessels have passed through the Suez Canal today and not yesterday," the authority's head of traffic, Ahmed El Manakhly, told Bloomberg Television in an interview. "We didn't have any requests for any Iranian vessels to pass through the canal."

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Iran was planning late yesterday to send two gunboats through the canal to Syria, which would involve sailing through the eastern Mediterranean, off Israel's coast.


Bernanke: Don't blame easy money for capital swings

© Larry Downing/REUTERSSpeaking ahead of a diplomatic summit in Paris Friday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke defended easy money policies in advanced economies against the charge they are overheating emerging markets.
Paris - U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke defended easy money policies in advanced economies against the charge they are overheating emerging markets, saying factors such as exchange rate rigidity are also to blame.

Speaking ahead of an economic summit in Paris that will include many critics of the Fed's aggressive bond buying program, Bernanke acknowledged that strong capital flows from advanced economies to emerging markets may be having negative spillover effects.

"Capital flows are once again posing some notable challenges for international macroeconomic and financial stability," he said in remarks prepared for delivery to a Banque de France event in Paris before meetings of the finance ministers and central bankers of the Group of 20 leading economies.

However, he said that although policy-makers in the emerging markets clearly face challenges, such concerns should be weighed against stronger emerging market growth and steps emerging economies themselves can take.