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Propaganda Alert: Al-Qaida No. 2 issues video after Egypt upheaval

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© AP/IntelCenter
Undated photo of Ayman al-Zawahri
Cairo - Al-Qaida's deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, issued the terror network's first message since the upheaval began in Egypt, saying the country's rule has long "deviated from Islam" and warning that democracy "can only be non-religious."

The wave of popular protests that ousted Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, appeared to have caught al-Qaida off guard. The terror group had long called for the destruction of Mubarak's regime - and al-Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor, was part of a militant uprising against Mubarak in the 1990s that was crushed.

But the demonstrations were led by secular, liberal activists calling for greater democracy - in stark contrast to the Islamic state that al-Zawahri and al-Qaida call for. In past videos and messages, al-Zawahri has frequent denounced democracy because it replaces God's laws with man's.

In the 34-minute videotape issued Friday, al-Zawahri makes no mention on the protests or Mubarak's fall. The video is dated to the Islamic lunar month of Safar, which corresponds with the dates Jan. 5-Feb. 3. It gives no more specific date for its creation.

Comment: Playing both sides of it aren't 'they?' Certainly the part 2 version of the Al-CIAda video will make reference to Mubarak leaving and be made available by the folks at IntelCenter.


Bad Guys

Russia may tweak Arctic park border for oil firms

Moscow - Russia's Natural Resources Ministry wants to set an Arctic nature reserve's borders in a way that environmentalists say will subvert existing boundaries to accommodate the oil drilling plans of BP and Rosneft.

Last month BP -- seeking to recover from the impact of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill -- and Russia's state-run major Rosneft said they would drill for oil in three huge offshore blocks in the Arctic Kara Sea.

Two of these blocks, according to a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) map, encroach on waters that are part of a protected national park and are home to polar bears and whales.

The government ministry argues that the border has yet to be demarcated, while the environmental group said it was fixed when the park was created in 2010.

Black Cat

US vetoes UN vote on Israeli land grab and genocide

For Palestinians, Israeli settlements are the very crux of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
© Gallo/Getty Images
For Palestinians, Israeli settlements are the very crux of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The United States vetoed a UN resolution Friday that would have condemned Israeli settlements as "illegal" and called for an immediate halt to all settlement building.

All 14 other Security Council members voted in favour of the resolution.

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, speaking on behalf of his country, France and Germany, condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank. "They are illegal under international law," he said.

He added that the European Union's three biggest nations hope that an independent state of Palestine will join the United Nations as a new member state by September 2011.

The Obama administration's veto is certain to anger Arab countries and Palestinian supporters around the world. An abstention would have angered the Israelis, the closest US ally in the region, as well as Democratic and Republican supporters of Israel in the American Congress.

Comment: Keep in mind that the USA reportedly gives Israel approximately $8.3 million dollars in aid every day! As long as the USA continues funding Israel while not taking a firm outspoken stand against the illegal settlements and the killing of Palestinians the USA will remain complicit in those crimes.


Video

'Really, really creepy' Nazi 3-D films discovered

Germany Olympics
© Associated Press
Berlin's Olympic Stadium in 1936. Filmmaker Philippe Mora says 3-D photography “was a huge fad in Nazi Germany. They had 3-D magazines. They shot everything, the Olympics, everything, on 3-D film, as well as regular film.”
An Australian filmmaker has discovered two perfectly preserved 3-D films the Nazis made 75 years ago as part of their propaganda machine.

Tucked on a shelf in the Federal Archives in Berlin, the 30-minute films were part of "the Nazi effort to control minds," Philippe Mora told the Star on Thursday.

"It's scary stuff. They were more advanced at doing it than we even knew."

As part of his research into a documentary on how Nazi Germany's Third Reich obsessively recorded itself, Mora discovered an intense fascination with 3-D imagery.

"It was a huge fad in Nazi Germany. They had 3-D magazines. They shot everything, the Olympics, everything, on 3-D film, as well as regular film."

Comment: "In essence advertisements for the glories of living in Nazi Germany, the films show young, attractive people singing, dancing, barbecuing bratwurst, camping and riding around in Mercedes-Benz cars."

Replace the words "Nazi Germany" with "Democratic America" and this sentence accurately describes many modern American television commercial programs, where everyone is having fun partying while the state crumbles and the world burns.


People

Revealed: Air Force ordered software to manage army of fake virtual people

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These days, with Facebook and Twitter and social media galore, it can be increasingly hard to tell who your "friends" are.

But after this, Internet users would be well advised to ask another question entirely: Are my "friends" even real people?

In the continuing saga of data security firm HBGary, a new caveat has come to light: not only did they plot to help destroy secrets outlet WikiLeaks and discredit progressive bloggers, they also crafted detailed proposals for software that manages online "personas," allowing a single human to assume the identities of as many fake people as they'd like.

MIB

Curveball's admission 'raises questions about CIA'

curveball
© David Levene
Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, AKA Curveball: 'I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime.'

Senior aide to Colin Powell is among those to react to news that Iraqi testimony used to justify invasion was a lie

A senior aide to Colin Powell at the time of his pivotal speech to the United Nations said on Tuesday that Curveball's admission raised questions about the CIA's role.

Lawrence Wilkerson, who was chief of staff to the then US secretary of state Powell in the build-up to the invasion, said the lies of Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, also known by the codename Curveball, raised questions about how the CIA had briefed Powell ahead of his crucial speech to the UN security council presenting the case for war.

In particular, why did the CIA's then director George Tenet and his deputy John McLaughlin believe the claim by Curveball, "and convey that to Powell even though the CIA's own European chief Tyler Drumheller had already raised serious doubts.

Wall Street

The US bank and the secret plan to destroy WikiLeaks

bank of america
© AFP/Getty
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is preparing to release information on Bank of America

The computer hackers' collective Anonymous has uncovered a proposal by a consortium of private contractors to attack and discredit WikiLeaks.

Last week Anonymous volunteers broke into the servers of HB Gary Federal, a security company that sells investigative services to companies, and posted thousands of the firm's emails on to the internet.

The attack was in revenge for claims by the company's chief executive Aaron Barr that he had successfully infiltrated the shadowy cyber protest network and discovered details of its leadership and structure.

Eye 1

Supreme Court justice defends his five-year vow of silence

supereme court
© Getty Images
Justice Clarence Thomas, second left, with his more loquacious colleagues

As Justice Clarence Thomas approaches the 20th anniversary in October of his ascent to the US Supreme Court after fending off the still famous sexual harassment charges from Anita Hill, he finds himself under fire for a different milestone in his controversial career: five years of staying mum.

It might serve Justice Thomas well to break into song or perhaps a one-man poetry jam when the Court resumes its winter session to ponder new intractable cases and deliver weighty verdicts next Tuesday. That's because it will also be the fifth anniversary of his having not spoken a word during oral arguments.

Each year that passes with Thomas still keeping his counsel while his colleagues routinely interrupt anxious lawyers with questions and demands for clarification, brings fresh media comment. This time the New York Times that has given the puzzle of his monkish restraint front-page treatment.

2 + 2 = 4

Climate zealots made my life hell for being a sceptic says Johnny Ball, who was victim of porn and blog smears

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Witch-hunt: Johnny Ball - father of Radio Two DJ Zoe Ball - says his career has been destroyed
As a climate change sceptic, Johnny Ball doesn't mince his words.

He once declared spider flatulence to be more damaging to the environment than fossil fuels.

But the veteran children's TV presenter is paying the price for his outspoken remarks.

Yesterday he revealed he has become the victim of a vicious hate campaign by environmentalist 'zealots'.

Mr Ball - father of Radio Two DJ Zoe Ball - popularised maths and science for millions of youngsters in the 1970s and 1980s with his eccentric TV shows.

More recently he has carved out a career giving talks in schools and at science festivals and teachers' conferences.

But he says zealots are trying to sabotage his career because he has described climate change as 'alarmist nonsense'.

He claims the internet has been used to try to discredit his opinions.

Bloggers have run campaigns stating Mr Ball 'should not be allowed near children'.

And an imposter has even tried to cancel his booking at a training day for maths teachers in Northampton.

In a sinister twist, websites have also been set up in his name which contain pornographic images.

Rocket

Argentina accuses US of trying to smuggle weapons into country

Diplomatic row over cargo US claims was intended for training program further sours already poor relationship

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© Alex Wong/Getty Images
Barack Obama's upcoming Latin America tour will not take in Argentina, a decision which has strained relations.
Relations between the US and Argentina have deteriorated after Buenos Aires lodged a formal complaint over a US military plane that landed late last week carrying guns, drugs and satellite phones.

The Argentinian government claimed the US was trying to sneak the weapons into the country, though it didn't offer an explanation of why Washington might want to do this.

The US state department said the consignment was intended for a police training programme in Argentina.

Officials from Argentina and the state department have been in talks aimed at resolving the row.

The relationship between the two countries has been poor since Barack Obama released details of a Latin American tour next month that includes Brazil, Chile and El Salvador but not Argentina.