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VIP Dominique Strauss-Kahn is freed from French police custody after 30 hours of interrogation about an international prostitution ring

Dominique Strauss-Kahn
© Francois Lo Presti/AFP/Getty Images
Dominique Strauss-Kahn leaves in car after a daylong-plus interrogation in Lille about a prostitution sex-orgy ring.

Ex-French presidential hopeful says he was in orgies, but didn't know women worked for money

French powerbroker Dominique Strauss-Kahn was freed from police custody in Paris on Wednesday after a 30-hour grilling over a prostitution sex-orgy ring.

The ex-head of the International Monetary Fund and one-time French presidential hopeful appeared haggard as he left the police station in Lille, France.

"He is entirely satisfied to have been heard," said his lawyer Frederique Beaulieu. Strauss-Kahn is expected to be summoned back to court again next month.

French police are investigating a suspected international prostitution ring that organized sex orgies at luxury hotels in Lille, Paris, and Washington, D.C.

Strauss-Kahn has admitted participating in the orgies, but insists he did not know the women were hookers and denied organizing the swinger bashes, one of his lawyers said.

Eye 1

Secret Documents Reveal DHS Lied About Tracking Americans on Social Media

social media tracking
© Shutterstock
One of the nation's leading electronic privacy groups claimed this week that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) misled members of Congress during a recent hearing on whether the Department is paying a defense contractor $11.4 million to keep tabs on protected free speech and dissent against government policies on the Internet.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), which triggered the hearing by publishing a trove of secret government documents in January, told Raw Story on Thursday that a second round of documents they've obtained directly contradicts testimony given on Feb. 16, showing that the DHS instructed their analysts to do exactly what the Department denied.

"There were several exchanges that they had with members of Congress in which they sort of distanced themselves from the idea - that they weren't engaging in this monitoring of public reaction to government proposals," McCall told Raw Story. "But that's... Well, it's not true, according to the documents we obtained."

In a letter (PDF) sent Wednesday to the ranking members of the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, Ginger McCall, who directs EPIC's Open Government Project, explains that details within the document directly contradict testimony given during the hearing (PDF).

Telephone

Canada: Robocalls to Trick Voters Draw Opposition Fire

Automated calls that sent voters to wrong polling stations traced to Edmonton company


The Conservatives defended themselves Thursday over links to a company used to make fraudulent phone calls directing voters to the wrong polling station in the last federal election.

The party's elite, from Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Jenni Byrne, who ran the national campaign during the 2011 election, was forced to address the issue after a report in the Ottawa Citizen.

The report Thursday said fraudulent calls claiming to be from Elections Canada were traced to a company in Edmonton called Racknine, which provides a service that allows a recorded message to be sent to a large number of phone numbers for pennies per call. Racknine operates the service under the name 2call.ca.

The calls used a pre-recorded message with a female voice that claimed to be calling on behalf of Elections Canada to direct voters in Guelph, Ont., to the wrong polling station. The message was recorded in French and in English.

Attention

US: Bradley Manning Arraigned, Defers Entering Plea

Bradley Manning
© ABC News/Patrick Semansky/The Associated Press
Bradley Manning Arraigned, Defers Entering Plea
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of providing hundreds of thousands of classified military documents and state department cables to online publisher WikiLeaks, deferred entering a plea at his arraignment today.

Sitting in the Ft. Meade, Md., courtroom in his dress army greens and signature black-rimmed glasses, Manning had his civilian counsel, David Coombs, and his assigned military counsel by his side.

Although Manning sat in the same chair and courtroom as he did throughout his December pre-trial Article 32 hearing, this is the first time he has sat before a military judge, facing a court martial.

When Manning was asked how he would plead, Coombs replied on behalf of the former Army intelligence analyst. "PFC Manning would like to defer both on his plea and on motions," Coombs said.

Manning barely spoke throughout the arraignment, responding "yes, your honor" when asked by the military judge whether he understood the charges against him, including aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet, knowing that it is accessible to the enemy, stealing public property or records and transmitting defense information.

Vader

Israel and major weapons manufacturers cash in on EU military spending dressed up as research

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Fortress Europe, made in Israel
Great article by Andrew Rettman on EUObserver on the latest no-government-should-be-seen-without-one, public-money hoovering, military-industrial subsidies disguised as research fad: EU firms join gold rush on drones.

I did some work on this issue last year for Corporate Europe Observatory. Here's the gist:

The European Union's research and development grant scheme, the Seventh Framework Programme, commits €2.83 billion (5.6 percent of the total budget) to space and security research between 2007-2013. Much of this money is being spent on surveillance or even pseudo-military projects, though spending of EU research funds on weapons R&D is forbidden.

One of the most obvious pseudo-military projects, according to Ben Hayes of think tank the Transnational Institute, is TALOS (Transportable autonomous patrol for land border surveillance). TALOS is a Polish-led project to develop unmanned drones that can be used for border control. Among the project's deliverables are military-style land vehicles (similar to small tanks), which could be adapted to carry weapons. Demonstration videos showing how drones and "interceptors" can be used to catch illegal immigrants (with the accompaniment of pumping rock music) are available at http://talos-border.eu/

Comment: Austerity all round for EU citizens while their unelected leaders in Brussels throw money at the Israel Mafia and the MIC. Yes folks, welcome to 21st Century Democrazi.


Cult

Mystery of a Killer Cult

No one has been able to explain satisfactorily why more than 70 members of the predatory Order of the Solar Temple have been killed, or where millions of dollars have gone

The muscular man who landed at Montreal's Mirabel airport on Swissair Flight 138 from Zurich had little time to admire the glorious fall foliage in Canada's Laurentian hills. Joel Egger, a fanatical 34-year-old Swiss member of the secret Order of the Solar Temple, headed straight for a green chalet in nearby Morin Heights to rendezvous with Jerry and Colette Genoud, a Swiss couple who had moved to Quebec six weeks earlier, and Dominique Bellaton, mother of the Order's Cosmic Child, supposed to be a new Christ.

The next day, September 30, 1994, Nicky and Tony Dutoit arrived at the chalet with their infant son. Nicky, a cheerful British woman who used to make ceremonial capes for the Order, and Tony, a Swiss craftsman who served as general handyman, had left the cult three years before. But they still liked to see their old friend Bellaton.

Pistol

US: Michigan's Hostile Takeover

Michigan takeover tyranny
© Unknown
A new "emergency" law backed by right-wing think tanks is turning Michigan cities over to powerful managers who can sell off city hall, break union contracts, privatize services - and even fire elected officials.

When the city of Pontiac, Michigan, shut down its fire department last Christmas Eve, city councilman Kermit Williams learned about it in the morning paper. "Nobody reports to me anymore," Williams says. "It just gets reported in the press." This was just the latest in a series of radical changes in the city, where elected officials such as Williams have been replaced by a single person with unprecedented control over the city's operation and budget.



Gov. Rick Snyder put Louis Schimmel in charge of Pontiac last September, invoking Public Act 4, a recent law that lets the governor name appointees to take over financially troubled cities and enact drastic austerity measures. Under the law, passed last March, these emergency managers can nullify labor contracts, privatize public services, sell off city property, and even dismiss elected officials.

Schimmel got to work quickly, firing the city clerk, city attorney, and director of public works and outsourcing several city departments. City fire fighters were told that they would be fired if their department was not absorbed by Waterford Township's. Schimmel has proposed putting nearly every city property up for sale, including city hall, the police station, fire stations, water-pumping stations, the library, the golf course, and two cemeteries.

Williams and his six colleagues on city council have been stripped of their salary and official powers. "Nearly the whole city has been privatized," he laments.

Star of David

Washington's Ministry of Truth: Silencing the Critics

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In 2010 the FBI invaded the homes of peace activists in several states and seized personal possessions in what the FBI - the lead orchestrator of fake "terrorist plots" - called an investigation of "activities concerning the material support of terrorism."

Subpoenas were issued to compel antiwar protestors to testify before grand juries as prosecutors set about building their case that opposing Washington's wars of aggression constitutes giving aid and comfort to terrorists. The purpose of the raids and grand jury subpoenas was to chill the anti-war movement into inaction.

Last week in one fell swoop the last two remaining critics of Washington/Tel Aviv imperialism were removed from the mainstream media. Judge Napolitano's popular program, Freedom Watch, was cancelled by Fox TV, and Pat Buchanan was fired by MSNBC. Both pundits had wide followings and were appreciated for speaking frankly.

Many suspect that the Israel Lobby used its clout with TV advertisers to silence critics of the Israeli government's efforts to lead Washington to war with Iran. Regardless, the point before us is that the voice of the mainstream media is now uniform. Americans hear one voice, one message, and the message is propaganda. Dissent is tolerated only on such issues as to whether employer-paid health benefits should pay for contraceptive devices. Constitutional rights have been replaced with rights to free condoms.

USA

The Glorification of our Serial Killers: The United States and Its Dark Passenger

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© Christian Weber/Showtime
Part 1:

I could have been a vicious raving monster who killed and killed and left towers of rotting flesh in my wake. Instead, here I was on the side of truth, justice and the American way. Still a monster, of course, but I cleaned up nicely afterward, and I was OUR monster, dressed in red, white and blue 100 percent synthetic virtue.


-Jeff Lindsay, Dearly Devoted Dexter

I teach creative writing in a maximum security prison in Philadelphia. During the week I scour two thrift shops for 35-cent paperbacks that I haul in to stock a small lending library I created for inmates. Amazingly, the prison had no library.

In the process of collecting used books, I've surveyed the crime, mystery and noir genre of popular fiction. I collect some books for myself and have read many in part or end to end. The range of quality in such a genre runs from garbage to genius.

I'm a Vietnam veteran and a veteran anti-war activist who follows the US war news closely. The psychological and mythic forces of Eros and Thanatos (Death) interest me and how they play out in popular culture. Freud in Civilization and Its Discontents writes about "the struggle between Eros and Death, between the instinct of life and the instinct of destruction." Eros is the force that brings humans together and Thanatos is the force that drives us apart. "This struggle is what all life essentially consists of," Freud writes.

The other day I picked up Jeff Lindsay's second book in the Dexter series - Dearly Devoted Dexter - about a Miami police department forensic expert by day and psychopathic killer by night. Lindsay's Dexter novels have spun off into a popular Showtime TV series. The Miami Herald called the book about a lovable serial killer "A macabre work of art."

House

Palestine: Israel Approves 500 New Illegal West Bank Homes

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
An Israeli committee approved on Wednesday the construction of 500 new illegal homes in the West Bank settlement of Shilo and retroactively legalize more than 200 already built without permits, a spokesman said.

The committee, which falls under the auspices of the defense ministry, approved "construction of 500 units," civil administration spokesman Guy Inbar told AFP.

He also confirmed reports that more than 200 homes which were built without a permit, some in the nearby settler outpost of Shvut Rachel, would be legalised.

Israel has sped up expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory in defiance of international law, which considers such construction illegal.

A Palestinian official said the move was a "very serious development" and warned the Palestinian Authority would not enter negotiations while Israel's "destructive" policies continued.