Puppet MastersS


Western spy agencies build 'cyber magicians' to manipulate online discourse

© Reuters/Kieran DohertySatellite dishes are seen at GCHQ's outpost at Bude, close to where trans-Atlantic fibre-optic cables come ashore in Cornwall, southwest England.
Secret units within the 'Five Eyes" global spying network engage in covert online operations that aim to invade, deceive, and control online communities and individuals through the spread of false information and use of ingenious social-science tactics.

Such teams of highly trained professionals have several main objectives, such as "to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet" and "to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable," The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald reported based on intelligence documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Eye 1

How the CIA recruited Nazis & adopted their propaganda methods

Abby Martin speaks with American University Professor and Author of 'Blowback: The First Full Account of America's Recruitment of Nazis, Chris Simpson, about the cooperation between US intelligence and military agencies and Nazi espionage and propaganda experts in the years following World War II.

Source: RT

Arrow Down

Pentagon's Chuck Hagel plans to downsize U.S. military

Hagel: "American dominance... can no longer be taken for granted"
Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has unveiled plans to shrink the US Army to its smallest size since before the US entered World War Two. Outlining his budget plan, the Pentagon chief proposed trimming the active-duty Army to 440,000-450,000 personnel, down from 520,000 currently.

Cold War-era Air Force fleets - the U-2 spy plane and the A-10 attack jet - will also be retired. The US defence budget remains higher than during most of the Cold War.

'Difficult decisions ahead'

On Monday, Mr Hagel noted the US military had come under pressure to downsize after two costly foreign wars. "This is a time for reality," he said. "This is a budget that recognises the reality of the magnitude of our fiscal challenges."

Cloud Grey

China's naval chief says smog is best defence against U.S. laser weapons

Zhang Zhaozhong's comments on thick smog is best defence against US laser weaponry
Thick smog is the best defence against US laser weapons, a Chinese military chief has declared on national television.

Zhang Zhaozhong, the Navy Major General for the People's Liberation Army drew massive criticism when he made the statement on CCTV's Haixia Liang'an (Cross-Straits) current affairs programme, adding that lasers were "most afraid of smog".

He said: "Under conditions where there is no smog, a laser weapon can fire [at a range of] 10 kilometres. When there's smog, it's only one kilometre. What's the point of making this kind of weapon?

"It only works when the weather is good. The enemy will target you when the weather is bad.


Deutsche Bank to cut U.S. unit's assets by quarter to meet Fed rules

© Thomas Lohnes | Getty Images
Deutsche Bank has for the first time laid out plans to slash its US balance sheet as it seeks to allay concerns over how it would deal with tough new rules imposed by the Federal Reserve on foreign banks.

The lender aims to reduce assets held in its US arm by up to a quarter largely through reassigning some operations to Europe or in Asia. This comes after the Fed confirmed last week that overseas lenders operating in the US would have to ringfence capital in the country to safeguard against future financial crises.

Stefan Krause, Deutsche's chief financial officer, told the Financial Times that the lender was confident it would be able to meet the new capital and leverage requirements imposed on its US arm. He said the balance sheet adjustment should not be seen as a pullback from the bank's US franchise, where the lender is focused on growing its asset and wealth management business as well as battling to regain ground lost to US rivals in its flagship fixed income arm.

"The US continues to be an important market for us. We are very comfortable we will be able to meet the leverage requirements in the US," he said.


Brazil, Europe plan direct undersea cable to bypass U.S. spying

© Reuters/Francois LenoirBrazil's President Rousseff
Brazil and the European Union agreed on Monday to lay an undersea communications cable from Lisbon to Fortaleza to reduce Brazil's reliance on the United States after Washington spied on Brasilia.

At a summit in Brussels, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said the $185 million cable project was central to "guarantee the neutrality" of the Internet, signaling her desire to shield Brazil's Internet traffic from U.S. surveillance.

"We have to respect privacy, human rights and the sovereignty of nations. We don't want businesses to be spied upon," Rousseff told a joint news conference with the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council.

"The Internet is one of the best things man has ever invented. So we agreed for the need to guarantee ... the neutrality of the network, a democratic area where we can protect freedom of expression," Rousseff said.


Obama official warns on Russia sending troops to Ukraine

A senior Obama administration official warned Russian leaders Sunday not to send armed forces into Ukraine to restore what they see as a compliant government, urging them to reject a Cold War view of the tumult in Ukraine as a struggle between East and West.

"That would be a grave mistake," President Barack Obama's National Security Adviser, Susan Rice, said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "It's not in the interests of the Ukraine or of Russia or of Europe or of the United States to see the country split. It's in nobody's interest to see violence return and the situation escalate."

Ms. Rice's remarks came after bloody street protests in Ukraine culminated this weekend in pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to leave the capital of Kiev.

Ms. Rice said that Mr. Yanukovych's whereabouts are "not known at the present." She made clear that the Obama administration isn't mourning his departure from the scene, saying he had lost "enormous legitimacy ... by turning on his people, by using violence in the streets against peaceful protesters and by flouting the will of the Ukrainian people."

Black Cat

Yulia Tymoshenko is no angel

Yulia Tymoshenko
© SERGEI SUPINSKYYulia Tymoshenko
Yulia Tymoshenko has a record allegedly as shady as any politician's in Ukraine, and that's saying something. But, still, she brings her people hope.

Don't let her looks fool you. The woman of the moment in Ukraine, whose crown of braided golden hair is calculated to evoke mythical memories of rural strength, has always been a better icon than a politician.

When former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, 53, addressed tens of thousands of people in Kiev's Independence Square on Saturday night, many in the crowd were moved to tears. Only hours before she'd been serving a seven-year prison sentence under guard in a hospital far from the capital. Now, afflicted with crippling back problems, she spoke from a wheelchair, telling the crowd she drew strength from their bravery, their martyrdom. "You are heroes!" she cried. Her most bitter political enemy, President Viktor Yanukovych had meanwhile fled the capital.

A new chapter seemed to be opening in the political life of the country last night, and indeed it was. But as Ukraine moves toward new elections in the near future (most likely at the end of May), Tymoshenko's not-so-pretty past may yet prevent her from winning the presidency she's sought for so long.

Comment: For more background on Yulia Tymoshenko read:
Free-dumb and Democrazi: Ukraine MPs vote for release of ex-PM and gas billionaire Tymoshenko, along with a return to 2004 CIA-imposed constitution
The Country Run by a Mafia: Ukrainian ex-PM Tymoshenko may face life in prison for 'ordering murder'
Ukraine: Tymoshenko accused of murder link

Eye 1

US eavesdropping on hundreds of key German figures

spying protest
© AFP Photo/Britta PedersonDemonstrators protests against data preservation in front of the US embassy in Berlin on February 1, 2014
US intelligence has stepped up eavesdropping on hundreds of key figures in Germany, including a government minister, after Chancellor Angela Merkel was dropped as a direct target, a German report said Sunday.

Bild am Sonntag newspaper said that 320 political and business leaders in Germany were being monitored by the US National Security Agency (NSA), including Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

"We have the order not to allow any loss of information whatsoever after the communication of the chancellor no longer being able to be directly monitored," Bild quoted an unnamed high-ranking US intelligence employee in Germany as saying.

US-German ties soured amid revelations leaked by former CIA contractor Edward Snowden that US intelligence agencies had allegedly eavesdropped on Merkel and collected vast amounts of online data and telephone records from average citizens.

Eye 1

Russia denounces Ukraine terrorists and west over Yanukovich ousting

© Astakhov Dmitry/Itar-Tass/CorbisDmitry Medvedev, the Russian prime minister.
Moscow claims new government violating ethnic Russian rights and accuses west of one-sided geopolitical calculations

Moscow delivered a damning indictment of post-revolutionary Ukraine on Monday, denouncing alleged discrimination of the ethnic Russian minority, accusing the west of sponsoring a takeover of the country by "terrorists" and "extremists", and clashing with Washington over plans for early elections in May.

"Russia is extremely concerned about the situation in Ukraine," said a foreign ministry statement, which followed the highest-level reaction from Moscow so far to the collapse of Viktor Yanukovych's presidency. Dmitry Medvedev, the prime minister and former president, accused the post-Yanukovych authorities and parliament of lacking legitimacy.

"If you consider Kalashnikov-toting people in black masks who are roaming Kiev to be the government, then it will be hard for us to work with that government," Medvedev said. "Some of our foreign, western partners think otherwise, considering them to be legitimate authorities. I do not know which constitution, which laws they were reading, but it seems to me it is an aberration ... Something that is essentially the result of a mutiny is called legitimate."