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Sat, 03 Jun 2023
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Puppet Masters


USA: Judge issues temporary restraining order for Wisconsin law

A judge has temporarily blocked a controversial Wisconsin law that curbs collective bargaining rights for public employee unions.

The temporary restraining order is based on questions about the procedure by which the bill was passed, rather than upon the substance of the law itself.

Senate Republicans used a parliamentary maneuver to pass the law while Democrats were out of the state, trying to block a vote. Critics say the Republicans failed to give advance notice of their meeting, violating the state's open meeting law that requires 24-hours advance notice of legislative meetings, or 2 hours in an emergency.

The judge's order blocks the secretary of state from publishing the law, thus making it officially effective, until the legality of the bill's passage is examined.

The law was scheduled to be published on Friday, March 25.


Clinton to Libya: U.S. not impressed by words

© Unknown
Asked about a possible cease-fire in Libya, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the situation "fluid and dynamic," but warned the Libyan regime that the U.S. is "not going to be responsive or impressed by words," and that the U.S. "would have to see actions on the ground."

She said that the situation is not yet at all clear, but that the U.S. will continue to work with their international partners to press Khaddafy to leave.

Clinton said the international community will need to see a clear set of actions operationalized on the ground, and that Khaddafy's forces must move a "significant distance" away from the East. She added that there has to be an accounting for of what has already happened, and that Khaddafy has left the international community with "no other choice" but to pursue the course of action taken with the U.N. Security Council Resolution.

After meeting with her Irish counterpart, Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore, Clinton said that the U.N. resolution is just one step, and that the international community will continue to consider other options and explore the most effective measures for dealing with Khaddafy.

Clinton also stressed that it is important to take this "one step at a time," adding that the diplomatic effort over the past few weeks has been "very intense" leading up to last night's vote.

Comment: As major earth changes threaten the entire planet, the only thing our psychopathic, warmongering, criminal leaders can think of is more war.

Are Hillary's words "would have to see actions on the ground" code for 'boots on the ground'?

No Entry

AT&T to cap users' Internet access, impose fees for too much information

AT&T logo
© AT&T
Telecommunications giant AT&T said this week that it will join Comcast and other providers in a controversial business model that limits the amount of information subscribers can access, and imposes penalties for overages.
Telecommunications giant AT&T said this week that it will join Comcast and other providers in a controversial business model that limits the amount of information subscribers can access, and imposes penalties for overages.

The move will see AT&T broadband users forced into a tiered Internet that would limit accounts to a paltry 150 gigabytes a month. Users who download too much information on AT&T's broadband network will be subject to an additional $10 fee for every 50 gigabytes. Fees on the first three overages will be waived, according to DSLReports.com.

In layman's terms, if you're used to watching Netflix, playing online video games or using your computer to share files with your friends or engage in other bandwidth-intensive activity, get ready to be slammed with additional fees.

The move has some tech businesses and Internet freedom advocates up in arms, calling AT&T's plan a way to force other companies into a restrictive business model. Some are also concerned that with Internet users watching their bandwidth meters, usage may go down and innovation could suffer.

Some analysts are predicting the move could have a tremendous effect on Netflix, the most popular movie rental service online with a massive catalog of watch-anytime titles available for streaming. While it does not yet offer true 1080p video (high definition is at 720p), should Netflix finally upgrade to full fidelity video as planned, AT&T users would have to keep their viewing time to less than 90 minutes a day to avoid overage fees.

In Canada, where users have been forced into much smaller bandwidth allotments by Internet providers, Netflix even offers a option to decrease the resolution and make their videos look much worse in order to save on bandwidth.


Libya declares cease-fire after UN vote

Libya declared an immediate cease-fire and promised to stop military operations today in a bid to fend off international military intervention after the UN authorised a no-fly zone and "all necessary measures" to prevent the regime from striking its own people.
Libya ceasefire
© Reuters
Libya declared an immediate cease-fire and promised to stop military operations today

The announcement by Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa followed a fierce attack by Gaddafi's forces against Misrata, the last rebel-held city in the western half of the country. A doctor said at least six people were killed.

The UN Security Council resolution, which was passed late Thursday after weeks of deliberation, set the stage for airstrikes, a no-fly zone and other military measures short of a ground invasion. Britain announced that it would send fighter jets and France was making plans to deploy planes, but the US had yet to announce what its role would be. Nato also held an emergency meeting.

With the international community mobilizing, Koussa said the government would cease fire in line with the resolution, although he criticised the authorisation of international military action, calling it a violation of Libya's sovereignty.

Comment: As major earth changes threaten the entire planet, the only thing our psychopathic leaders can think of is more war. How long will a ceasefire be allowed to stand?


America's absurd stab at systematising sock puppetry

Air Force social media chart
The US has a chance to move on from a history of clandestine foreign policy - instead it acts like a clumsy spammer

The US government's plan to use technology to create and manage fake identities for social interaction with terrorists is as appalling as it is amusing. It's appalling that in this era of greater transparency and accountability brought on by the internet, the US of all countries would try to systematise sock puppetry. It's appallingly stupid, for there's little doubt that the fakes will be unmasked. The net result of that will be the diminution, not the enhancement, of American credibility.

But the effort is amusing as well, for there is absolutely no need to spend millions of dollars to create fake identities online. Any child or troll can do it for free. Millions do. If the government insists on paying, it can use salesforce.com to monitor and join in chats. There is no shortage of social management tools marketers are using to find and mollify or drown out complainers. There's no shortage of social-media gurus, either.

War Whore

Bombs Away! Britain, France and US line up for air strikes against Gaddafi


The lessons of Iraq have been learned: don't invade a country until you've got a really good cover story prepared!
UN security council expected to pass resolution calling for states to protect Libyan civilians as Gaddafi threatens counterattack

British, French and US military aircraft are preparing to protect the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi after Washington said it was ready to support a no-fly zone and air strikes against Muammar Gaddafi's forces.

Jets could take off from French military bases if a no-fly zone is approved in a fresh United Nations security council resolution authorising "all necessary measures short of an occupation force" to protect civilians.

France, which has led the calls for a no-fly zone along with Britain, has offered the use of military bases on its Mediterranean coast about 750 miles from the Libyan coast. Several Arab countries would join the operation.

The finalising of military preparations came as Gaddafi's forces closed in on Benghazi and issued a strong warning that it would target all maritime traffic in the Mediterranean if it is targeted by foreign forces. In a statement broadcast on Libyan television the defence ministry said: "Any foreign military act against Libya will expose all air and maritime traffic in the Mediterranean Sea to danger and civilian and military [facilities] will become targets of Libya's counterattack." "The Mediterranean basin will face danger not just in the short-term, but also in the long-term."


Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media by creating online sockpuppets to spread propaganda

© Cliff Owen/AP
Gen David Petraeus has previously said US online psychological operations are aimed at 'countering extremist ideology and propaganda'.
Military's 'sock puppet' software creates fake online identities to spread pro-American propaganda

The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.

A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an "online persona management service" that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world.

The project has been likened by web experts to China's attempts to control and restrict free speech on the internet. Critics are likely to complain that it will allow the US military to create a false consensus in online conversations, crowd out unwelcome opinions and smother commentaries or reports that do not correspond with its own objectives.

Comment: This Guardian article is arguing slightly too much to convince us that this sort of thing would never be tolerated against anyone other than "Muslims in remote Muslim countries that we don't like (because they don't like us)!"

Army of Fake Social Media Friends to Promote Propaganda


Fukushima nuclear plant owner falsified inspection records

THE Japanese owner of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant falsified safety data and "dishonestly" tried to cover up problems there.

Tokyo Electric Power Co injected air into the containment vessel of Fukushima reactor No 1 to artificially "lower the leak rate". When caught, the company expressed its "sincere apologies for conducting dishonest practices".

The misconduct came to light in 2002 after whistleblowers working for General Electric, which designed the reactor, complained to the Japanese government. Another GE employee later confessed that he had falsified records of inspections of reactor No1 in 1989 - at the request of TEPCO officials. He also admitted to falsifying other inspection reports, also on request of the client. After that incident TEPCO was forced to shut down 17 reactors, albeit temporarily.


Hundreds shot in Bahrain protest

© Agence France-Presse
Anti-government protesters gather outside the Saudi Arabian embassy in Manama.
At least 200 people have been shot and wounded in a Shi'ite village south of the Bahraini capital, a medic says, as the king imposed a state of emergency after bringing in Saudi and Emirati troops to help quell anti-regime protests.

As violence escalated, close ally the United States warned that there was "no military solution" to political upheaval in Bahrain and that any violence against peacefully expressed political demands "should be stopped".

"More than 200 people we received today had been shot with buckshot," a hospital doctor in the village of Sitra, south of the capital, said.

The doctor, who asked that his name not be used, said the hospital was under siege by armed gangs and security forces targeting Shi'ites - the backbone of anti-regime protests that have raged for a month.

War Whore

In sharp shift, US urges Libya air strikes, no-fly zone

The United States, in a sharp shift in tone, wants the United Nations to authorize not just a no-fly zone to aid Libyan rebels but also air strikes against Libyan tanks and heavy artillery, U.S. officials said Thursday.

The move toward a tougher stance in favor of military action comes after an extended internal debate within the Obama administration over how to stop Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's battle to put down a rebellion that has threatened his 30-year reign.

The Libyan opposition has appealed for immediate assistance to prevent the rebel capital of Benghazi from falling to forces loyal to Gadhafi, and the question facing President Barack Obama and other world leaders was whether the action they planned to take would come in time.

U.S. officials said the United States has concluded a "no-fly" zone should be adopted and other measures that go well beyond a no-fly zone should be taken, including air strikes against Libyan tanks and heavy artillery.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she hoped the Security Council would vote "no later than Thursday," and that a no-fly zone would require bombing targets inside the country.

"A no-fly zone requires certain actions taken to protect the planes and the pilots, including bombing targets like the Libyan defense systems," Clinton said as she neared the end of a Middle East trip dominated by worries about Libya, where a rebel offensive is apparently flagging.