Puppet MastersS


Best of the Web: What is Heading Our Way?

psycho 6%
© SOTT.net
Perhaps it's like shouting an alarm, unheard above the engine noise of two trains on a collision course. Or, screaming helplessly as a car slips its brakes and rolls toward a toddler playing at the bottom of the driveway.

It is gruesome imagery and I apologize for invoking it. But if anything, it may be inadequate to the prospect before us.

One only has to ask, "What is heading our way?"


The Department Of Homeland Security Is Buying 450 Million New Bullets

And don't kid yourself; they're not for target practice. It's .40 caliber ammunition, hollow point rounds that promise "optimum penetration for terminal performance." The department also has a bid out for up to 175 million rounds of .223 caliber ammunition.

This isn't the flipping army, you know. This is an internal national police force, a department that didn't even exist 10 years ago.


Supreme Court OKs Strip Searches for Minor Offenses

It's okay with the Supreme Court if you are detained and subjected to a demeaning strip-search for such serious offenses against the State as violating a leash law or having a headlight out.

Really, is being strip-searched and perhaps even forced to take a delousing shower for riding your bicycle without an audible bell reasonable? Of course not. So much for the 4th Amendment.

Heart - Black

Gaddafi torture victim tells Tony Blair and Jack Straw to admit kidnap truth

Jack Straw
© Bruce AdamsJack Straw is expected to be quizzed by Scotland Yard
The Libyan man seized after a tip-off by MI6 then sent for torture at the hands of the Gaddafi regime challenged Tony Blair and Jack Straw yesterday to say which minister sanctioned his kidnap.

Adbel Hakim Belhadj said his rendition from Bangkok to a Gaddafi prison had led to 'years of torture'.

Asked what he would say to Mr Blair, Mr Belhadj said: 'Why did British intelligence help kidnap my wife and me?

'Who sanctioned this horrible operation? Was it you, Jack Straw or someone else? Are you ready to apologise for it?'

Mr Belhadj and his wife were sent to Libya in 2004 shortly before Mr Blair signed his 'deal in the desert' with Colonel Gaddafi.

Chart Pie

Deadbeat Corporations Made Billions in Profits, Yet Paid No Corporate Income Tax For The Last Four Years

Last year, Citizens for Tax Justice found that 30 major corporations had made billions of dollars in profits while paying no federal income tax between 2008 and 2010. Today, CTJ updated that report to reflect the 2011 tax bill of those 30 companies, and 26 of them have still managed to pay absolutely nothing over that four year period:

- 26 of the 30 companies continued to enjoy negative federal income tax rates. That means they still made more money after tax than before tax over the four years!

- Of the remaining four companies, three paid four year effective tax rates of less than 4 percent

(specifically, 0.2%, 2.0% and 3.8%). One company paid a 2008-11 tax rate of 10.9 percent.

- In total, 2008-11 federal income taxes for the 30 companies remained negative, despite $205 billion in pretax U.S. profits. Overall, they enjoyed an average effective federal income tax rate of - 3.1 percent over the four years.

War Whore

Hypocrites! Kony 2012 Creators Spied for Uganda Helping Government Arrest Former Child Soldier and Backed Operation Killing Civilians

© AFP Photo / Stuart PriceAn armed fighter of the Lord's Resistance Army
The Invisible Children NGO, most famous for its Kony 2012 online video, helped the Ugandan government arrest a former child soldier and backed an operation that killed more civilians than militants, cables published by Wikileaks reveal.

­A memo written by a public affairs officer at the US embassy in Uganda documents Invisible Children's collaboration with Ugandan intelligence services. It notes that the US-based NGO tipped the Ugandan government on the whereabouts of Patrick Komakech, a former child soldier for the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), who was wanted by security officials for extorting money from the government officials, NGO's and local tribal leaders. Ugandan security organizations jumped the tip and immediately arrested Komakech.

As a result of the tip, the Ugandan military claimed it obtained the names of other suspects from Komakech. The military then conducted a sweep and arrested a number of people, many of whom declared their innocence, the Ugandan media reported. Human rights groups say torture of arrested suspects by Ugandan security forces is routine.


ACTA: The State of Play in the US

anti-ACTA guy fawkes masks
© n/a
In the last few weeks, we've seen surprising and significant developments with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in both the US and the EU. As we've noted before, ACTA is a plurilateral agreement designed to broaden and extend existing intellectual property enforcement laws to the Internet. In both process and in substance, it is a deeply undemocratic initiative that has bypassed checks and balances of existing international IP norm-setting bodies, without any meaningful input from national parliaments, policymakers, or their citizens.

This is the first in a series of posts detailing the current state of play. Today, we're reviewing recent U.S. developments and what we and others are doing to highlight the illegitimacy of this controversial agreement. In February, EFF submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the U.S. State Department, seeking a copy of the "Circular 175" memorandum for ACTA, and the accompanying Memorandum of Law - key documents regarding the constitutionality of ACTA. The State Department is due to respond tomorrow.

The U.S. Trade Ambassador, Ronald Kirk, signed ACTA in October 2011 at a much-heralded ceremony in Tokyo. However, that does not necessarily mean that ACTA is a done deal in the U.S. Whether ACTA is now binding on the U.S. government, and whether Congress should have any role in reviewing ACTA, continue to be much-debated questions. Several U.S. Congressional representatives have recently taken action to highlight the unusually secretive process used to negotiate ACTA as compared to other IP agreements, and the particular efforts that were taken to evade normal Congressional review of the agreement.


Iran Counters Hostile European Measures: Bans Imports from 100 European Companies

© file photoIran bans imports of goods from 100 European firms
Iran reportedly plans to ban imports from European companies as part of its countersanctions against the European Union (EU).

Deputy President of Iran Trade Promotion Organization Sasan Khodaei confirmed that Iran has banned imports from 100 European countries.

In an interview with Press TV on Wednesday, Khodaei said Tehran has imposed sanctions against 100 European companies in line with the policy to counter "antagonistic measures" by the EU.

Khodaei added that the banned goods include "luxury items" which Iran has been able to produce them itself.

Tehran's decision to counter hostile European measures against the country was made after the EU foreign ministers agreed on January 23 to ban oil imports from Iran and freeze the assets of its Central Bank.


The Unclassified Zelikow Torture Memo as Evidence of Crimes

Top secret graphic
© n/a
"My colleagues were entitled to ignore my views," he [Zelikow] continued. "They did more than that: The [2006] White House attempted to collect and destroy all copies of my memo. I expect that one or two are still at least in the State Department's archives." Phillip D. Zelikow, State Department Counselor, 2005-2007, to Congress, May 13, 2009

Former legal counsel to the Department of State, Phillip Zelikow, produced a convincing and elegant argument for the immediate cessation of anything that looked like torture in February 2006. The government declassified the memo last week and National Security Archive released it on April 3.

The failure to follow Zelikow's clear statement of the law, withholding the memo without justification, and the failure to prosecute those responsible for the previous acts represent evidence of crimes.

Zelikow's memo

Phillip Zelikow is the ultimate establishment insider. He took leave from his academic appointments at the University of Virginia to assist in the 2001 presidential transition. He helped Condoleezza Rice develop the doctrine of preemptive war after 9/11, and served as executive director of the 9/11 Commission. In that role, Zelikow shielded the Bush administration from responsibility for their epic failures associated with the attack.

When it came to blatant violations of laws that any rational person could understand, Zelikow had finally reached his limit.

Bad Guys

EPA Approves 'Agent Orange' Pesticide

grapefruit is sprayed by a worker
© Reuters/Joe SkipperA grove of star ruby grapefruit is sprayed by a worker in a grove in Vero Beach, Florida.
The Environmental Protection Agency has refused a petition that aimed to ban the sale of a powerful pesticide linked with cancer - and while already available, a surge in sales is expected as scientists ready a new crop resistant to the chemical.

Not only has the EPA rejected a petition that sought to prohibit the domestic sale of the dangerous 2,4-D pesticide - a key ingredient in Agent Orange - but the main manufacturer of the chemical predicts that sales will skyrocket in the coming months. The reason, it would seem, is that Dow Chemicals is awaiting federal approval of a genetically engineered crop they've created that will be resistant to 2,4-D.

If approved, farmers will be able to plant the frankencrop corn variant and douse their fields with the pesticide to eliminate unwanted weeds with greater success. Although 2,4-D isn't currently used to a large degree on corn fields, all that could soon change for the country's most successful crop. Opponents argue, though, that the potential side effects of the pesticide are enough to push for a ban on 2,4-D altogether.

Bad Guys

Obama to Iran: Surrender Now or We'll Bomb You Later

Iran war graphic
© policymic.com
Former United States president George W Bush issued an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein before bombing and invading Iraq.

Nine years later, US President Barack Obama has issued an ultimatum to the leadership in Tehran before ... setting optimal conditions for an "all options on the table" exercise.

Obama has made an offer to Tehran to "negotiate" its nuclear program - ahead of long-delayed talks between the "Iran Six" (P5+1 - the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the US, the United Kingdom, China, Russia and France - plus Germany) and Iran scheduled for Istanbul on Saturday.

For starters, it's not an offer; it's a list of demands - even before any negotiation takes place. And these "near term" concessions are packaged - according to the president's own rhetoric - as a "last chance".

In modern times, this used to be known as an ultimatum. In the post-everything era, it passes for "international diplomacy".


Libya: So it was all about oil after all!

Zawiya oil refinery
© Reuters/Ismail ZitounyA view of Zawiya oil refinery is pictured in Zawiya 57km (35 miles) west of Tripoli April 11, 2012
Last year NATO countries bombed Libya, demanding "democracy" in the
country. But now it's clear it was all about oil and it's not like the
Americans and Brits are going to be democratic about it, and share those
spoils equally with France and Italy.

So... oil giants Total from
France and ENI from Italy are just going to have to wait in the
sidelines while the hungry American and British big boys take their
juicy oil slices first... ExxonMobil, Chevron, Texaco, BP, Shell...

no surprise then to read in The Wall Street Journal that the US
Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), together with the puppet
Libyan "authorities" are launching "investigations" into both companies'
"financial irregularities" in their shady dealings during the forty-two
years of Gaddafi's power. Now who would have imagined this! An
Italian oil company involved in kick-backs? Corruption at the highest
echelons of the French oil industry?!? Tsk, tsk!!! Unheard of...!
The US and UK would never do something like that!! Just ask Enron, ask
Halliburton, ask BP...