Puppet MastersS


Jeb Bush Eyed as Latest "White Knight" Candidate in US's GOP Presidential Race

Jeb Bush and his brother George
© Jason Reed/ReutersJeb Bush, right, with his brother President George Bush at an Orlando fundraiser in 2006.
Former Florida governor was critical of current field in a speech this week, prompting rumours he could be a surprise contender

Speculation that a late challenger might still emerge in the increasingly bitter race for the Republican presidential nomination is set to surge after former Florida governor Jeb Bush made remarks criticising the current field.

Bush, who is the brother of President George W Bush and son of President George Bush Sr, is a beloved figure among many conservatives who see him as a strong and charismatic leader who is popular in the must-win swing state of Florida.

That contrasts with a widespread unease among many Republican leaders and grassroots activists with the remaining crop of Republican candidates and the vitriolic nature of the fight between frontrunner Mitt Romney and his main challengers Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.

In answers to questions from the audience after a speech in Dallas on Thursday, Bush cautioned the remaining Republican campaigns from drifting so far to the right that they put off the key independent voters needed to beat President Barack Obama in November.

"I think it's important for the candidates to recognise though they have to appeal to primary voters, and not turn off independent voters that will be part of a winning coalition," Bush told the audience according to CBS news.


US: Presidential Piggybacking: Obama Trips Combine Official, Political Business

President Obama jets to Florida today for a mix of official and political business that will steal some headlines in the Sunshine State and line his campaign coffers with at least $4 million.

The act of presidential piggybacking -- coupling official duties, in this case a speech on the economy, with political fundraising -- was not pioneered by Obama but is prominently on display this year.

Obama has taken four trips outside Washington, D.C., since Jan. 1, including 18 re-election fundraisers interspersed with various activities related to his duties as president. Most recently, Obama concluded a three-day, three-state swing when he attended eight fundraisers and two official events.

The president's jet-setting has drawn the usual criticisms from his political opponents but also raised the curiosity and questions from taxpayers about who bears the sky-high costs.

Eye 1

US: NYPD Conducted Secret Surveillance Operations in New Jersey for at Least 7 years, Records Show

© Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Tempers may be raging over revelations the New York Police Department has secretly been conducting surveillance in New Jersey, but a simple check of government records shows the NYPD has been operating in the Garden State for at least seven years.

And they have done it with the permission of the governor's office - granted in 2005 by former Gov. Richard Codey, state records show.

It was only two years later that the NYPD began a spy operation in Newark, sending in street operatives to compile reports on Muslims living and working in the state's largest city.

The set of executive orders were put on the books in July 2005, following a series of terror attacks that tore through three London subway trains and a double-decker bus. The two orders gave the NYPD open-ended legal authority to operate in New Jersey in limited circumstances, without the need to seek additional local clearance. The orders - Nos. 43 and 44 - can be found on the state government website.


US: Clinton suggests Syrian rebels will get arms

© REUTERS/Jason ReedU.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at a news conference after the London Conference on Somalia in London February 23, 2012.
London - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested on Thursday Syria's opposition will ultimately arm itself and said she would bet against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's staying in power.

Speaking directly to Russia and China, which have blocked U.N. Security Council resolutions designed to end the violence in Syria, Clinton said the government's "brutality" against its own people was unsustainable in the internet age.

"The strategy followed by the Syrians and their allies is one that can't stand the test of legitimacy or even brutality for any length of time," Clinton told reporters in London.

"There will be increasingly capable opposition forces. They will from [form] somewhere, somehow, find the means to defend themselves as well as begin offensive measures," she added.

"It is clear to me there will be a breaking point," Clinton said. "I wish it would be sooner, so that more lives would be saved, than later, but I have absolutely no doubt there will be such a breaking point."

Comment: For a clear picture of what is actually going on check out the following Focus Pieces: Syria's Bloody CIA Revolution - A Distraction?
Wake Up and Smell the Hypocrisy, Mrs Clinton
Or this recent Article: Washington's Ministry of Truth: Silencing the Critics

Perhaps you'd prefer a picture, to sort of get a more simple clear glimpse of how this goes - by the numbers?
© Dr, Starr II

It's looking like we're in the area of step five. The next step these days can be called "Democracy in Action." There's no doubt truly pathological creatures, the stuff of nightmares, are ruling this world.Where else in the Middle East have we seen or are we seeing the exact same thing happen-ing?


US: Gingrich says Obama "surrendered" by apologizing to Afghans

Newt Gingrich
© unknownNewt Gingrich
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said President Obama "surrendered" Thursday when he apologized to the Afghan government for the burning of several Qurans at an American military base near Kabul.

Referring to the burning of "radical Islamic material" that included the Qurans, the former House speaker said the situation had been "blown into a huge incident by various fanatics in Afghanistan." He told a crowd gathered at a campaign rally at the Bing Crosby Theater that while the president had apologized for the burning, he had not called on the Afghan government to issue an apology for the deaths of two NATO soldiers who were killed by a man wearing an Afghan army uniform during increasingly violent protests of the desecration of the Muslim holy book.

"There seems to be nothing that radical Islamists can do to get Barack Obama's attention in a negative way," Gingrich said, "and he is consistently apologizing to people who do not deserve the apology of the president of the United States, period."

Obama sent a letter to Afghan President Hamid Karzai in which he wrote, "I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident. I extend to you and the Afghan people my sincere apologies," according to the New York Times, quoting Karzai's press office. Obama did not release the text of what it called a three-page letter on a "host of issues" between the two countries, "several sentences of which relate to this issue," the Times reported.


At Least 55 Killed in Iraq Explosions

© ReutersA man stands amid debris after a bomb attack in northern Baghdad
Bombings across Iraq killed dozens of people on Thursday, security officials said, in an indication of the strength of the insurgency two months after the US military completed its withdrawal.

Most of the attacks, which were carried out with car bombs and small arms, appeared to target security forces in the capital and other cities, authorities said. At least 55 people were killed and more than 220 wounded, according to local security officials, most of whom spoke on condition of anonymity.

Although Thursday was not the deadliest day in Iraq since US forces completed their departure in late December, the attacks represented the most widespread operation yet mounted by suspected Sunni insurgents who have tried for years to topple the Shia-led government in Baghdad.

The victims included several civilians and some schoolchildren, security officials said.

Heart - Black

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 ImagesDominique 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).


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.


US: Bradley Manning Arraigned, Defers Entering Plea

Bradley Manning
© ABC News/Patrick Semansky/The Associated PressBradley 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.