Puppet MastersS


US: Finding Comfort in Authoritarianism

tyrant boot graphic
© obeygiant.com
Between recent legislation like the deceptively named "defense authorization act" and the daily police brutality that is occurring all across the country, things are looking pretty bleak for America and the values that it was apparently founded on.

Anyone who has studied history can see the writing on the wall, and can tell that these developments are eerily similar to actions that were taken by the some of the worst dictators that this world has ever known.

Regimes like Stalinist Russia, Maoist China or Hitler's Germany are among the worst offenders in recent memory, but if you look at their actual policies they aren't very far off from what we're seeing in the West today.

It is very common to offend people when you start comparing our current police state with governments that have been painted in a negative light by mainstream history. I would agree that all of the aforementioned regimes were absolutely horrible, but their transgressions were on par with the native American holocaust and the medieval torture that takes place at Guantanamo bay and many other covert military bases across the planet. This may be a controversial way of looking at things, but if we don't take a comparative look at history then we are inevitably doomed to repeat it.


US Military given go-ahead to detain US terrorist suspects without trial

© John Moore / GettyAmericans can be arrested on home soil and taken to Guantánamo Bay under a provision inserted into the bill that funds the US military.
Barack Obama has abandoned a commitment to veto a new security law that allows the military to indefinitely detain without trial American terrorism suspects arrested on US soil who could then be shipped to Guantánamo Bay.

Human rights groups accused the president of deserting his principles and disregarding the long-established principle that the military is not used in domestic policing. The legislation has also been strongly criticised by libertarians on the right angered at the stripping of individual rights for the duration of "a war that appears to have no end".

The law, contained in the defence authorisation bill that funds the US military, effectively extends the battlefield in the "war on terror" to the US and applies the established principle that combatants in any war are subject to military detention.

The legislation's supporters in Congress say it simply codifies existing practice, such as the indefinite detention of alleged terrorists at Guantánamo Bay. But the law's critics describe it as a draconian piece of legislation that extends the reach of detention without trial to include US citizens arrested in their own country.

Bad Guys

When Gingrich met Yasser Arafat

GOP presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich stirred up plenty of controversy last week when he called Palestinians an "invented people" in an interview from the campaign trail.

© Huffington PostThen House Minority Whip Newt Gingrich embraces PLO leader Yasser Arafat in 1993. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) is behind them.
"I think we have an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and historically part of the Arab community and they had the chance to go many places,' Gingrich told the Jewish Channel last week.

All of which makes the above 1993 photo of Gingrich, then House Minority Whip, embracing the late Palestinian Liberation Organization chief Yasser Arafat, published by the Huffington Post's Sam Stein, perhaps noteworthy. Stein, who received the photo from a longtime political operative involved in Middle East issues, writes:
On Monday, a political operative who has been working on Palestine-Israel policy for the past 20 years sent The Huffington Post a picture of Gingrich, then the House minority whip, grasping the hand of longtime Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat immediately following the September 1993 Oslo peace accords.

The embrace, the source said, came after Arafat met with 20 to 25 House leaders over coffee. Jotting notes down in a yellow pad, Gingrich used the meeting to pitch Arafat on how best to actually construct a Palestinian state. "He said, 'Look, here is what I think you need -- an economic plan - and here is how it will work,' " the operative recalled. "It was a very positive contribution at the time and as they stood up, there were pictures." ....


US Slips Out of Iraq; No Victory Declared

© unknownUS President Barack Obama delivers remarks to troops and military families at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, December 14, 2011.
US President Barack Obama has marked the end of the nearly nine-year Iraq war that strained America's armed forces and damaged to its status worldwide.

"It is harder to end a war than to begin one," Obama said in his speech to about 3,000 soldiers gathered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Obama also said that the final work for United States military to leave Iraq has been done, and the last troops will leave the country in the next few days.

"Of course, Iraq is not a perfect place. But we are leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people," he added.

Obama did not declare victory in Iraq but called the winding down of the conflict "an extraordinary achievement."


US: Judge Tosses Suit Against Rumsfeld, Gates; Veterans Claimed Rapes, Sex Assaults Were Ignored

© J. Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press/Chip Somodevilla / Getty ImagesFormer defense secretaries Donald Rumsfeld, left, and Robert Gates.
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against former defense secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates by 28 military members and veterans who said they were victims of sexual assault.

The suit, filed earlier this year in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, alleged Rumsfeld and Gates fostered a culture that allowed rapists to thrive and punished assault victims for filing complaints against their attackers.

But in a ruling issued Friday, Judge Liam O'Grady said the judiciary should not intervene in matters involving military discipline and dismissed the case, even though he called the victims' allegations troubling.

The plaintiffs' attorney, Susan Burke, said she plans an appeal.

"We are surprised, but nonetheless disappointed" by the ruling, she said in an email.

In one example, an Army Reservist said two male colleagues raped her in Iraq and videotaped the attack. She complained to authorities but says charges weren't filed because the commander did not think she acted like a rape victim.


US: Obama will not veto National Defense Authorization Act

president barak obama

The White House on Wednesday said it would not veto the controversial National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

President Barack Obama's spokesman Jay Carney said lawmakers who crafted a compromise version from rival Senate and House versions of the legislation had addressed his worries about proposed tough rules on detainees.

The legislation has been the subject of considerable criticism.

At one point the bill contained a provision that would have authorized the U.S. to use military force anywhere there were terrorism suspects, including within the U.S. itself. The American Civil Liberties Union described it as authorizing a "worldwide war without end."


FBI: Carrier IQ Involved in "Law Enforcement" Activity

It's unclear whether Carrier IQ is on the giving or receiving end
© Shepard Fairey

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations has come up with all sorts of creative ways to track U.S. citizens. From warrantless GPS planting, to subpoenas that force cellular service providers to track your phone using signal triangulation, there are plenty of ways the feds can track you these days with a lack warrants and accountability/judicial oversight.

It looks like the now infamous Carrier IQ may be added to the tracking tool bag.

Michael Morisy, founder of the investigative journalism blog MuckRock, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the FBI, asking if they used Carrier IQ. The FBI issued a response refusing Mr. Morisy's request for information.

Comment: "..the potential for government mandated location tracking is certainly very feasible."

Oh no my friend, it's on. We've been tracked for some time. Cell phones have been able to be tracked since they came into production after the days of Digital/Analog phones. Have you been holding out, wishing the United States wasn't a police state? Since it's not constantly in your face, it's easy to doubt the Police State fact. Thus giving it doubt has allowed it (fascism, police state) to come into being, while people who trumpet the truth about the move to fascism are put down as looney, conspiracy theorists. All the while the conspiracy is played out in front of our eyes.

Heart - Black

'Razing Palestine Homes Doubled in 2011'

Israel has torn down twice as many Palestinian homes in 2011 as it did in 2010 in the occupied land to build Jewish settlements, human rights groups say.
© Press TVA Palestinian man stands as Israeli forces destroy his house.

Twenty human rights groups, including UK-based Amnesty International and US-based Human Rights Watch, released a statement on Tuesday, warning of the escalation in Israeli settlement construction and Jewish settlers' violence against Palestinians, Reuters reported.

The rights organizations urged the Middle East Quartet group -- the US, UN, European Union (EU) and Russia -- to pressure Tel Aviv to "reverse its settlement policies and freeze all demolitions that violate international law."

"The Quartet should call ongoing settlement expansion and house demolitions what they are: violations of international humanitarian law that Israel should stop," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

Star of David

Israeli Radicals Attack Army, Palestinians

Benjamin Netanyahu
© The Associated PressIsrael Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Protesting Eviction Plan, Vigilante Groups Vandalize Military Base, Stone Cars; Government Criticized for Light Response

Vigilante groups associated with radical Israeli settlers mounted separate marauding assaults against Israeli army and Palestinian targets early Tuesday, an effort largely aimed at pressuring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel the evacuation of outpost settlements.

Within the span of a few hours late Monday and early Tuesday, detachments of far-right vigilantes infiltrated and vandalized an Israel Defense Forces base in the West Bank, squatted in a building in a no-man's land on the Jordanian border and pelted Palestinian cars with rocks.

The attacks targeted an IDF regional commander and left three Palestinians lightly wounded. But they were the broadest yet in two years of sporadic attacks mounted by radical settlers who believe in actively resisting government efforts to evacuate any Jewish presence in the biblical land of Israel.

Israel's government faces an order from the country's Supreme Court to evacuate at least one settler outpost built on Palestinian property by March.

Tuesday's violence was sponsored by fundamentalists known as "hilltop youth," according to an unnamed activist cited on the Jewish Voice, a website that promotes radical settlers' views.


US: Republicans Pocketed MF Global Money, Too

Jon Corzine
© MinyanvilleHypocrisy watch.

Last month, we reported on how Republicans have seized on the MF Global scandal to score political points by putting out a press release calling for congressional Democrats to return campaign funds donated to them by ex-New Jersey governor and disgraced MF Global CEO John Corzine.

"Jon Corzine, Obama bundler, Obama Wall Street point man, golden parachute" was the title of one GOP press release. Roll Call also quotes a National Republican Congressional Committee official, Joanna Burgoes, as saying, "If you continue to keep this money in your campaign coffers, then you're endorsing the corruption attached to the person who gave you that money."

However, it perhaps was not the wisest move to call the Democrats out for receiving funds from Corzine and MF Global because, as it turns out, the Republican Party has also been a beneficiary of donations from the financial firm. According to Roll Call, many employees at MF Global and the lobbying firms that the defunct brokerage hired all have donated large sums of money to Republicans in the past.
MF Global employees as a whole have given out just under $385,000 in campaign contributions since 2005, according to the Sunlight Foundation, roughly a quarter of it to Republicans, including more than $5,000 to the NRCC. MF Global also has spent more than $2 million on lobbying since 2006, according to the CRP, retaining the Delta Strategy Group, Quinn Gillespie & Associates and the Rich Feuer Group to represent it.

Lobbyists at those firms have in turn doled out millions in campaign contributions over the last several years. In the 2010 election cycle, more than half of the $440,000 or so that Quinn Gillespie employees gave out went to Republican candidates. In this election cycle and the two previous ones, firm partners and associates gave $17,750 to the NRCC. More than half of the $104,600 that Rich Feuer Group employees gave out in the last election cycle went to Republicans.