Puppet MastersS


UK: Senior Conservative MP Shale found dead in toilet at Glastonbury festival

© Jsn Photography/WireImageA police officer at Glastonbury festival, where Christopher Shale was found in a backstage area.
David Cameron pays tribute to 'a big rock in my life' after Shale is found in toilet on day his strategy documents were leaked

A close political ally of David Cameron has been found dead in a portable toilet in a backstage area at Glastonbury festival. Christopher Shale, the chairman of West Oxfordshire Conservative Association (Woca), was found dead on Sunday morning.

Shale was a successful businessman as chief executive of Oxford Resources Ltd, the corporate cost-reduction company based in Chipping Norton. Previously he was chief executive of SGL Communications. He was also a director of the Centre for Policy Studies and a sponsor of OpenEurope, the eurosceptic thinktank.

Cameron's Witney parliamentary constituency is in west Oxfordshire and Shale was said to know Cameron well.

The prime minister released a statement in which he said: "Sam and I were devastated to hear the news about Christopher. He was a great friend and has been a huge support over the last decade in west Oxfordshire.

Star of David

Israel Warns Media Against Boarding Gaza Flotilla

Israel on Sunday threatened to ban international journalists for up to a decade from the country if they join a flotilla planning to breach the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The warning reflected Israeli jitters about the international flotilla, which comes just over a year after a similar mission ended in the deaths of nine Turkish activists in clashes with Israeli naval commandos.

Israel is eager to avoid a repeat of last year's raid, which drew heavy international condemnations and ultimately forced Israel to loosen a blockade on Hamas-controlled Gaza. Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent Hamas from smuggling weapons into the territory.

It remains unclear when the current flotilla will actually set sail, but organizers have hinted it could be as soon as this week.

In a letter to foreign journalists, the Government Press Office's director, Oren Helman, called the flotilla "a dangerous provocation that is being organized by western and Islamic extremist elements to aid Hamas."


Venezuela's Chavez in 'critical' condition: report

Chavez Coup Anniversary 2008
© Venezuelanalysis.comPresident Chavez celebrating the defeat of the coup with supporters in 2008
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, who is in Cuba following emergency surgery, is in "critical" but stable condition, Miami's El Nuevo Herald reported Saturday, citing US intelligence sources.

Chavez's government has said he was operated on for a pelvic abscess June 10 and is recovering well; the president's brother has told Venezuelan state media that Chavez could return to Caracas in about two weeks.

But the Venezuelan government has not addressed details of Chavez's condition. And opposition lawmakers are up in arms in Caracas as many think it is unconstitutional for the president to be governing from abroad.

The Spanish-language El Nuevo Herald cited unnamed US intelligence sources as refusing to comment on rumors in Venezuela that Chavez could be receiving treatment for prostate cancer.

Yet one source was quoted as saying that Chavez "is in critical condition; not on the brink of death, but critical indeed, and complicated."

The same sources said Chavez's daughter, Rosines, and his mother, Marisabel Rodriguez, were recently whisked off to Cuba in an air force plane, the report said.

"They took Marisabel and her daughter out urgently," another source told the paper. "That was 72 hours ago."

Brick Wall

US Supreme Court Tells Working Women, You're on Your Own

Walmart supreme court
© Unknown
Sitting in the majestic paneled courtroom in the U.S. Supreme Court three months ago, it did not take long to get that dreaded sense that Betty Dukes and 1.5 million other current and former women employees at Wal-Mart were not likely to prevail in their epic 10-year battle against the nation's largest private employer.

On Monday, that premonition came true. The Supreme Court threw out several lower-court rulings and declared that the women's claims of massive, persistent sex discrimination were not sufficiently similar to merit class-action status. Ladies, you are on your own!

In order to get the case certified as a class action, Dukes and her fellow plaintiffs had introduced vast amounts of evidence supporting their claims of discrimination. Women made up two-thirds of the Wal-Mart work force, yet held only one-third of management jobs. Wal-Mart had a far smaller proportion of women managers when compared to the other major retailers. Indeed, in 1999 (the most recent date for which data were available) Wal-Mart had a lower percentage of female managers than its top competitors had in 1975.

Other evidence from Wal-Mart's own personnel records showed that women were paid less on average than their male counterparts in all job classifications, despite having higher performance ratings and more seniority than their male co-workers.

This evidence, along with more than 100 declarations from women employees around the United States, convinced a San Francisco federal court to certify the class in 2004, allowing the women to sue en masse and giving them a fighting chance against the corporate giant. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the class certification three separate times, albeit by a narrow majority. Wal-Mart was thrilled when the pro - big business Supreme Court agreed to hear its appeal.


Julian Assange: People in glass houses can't be too outraged by return fire

Julian Assange wikileaks
© ReutersWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange: "Where did you get my number?"
In about April last year, just before his name became a byword for, depending on your viewpoint, either transparency or treason, I attempted to interview WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Armed with a mobile phone number passed on to me by a colleague from an unknown source, I found myself talking to Assange himself. His response to the call was understandable and hypocritical.

His first words were: ''Where did you get my number?'' When I offered a vague explanation, he expressed displeasure that it had been passed on to me. It was a natural response given his organisation was in the process of severely embarrassing the almighty US government by releasing the video from an American attack helicopter showing non-combatants, including two Reuters newsagency staff, being shot dead. Assange had reason to cover his tracks, but missed the irony in being contacted via leaked information.

We conducted a stilted discussion in which he said he had already been interviewed by Good Weekend (published subsequently), said he might talk to me if I had some information to trade, and required that I text my phone details. Apart from acknowledging that he received my SMS, I never heard from him again.

The WikiLeaks frontman's response was no different to some journalists who seem to give substance to the aphorism: suspicion of others stems from self-knowledge.

Many would dispute Assange's claim that he is a journalist, but I agree that in a loose sense he probably does qualify.

Journalism is changing as traditional news organisations contract. A couple of years ago I calculated there were probably three or four former journalists who had crossed to what we still in the business consider ''the dark side'', for every one left working for the mainstream media.

By the dark side I mean spin doctoring, public relating or otherwise manipulating information fed back to their former colleagues. Incidentally, I can't blame people taking this path given the contraction of media jobs; people have to earn a living.

Comment: The principle of Wikileaks is sound and it has done some good in some cases. For that we salute them. The problem is it is just as useful for a "limited hangout" operation. "We'll let you find out about some of our dirt, which will distract everyone from the really bad stuff we're doing." We are so starved for anything resembling real information, we scramble gratefully for the smallest crumbs wile missing the larger strategies of the PTB.

For more background on Wikileaks see here:

Wikileaks and the War for your Mind
Beware Julian Assange and Wikileaks - Darlings Of The Mainstream Media
Wiki-Leaks and Plausible Lies - Where Have All The Critical Thinkers Gone?
Gordon Duff: Wikileaks, A Touch Of Assange and the Stench of AIPAC

Star of David

Ahmadinejad: The real truth about 9/11 has been kept from Americans and the world

© Press TVIranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during the International Conference on Global Fight against Terrorism in the capital Tehran June 25, 2011.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accused the US of using the September 11 attacks as a pretext to invade Iraq and Afghanistan and to divert the American public opinion from its domestic issues.

"Some believe that the motive behind the September 11 attacks was to ensure the safety of Israel, foment insecurity in regional countries, divert the US public opinion from the chaotic economic situation in the country and fill the pockets of uncivilized belligerent capitalists," President Ahmadinejad said in an address to a two-day anti-terrorism conference on Saturday, IRIB website reported.

"Two years after the incident that provided an excuse for the invasion of two countries (Afghanistan and Iraq), led to the killing, injuring and displacing of millions... the US government, under pressure from the public opinion, tasked a group to investigate the reason behind the attacks. But the real truth has been kept from the Americans and the world," he added.


Best of the Web: The Ugly Truth: video Of Libyan rebel beheading Gadhaffi soldier and other Nato war crimes

NATO has been pumping propaganda out of Libya to justify its "humanitarian war" against the government of Moammar Gadhaffi. Until now, NATO has succeeded in large part because ordinary citizens around the world have no access to direct intelligence on which to base their own opinions.

As the former CIA Asset who covered Libya at the United Nations from 1995 to 2003 during negotiations for the Lockerbie Trial, I am compelled to break past that propaganda to examine actual evidence.

Responding to numerous requests, I am sharing primary evidence that I receive daily from sources inside Tripoli. Video documentation comes from Libyan refugees, collected by a fact finding commission called "Global Civilians for Peace in Libya."

The fact-finding team includes Europeans, Africans, Americans and international human rights attorneys, who are preparing allegations of War Crimes against NATO. Judging from these videos, financial damages that NATO will be required to pay Libya should be stupendous, indeed.

Above all, it's clear that NATO grossly misrepresented its arguments at the United Nations, in order to justify military action. Britain and France trusted bad intelligence from unreliable sources, trying to gain power from the conflict.

A more careful investigation shows that it is the NATO backed Rebels who are guilty of atrocities - not Gadhaffi's soldiers at all. Sanctions should be thrown out, and NATO should shift its military forces to back Gadhaffi in defending the Libyan people.

Comment: In a response to two readers doubting these videos were from Libya, Susan Lindauer posted:
American viewers are hindered by not understanding the Arab language. In Arabic it's clear who's who. There's other indications, like the pistol sodomy of the civilian wearing green - That's Gadhaffi's colors.
All the videos are from Libya. How do we know for sure they're definitely Libyan? Libya has its own Arabic dialect that's distinguished from other Arab countries - like American English vs. British English. Also the Libyan family has identified the beheaded soldier as husband/son/brother.

It's hard to face that we're supporting such wretched & monstrous human beings. That's why you have to see these videos. We've got to know honestly the sort of Rebel Allies that we have taken cause for. They're butchers.

Cell Phone

Policing the Police: The Apps That Let You Spy on the Cops

© OpenWatch.net
Something like OpenWatch could help solve a major problem for investigative reporting in an age when newsrooms are shrinking

After the recent Vancouver riots, it became clear that the world is surveiling itself at an unprecedented scale. Angry citizens gave police one million photos and 1,000 hours of video footage to help them track down the rioters. If we aren't living in a surveillance state run by the government, we're certainly conducting a huge surveillance experiment on each other.

Which is what makes two new apps, CopRecorder and OpenWatch, and their Web component, OpenWatch.net, so interesting. They are the brainchildren of Rich Jones, a 23-year-old Boston University graduate who describes himself as "pretty much a hacker to the core." Flush with cash and time from a few successful forays into the app market, nine months ago Jones decided to devote some of his time to developing what he calls "a global participatory counter-surveillance project which uses cellular phones as a way of monitoring authority figures."

CopRecorder can record audio without indicating that it's doing so like the Voice Memos app does. It comes with a built-in uploader to OpenWatch, so that Jones can do "analysis" of the recording and scrub any personally identifying data before posting the audio. He said he receives between 50 and 100 submissions per day, with a really interesting encounter with an authority figure coming in about every day and a half.

Star of David

Israel's Jewish Exodus

© www.inminds.co.ukIsraeli Passport in flames
Hard-line Israelis reject the idea of reasonable compromises for peace, arguing that any significant concessions to Palestinian sovereignty would threaten Israel's security or the Zionist cause, but Lawrence Davidson notes that demographic trends, including a growing Jewish exodus from Israel, could have far worse consequences.

If the historical goal of the state of Israel is to provide the world's Jews a secure national home, a place of refuge in a world of real or potential anti-Semitism, it seems to have failed.

It has failed not because this writer says so, but because an increasing number of its own Jewish citizens say so.

There have been studies originating both in Israel and abroad that show "as many as half of the Jews living in Israel will consider leaving ... if in the next few years the current political and social trends continue." This finding is in addition to the fact that yerida, or emigration out of Israel, has long been running at higher numbers than aliyah, or immigration into the country.

The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics states that as of 2005, 650,000 Israelis have left the country for over one year and not returned. The great majority of these were Jews. In addition, polls show that at least 60 percent and as high as 80 percent of remaining Israeli Jews "sympathize with those who leave the country."

Among those who stay, there is the conviction that the safe thing is to have a second passport issued by the United States or a European country.

As the Haaretz reporter Gideon Levy puts it, "if our forefathers dreamt of an Israeli passport, there are those among us who are now dreaming of a foreign passport."


Wikileaks - Kristinn Hrafnsson

Kristinn Hrafnsson
© unknownWikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson
Until 2006, just five short years ago, no-one had heard of the whistleblower website Wikileaks.

That all changed very quickly when news footage from July 2007 was released showing a U.S. Apache helicopter shooting and killing a Reuters photographer in Baghdad. Then last year, almost 400,000 classified U.S. military documents on the war in Iraq were released by Wikileaks, the largest such leak in history. It happened just months after Wikileaks published tens of thousands of secret documents relating to the war in Afghanistan, and that information was spread across several newspapers - including the New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel.

The public face of Wikileaks, Editor-in-Chief, Julian Assange was soon to become the focus of some unwanted attention himself culminating in allegations of sexual misconduct in Sweden. Detained by authorities in the UK, Assange will have spent six months under house arrest in the English countryside when he turns 40 on the third of July. On the 12th and 13th of July, he will fight extradition to Sweden.