Puppet MastersS

Bad Guys

Canadian Special Forces on ground in Mali to protect 'assets'

Mali Children
© Jerome Delay/Associated PressChildren cheer foreign visitors arriving in the streets of Gao, Northern Mali on Monday. French and Malian troops are moving through areas in Mali's north previously controlled by al-Qaeda-linked insurgents.
Harper tells MPs Parliament will be consulted on 'any further steps'

Canadian special forces are on the ground inside the troubled West African country of Mali to protect Canadian assets there, CBC News has learned.

The special forces are not there to train Malian troops - and they are not involved in any combat role, as the government has repeatedly stressed and Prime Minister Stephen Harper repeated again Monday in the House of Commons.

The Department of National Defence would not confirm or deny the special forces are in Mali due to issues of security of personnel.

But a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs told CBC News, "Steps have been taken to ensure our mission and Canadian personnel are protected."

Comment: The following article (Hat tip Cryptogon) from CBC News tells us exactly what it is the Canadians are so keen to 'protect': What Canada Is Doing in Mali:
Canadian bilateral trade with Mali doesn't amount to much. In 2011, we exported about $26 million worth of goods to Mali, most of that machinery and equipment. Imports from Mali came to less than $1 million.

But Canadian investment in Mali amounts to considerably more - in the hundreds of millions. And the bulk of that investment can be summed up in one word: gold.

About a dozen Canadian gold miners are actively producing and exploring in Mali. Rich veins of gold were discovered in the country's southwest region in the late 1980s.

The biggest Canadian company there, Toronto-based Iamgold Corp., operates two joint ventures with South Africa-based AngloGold Ashanti and the Malian government.



Eye 2

'U.S. has militarily coerced Middle Eastern political outcomes since the Cold War'

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Hillary and Flynt Leverett
Though Washington tries to engineer Middle Eastern politics by influencing economies, Iran has never given in to such pressure, Middle East experts Hillary and Flynt Leverett told RT. Iran's concerns deserve fair consideration, they argue.

The Leveretts acted were analysts in both the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, and are two of America's most informed Middle East experts. Their new book, 'Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran,' offers a way out of the current diplomatic crisis facing the two countries.

RT: Washington seems to be very happy with the sanctions. They are crippling the Iranian economy. Why should they change policies now? Why should they come to terms with Iran?

Hillary Leverett: Sanctions are not going to work. Sanctions have not worked. We've seen sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran for 32 years. We saw crippling sanctions imposed on Iran during their 8 year war on Iraq from 1980 to 1988. We saw at that time half their GDP was erased, half of it. And still the Islamic Republic of Iran did not surrender to hostile foreign powers. The idea that now the sanctions are going to force the Islamic Republic of Iran to surrender to what it sees as hostile foreign powers and their demands, there's no basis for that in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran. And, frankly, there's no basis for that anywhere. The United States imposed crippling sanctions, for example, on Saddam Hussein's Iraq for over a decade, killing over a million people, half of them children, and even then Saddam Hussein's government did not implode and it did not concede to the demands of hostile foreign powers. It took a massive US land invasion to do that.

Pistol

Arkansas lawmakers push for concealed guns in churches

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© Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
Legislators in the US state of Arkansas approved by a wide margin Monday a measure that would allow churchgoers to bring concealed guns to their place of worship. The bill cites "personal security" as its impetus.

The Arkansas State Senate voted 28-4 to pass the Church Protection Act of 2013, penned by Republican State Senator Bryan King.

Cardboard Box

Four U.S. states considering laws that challenge teaching of evolution

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© Photograph: Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty ImagesA worker cleans a display at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.
Critics charge 'academic freedom' legislation in Colorado, Missouri, Montana and Oklahoma is just creationism in disguise

Four US states are considering new legislation about teaching science in schools, allowing pupils to to be taught religious versions of how life on earth developed in what critics say would establish a backdoor way of questioning the theory of evolution.

Fresh legislation has been put forward in Colorado, Missouri and Montana. In Oklahoma, there are two bills before the state legislature that include potentially creationist language.

A watchdog group, the National Center for Science Education, said that the proposed laws were framed around the concept of "academic freedom". It argues that religious motives are disguised by the language of encouraging more open debate in school classrooms. However, the areas of the curriculum highlighted in the bills tend to focus on the teaching of evolution or other areas of science that clash with traditionally religious interpretations of the world.

Star of David

Syria files complaint with UN over Israeli airstrike

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Israel has not commented on reports of an attack on Wednesday
Syria has formally complained to the United Nations over a reported Israeli attack within its borders.

Syria's army said Israeli jets had targeted a military research centre north-west of Damascus on Wednesday.

It denied claims by the US and others that lorries carrying weapons bound for Lebanon were hit.

Russia has called the attack unacceptable, while a Syrian official and Iranian deputy minister have suggested there could be retaliation.

War Whore

Cameron's attack on George Galloway reflects the west's self-delusions

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© Photograph: Reuters/Saudi Press AgencyBritish Prime Minister David Cameron, who accused MP George Galloway of supporting every "brutal dictator in the Arab world", meets with and receives a medal from Saudi King Abdullah in Jedda, November 2012
In an act of supreme projection, the British PM accuses a critic of lending support "wherever there is a brutal Arab dictator": the core policy of the US and UK

On Wednesday afternoon in the British Parliament, near the end of question time for British Prime Minister David Cameron, a short though incredibly revealing exchange occurred between Cameron and Respect Party MP George Galloway. Whatever one's preexisting views might be of either of these two polarizing figures is entirely irrelevant to the points and facts raised here about this incident.

Galloway stood to ask Cameron about a seeming contradiction in the policy of the British government (one shared by the US government). He wanted to know why it is that the British government is so intent on fighting and bombing Islamic extremists in Mali, while simultaneously arming and funding equally brutal Islamic extremists in Syria (indeed, although it was once taboo to mention, it is now widely reported in the most establishment venues such as the New York Times that while many ordinary Syrians are fighting against the savagery and tyranny of Assad, Islamic extremists, including ones loyal to al-Qaida, are playing a major role in the war against the regime). The same question could have been posed regarding Libya, where Nato-supported rebel factions were filled with fighters with all sorts of links to al-Qaida.

There certainly are reasonable answers to Galloway's point, but whatever one's views might be on those points, there's no denying it's a reasonable question. It is simply the case that the British government, along with its Nato allies including the US, were - in both the wars in Syria and Libya - on the same side as, and even arming and funding, the very extremists, "jihaidists", and even al-Qaida-supporting fighters they claim pose the greatest menace to world peace.

Question

Russia pulls out of decade-old drug control agreement with U.S.

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© AFP PhotoRussian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev
The United States on Wednesday criticized what it described as Russia's "self-defeating" decision to pull out of a decade-old drug control agreement.

"We are seeking more clarification from the Russian government at the moment with regard to what they see this covering. We obviously regret this decision," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

The Russian government published a decree from Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev saying Moscow had informed Washington it was withdrawing because the deal "does not address today's realities and has exhausted its potential."

Moscow said it lacked the money to fight drugs when it struck the deal in September 2002 at a time of warming relations that followed the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Bad Guys

Niger ready to host U.S. drone base

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© AFP Photo
Niger said Wednesday it was ready to host a base for US drones monitoring movements by Al-Qaeda-linked groups currently based in northern Mali.

"If Niger has an opportunity to receive support in the shape of aircraft or drones to monitor suspicious movements from Mali, we will not turn our nose up at it," Defence Minister Karidjo Mahamadou told AFP.

He added however that he was not aware of any formal deal allowing the deployment of US drones on Niger's soil.

A US official said Monday that the Pentagon was planning to station drones in the region - most likely in Niger - to bolster surveillance of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its allies.

Laptop

New York Times says Chinese hacked Paper's computers

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© REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Chinese hackers repeatedly penetrated The New York Times' computer systems over the past four months, stealing reporters' passwords and hunting for files on an investigation into the wealth amassed by the family of a top Chinese leader, the newspaper reported Thursday.

Security experts hired to investigate and plug the breach found that the attacks used tactics similar to ones used in previous hacking incidents traced to China, the report said. It said the hackers routed the attacks through computers at U.S. universities, installed a strain of malicious software, or malware, associated with Chinese hackers and initiated the attacks from Chinese university computers previously used by the Chinese military to attack U.S. military contractors.

The attacks, which began in mid-September, coincided with a Times investigation into how the relatives and family of Premier Wen Jiabao built a fortune worth over $2 billion. The report, which was posted online Oct. 25, embarrassed the Communist Party leadership, coming ahead of a fraught transition to new leaders and exposing deep-seated favoritism at a time when many Chinese are upset about a wealth gap.

Bullseye

U.S. 'planned to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria and blame Assad'

[Note: This article from the Daily Mail has since been removed. See screen-shot below for google search results]

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Leaked emails have allegedly proved that the White House gave the green light to a chemical weapons attack in Syria that could be blamed on Assad's regime and in turn, spur international military action in the devastated country.

A report released on Monday contains an email exchange between two senior officials at British-based contractor Britam Defence where a scheme 'approved by Washington' is outlined explaining that Qatar would fund rebel forces in Syria to use chemical weapons.

Barack Obama made it clear to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad last month that the U.S. would not tolerate Syria using chemical weapons against its own people.