Welcome to Sott.net
Tue, 06 Jun 2023
The World for People who Think

Puppet Masters

Bad Guys

Did Olympus Get in Bed with the Yakuza to Hide its Losses?

© Minyanville
Strange bedfellows.

As if a news story involving the covering up of $1.5 billion dollars and the firing of an outspoken British CEO wasn't juicy enough, we learnt today that the Japan's notorious crime syndicates, better known as the yakuza, might just be involved in the Olympus corporate accounting scandal.

As I reported last week, Olympus president Shuichi Takayama recently came out to admit that his company had covered up $1.5 billion in investment losses by acuiquring several firms at very high prices, and then booking impairment losses a year later when those firms' values plunged, thereby transferring its investment losses into drops in corporate valuations.

However, as the New York Times reports, there is more to the story as the Tokyo police and the prosecutor's office are now investigating the possibility that the endoscope maker, a key competitor to Canon and Kodak, paid the yakuza exorbitant sums of money to also somehow hide investment losses, which are now suspected to be much higher than the $1.5 billion figure that was previously reported.


Is the Obama Administration 'At War' with Catholics?

While the nation's Catholic bishops were gathered in Baltimore for their annual meeting this week, Washington Post columnist and former Bush adviser Michael Gerson wrote an op-ed declaring that part of the Obama Administration "is at war with Catholic leaders and Catholic belief." Echoing the words of New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Gerson wrote that "the conscience protections of Catholics are under assault" and predicted that Obama would suffer a loss of support from Catholic voters in next year's election.

But has Obama really "turn[ed] his back on Catholics," as the headline for Gerson's column put it? Does his Administration have an unwritten "Anybody But Catholics" rule, as Sister Mary Ann Walsh, the bishops conference's director of media relations, recently suggested? Obama has undoubtedly been ill-served by missteps that have played into these critics' narratives, but on closer inspection, his Administration's relationship with Catholics seems to suffer more from mismanagement than from any real malice.

Although Obama has been taking fire from conservative Catholics since the start of his administration - recall the uproar that attended his commencement speech at Notre Dame - the latest trouble started in August. That's when the Department of Health and Human Services announced that as a result of health reform, all private insurance plans would be required to cover contraceptive services without co-pays or deductibles for patients. The agency proposed an exemption for "religious employers," but the guidelines were so narrow that they excluded most religious universities and hospitals. Still, it was just an interim rule and the agency asked for public input before it decided whether to use the proposed definition, expand it, or scrap it altogether.


Russia warships to enter Syrian waters in bid to stem foreign intervention

Syrian official says Damascus agrees 'in principle' to allow entrance of Arab League observer mission; 22-member body proposed sending hundreds of observers to the to help end the bloodshed

Russian warships are due to arrive at Syrian territorial waters, a Syrian news agency said on Thursday, indicating that the move represented a clear message to the West that Moscow would resist any foreign intervention in the country's civil unrest.

Also on Friday, a Syrian official said Damascus has agreed "in principle" to allow an Arab League observer mission into the country. But the official said Friday that Syria was still studying the details. The official asked not to be named because the issue is so sensitive.

The Arab League suspended Syria earlier this week over its deadly crackdown on an eight-month-old uprising. The 22-member body has proposed sending hundreds of observers to the country to try to help end the bloodshed.

The report came a day after a draft resolution backed by Arab and European countries and the United States was submitted to the United Nations General Assembly, seeking to condemn human rights violations in the on-going violence in Syria.


Syria: Desperate Lies for a Collapsing Gambit

Time claims to "sneak" into Syria, still bases entire report on "witness" accounts.

Claiming to be written in Hama, Syria, Time's latest article "Exclusive: A Visit to Hama, the Rebel Syrian City that Refused to Die" attempts to reestablish the US State Department's sagging narrative regarding unrest they themselves funded, organized and are now openly promoting, this time, (allegedly) directly on the ground at the epicenter of the unrest. Time's report runs immediately into convenient obstacles preventing them from accessing anything remotely resembling evidence and instead, defers once again to eye witness accounts by admitted members of the opposition.

Time first describes two of Hama's hospitals guarded by the Syrian army which our intrepid reporter is unable to approach. Acknowledging the impossibility of verifying opposition claims, Time decides to air them anyway stating, "by some accounts, security forces were killing wounded protesters in the hospitals," echoing the now verified lies used to initiate war with Libya. Time's continues making a mockery out of journalism by citing "residents" who "speak of being unable to reach bodies in the streets, of snipers targeting people in their homes, of house-to-house searches, mass indiscriminate detentions, looting and even rape." Of course, despite Time being on the ground in Hama, they are unable to provide a single shred of evidence to confirm any of these claims.


Russia stands by Assad as pressure mounts on Syria

Russia stood by President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday as Arab and Western countries sought to pile pressure on the Syrian leader to halt a violent crackdown on his opponents.

The Arab League has suspended Syria and given it until the end of the week to comply with an Arab peace plan to end bloodshed that has cost more than 3,500 lives, by a U.N. count.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose country is one of Syria's few remaining foreign friends, said demands for Assad's removal would destroy the initiative, which calls for dialogue between the Syrian government and its foes.

"If some opposition representatives, with support from some foreign countries, declare that dialogue can begin only after President Assad goes, then the Arab League initiative becomes worthless and meaningless," Lavrov said.

He was speaking after talks with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who said the world must bring all the influence it could to bear on Syria to change course.

Lavrov said a raid on Wednesday by the Free Syrian Army on an Airforce Intelligence complex on the outskirts of Damascus was "already completely similar to real civil war".


US: Woman Gets Jail For Food-Stamp Fraud; Wall Street Fraudsters Get Bailouts

© Chris Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Had a quick piece of news I wanted to call attention to, in light of the recent developments at Zuccotti Park. For all of those who say the protesters have it wrong, and don't really have a cause worth causing public unrest over, consider this story, sent to me by a friend on the Hill.

Last week, a federal judge in Mississippi sentenced a mother of two named Anita McLemore to three years in federal prison for lying on a government application in order to obtain food stamps.

Apparently in this country you become ineligible to eat if you have a record of criminal drug offenses. States have the option of opting out of that federal ban, but Mississippi is not one of those states. Since McLemore had four drug convictions in her past, she was ineligible to receive food stamps, so she lied about her past in order to feed her two children.

The total "cost" of her fraud was $4,367. She has paid the money back. But paying the money back was not enough for federal Judge Henry Wingate.

Wingate had the option of sentencing McLemore according to federal guidelines, which would have left her with a term of two months to eight months, followed by probation. Not good enough! Wingate was so outraged by McLemore's fraud that he decided to serve her up the deluxe vacation, using another federal statute that permitted him to give her up to five years.


Bachmann Endorser Grant Says "It Is Dominion We Are After... World Conquest"

For months now, all we have been hearing is that there is no such thing as "Dominionism" and that nobody on the Religious Right has ever even heard of it and even if it did exist, it was something believed only by a tiny minority of activists who have no ties to the Religious Right or leading Republicans.

Which is all very confusing, because here is a video of Dr. George Grant endorsing Michele Bachmann for president:


US: Strike Anywhere On Earth In Hour

© U.S. Army
Pentagon successfully tests hypersonic flying bomb

The Pentagon on Thursday held a successful test flight of a flying bomb that travels faster than the speed of sound and will give military planners the ability to strike targets anywhere in the world in less than a hour.

Launched by rocket from Hawaii at 1130 GMT, the "Advanced Hypersonic Weapon," or AHW, glided through the upper atmosphere over the Pacific "at hypersonic speed" before hitting its target on the Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands, a Pentagon statement said.

Kwajalein is about 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) southwest of Hawaii. The Pentagon did not say what top speeds were reached by the vehicle, which unlike a ballistic missile is maneuverable.

Scientists classify hypersonic speeds as those that exceed Mach 5 -- or five times the speed of sound -- 3,728 miles (6,000 kilometers) an hour.


US: NYPD blast LRAD sound cannons at Occupy Wall Street protestors

RT's New York crew has witnessed NYPD using LRADs, or sound cannons on Occupy Wall Street protesters. Eyewitnesses at the site have tweeted police fired as protesters sang the US national anthem.

RT correspondent Lucy Kafanov reports that the blasts of sound lasted no more than five seconds, but had a profound effect on protesters. Joshua Paul, an eyewitness, tweeted that LRADs emitted 'High pitched noise' and wrote: 'Natural reaction: My face scrunched and hands started moving to my ears.'


US: Blood on Wall Street: Violent Occupy Wall Street arrests

A man who identifed himself as Brendan Watts is seen with blood on his face while surrounded by three police officers in Zuccotti Park on November 17, 2011 in New York City.

At least 175 people have been arrested during clashes between police and Occupy Wall Street demonstrators in New York. Some protesters were bloodied during arrests.

­This man who identified himself as Brendan Watts was beaten to the ground by police officers in Zuccotti Park. According to reports he was injured and suffered a fractured skull after being hit with a baton to the head as police clashed with protesters.

Brandon Watts OWS occupy
© Allison Joyce/Getty Images/AFP
Brandon Watts lies injured on the ground
Brendan Watts OWS occupy 2
© Andrew Burton/Getty Images/AFP