Puppet MastersS

USA

CIA drone strikes will get pass in counterterrorism 'playbook,' officials say

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© EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCYA counterterrorism manual designed to establish rules for targeted drone strikes leaves open major exemptions for drone strikes in Pakistan, U.S. officials say.
The Obama administration is nearing completion of a detailed counterterrorism manual that is designed to establish clear rules for targeted-killing operations but leaves open a major exemption for the CIA's campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan, U.S. officials said.

The carve-out would allow the CIA to continue pounding al-Qaeda and Taliban targets for a year or more before the agency is forced to comply with more stringent rules spelled out in a classified document that officials have described as a counterterrorism "playbook."

The document, which is expected to be submitted to President Obama for final approval within weeks, marks the culmination of a year-long effort by the White House to codify its counterterrorism policies and create a guide for lethal operations through Obama's second term.

A senior U.S. official involved in drafting the document said that a few issues remain unresolved but described them as minor. The senior U.S. official said the playbook "will be done shortly."

Cell Phone

France orders Twitter to identify racist users

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Microblogging site Twitter must hand over data to help identify users who post racist and anti-Semitic comments, a French court ruled on Thursday.

Twitter was the subject of legal action by Jewish student group the UEJF and other associations, following a swathe of postings in October using hashtags (which group and identify postings according to a theme) including #UnBonJuif [A Good Jew] and #UnJuifMort [A Dead Jew].

Twitter deleted some posts, but this did not stop users continuing in the same vein, with popular hashtags appearing in December and January such as #UnBonNoir [A Good Black] and #SiJetaisNazi [If I was a Nazi].

In bringing legal action against the site, which is hosted in the US, the associations demanded that Twitter make it easier for users to flag racist or anti-Semitic content, while helping to identify those who had posted the hashtags with associated comments so that they could be prosecuted under France's tough anti-racism laws.

V

Half-Jewish, half-Arab woman sues FBI, TSA, Frontier Airlines over 9/11 strip search

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© Courtesy Shoshana Hebshi/AP PhotoShoshana Hebshi of Sylvania, Ohio, is shown in this Sept. 13, 2011 photo
A half-Jewish, half-Arab Ohio woman is suing Frontier Airlines, the FBI, TSA and other government agencies after she says was removed at gunpoint from a flight on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, strip-searched and jailed because of her ethnicity.

"I know now that my only crime on that day was an ethnic name and arbitrary seat assignment," said Shoshana Hebshi, a 36-year-old freelance journalist born in California to a Jewish mother and a Saudi father, said at a press conference Tuesday.

In her lawsuit, filed by the ACLU in Detroit federal court Tuesday, Hebshi alleges she was removed at gunpoint from a Denver to Detroit flight on Sept. 11, 2011, when passengers and flight crew became suspicious after two men of South-Asian descent seated next to her made several trips to the bathroom during the flight.

"As officers boarded the plane," said Hebshi at the press conference, "we were ordered to put our heads down and our arms in front of us. I wondered if there was a fugitive on board. I had no idea they were coming for me. ... I was completely shocked and panicked."

Whistle

Have you heard about the famous anti-GMO scientist who switched sides and is now pro?

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Mark Lynas
For one thing, he isn't a scientist at all.

This episode has been all over the media. Some commentators have speculated that this will turn the tide in Europe and persuade regulators there to give a full green light to GMO. But let's take a moment to review the facts.

Mark Lynas is not a scientist. He does not even reveal his education on his own website, nor is it easily available on the Web. He is a British author, journalist, and environmental activist with a flair for publicity and a primary focus on climate change. He's been called a "pioneer" and an "apostle" of the anti-GMO movement, but that is mostly his own self-promotion.

At a farming conference in Oxford, England, earlier this month, he gave a speech reversing his previous position on GMO in characteristically dramatic style: "You are more likely to get hit by an asteroid than to get hurt by GM food." Obviously no scientist would make such a statement given the lack of established facts about GMO. It is precisely the lack of proven facts which are the problem. Lynas added, just to stir the pot further: "More to the point, people have died from choosing organic, but no one has died from eating GM." Of course he provided no support for that wild claim.

Comment: Read the following article for a more in depth look at how Pro GMO mouth pieces like Mark Lynas twist the truth and claim that they love science and support the scientific method when defending the 'safety of GM technology':

The pro-GM lobby's seven sins against science
The role that genetically modified (GM) food should play in our food chain is a highly contested political issues. One interesting facet of the debate in the past year has been the pro-GM lobby's interest in staking the 'scientific high-ground'; simultaneously positioning itself as the voice of reason and progress, while painting its opponents as unsophisticated 'anti-science' luddites, whose arguments are full of dogma and emotion, but lack scientific rigor...

This characterisation of those opposed to GM as being anti-science has always ignored the fact that the NGOs concerned, like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Soil Association, are staunch supporters of science, have scientists working for them, and run campaigns to combat problems which were only identifiable through scientific investigation, like the depletion of the ozone layer and climate change. People opposed to GM, including farmers and environmentalists, often have professional or scientific qualifications, and are well versed in the scientific disciplines that affect agriculture. This has not stopped supporters of GM crops dismissing all of these people as irrational, emotional, anti-science zealots.
In addition read about what happens to real scientists when they speak out about their research:

GMO Researchers Attacked, Evidence Denied, and a Population at Risk


Vader

Report details 'callous' lack of sexual assault investigation by D.C. police

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© AFP PhotoDC police chief Cathy Lanier
Human Rights Watch calls for investigation after report found victims endure 'callous and traumatising' treatment from police.

Victims of sexual assault in Washington DC too often endure "callous and traumatising" treatment from the police while attacks are dismissed on the spot and never investigated, according to a bombshell report.

Campaign group Human Rights Watch is concerned that problems at the city's Metropolitan police department are so serious that it amounts to "an institutional tolerance of inappropriate behaviour" by poorly trained detectives.

More than 40% of reviewed cases of sexual assault reported to the police by the city's central hospital, after victims received forensic examinations, "appear never to have been investigated" or even documented by the MPD, today's report says.

Pistol

Senator Diane Feinstein bringing a Bushmaster assault rifle to Senate to unveil gun bill

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Sen. Diane Feinstein
Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) is expected to bring "a bunch of assault weapons" - including a Bushmaster rifle like the one used to slaughter 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut - to the Senate on Thursday when she introduces a bill to ban the military-style weapons.

Democratic sources told CNN on Thursday that Feinstein's staff had "coordinated completely" Washington Metropolitan Police Department and U.S. Capitol Police to ensure that the transport and display of the weapons was legal under current law.

NBC host David Gregory had recently narrowly avoided prosecution after he allegedly broke D.C. law by holding up a high-capacity magazine to make a point during an interview with National Rifle Association (NRA) head Wayne LaPierre.

Nuke

North Korea plans high-level nuclear test 'aimed at the U.S.'

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© AFP PhotoNorth Korean rocket
North Korea said on Thursday it planned to carry out a nuclear test aimed at its "arch-enemy" the United States in response to tightened UN sanctions, but offered no timeframe.

Star of David

Hagel reassures Jewish leaders on Iran position

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© Photo: Jim Young / ReutersUS President Barack Obama and Chuck Hagel
Nominee for defense secretary says he's on board with Obama's posture on Iran, need to maintain Israel's military edge.

In a meeting with Jewish leaders, Chuck Hagel, US President Obama's defense secretary nominee, affirmed his commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and to maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge.

"[Sen. Hagel] discussed his commitment to the US-Israel relationship, including his determination to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, to maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge, and to sustaining the Obama administration's unprecedented security cooperation with Israel," a statement Tuesday from Hagel's office said. "He appreciated the opportunity to have a constructive, informed and wide-ranging discussion."

Book

The assassination manual

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In one sense the Obama administration's reported creation of a "playbook" establishing rules for killing alleged terrorists helps to meet calls from outside commentators - this one included - to clarify the criteria that are being applied to such assassinations. Writing this kind of manual, however, has another side. It represents the institutionalization of worldwide assassinations as a regular, ongoing business of the United States government. As such it raises larger questions, which the playbook might not address at all, of how an assassination program does or does not conform with the pursuit of U.S. national interests.

Institutionalization of anything entails a bias toward its indefinite continuation, and maybe even its expansion. This tendency has often been discussed regarding other government programs, sometimes with a tie-in to what is outside government. The military-industrial complex about which Eisenhower warned, for example, represents a bias toward big defense expenditures and military operations to justify such expenditures. Likewise, it has often been remarked that creation of a bureaucracy to run domestic program X immediately creates a vested interest in favor of continuing and even expanding program X. Why should such tendencies not be just as likely to appear with an assassination program?

War Whore

Former Special Forces Commander: Was U.S. running guns to Syrian rebels via Benghazi?

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Retired Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin
Retired Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin - who is the former commander of the U.S. Special Forces Command, the former deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and who, in the 1990s, worked with the CIA - told CNSNews.com in a video interview last week that he believes it is a reasonable supposition that the U.S. was supporting or planning to support the Syrian rebels via Benghazi, Libya.

The CIA, however, says Boykin's supposition is erroneous and that the U.S. was not conducting or planning covert action to support Syrian rebels through Benghazi.

"These assertions are both baseless and flat wrong," a CIA spokesperson told CNSNews.com on Tuesday.

Here is the video of retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin talking to CNSNews.com about his supposition that the U.S. was conducting, or planning, a covert action to support the Syrian rebels through Benghazi, Libya: