Puppet MastersS


Che Guevara

Egyptians Protest Against a Year of Army Rule

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© Reuters/Mohammed SalemDemonstrators take part in a protest demanding the army to hand power to civilians, at Tahrir square in Cairo February 10, 2012.
Thousands of Egyptians marched to the Defense Ministry Friday to press demands for the generals to hand over power, a day before a strike called by activists to mark the first anniversary of President Hosni Mubarak's fall.

Egypt remains in political turmoil a year after a military council took over from Mubarak, when popular demonstrations forced him to end his 30-year rule.

The Muslim Brotherhood, while not involved in the protests has called for a coalition government to replace the military-appointed one criticized for its handling of soccer violence in Port Said in which at least 74 people were killed.

"The people want the overthrow of the Marshal," activists chanted during the march in Cairo, referring to Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who heads the army council.

"We are here to tell Tantawi and the military council to hand over power. This is a peaceful march and it will stay so," activist Sara Kamel said. "Since the generals have come to power, they haven't done anything for Egypt and they want to continue Mubarak's legacy."

Army units blocked access to the defense ministry, where the walls on one side of the complex had been repainted to hide graffiti plastered on by activists.

Pistol

US: NRA Official: Obama Wants to Outlaw Guns in 2nd Term

Wayne LaPierre
© Robert Giroux/Getty ImagesWayne LaPierre
A top official with the National Rifle Association said Friday that President Obama will move to "destroy" gun rights and "erase" the Second Amendment if he is re-elected in November.

While delivering one of the liveliest and best-received speeches at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said the president's low-key approach to gun rights during his first term was "a "conspiracy to ensure re-election by lulling gun owners to sleep."

"All that first term, lip service to gun owners is just part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment during his second term," he said.

"We see the president's strategy crystal clear: Get re-elected and, with no more elections to worry about, get busy dismantling and destroying our firearms' freedom, erase the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights and excise it from the U.S. Constitution."

Bizarro Earth

Greek Premier Says Default Would Lead to 'Chaos'

Greek Police
© Reuters/Yiorgos KarahalisA petrol bomb explodes near riot police during protests against planned reforms by Greece's coalition government in Athens, February 10, 2012.
Greece's future in the eurozone came under renewed threat Friday as popular protests again turned violent and dissent grew among its lawmakers after European leaders demanded deeper spending cuts.

The country's beleaguered coalition government promised to push through the tough new austerity measures and rescue a crucial €130 billion ($170 billion) bailout deal after six members of the Cabinet resigned.

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos promised to "do everything necessary" to ensure parliament passes the new austerity measures that would slap Greeks with a minimum wage cut during a fifth year of recession. He also promised to replace any other Cabinet members who did not fully back his efforts.

"It is absolutely necessary to complete the effort that began almost two years to consolidate public finances, restore competitiveness and economic recovery," Papademos told an emergency Cabinet meeting.

Draft legislation for the new austerity measures was submitted to parliament after the five-hour meeting ended.

Cell Phone

Interpol Accused After Journalist Arrested Over Muhammad Tweet

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© Ahmad Yusni/EPAPolice in Kuala Lumpur said Hamza Kashgari was detained at the airport following a request by Interpol on behalf of the Saudi authorities.
Saudi Arabia used Interpol's system to get journalist arrested in Malaysia for insulting the Prophet Muhammad on Twitter

Interpol has been accused of abusing its powers after Saudi Arabia used the organisation's red notice system to get a journalist arrested in Malaysia for insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

Police in Kuala Lumpur said Hamza Kashgari, 23, was detained at the airport "following a request made to us by Interpol" the international police cooperation agency, on behalf of the Saudi authorities.

Kashgari, a newspaper columnist, fled Saudi Arabia after posting a tweet on the prophet's birthday that sparked more than 30,000 responses and several death threats. The posting, which was later deleted, read: "I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don't understand about you ... I will not pray for you."

More than 13,000 people joined a Facebook page titled "The Saudi People Demand the Execution of Hamza Kashgari".

Laptop

Anonymous Knocks CIA Website Offline

anonymous graphic
© n/a
The website of the Central Intelligence Agency was inaccessible on Friday after the hacker group Anonymous claimed to have knocked it offline.

"CIA Tango down," a member of Anonymous said on @YourAnonNews, a Twitter feed used by the group. "Tango down" is an expression used by the US Special Forces when they have eliminated an enemy.

Attempts to access the CIA website at cia.gov were unsuccessful.

More than two hours after the initial attack on the site attempts by AFP to reach cia.gov were met with a message saying the Web page was not available.

Asked about the apparent website outage, a CIA spokeswoman said: "We are looking into these reports."

Dollar

Sierra Club took millions from natural gas fracking supporter

natural gas
US Department of Energy

Well, well. So the Sierra Club's campaign to end coal was substantially supported by a natural gas company CEO involved in the controversial practice called fracking. The club's Beyond Coal campaign is very active in Kentucky.

Bryan Walsh of TIME has the report, here, in what's as an exclusive. The report says the organization has since stopped taking the money:
TIME has learned that between 2007 and 2010 the Sierra Club accepted over $25 million in donations from the gas industry, mostly from Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy - one of the biggest gas drilling companies in the U.S. and a firm heavily involved in fracking - to help fund the Club's Beyond Coal campaign. Though the group ended its relationship with Chesapeake in 2010 - and the Club says it turned its back on an additional $30 million in promised donations - the news raises concerns about influence industry may have had on the Sierra Club's independence and its support of natural gas in the past. It's also sure to anger ordinary members who've been uneasy about the Club's relationship with corporations. "The chapter groups and volunteers depend on the Club to have their back as they fight pollution from any industry, and we need to be unrestrained in our advocacy," Michael Brune, the Sierra Club's executive director since 2010, told me. "The first rule of advocacy of is that you shouldn't take money from industries and companies you're trying to change."

Question

The Pope Will Die Within a Year?

Pope Benedict
© Broc/Wikimedia Commons.Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope Benedict XVI will die within a year, according to a top-secret document published on Friday by the Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano.

Dismissed by the Vatican as "nonsense not to be taken seriously," the anonymous report is dated Dec 30, 2011.

Like a Dan Brown-style thriller, the leaked document reveals a power struggle within the Vatican. The paper predicts the Pope's death by November 2012 and details the measures that are already being taken to prepare his successor.

According to the Italian daily, the letter was delivered in early January to the Vatican secretary of state and the pope's private secretary by Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos of Colombia.

Written in German and labelled "strictly confidential for the Holy Father," the "mordkomplott" begins by describing the conversations that Cardinal Paolo Romeo, the archbishop of Palermo, allegedly had last November with Italian businessmen during a trip to Beijing, China.

"During his talks in China, Cardinal Romeo predicted the death of Pope Benedict XVI within the next 12 months. His remarks were expressed with such resolution that his interlocutors thought, with a sense of alarm, that an attack on the Pope's life was being plotted," the document says.

Take 2

Best of the Web: Lizzie Phelan: Western Media Fabricated Mass Killings of Syrian Peaceful Demonstrators

British journalist Lizzie Phelan describes experiences on the ground in Syria, among other things.


People

Best of the Web: Anonymous Vows Crusade Against Israel

The International hacker group Anonymous threatened to launch a crusade against Israel's government on Thursday.

The group released a video on YouTube overnight accusing Israel of "crimes against humanity", amid an escalating Internet war between Israeli and Arab hackers.


USA

US: Four Wisconsin Republican Lawmakers Challenge Recall Signatures

Scott Fitzgerald
© Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesRepublican Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald
Four Wisconsin lawmakers targeted for possible recall later this year filed challenges on Thursday to the validity of thousands of signatures gathered to force the special elections, the state's Government Accountability Board said.

Organizers of the drive to recall the four Republican state senators submitted more than 18,000 pages of signed petitions with the board last month. Thursday was the deadline for the four lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, to lodge objections with the board.

In a statement, Fitzgerald cited "a wide range of irregularities, errors and outright falsehoods" in the petitions submitted to force him to defend his seat. He said he planned to challenge 4,300 of the signatures, which could be enough to derail the effort to unseat him.

All four Republicans supported the controversial curbs on public-sector union collective bargaining powers that were enacted in Wisconsin last year.

The measure, which greatly reduces the power of most public-sector unions in the state, triggered nine recall elections of state senators last summer. Two Republican senators were recalled.