Puppet MastersS


Best of the Web: Nine Men Plead Guilty To Terrorism Charges; Inspired By Pentagon Asset

Nine Muslim men have admitted to various terrorism charges, after being inspired by a US Pentagon intelligence asset [1].

Mohammed Chowdhury, 21 of Stanliff House, Tower Hamlets, Shah Rahman, 28, of St Bernard's Road, Newham, Gurukanth Desai, 30, of Albert Street, Cardiff, and his brother Abdul Miah, 25, of Ninian Park Road, Cardiff, have all admitted to planning an attack on the London Stock Exchange. They are charged with engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism.

Usman Khan, 20, of Persia Walk, Mohammed Shahjahan 27, of Burmarsh Walk and Nazam Hussain, 26, of Grove Street, all areas in Stoke, admitted attending operational meetings in Roath Park, Cardiff on 7 November and in a Newport country park on 12 December. They are alleged to have discussed leaving homemade bombs in the toilets of their city's pubs and travelling abroad for terror training. They are charged with engaging in conduct for the preparation of terrorism.

Omar Latif, 28, of Neville Street, Cardiff, admitted to attending meetings with the intention of assisting others to prepare or commit acts of terrorism.

Mohibur Rahman, 27, of North Road, Stoke, admitted possessing two editions of alleged al-Qaeda magazine "Inspire" for terrorist purposes.


U.S. Shuts 16 Sports Piracy Websites Pre-Super Bowl

© unknown
Three days before Super Bowl XLVI, U.S. prosecutors said they seized 16 websites that illegally streamed live sports and pay-per-view events over the Internet, and charged a Michigan man with running nine of those websites.

According to the government, the 16 websites provided links to give viewers easy access to other sites that hosted pirated telecasts from the National Football League, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, World Wrestling Entertainment Inc ("WWE") and TNA Impact Wrestling. The latter is also broadcast on Viacom Inc's Spike TV.

Prosecutors said such piracy costs leagues and broadcasters millions of dollars a year, and some of this cost is passed on to ticket buyers and sports network subscribers.

"These websites and their operators deprive sports leagues and networks of legitimate revenue" in what amounts to "virtual thievery," said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan, who announced the website seizures.


'Anonymous' Hackers Attack Brazilian Bank Websites

© Agence France-Presse/Mauricio LimaHackers from Anonymous's Brazilian branch said they attacked Bradesco, Itau and Banco do Brasil
The shadowy computer hacker group Anonymous said Wednesday it attacked the websites of three major Brazilian banks over the past few days to protest widespread inequality in Latin America's leading economy.

Hackers from Anonymous's Brazilian branch told the economy daily Valor that their attacks on Bradesco, Itau and Banco do Brasil did not aim to defraud clients, but were meant to protest "the countless inequalities in the country."

The last to be targeted was the website of Banco do Brasil, the country's largest state-run bank.

Monday, Itau, the country's biggest private bank and the biggest in Latin America, was attacked, followed a day later by Bradesco, Brazil's third biggest bank.

"Attention sailors: Target hit ! Itau is adrift. TANGO DOWN !," the hackers crowed.

War Whore

'Syria on its Knees - Prelude to NATO Invading Iran'

The idea of the Syrian opposition dancing to a foreign tune has been floated by John R. Bradley, author of the book, After the Arab Spring. He says NATO members are committed to toppling the regime and will make Iran their next target.
"[Syrian opposition is] under huge pressure from outside powers who want these talks [between the Assad regime and the opposition] to fail even before they begin - most obviously NATO," he told RT. "NATO is determined to bring the Assad regime to its knees as a prelude to invading Iran."


US: Obama Presses Congress to Step Up Aid for Homeowners

© The Associated Press/Larry Downing President Obama holds up a piece of paper he demonstrated as what he would like to see used for future mortgage loans while he talks about the economy at the James Lee Community Center in Falls Church, Virginia, February 1, 2012.
President Barack Obama on Wednesday proposed a multi-billion-dollar package to help U.S. homeowners refinance and stave off foreclosure, part of an election-year push that is likely to face an uphill battle by the Republican opposition in Congress.

Obama moved to counter Republican criticism that the proposal would use taxpayer money to bail out irresponsible borrowers by stressing that only homeowners current on their payments could benefit. The president had sketched out the plan in his State of the Union address last week.

Home values have dropped 33 percent from their 2006 peak and nearly 11 million Americans now owe more than their homes are worth. Millions more have lost their homes in states that are up for grab in November's presidential election.

The White House is seeking to contrast Obama's stance with that of Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, who has said foreclosures should be allowed to run their course.

"The truth is, it will take more time than any of us would like for the housing market to recover from this crisis," Obama said at a community center in Falls Church, Virginia. "But there are actions we can take, right now, to provide some relief to folks who've been making their payments on time."


US: House Votes to Repeal Part of Healthcare Law

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The House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to repeal a provision of President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul setting up a home-care program for the elderly and disabled that regulators said was unworkable.

The Republican-led House voted 267-159 for the bill that would terminate the Community Living Assistance Services(CLASS) Act that was supposed to create a voluntary insurance program to help the elderly and disabled pay for home care.

Republicans called it a step toward achieving their goal of dismantling the healthcare overhaul Obama signed into law nearly two years ago.

The legislation is not expected to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate even though Republicans are expected to push for a vote on it.

"There is no doubt that the president's healthcare plan is killing jobs," said Republican Representative Jeb Hensarling. "House Republicans have repealed it in its totality. It has been blocked by the president, by Democrats and so if we can't do it in its totality we'll do it piecemeal. We need to start out by repealing the CLASS Act."


How Goldman Sachs Created the Food Crisis

Don't blame American appetites, rising oil prices, or genetically modified crops for rising food prices. Wall Street's at fault for the spiraling cost of food.
© Foreign Policy

Demand and supply certainly matter. But there's another reason why food across the world has become so expensive: Wall Street greed.

It took the brilliant minds of Goldman Sachs to realize the simple truth that nothing is more valuable than our daily bread. And where there's value, there's money to be made. In 1991, Goldman bankers, led by their prescient president Gary Cohn, came up with a new kind of investment product, a derivative that tracked 24 raw materials, from precious metals and energy to coffee, cocoa, cattle, corn, hogs, soy, and wheat. They weighted the investment value of each element, blended and commingled the parts into sums, then reduced what had been a complicated collection of real things into a mathematical formula that could be expressed as a single manifestation, to be known henceforth as the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI).

For just under a decade, the GSCI remained a relatively static investment vehicle, as bankers remained more interested in risk and collateralized debt than in anything that could be literally sowed or reaped. Then, in 1999, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission deregulated futures markets. All of a sudden, bankers could take as large a position in grains as they liked, an opportunity that had, since the Great Depression, only been available to those who actually had something to do with the production of our food.

Change was coming to the great grain exchanges of Chicago, Minneapolis, and Kansas City -- which for 150 years had helped to moderate the peaks and valleys of global food prices. Farming may seem bucolic, but it is an inherently volatile industry, subject to the vicissitudes of weather, disease, and disaster. The grain futures trading system pioneered after the American Civil War by the founders of Archer Daniels Midland, General Mills, and Pillsbury helped to establish America as a financial juggernaut to rival and eventually surpass Europe.

The grain markets also insulated American farmers and millers from the inherent risks of their profession. The basic idea was the "forward contract," an agreement between sellers and buyers of wheat for a reasonable bushel price -- even before that bushel had been grown. Not only did a grain "future" help to keep the price of a loaf of bread at the bakery -- or later, the supermarket -- stable, but the market allowed farmers to hedge against lean times, and to invest in their farms and businesses. The result: Over the course of the 20th century, the real price of wheat decreased (despite a hiccup or two, particularly during the 1970s inflationary spiral), spurring the development of American agribusiness. After World War II, the United States was routinely producing a grain surplus, which became an essential element of its Cold War political, economic, and humanitarian strategies -- not to mention the fact that American grain fed millions of hungry people across the world.


Saudi Arabia Says it Can Cover Any Oil Shortages

  • Oil minister says can respond to shortages due to investment
  • Growing domestic demand won't crimp ability to export
  • To rely more heavily on gas for rising domestic demand (Adds detail, comment throughout)
Saudi Arabia can meet any future world oil shortages thanks to massive investment, and its rising gas output will mean crude exports will not be affected by booming domestic energy demand, Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Monday.

Growing tension between Iran and the West over the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme has led to fears of a disruption in oil supplies from the Middle East Gulf.

The United States and European Union have raised pressure on Iran with sanctions and a ban on Iranian oil, while Tehran has said it may cut off supplies to some unspecified countries.


Obama: Not Cool, Just Cold-Blooded

© Unknown
A Black Agenda Radio commentary:

"The United States is waging a terroristic war against at least four nations," but its president is somehow perceived as "cool." Obama's fans, the corporate media and, apparently, the commander-in-chief himself see no contradiction between coolness and international criminality. "Barack Obama has surpassed George Bush in lawlessness." He's "cool like Jesse James."

"When the U.S. president arrogates to himself the right to bomb and kill at will, he makes himself an outlaw."

President Obama thinks killing people around the globe with drones is as cool as singing Al Green at the Apollo. In a live Web interview, Obama assured his audience that the U.S. unmanned drone force - now thought to number in the thousands and ranging from deadly Predators and Reapers to aircraft the size of small birds - was "kept on a very tight leash." So, here we have a secret weapons program that violates other countries' airspace and kills their citizens at will - and even kills American citizens without charge or trial - and Obama thinks that all he is obligated to do is give assurances that the weapons are on a "tight leash."

The issue is not whether the American commander-in-chief has made sure that the drones are under his control, but that the United States is waging a terroristic war against at least four nations - Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, and possibly more - with not the slightest justification under international law.

Magic Hat

Iran: This Is What Propaganda Looks Like

Iran threat
© ABC News
Alarmist corporate media coverage of the "threat" from Iran is everywhere, thanks to a Senate appearance yesterday by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

But Clapper said very little in his remarks that would justify the propagandistic coverage we're seeing. His main point was that Iran could launch attacks if it felt threatened. It is hard to see how this is particularly surprising. Clapper pointed to the alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington D.C. as evidence that Iran seems more eager to assert itself, perhaps even inside the United States. But there were many people who raised serious questions about that rather implausible scenario (which involved hiring a Mexican drug gang to carry out the assassination).

As the Wall Street Journal reported (one of the few corporate outlets I saw pushing back against the official alarmism):
There is still widespread doubt that an alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassador was authorized at the highest levels in Tehran, said Karim Sadjadpour, a Middle East analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"If that's the only data point, I think it's a stretch to conclude that the regime is now looking to commit acts of terror on U.S. soil," he said.