Puppet MastersS


Stormtrooper

CIA recruits 1,500 from Mazar-e-Sharif to fight in Libya

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© Unknown
The Central Intelligence Agency of the United States recruited over 1,500 men from Mazar-e-Sharif for fighting against the Qaddafi forces in Libya.

Sources told The Nation: "Most of the men have been recruited from Afghanistan. They are Uzbeks, Persians and Hazaras. According to the footage, these men attired in Uzbek-style of shalwar and Hazara-Uzbek Kurta were found fighting in Libyan cities."

When Al-Jazeera reporter pointed it he was disallowed by the 'rebels 'to capture images.

Sources in Quetta said: "Some Uzbeks and Hazaras from Afghanistan were arrested in Balochistan for illegally traveling into Pakistan en route to Libya through Iran. Aljazeera's report gave credence to this story. More than 60 Afghans, mainly children and teenagers, have been found dead after suffocating inside a shipping container in southwestern Pakistan in an apparent human smuggling attempt.

Robot

US: Goldman to Stop "Robo-Signing" Mortgages

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© Unknown
Agreement with New York banking regulator covers many controversial practices

New York - Goldman Sachs' mortgage subsidiary has agreed to stop many of its controversial mortgage-related practices in a settlement with a New York state banking regulator.

The New York's Department of Financial Services and Banking Department said Thursday the settlement was a condition to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s ability to sell its Litton Loan Servicing subsidiary to a mortgage company Ocwen Financial Corp.

As part of the deal, the Goldman subsidiary said it will stop the practice of robo-signing mortgage paperwork. The practice, which involved signing mortgage affidavits without reviewing the loan documents and notarizing them in a way that violates state law, led to a temporary halt to most mortgage foreclosures in the fall of 2010.

Dollar

Obama Goes All Out For Dirty Banker Deal

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© Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesPresident Barack Obama
A power play is underway in the foreclosure arena, according to the New York Times.

On the one side is Eric Schneiderman, the New York Attorney General, who is conducting his own investigation into the era of securitizations - the practice of chopping up assets like mortgages and converting them into saleable securities - that led up to the financial crisis of 2007-2008.

On the other side is the Obama administration, the banks, and all the other state attorneys general.

This second camp has cooked up a deal that would allow the banks to walk away with just a seriously discounted fine from a generation of fraud that led to millions of people losing their homes.

The idea behind this federally-guided "settlement" is to concentrate and centralize all the legal exposure accrued by this generation of grotesque banker corruption in one place, put one single price tag on it that everyone can live with, and then stuff the details into a titanium canister before shooting it into deep space.

Wolf

How US Firms Profited from Torture Flights

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© AlamyCourt documents show how a network of US private companies profited from rendition operations.
Court documents illustrate how US contracted out secret rendition transportation to a network of private companies

The scale of the CIA's rendition programme has been laid bare in court documents that illustrate in minute detail how the US contracted out the secret transportation of suspects to a network of private American companies.

The manner in which American firms flew terrorism suspects to locations around the world, where they were often tortured, has emerged after one of the companies sued another in a dispute over fees. As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the mass of invoices, receipts, contracts and email correspondence - submitted as evidence to a court in upstate New York - provides a unique glimpse into a world in which the "war on terror" became just another charter opportunity for American businesses.

As a result of the case, the identities of some of the corporations involved in the rendition programme have been disclosed for the first time, along with the names of some of the executives who knew the purpose of the flights.

Blackbox

US: Court Case Lifts Lid on "Secret Post 9/11 Flights?"

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© Google Maps
A hidden network of U.S. companies, coordinated by a prominent defense contractor, played a key role in the covert airlift that transported terrorism suspects and their American minders, according to newly disclosed documents in a New York business dispute between two aviation companies.

The court files of more than 1,700 pages shed new light on the U.S. government's reliance on private contractors for flights between Washington, foreign capitals, the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and, at times, landing points near once-secret, CIA-run overseas prisons. The companies included DynCorp, a leading government contractor that secretly oversaw a fleet of luxury jets, and caterers that unwittingly stocked the planes with fruit platters and bottles of wine, according to the court files and testimony.

The business dispute stems from an obscure four-year fight between a New York-based charter company, Richmor Aviation Inc., which supplied corporate jets and crews to the government, and a private aviation broker, SportsFlight Air, which organized flights for DynCorp. Both sides cited the government's program of forced transport of detainees, or "extraordinary rendition," in testimony, evidence and legal arguments. The companies are fighting over $874,000 awarded to Richmor by a New York state appeals court to cover unpaid costs for the secret flights.

The court files - they include contracts, flight invoices, cell phone logs and correspondence - paint a sweeping portrait of collusion between the government and the private contractors that did its bidding - some eagerly, some hesitantly. Other firms turned a blind eye.

Take 2

Western Oil Majors Will Get the First Crack at Libyan Oil Production

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© WikipediaLibyan's Oil field, pipeline, reffineries and storages.
Countries that supported the overthrow of dictator Moammar Gadhafi's regime are likely to get first crack at post-war Libyan oil production, while those that sat on the sidelines are at risk of losing out.

"We don't have a problem with Western countries like the Italians, French and U.K. companies. But we may have some political issues with Russia, China andBrazil," Abdeljalil Mayouf, information manager at Libyan rebel oil firm AGOCO, told Reuters.

Talk like that has many Western oil companies licking their chops. Meanwhile, officials from China and Russia are foundering for ways to deal with the emerging Libyan government, the National Transitional Council (NTC).

Although Libyan oil production before the uprising comprised just 2% of global output, it is prized because it is of the light sweet crude variety - it contains less sulfur than most other oil and is thus cheaper to refine.

Dollar

Sarkozy took illegal cash from L'Oréal heiress, claims judge

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© European Press AssociationThe 'Bettencourt affair' began with a family quarrel between the L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt , pictured, and her only daughter, Françoise Meyers-Bettencourt
New book rekindles speculation about corruption in run-up to 2007 election

A judge will today accuse President Nicolas Sarkozy of accepting illegal cash contributions to his 2007 election campaign from France's wealthiest woman.

The accusation, levelled in a new book, threatens to launch an explosive new season of last summer's long-running politico-financial soap opera known as "The Bettencourt Affair".

Judge Isabelle Prévost-Desprez tells the authors of the investigative book that pressure from the Elysée Palace forced her to be removed from her inquiries into political aspects of the affair. Earlier, she said she had received evidence from an eyewitness that Mr Sarkozy accepted a cash payment in 2007 from the L'Oréal heiress, Liliane Bettencourt, now 88.

Cell Phone

Pre-Paid Chinese Users Still Anonymous Despite New Law

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© DigitalJournal
What countries permit you to have an ID-free phone?

For the last 12 months it has been illegal to buy a mobile phone in China without presenting ID, but Chinese customers seem as reluctant to be identified as everyone else.

Just like Google, the Chinese are concerned about the use of false, or non-existent, identities in the online world. Rumours abound that local versions of Twitter will soon require real names to be used, and since 1 June one can't even get a high-speed train ticket without presenting a state-issued ID, but attempts to lock down the identity of mobile phone users have proved more challenging.

China's real-name registration system was introduced a year ago, in an attempt to reduce the number of anonymously owned phone numbers, but an investigation by local publication IT Times demonstrates that Chinese retailers are more than willing to help customers fake the data to get the sale.

Mr. Potato

US: The Election March of the Trolls

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© Mr. Fish
We have begun the election march of the trolls. They have crawled out of the sewers of public relations firms, polling organizations, the commercial media, the two corporate political parties and elected office to fill the airwaves with inanities and absurdities until the final inanity - the 2012 presidential election. Journalists, whose role has been reduced to purveyors of court gossip, whether on Fox or MSNBC, descend in swarms to report pseudo-events such as the Ames straw poll, where it costs $30 to cast a ballot. And then, almost immediately, they blithely inform us that the Iowa poll is meaningless now that Rick Perry has entered the race. The liberal trolls, as they do in every election cycle, are beating their little chests about the perfidiousness of the Democratic Party and Barack Obama. It is a gesture performed not to effect change but to burnish their credentials as moralists. They know, as do we, that they will trot obediently into the voting booth in 2012 to do as they are told. And everywhere the pulse of the nation is being assiduously monitored through polls and focus groups, not because our opinions matter, but because our troll candidates understand that by parroting back to us our own viewpoints they can continue to spend their days lapping up corporate money with other trolls in the two houses of Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court and television studios where they chat with troll celebrity journalists.

The only commodity the troll state offers is fear. The corporate trolls, such as the Koch brothers, terrify the birthers, creationists, militia lovers, tea party militants, right-to-life advocates, Christian fascists and God-fearing red-white-and-blue patriots by proclaiming that unless they vote for Perry or Mitt Romney or Michele Bachmann or some other product of the lunatic fringe of our political establishment, the American family will be destroyed, our children will be corrupted and the country will turn socialist. Barack Obama, who they whisper is a closet Muslim, will take away their guns, raise their taxes and bring homosexual couples into kindergartens.

Bad Guys

US: CIA's Bay of Pigs Foreign Policy Laid Bare

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The bulk of the Bay of Pigs training took place in Guatemala thanks to the patronage of then President Manuel Ydigoras Fuentes, according to a recently released CIA history. Cuban anti-communist paramilitary trainees are shown here learning how to fire a mortar at a base in Guatemala in early 1961 in this photo courtesy of former Brigade Pilot Esteban Bovo, now a Miami-Dade County Commissioner.
A once-secret CIA history of the Bay of Pigs invasion lays out in unvarnished detail how the American spy agency came to the rescue of and cut deals with authoritarian governments in Central America, largely to hide the U.S. role in organizing and controlling the hapless Cuban exile invasion force.

The report, in chronicling how American secret agents dealt with the '60s-era governments of Guatemala and Nicaragua, provides important evidence, in official U.S. government words, to the truth of the old adage that the most powerful people in Central American embassies were the CIA station chiefs.

Ambassadors step aside and allow the CIA to negotiate deals for covert paramilitary bases in a newly released portion of the CIA's "Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation." CIA pilots and Cuban foot soldiers then help suppress a Guatemalan Army coup attempt that threatened their foothold in the country. Gen. Anastasio Somoza hits up the CIA for a $10 million payoff, development loans, as the price of letting the Americans launch the Cuban exile invasion from Nicaragua.

"What you're reading in this report shows again that in the hypocritical name of democracy the United States and CIA were willing to prop up some of the most cut-throat dictatorships," says researcher Peter Kornbluh of the National Security Archive at George Washington University. He sued the CIA for release of the Top Secret document that dissects one of the agency's greatest failures.