Puppet MastersS

Cell Phone

China plans to track Beijing citizens through their mobiles

© Michael Reynolds/EPAHuman rights activists believe the Chinese government is exploiting mobile technology to control unrest.
Government claims technology will ease transport congestion, but experts warn it could be used to control dissent

Human rights campaigners have expressed concerns over plans to track every mobile phone user in Beijing through global positioning technology.

Chinese media reported this week that pilot schemes were being introduced for an "information platform of real-time citizen movement" to help with traffic management.

Li Guoguang, deputy director of the Beijing municipal science and technology commission, said the project would be used to tackle congestion by allowing officials to monitor the flow of people through the transport system.

"To some degree, [it] can effectively increase citizens' travelling efficiency and ease traffic jams," he told the Beijing Daily.

He added that citizens would be able to buy the information, although more sensitive information - such as the location of individuals - would not be available.

Evil Rays

Reporter quits in protest at British tabloid's 'anti-Muslim' coverage

The Daily Star has been accused of printing fictional stories by a disgruntled reporter who has resigned over its "hatemongering" anti-Muslim propaganda.

In a resignation letter, Richard Peppiatt said he was leaving after the Star gave sympathetic coverage to the far-right English Defence League last month.

Peppiatt admits producing a number of fictional stories about celebrities during his two years at the tabloid, a practice he implies was sanctioned by his seniors.

The reporter, who was once made to dress up in a burqa, now accuses the paper of inciting racial tensions and Islamaphobia. "You may have heard the phrase 'the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil sets off a tornado in Texas'," Peppiatt wrote to the proprietor, Richard Desmond, in a letter seen by the Guardian.

"Well, try this: 'The lies of a newspaper in London can get a bloke's head caved-in down an alley in Bradford.' If you can't see that words matter, you should go back to running porn magazines."


Renault industrial espionage scandal may have been a hoax

French car company admits the possibility that it was tricked - but motive remains a mystery

The French carmaker Renault is facing embarrassment after admitting that the spying scandal that prompted its biggest ever industrial espionage investigation may have been a hoax.

France's most famous company has acknowledged that it may have been tricked and has reasons to doubt it has been a victim of industrial espionage.

The saga of a suspected spy ring, in which insiders were thought to have sold secrets of its electric car technology to shadowy foreigners, has been likened by the French press to "an incredible thriller" worthy of John le Carré. When it emerged in January that three executives had been escorted from their offices at Renault's Technocentre outside Paris, the French government warned it was the victim of an "economic war". President Nicolas Sarkozy ordered his intelligence services to investigate a Chinese link, which threatened to trigger a diplomatic row.

Renault never detailed its exact accusations against the three executives but the investigation centred on alleged bank accounts in Switzerland and Liechtenstein through which the spies could have received cash for revealing Renault's secrets, in the competitive automobile world's race to produce the most effective electric cars.

Bad Guys

Terror Bots Being Designed to Hunt You Down

Robot Cheetah
© Boston Dynamics

A headless metal warrior stomps towards you, shooting. Fortunately, you've been training for a marathon and easily jet off to safety down an alleyway. But wait - - now a metal cheeta-bot is after you, racing faster than your puny legs can go. As the space between you and the galloping beast closes, you round a corner, see a door and dive through. It slams behind you. As you freeze, holding your breath, the robotic cat passes by outside with a wake of metallic echoes.

Relieved, you exhale into the dark. A fatal mistake - - outside, another robot has detected your breath and alerted the enemy to your location ...

Waking up from this nightmare is a way to save yourself, for now, but in fact all three 'terror' bots it featured are based on actual prototypes being developed in California and Boston (though not with directly malicious intentions). Here's an introduction to the motley three.

Arrow Down

Spin Doctor - Greenspan Says Government Activism Hampering U.S. Recovery

© Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said a surge in U.S. government "activism," including fiscal stimulus, housing subsidies and new regulations, is holding back the economic recovery.

Increased bond issuance by the Treasury Department crowds out borrowers with the weakest credit ratings, Greenspan said in an article in International Finance, published on the Web today. At least half of the shortfall in companies' capital spending "can be explained by the shock of vastly greater government- created uncertainties embedded in the competitive, regulatory and financial environments" since the failure of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LEHMQ) in 2008, Greenspan said.

Greenspan's conclusions fit with his long-held free-market ideology and may aid Republican lawmakers who argue that cutting federal spending now will help spur job growth. Critics including members of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission have said Greenspan's failure to regulate the mortgage market last decade helped fuel the housing bubble whose bursting precipitated the financial crisis.

Light Sabers

ATF Let Hundreds of U.S. Weapons Fall into Hands of Suspected Mexican Gunrunners

© Eduardo Verdugo/Associated PressGen. Antonio Erasto Monsivais holds up a seized .50 caliber Barrett model 99 single-shot rifle in the seized weapons warehouse at the headquarters of the Secretary of Defense in Mexico City.
Hoping to score a major prosecution of Mexican drug lords, federal prosecutors and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives permitted hundreds of guns to be purchased and retained by suspected straw buyers with the expectation they might cross the border and even be used in crimes while the case was being built, according to documents and interviews.

The decision - part of a Phoenix-based operation code named "Fast and Furious" - was met by strong objections from some front-line agents who feared they were allowing weapons like AK-47s to "walk" into the hands of drug lords and gun runners, internal agency memos show. Indeed, scores of the weapons came back quickly traced to criminal activity.

One of those front-line agents who objected, John Dodson, 39, told the Center for Public Integrity that these guns "are going to be turning up in crimes on both sides of the border for decades." Dodson said in an interview that "with the number of guns we let walk, we'll never know how many people were killed, raped, robbed ... there is nothing we can do to round up those guns. They are gone."

Dodson has taken his misgivings to the Senate Judiciary Committee as a whistleblower after his concerns were dismissed by his supervisors and initially ignored by the Justice Department's inspector general.

Black Cat

U.S. Judge Orders Protesters Out of Wisconsin Capitol

© Unknown
Madison - A Wisconsin judge has ordered pro-union protesters to be removed from the state Capitol.

Dane County Circuit Judge John Albert ruled Thursday night that protesters remaining in the building should be immediately removed - along with any unauthorized materials such as sleeping bags and signs taped to the Capitol walls.

The judge also ruled that the state violated constitutional protections for free speech and assembly by restricting access to the building. He ordered the administration to re-open the building to the general public by 8 a.m. Monday, allowing for a permitting process limiting the times and places where rallies can be held.

The demonstrators have been rallying against a proposal by Gov. Scott Walker to eliminate nearly all collective bargaining rights for most public employee unions.


Panic on Borders as Chaos Engulfs Libya

© ReutersUp to 20,000 migrant workers try to push their way through the Tunisian border crossing at Ras Jedir yesterday
The Libyans watched from an open window of the immigration post, leaning out to see the 20,000 fleeing Egyptian, Bangladeshi, Chinese and Iranian workers heaped up against the border wall. They seemed quite unconcerned, shirt-sleeves rolled up, moving to a window closer to this crowd. Already up to 75,000 have struggled into Tunisia, but yesterday the crossing system collapsed as thousands of men, almost all Arabs desperate to escape Muammar Gaddafi's state, fought with local Tunisians who - under the eyes of the army - attacked them with stakes and iron bars.

Many of the soldiers hurled plastic water bottles and biscuits into the masses of refugees who began to jump the border wall in their desperation, heaving family members and baggage through breaks in the cement. Clichés run out when faced with such chaos and unnecessary suffering. "Insupportable" was the word that came to mind yesterday. Most of these 20,000 had gone without food, water or sleep for four days. How is it possible that people should suffer so greatly at a mere border post?

Officials turned up with anodyne words of fearful irrelevance. Josette Sheeran, who rejoices in the title of executive director of the World Food Programme, stared at this ocean of humanity and announced: "We are doing all we can - we are working through this situation. And it's never too late." But it was. Ms Sheeran arrived with 80 tonnes of food, most of it high-energy biscuits, which were thrown over the wall at the crowds once she had left.

More to the point, Firas Kayal, of the UNHCR, took one look at the young Tunisians beating the Egyptian refugees, said that a crisis had been reached at the border and that 14,000 refugees had crossed in the past 12 hours alone. "The Tunisians' capacity to help has reached its limit," he said. "We are bringing in two UN flights today filled with tents for these people inside Tunisia. We are helping the local authorities and the local people to cope."

War Whore

Egyptian Special Forces Secretly Storm Libya

Libyan people take part in a protest in the seaport city of Tobruk
The elite troops moved in as the defiant tyrant vowed to "fight to the last man and woman" - and warned that "thousands will die" if the West intervenes.

But the Mirror can reveal his Tripoli stronghold is now under threat from a growing army of special forces preparing to quell civil war.

Intelligence sources have told us that post-Mubarak Egyptian troops have been allowed into Libya by Tunisian soldiers - showing increasing Arab-backing for the anti-Gaddafi revolt.

The move came as a ferocious battle raged yesterday for control of the key oil port town of Brega after loyalists launched their first counter-offensive in the eastern desert in an attempt to reclaim "Free Libya".


US Losing World Information War? Clinton Asks for $47 Billion Propaganda Budget

The U.S. is losing an information war to alternative media outlets, including RT. That's the message from Hillary Clinton to Congress members, who are questioning the State Department's US $47 billion budget request for next year. And as RT's Gayane Chichakyan reports, the U.S. Secretary of State says Washington needs to step up its propaganda efforts.