Welcome to Sott.net
Wed, 27 Oct 2021
The World for People who Think

Puppet Masters
Map

MIB

CIA agent Raymond Davis 'had close links with Taliban'

Image
© AFP
The real face of terrorism
American official Raymond Davis, arrested in the Pakistani city of Lahore for gunning down two armed men, had "close links" with the Taliban and was "instrumental" in recruiting youths for the militant group, a media report said on Tuesday. The claim about his links to Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan was made to The Express Tribune newspaper by unnamed police officials in Punjab province, a day after US media reported that Davis was working for the CIA as a security contractor.

"The Lahore killings were a blessing in disguise for our security agencies who suspected that Davis was masterminding terrorist activities in Lahore and other parts of Punjab," a senior official of Punjab Police was quoted as saying by the daily.

"His close ties with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan were revealed during the investigations... Davis was instrumental in recruiting young people from Punjab for the Taliban to fuel the bloody insurgency," the official was quoted as saying.

Call records retrieved from mobile phones found on Davis had allegedly established his links with 33 Pakistanis, including 27 militants from the banned Taliban and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, sources were quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Robot

A Geek's dream come true - Anybot

anybotlogo
© Grumomedia
After Alexis Ohanian promoted Grumo on the Hipmunk blog the first person to contact me to produce a similar video to the Hipmunk one was no other than YCombinator co-founder Trevor Blackwell.

Since I found about YCombinator back in 2008, I have been a fan of all its founders which include Paul Graham, Jessica Livingston, Robert Morris, and of course Trevor Blackwell.

To discuss the details of the Anybots animation Trevor and I had a conversation on Skype.
To get an idea of how the Anybot functions Trevor invited me to try one of them and continue our conversation right from one of his Anybots.


Stormtrooper

Authorities in China Stage Swift Response to Crush Mysterious Calls for 'Jasmine Revolution'

Image
© Yu / AP
Police officers react during a demonstration outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong, Sunday.

Authorities in China Sunday staged a massive, nationwide response to head off potential protests after a mysterious post on an advocacy website and other social media outlets urged citizens to stage a "Jasmine Revolution."

It is not clear who organized the campaign, but authorities rounded up more than a dozen activists, lawyers and dissidents, censored Internet activity and pulled the plug on text messaging services in response to the call, according to local reports.

The censorship moves, along with the reports of heavy police presence in Beijing, Shanghai and other cities mentioned in the campaign, highlighted China's skittishness over the growing unrest in the Middle East.

"Jasmine Revolution" -- named for the delicate white flower symbolic in many cultures across the Middle East and Southeast Asia -- was taken from the Tunisian protest movement, which led to the ouster of its president and spurred similar revolts in Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria and Libya.

The government has restricted media reports and Internet access to keep citizens in the dark about the uprisings, and in recent days, the words "jasmine" and "revolution" were blocked on Twitter-like microblogging sites and search engines.

The campaign first appeared late last week on Boxun.com, a Chinese language website based in the U.S.

Dollar

US Shutdown Looms as Budget War Rages

Image

President Obama has already pledged to veto the aggressive cuts
Fears over the strength of the US economic recovery were growing last night after a highly unusual all-night session of the Republican House of Representatives agreed to slash the federal budget by $61bn by the end of September.

The deal, thrashed out in the early hours, was immediately condemned by US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who said the cuts would hit the fragile economy.

It now appears there will be a potentially damaging stand-off between President Barack Obama and Republican leaders with a possible shut-down of the federal government if agreement cannot be reached in the next fortnight.

"The continuing resolution as passed by the House would undermine and damage our capacity to create jobs and expand the economy," Mr Geithner said at the G20 summit in Paris yesterday.

President Obama has already pledged to veto the aggressive cuts. The proposal must now be debated by the Senate, the upper chamber of Congress, where Democrats hold a slim majority. There is a growing danger the federal government will close down on March 4 if a compromise short-term spending deal cannot be struck between the White House and two houses of Congress. Such paralysis is likely to damage US economic prospects and therefore the chances of continuing global recovery.

Mr Obama is likely to push for a budget extension freezing spending at 2010 levels while deeper cuts are negotiated. The multi-billion dollar cuts package reveals the big division between US political parties on how to support growth. Republicans say the deficit must be brought under control if America is to experience a strong recovery.

Chess

Middle East Protests: Is it Time for the West to Come Clean?

Image
© Mazen Mahdi/EPA
Protesters in Bahrain celebrate after reaching Lulu Square in the capital city of Manama, defying calls by crown prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa for calm.
Western backing for the old regimes in the Middle East and north Africa precludes any cosy narrative about popular uprisings.

There has been a tendency among western commentators during the past few weeks of popular uprising in the Middle East and north Africa to interpret the events as occurring along starkly defined fault lines.

There are the people versus the regime; Islamists versus the secular; and autocratic, corrupt rulers pitted against a popular desire for democracy, human rights and economic inclusion. All of which contains some truths, but it remains a partial picture.

In our desire to create a joined-up narrative out of the unrest, from Yemen to Iraq and Bahrain, we have ignored the specifics. In the rush of politicians such as Hillary Clinton to support the new wave of "freedom", western governments seem to be replicating the same errors they made during the "colour" revolutions, mistaking the act of revolt for the outcome of a long period of revolution, and accepting the incomplete in the name of "stability".

For, like Tolstoy's unhappy families, each of the autocracies now embroiled in popular uprisings is autocratic in its own way. What can be said about the events in Tunisia is as inapplicable to Egypt as it is to Bahrain or Yemen.

In truth, there are some broad common strands: each country has a young population with a significant, well-educated segment and many people looking for work. In each, power has been monopolised by a small elite, either drawn from a royal family or from a figure backed by the military and business and the west. Corruption is often rife; a culture of repression is vigorous and deeply ingrained.

Stormtrooper

Canada: Stephen Harper's worst enemy

Stephen Harper
© The Canadian Press
Prime Minister Stephen Harper holds a news conference in Toronto on Feb. 17, 2011
What happens when the smartest man in the room (by his own estimation) proves too clever by half? What happens when a one-man band puts on a third-rate show? What happens when a "brilliant strategist" is so full of uncontrollable resentment and meanness that he keeps getting himself in trouble by interfering where he has no business?

Whenever it appears that Stephen Harper may be closer to that elusive goal of majority government, along comes Stephen Harper to remind suspicious Canadians they're dead right to be suspicious. That's what the Bev Oda fiasco is really about.

Every time I hear Michael Ignatieff shrieking at the Prime Minister to fire Ms. Oda I want to scream back: THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BEV ODA. Of course she baldly lied, just as Jason Kenney lied about Kairos policy on Israel and Tony Clement lied when he claimed Statscan approved his crusade against the long-form census. This government lies as routinely as it maligns, and it never apologizes. But Ms. Oda, like Messrs. Kenney and Clement, is just the organ grinder's monkey. Any CIDA minister would have been in the same boat. She just follows orders. And it's those orders in the Kairos case that remind us of the real Harper agenda.
"At the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Developments hearings in December, International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda testified she did not know who wrote the word "not.On Feb. 14, however, she told the House of Commons that she had ordered the change."
See here to view the altered document.

The issue here is the reversal, by Stephen Harper, of a 60-year consensus shared by all previous governments about the central role of civil society in Canada. Every previous government has funded civil society groups and NGOs even when they espoused policies that contradicted the government's own. Governments might have done so grudgingly and not as generously as some of us hoped. But it has been one of the quiet glories of Canadian democracy that our governments have often backed groups that criticized them or had competing priorities.

No more. With Stephen Harper, you either buy the party line or you get slapped down. That's what happened to Kairos (now ironically receiving proper recognition for its terrific work over the years - eat your heart out, Jason Kenney). That's what happened to the Canadian Council For International Co-operation and Match International. That's what happened, with little media attention, to an astonishing number - in the many, many dozens - of other worthy organizations. (An exact figure will soon be posted by Voices, an important virtual coalition of organizations and individuals formed precisely in reaction to the Harper government's attacks on civil society organizations. I am an enthusiastic supporter.)

MIB

Pakistan intelligence says US gunman is CIA

raymond davis

A Pakistan court has deferred judgement on whether Raymond Davis has diplomatic immunity

Islamabab - A Pakistani intelligence official said Monday that an American in custody for killing two men was an undercover CIA contractor, setting off new friction in a crisis with the United States.

Washington voiced fear for the safety of Raymond Davis, who says he acted in self-defence. The United States has put intense pressure on Pakistan to free him, arguing that he enjoys diplomatic immunity.

But the unpopular government in Pakistan is also feeling heat from the political opposition not to cave in to US demands, with analysts even warning that the case could bring down the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP).

Stormtrooper

Ray McGovern Assaulted for Silent Protest at Hilary Clinton Speech

Image
© Press TV
As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave her speech at George Washington University yesterday condemning governments that arrest protestors and do not allow free expression, 71-year-old Ray McGovern was grabbed from the audience in plain view of her by police and an unidentified official in plain clothes, brutalized and left bleeding in jail. She never paused speaking. When Secretary Clinton began her speech, Mr. McGovern remained standing silently in the audience and turned his back. Mr. McGovern, a veteran Army officer who also worked as a C.I.A. analyst for 27 years, was wearing a Veterans for Peace t-shirt.

Blind-sided by security officers who pounced upon him, Mr. McGovern remarked, as he was hauled out the door, "So this is America?" Mr. McGovern is covered with bruises, lacerations and contusions inflicted in the assault.

Mr. McGovern is being represented by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF). "It is the ultimate definition of lip service that Secretary of State Clinton would be trumpeting the U.S. government's supposed concerns for free speech rights and this man would be simultaneously brutalized and arrested for engaging in a peaceful act of dissent at her speech," stated attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the PCJF.

Mr. McGovern now works for Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C.


Eye 1

Dictator on the run: Gaddafi may have fled Libya already and be on his way to Venezuela, says Foreign Secretary William Hague

  • Protesters appear to have taken control of second city Benghazi
  • Up to 400 feared dead after dozens killed in clashes
  • Colonel Gaddafi on his way to Venezuela, say William Hague
  • Justice minister resigns over 'excessive use of violence'
  • Two Libyan fighter jets land in Malta as pilots request asylum
  • David Cameron declares regime response is 'appalling and unacceptable'
  • Gaddafi's son says: 'We will fight to the last minute, until the last bullet'
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has fled Libya and may be heading for Venezuela, William Hague said today.

The Foreign Secretary said he had seen 'information that suggests he is on the way there [Venezuela] at the moment' - as the North African country was up in flames with reports of around 400 dead.

Gaddafi was said to have fled as the country he has ruled for more than 40 years after anti-government demonstrators breached the state television building and set government property alight.

Image

Popular fury: Government buildings have been set ablaze by anti-regime protesters in Tripoli

Pistol

Bloodbath That Shames Britain: As 300 are Massacred for Defying Gaddafi, America and UN Condemn UK for Cosying Up to Tyrant in Blair's Dirty Deal

  • British weapons believe to have been used in massacre of over 300
  • UN warn that British Government could be guilty 'complicity' in killings
  • Tony Blair did deal with Libyan dictator seven years ago
  • Gaddafi's son says: 'We will fight to the last minute, until the last bullet'
Britain faces growing condemnation over its courting of Colonel Gaddafi after the Libyan dictator ordered the slaughter of hundreds of his own people.

The United Nations and the U.S. Ambassador to London questioned the UK's cosy trade links with Tripoli yesterday.

British weapons are believed to have been used to murder more than 300 Libyan pro-democracy demonstrators.

Colonel Gaddafi
© The Associated Press
Iron fist: Colonel Gaddafi, the Libyan leader for 41 years, is accused of ordering the slaughter of his own people

Tony Blair and Gaddafi
© PA
Risky ally: Former British prime minister Tony Blair did a deal with Colonel Gaddafi back in 2004