Puppet MastersS

War Whore

US threatens sanctions against India over Iran oil

© Unknown
The Obama administration is threatening to impose sanctions on India over its continued economic ties with Iran amid disagreements between Washington and New Delhi over how much and how soon the latter is reducing oil imports from the (in US eyes) pariah nation.

India has "failed" to reduce its purchase of Iranian oil and if it doesn't do so, President Barack Obama may be "forced" to impose sanction, unnamed administration officials were cited as telling Bloomberg wire service. A decision in this regard could come as early as June 28, they added, implicitly offering New Delhi a ten- week window to show a decline in Iranian oil imports.

Indian officials have contested the US assessment by insisting New Delhi is scaling down Iranian oil imports with more reduction in the pipeline, but that concession has been offset by India's commerce ministry's well-publicized efforts to ramp up trade with Iran in other areas, a move that has not gone unnoticed by the powerful pro-Israeli lobby in US.

Arrow Down

Argentina Plans 'Civil and Criminal' Actions Against Oil Companies Exploring in Falklands

© Diamond Offshore drilling/The Associated Press
Buenos Aires, Argentina - Argentina is intensifying its campaign to block oil development in the Falkland Islands, announcing on Thursday it will pursue "administrative, civil and criminal" penalties against the dozens of companies involved.

"We are going to defend the resources of the South Atlantic, which are the property of all the Argentines," Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said at a news conference. He said that includes any oil found off the shores of the islands they call the Malvinas, which have been controlled by Britain since 1833.

Once the colonial subjects of Britain, the roughly 3,000 islanders now determine their own fate. Already, they have collected millions of dollars in licensing fees for oil exploration, and they've had their first major offshore oil discovery - last year's Sea Lion strike that promises to deliver as much as 450 million barrels of oil.

It was found by Rockhopper Exploration PLC, which has been seeking a $2 billion investor to fund production starting in 2016. The company has yet to announce such a deep-pocketed partner, but if and when it finds one, industry analysts estimate that a total of $10.5 billion in taxes and royalties would start flowing into the Falkland Islands treasury from the Sea Lion find alone.

Argentina, which lost a brief and bloody war against Britain for the islands in 1982, aims to keep that production from starting by any means possible short of violence or war, Timerman said, adding that his government will always follow international law.


Lawyer for Soldier Suspected in Afghan Killings has Represented Bundy, 'Barefoot Bandit'

© The Associated Press/The Canadian Press/Kevin P. CaseyJohn Henry Browne has been asked to represent the American soldier accused of killing 16 civilians in Afghanistan.
US, Seattle - The lawyer representing a U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians has only appeared in military court a handful of times in a career spanning 40-plus years, but he's no stranger to high-profile clients.

John Henry Browne has represented serial killer Ted Bundy as well as Colton Harris-Moore, known as the "Barefoot Bandit."

The 65-year-old said he has handled only three or four military cases. The soldier, whose name still has not been announced, will also have at least one military lawyer.

Browne is known equally for his zeal in representing his clients and his flair before television cameras.

In addition to being a lawyer for Bundy, he helped Benjamin Ng avoid the death penalty following his conviction in Washington state's worst mass killing, the massacre of 13 people at a Seattle restaurant.


A Toxic System: An Inside Glimpse Into the Nefarious Operations of Goldman Sachs

vampire squid graphic
© www.prosebeforehos.com
Goldman Sachs employee Greg Smith's very public resignation, replete with a pointed letter published in the New York Times yesterday, has landed upon the investment bank like a bomb. Slamming a "toxic and destructive environment" within Goldman Sachs, Smith says the firm's internal culture has devolved to the point where the entire staff not only tolerates, but expects workers at all levels, from senior partners to associates, to pursue nothing but ever-more sophisticated means of "ripping their clients off."

Apologists for the financial sector - including the editors of the major business newspapers and television networks - predictably have shot back with a flurry columns and reports, mostly designed to discredit the former vice president by making fun of Smith and his concerns. If you strip away the ad hominem layers to these responses though, the core problems raised by Smith remain, and the reaction of the business press seems all the more absurd, for Goldman's pesky turncoat isn't saying anything that's news to the public: Goldman Sachs is characterized by a toxic culture of greed? Stop the presses!

There is much more to be said about Goldman Sachs' derivatives operation, however, and Smith's provocative resignation provides an opportunity because he was working in the belly of it.

At the center of Smith's critique are derivatives, the arcane financial instruments that transformed the world's splintered national economies and regional banking systems into a single, if complicated, global system. Evangelists of derivatives claim they have made new heights of economic growth, trade, and prosperity possible. Critics have pointed out since the beginning of the derivatives boom in the 1980s how perfectly suited they are to fraud and systemic catastrophe via the greed of the few and the powerful.

Bad Guys

More Fun Atrocities: Soldiers Train to Supress Consience, Morality and Empathy

soldier having bricks smashed on head
© n/a
I remember being a young Marine recruit at Parris Island, August of 1966, running, running, boots thumping on the grinder, exulting in the sense of power and communion that comes of men acting in unison, shouting, "Luke the Gook comes marching by, stick your bayonet in his eye, lef rye lef rye lef...." Only an idiot goes to PI - Third Batallion, Disneyland, in my case - in August. I was one. It goes with being nineteen.

Under a leaden sun that beat down like a soft rubber truncheon, we unlearned civilization. How to clap a hand over a sentry's mouth while inserting your Kbar in his kidney; agony, shock and instant blood loss prevent a struggle. We ran in formation shouting Kill! Kill! Kill! We learned that it is better to shoot an enemy in the bowels than the head because trying to keep him alive would strain the enemy's medical resources, and the man would probalby die anyway. Peritonitis is your friend, we learned. The other guy's peritonitis.

Months later at Lejeune we slogged day after day, on three and a half hours sleep, through the greasy clay mud of a North Carolina autumn, from range to range. We learned flame throwers, which if you haven't you don't know what hell is, and how to burn the enemy alive. Again, that sense of power. We learned to use white phosphorus, WP, Willy Peter or other names less printable, to cover enemies in burning goop that you can't put out. We learned to be what human beings shouldn't be. We felt an exhilarating freedom, of not being subject to moral constraints. We learned to suppress conscience, morality, and empathy. This, more than the use of weapons, is the goal of military training.


Targeted Killings: US and Israeli Specialties

man points rifle in Pakistan
© n/a
International law permits justifiable self-defense. Targeted killings are prohibited, especially premeditated ones like America and Israel repeatedly commit for reasons other than claimed.

These incidents constitute cold-blooded murder. US drone killings and rampaging death squads, as well as Israel's deplorable history and latest ritual slaughter highlight the issue. International law prohibits anticipatory self-defense. It amounts to using force to deter it.

Under the UN Charter's Article 2(4):
"All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations."
Only two exceptions apply. Article 51 permits "individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security."

In addition, a nation may anticipate self-defense in situations where verifiable, compelling evidence shows imminent or already initiated armed attacks.


'Several drunk troops behind Afghan bloodbath, laughed on shooting-spree, burned corpses'

© AFP Photo / Mamoon DurraniA villager points to a spot where a family was allegedly shot in their residence by a 'rogue US soldier' in Alkozai village of Panjwayi district, Kandahar province on March 11, 2012
Gruesome new details are surfacing after 16 Afghan villagers including nine children were shot in their houses by at least one US serviceman. Witnesses to the atrocity now say that several drunken American soldiers were involved.

­Neighbors at the village where the killings took place said they were awoken past midnight by crackling gunfire:

"They were all drunk and shooting all over the place," Reuters cites Agha Lala, a villager in Kandahar's Panjwayi district.

Lala's neighbor Haji Samad lost all of his 11 relatives in the rampage, including children and grandchildren. He claims Marines "poured chemicals over their dead bodies and burned them."

Twenty-year-old Jan Agha says the gunfire "shook him out of bed." He was in the epicenter of the horrible shooting, witnessing his father shot as the latter peered out of a window to see what was going on.


Nuclear Arms Race Continues at Lawrence Livermore Lab

The National Ignition Facility
© Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryThe National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Abby and Robbie Martin grew up in Pleasanton, CA, a city located ten miles from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), a secret nuclear weapons production facility. They initially set out to explore the psychological impacts of taking nuclear testing into virtual space. But as their investigation unfolded, they found that the LLNL - in conjunction with Site 300 - has built an impressive greenwashing PR campaign cloaking a sinister reality.

Despite a moratorium on nuclear testing, the nuclear arms race continues unabated at very high costs. In addition to the startling cases of LLNL's mismanagement of dangerous materials and 'accidental' releases, the facilities are still testing every radioactive component of a nuclear bomb in open air, according to sources.

Malignant melanoma (skin cancer) rates are six times higher among children born in Livermore; melanoma has been linked to radiation exposure. And the amount of radiation which has been expelled from the lab since its inception is equivalent to that released from the bombing of Hiroshima. Most disturbingly, the Livermore community is largely unaware of what the lab is actually doing and what its potential impacts are on its health and the environment.

Light Saber

Assad suckers Imperial Alliance by calling snap elections for May

"I'm sorry, what was that you were saying about freedom and democracy?"
Poll announcement comes as former UN chief Kofi Annan presses for a response over ceasefire and aid proposals

The Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, whose armed forces are engaged in a bloody crackdown on opponents of his rule, has called parliamentary elections for May.

The 7 May elections were announced under a new constitution passed last month. HAssad's opponents say the constitution is illegitimate while he still clings to power.

The announcement of elections, on a government website, came as the former UN chief Kofi Annan, who held talks with Assad at the weekend, said he was waiting for Syria's reply on "concrete proposals" for an immediate cessations to hostilities and allowing humanitarian aid into conflict zones.

"I am expecting to hear from the Syrian authorities today, since I left some concrete proposals for them to consider," Annan said. "Once I receive their answer we will know how to react."

Bizarro Earth

Karzai Asks NATO to Leave Afghan Villages; Taliban Scrap Talks

U.S. Army soldiers from 2nd Batallion
© Reuters/Erik De CastroU.S. Army soldiers from 2nd Batallion, 35th Infantry Division, Task Force Cacti, board a helicopter.
Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai called for NATO troops to leave Afghan villages and confine themselves to major bases after the slaughter of 16 civilians by a U.S. soldier, underscoring fury over the massacre and clouding U.S. exit plans.

In a near-simultaneous announcement, the Afghan Taliban said it was suspending nascent peace talks with the United States seen as a strong chance to end the country's decade-long conflict, blaming "shaky, erratic and vague" U.S. statements.

Karzai, in a statement after meeting U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Kabul, said as a consequence of the weekend massacre, "international security forces have to be taken out of Afghan village outposts and return to (larger) bases".

The soldier accused of carrying out the shooting was attached to a small special forces compound similar to others around the country which underpin NATO's anti-insurgent strategy ahead of a 2014 deadline for Western combat forces to pull out.

The incident has harmed relations between Afghanistan and the United States and "all efforts have to be done to avoid such incident in the future", Karzai said, warning it also had hurt the trust Afghans had in foreign forces.