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Chess

Western media ratcheting up anti-Iran propaganda?

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On November 22, 2012, the Los Angeles Times published an alarming piece of news entitled "Cyber Corps program trains spies for the digital age ". The "cyber-warriors" who are headed for organizations such as the CIA, NSC, FBI, the Pentagon and so on, are trained to stalk, " rifle through trash, sneak a tracking device on cars and plant false information on Facebook [emphasis added]. They also are taught to write computer viruses, hack digital networks, crack passwords, plant listening devices and mine data from broken cellphones and flash drives."

Not surprisingly, less than a month later, it was rumored that Iran 's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei had started a Facebook page. The style and content of the site ruled out its authenticity, but the State Department was amused. In spite of the potential for alarm, State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland jokingly expressed Washington 's curiosity to see how many "likes' Khamenei would receive. This is no joking matter. Any message on this page would be attributed to Khamenei with a potential for dangerous ramifications.

Barely a month later, on January 24, 2013, Guardian's blaring headlines exposed fake blogs and Facebook pages made for BBC Persian's Iranian journalists with claims that these were made in order to harass, intimidate, and discredit the journalists. These fake blogs, according to The Guardian charges, are not by the American Cyber Corps warriors, but are alleged to be the creation of the Iranian 'Islamic cyber-activists' in "what appears [emphasis added] to be an operation sponsored by the authorities".

Bomb

Flashback How Washington helped foster the Islamist uprising in Mali

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© Alfred de MontesquiouCalling the shots: a US Special Forces soldier training Malian troops in Kita, May 2010.
As the French-led military operation begins, Jeremy Keenan reveals how the US and Algeria have been sponsoring terror in the Sahara.

On 12 October 2012, the UN Security Council voted unanimously in favour of a French-drafted resolution asking Mali's government to draw up plans for a military mission to re-establish control over the northern part of Mali, an area of the Sahara bigger than France. Known as Azawad by local Tuareg people, northern Mali has been under the control of Islamist extremists following a Tuareg rebellion at the beginning of the year. For several months, the international media have been referring to northern Mali as 'Africa's Afghanistan', with calls for international military intervention becoming inexorable.

While the media have provided abundant descriptive coverage of the course of events and atrocities committed in Azawad since the outbreak in January of what was ostensibly just another Tuareg rebellion, some pretty basic questions have not been addressed. No journalist has asked, or at least answered satisfactorily, how this latest Tuareg rebellion was hijacked, almost as soon as it started, by a few hundred Islamist extremists.

In short, the world's media have failed to explain the situation in Azawad. That is because the real story of what has been going on there borders on the incredible, taking us deep into the murky reaches of Western intelligence and its hook-up with Algeria's secret service.

Azawad's current nightmare is generally explained as the unintended outcome of the overthrow of Libya's Muammar al-Qadafi. That is true in so far as his downfall precipitated the return to the Sahel (Niger and Mali) of thousands of angry, disillusioned and well-armed Tuareg fighters who had gone to seek their metaphorical fortunes by serving the Qadafi regime. But this was merely the last straw in a decade of increasing exploitation, repression and marginalization that has underpinned an ongoing cycle of Tuareg protest, unrest and rebellion. In that respect, Libya was the catalyst for the Azawad rebellion, not its underlying cause. Rather, the catastrophe now being played out in Mali is the inevitable outcome of the way in which the Global War On Terror has been inserted into the Sahara-Sahel by the US, in concert with Algerian intelligence operatives, since 2002.

Stormtrooper

French special forces 'to protect' Niger uranium mines

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© AFP Photo
Barely two weeks after invading Mali with over 2,000 troops of the Foreign Legion, France has dispatched special forces troops to neighboring Niger to secure uranium mines run by the French state-owned nuclear power company Areva.

The new French military intervention in northwest Africa was first reported by the weekly magazine Le Point and confirmed by military sources contacted by other sections of the French media. Le Point reported that French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had quickly agreed earlier this week to a "major innovation" in ordering the Special Forces Command to send troops to protect the Areva uranium production sites in Imouraren, and 80 kilometers away in Arlit. The magazine noted that this is the first ever use of the French commandos to directly defend the assets of a corporation.

The magazine reported that French government officials had taken the decision following the botched attempt to rescue the French hostage, Denis Allex, in Somalia and the recent bloody hostage-taking incident and siege at the Armenas gas facility in Algeria, where over 80 people were killed.

Those two events "in addition to launching the 'Serval' operation in Mali have significantly increased risk factors for French installations, including industry and mining in the region," Le Point reported.

Footprints

France, Qatar, and the New World Disorder

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According to investigative journalist Silvia Cattori, the barbaric bombing of Aleppo University on January 15 has been officially claimed by the terrorist group the Al Nousra Front. This confirmation should not come as a surprise to those who have been following closely events in the Levant since March 17, 2011, when unknown snipers opened fire in the Southern Syrian town of Deraa killing several policemen and innocent protestors.

Since then, snipers and jihadist death squads from Libya, Chechnya, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and even France and the UK inter alia, backed by Nato intelligence and Gulf petro-monarch cash, have waged a genocidal non-conventional war upon the Syrian people which has relied heavily on a sophisticated international disinformation campaign in the corporate controlled press, whereby all crimes committed by the terrorists are systematically blamed on the Syrian government.

Eighty-two students in Aleppo University were murdered on Tuesday January 15 from a missile launched by the Western media's beloved "rebels": these gangs of convicts, drug-smugglers, rapists, child abusers, and common thugs presented to the gullible Western public as "revolutionaries."

USA

Obama's dirty wars exposed at Sundance Film Festival

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As President Barack Obama prepared to be sworn in for his second term as the 44th president of the United States, two courageous journalists premiered a documentary at the annual Sundance Film Festival. "Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield" reaffirms the critical role played by independent journalists like the film's director, Rick Rowley, and its narrator and central figure, Jeremy Scahill. The increasing pace of U.S. drone strikes, and the Obama administration's reliance on shadowy special forces to conduct military raids beyond the reach of oversight and accountability, were summarily missed over the inaugural weekend by a U.S. press corps obsessed with first lady Michelle Obama's new bangs. "Dirty Wars," along with Scahill's forthcoming book of the same title, is on target to break that silence ... with a bang that matters.

Scahill and Rowley, no strangers to war zones, ventured beyond Kabul, Afghanistan, south to Gardez, in Paktia province, a region dense with armed Taliban and their allies in the Haqqani network, to investigate one of the thousands of night raids that typically go unreported.

Scahill told me: "In Gardez, U.S. special operations forces had intelligence that a Taliban cell was having some sort of a meeting to prepare a suicide bomber. And they raid the house in the middle of the night, and they end up killing five people, including three women, two of whom were pregnant, and ... Mohammed Daoud, a senior Afghan police commander who had been trained by the U.S."

Magnify

U.S. court rules on WikiLeaks probe

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A US federal appeals court has ruled that prosecutors can demand Twitter account information of certain users in their criminal probe into the disclosure of classified documents on WikiLeaks.

The three-judge panel of the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals also said the government's reasons as to why it is seeking the information can remain sealed.

The case involves three Twitter account holders with some connection to the secret-busting WikiLeaks website. They had argued that forcing Twitter to cooperate with the investigation by turning over data amounts to an invasion of privacy and has a chilling effect on the free speech rights of Twitter users.

The federal panel in Richmond rejected their appeal and affirmed a magistrate's court order that Twitter must turn over limited account information to prosecutors. The court said it weighed the right of public access against the need to keep an investigation secret. The appeals court agreed with the magistrate that the government's interest in keeping the documents secret outweigh the right to public access.

V

Anonymous threatens Justice Department over hacktivist death

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A screenshot at 3:35 a.m. ET on January 26, 2013, of the homepage of the United States federal sentencing website after it had been hacked by a group that identified itself as "Anonymous."
In anger over the recent death of an Internet activist who faced federal charges, hackers claiming to be from the group Anonymous threatened early Saturday to release sensitive information about the U.S. Department of Justice.

They claimed to have one such file on multiple servers ready for immediate release.

The hackers apparently hijacked the website of the U.S. government agency responsible for federal sentencing guidelines, where they posted a message demanding the United States reform its justice system or face incriminating leaks to select news outlets.

The lengthy, eloquently written letter was signed "Anonymous."

Cowboy Hat

French forces in Mali seize airport, bridge at rebel-held Gao

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© REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier French soldiers, who prepare for their departure for Mali, walk past armoured vehicles during a visit of the French Defence Minister at the military base of Miramas, southern France, January 25, 2013.
French special forces in Mali with air support on Saturday seized the airport and a key bridge over the Niger River at the Islamist rebel-held stronghold of Gao as France accelerated its ground offensive against al Qaeda-allied fighters.

"The rebels have melted in to the local population. There is harassment. The operation is still under way. It is a bit complicated," a French officer in Mali, who asked not to be named, told Reuters, referring to the assault on Gao.

France's Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced the seizure of the airport and bridge at Gao, the largest town in Mali's Saharan north which was occupied last year by a coalition of Islamist groups including al Qaeda's North African wing AQIM.

Whistle

Sibel Edmonds: U.S. govt uses classification as excuse to silence whistleblowers

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John Kiriakou, an ex-CIA agent, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for revealing the torture program at Guantanamo. Activist Sibel Edmonds told RT he became a victim of witch-hunt while hundreds of intentional leaks are not prosecuted.

Needless amounts of information are classified in the US and in some cases documents are criminally classified to cover up the state's own illegal actions, Sibel Edmonds, founder of the National Security Whistleblower Corporation, told RT. Congress, the courts and the executive act together as a tool to silence whistleblowers getting the truth out, she added.

RT: John Kiriakou says he's being sentenced not for what he did, but for being a CIA officer who believed torture was wrong. What's your take on that?

Sibel Edmonds: This certainly appears to be the case. Every single day we have hundreds of intentional leaks, some of them classified from various intelligence and law enforcement agencies to the media, to the press and we do not see prosecution of those cases, we don't see any actions on those cases. However, we do see this type of witch-hunt action against those who leak information that exposes either government criminality or government waste, fraud, abuse. So this is a selective hunt and just because of that, that makes Mr. Kiriakou's statement accurate.

Che Guevara

27 dead, army deployed in Egypt as crowd storms Port Said prison after stadium stampede death sentences

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© AFP PhotoRelatives and friends of Egyptian protesters who were killed in Suez during clashes with riot police yesterday, load a body onto an ambulance outside the morgue in Suez on January 26, 2013
Twenty-seven people have been killed, including two police, and 250 injured during clashes in Egypt's Port Said. The army has been deployed in the canal city, where a crowd attempted to storm a prison after stadium riot death sentences were issued.

The deadly assault follows the sentencing of 21 people to death for the riot and stampede in Port Said in which dozens were killed last February.

As the verdict was issued in Port Said, the families of the condemned attempted to storm the city prison, Egyptian state TV reported. Several sources reported that automatic rifles using live ammunition have been shot from the crowd at the scene.