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Mr. Potato

Sarkozy Admits Lying About Visiting Fukushima

© APMr Sarkozy admitted he had not visited Fukushima, adding there had been an exclusion zone around it
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy has conceded he did not visit Fukushima on a visit to Japan after last year's tsunami, despite saying he had.

Election rival Francois Hollande had queried Mr Sarkozy's claim that he had been to the stricken nuclear plant.

Mr Sarkozy admitted on Friday that he had not. "I'm not an engineer, I don't need to stick my nose in the situation at Fukushima," he said on I-tele.


Enriched Uranium secrets and Fukushima Radiation

Professor Chris Busby talks about the enriched uranium weapons used in Iraq, and the radiation dangers in Fukushima.


Best of the Web: Millions Against Monsanto: The Food Fight of Our Lives

© Shutterstock/Zvonimir Atletic
Finally, public opinion around the biotech industry's contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We're fighting back.
"If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it."
- Norman Braksick, president of Asgrow Seed Co., a subsidiary of Monsanto, quoted in the Kansas City Star, March 7, 1994
"Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA's job."
- Phil Angell, Monsanto's director of corporate communications, quoted in the New York Times, October 25, 1998


Egypt MPs Bar Mubarak-Era Officials from Standing for Office

© Agence France-Presse/Amro MaraghiA supporter of former Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman
Cairo - Egypt's parliament on Thursday approved a law that would ban members of ousted president Hosni Mubarak's regime from standing for public office, in the latest twist to Egypt's political roller coaster.

The law, which still has to be approved by the ruling military council, could see former officials including ex-intelligence chief Omar Suleiman disqualified from standing in a presidential election scheduled for next month.

The amendment to the political activity law "bars any president, vice president, prime minister or leader or (senior member) of the now-dissolved National Democratic Party from exercising political rights for 10 years," the MPs said in a parliamentary session aired live on television.

The law still needs to be ratified by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) which took power after Mubarak was ousted on February 11 last year.

The text applies to Mubarak-era officials who served in the decade prior to the date of his ouster, which would also disqualify Ahmed Shafiq -- the last premier to serve under the longtime strongman.

The contest has pitted the country's powerful and organised Islamist forces against Mubarak-era officials, with only a handful of the 23 candidates representing the secular political forces that were at the frontline of last year's revolt.

Immediately after the uprising, anyone associated with Mubarak kept a low profile for fear of reprisals, but after a year of political upheaval and insecurity some no longer shy away from voicing support for ex-regime members.

Bad Guys

The war on terror is corrupting all it touches

Every student agitator is a terrorist, every internet hacker, cafeteria dissident, freedom fighter and insurgent leader
Tony Blair and Gaddafi
© Stefan Rousseau/PA Prime Minister Tony Blair meets Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2007.
On Monday the BBC Panorama programme substantiated an extraordinary allegation that suggested how far the war on terror has descended into legal abyss. The claim was that MI6 rolled the pitch for Tony Blair's bizarre 2004 hug-in with Libya's Colonel Gaddafi by apparently arranging for the CIA to kidnap Gaddafi's opponent in exile, Abdel Hakim Belhaj. He was seized in Bangkok, where he and his wife were en route to Britain. It's been suggested they were "rendered" via the British colony of Diego Garcia to Tajoura jail in Tripoli. Belhaj spent six years, and his wife four and a half months, at the tender mercies of Gaddafi's security boss, Moussa Koussa. Belhaj's pregnant wife was taped like a mummy on a stretcher, and he was systematically tortured. Koussa himself denies any involvement in torture.

Heart - Black

Robert Bales: Mass Murderer and PTSD Poster Boy

Robert Bales
© unknownStaff Sgt. Robert Bales during an exercise at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California
The medicalization of wartime atrocities

The story of Robert Bales, mass murderer, has pretty much disappeared from the headlines: news of the grisly killing spree, during which he slaughtered nine children and eight adults, has been displaced by the sudden "discovery" that 100,000-plus US soldiers are heavily medicated with anti-depressants and other drugs, as well as much talk of "PTSD" and discussion of how multiple deployments are "unfair" to those who have signed up to fight America's imperialist wars.

In short, the excuse-making has begun. In a signal that the case may never even come to trial - an outcome the US military is no doubt desperately hoping for - it has been announced that a "sanity hearing" will precede the actual trial. This is unusual in itself: normal procedure is to go ahead with the court martial first, and determine if the perpetrator was mentally incapacitated at the time of the crime later. As the military's Manual for Court Martial puts it:
"An accused lacking the mental capacity to understand the punishment to be suffered or the reason for imposition of the death sentence may not be put to death during any period when such incapacity exists. The accused is presumed to have such mental capacity. If a substantial question is raised as to whether the accused lacks capacity, the convening authority then exercising general court martial jurisdiction over the accused shall order a hearing on the question."
Whether to hold such a hearing before referral of charges is up to "the convening authority," i.e. Bales's commanding officer, and, presumably, higher ups in the Pentagon who are no doubt choreographing every legal step in this case. Bales's defense lawyer, John Henry Browne, may have submitted a request for a sanity hearing, but the Convening Authority was under no obligation to grant it.

Comment: For more information on this story read the Sott Focus: US Soldiers Look Deep Inside Their Souls - Find Vacuum - Decide To Kill Afghan Villagers by Joe Quinn.

Also read: Child witnesses to Afghan massacre say Robert Bales was not alone


Iran halts oil flow to Germany one day after Spain

Iranian flag and oil platform
Iran has cut oil exports to Germany one day after halting crude sales to Spain as part of its counter sanctions against the European Union (EU).

Tehran has already stopped oil exports to France, Britain, and Greece and is now considering halting crude sales to Italy.


Private hospitals in Jordan to stop accepting most Libyan patients

Jordan hospital officials
© PetraHeads of associations representing private hospitals and hotels during a press conference on Tuesday
Hospitals affiliated with the Private Hospitals Association (PHA) will stop admitting Libyan patients except emergency cases and those who can pay cash up front, a PHA representative said on Tuesday.

PHA President Awni Bashir said the decision came in response to unfulfilled promises by the Libyan authorities to pay outstanding dues of some JD100 million to the Kingdom's hospitals.

Heart - Black

UK 'approved' rendition of tortured Libyan couple

Documents said to be found in office of Libya's ex-spy chief suggest UK had role in rendition of dissident man and wife.


Best of the Web: What is Heading Our Way?

psycho 6%
© SOTT.net
Perhaps it's like shouting an alarm, unheard above the engine noise of two trains on a collision course. Or, screaming helplessly as a car slips its brakes and rolls toward a toddler playing at the bottom of the driveway.

It is gruesome imagery and I apologize for invoking it. But if anything, it may be inadequate to the prospect before us.

One only has to ask, "What is heading our way?"


The Department Of Homeland Security Is Buying 450 Million New Bullets

And don't kid yourself; they're not for target practice. It's .40 caliber ammunition, hollow point rounds that promise "optimum penetration for terminal performance." The department also has a bid out for up to 175 million rounds of .223 caliber ammunition.

This isn't the flipping army, you know. This is an internal national police force, a department that didn't even exist 10 years ago.


Supreme Court OKs Strip Searches for Minor Offenses

It's okay with the Supreme Court if you are detained and subjected to a demeaning strip-search for such serious offenses against the State as violating a leash law or having a headlight out.

Really, is being strip-searched and perhaps even forced to take a delousing shower for riding your bicycle without an audible bell reasonable? Of course not. So much for the 4th Amendment.