Puppet MastersS


Stormtrooper

Someone You Love: Coming to a Gulag Near You

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© truthdig.com
The security and surveillance state does not deal in nuance or ambiguity. Its millions of agents, intelligence gatherers, spies, clandestine operatives, analysts and armed paramilitary units live in a binary world of opposites, of good and evil, black and white, opponent and ally. There is nothing between. You are for us or against us. You are a patriot or an enemy of freedom. You either embrace the crusade to physically eradicate evildoers from the face of the Earth or you are an Islamic terrorist, a collaborator or an unwitting tool of terrorists. And now that we have created this monster it will be difficult, perhaps impossible, to free ourselves from it. Our 16 national intelligence agencies and army of private contractors feed on paranoia, rumor, rampant careerism, demonization of critical free speech and often invented narratives. They justify their existence, and their consuming of vast governmental resources, by turning even the banal and the mundane into a potential threat. And by the time they finish, the nation will be a gulag.

This is why the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was contested by me and three other plaintiffs before Judge Katherine B. Forrest in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Thursday, is so dangerous. This act, signed into law by President Barack Obama last Dec. 31, puts into the hands of people with no discernible understanding of legitimate dissent the power to use the military to deny due process to all deemed to be terrorists, or terrorist sympathizers, and hold them indefinitely in military detention. The deliberate obtuseness of the NDAA's language, which defines "covered persons" as those who "substantially supported" al-Qaida, the Taliban or "associated forces," makes all Americans, in the eyes of our expanding homeland security apparatus, potential terrorists. It does not differentiate. And the testimony of my fellow plaintiffs, who understand that the NDAA is not about them but about us, repeatedly illustrated this.

2 + 2 = 4

SOTT Focus: Mohamed Merah: 'Liquidated' French Intelligence Asset

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'Sarko the American' gets his '9/11'
Since my on the spot analysis and speculations on the likely truth behind the recent shootings in South-Western France, more information has come to light that suggests that I was correct - Mohamned Merah was indeed a French intelligence asset who was groomed and then 'burned' in the service of a staged 'Islamic terror' attack and the re-election of Nicolas Sarkozy in the upcoming French Presidential elections.

Here's a quick recapitulation of the facts:

Merah has not been identified as the person who killed three soldiers, a Jewish teacher and three Jewish children in Toulouse and Montauban, because the shooter was wearing a motorbike helmet. On the contrary, eyewitnesses said the gunman was "quite fat" and "European looking" (according to an eyewitness who said he caught a glimpse of the gunman's face while his visor was down), while Merah is of slender build and clearly of North African descent.

The only evidence that Merah was the gunman is based on recordings of alleged conversations between police negotiators and Merah. These recordings have not been made public and probably never will be. While we can assume that a dialogue between Merah and police did take place, we have every reason to assume that the French authorities are not telling the truth.

Red Flag

Child witnesses to Afghan massacre say Robert Bales was not alone

Robert Bales
© unknownStaff Sgt. Robert Bales during an exercise at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California
Here are two versions of what happened the night of March 11, when 17 Afghan villagers were shot to death.

First, the Army version: Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, troubled by marriage woes, drunkenly left Camp Belambai, 12 miles from Kandahar, with a pistol and an automatic rifle and killed six people as they slept. Bales then returned to the base and left again for another village, this time killing 11. He acted alone and he admitted to the killings, according to the Army.

Then there is the account that child witnesses provided Yalda Hakim, a journalist for SBS Dateline in Australia. Hakim, who was born in Afghanistan and immigrated to Australia as a child, is the first international journalist to interview the surviving witnesses. She said American investigators tried to prevent her from interviewing the children, saying her questions could traumatize them. She said she appealed to village leaders, who arranged for her to interview the witnesses.

Bad Guys

Nations Pledge Aid to Syria Rebels

Hillary Clinton
© The Associated PressHillary Clinton speaks after a conference of foreign ministers in Istanbul, Turkey
A coalition of more than 70 partners, including the United States, has pledged to send millions of dollars and communications equipment to Syria's opposition groups.

The move signals deeper involvement in the conflict amid a growing belief that diplomacy and sanctions alone cannot end the Damascus regime's repression.

The shift by the US and its Western and Arab allies toward seeking to sway the military balance in Syria carries regional risks because the crisis there increasingly resembles a proxy conflict that could exacerbate sectarian tensions. The Syrian rebels are overmatched by heavily armed regime forces.

The summit meeting of the "Friends of the Syrian People" follows a year of failed diplomacy that seems close to running its course with a troubled peace plan led by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.

X

Bales' lawyers blocked from massacre investigation

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Lawyers for Robert Bales, accused of the massacre of 17 Afghan citizens on March 11 are blaming the U.S. for blocking the team from interviewing witnesses in Kandahar.

The legal team representing Robert Bales are saying that the U.S. is stopping them from launching a fact-finding mission into the Kandahar incident. They have been obstructed from interviewing injured Afghan citizens at a hospital in Kandahar and the prosecution team is not cooperating.

According to John Henry Browne, who leads the legal team, prosecution investigators who had interviewed the injured had let them go freely, without keeping any contact information.

They are now impossible to contact and the prosecution is refusing to share any data with the defense team.

"It's outrageous," Browne told AP. "The only reason to hide evidence is if you don't have evidence."

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.


Phoenix

Three Children Burn to Death as Gaza Energy Crisis Bites

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© Agence France-Presse/Mohammed AbedView of Gaza's sole power plant in Nusairat in March
Gaza City, Palestine - Three Palestinian children were found dead Sunday in a fire in their room caused by a candle being used due to lack of electricity in Gaza, an emergency services official said.

"A fire broke out in the children's room," said Adham Abu Selmiya, emergency services spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

"Apparently the fire was caused by a candle which was being used after the electricity was cut," he said, adding that the tragedy occurred in the town of Deir Balah, in the centre of the coastal strip.

A fourth child, aged six months, was badly burned and taken to hospital, added Selmiya.

The children, aged two, five and six, were members of the Bashir family, a relative said.

The Gaza Strip's sole power station shuddered to a halt a week ago, running out of fuel just 48 hours after some 450,000 litres were delivered to the coastal strip from Israel.

The Red Cross on Thursday said it would ship emergency supplies of fuel to help alleviate the worsening energy crisis in Gaza, which is hitting medical services hard.

Che Guevara

Suu Kyi's Party Declares Victory as Myanmar Shifts to Democracy

Suu Kyi
© Agence France-Presse/Getty Images/Christophe ArchambaultOpposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is surrounded by supporters and journalists as she visits a polling station in Kawhmu, Myanmar on April 1, 2012.
Myanmar dissident Aung San Suu Kyi will become a lawmaker for the first time after a victory in by- elections yesterday that may prompt the U.S. and European Union to lift sanctions and end the country's global isolation.

"The Lady has won," Nyan Win, a spokesman for her National League for Democracy party, said by phone from Yangon, Myanmar's largest city, amid loud cheers from her supporters. "This is a big victory for us."

Suu Kyi's party won at least 35 of 45 seats in the first vote it contested since the army discarded a 1990 victory, Nyan Win said. Suu Kyi, who spent 15 years under house arrest and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her non-violent struggle, won at all but one polling station in her district, he said.

The vote may open the door for the end of sanctions that prevent companies from General Electric Co. (GE) to Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) from investing in the country of 64 million people bordering China and India. President Thein Sein has moved to modernize Myanmar's political and economic system since taking power a year ago, including a managed float of its currency set to take effect yesterday.

"While it may be an imperfect election, the direction is very clear that the government is opening up," said Jim Della- Giacoma, Southeast Asia project director for the International Crisis Group, a policy research organization. "It's incumbent on the international community and particularly the countries that have been imposing sanctions to think about how to keep up the momentum and encourage change. Now is not the time to keep the big stick waving in the air."

Handcuffs

Confirmed: CIA secret prison in Poland

Another CIA-run interrogation 'black site' has been exposed after the confessions of top-ranking Polish officials blew the lid on the dirtiest secret in Eastern Europe.


­The former head of Poland's intelligence service secret Zbigniew Siemiatkowski has been charged with taking part in establishing a secret prison for the CIA in a remote part of the country. Allegedly, foreign prisoners in the detention center were tortured in connection with America's global war on terror.

Cow Skull

The real hunger games: How banks gamble on food prices - and the poor lose out

In the last decade, financiers have speculated billions of pounds in food, helping to make prices dearer and more volatile

children
© Unknown
Speculation by large investment banks is driving up food prices for the world's poorest people, tipping millions into hunger and poverty. Investment in food commodities by banks and hedge funds has risen from $65bn to $126bn (£41bn to £79bn) in the past five years, helping to push prices to 30-year highs and causing sharp price fluctuations that have little to do with the actual supply of food, says the United Nations' leading expert on food.

Hedge funds, pension funds and investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Barclays Capital now dominate the food commodities markets, dwarfing the amount traded by actual food producers and buyers. Purely financial players, for example, account for 61 per cent of investment on the wheat futures market, according to the World Development Movement report Broken Markets.

Speculative investment in agricultural commodities in 2011 was 20 times the amount spent by all countries on agricultural aid. Goldman Sachs, the largest player in the agricultural commodities market, earned £600m from food speculation in 2009, and Barclays Capital, the world's third-largest player and largest British bank in this market, earned up to £340m in 2010, according to the report. Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital declined to comment.

Comment: A prime example of how a few psychopaths can ruin the lives of millions.


Coffee

Man whose WMD lies led to 100,000 deaths confesses all

Curveball
© BBCIraqi defector Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, aka 'Curveball'
Defector tells how US officials 'sexed up' his fictions to make the case for 2003 invasion

A man whose lies helped to make the case for invading Iraq - starting a nine-year war costing more than 100,000 lives and hundreds of billions of pounds - will come clean in his first British television interview tomorrow.

"Curveball", the Iraqi defector who fabricated claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, smiles as he confirms how he made the whole thing up. It was a confidence trick that changed the course of history, with Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi's lies used to justify the Iraq war.