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Hungary's Government Tightens Grip on Arts

Right-wing leadership stands accused of controlling the cultural sector for political ends

Image
© Unknown
Viktor Orban at the opening of an exhibition that he commissioned at the Hungarian National Gallery.
Already under attack from the European Commission for its policies on banking, the law and the media, Hungary's national conservative government is now facing a tide of protest from the arts community. The government, led by Viktor Orban, stands accused of systematically replacing key figures in cultural institutions, staging pro-government exhibitions, rethinking permanent museum displays and replacing historic statues to fit its political agenda. "The fact that an authoritarian government wants to control the arts is in itself not surprising," says the Hungarian economist Janos Kovacs. "But it's incredible that this is happening in the middle of the European Union without provoking angry reactions in Brussels."

Comment: Sounds like the drumbeat of Ponerology in that pathological individuals insert themselves into various institutions in an attempt to control ideas of the common populace and in this case, by erasing history for nefarious purposes. These individuals truly believe their subjective view of the world and, in turn, strive to impose it upon others. For more information on Ponerology - The Science of Evil, see these Sott links:

Political Ponerology: A Science on The Nature of Evil adjusted for Political Purposes

Ponerology: The Study of Evil - Interview with Marian Wasilewski

For information regarding an authoritarian mindset see:

Hypocrisy of the Authoritarians

For more on the author of Political Ponerology, Andrew Lobaczewski

Sott.net Interview with Andrew Lobaczewski


Chess

Palestinian Rivals Agree to Form Unity Government

Mahmoud Abbas
© Reuters/Mohamad Torokman
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas smiles during a Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah January 30, 2012.
The leaders of rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas signed a deal in Qatar on Monday to form a unity government of independent technocrats for the West Bank and Gaza, headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The move, following the failure of exploratory Israeli-Palestinian talks aimed at reviving stalled peace negotiations, was condemned by Israel, which says the Islamist Hamas cannot be part of any peace efforts.

The accord signed by President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal is supposed to pave the way for Palestinian presidential and parliamentary election possibly later this year, and to rebuild the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip following a 2008-2009 Israeli offensive against Hamas.

It was not known whether the deal would be implemented. No timetable was set. A reconciliation pact Fatah and Hamas struck in May 2011 has had little substantive result but both sides said they were serious about carrying out the new accord.

Abbas' Palestinian Authority supports a negotiated peace with Israel that would give Palestinians an independent state in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and in Gaza, co-existing alongside the Jewish state.

Airplane

Pakistan: Second US Drone Strike In 2 Days; 3 Dead

drone missle
© cnn.com
A U.S. drone fired two missiles at a house in Pakistan's northwest tribal region, killing three suspected militants in the second such attack in as many days, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

The back-to-back strikes could be an indication the drone program is picking up steam again after a slowdown caused by tensions with Pakistan over accidental American airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last year.

The U.S. held off on carrying out drone strikes for over six weeks after the deadly accident on Nov. 26. There have been a handful of attacks since they resumed in January, but the last two are the first consecutive strikes since the border incident.

The house hit before dawn on Thursday was located in the main bazaar in Miran Shah, the biggest town in the North Waziristan tribal area, the country's main sanctuary for Taliban and al-Qaida militants, said Pakistani intelligence officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Laptop

Bill C-11 Has Disgruntled Canadians Taking Action

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© Reuters
A reporter's laptop shows the Wikipedia blacked out opening page.
When news of the threat Bill C-11 potentially poses broke nearly three weeks ago, the majority of Canadian observers took a hard stance against this Canadian SOPA-like anti-piracy legislation.

Comments from our Bill C-11 blog were unequivocally opposed to this bill passing through the House of Commons. Tweets responding the the blog echoed that same sentiment. And the poll placed on our SOPA topic page saw an astounding 94 per cent vote against online piracy regulations.

But it's not enough to simply draw a line in the sand and choose a side.

The 'Stop Bill C-11: Fight Harper's proposed Copyright Act - Defend Your Data' Facebook page is encouraging followers to contact their local MPs and voice their displeasure. Several of the near 2,500 followers have done just that, and the general response has been rather positive.

One follower commented on the page, stating she "just got a reply from the NDP leader, regarding my letter of concern about C-11. I can copy and paste the entire thing out, but in short, they will not be backing the bill as it is currently written."

Eye 1

US: Reid Sneaks SOPA Back Into Senate With New Name

Sen Harry Reid
© n/a
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is re-branding SOPA and the Protect IP act under a new name to launch a second round of attacks in an attempt to censor the Internet.

After trying to adopt Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA), both pieces of legislation turned out to be a disaster, causing outrage among Internet giants and ordinary users alike. Congress had to retreat. However it's determined to get what it wants this time.

After the shelving of SOPA and PIPA back in January Reid stated, "There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved."

As RT reported last month, Senator Reid added that lawmakers will "continue engaging with all stakeholders to forge a balance between protecting Americans' intellectual property, and maintaining openness and innovation on the Internet."

Chess

Iran Calls New US Sanctions 'Psychological War'

Iran on Tuesday dismissed the new U.S. sanctions, saying they are part of a "psychological war" meant to sow discontent among Iranians and insisting the measures would not halt the country's nuclear program.

Washington ordered the new penalties on Monday, giving U.S. banks additional powers to freeze assets linked to the Iranian government and close loopholes that officials say Iran has used to move money despite earlier restrictions imposed by the U.S. and Europe.


Mr. Potato

US: Christie: 'I Admire Israel for the Enemies It Has Made'

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© unknown
In an address recently delivered to an AIPAC audience in New York, New Jersey governor Chris Christie articulated a responsible view of America's role in the world, stressing the importance of us standing by our friends and taking action against our adversaries.

"America should stand by its friends and its democratic allies, even, and sometimes especially, when it's unpopular to do so," Christie said, outlining his foreign policy vision. "And you know I know, that it may not be fashionable in some of the chancelleries, the foreign ministries, and salons around the world to talk about why America stands with Israel - but that's no excuse not to be saying, and saying it loudly."

Christie continued: "I read a quote from President Franklin Roosevelt which has thought made this point much better than I ever could. He says, 'Please judge me by the enemies I have made.' In that same spirit, I would like to say to all of you tonight: I admire Israel for the enemies it has made."

Stormtrooper

UK: RAF helicopter death revelation leads to secret Iraq detention camp

RAF helicopter in Iraq
© Matt Cardy/Getty Images
An RAF helicopter in Iraq.
Death in RAF helicopter and secret prison camp in Iraq desert raises questions about legality of British and US operations

On the evening of 11 April 2003, a pair of RAF CH47 Chinook helicopters swept over Iraq's western desert towards a remote rendezvous point beside Route 10, the highway that begins life on the outskirts of Baghdad before running for mile after mile towards the border with Jordan.

As they approached their destination, the crews assumed they were on an operation that would be uneventful. Two days earlier Saddam Hussein's statue had been toppled after American tanks rolled into the Iraqi capital; three weeks later George Bush would stand in front of a banner saying "mission accomplished".

The helicopter crews had been told that a number of detainees were under armed guard at the side of the highway. They were to pick them up after dark and take them to a prison camp. What followed was far from routine: before the night was out, one man had died on board one of the helicopters, allegedly beaten to death by RAF personnel.

The incident was immediately shrouded in secrecy. When the Guardian heard about it and began to ask questions, the Ministry of Defence responded with an extraordinary degree of obstruction and obfuscation, evading questions not just for days but for weeks and months. The RAF's own police examined the death in an investigation codenamed Operation Raker, but this ended with some of the most salient facts remaining deeply buried. The alleged culprits faced no charges.

Airplane

US - Drones: Coming Soon to An Airspace Near You

Drone
© Digital Trends
Congress has approved a bill that will allow military, commercial, and private unmanned drones to fly over regular US airspace.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope, it's an unmanned drone! Congress today approved a bill that allows unmanned aircraft to fly in the same airspace as commercial airliners, private planes, and cargo jets. The legislation allocates $63.4 billion over the next three and a half years to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), $11 billion of which will be used to update air traffic control systems at 35 US airports to handle the remote-controlled aircrafts. The deadline for the systems update is June 2015.

The change to flight regulations will allow military, commercial, and private drones to fly over US territory. Currently, drones are only allowed over certain military airspace, along US borders for surveillance purposes, and to about 300 public agencies, according to the Associated Press. The FAA must submit its plan for how to safely allow wide-spread drone flight within nine months of the bill's passage.

Bizarro Earth

US: New DHS Report: If You Love "Individual Liberty" Or If You "Believe In Conspiracy Theories" You Are A Potential Terrorist

Am flag/crosshairs graphic
© n/a
Do you love America? Are you against a one world economy and a one world government? Do you deeply love individual liberty? Do you believe in conspiracy theories? If you answered any of those questions affirmatively, then you are a potential terrorist according to a brand new Department of Homeland Security report that was just released in January 2012. The report is entitled "Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1970 to 2008", was produced by the "National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism" for the Department of Homeland Security.

As you will see detailed later on in this article, the most shocking part of this report is when it discusses the "ideological motivations" of potential terrorists. The report shamelessly attempts to portray red-blooded Americans that love liberty and that love their country as the enemy. Once upon a time, deeply patriotic Americans were considered to be the backbone of America, but today they are considered to be potential terrorists.

And this report is yet another example of how the definition of "terrorism" has changed. A decade ago, the entire focus of the "war on terror" was on radical Muslims and we were told that we had to send our boys and girls to the other side of the world to defeat them.