Puppet MastersS

Star of David

UN Security Council Members Line up to Criticize Israel

© Eric Thayer / Reuters
Britain, France, Germany and Portugal say settler violence damaging prospects of renewed peace talks; Russia, Palestinians slam US silence on recently announced West Bank building plans.

Members of the UN Security Council voiced deep concerns on Tuesday about the impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and criticized Israel for pressing ahead with the construction of new settlements.

Council members were reacting to a briefing by UN assistant secretary-general for political affairs, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, who told them the search for peace "remained elusive in a context of tensions on the ground, deep mistrust between the parties and volatile regional dynamics."


Iran Says Invites UN Nuclear Agency To Visit

© The Associated PressIranian Ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh
Iran says it has invited the UN nuclear watchdog to visit for talks and would be ready to discuss concerns about its disputed atomic ambitions.

Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said Iran sent a letter to IAEA chief Yukiya Amano on December 9.

Earlier this year, Amano made clear that any new IAEA visit to Tehran must address its growing concerns about potential military aims of the nuclear program, which Iran says is strictly peaceful.

Soltanieh said that Iran was "going to discuss any questions and to work towards removing the ambiguities and resolving the issue."

He said the UN agency had given a positive response to the invitation.

There was no immediate comment from the IAEA.


For Two Days, North Korea's Best-Kept Secret

© Agence France-Presse/Getty ImagesThe body of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il lies in state in a glass coffin at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang on December 20, 2011.
When South Korean President Lee Myung-bak left on a state visit for Japan last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il had been dead for about four hours, indicating that neither Seoul nor Tokyo -- or Washington -- had any inkling of his death.

North Korean state media announced Kim's death two days later, on Monday, apparently catching governments around the world by surprise and plunging the region into uncertainty over the stability of the unpredictable state that is trying to build a nuclear arsenal.

Lee held talks in Tokyo with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and returned home on Sunday afternoon, apparently still unaware of the cover-up by the North, with which South Korea is still technically at war. If Washington had known, it appears likely it would have tipped off South Korea and Japan, its closest allies in Asia.

"It seems everyone learned about Kim Jong-il's death after (the announcement)," said Kim Jin-pyo, head of the intelligence committee for South Korea's parliament after discussions with officials from the National Intelligence Service.


Best of the Web: Three Myths About the Detention Bill

Condemnation of President Obama is intense, and growing, as a result of his announced intent to sign into law the indefinite detention bill embedded in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). These denunciations come not only from the nation's leading civil liberties and human rights groups, but also from the pro-Obama New York Times Editorial Page, which today has a scathing Editorial describing Obama's stance as "a complete political cave-in, one that reinforces the impression of a fumbling presidency" and lamenting that "the bill has so many other objectionable aspects that we can't go into them all," as well as from vocal Obama supporters such as Andrew Sullivan, who wrote yesterday that this episode is "another sign that his campaign pledge to be vigilant about civil liberties in the war on terror was a lie." In damage control mode, White-House-allied groups are now trying to ride to the rescue with attacks on the ACLU and dismissive belittling of the bill's dangers.

For that reason, it is very worthwhile to briefly examine - and debunk - the three principal myths being spread by supporters of this bill, and to do so very simply: by citing the relevant provisions of the bill, as well as the relevant passages of the original 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), so that everyone can judge for themselves what this bill actually includes (this is all above and beyond the evidence I assembled in writing about this bill yesterday):


Julian Assange's IM Handle and Other Revelations from the Manning Trial

Julian Assange, Bradley Manning
© Reuters
It was an eventful day at the fourth hearing of alleged WikiLeaker PFC Bradley Manning in Ft. Meade, Maryland Monday. Military prosecutors are attempting to court martial the former military analyst on 22 charges of violating military law in relation to his alleged disclosure of hundreds of thousands of secret government documents.

Manning's defense caught a potential break during the cross-examination of a Special Agent David Shaver, a forensic investigator with the Computer Crimes Investigations Unit. On Sunday, Shaver testified that he found 10,000 U.S. cables on Manning's computer. But in today's cross-examination Shaver said none of those cables matched the cables that WikiLeaks published. "If the cables found on Manning's computer don't match the ones WikiLeaks has, the defense can argue that Julian Assange's outfit may have had a different source for the documents," observes The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal, saying it could become a "lynchpin of the defense's case."


Egypt: Despite Footage of Violence, Military General Denies Use of Excessive Force

© Ahmed Almasry
Despite photos and video footage that show military personnel using violence against protesters, a member of Egypt's military council addressed the media on Monday, affirming that the armed forces have exercised self-restraint in the weekend's clashes and accused forces - which he failed to name - of plotting to instigate "chaos," thwart the state and drive wedges between the military and the people.

In a televised news conference, General Adel Emara, member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), offered the generals' version of the violence that erupted on Friday in downtown Cairo, which left at least 11 killed and more than 500 injured.

He denied reports of the military using "excessive force" against protesters, accusing the media of falsifying reports.

"The armed forces does not use violence systematically," said Emara. "We exercise a level of self-restraint that others envy. We do not do that out of weakness but out of concern for national interests."

The general said that violence erupted on Friday when demonstrators who had been holding a sit-in in outside the cabinet's headquarters for the last three weeks attacked a military officer. Military personnel guarding the cabinet's building came to the officer's rescue, but they were subjected to "deliberate humiliation and provocation," continued Emara, who affirmed later that the armed forces had no intention of dispersing the protest.

Bad Guys

US: '60 Minutes' Edits Out Obama's Claim That He's the Fourth Best President

President Barack Obama sat for an extensive interview with CBS's 60 Minutes last week, though it appears the portion of the interview actually broadcast on TV left out a statement where Obama essentially declared himself the fourth best president in terms of his accomplishments.

The statement was only made available online as part of the full interview on 60 Minutes Overtime.

According to a transcript posted on the 60 Minutes website, Obama said he would hold his accomplishments so far as president against those of Lyndon B. Johnson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

"I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president - with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln - just in terms of what we've gotten done in modern history," Obama told CBS's Steve Kroft.


US: The Case Against Alleged WikiLeaks Supplier Bradley Manning Takes a Strange Turn

© Reuters
The military hearing that will determine whether Bradley Manning will receive a court martial for his alleged role in leaking documents to WikiLeaks took a strange turn. In a courthouse in Fort Meade, Maryland, a prosecution witness testified that he found thousands of State Department cables on Manning's computer, but those cables did *not* match those released by WikiLeaks.

If the cables found on Manning's computer don't match the ones WikiLeaks has, the defense can argue that Julian Assange's outfit may have had a different source for the documents. Wired's Kim Zetter was in the courtroom and filed a report on this dramatic moment, which could become a lynchpin of the defense's case.


Libya: Anatomy of a NATO War Crime

© piazzadcara.wordpress.com
It was a warm early Monday morning along the Libyan coast on June 20, 2011.

At approximately 0200 GMT the next day in NATO Headquarters in Brussels and 30 minutes later in its media center in Naples, staffers finished tabulating NATO's 92nd day of aerial attacks on Libya and began to post the data on its website .

Twenty four hours earlier an Atlantic Alliance command unit, located approximately 30 miles off the Libyan coast, in a direct line with Malta, and NATO's targeting unit had signed off on 49 bombing missions for June 20th, the last day of spring and the last day of NATO's original UN bombing mandate.

The authority for NATO's bombing, which far exceeded earlier estimates, killing or wounding of between 90,000-120,000 Libyans and foreigners, and the displacement of more than two million Libyans and foreign workers was claimed from the hastily adopted UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and UNSCR 1973. UN resolutions 1970 & 1973 gave NATO UN Chapter 7 authority to enforce a no-fly zone over Libyan airspace, initially for 90 days which ironically ended the day before its bombing at Sorman.

The two UN Security Council Resolutions were insisted upon by their main sponsors, France, the UK, Italy and the US who claimed that "a limited no-fly zone would protect Libya's civilian population from the wrath of the government of Libya's leader, Muammar Kaddafi." NATO requested and was granted two additional 90 days extensions to continue its Libyan mission which gave its air force until the end of 2011 to continue Operation Unified Protector.


US: 50 Economic Numbers From 2011 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

50 sign
Even though most Americans have become very frustrated with this economy, the reality is that the vast majority of them still have no idea just how bad our economic decline has been or how much trouble we are going to be in if we don't make dramatic changes immediately. If we do not educate the American people about how deathly ill the U.S. economy has become, then they will just keep falling for the same old lies that our politicians keep telling them. Just "tweaking" things here and there is not going to fix this economy. We truly do need a fundamental change in direction. America is consuming far more wealth than it is producing and our debt is absolutely exploding. If we stay on this current path, an economic collapse is inevitable. Hopefully the crazy economic numbers from 2011 that I have included in this article will be shocking enough to wake some people up.

At this time of the year, a lot of families get together, and in most homes the conversation usually gets around to politics at some point. Hopefully many of you will use the list below as a tool to help you share the reality of the U.S. economic crisis with your family and friends. If we all work together, hopefully we can get millions of people to wake up and realize that "business as usual" will result in a national economic apocalypse.