Welcome to Sott.net
Sat, 04 Feb 2023
The World for People who Think

Puppet Masters
Map

Radar

America in the Middle East?

Given that policy makers in Washington D.C. say they want to see democracy alive and well in the Arab world, why, really, are they so alarmed by what is happening?

Image
© unk
Riot police force protestors back across the Kasr Al Nile Bridge as they attempt to get into Tahrir Square on January 28, 2011 in downtown Cairo.
If more and more Arabs breach the wall of fear that has prevented them for decades from demanding their rights, expressing their rage at the corruption and repression of their governments and at regime impotence in the face of Israel's arrogance of power, there's one question above all others America's policy makers will have to ask themselves. Who do we need most if America's own real interests are to be best protected - the Arabs or Israel? And that, of course, begs the mother and father of all questions for them: Is Israel our most valuable ally in the region or our biggest liability?

Eisenhower was the first and last president to contain Zionism's territorial ambitions. Kennedy might have been the second if he had been allowed to live. But from Johnson to Obama, and whether they really believed it or not (I think most if not all of them didn't), every American president has paid extravagant lip-service to the idea that Israel is the U.S.'s most valuable ally in the Middle East.

Nuke

Propaganda!! 'Al-Qaida on brink of using nuclear bomb'

Image
Al-Qaida is on the verge of producing radioactive weapons after sourcing nuclear material and recruiting rogue scientists to build "dirty" bombs, according to leaked diplomatic documents.

A leading atomic regulator has privately warned that the world stands on the brink of a "nuclear 9/11".

Security briefings suggest that jihadi groups are also close to producing "workable and efficient" biological and chemical weapons that could kill thousands if unleashed in attacks on the West.

Thousands of classified American cables obtained by the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph detail the international struggle to stop the spread of weapons-grade nuclear, chemical and biological material around the globe.

Gear

WikiLeaks suspect is deteriorating mentally, physically, friend says


Binoculars

Looters included undercover Egyptian police, hospitals tell Human Rights Watch

Image
© Reuters


Cairo - Human Rights Watch confirmed several cases of undercover police loyal to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's regime committing acts of violence and looting in an attempt to stoke fear of instability as demonstrations grew stronger Tuesday against the autocratic leader.

Peter Bouckaert, the emergency director at Human Rights Watch, said hospitals confirmed that they received several wounded looters shot by the army carrying police identification cards. They also found several cases of looters and vandals in Cairo and Alexandria with police identification cards. He added that it was "unexplainable" that thousands of prisoners escaped from prisons over the weekend.

"Mubarak's mantra to his own people was that he was the guarantor of the nation's stability. It would make sense that he would want to send the message that without him, there is no safety," Bouckaert said.

Network

A Hole in the Internet

Even before their communications blackout, Egypt really was a small part of the Internet in absolute terms, just a few thousand routable networks out of nearly 400,000 making up the global IPv4 address space.

To illustrate the point, we put together these images, which use a Hilbert curve representation of the Internet. The world's routed networks are in translucent grey, the unrouted networks are in black, and Egypt's networks are in orange. Look closely and you can see Egypt's Internet presence embedded in Africa and Europe's address space.

inetmap
© Renesys

Network

Gates: Killing the internet is easy

Image
When the revolution comes, someone's always ready to tell you how Facebook and Twitter are powering history.

The problem is that while they're still standing, governments can snuff out Facebook and Twitter whenever they like. All they need do is flip the "off" switch on the servers, routers, and wireless equipment used by local service providers.

Just ask Bill Gates.

When US TV anchor Katie Couric asked the Microsoft co-founder and chairman if he was surprised that Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak could take the unprecedented step of killing the entire Egyptian internet, Gates responded with an emphatic: "no".

Sometimes, he knows what he's talking about.

"It's not that hard to shut the Internet down if you have military power where you can tell people that's what's going to happen," Gates said. "Whenever you do something extraordinary like that you're sort of showing people you're afraid of the truth getting out, so it's a very difficult tactic, but certainly it can be shut off."

Web traffic analysis firm Renesys tracking the black out encapsulated the enormity of the situation here:
Every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world. Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr, and all their customers and partners are, for the moment, off the air.

MIB

EFF Uncovers Widespread FBI Intelligence Violations

EFF has uncovered widespread violations stemming from FBI intelligence investigations from 2001 - 2008. In a report released today, EFF documents alarming trends in the Bureau's intelligence investigation practices, suggesting that FBI intelligence investigations have compromised the civil liberties of American citizens far more frequently, and to a greater extent, than was previously assumed.

Using documents obtained through EFF's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation, the report finds:
  • Evidence of delays of 2.5 years, on average, between the occurrence of a violation and its eventual reporting to the Intelligence Oversight Board
  • Reports of serious misconduct by FBI agents including lying in declarations to courts, using improper evidence to obtain grand jury subpoenas, and accessing password-protected files without a warrant
  • Indications that the FBI may have committed upwards of 40,000 possible intelligence violations in the 9 years since 9/11

Network

China is blocking coverage of Egypt protests on Twitter-like services

chinatank
© Ventrurebeat
China appears to be trying to limit public knowledge of the unrest in Egypt. Over the weekend, Chinese Twitter-like services run by Sina, Tencent and Sohu blocked the word "Egypt" from being used in microblogging messages passed around by users.

A search for "Egypt" on Sina brings up a message saying, "According to relevant laws, regulations and policies, the search results are not shown."

Beaker

Obama Believed to Be Behind GMO Alfalfa Push

cows
© Rodale
Dark days ahead: Unrestricted approval of GMO alfalfa is bad news for cattle.
USDA fails to restrict GMO alfalfa plantings and protect organic farmers and consumers; did the White House "want to appease Monsanto?"

On Thursday, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it would allow the unrestricted, nationwide planting of genetically engineered alfalfa, which is also known as GE, GMO, or Roundup Ready alfalfa. The decision to allow this genetically manipulated crop into the environment - and ultimately onto our plates in some form or another - flies in the face of what consumers say they want. A survey released late last year found that the majority of Americans don't want GMO ingredients in the food chain, and more than 90 percent believe GMO ingredients should be labeled, which currently is not required by law. (Organic farming bans the use of GMO seeds and the pesticides used on GMO crops.)

The announcement to allow farmers to plant GMO alfalfa anywhere - even right beside an organic field - came as something of a surprise to many observers. Though the approval seemed a foregone conclusion, the USDA seemed to be, for the first time, open to the idea of "coexistence" between GMO, conventional, and organic farmers. For instance, one of the proposed options involved keeping a five-mile buffer between GMO alfalfa and organic plantings. And while many scientists believe coexistence is impossible because cross-pollination threatens to contaminate organic crops with modified genes, it was still unprecedented for USDA to even consider organic farmers at the negotiating table. That gave some organic advocates hope.

Cross-contamination - transfer of genes from GMOs to other crops - is already occurring in annual Roundup Ready GMO soy and corn.

X

Propaganda Alert: TSA testing 'more modest' full-body scanners

Image
© Unknown
Depiction and reality. 'TSA' body scanner image and images.
Las Vegas - Federal aviation officials are giving airport scanners another try. This time, they are not looking as closely under traveler's clothes.

The Transportation Security Administration on Tuesday began testing a new, more modest body scanning system at three airports. They hope it will assuage critics' concerns that the nearly 500 full-body scanners at 78 airports reveal too much.

"We believe it addresses the privacy issues that have been raised," TSA chief John Pistole said at a news conference at Reagan National Airport in Washington, one of the airports testing the technology.

The system does not involve new machines. Instead, it relies on new software.

The software discards the X-ray-style image that revealed the contours of the traveler's body - the one that left many uncomfortable at the thought of screeners being able to see them with the rough outlines of their undergarments.

Now, there is just a generic image - like the chalk outline of a body at a crime scene.

Comment: The problem with these devices, outside of the obvious privacy issue, inconvenience and fear-mongering is simple. Full-Body Scanners Used on Air Passengers May Damage Human DNA and Airport body-scan radiation [should be] under scrutiny. Is it also possible that, for the public there is going to be a chalk image and in a control room the full nude image? We're left to wonder.