Puppet MastersS


Pilot Error May Have Caused Iran Drone Crash

Iran, drone
© The Associated Press/Sephanews
The United States is investigating a combination of pilot error and mechanical failure as possible causes for the crash of a classified U.S. drone in Iran and does not believe Iran brought down the plane, according to two U.S. government officials.

The unmanned RQ-170 Sentinel drone, which had been on a sensitive CIA surveillance mission over Iran, crashed and was apparently reassembled by Iran before being put on display in Tehran, said one of the officials, who was speaking on condition of anonymity given the sensitive nature of the investigation.

While exactly what went wrong with the aircraft is not publicly known, it is now becoming clear that its operators could have crashed the plane and destroyed it if they had taken action while it was still at a higher altitude, according to a source familiar with the aircraft and its operation.

Instead, the stealthy drone built by Lockheed Martin Corp broke up into several large pieces, allowing Iran to reassemble the plane and possibly share some of its technological secrets with China, Russia or other U.S. competitors.


Best of the Web: US Exit from Iraq: 'This is Not a Withdrawal, This is an Act on a Stage'

© Ali Al-Saadi/Agence France-Presse/GettyUS soldiers hold the US and Iraqi flags during the symbolic flag-lowering ceremony marking the end of the US mission in Iraq.
Iraqi people greet pullout ceremony with ambivalence mixed with concern over an uncertain future

There was no triumphalism and certainly no shock or awe. The end of the war in Iraq was subdued and simple: a small band playing as the US forces flag was furled with 200 troops watching on quietly.

In a makeshift parade ground in a corner of Baghdad airport, time was called on the war just after 1pm on Thursday, eight years, eight months and 26 days after its far more dramatic opening in March 2003. Nearby a plane was waiting to take home the US high command. And in southern Iraq, the 4,000 US troops who remain were steadily streaming towards Kuwait.

By Sunday all the troops will be gone, called home for Christmas by an administration that decided there was little point sticking to the original end date of 31 December. The Iraqi government had made clear that it no longer wanted a US presence here and any soldier who stayed behind would not be granted legal immunity.


Nuclear Isotopes Caught Heading to Iran - Not Quite What it Seemed

© Unknown
There is radiation. And then there is radiation.

Reports from Moscow appeared to provide more evidence of Iran's ambition to build a nuclear bomb. Russian customs agents said Friday morning they found 18 pieces of radioactive metal in the luggage of a passenger bound for Tehran. A radiation detector at the airport identified the luggage, which had levels of radiation 20 times the limit.

But on closer examination the isotope was identified as Na22, which is used in medicine. It is commonly used to trace sodium in the body. It cannot be used in the production nuclear weapons. Russia has an agreement with Iran to supply medical isotopes.

It's not surprising that the world is on edge about anything nuclear heading to Tehran. On Thursday diplomatic sources reported that there is hard evidence that Iran is once-again ramping up its nuclear program by transferring machinery, equipment and nuclear material to an underground bunker deep inside a mountain.

This also coincides with a period of escalating tensions between Iran and the West after a U.N. report last month said Tehran appears to be working on designing a nuclear weapon. Iran insists it just wants to build nuclear power plants, but enriched uranium is also the key ingredient for atomic bombs, which is what the West suspects is the country's ultimate intention.

You may remember that in 2009 Iran's nuclear program was the target of a cyber attack from a powerful computer worm called Stuxnet that had its centrifuges spinning out of control.

The U.S. and Israel have not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to contain Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Comment: The evidence: an unnamed mountain and "diplomatic sources." What hard evidence do they have and why are they not named, interviewed and images of the hard evidence being shown? Oh that's right it's too much for the typical person to fathom, it might hurt their illusions of War, Destruction, Death, Radioactive fallout, Invisible evidence..


Scientific study shows how Western finance rules the world

money graphic
© n/a
Bankers rule the world. A new Swiss Federal Institute of Technology study says so. Written by Stefania Vitali, James Glattfelder and Stefano Battiston, it's titled "The network of global corporate control," saying:
"We find that transnational corporations from a giant bow-tie structure and that a large portion of control flows to a small tightly-knit core of financial institutions. This core can be seen as an economic 'super-entity' that raises new important issues both for researches and policy makers."
The study says 147 powerful companies control an inordinate amount of economic activity - about 40%.

Comment: The percentage actually comes to 60% when you include shares they own in manufacturing companies.

Among the top 50, 45 are financial firms. They include Barclays PLC (called most influential), JPMorgan Chase, UBS, and other familiar and less known names.

Twenty-four companies are US-based, followed by eight in Britain, five in France, four in Japan, and Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands with two each. Canada has one.

Comment: That's pretty much 'the West' right there.

Moreover, "top ranked" companies "hold a control ten times bigger than what could be expected based on their wealth."

Comment: The New Scientist report on the study is here.

You have to go down to number 50 on the list to find a corporation that actually does something useful...
The top 50 of the 147 superconnected companies

1. Barclays plc
2. Capital Group Companies Inc
3. FMR Corporation
4. AXA
5. State Street Corporation
6. JP Morgan Chase & Co
7. Legal & General Group plc
8. Vanguard Group Inc
10. Merrill Lynch & Co Inc
11. Wellington Management Co LLP
12. Deutsche Bank AG
13. Franklin Resources Inc
14. Credit Suisse Group
15. Walton Enterprises LLC
16. Bank of New York Mellon Corp
17. Natixis
18. Goldman Sachs Group Inc
19. T Rowe Price Group Inc
20. Legg Mason Inc
21. Morgan Stanley
22. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc
23. Northern Trust Corporation
24. Société Générale
25. Bank of America Corporation
26. Lloyds TSB Group plc
27. Invesco plc
28. Allianz SE 29. TIAA
30. Old Mutual Public Limited Company
31. Aviva plc
32. Schroders plc
33. Dodge & Cox
34. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc*
35. Sun Life Financial Inc
36. Standard Life plc
37. CNCE
38. Nomura Holdings Inc
39. The Depository Trust Company
40. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance
41. ING Groep NV
42. Brandes Investment Partners LP
43. Unicredito Italiano SPA
44. Deposit Insurance Corporation of Japan
45. Vereniging Aegon
46. BNP Paribas
47. Affiliated Managers Group Inc
48. Resona Holdings Inc
49. Capital Group International Inc
50. China Petrochemical Group Company

* Lehman still existed in the 2007 dataset used

(Data: PLoS One)


Arizona, US: DOJ Uncovers Rampant Lawbreaking By Sheriff Joe Arpaio Despite His Stonewalling

© Unknown
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is unquestionably the most notorious law enforcement official in the country, infamous for his ruthless and illegal treatment of the undocumented immigrants under his charge. He's known for cramming detained immigrants into outdoor "tent cities" he proudly likens to concentration camps, and for parading prisoners around in pink underwear to humiliate them.

When the Justice Department first announced it was investigating Arpaio in 2008 for racial profiling and civil rights violations, Arpaio said "bring it on." But he refused to cooperate with the investigation, stalling the probe for 17 months by withholding records from federal officials.

Moments ago, the Justice Department announced the findings of its three year investigation, concluding that the self-proclaimed "toughest sherrif in America" has indeed committed an extensive array of civil rights violations against Latinos:
The federal government issued a scathing report Thursday that outlines how Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office has committed a wide range of civil rights violations against Latinos, including a pattern of racial profiling and discrimination and carrying out heavy-handed immigration patrols based on racially charged citizen complaints.

The report, obtained by The Associated Press ahead of its release, is a result of the U.S. Justice Department's three-year investigation of Arpaio's office amid complaints of racial profiling and a culture of bias at the agency's top level.

The Justice Department's conclusions in the civil probe mark the federal government's harshest rebuke of a national political fixture who has risen to prominence for his immigration crackdowns and became coveted endorsement among candidates in the GOP presidential field.
In 2010 federal officials filed an unprecedented suit against Arpaio for breaking the law by refusing to turn over extensive records related to booking procedures, inmate interpretation services, and arrests. He also would not give investigators access to his staff or jails. A man who relishes brutally enforcing the law acted as if it did not apply to him.


Italy's Monti Faces Confidence Vote on Austerity

Mario Monti
© ReutersItaly's former Prime Minister Mario Monti.
  • Confidence votes on Friday and next week
  • Govt seen winning easily, votes called to cut short debate
  • Bill rushed through to face economic crisis
Italy's government faces a confidence vote in parliament on Friday, called to speed up approval of a 33-billion euro ($43 billion) austerity package intended to restore financial market confidence in the euro zone's third largest economy.

Prime Minister Mario Monti's cabinet of unelected technocrats has the support of an overwhelming majority of members in both houses of parliament. This means Friday's vote in the lower Chamber of Deputies, expected to be held sometime around 1230 GMT, should pass easily.

The austerity plan will then move to the Senate, where a similar vote is expected to be held before Christmas, marking the final passage of a decree law that went into effect on Dec. 4 but needed parliamentary approval within 60 days.

Monti's government was appointed last month to face a collapse in market confidence that put Italy at the heart of the euro zone debt crisis. He has raced to push through the package of tax increases, spending cuts and pension reform aimed at meeting Italy's goal of balancing its budget in 2013.


Best of the Web: Gaddafi's killing may be a war crime: International Criminal Court

© The Associated Press/Libya TVVideo shows former Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi surrounded by revolutionary fighters on October 20, 2011.
Luis Moreno Ocampo of the ICC said Thursday he sent a letter to the head of the National Transitional Council asking what the government's plans are to investigate alleged war crimes by all parties, including the rebels

United Nations - The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court said Thursday there are "serious suspicions" that the death of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi was a war crime.

Luis Moreno Ocampo told reporters after briefing the U.N. Security Council that he sent a letter to the head of the National Transitional Council asking what the government's plans are to investigate alleged war crimes by all parties, including the rebels.

The uprising against Gaddafi's 42-year rule erupted in February, quickly escalated into civil war, and ended in October with Gadhafi's capture and death in unclear circumstances. Witness accounts and video taken of the deposed dictator after his capture by rebel fighters show that he was beaten and abused by his captors, and there were strong indications he was killed in custody.

"The death of Moammar Gaddafi is one of the issues to be clarified - what happened - because there are serious suspicions that it was a war crime," Moreno Ocampo said.

He said what the ICC does on Gaddafi's death and other war crimes will depend on what Libya's interim government does because under the Rome statute that established the war crimes tribunal, the ICC only steps in if national authorities are unwilling or unable to act.


Former French President Guilty of Corruption

© Agence France-Presse/Benoit Tessier/ReutersFormer French president Jacques Chirac said he will not appeal his conviction.
Chirac gets suspended sentence; Charges involve 'ghost employees' paid when he was mayor of Paris

Shamed former French leader Jacques Chirac was found guilty of corruption and given a suspended jail sentence on Thursday, becoming France's first expresident to be convicted for his crimes.

The 79-year-old statesman, who was excused from court on medical grounds, was found guilty of influence peddling, breach of trust and embezzlement between 1990 and 1995, when as mayor of Paris he employed ghost workers.

In their ruling, judges said Chirac's criminal conduct had cost Paris taxpayers the equivalent of $1.8 million.

"Jacques Chirac breached the duty of trust that weighs on public officials charged with caring for public funds or property, in contempt of the general interest of Parisians," the ruling said.

He is the first former or serving president of modern France to be tried, although Nazi-era collaborationist leader Philippe Pétain was convicted of treason.

Chirac lawyer Jean Veil said the former leader had received the judgment "with serenity" and added: "He's satisfied that at least the court ha s accepted that he did not personally profit from this."


Last US Base Handed to Iraq Ahead of Pullout

© Agence France-Presse/Ali al-SaadiAll that remains of the US military in Iraq are around 4,000 soldiers down from a peak of nearly 170,000 troops
Iraq took control of the last American military base in the country on Friday, a day after US forces marked the end of their mission, bringing a divisive war to a low-key conclusion.

The transfer of the sprawling installation on the outskirts of the southern city of Nasiriyah is a final step ahead of a complete US withdrawal from Iraq in the coming days.

The Imam Ali Base, known to the US military as Camp Adder, housed 15,000 American troops at its peak and was officially signed over at a ceremony attended by US Colonel Richard Kaiser and Hussein al-Assadi, the Iraqi in charge of base transfers.

"We proudly announce to the Iraqi people today the handover of the last American military base," Assadi said after the signing. "Today we are turning the last page on the occupation."

The base, which will now be used by Iraq's fledgling air force, lies on the edge of the ancient city of Ur, the Biblical birthplace of Abraham.

"It's an honour to have been the commander of this base, and to be the one to sign over the last large base in Iraq," Kaiser told AFP.

"It's truly an honour... I feel very proud of all the work we've done together" with Iraq.

War Whore

US Congress clears $662 billion defense bill

© UnknownDepiction of an F-18 with Armaments.
Washington - The U.S. Congress has cleared a $662 billion defense bill and will send the measure to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The Senate voted 86-13 for the sweeping bill on Thursday. The bill would authorize money for military personnel, weapons systems, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and national security programs in the Energy Department. The House had voted 283-136 for the measure Wednesday night.

The legislation is $27 billion less than Obama wanted for the Pentagon and other accounts.

The White House initially threatened a veto but dropped that warning, saying last-minute congressional changes no longer challenge the president's ability to combat terrorism.

Comment: Pretty cool word, defense. Just to give you an estimate of how much money that is, it's over half a football field two pallets high of 100 dollar bills.
© wtfnoway.com1 trillion in U.S. 100 dollar bills.