Puppet MastersS

Star of David

Unexpected Turns in the Israeli-Iranian Duel

Catherine Ashton
© UnknownCatherine Ashton, European Union's High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Quite apart from its continued oppression and dispossession of the Palestinians, Israel has a long record of murdering its political opponents, and is widely believed to have been responsible for the assassination of five Iranian nuclear scientists in the last two years, as well as for introducing the Stuxnet virus into Iran's computer systems -- clear acts of state terrorism. -- Patrick Seale

Although it is too early to make a judgement, it looks as if Israel's Iran policy has back-fired and may result in a very different outcome from the one Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has long sought.

Israel's thinking these past three years has been that punitive sanctions, cyber warfare and the assassination of Iran's nuclear scientists must eventually force a crippled Islamic Republic to agree to 'zero enrichment' of uranium - that is to say to dismantle its entire nuclear programme. This, it was hoped, would open the way for 'regime change' in Tehran.

To bring about sufficiently severe pressure on Iran, Israel's strategy has been to threaten to attack. It calculated -- rightly as it turned out -- that the United States and its allies would not dare call its bluff. Instead -- to head off an Israeli attack, which they feared could trigger a regional war with unpredictable and potentially catastrophic consequences -- they worked to bring Iran's economy to its knees.

Israel's strategy was working. Everything seemed to be going its way. Punitive sanctions on Iran were beginning to bite. Impatient for regime change, pro-Israeli propagandists in the United States had even started to call for covert action in support of the Iranian opposition.


French economy & Presidential elections with Max Keiser

In this edition of the show Max interviews Gonzalo Lira from LiraSPG.com. He talks about the primary economic issues for France on the eve of the presidential elections both nationally and in EU.

Gonzalo Lira is an American novelist, filmmaker and economic blogger. Starting in 2010, Lira began contributing economic analysis to Zero Hedge, Naked Capitalism, Seeking Alpha and Business Insider; in Zero Hedge, one of his posts was the second most read of 2010.

Comment: Economic perspectives on French elections, Spain and Greece. For the inside story on Sarkozy's "9/11" moment he hopes will win him another term as President, see: New Sott Report: Toulouse Shootings: Mohamed Merah Sacrificed To Give Sarkozy Election Win?

Bad Guys

Sarkozy's Last Stand

Antoine Peillon's new book connects the dots between Nicolas Sarkozy and rampant tax evasion in France.

Sarkozy napoleon
© Lobofakes.com
Après Sarkozy, le chaos!" Down to the last straw, as polls show him in dead heat with his rival, Francois Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy issued a threatening prediction of the economic anarchy sure to rain down on France, and then Europe, if Hollande is elected President in the next few weeks. And indeed, the last time French socialists won, in 1981, stock markets plunged, auguring poorly for Mitterand's economic program, which caused inflation and currency appreciation. But according to Ségolene Royal, who ran against Sarkozy five years ago and was once married to Hollande, the real reason Sarkozy so badly wants to remain in the Elysée is because the French presidential office comes with the perk of prosecutorial immunity.

It's hard to remember that a man so roundly hated today aroused something of a wild hope during his first campaign, with his talk of "réforme" and "rupture" and his great promise to reverse the sense of decline that pervaded France. But Sarkozy has not been all good. Though the country isn't yet in flames, Sarkozy never quite managed to pull France out of the crisis. On his watch, France lost its AAA credit rating, the deficit grew by 632 billion euros (it is now Europe's largest, in nominal terms), exports stagnated, and unemployment remained unchanged.


Total Surveillance State: The NSA's Attack on Freedom

Five interviews on expanding domestic surveillance programs in the US from Democracy Now!

National Security Agency Whistleblower William Binney on Growing State Surveillance

In his first television interview since he resigned from the National Security Agency over its domestic surveillance program, William Binney discusses the NSA's massive power to spy on Americans and why the FBI raided his home after he became a whistleblower.

Binney was a key source for investigative journalist James Bamford's recent exposé in Wired Magazine about how the NSA is quietly building the largest spy center in the country in Bluffdale, Utah. The Utah spy center will contain near-bottomless databases to store all forms of communication collected by the agency, including private emails, cell phone calls, Google searches and other personal data.


Corruption in China: Bo Xilai Scandal Could Unravel Everything

Bo Xilai
© Lintao Zhang/Getty Image
One of the defining characteristics of EVERY boom is the presence of a small elite seeking to enrich itself through graft, corruption, and unethical behavior.

When the music stops and the boom busts, these same people are frequently put to the sword of public opinion. Think Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay, and Silvio Berlusconi.

The Chinese economic "miracle" of the past three decades will prove to be NO EXCEPTION.

I'm convinced that history will one day show that corrupt Communist party officials, in cahoots with shady developers and construction moguls, systematically plundered the Chinese economy, getting rich off the hard work and savings of the average person.

It's been happening on an unimaginable scale... and the fuse for the whole rotten mess to explode may have just been lit with this Bo Xilai scandal. To review, briefly

2 + 2 = 4

Santorum Plays the Elitist Card

Rick Santorum thinks making college affordable for all is elitist. How else are Americans going to find good-paying jobs?

© Scott Olson / Getty ImagesRick Santorum speaks at a campaign rally in Lansing, Mich., on February 27.
Say what you will about this era's Republican presidential candidates, they at least have chutzpah.

Millionaire blue-blood George W. Bush pretended to be a down-home cowboy. Two-time divorcee and longtime Washington influence peddler Newt Gingrich struts around preaching about traditional family values and insisting he's a D.C. outsider. Now, topping them all is Rick Santorum, who last week declared that only "snobs" support efforts to make a college education more accessible to all Americans.

Santorum, of course, has not one, not two, but a whopping three separate degrees, two of which come from public universities - that is, two that were taxpayer-subsidized, courtesy of the "Big Government" Santorum now claims to loathe.

Hypocritical - and dare I say, snobbish - as it is for someone with such a pedigree to attack President Obama's college affordability initiatives, Santorum did inadvertently stumble into a significant question: Is higher education for everyone? The answer today is not necessarily, but that's precisely because of the affordability problem Obama aims to solve.


Singapore Installing Island-Wide Camera Network

Surveillance Cameras
© Wikimedia Commons
Singapore has begun installing police surveillance cameras that will eventually cover all 10,000 public-housing blocks across the island, officials confirmed yesterday.

The move immediately drew mixed reactions in a city-state already famous for being one of the world's safest societies but now undergoing political transition as citizens demand greater freedom from government control.

"Welcome to Big Brother!" popular local satirist Mr Brown wrote on Twitter, referring to a fictional character in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty Four about a totalitarian state where each citizen is watched by a camera.

Critics also posted negative comments on the police Facebook page but supporters enthusiastically welcomed the move.

"Excellent, good idea. Keep it up. God bless Singapore police force," Facebook user Rahul Chaudhary wrote.

Installations have begun at 300 blocks and by 2016 the cameras will be operational on the ground floors of all 10,000 government-built apartment blocks where over 80 per cent of the population live.

Entry and exit points of public car parks will also be covered.

"The cameras will not be monitored 'live' but the images that they record can be used to solve crime should it occur within the camera zone," the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said in a statement sent to AFP.

Bad Guys

Shocking Conflict of Interest: Private Water Companies Partner With Fracking Lobby

© Shutterstock/apostol_8
Selling water to drillers, two of the nation's biggest private water utilities may soon profit from treating the wastewater.

Two of the country's largest private water utility companies are participants in a massive lobbying effort to expand controversial shale gas drilling -- a heavy industrial activity that promises to enrich the water companies but may also put drinking water resources at risk.

The situation -- which some watchdogs describe as a troubling conflict of interest -- underscores the complex issues raised by the nationwide push to privatize infrastructure and services like water, prisons, and roads.

The water companies -- American Water and Aqua America -- are leading drinking water suppliers in Pennsylvania, where drilling is booming. They also sell water to gas companies -- which use a drilling technique that requires massive amounts of water -- and have expressed interest in treating drilling wastewater, a potentially lucrative opportunity.

Bad Guys

Best of the Web: Prison Camp USA: Courtesy of The Federal Government

Giant Prison
© The Economic Collapse Blog
There has been no society in the history of the world that has ever been 100% safe. No matter how much money the federal government spends on "homeland security", the truth is that bad things will still happen. Our world is a very dangerous place and it is becoming increasingly unstable. The federal government could turn the entire country into one giant prison camp, but that would still not keep us safe. It is inevitable that bad stuff will happen in life. But we have a choice. We can choose to live in fear or we can choose to live as free men and women.

Our forefathers intended to establish a nation where liberty and freedom would be maximized. But today we are told that we have to give up our liberties and our freedoms and our privacy for increased security. But is such a trade really worth it? Just think of the various totalitarian societies that we have seen down throughout history. Have any of them ever really thrived? Have their people been happy?

Unfortunately, the U.S. federal government has decided that the entire country needs to be put on lock down. Nearly everything that we do today is watched and tracked, and personal privacy is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Many of the things that George Orwell wrote about in 1984 are becoming a reality, and that is a very frightening thing. The United States is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. Sadly, we are rapidly becoming the exact opposite of that.

I don't know about you, but I never signed up to live in North Korea. When I was growing up I was taught that repressive regimes such as North Korea are "the bad guys" and that America is where "the good guys" live.

So why do we want to be just like North Korea?

When they put in the naked body scanners at U.S. airports and started having TSA agents conduct "enhanced pat-downs" of travelers, I decided that I was not going to fly anymore unless absolutely necessary.

Then I heard about how "random bag checks" were being conducted at Metro train stations in the Washington D.C. area, and I was glad that I was no longer taking the train into D.C. anymore.

But now the TSA is showing up everywhere. Down in Houston, undercover TSA agents and police officers will now "ride buses, perform random bag checks, and conduct K-9 sweeps, as well as place uniformed and plainclothes officers at Transit Centers and rail platforms to detect, prevent and address latent criminal activity or behavior."

So now I have another thing to add to my list of things that I can't do anymore.

No more riding buses for me.

But the truth is that you can't escape this expanding security grid no matter how hard you try.


Misinformation Campaign Targets USA TODAY Reporters Investigating Pentagon Propaganda Contractors

© theatlanticwire.comPentagon Propaganda Campaign Targeted Reporters Asking About Propaganda
Washington - A USA TODAY reporter and editor investigating Pentagon propaganda contractors have themselves been subjected to a propaganda campaign of sorts, waged on the Internet through a series of bogus websites.

Fake Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created in their names, along with a Wikipedia entry and dozens of message board postings and blog comments. Websites were registered in their names.

The timeline of the activity tracks USA TODAY's reporting on the military's "information operations" program, which spent hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan - campaigns that have been criticized even within the Pentagon as ineffective and poorly monitored.