Puppet MastersS


Sheeple

Sexual Humiliation, a Tool to Control the Masses

Portrait, author and activist Naomi Wolf, 10/19/11
© GuardianPortrait, author and activist Naomi Wolf, 10/19/11.

In a five-four ruling this week, the supreme court decided that anyone can be strip-searched upon arrest for any offense, however minor, at any time. This horror show ruling joins two recent horror show laws: the NDAA, which lets anyone be arrested forever at any time, and HR 347, the "trespass bill", which gives you a 10-year sentence for protesting anywhere near someone with secret service protection. These criminalizations of being human follow, of course, the mini-uprising of the Occupy movement.

Is American strip-searching benign? The man who had brought the initial suit, Albert Florence, described having been told to "turn around. Squat and cough. Spread your cheeks." He said he felt humiliated: "It made me feel like less of a man."

In surreal reasoning, justice Anthony Kennedy explained that this ruling is necessary because the 9/11 bomber could have been stopped for speeding. How would strip searching him have prevented the attack? Did justice Kennedy imagine that plans to blow up the twin towers had been concealed in a body cavity? In still more bizarre non-logic, his and the other justices' decision rests on concerns about weapons and contraband in prison systems. But people under arrest - that is, who are not yet convicted - haven't been introduced into a prison population.

Pistol

Best of the Web: Strip-Searches: Obama Wants You to Bend Over (Or Squat) and Spread 'Em

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The US Supreme Court has ruled that law enforcement may strip-search a suspect in custody for any crime
Humiliation is the law of the land. When you fall into the clutches of the police, for any reason, or no good reason at all, you can be compelled to bare your private parts before being placed in the general jail population. Five of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled that Constitutional prohibitions against unreasonable searches end at the jailhouse door, even if there is no reason to suspect that the person under arrest is in possession of anything that could be called contraband.

The decision throws out laws against unreasonable strip searches in at least ten states, and overrides federal law enforcement regulations against intrusive searches. The High Court decision also flies in the face of international human rights treaties to which the United States is a signatory. In effect, the Supreme Court majority ruled that the whim of the local jailer trumps any standard of reasonableness. The American Correctional Association, which represents jail guards, is pleased that its members now have the "flexibility" to look into virtually every human orifice that enters their domain, even though the association's own standards currently discourage blanket policies of strip-searching everyone.

"The administration's lawyer chose to use hypothetical political protesters as the bad guys of his argument."

USA

Best of the Web: Report: U.S. Trained Terror Group

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Members of terrorist group MEK peddle their anti-Iran propaganda in the USA
When the U.S. wants to fund, train, arm or otherwise align itself with a Terrorist group or state sponsor of Terror - as it often does - it at least usually has the tact to first remove them from its formal terrorist list (as the U.S. did when it wanted to support Saddam in 1982 and work with Libya in 2006), or it just keeps them off the list altogether despite what former Council on Foreign Relations writer Lionel Beehner described as "mounds of evidence that [they] at one time or another abetted terrorists" (as it has done with close U.S. allies in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, along with the El Salvadoran death squads and Nicaraguan contras armed and funded in the 1980s by the Reagan administration). But according to a new, multi-sourced report from The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh, the U.S. did not even bother going through those motions when, during the Bush years, it trained the Iranian dissident group Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) at a secretive Department of Energy site in Nevada:
It was here that the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) conducted training, beginning in 2005, for members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, a dissident Iranian opposition group known in the West as the M.E.K. . . . The M.E.K.'s ties with Western intelligence deepened after the fall of the Iraqi regime in 2003, and JSOC began operating inside Iran in an effort to substantiate the Bush Administration's fears that Iran was building the bomb at one or more secret underground locations. Funds were covertly passed to a number of dissident organizations, for intelligence collection and, ultimately, for anti-regime terrorist activities. Directly, or indirectly, the M.E.K. ended up with resources like arms and intelligence. Some American-supported covert operations continue in Iran today, according to past and present intelligence officials and military consultants.

Black Cat

Why are DHS and ICE Stockpiling Ammo?

The US Department of Homeland Security and the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Office have placed an order for 450 million rounds of .40 caliber bullets. The amount of ammo exceeds the amount of people that live in the US and many wonder the motives behind the vast purchase. The contractor Alliant Techsystems is the company supplying the ammunition to DHS and ICE and although the agencies claim these bullets are to be used for target practice many believe they have something else in mind. Jason Bermas, radio host and Filmmaker, joins us for more on the questionable purchase.

Arrow Up

The Fable of the Century

Psychopaths
© SOTT.net
Imagine a country in which the very richest people get all the economic gains. They eventually accumulate so much of the nation's total income and wealth that the middle class no longer has the purchasing power to keep the economy going full speed. Most of the middle class's wages keep falling and their major asset - their home - keeps shrinking in value.

Imagine that the richest people in this country use some of their vast wealth to routinely bribe politicians. They get the politicians to cut their taxes so low there's no money to finance important public investments that the middle class depends on - such as schools and roads, or safety nets such as health care for the elderly and poor.

Imagine further that among the richest of these rich are financiers. These financiers have so much power over the rest of the economy they get average taxpayers to bail them out when their bets in the casino called the stock market go bad. They have so much power they even shred regulations intended to limit their power.

These financiers have so much power they force businesses to lay off millions of workers and to reduce the wages and benefits of millions of others, in order to maximize profits and raise share prices - all of which make the financiers even richer, because they own so many of shares of stock and run the casino.

Alarm Clock

Sarkozy Accused of Using Terror Raids to Boost Election Campaign

A renewed focus on security in recent weeks has boosted the reelection campaign of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, but his opponents are now accusing him of cracking down on potential terrorists for election purposes.

Several factors are working in Mr. Sarkozy's favor. First, there were the shootings in the Toulouse area. A self-proclaimed member of al Qaeda shot three soldiers dead in two separate attacks and raided a Jewish school in Toulouse, killing four people.

Mr. Sarkozy immediately put his campaign on hold, becoming the leader of a grieving nation at a time of frantic soul-searching. Meanwhile, his interior minister blanketed the airwaves, assuring radio and TV audiences that the government was in control. The suspected killer, Mohamed Merah, was himself shot dead by French police on March 22 after a dramatic siege at his Toulouse apartment.

About a week later, TV viewers watched over their morning coffee more scenes of police commandos breaking into the homes of suspected terrorists in a series of dawn raids that led to 17 arrests. And on Wednesday morning, it happened again with 10 more arrests.

To be sure, even prior to the terror attacks in and around Toulouse last month, Mr. Sarkozy was recovering in the polls. But the focus on security allowed him to close the gap with his principal rival, François Hollande, in surveys of the first round. Now, some polls show the incumbent has overtaken his challenger, upping the pressure on Mr. Hollande to increase the momentum of his campaign ahead of the first round of voting on April 22.

But Mr. Sarkozy's political opponents are now accusing the government of leaking the planned raids to television crews.

Eye 1

Chris Hedges: "No Outcry Within Media" on NDAA

We had reported on the show that a group of political activists and journalists testified in a New York Court about why they're suing the Obama administration over the National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA. Chris Hedges, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter is also one of the plaintiffs; he joins the show to discuss.


Star of David

When Europe Develops, and Israel Destroys

The European Commission has released a document that lists projects it funded that were destroyed or damaged by the Israel Defence Forces between May 2001 and October 2011.

The list documents 82 such instances, amounting to a monetary loss of 49.2 million euro, 30 million of which came directly from European aid.

British Member of the European Parliament, Chris Davies, released the list following his inquiry to the European Commission. Davies subsequently published the findings on his webpage where he stated that the list was "the most detailed response I have ever received from the European Commission." (See the list here)

The recently published record is yet another indicator of the disregard with which Israel treats its European allies' activities in the occupied Palestinian territories. Last year, it was calculated that Israeli-imposed travel restrictions cost international aid organizations 4.5 million dollars a year.

Handcuffs

Best of the Web: Bush tried to destroy torture memo

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© AP/Ron EdmondsGeorge W. Bush in 2006
A document advising the Bush administration against torture has resurfaced, despite his best efforts to hide it

In February of 2006, Philip Zelikow, counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, authored a memo opposing the Bush administration's torture practices (though he employed the infamous obfuscation of "enhanced interrogation techniques"). The White House tried to collect and destroy all copies of the memo, but one survived in the State Department's bowels and was declassified yesterday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the National Security Archive.

The memo argues that the Convention Against Torture, and the Constitution's prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment, do indeed apply to the CIA's use of "waterboard[ing], walling, dousing, stress positions, and cramped confinement." Zelikow further wrote in the memo that "we are unaware of any precedent in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, or any subsequent conflict for authorized, systematic interrogation practices similar to those in question here, even when the prisoners were presumed to be unlawful combatants." According to the memo, the techniques are legally prohibited, even if there is a compelling state interest to justify them, since they should be considered cruel and unusual punishment and "shock the conscience."

Eye 1

Supreme Court Ruling Allows Strip-Searches for Any Arrest

strip search victim
© Mel Evans/Associated PressAlbert W. Florence was strip-searched twice after being wrongly detained over a fine.
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, joined by the court's conservative wing, wrote that courts are in no position to second-guess the judgments of correctional officials who must consider not only the possibility of smuggled weapons and drugs, but also public health and information about gang affiliations.

"Every detainee who will be admitted to the general population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed," Justice Kennedy wrote, adding that about 13 million people are admitted each year to the nation's jails.

The procedures endorsed by the majority are forbidden by statute in at least 10 states and are at odds with the policies of federal authorities. According to a supporting brief filed by the American Bar Association, international human rights treaties also ban the procedures.

The federal appeals courts had been split on the question, though most of them prohibited strip-searches unless they were based on a reasonable suspicion that contraband was present. The Supreme Court did not say that strip-searches of every new arrestee were required; it ruled, rather, that the Fourth Amendment's prohibition of unreasonable searches did not forbid them.