Puppet MastersS

Chess

WikiLeaks Party delegates meet with Syrian President Assad 'without knowledge or approval of Assange'

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© TwitterBashar al-Assad's meeting with the WikiLeaks party delegation.
WikiLeaks has revealed it did not "know or approve" of its Australian political party's visit to Syria to meet Bashar al-Assad, amid criticism from both the government and Labor over the trip.

A WikiLeaks party delegation, reportedly including its founder Julian Assange's father, John Shipton, held talks with a number of high-ranking Syrian officials, with a picture released by the Syrian government of a meeting with the president himself.

Before the visit, the party stated it was going as part of its "peace and reconciliation" efforts, as well as warning over the dangers of western intervention into the bloody three-year Syrian civil war. Shipton said he wanted to show "solidarity" with the Syrian people and told a local TV station that WikiLeaks would be opening an office in Damascus this year.

But WikiLeaks has distanced itself from the trip, saying via Twitter that while peace brokering is a "good idea", it "did not know or approve" of the delegation's visit to Syria.

Julie Bishop, the Australian foreign affairs minister, said Syria was not a place for "political parties to pursue their political ends".

"I find it extraordinarily reckless that an organisation registered as a political party in Australia would seek to insert itself into the conflict in Syria and engage with a leader accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including using chemical weapons against his own people," Bishop told The Australian newspaper.

Comment: For more on the propaganda against Syria and Assad's fabricated brutality, see:
President Assad of Syria: 'We're fighting a new style of war - terrorism through proxies'
U.S. 'planned to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria and blame it on Assad'
U.S. 'planned to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria and blame Assad'
Syria's President al-Assad sets the record straight on chemical weapons, UN inspections and Western terrorism
Syria's Assad warns West over Qaeda, says defeat of his regime 'not an option'
Coup d' Etat in Syria almost complete: Obama says Assad must resign


Snakes in Suits

Sen. Coburn: Rule of law gave way to rule of rulers in 2013

senator coburn
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn
US Senator Tom Coburn says the year 2013 may go down as "the worst" for America when "the rule of law gave way to the rule of rulers."

"In both the executive branch and Congress, Americans witnessed an unwinding of the country's founding principles and of their government's most basic responsibilities," Coburn wrote in an op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal.

"The rule of law gave way to the rule of rulers. And the rule of reality . . . gave way to some politicians' belief that they were entitled to both their own opinions and their own facts," the Oklahoma Republican added.

The senator urged American voters to clean house in the midterm elections, saying "the institutions of government barely function."

"In 2014, here's a message worth considering: If you don't like the rulers you have, you don't have to keep them."

Comment: Yep, 2013 was indeed a very bad year for the world overall. However, this seems to be just some more posturing in the vein of promoting a false right-left political paradigm, as if there would be some significant difference in how the U.S. government operates, both within and beyond its borders, if the names and faces in Washington were to be substituted/replaced.

We could call it political theater for the benefit of public consumption, the same 'ole song and dance, and the kool-aid continues to pour, red or blue, take your pick.

It would be wise to keep in mind that no matter which side of the aisle they're on, these politicians all work for the same 'people' - and those 'people' are not everyday, rank-and-file Americans.

Psychopaths ruled the U.S. government and the world in 2013 and that song remains on the playlist for 2014 as well.


Book

Al Qaeda, Inc. - The meticulous bookkeeping of a CIA-run corporation

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The convoy of cars bearing the black al-Qaida flag came at high speed, and the manager of the modest grocery store thought he was about to get robbed.

Mohamed Djitteye rushed to lock his till and cowered behind the counter. He was dumbfounded when instead, the al-Qaida commander gently opened the grocery's glass door and asked for a pot of mustard. Then he asked for a receipt.

Confused and scared, Djitteye didn't understand. So the jihadist repeated his request. Could he please have a receipt for the $1.60 purchase?

This transaction in northern Mali shows what might seem an unusual preoccupation for a terror group: Al-Qaida is obsessed with documenting the most minute expenses.

In more than 100 receipts left in a building occupied by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb in Timbuktu earlier this year, the extremists assiduously tracked their cash flow, recording purchases as small as a single light bulb. The often tiny amounts are carefully written out in pencil and colored pen on scraps of paper and Post-it notes: The equivalent of $1.80 for a bar of soap; $8 for a packet of macaroni; $14 for a tube of super glue.

The accounting system on display in the documents found by The Associated Press is a mirror image of what researchers have discovered in other parts of the world where al-Qaida operates, including Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq. The terror group's documents around the world also include corporate workshop schedules, salary spreadsheets, philanthropy budgets, job applications, public relations advice and letters from the equivalent of a human resources division.

Comment: Al Qaeda is run like a corporate body... because it IS a corporate body!

Al Qaeda, Inc. - brought to you by the CIA and friends.

Bear in mind that, while there were smaller clusters of Mujahideen in various countries in 2001, most of them had long since been disbanded after the Soviet incursions into Afghanistan. Al Qaeda on 9/11, and for many years afterwards, existed only as a 'database' of Western intelligence assets; and even then, the entity going under that name first arose in a 2000 court case seeking to try a suspect under existing US anti-racketeering laws. In order to meet the minimum legal requirements for prosecuting the suspect on the basis of his being affiliated with an organization, 'Al Qaeda' was invented.

With each new imperial venture into Muslim countries post-9/11, however, the CIA has found thousands of recruits to fill the corporate entity it created, and has further expanded its operations, branching off into various franchises - Al Qaeda-in-the-Islamic-Maghreb, Al Qaeda-in-the-Arabian-Peninsula, Al-Qaeda-in-Palestine, Al Qaeda-in-Syria, etc - one or more of which can be passed off as 'rebels', depending on geostrategic needs.

Even more cost-effective than that is the fact that these groomed patsies from Al Qaeda, Inc., when they return to their home countries from all-expenses-paid jihad in Syria, can be redeployed as "home-grown, Syria-radicalized terrorists", enabling the Carlyle Group and 'defense-security' contractors to order more armored police tanks, plan large drills, train security personnel to be heartless bastards, etc.

Terrorism is great business for the elites!


Nuke

Iran nuclear deal to be implemented in January

iran talks
© AFP PhotoIranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Following an intense round of negotiation between the P5+1 and Iran, participating countries have reportedly agreed to the implementation of an interim agreement on Iran's nuclear program in late January, an Iranian official announced.

There is no official confirmation by the delegates, but Iranian nuclear negotiator Hamid Baeidinejad was quoted as saying that a date was agreed upon during the talks on Tuesday.

"Based on the conclusions the talks held with expert delegations, the implementation of the Geneva accord will start at the end of January," Baeidinejad was quoted as saying by Iranian Press TV.

"The two sides managed to reach an understanding on the implementation of the agreement and now, their views and interpretations are the same," he said. The alleged breakthrough follows nearly 23 hours of negotiations in Geneva on Monday and Tuesday between nuclear experts.

Star of David

'Children in cages': Human rights group accuses Israel of torture

palestinian child
© Reuters / Ammar Awad
An Israeli human rights organization has accused the country of torturing Palestinian minors, with reported cases of public caging as well as threats and acts of sexual violence.

The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) condemned Israel's failure to protect Palestinian minors from the alleged torture. The group demanded authorities introduce specific provisions for the protection of all children against torture in Israeli domestic law.

The human rights group states that international law against torture, as outlined in the Istanbul Protocol Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture, is not reflected by Israel's domestic legislature.

PCATI argues that "torture is a means of attacking an individual's fundamental modes of psychological and social functioning" as described in the Istanbul Protocol. Furthermore, "torture can impact a child directly or indirectly. The impact can be due to the child's having been tortured or detained, the torture of parents or close family members or witnessing torture and violence."

The group's report was published ahead of Tuesday's hearing by the Knesset's Public Petitions Committee on related issues. PACTI based their complaint on data from filed reports of abuses against children collected over the past decade.

Comment: A sampling of longstanding inhumane abuses, an ongoing reality for Palestinians under illegal Israeli military occupation and blockade.

UK report finds IDF tortures Palestinian children
Israel criminally detained 900 Palestinian children in 2012; possible charges to be filed at the ICC
Murdering Children - Israel's Domestic Policy
UN: Palestinian children tortured, used as human shields by Israel
Surprised? Israel mistreats Palestinian children in custody
Inhuman: Israeli abuse of Palestinian children in prison 'systematic' says UN report
A Report on the Situation Facing Palestinian Children Detained in Occupied East Jerusalem


USA

Federal judge rules U.S. border a constitution-free zone

US Customs and Border Protection Vehicle
© US Customs and Border Protection/Flickr
A federal judge today upheld a President Barack Obama administration policy allowing authorities along the U.S. border to seize and search laptops, smartphones and other electronic devices for any reason.

The decision (.pdf) by U.S. District Judge Edward Korman in New York comes as laptops, and now smartphones, have become virtual extensions of ourselves, housing everything from email to instant-message chats to our papers and effects.

The American Civil Liberties Union brought the challenge nearly three years ago, claiming U.S. border officials should have reasonable suspicion to search gadgets along the border because of the data they store.

But Judge Korman said the so-called "border exemption," in which people can be searched for no reason at all along the border, continues to apply in the digital age.

Alarmingly, the government contends the Fourth-Amendment-Free Zone stretches 100 miles inland from the nation's actual border.

Gear

We must all share the blame for our 'useless' politicians

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© Mike Kemp/In Pictures/Corbis'No top down reorganisation' turned into £3bn of NHS turmoil. Andrew Lansley took the heat.
Public trust in politics is at a low ebb, our Guardian-ICM poll said last week. Most people are angry, not apathetic, and what makes them angriest is politicians who break their promises, which should be no surprise. In living memory there has been no greater deception than in the rift between this government's pre-election words and post-election deeds.

Nick Clegg gets most blame over tuition fees, a promise that won university seats and then betrayed so many fresh first-time voters. But David Cameron wins the mendacity prize by what he might call a country mile.

He pledged no rise in VAT; it rose immediately. On child benefit the prime minister said, "I wouldn't means test it", but he did. The education maintenance allowance would stay; it went. Vote blue, go green, became "get rid of all the green crap". Days before the election, Cameron said any minister proposing a frontline cut would be "sent straight back to their department to go away and think again".

Yet 6,000 nurses, 10,000 police officers and 10,000 teachers have gone, along with libraries, swimming pools and much care for the elderly. Cameron's posters said no NHS cuts - but that was a sleight of hand, since the NHS needs 3% just to stand still, so A&E is spilling over. "No top-down reorganisation" turned into £3bn of NHS turmoil.

Some accepted deficit reduction as an excuse - but it has corroded trust. Why should anyone believe a word any party says next time? What words are left untarnished when Cameron's "compassionate conservatism" and "big society" used them all up?

Brick Wall

US sends 3 Uighur Guantanamo prisoners to Slovakia

gitmo
© Reuters/Lendov
Slovakia has accepted three prisoners from Guantanamo Bay who had posed a difficult resettlement challenge, helping the U.S. government move closer to its goal of closing the prison on its base in Cuba, officials said Tuesday.

The three men who left for the Central European country in recent days were Uighurs, members of an ethnic Muslim minority from western China who had been detained in Afghanistan as suspected allies of the Taliban and sent to Guantanamo Bay for interrogation.

Authorities eventually determined that the 22 Uighurs in its custody had no involvement in terrorism, but the U.S. struggled to resettle them. China requested their return, but they couldn't be sent there because of fears they would face persecution and torture. Many countries refused to accept them out of reluctance to anger the Chinese government. Congress blocked a U.S. judge's order to release them inside the United States.

Uighurs are from the northwestern Chinese region of Xianjiang, where militants have fought a low-intensity insurgency against Chinese rule.

Bad Guys

Psychopathic Italian high court overturns paedophile conviction as 11-year-old 'in love'

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© AFPItaly's supreme court overturns a paedophile's conviction because the verdict did not sufficiently consider absence of physical force and the 11-year-old girl's feelings of love".
Italy's highest court has overturned the conviction of a 60-year-old man for having sex with an 11-year-old girl, because the verdict failed to take into account their "amorous relationship".

Pietro Lamberti, a social services worker in Catanzaro in southern Italy, was convicted in February 2011 and sentenced to five years in prison for sexual acts with a minor.

The verdict was later upheld by an appeals court.

But Italy's supreme court ruled that the verdict did not sufficiently consider "the 'consensus', the existence of an amorous relationship, the absence of physical force, the girl's feelings of love".

Robot

Robotization of Earth: US names drone testing sites

drones
© AFP Photo/Saul Loeb drone is on display during the Unmanned Systems 2013 exhibition and symposium hosted by The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, August 13, 2013
US aviation regulators on Monday released the names of sites picked to test civilian drones whose slated 2015 debut over American skies has sparked privacy concerns.

Testing of the unmanned aircraft is due to start within three months and could continue until February 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement.

The FAA has said some 7,500 small unmanned aircraft can be expected in US airspace in the next five years -- provided regulations are in place to handle them.

As well as law enforcement, supporters say civilian drones could be used for a vast range of applications, including tracking the progress of wildfires, helping to find lost skiers, identifying criminals or mapping inhospitable terrain.

Data from the testing "will help the FAA answer key research questions such as solutions for 'sense and avoid,' command and control, ground control station standards and human factors, airworthiness, lost link procedures and the interface with the air traffic control system," the FAA said.