Puppet MastersS

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US: Constitutional attorney: Guantanamo 'nearly impossible to close' thanks to NDAA

guantanamo constitution
© Flicker/takomabibelot.A protester in an orange military prison uniform and sensory-deprivation bag over his head, demonstrating in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 5, 2007 against the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba
The U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba will not be closing any time soon thanks to President Barack Obama's approval of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a constitutional attorney who's represented terrorism suspects told Raw Story this week in an exclusive interview.

Even though President Barack Obama made closing Guantanamo one of his core campaign promises in the lead-up to the presidential election in 2008, that promise now appears to be "nearly impossible" to fulfill thanks to provisions in the new laws, Baher Azmy, legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, explained.

As an attorney, Azmy represented Murat Kurnaz, a German who was detained by Pakistani authorities and sold to the U.S. for a bounty. Kurnaz, who even the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) thought was innocent, ended up in Guantanamo at age 19 as a suspected terrorist, and he stayed there for five years without ever facing a criminal charge. Azmy also wrote briefings for the Supreme Court in Boumediene v. Bush, a case which challenged the right of the U.S. military to exclusively detain terrorism suspects.


Money Power Runs America

money & suit
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Wall Street does it by controlling money, credit and debt, as well as manipulating markets for private enrichment. House and Senate millionaires do it their way for greater wealth, privilege, power and status.

New Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) figures show it. More on them below. New York Times writer Eric Lichtblau commented in his article:
In 1991, Representative Ed Pastor (D. AR) entered Congress with around $100,000 in savings and as much debt owed banks. Now he's a millionaire, one of 250 in Congress.

"(A)nd the wealth gap between lawmakers and their constituents appears to be growing quickly" as austerity cuts harm most Americans needing help during harder than ever hard times.

Since 2008, they've lost jobs, homes, personal savings, and futures. At the same time, congressional members are richer than ever. Perhaps never "has the divide (been) so wide, or the public contrast so stark, between lawmakers and those they represent."

Bad Guys

NATO forces to attend drill in Israel

Organization's search and rescue units, emergency services to take part for first time in Home Front Command drill simulating massive earthquake.

NATO forces are scheduled to participate, for the first time, in a home front drill that will be held in Israel next October.

In recent years, the IDF took part in several exercises held by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization abroad, but has never hosted its members in Israel.

The drill, dubbed Turning Point 6, will simulate a massive earthquake leading to wide-scale destruction and large amounts of casualties.

© Roi IdanSearch and rescue units during drill
NATO Search and rescue units, as well as supporting units will arrive in Israel to take part in the drill, which will also include Israel's emergency services, the Police, Magen David Adom, fire services, as well as local authorities, governmental ministries, and representatives from the political echelon.


Prosecution: Mubarak gave shoot-to-kill order during Egypt uprising

© Mohammed Al-Law/APFormer Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is wheeled into a van after attending a trial in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday.
The prosecution in the Hosni Mubarak trial said on Wednesday it has concluded that Egypt's ousted president, his security chief and six top police officers were the "actual instigators" of the killing of more than 800 protesters during last year's popular uprising that brought down his regime.

Mubarak and his seven co-defendants are facing charges of complicity in the killings and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Wednesday's hearing coincided with the second day of voting in the third and final round of parliamentary elections that began on Nov. 28.

Even before the final round, Islamists led by the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest political group, were assured of a majority in the new legislature. Final results were due to be announced Jan. 13.


US: Missouri public library blocks websites about 'occult' spirituality

© Tulane Public Relations
The Salem Public Library in Missouri along with its board of trustees face a lawsuit for blocking access to websites discussing indigenous American spirituality and the Wiccan faith

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Eastern Missouri filed the lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of Salem resident Anaka Hunter, who was unable to access websites pertaining to the religions for her own research.

Hunter brought the blocked websites to the attention of Salem Library Director Glenda Wofford, but Wofford responded there was nothing she could do about the websites, which were blocked by the library's filtering system. Wofford said she would only allow access to blocked sites if she felt patrons had a legitimate reason to view the content and further said that she had an "obligation" to call the "proper authorities" to report people who wanted to view the sites, according to the lawsuit.

Bad Guys

Tensions Rise as U.S. Imposes 'Nuclear Option' on Iran's Economy

Obama, Hilary Clinton
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Tensions Rise as U.S. Imposes 'Nuclear Option' on Iran's Economy

Reacting to American threats to crater their economy, Iran's first vice president Mohammad Reza Rahimi said last week that the Islamic Republic would retaliate by blocking all oil shipments through the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Following a sustained covert terror campaign by the U.S. and Israel, Rahimi declared: "If they impose sanctions on Iran's oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz."

On Saturday, President Obama took that step and signed crippling sanctions legislation as part of the Pentagon's massive $662 billion 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

It should be noted that the NDAA, which threatens war on Iran, also calls for the indefinite detention of so-called "terrorist" suspects by the military, including American citizens, who can now be held without charge or trial.

Dubbed the "nuclear option" by critics and supporters alike, the legislation passed with overwhelming support from "conservative" Republicans and "liberal" Democrats in Congress and targets foreign corporations that do business with Iran's Central Bank.


German Scandal Adds to Pressure on Merkel

Nation's President, Picked by Chancellor, Faces Criticism for Seeking to Quash Press Coverage on Loan Received as Governor
Merkel, Wulff
© Agence France-Presse/Getty ImagesChancellor Merkel, second from left, and President Wulff, second from right, attend a Berlin event in August.

A political scandal surrounding German President Christian Wulff intensified Tuesday as new information emerged that he tried to squelch media reports about his private business dealings.

The affair presents German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who nominated Mr. Wulff for the largely ceremonial position in 2010, with a new political headache as she scrambles to find a solution to the euro-zone debt crisis.

The story of Mr. Wulff's attempts to stifle media coverage first appeared in German newspapers over the weekend. Mr. Wulff, a senior member of Ms. Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party, learned last month that the mass-circulation daily tabloid Bild was about to publish a story about a private loan he received from a friend to finance the purchase of his home in 2008, when he was still governor of the state of Lower Saxony, Bild reported.


Israelis, Palestinians hold first peace talks in more than a year

© Reuters/PETRAMiddle East peace mediators including Tony Blair (at table in red tie) attend a meeting with envoys, Palestinian and Israeli negotiators in Amman on Jan. 3, 2012.
Israeli and Palestinian officials met Tuesday in Jordan's capital, Amman, in the first attempt at peace talks in more than a year. As expected, there were no breakthroughs.

Diplomats from the so-called quartet of Middle East peacemakers - the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations - witnessed the talks, though analysts said they saw no prospects for the two sides to agree soon to settle the decades-long standoff.

"It does not look like 2012 will be the year we solve the Israeli-Palestinian peace process," said one senior "quartet" diplomat who spoke only on the condition that neither his name nor country be identified, because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. "It's ironic and maybe a bit sad that I can say that just a few days into 2012, but that's what it looks like."

Even as the two sides agreed to open the year with the talks, each was plotting a scheme that seemed intended to prevent agreement.

Palestinian officials are hoping to use their newfound backing in the U.N. to launch investigations into Israel and to rally support against Israel's policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Bad Guys

Best of the Web: Psychopaths Caused the Financial Crisis ... And They Will Do It Again and Again Unless They Are Removed From Power

corporate psychopath
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Psychopaths Caused the Financial Crisis

Bloomberg notes:
The "corporate psychopaths" at the helm of our financial institutions are to blame [for the financial crisis].

Clive R. Boddy, most recently a professor at the Nottingham Business School at Nottingham Trent University, says psychopaths are the 1 percent of "people who, perhaps due to physical factors to do with abnormal brain connectivity and chemistry" lack a "conscience, have few emotions and display an inability to have any feelings, sympathy or empathy for other people."

As a result, Boddy argues in a recent issue of the Journal of Business Ethics, such people are "extraordinarily cold, much more calculating and ruthless towards others than most people are and therefore a menace to the companies they work for and to society."

How do people with such obvious personality flaws make it to the top of seemingly successful corporations? Boddy says psychopaths take advantage of the "relative chaotic nature of the modern corporation," including "rapid change, constant renewal" and high turnover of "key personnel." Such circumstances allow them to ascend through a combination of "charm" and "charisma," which makes "their behaviour invisible" and "makes them appear normal and even to be ideal leaders."

Bad Guys

Monsanto Is Not The Answer

© gaia-health.com
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has teamed up with Monsanto Company and Nepal's Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative to pilot hybrid maize production among 20,000 farmers of Chitwan, Nawalparasi and Kavre districts.

The long term goal is to spread hybrid maize across the country. One of the purported goals of this initiative is to increase food security for the people. A closer analysis shows that this is not going to be the case. If at all, the focus on hybrid maize production will result in worse food security. Additionally, there are many other problems that the promotion of hybrid maize production is certainly going to create.

The promotion of hybrid corn was aimed at supplying raw materials for the animal feed industry. It was made amply clear by USAID's Mission Director David C. Atteberry on September 12 during the multi-stakeholder meeting at Hotel Himalaya. Nepal imports 135,000 tons of corn feed annually to be consumed by the animal industry. The value of 135,000 tons of corn feed is around Rs 300 million, according to Atteberry.