Puppet MastersS

Brick Wall

Convicted of nothing: Canadian police records ruin innocent lives

© Bernard Weil/Toronto Star Ellen Richardson was prevented from going on a March of Dimes organized cruise because a U.S. border agent said she was hospitalized for mental health issues in 2012.
Routine release of police data on people convicted of nothing is undermining careers, volunteer work and travel to the U.S. for hundreds of thousands of innocent Canadians

Andrew's career-limiting moment of humiliation unfolded in front of a distinguished colleague in the security line at Pearson International Airport. The 42-year-old Toronto area businessman was on his way to a prestigious trade conference in the United States last year that promised valuable networking opportunities for his construction firm. He'd prepared for months.

But it was all about to be undermined thanks to a minor contact with a police officer 24 years earlier that torpedoed the biggest business trip of his career and continues to compromise his professional credibility and prospects. Together with a senior industry executive who invited Andrew to attend the conference, the two men entered the U.S. customs area together for the flight to Las Vegas. Andrew, whose name is being withheld to protect from further repercussions, would never pass through.

He is among thousands of Canadians whose names are captured in massive police databases - accessible to U.S. border authorities - despite having never been convicted of a crime, an ongoing Star investigation has found. The specific reason behind his detainment left him stunned.

Comment: "Power is not a means; it is an end." George Orwell


How the Iraq War launched the modern era of political BS

Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, and Dick Cheney
© Cherie A. Thurlby/Wikimedia CommonsWar criminals Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, and Dick Cheney
Factual divides over whether Iraq had WMD, and whether Saddam was working with Osama, set the stage for today's battles over reality.

That queasy sensation of déjà vu you're experiencing is understandable. With Iraq back in the news, and Paul Wolfowitz and Bill Kristol on TV sounding off about the situation, there's every reason to worry that a new wave of misinformation is on the way.

There is no debate that the Iraq War was sold to the American public with a collection of claims that ended up being proved false. Iraq was said to have weapons of mass destruction, but this wasn't the case. Advocates for the war insinuated that Saddam Hussein was colluding with Al Qaeda and was somehow involved in the 9/11 attacks. That, too, was false.

Yet many Americans (and some of their leaders) still believe this stuff. It's a tragedy, but it's also a kind of natural experiment in misinformation, its origins, and its consequences. And since 2003 social scientists, psychologists, and pollsters have been busy examining why false beliefs like these are embraced even in the face of irrefutable evidence - and what impact this sort of disinformation has on American political discourse.

The resulting research shows that the Iraq War looks like an early version of a current phenomenon: the right wing rooting its stances in simple untruths about the world (see climate change). So here's a quick trip through some of the ground-breaking scholarship on how the Iraq war polarized the US public over the acceptance of basic facts:

Comment: The false beliefs don't stop with the Republicans. How many Democrats still believe Obama is "Change We Can Believe In"?


No justice: Microsoft lawyer says future is 'bleak' because of NSA surveillance

© Reuters/Larry Downing
Microsoft's top lawyer doesn't see much reason to be optimistic going forward if the National Security Agency doesn't stop its bulk collection of private data, pointing to a "bleak future" and a lack of justice and accountability.

Speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC on Tuesday, Microsoft's executive vice president and general counsel Brad Smith urged Congress and the White House to end "the unfettered collection of bulk data," criticizing the NSA and the whole surveillance court system as secretive, uninterested in a duty to "promote justice" and painting a pessimistic view of the coming decades.

"I want law enforcement to do its job in an effective way pursuant to the rule of law," he said, according to the CNET. "If we can't get to that world, then law enforcement is going to have a bleak future anyway."

Although the debate around individual privacy has been a conversation that reaches far back into the United States' past, Smith said the rapidly advancing nature of technology means it's imperative to set surveillance boundaries as soon as possible, especially as the world becomes increasingly interconnected.

"By the end of this decade there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet of Things around the world," he added. "This issue is going to become more important, not less."

Comment: There are reports that major corporations are in bed with spying agencies despite the occasional cry for Justice. Is it for Justice or simple damage control?.

Damage Control? Microsoft Inc, whose collaboration with the NSA was exposed earlier this year, to 'encrypt its Internet traffic' because it 'suspects' NSA is spying on it

Hypocrisy much? Government snitches Google and Microsoft call for government to be more transparent

Microsoft caught up in fresh privacy storm

UK gov. plans switch from Microsoft to open source

Microsoft Intercepting and Censoring Chats in Windows Live Messenger

War Whore

Disinformation Nation: The media is dominated by shills and war criminals

Dick Cheney
© youtubeDick Cheney on "This Week"
With all that is currently going on with the Obama regime's continuation of the neocon war on the world - Iraq, Iran, Ukraine, Syria, Nigeria, Russia and the ongoing government war on civil liberties in The Homeland it was wholly expected that this past weekend's Sunday morning propaganda shows would feature a spectacular upchucking of bullshit to sell to the masses in the upcoming week. The major television networks and selected cable "news" titans certainly didn't fail as they trotted out a parade of fiends and war criminals with the heavyweights being right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu and arguably the greatest mass murderer in the history of the United States Dick Cheney for tour de force performances that will reverberate through the war machine echo chamber for days.

Heart - Black

Norway plans to criminalize begging - fines and up to 3 months in prison

© Reuters/Sergey Karpukin
Norway, one of the richest countries in the world, plans to introduce a ban on begging. More than 60 percent of the population say it should be considered a crime. Beggars would face fines and up to 3 months in prison.

If adopted, the new law will allow local municipalities to introduce an immediate ban on begging and will take effect nationally by summer 2015, the Financial Times (FT) reports.

The idea follows a poll showing that two-thirds of Norwegians equate begging to a crime as the majority of beggars are not Norwegians. According to a government-commissioned report from the Nova research institute there are up to 1,000 foreign beggars among the country's 5 million population.

"In the past few years we have seen an increase in beggars in many cities and towns in Norway and we have a deep concern for the association between the flow of beggars from outside Norway and organized criminality," the FT quotes Himanshu Gulati, State Secretary at the Justice Ministry and a member of the populist Progress Party.

Comment: "Pathocracy is a form of a totalitarian government created by a small pathological mentality minority that takes control over a society or group of normal people. It has various forms, but it usually tends to attach itself to any fair system under the disguise of a democracy and pretends to offer a solution or improvement. With time, these systems eventually get corrupted and perverted carrying little resemblance of the original idea or objective. Here are some of the characteristics of pathocracy:
  • fanatical ideology/excessive, unfairness and rigid laws legislation/rule by force or fear-mongering.
  • suppression of individualism, creativity and artistic values.
  • violation of basic human rights (eg water, food, water, shelter)
  • the power of decision making is reduced via centralization of power
  • widespread corruption/intolerance and suspicion to a point of paranoia of anyone who is different or who disagrees with the status quo.
  • secrecy within government but surveillance of the general populace.
  • an attitude of content and hypocrisy of the ruling class towards the ideology and the citizens they claim to represent.
  • controlled media domination through propaganda and use of bullying techniques and corrupted psychological reasoning such as double-talk, suppression of free speech etc.
  • extreme inequality between the richest and poorest with arbitrary divisions in the population based on class, social status or ethnicity, with lower classes to be considered as a 'human resource' and to be exploited."
Empathy & Apathy - Focus on Ponerology & Pathocracy


Mosul calm under ISIS control, for now

peshmerga isis
A peshmerga fighter points at the ISIS checkpoint on the Erbil to Mosul road.
When the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) overran Iraq's second city of Mosul, many feared sectarian massacres and brutal violence from the extremist Sunni militants. As many 500,000 people fled the city on the first day, according to the UN.

Now, many citizens have returned. Instead of imposing its extreme interpretation of Islamic law and carrying out threats of killing Shiites wherever it found them, ISIS has remained more moderate. As a result, it has found support among local residents, some of whom told VICE News that they are happy with life under their new leaders.

At the borders between Iraqi Kurdistan and the newly seized ISIS territory in Northern Iraq, Kurdish peshmerga fighters describe the militants as terrorists and are obviously uncomfortable with their new neighbors.

Nevertheless, on the road from Erbil to Mosul, things have remained quiet between the forces. It's only 500 yards from the last peshmerga position to the first ISIS checkpoint. While that's as close to Mosul as it's sensible to get for an obvious non-Iraqi with a healthy aversion to kidnapping, local residents travel easily between the two territories. Traffic flows both ways and those people going in and out say the militants manning the ISIS checkpoint aren't ruthlessly hunting down non-Sunnis. A quick glance inside and each car is waved on.

A peshmerga fighter points at the ISIS checkpoint on the Erbil to Mosul road.

Elsewhere in Iraq, ISIS-led militants are involved in heavy fighting with government forces, and south of Kirkuk it has clashed with peshmerga as well. It has also bragged about mass atrocities, posting pictures on social media channels claiming to show some of the 1,700 Shiite troops it says it has executed.

This appears to be part of an overall ISIS strategy to drag Iraq into an all-out sectarian conflict and further its goal of establishing a cross-border Sunni Islamist caliphate. But Mosul is a huge prize for ISIS, and it seems either to have been running a hearts-and-minds operation to get local residents on its side, or ceded some control to local Sunni nationalist militant groups.

Comment: It looks like ISIS is softening up the population with essential services before putting harsher laws and systems into effect (what amounts to a religious pathocracy). The U.S., in contrast, not only skipped step one in their own invasion/occupation and moved right into home invasions, mass murder, torture, and fomenting sectarian violence; they destroyed infrastructure. It will be interesting to see what ISIS does once it has some firm support.


Greedy U.S. unhappy with South Stream project will deliver Russian gas to Europe

south stream
© AFPThis picture taken on October 31, 2013, shows workers welding pipes during the symbolic start of the construction of the Bulgarian section of Russian gas giant Gazprom's South Stream pipeline near the village of Rasovo.
The US opposes the Russian South Stream gas pipeline project because it wants to supply gas to Europe itself, President Putin said on Tuesday. He called the situation an "ordinary competitive struggle."

"They do everything to disrupt this contract. There is nothing unusual here. This is an ordinary competitive struggle. In the course of this competition, political tools are also being used," the Russian president said after holding talks with his Austrian counterpart, President Heinz Fischer, in Vienna.

"We are in talks with our contract partners, not with third parties. That our US friends are unhappy about South Stream, well, they were unhappy in 1962 too, when the gas-for-pipes project with Germany was beginning. Now they are unhappy too, nothing has changed, except the fact that they want to supply to the European market themselves," Putin stated.

Should this happen, American gas "will not be cheaper than Russian gas - pipe gas is always cheaper than liquefied gas," Putin stressed.

Russia and Austria have signed an agreement to construct the Austrian arm of the US$45 billion South Stream gas pipeline project, which is expected to deliver 32 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to the country, bypassing Ukraine.


Egypt President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi's conviction of 3 Al-Jazeera journalists is all about political manipulation

Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste, of Al-Jazeera English receive 7 years jail sentence.
Could it be that the three Al-Jazeera journalists have been found guilty and each sentenced to seven years in jail to enable Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to pardon and free them in order to give the impression that he is a kind, forgiving man and not on his way to becoming the Arab world's most repressive and ruthless tyrant?

Only the coming days or weeks will give us the answer but while we wait I think the governments of the world should act. What could they do? For starters they could isolate Sisi's Egypt diplomatically by expelling its ambassadors and withdrawing their own.

The conviction of Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Bahar Mohamed for allegedly supporting a terrorist organization has nothing whatsoever to do with justice. It's all about sending a Zionist-like message to the world - "The truth is whatever the masters of Egypt say it is and anybody who tells and spreads an alternative version of events will be punished."

On the social networks there was instant and universal condemnation of the Egyptian court's politically motivated decision but there is no reason to suppose that governments will act.

Eye 2

Memo on drone killings of U.S. citizens is clear evidence of presidential dictatorship

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Monday released a redacted version of the hitherto secret Obama administration memo arguing for the legality of presidential assassinations, without charges or trial, of US citizens. The 47-page memo, dating from July 2010, was drafted and signed by then head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, David Barron, and addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder.

The memo constitutes prima facie evidence of crimes against international law, the US Constitution, and the democratic rights of the American people. It could serve as a key exhibit in impeachment proceedings and criminal prosecutions against high-level American officials, beginning with President Barack Obama, Attorney General Holder, US intelligence and military leaders and the author of the memo, Barron.

The document is a travesty of legal and constitutional analysis. It begins with the desired aim - to justify the negation of the Bill of Rights' guarantee of "due process" and sanction the arrogation of quasidictatorial powers by the executive branch - and employs a grab bag of sophistic and cynical arguments to arrive at the desired conclusion.


Washington's militarized land-grabs: Targeting the Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota

Land Grab
© Global Research

In the wake of a Bundy Ranch crisis sparked by a militarized federal land-grab effort in Nevada, it seems that the Department of Interior has set its sights on a new prize - this time targeting once protected Indian reservation land on Pine Ridge in South Dakota.

The Oglala Sioux and Lakota Sioux of the reservation have been told by the Federal Government that the National Parks Service will be taking land that comprises the South Unit of the Badlands National Park as a new 'Tribal National Park', only the wording in the bill clearly indicates that it will be a federally managed national park under the Department of Interior, giving mere lip service to its tribal title.

The Congressional bill has already been written, and if passed through Congress, both tribal members and non tribal members will be stripped of their deeded land - at a price set by the federal government. If owners do not accept Washington's offer (expected to be a meager one), the land can be acquired at no cost because the measure has waived all appraisal rights and stipulates that Washington can simply take Indian land by force under 'eminent domain'.

Thousands of tribe members will be affected by the land-grab. Some residents will be forced to relocate, and many more others will lose their income from grazing allotments on the land - a result which will ultimately force any remaining independent cattle ranchers out of business. In addition to all this, Tribal members will lose their share of income from entrance fees collected at the adjacent North Gate of the Badlands National Park - a punitive measure which will further compound the existing economic depression on a reservation where the average annual income is around $8,000 per year.

Washington may be pining for yet another 'Wounded Knee', as many residents and tribal members are prepared to stand their ground in the face of a federal imperialist policy inside US borders - a trend which many Americans have experienced first-hand, particularly in western states like Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and California.