Puppet MastersS

Bad Guys

Greek police accused of beating suspected bank robbers in custody

© Photograph: EPAGreek police escort one of the suspected bank robbers following their arrest.
Police mugshots of suspects appear to show signs of bruising to their faces, despite images being digitally manipulated

Greek authorities are under pressure to explain police pictures of four suspected bank robbers, three of whom are also suspected of being members of a domestic terrorist group, who appear to have been brutally beaten in custody.

The four men, aged 20 to 24, were arrested on Friday in northern Greece shortly after a bank robbery. Police released mugshots and asked for further information from the public.

Star of David

New York City officials threaten funding of Brooklyn College over Israel event

© Photograph: AP Photo/Gino DomenicoIn 1999, then-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani threatened to cut off funds for the Brooklyn Museum unless it withdrew art exhibits he found "offensive".
In defense of Israel, liberal officials are copying Giuliani's 1999 termination of funding for a museum exhibiting "offensive" art

On Saturday, I wrote about the numerous New York City officials (including multiple members of the US House of Representatives) who have predictably signed onto the Alan-Derwshowitz-led attack on academic freedom at Brooklyn College. This group of Israel advocates and elected officials is demanding that the college's Political Science department rescind its sponsorship of an event featuring two advocates of the BDS movement aimed at stopping Israeli occupation and settlements.

The threat to academic freedom posed by this growing lynch mob is obvious: if universities are permitted to hold only those events which do not offend state officials and "pro-Israel" fanatics such as Alan Dershowitz, then "academic freedom" is illusory. But on Sunday, that threat significantly intensified, as a ranking member of the New York City Council explicitly threatened to cut off funding for the college if his extortionate demands regarding this event are not met. From a letter to BC President Karen Gould, issued by Council Assistant Majority Leader Lew Fidler and signed by nine other members of the City Council (the full letter is embedded below):
"Among this City's diversity - and the student body of Brooklyn College - there are a significant number of people who would, and do, find this event to be offensive. . . .

"A significant portion of the funding for CUNY schools comes directly from the tax dollars of the people of the State and City of New York. Every year, we legislators are asked for additional funding to support programs and initiatives at these schools and we fight hard to secure those funds. Every one of those dollars given to CUNY, and Brooklyn College, means one less dollar going to some other worthy purpose. We do not believe this program is what the taxpayers of our City - many of who would feel targeted and demonized by this program - want their tax money to be spent on.

"We believe in the principle of academic freedom. However, we also believe in the principle of not supporting schools whose programs we, and our constituents, find to be odious and wrong."


COINTELPRO in the UK: Undercover Police officers stole identities of dead children to become 'anti-capitalist hippies'

John Dines, an undercover police sergeant, as he appeared in the early 1990s when he posed as John Barker, a protester against capitalism
Undercover officers created aliases based on details found in birth and death records, Guardian investigation reveals

Britain's largest police force stole the identities of an estimated 80 dead children and issued fake passports in their names for use by undercover police officers.

The Metropolitan police secretly authorised the practice for covert officers infiltrating protest groups without consulting or informing the children's parents.

The details are revealed in an investigation by the Guardian, which has established how over three decades generations of police officers trawled through national birth and death records in search of suitable matches.

Undercover officers created aliases based on the details of the dead children and were issued with accompanying identity records such as driving licences and national insurance numbers. Some of the police officers spent up to 10 years pretending to be people who had died.

The Met said the practice was not "currently" authorised, but announced an investigation into "past arrangements for undercover identities used by SDS [Special Demonstration Squad] officers".

Comment: They have no intention whatsoever of investigating why 'these gruesome practices' are allowed to happen. They're psychopaths doing whatever it takes to keep tabs on what normal people are up to; how could they do differently?

Airplane Paper

Mini drones: Army deploys tiny helicopters

A tiny 4ins remote-control helicopter is being used for surveillance on the front line to detect enemy threats to British troops.
The mini drones can see over walls and around corners
British troops are using a nano drone just 10cm long and weighing 16 grams on the front line in Afghanistan to provide vital information on the ground.

They are the first to use the state-of-the-art handheld tiny surveillance helicopters, which relay reliable full motion video and still images back to the devices' handlers in the battlefield.

The Black Hornet Nano Unmanned Air Vehicle is the size of a child's toy, measuring just 10cm (4 ins) by 2.5cm (1 inch), and is equipped with a tiny camera.

Red Flag

Mass shootings kill far more than Muslim terrorism in U.S.

© Reuters / Andrew Burton
Mass shooting fatalities by far exceed the number of those killed in Muslim-related terrorism in the US, new research says. The number of terrorist incidents involving Muslim Americans has shown a dramatic drop since 2009.

Fourteen Muslim-Americans committed or were charged with terrorist crimes in 2012, down from 21 in 2011, 26 in 2010 and 49 in 2009, according to the fourth annual report by North Carolina's Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security.

Of the 14 offenders in 2012, only one was accused of executing a violent attack (the bombing of a Social Security office in Casa Grande, Ariz.). The other perpetrators were arrested at an early stage of their terrorist plots.

The author of the research, sociology professor Charles Kurzman, who has been studying the issue for the past three years, concluded that "the number of Muslim-Americans indicted for support of terrorism - financing, false statements, and other connections with terrorist plots and organizations, aside from violent plots - fell from 27 individuals in 2010 to 8 in 2011, bringing the total to 462 since 9/11."

© Image from tcths.sanford.duke.edu

Bizarro Earth

Why police lie under oath

© Wesley Allsbrook
Thousands of people plead guilty to crimes every year in the United States because they know that the odds of a jury's believing their word over a police officer's are slim to none. As a juror, whom are you likely to believe: the alleged criminal in an orange jumpsuit or two well-groomed police officers in uniforms who just swore to God they're telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but? As one of my colleagues recently put it, "Everyone knows you have to be crazy to accuse the police of lying."

But are police officers necessarily more trustworthy than alleged criminals? I think not. Not just because the police have a special inclination toward confabulation, but because, disturbingly, they have an incentive to lie. In this era of mass incarceration, the police shouldn't be trusted any more than any other witness, perhaps less so.

That may sound harsh, but numerous law enforcement officials have put the matter more bluntly. Peter Keane, a former San Francisco Police commissioner, wrote an article in The San Francisco Chronicle decrying a police culture that treats lying as the norm: "Police officer perjury in court to justify illegal dope searches is commonplace. One of the dirty little not-so-secret secrets of the criminal justice system is undercover narcotics officers intentionally lying under oath. It is a perversion of the American justice system that strikes directly at the rule of law. Yet it is the routine way of doing business in courtrooms everywhere in America."

Comment: It would seem that one way to reduce this rather commonplace activity is to actually punish the officer who gets caught lying on the stand. The average person gets charged with perjury. Why is it that when a case is dismissed because evidence proves the policeman's testimony to be not just wrong, but completely made up, that person is not charged with perjury? If there is no deterrent to lying on the stand, then police will continue to do so. Instead of promoting them, they should be charged and fired. That may help stop this epidemic of lying and destroying the lives of people who had the misfortune to cross the path of an officer needing to fill a quota.

Eye 2

Los Angeles archbishop describes city's clergy sex abuse files as 'sad and evil'

© Photograph: Kevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesEsther Millar, 54, joins a demonstration urgingvictims of alleged clergy sex abuse to come forward on Friday.
Church leaders read letter at masses across the city after Jose Gomez strips predecessor of his administrative duties

Roman Catholic parishioners in Los Angeles were read a letter from Archbishop Jose Gomez on Sunday in which he described newly released files on clergy sex abuse as "terribly sad and evil."

The archbishop's words were read by church leaders at masses across the city, the Los Angeles Times reported. The letter was made public late last week.
Gomez said the church needs to acknowledge the "terrible failure" of its handling of abuse cases.

At St Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in North Hollywood, parishioner Eric Nielsen praised Gomez for addressing the issue.

"I take my hat off to the archbishop," said Nielsen, 52. "He got on the ball and did what needed to be done."


French forces in Mali launch air strikes on Islamist camps

© Photograph: Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty ImagesFrench troops patrol the streets of Gao, eastern Mali.
Planes have bombarded extremist camps and arms and fuel depots, French military says, as first aid convoy arrives

French aircraft struck Islamic militant training camps and arms depots around Kidal and Tessalit in Mali's far north, defence officials said on Sunday, as the first convoy of food, fuel and parts to eastern Mali headed across the country.

The strikes also hit arms and fuel depots from Saturday night into the early hours of Sunday, according to army spokesman Colonel Thierry Burkhard. "It was an important aerial operation to the north of the town Kidal and in the Tessalit region where we targeted logistical depots and Islamist training camps ... some 20 sites," said Burkhard. He said 30 planes were used in the operation , including Mirage and Rafale jets.

Although troops have succeeded in ousting the rebels from the three main northern cities they occupied, the aerial operation highlights the fact that the French still see militants in the northern area near the border with Algeria as a threat. "Here, there are still various Islamist groups like the MUJAO [Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa] and Ansar Dine," he said.


Paraguayan presidential candidate killed in helicopter crash

© Photograph: ReutersLino Oviedo pictured at a campaign rally before his fatal accident.
Lino Oviedo, 69, famed for his role in the overthrow of dictator Alfredo Stroessner, found dead in wreckage

Paraguayan presidential candidate Lino Oviedo, one of the leaders of the 1989 coup that overthrew dictator Alfredo Stroessner, died in a helicopter crash over the weekend. A retired general known as a dynamic public speaker, the 69-year-old Oviedo was planning to stand in the presidential election scheduled for April.

Police rescuers found his body on Sunday in the wreckage of the crash in northern Paraguay where he was travelling for a campaign event. The day marked exactly 24 years since the coup that ended Stroessner's 35-year dictatorship.

War Whore

Middle East on the brink of multiple conflicts

The Mideast is stumbling into one of its most dangerous crisis in decades. I'm just back from the region - and as an old Mideast hand, I am very worried.

This region is always tense, but right now a series of separate conflicts are rapidly beginning to intersect. We see the Mideast, North Africa and the Sahara buffeted by revolutions and counter-revolutions. Old colonial powers France and Britain, and the US, are trying to reassert their domination in the region. The jihadist are back.

In a brazen act of war, Israel launched airstrikes on Syria last Wednesday in a clear attempt to worsen the crisis in that war-torn nation and challenge Syria's ally, Iran. Israel's forces are on high alert and may invade Syria, whose strategic Golan Heights were seized and annexed by Israel. Will more Syrian land follow?

Goaded by Israel, Iran thundered "any attack on Syria is an attack on Iran." An Iranian general warned Tel Aviv might come under attack. Hot air, as they say in Farsi. Separated from ally Syria by Iraq, Iran's not very mobile ground forces would be unable to intervene in Syria in any substantial way. Israel's air force would devastate any Iranian columns advancing in open terrain.