Puppet MastersS


Floating Base Gives U.S. New Footing in the Persian Gulf

© Blake Midnight/U.S. Navy/APThe Ponce, one of the Navy’s oldest transport ships, transits the Persian Gulf en route to Bahrain on July 4.
One of the Navy's oldest transport ships, now converted into one of its newest platforms for warfare, arrived in waters off Bahrain late last week, a major addition to the enlarged presence of American forces in the Persian Gulf designed as a counter to Iran.

The keel for the ship, the Ponce, was cast in 1966, and the vessel, nearing the end of its service, was to have been scrapped. But the Ponce was reborn as a floating forward base for staging important military operations across the region - the latest example of the new American way of war.

The first mission of the reborn Ponce was designed to be low profile and defensive, as an operations hub for mine clearing in the Strait of Hormuz, a counter to threats from Tehran to close the vital commercial waterway. In that role, the Ponce will be a launching pad for helicopters, a home to underwater diver teams and a seaborne service station providing fuel and maintenance for minesweeping ships.

But with the relatively simple addition of a modular barracks on the deck, the Ponce can also be a mobile base for several hundred Special Operations forces to carry out missions like hostage rescue, counterterrorism, reconnaissance, sabotage and direct strikes. Even with the addition of the barracks, there is ample room for helicopters and the small, fast boats favored by commandos.

Comment: This ship is also part of a larger group of ships (the US Fifth Fleet) in the Persian Gulf.


Hidden Government Scanners Will Instantly Know Everything About You From 164 Feet Away

Hidden Scanners
© Gizmodo.com
Within the next year or two, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will instantly know everything about your body, clothes, and luggage with a new laser-based molecular scanner fired from 164 feet (50 meters) away. From traces of drugs or gun powder on your clothes to what you had for breakfast to the adrenaline level in your body - agents will be able to get any information they want without even touching you.

And without you knowing it.

The technology is so incredibly effective that, in November 2011, its inventors were subcontracted by In-Q-Tel to work with the US Department of Homeland Security. In-Q-Tel is a company founded "in February 1999 by a group of private citizens at the request of the Director of the CIA and with the support of the U.S. Congress." According to In-Q-Tel, they are the bridge between the Agency and new technology companies.

Their plan is to install this molecular-level scanning in airports and border crossings all across the United States. The official, stated goal of this arrangement is to be able to quickly identify explosives, dangerous chemicals, or bioweapons at a distance.

The machine is ten million times faster - and one million times more sensitive - than any currently available system. That means that it can be used systematically on everyone passing through airport security, not just suspect or randomly sampled people.


Libor Scandal Could Turn 'Ugly' As U.S. Cities Begin To Sue

© Associated Press
The news on Wednesday that cities and states are suing some of the world's largest banks over Libor manipulation shows how this scandal could blow up into one of history's biggest bank frauds.

That's because interest-rate manipulation might well have kept your town or state from hiring firefighters or teachers, from paving roads or paying for indigent care or after-school programs for your kids -- adding to the human suffering of the economic collapse these same banks caused in the first place.

If it's any consolation, the lawsuits and fines over this manipulation could potentially cost the banks -- which include not only Barclays but Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and many more -- billions of dollars.

"This could get very ugly in a hurry for some banks," Peter Tchir of TF Market Advisors wrote in a note.


Scientologists Plan Hollywood TV Studio

© Reuters//Mario AnzuoniPeople walk past the building where television station KCET used to be housed in Los Angeles, California July 10, 2012.
The Church of Scientology, the religion whose followers include actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta, plans to start a religious broadcasting center to promote its teachings over TV, radio and the Internet.

The center, located near the church's West Coast headquarters in Hollywood, would occupy the nearly five-acre studio property the church bought last year from Los Angeles public TV station KCET for $42 million. The station would elevate the public profile of a religion that has mostly relied on pamphlets and books by its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, to proselytize for new members.

"The church plans to establish a central media hub for our growing world network of churches and to move into the production of religious television and radio broadcasting," said Karin Pouw, a spokeswoman for Church of Scientology International, in an email.

She said there is no timetable for when operations would begin.



Smith's IP-Protection Bill Tabbed 'Zombie' Reanimation of SOPA

Lamar Smith
© unknownLamar Smith
SOPA Foe Rep. Darrell Issa Says He Supports Bill With Tweaking To Protect Fair Use; PK, Not Assuaged, Opposes It

As he signaled last week in a statement for an IP enforcement hearing, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has introduced a bill that would beef up a Bush Administration IP attaché program, but some are calling it an effort to piece out the Stop Online Piracy Act, which also beefed up the attaché program but was scuttled by a Silicon Valley-led online campaign.

Smith says the current administration has been too lax on intellectual property enforcement, prompting him to introduce the bill. The Intellectual Property Attaché Act would call for the placement of IP attaches in embassies where their presence is most likely to reduce IP infringement.

The bill was being painted by its critics as an effort to reanimate parts of the dead SOPA bill, with zombie references in both a posting on TechCrunch and a USA News & World Report story about that and other online stories on the bill.

If it is the beginning of SOPA the sequel, one unlikely backer is Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), one of SOPA's strongest opponents. He is ready to support the Smith bill, with some modification to exempt fair use, according to a statement his office provided TechCrunch and confirmed to B&C/Multi was his take on the bill.


Games of Brotherhood and All That: 3,500 More Troops on Standby for London Olympics, for a Total of 20,000

British troops
© Sky News
The armed forces have been told to find an extra 3,500 personnel to protect the Olympic Games to cover a shortfall in recruitment by a private security firm just a fortnight before the games open.

The extra personnel, the equivalent of an infantry brigade, means that 20,000 servicemen and women will be on duty - that is a fifth of the Army.

Whitehall and defence sources confirmed that G4S, the private company contracted to organise security at the 100 sites for the Olympics had "failed to meet the recruitment and training targets".

They explained: "This means that we have been forced to ask the forces to deliver more people."

A G4S spokeswoman said: "This has been an unprecedented and very complex security recruitment, training and deployment exercise which has been carried out to a tight timescale.

Comment: Talk about Transmarginal Inhibition. There is no extra threat but we will deploy 20,000 troops just to be on the safe side.


European Court of Human Rights Condemns MIVILUDES

On 6 July 2012, MIVILUDES issued a press release which said:
"The Inter-ministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combating Cultic Deviances takes note of the court decision taken by the European Court of Human Rights on 5 July 2012 but makes clear it was a decision about a purely fiscal dispute. It will go on exercising vigilance regarding the Jehovah's Witnesses because of denouncements of 'sectarian deviations' that it regularly receives from former members or from relatives of members of this religious community."
This position is rather surprising. Complaints against a group addressed to MIVILUDES, but not lodged with the police or going through judicial proceedings, are sufficient for the state agency to put the said group under scrutiny without it being informed and able to defend itself case by case before MIVILUDES, a specific arbitration commission or a court. Is the use by a state agency of denouncements the contents and the authors of which remain unknown to the accused religious group compatible with democratic principles when they are utilized to justify the implementation of a policy targeting the said group?

UN Special Rapport on Freedom of Religion or Belief Warned France in 2005

After her visit to France on 18 to 29 September 2005, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion of Belief, Asma Jahangir, said in her Report dated 6 March 2006:
"112. The Special Rapporteur urges the Government to ensure that its mechanisms for dealing with these religious groups or communities of belief deliver a message based on tolerance, freedom of religion or belief and on the principle that no one can be judged for his actions other than through the appropriate judicial channels."


Scandal over rate-fixing about to hit the US

© Phil Noble/ReutersA branch of Barclays bank is seen in northern England.
It may seem like just another obscure banking scandal at a 322-year-old British bank, but there are a number of good reasons why you should care about the LIBOR rate-rigging scandal now roiling the world's biggest and most powerful banks, including that it probably cost you money if you own a mortgage.

In late June Barclays paid $453 million to regulators in the U.K and the U.S. to settle accusations that it had tried to influence LIBOR, or the London interbank offered rate -- a benchmark interest rate that affects the price at which consumers and companies across the world borrow funds.

The rate, which is fixed via a poll of banks by the British Bankers' Association, an industry group in London, is the benchmark for setting payments on some $360 trillion worth of financial instruments, ranging from credit cards to more complex derivatives, such as futures contracts.

The potential scope of the unfolding scandal, now acquiring global significance, is enormous. Economists and analysts predict it could be one of the most expensive scandals to hit the banking sector since the financial crisis, engulfing more multinational banks with fines that dwarf the one handed to Barclays and further eroding investor confidence in the banking sector.

Comment: Newsflash!
(Above) US mainstream media comes out with information about LIBOR: The Biggest Financial Scam In World History 2 weeks after the fact!

Been Following the Economy? 17 Reasons To Be Extremely Concerned About The Second Half Of 2012
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"Non-religious" President Shimon Peres cancels Olympics opening ceremony visit over Shabbat observance

Shimon Peres
President Shimon Peres has cancelled his visit to the Olympic Games in London due to the refusal of the Olympic organizing committee to allow him to sleep in the Olympic village over Shabbat night.

The Israeli president, despite not being religious, does not travel publicly on Shabbat and will therefore not be able to attend the Olympic opening ceremony.

The President's office has been working on the visit to London for months. Peres had planned, along with dozens of other heads of state, to watch the opening ceremony in 17 days.

However, when his staff realized that the ceremony will go on for hours and will end at the beginning of Shabbat at sundown on Friday afternoon, they began looking for alternatives to travel back to his hotel by car.

Comment: What is he avoiding?

Light Sabers

Political Hypocrisy: 'America's Syrian friends and Afghan foes are same people'

It's puzzling how the US can treat radical Islamists in Syria as allies while fighting against them as enemies in Afghanistan, says the chair of the Russian parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs.

­Washington's double standard approach is evident in the Syrian crisis. It supports the armed opposition, which wants to turn the country into a dictatorship, claiming that their war against the Assad government has democracy as the goal,
Aleksey Pushkov
Aleksey Pushkov: chair of the Russian parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs
Aleksey Pushkov told RT.

RT: Do you think the events unfolding in Syria are in line with the interests of the Syrian people?

Aleksey Pushkov: There is a civil war going on in Syria, and it is only the Syrian political opposition that is benefiting from it. The opposition took up arms and uses violence to achieve their goal. I am convinced that most Syrians don't want to have this armed conflict.

It is well-known that the armed opposition groups persecute the Christian community in Syria. Thousands of Christians were driven out of their towns and villages. Shia Muslims, a minority in the country - they make up 13 per cent - are also targeted by armed Sunni radicals who represent the majority in the armed opposition.

Minorities are killed, as we saw in Houla, and driven out. There is a town in Syria called Hama, right now it is controlled by the militants. And there are basically no local residents left in Hama. They have either been killed or fled the city.

Comment: For more information of what is actually taking place in Syria, read our SOTT Focus:
NATO's 'Civil War' Machine Rolls Into Syria