Puppet MastersS

Compass

India Follows Japan's Suit to Ensure Oil Imports from Iran

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© Unknown
The New Delhi government ordered Indian state-run insurers to provide cover to the country's ships transporting Iranian oil, allowing refiners to avoid any interruption in supplies due to the western sanctions.

United India Insurance Co. has agreed to provide protection and indemnity cover to Indian tankers carrying oil from Iran with General Insurance Corp. offering reinsurance.

The offer brings some relief to Indian shipping companies that aren't getting covers from European insurers since July 1 for carrying shipments from Iran, which is facing sanctions from the US and European Union for its decision to continue using its international nuclear rights.

An oil embargo by the European Union took effect on July 1 and bans firms from insuring Iranian shipments, forcing China and India to ask Iran's oil shipper, NITC, to deliver crude in its vessels.

Almost the entire Iranian fleet, the largest in the world, is employed for exporting oil cargos to various destinations now.

Comment: With a withering economy in the US and several other Western nations, some countries who's livelihood isn't owned or controlled by the west are beginning to step up and take care of their energy needs despite cries of foul from the West.


Bad Guys

Monsanto Rider: New Bill Could Make Biotech Companies Immune to Courts

protest outside Monsanto's office
© Reuters/Francois LenoirAn activist from Friends of the Earth Europe wears a bee headband as another holds up a placard during a protest outside the Monsanto's office in Brussels.
If passed, an amendment in the Agricultural Appropriations Bill will not just allow, but require the secretary of agriculture to grant permits for planting or cultivating GM crops - even if a federal court has given an injunction against it.

Basically, all Monsanto and other biotech companies have to do is ask and the industry gets its way. Issues like crop contamination, damage to farmers or consumers, courts orders or USDA studies all go out the window and the biotech industry cashes in.

Organizations like Food Democracy Now are in a panic, calling all to petition against the bill, which they say "fundamentally undermines the concept of judicial review and would strip judges of their constitutional mandate to protect consumer rights and the environment, while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new untested genetically engineered crops, endangering farmers, consumers and the environment."

Representative Peter DeFazio has been trying to push through an amendment that would kill the havoc-wreaking rider. He has the support of organizations like Organic Consumers Associations, Center for Food Safety and others. Their warnings have been circulating the web, gathering attention and support - but will they be enough to sway the House?

Gear

Lockheed Uses You-May-Be-Fired Scare Tactic to Lobby Against Defense Cuts

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© AP ImagesLockheed Martin's assembly line in Marietta, Ga. Photograph: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company
It's enough to make a member of Congress take notice: the prospect that hundreds of thousands of U.S. defense workers will receive you-may-be-fired warnings in the mail shortly before the Nov. 6 election.

Companies led by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) (LMT), the world's largest defense contractor, say federal and state laws may require them to send out blanket notifications of potential job cuts before the election unless President Barack Obama and Congress act by October to avert automatic defense reductions of $500 billion over a decade that would start on Jan. 2.

To employment-law attorney Margaret Keane, giving mass dismissal warnings in such uncertain conditions looks more like a lobbying tactic by corporations trying to ward off the cuts than an effort to follow the letter of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

"I just don't think you need to do that," said Keane, a partner with Littler Mendelson PC who advises employers on meeting the notification law's requirements. "Are we really talking about complying with the WARN Act, or are we talking about political pressure being applied?"

Cell Phone

Police State: Your Smartphone Is Spying on You

smartphones
© Flickr/midnightglory
The feds demanded subscriber information from cell phone companies more than 1.3 million times last year, the New York Times reported Monday. According to the Times, the number of people whose data was turned over to the government could be far larger than 1.3 million, because "a single request often involves multiple callers." The information was released in response to an inquiry from Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass), but it's incomplete - T-Mobile, which claims 33 million customers, didn't provide Markey with specific data about the government's requests.

This isn't just about wiretaps. Rather, the authorities can obtain an incredible amount of information about you even without listening to your phone conversations. Instead, telecom companies are handing over things like text messages, voicemails, geolocation data (where you were when your phone connected with a cell tower) and which phone numbers you're calling when. Much of this kind of information is available without a warrant because, from a legal perspective, they government isn't searching you, it's asking for information from a private third party to whom you've willingly given this information by signing on as subscriber. In a few cases, the telecom companies refused to comply with the requests.

Eye 1

Homeland Security buys 'big brother' laser scanner that can tell if you are high, what you are carrying and even what you had for breakfast... from 50 meters away

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© Genia PhotonicsPortable: The front view of the Picosecond Programmable Laser scanner show how small the device is which means that it could be used in a wide range of circumstances
The latest scanners acquired by the U.S. government will be able detect the most minute traces of molecular discrepancies in both individuals' bloodstream and carry on luggage from 50 meters away.

Using advanced laser technology, Picosecond Programmable Laser scanners will show traces of drugs, chemicals, weapons, and even food you recently digested at the push of a button.

A non-governmental company originally developed the technology but has since partnered with the Department of Homeland Security, implying that the scanners will likely be deployed throughout airports and other high-risk areas.

An unidentified undersecretary at Homeland Security projected that the technology will be used within the next one to two years.

Though the essential process of detecting chemicals on individuals is not new, the significant speed and unmatched accuracy of these scanners makes them stand out against the rest of the market.

Eye 2

Rajat Gupta and the corporate psychopath

Allen Stanford
© ReutersConvicted financier Allen Stanford arrives at Federal Court in Houston for sentencing
Two white-collar criminals received justice last week - Allen Stanford of Stanford International Bank and Rajat Gupta of McKinsey & Co and Goldman Sachs. One's actions are easy to understand, the other's extremely hard.

Stanford, a Ponzi schemer who stole $2 billion of his eager depositors' money, is easy: if he is not a psychopath, he certainly behaved like one for two decades. Gupta, convicted of fraud and conspiracy for leaking price-sensitive titbits about Goldman to Raj Rajaratnam, the criminally corrupt hedge fund manager who was his confidant and friend, is the puzzle.

Gary Naftalis, Gupta's lawyer, told the jury shortly before his conviction: "Rajat Gupta was in the seventh decade of an accomplished and praiseworthy life. It strains common sense that [he] would ...throw away everything he had done for 40 years, and wilfully and knowingly commit crimes. That just doesn't make sense."

Heart - Black

Harold Ford, Jr.: Portrait of a sleazy corporatist sociopath

Harold Ford Jr.
© Reuters/Jessica RinaldiHarold Ford Jr.

Harold Ford Jr., sleazy corporatist and nepotist, offers up a particularly grotesque defense of U.S. aggression.

Harold Ford, Jr. is the walking, breathing embodiment of virtually everything rotted and corrupt about the American political class. He entered Congress at the age of 26 only by virtue of nepotistic benefits: while in law school, he ran for the seat long held by his father of the same name (he then promptly failed the test for admission to the Tennessee bar). In Congress, he voted for de-regulation of Wall Street (which helped precipitate the 2008 financial crisis); to authorize the Iraq War (and then harshly criticized Democrats who opposed it and refused to admit its error even as late as 2007); in favor of a Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages (The Advocate branded him "anti-gay"); and was one of the few Democrats to support the credit-card-industry-demanded bankruptcy "reform" bill that made it harder for impoverished consumers to discharge consumer debt.

Star of David

Ehud Olmert found guilty in corruption case

Ehud Olmert
© AFP photoFormer Israeli PM Ehud Olmert speaks to the press at the District Court in Jerusalem. He was found guilty of a corruption charge in the first criminal trial.
Ehud Olmert was found guilty yesterday of a corruption charge in the first criminal trial of a former Israeli prime minister, but acquitted on two other counts in what was widely seen as a significant victory for him.

Although Olmert was convicted of fraud and breach of trust, he was found not guilty on more serious charges that included allegations he received cash bribes from a U.S. businessman and double-billed Israeli charities for overseas fund-raising trips. It was not immediately clear when Olmert, 66, would be sentenced. If that crime, breach of trust, does carry a prison term, he would become the first Israeli prime minister to serve time. He could face up to five years in jail.

Chess

Russia 'sending flotilla of warships' to Syrian port of Tartus

Admiral Chabanenko
© AFP photoA December 19, 2008, file photo of the Russian Admiral Chabanenko destroyer arrives at Havana's harbor.
Russia has sent a naval flotilla of six warships led by an anti-submarine destroyer to its naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus, the Interfax news agency reported today.

The Admiral Chabanenko and three landing craft have left their home port of Severomorsk in the Arctic Circle on their way to the Mediterranean where they will be joined by the Russian patrol ship Yaroslav Mudry as well as an assistance vessel, a military source told the agency.

Attention

14 Incredibly Creepy Surveillance Technologies That Big Brother Will Be Using To Spy On You

Big Brother Surveillance
© The American Dream
Most of us don't think much about it, but the truth is that people are being watched, tracked and monitored more today than at any other time in human history. The explosive growth of technology in recent years has given governments, spy agencies and big corporations monitoring tools that the despots and dictators of the past could only dream of.

Previous generations never had to deal with "pre-crime" surveillance cameras that use body language to spot criminals or unmanned drones watching them from far above.

Previous generations would have never even dreamed that street lights and refrigerators might be spying on them. Many of the incredibly creepy surveillance technologies that you are about to read about are likely to absolutely astound you. We are rapidly heading toward a world where there will be no such thing as privacy anymore.

Big Brother is becoming all-pervasive, and thousands of new technologies are currently being developed that will make it even easier to spy on you. The world is changing at a breathtaking pace, and a lot of the changes are definitely not for the better.

The following are 14 incredibly creepy surveillance technologies that Big Brother will be using to watch you....