Puppet MastersS

Bad Guys

Best of the Web: US: Sanctions in Gallop 9/11 Lawsuit Send a Message: Seek Justice at Your Own Risk

Pentagon cleanup
© n/a
The message is loud and clear. Go after justice for 9/11 in the courts, and not only will you lose, you'll be punished.

That's what April Gallop and her lawyer, William Veale, found out as their lawsuit against former vice-president Dick Cheney, former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld, and former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Richard Myers concluded with a final slap in the face. This came in the form of a $15,000 fine levied against Veale for filing a "frivolous" appeal (the appeal had already been turned down in April of last year).

The decision was handed down by a three-judge panel headed by Justice John M. Walker, who just happens to be George W. Bush's cousin - proving that the American justice system has a twisted sense of humour at times.

In March 2010, a lower court threw the original case out, stating that it was based on "cynical delusion and fantasy."

Gallop, a former U.S. Army executive administrative assistant and her then two-month-old son were injured in the Pentagon event on 9/11 when an explosion in her office brought the ceiling down on them. Gallop's desk was in the Pentagon's E Ring, the outermost of the building's five rings. Her desk was reported to be just 40 feet from where Flight 77 is supposed to have hit the building shortly after 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 11.

Bad Guys

Koch Brothers Convene Super-Secret Billionaires' Meeting for 2012 US Elections

Koch plane
© AlterNet
Some of America's wealthiest Republicans flew into Palm Springs last weekend to update their stealthy political strategy for 2012.

At a retreat last weekend, dozens of wealthy donors convened in a large golf resort in Indian Wells, Calif. for a four day conference to raise money and plot out election year strategy, the Republic Report has confirmed. We traveled to the conference, and spoke to a few of the attendees.

The summit, organized by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, was cloaked in secrecy. Helicopters, private security and police officers from neighboring cities patrolled the area constantly. In previous years, Supreme Court justices, some of the wealthiest businessmen in the country and Republican politicians like Congressman Paul Ryan have all gathered at these twice-annual events. The Esmerelda Renaissance, the conference venue this year, was guarded carefully with every entrance blocked and the entire 560-room resort rented out. I arrived at the hotel the night before the event, but was followed closely by security and asked to leave the next morning before the Koch meeting guests arrived.

Though the donors will funnel tens of millions of dollars into the election this year, they will not have to disclose a single cent. Using an elaborate array of foundations, nonprofits and other legal entities, the Koch network sponsored bus tours, attack ads, think tanks, and hired Tea Party organizers to shape the midterm elections two years ago. Now, they appear to be expanding their effort.


BBC censors words "Free Palestine"‎ from rap video

What rapper MC Righteous was actually trying to say was 'Free Palestine'. But Palestine, it seems, is now a dirty word on the BBC.

Press TV's Hassan Ghani reports from London.

Comment: According to international law Palestine is under illegal occupation. Palestinians are subject to a Zionist system of apartheid, men women and children are killed and injured with impunity, lands and livelihoods are stolen, property destroyed. The BBC, under the influence of Zionism, would rather you didn't hear about any of that though. Truth is 'contentious' after all.


UK Foreign Secretary William Hague: British ambassador to Syria Recalled for 'Consultations'

Foreign Secretary William Hague says the U.K. has recalled its ambassador from Syria for consultations on the escalating violence in the country.

Hague told lawmakers Monday that Britain is using multiple channels to express its "abhorrence" at the violent crackdown on dissent by President Bashar Assad's regime, and has summoned Syria's ambassador to the Foreign Office to convey that message.

His remarks came after the U.S. said it has closed its embassy in Damascus and pulled all American diplomats out of Syria.

The Assad regime's crackdown on anti-government protesters has left thousands dead over the past year.

Source: The Associated Press


U.S. closes embassy in Damascus due to Syria violence

© Reuters
The United States announced on Monday it was closing its embassy in Syria due to the worsening security situation, further isolating Damascus over its bloody crackdown on anti-government protests.

The State Department, which warned late last month that it would close the embassy unless security concerns were addressed, said it had suspended embassy operations and withdrawn all embassy personnel including Ambassador Robert Ford.

"We, along with several other diplomatic missions, conveyed our security concerns to the Syrian government but the regime failed to respond adequately," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

Nuland said that Ford would retain his position as the U.S. ambassador to Syria and would work together with his team from Washington.

"Together with other senior U.S. officials, Ambassador Ford will maintain contacts with the Syrian opposition and continue our efforts to support the peaceful political transition which the Syrian people have so bravely sought," Nuland said.

Comment: Given that US embassies abroad are often just CIA station offices, the Syrian ambassador here is being rather laconic on the reasons why the security situation has deteriorated so much in Syria. Of course, there isn't much chance of him mentioning the fact that the armed 'revolutionaries' in Syria are all bought and paid for US mercenaries posing as 'Arab revolutionaries'.


Best of the Web: Bizarre, Unexplained Marine Colonel 'Suicides': What the Hell's Going on?

© MCAS El ToroCol James Sabow USMC
A highly decorated Vietnam War pilot and one of the highest ranking officers to be killed in the Iraq War...

What explains the tendency of 'full-birds' in the Marine Corps- men who attained the rank of colonel, to commit suicide when they are at the pinnacle of a spotless career?

It is a haunting question that should be studied and the results published. There aren't very many Marine colonels in the first place. One source I checked (ask.metafilter) states that the Marine Corps is authorized to maintain 35 brigadier generals, the rank of colonel is the next one down, you get the idea.

Also demanding research, are the amazing macabre things that these Marine colonels manage to do when they commit 'suicide'. The stories conjure up visions that Hollywood could scarcely replicate; even if the official government stories seem like they evolved from rejected 'b' movie scripts.

Col James Sabow

The government says Colonel James Sabow committed 'suicide' in 1991 at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. This would have had to have been an extremely technical 'suicide'; one that would have taken great, painstaking planning. According to the official reports, this man who flew 220+ missions in Vietnam and was a proud father, husband and third Marine in charge of his base, shot himself in his own backyard when he was actually either dead, or near death.

A unique story indeed. Exactly how Mr. Sabow managed to do this is something the government could never explain, however they did accept the matter as a 'suicide' without any argument.


Best of the Web: Return of Cheney's One Percent Doctrine

Cheney caricature
© Robbie Conal
Just as happened before the Iraq War, those who want to bomb Iran are scaring the American people with made-up scenarios about grave dangers ahead, new warnings as ludicrous as the "mushroom cloud" tales that panicked the U.S. public a decade ago, reports Robert Parry.

A weak point in the psyches of many Americans is that they allow their imaginations to run wild about potential threats to their personal safety, no matter how implausible the dangers may be. Perhaps, this is a side effect from watching too many scary movies and violent TV shows.

But this vulnerability also may explain why the current war hysteria against Iran is reviving the sorts of fanciful threats to the United States last seen before the Iraq War. Since right-wing Israelis and their neocon allies are having trouble selling the U.S. public on a new preemptive war in the Middle East, they have again resorted to dreaming up hypothetical scenarios to scare easily frightened Americans.

For instance, in a New York Times Magazine article on Jan. 29 by Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman - which essentially laid out Israel's case for attacking Iran - Moshe Ya'alon, Israel's vice prime minister and minister of strategic affairs, is quoted as explaining the need to make Americans very afraid of Iran. Bergman wrote:
"It is, of course, important for Ya'alon to argue that this is not just an Israeli-Iranian dispute, but a threat to America's well-being. 'The Iranian regime will be several times more dangerous if it has a nuclear device in its hands,' he went on. 'One that it could bring into the United States. It is not for nothing that it is establishing bases for itself in Latin America and creating links with drug dealers on the U.S.-Mexican border.

"'This is happening in order to smuggle ordnance into the United States for the carrying out of terror attacks. Imagine this regime getting nuclear weapons to the U.S.-Mexico border and managing to smuggle it into Texas, for example. This is not a far-fetched scenario.'"


Best of the Web: US: Why Do Dangerous Financial Criminals Roam Free?

money / suit
© n/a
Prosecutors like Eric Schneiderman need cops on the beat to put financial crooks behind bars. But thanks to Bush, these cops are missing in action.

American Public Media's "Marketplace" had a recent segment focused on why it has taken so long to bring criminal prosecutions related to the financial crisis. Reporters observed that at the beginning of the crisis, the Obama administration wanted to calm the financial industry rather than impose accountability. They speculated, along with Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street participants, many of whom have been calling for prosecutions, that Obama's creation of a new group to prosecute mortgage fraud led by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman was likely to be politically motivated. And they indicated that financial crimes are complex and prosecutors need time to develop their cases.

But here's what they didn't say: A major reason the prosecutions don't exist is that President George W. Bush took the cops off the beat.

Think about street crime. Imagine, for example, a protection racket in which gangs extort payment from fearful shopkeepers. Prosecutors rarely initiate criminal prosecutions; indeed, they may not even know that the crime is occurring. The police pound the beats that keep them aware of the increase in crime, respond to complaints, investigate, determine that a crime may have occurred that warrants attention, create a file and send it to the prosecutor's office. In routine cases, the prosecution proceeds on the basis of the police report alone. In more complex cases, the prosecutor may supplement the police investigation. But prosecutors rarely initiate cases. Even when a task force is appointed to target crime in a particular sector, it typically involves prosecutors working with the police. The prosecutors simply don't have the skills or the manpower to detect crime, conduct investigations and make the record necessary to prosecute.

War Whore

Afghan civilian death toll reaches record high

The President has two words for you folks: Predator Drones
UN report says 3,021 civilians killed in 2011
8% increase on 2010 and fifth consecutive rise
Number of suicide bombings static but toll rises 80%

The civilian death toll for the war in Afghanistan reached a record high last year with 3,021 deaths, according to the United Nations.

The number killed rose by 8% last year - the fifth consecutive rise - with a further 4,507 civilians wounded, the UN report said. Many were killed by roadside bombs or in suicide attacks, with Taliban-affiliated militants responsible for three-quarters of the deaths.

The number of deaths caused by suicide bombings jumped to 450, an 80% increase over the previous year, even though the number of suicide attacks remained about the same.

"A decade after the war began, the human cost of it is still rising," said Georgette Gagnon, director for human rights for the UN mission in Afghanistan.

Comment: Apart from the image that we inserted, not a single mention is made of the mass murder carried out in Afghanistan by US drones.

Control Panel

London Olympics could crash the internet, British government warns

© Unknown
Fears of an internet meltdown during the London Games may lead to web access being rationed for British businesses

British businesses are being warned that they could lose their internet connections during the Olympics due to a surge in the number of people going online at key times. The demand could be such that internet companies might be forced to ration access, according to official advice.

The warning, in the Cabinet Office's official advice, Preparing your Business for the Games, says that the country's telecoms system may be unable to cope with demand to access the internet in certain areas. Businesses are being encouraged to offer staff flexible working arrangements to try to ease the pressure.

The document, shared with government departments, states: "It is possible that internet services may be slower during the Games or, in very severe cases, there may be dropouts due to an increased number of people accessing the internet."

The document says that internet service providers "may introduce data caps during peak times to try to spread the loading and give a more equal service to their entire customer base", leading to concerns that major corporations or those in areas of high usage could experience problems.

Comment: Sounds to us like an excuse to introduce control measures. It's not looking good for the future of freedom of information:

Freedom of Speech, Internet Censorship and SOPA

Columnist Calls for Internet "Quality Control" to Quash Dissent