Puppet MastersS

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The most important surveillance order we know almost nothing about

blog spying
Over the last seven months, we have learned an incredible amount about the government's post-9/11 surveillance efforts. But there is a crucial gap in our basic understanding.

We now know, for example, a good deal about how the government conducts surveillance that targets Americans, and about surveillance of foreigners that sweeps up Americans' international communications when the actual surveillance takes place on U.S. soil (for example, from a Google facility in the United States). But we still know very little about Executive Order 12,333, which governs the NSA's surveillance abroad - even when that surveillance sweeps up Americans' communications.

To fill that gap, the ACLU, along with the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School, today filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit demanding that the government release basic information about its use of Executive Order 12,333 to conduct surveillance of Americans' international communications.


Beware of suspicious farmers: FBI links almanacs with terror planning

2013 almanac
© unknown
The FBI is warning police nationwide to be alert for people carrying almanacs, cautioning that the popular reference books covering everything from abbreviations to weather trends could be used for terrorist planning.

In a bulletin sent Christmas Eve to about 18,000 police organizations, the FBI said terrorists may use almanacs "to assist with target selection and pre-operational planning."

It urged officers to watch during searches, traffic stops and other investigations for anyone carrying almanacs, especially if the books are annotated in suspicious ways.

"The practice of researching potential targets is consistent with known methods of Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations that seek to maximize the likelihood of operational success through careful planning," the FBI wrote.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the bulletin this week and verified its authenticity.

Black Magic

Children's Books Glorify Rise of Totalitarianism in US - Just like in Nazi Germany

scholastic brainwashing
© unknown
Established in 1920, Scholastic is the largest publisher and distributor of children's books in the world. Scholastic titles are found in thousands of schools and libraries across America, and also internationally.

It's Orwellian sounding history book series, 'Cornerstones of Freedom', contains many items with a Marxist-Globalist slant. The putrid vomit is sold to gullible parents, teachers, and administrators as "American History". Most disturbing of all the titles is one of its 2012 releases, entitled 'Homeland Security', in which the HS & TSA Army of liberty killing goons are glorified for their work in border protection, airline security, and disaster response.


Top seven underreported stories for 2013

This year's top stories get to the heart of critical issues like privacy, government transparency and government overreach. From the death of internet icon Aaron Swartz to the historic military trial of Chelsea Manning to unprecedented scrutiny of the drone campaign, RT correspondent Liz Wahl takes a look at the seven top stories we covered that the mainstream media underreported or overlooked 2013.


Best of the Web: U.S.: The shocking redistribution of wealth in the past five years

© CultureChange.org
Anyone reviewing the data is likely to conclude that there must be some mistake. It doesn't seem possible that one out of twenty American families could each have made a million dollars since Obama became President, while the average American family's net worth has barely recovered. But the evidence comes from numerous reputable sources.

Some conservatives continue to claim that President Obama is unfriendly to business, but the facts show that the richest Americans and the biggest businesses have been the main - perhaps only - beneficiaries of the massive wealth gain over the past five years.

1. $5 Million to Each of the 1%, and $1 Million to Each of the Next 4%

From the end of 2008 to the middle of 2013 total U.S. wealth increased from $47 trillion to $72 trillion. About $16 trillion of that is financial gain (stocks and other financial instruments).

The richest 1% own about 38 percent of stocks, and half of non-stock financial assets. So they've gained at least $6.1 trillion (38 percent of $16 trillion). That's over $5 million for each of 1.2 million households.

The next richest 4%, based on similar calculations, gained about $5.1 trillion. That's over a million dollars for each of their 4.8 million households.

The least wealthy 90% in our country own only 11 percent of all stocks excluding pensions (which are fast disappearing). The frantic recent surge in the stock market has largely bypassed these families.


Taiwan: Hundreds monitored after H7N9 bird flu case

© AFP/Sam Yeh
A monitor shows the temperature of passengers at Sungshan Airport in Taipei, on April 4, 2013
Taiwanese authorities are monitoring hundreds of people who may have had contact with a mainland Chinese tourist infected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu, officials said Wednesday.

The 86-year-old man from the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu is in stable condition in hospital in Taiwan, where he was on an eight-day tour, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said in a statement.

As many as 500 people may have had contact with him, all of whom are being asked to report to doctors should they develop possible symptoms, the statement added.

The 149 people who may have had close contact include two family members accompanying him on the tour, the tour guide, bus driver, medical personnel and patients sharing the same hospital ward, it said.


A tale of two families: Bush-Bin Laden connections since 1970s

Dubya got into the oil business thanks to two Bin Laden brothers.

Daddy Bush was meeting one of these brothers on the morning of 9/11.

When does conspiracy theory become conspiracy fact?

The following snippet from a 2003 CBC News investigation into the Bin Laden-Bush connections reveals the close business relationships the two clans had going back three decades.


Palestinian ambassador to Czech Republic Jamel al-Jamal killed by exploding office safe

© AP Photo/CTK, Krumphanzl Michal
Prague, Czech Republic - The Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic died Wednesday in a blast that occurred when he opened an old safe that had been left untouched for more than 20 years, officials said.

Ambassador Jamel al-Jamal, 56, was at home with his family at the time of the explosion, according to Palestinian Embassy spokesman Nabil El-Fahel. Al-Jamal was seriously injured and rushed to a hospital where he died, according to police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulova.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said no foul play was suspected, noting that the safe had been left untouched for more than 20 years.

The safe was recently moved from the old embassy building, but it had come from a building that used to house the Palestinian Liberation Organization's offices in the 1980s.

"The ambassador decided to open it. After he opened it, apparently something happened inside (the safe) and went off," Malki told The Associated Press.

It was not immediately clear how Malki knew the safe had been untouched for more than 20 years or why the safe would have contained something explosive.


Best of the Web: Wall Street sings while Americans sob: Happy New Year one and all

Wall Street
© Zoonabar/cc via Flickr

Bankers on Wall Street rang in the final hours of 2013 with gains unseen in almost twenty years. However, for roughly half of America, these stock market highs mean nothing as they face a new year with little work and even less of a safety net.

"Never, I don't think, in recent history have you had unemployment this chronically high for so long with the market having done this well," Roben Farzad, an economics writer and contributor to Bloomberg's Businessweek, said on PBS Newshour Tuesday.

"There's a stat that Obama's bull market just beat Ronald Reagan's. I dare say, if you canvass the man on the street, no one would guess that we beat the decade of decadence already. You're certainly not feeling it out there," he continued.

At the end of the day Tuesday, the Standard & Poor index closed with a nearly 30 percent gain, its best since 1997. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed at a record high, reaching 16,576.73, up 26.5 percent on the year - marking the largest annual jump since 1996.

And, according to the Wall Street Journal, when dividends are taken into account, stocks posted their best returns since 1995.

However, for the half of Americans who avoid or cannot afford to dally in the stock market, these gains are inconsequential. With the unemployment rate currently near 7 percent, it's clear that many of these corporate gains have not had any positive impact on working people.


Arkansas Dem Gov. Mike Beebe asks GOP Lt. Gov. Mark Darr to resign for ethics violation

© Rick McFarlandLt. Gov. Mark Darr
Gov. Mike Beebe on Tuesday called on Lt. Gov. Mark Darr to resign over ethics commission findings that Darr likely violated Arkansas campaign spending rules 11 times since 2010.

The Democratic governor's request for his Republican second-in-command to step down came a day after Darr agreed to pay $11,000 in fines to settle complaints that he misspent campaign cash and failed to keep adequate records.

"I think it's in everyone's best interest, including Mr. Darr, if he resign," Beebe said.

That may not happen anytime soon, though, as the governor also said he had spoken to Darr and Darr told him he intends to remain in office.

Darr couldn't be reached for comment immediately after Beebe spoke to reporters, but the lieutenant governor's spokeswoman, Amber Pool, confirmed he plans to stay on the job.

"Lt. Gov. Darr has no plans to resign," she said.

The ethics case is similar to one earlier this year against former Democratic state Sen. Paul Bookout. In August, Beebe was prepared to ask Bookout to quit over similar allegations. Instead, Bookout resigned, accepted the commission's findings and to pay $8,000 in fines and to repay campaign contributors.