Puppet MastersS


Target

The conflict in Mali has nothing to do with fighting terrorists

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© Photograph: Ouoba Yempabou Ahmed/AFP/Getty ImagesMalian refugees arrive at the Goudebou campsite in neighbouring Burkina Faso.
Another Western nation and former colonial power, has engaged in yet another conflict with an African country, bombing from the air and attacking from the ground. We are told that France is fighting in Mali to push back 'Islamist' rebels (not too comfortable with the word 'Islamist', I've never heard of a Christianist) who are extremists, terrorists and fanatics - take your pick of which label you wish to adopt for the current enemies of the West.

Again, as in Afghanistan, we are being told that this battle is being fought for ideological reasons. The rebels are extremists, they have destroyed ancient heritage and amputated limbs according to their literalist religious interpretations. However the idea that France has gone into Mali to fight against extremists is a myth that I wish to dispel.

The West has no moral high ground; a short reading of their colonial past can easily show us that - France's colonial legacy in North Africa reads like a state terrorism handbook. If the West was really concerned about the destruction of ancient historical heritage, limb amputations and executions then there is a state that dwarfs anything that the Malian rebels have partaken in, that state is Saudi Arabia.

Bad Guys

Imperialist powers escalate war in Mali

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Amid continuing offensives by French troops in Mali, the imperialist powers are making clear that the assault on Mali is part of a lasting, neo-colonial escalation of military intervention throughout Western Africa and beyond.

"This is a global threat and it will require a global response... that is about years, even decades, rather than months," British Prime Minister David Cameron said over the weekend.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian defined his aim in Mali as "the total re-conquest of the country," using troops provided by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). France, which is currently spearheading the war in Mali, plans to expel Tuareg and Islamist fighters from Mali to pursue its agenda. Its goal is to stabilize the corrupt regime in Bamako, currently led by the military junta of Captain Amadou Sanogo, as its stooge regime in Mali, where France has significant corporate interests.

Arrow Down

Will China-Japan-U.S. tensions sink the global economy?

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© Pete Souza/White House PhotoPresident Obama announces an expanded military presence in Australia, November 2011.
A looming crisis in the Pacific could have big consequences for the United States.

Don't look now, but conditions are deteriorating in the western Pacific. Things are turning ugly, with consequences that could prove deadly and spell catastrophe for the global economy.

In Washington, it is widely assumed that a showdown with Iran over its nuclear ambitions will be the first major crisis to engulf the next secretary of defense - whether it be former Senator Chuck Hagel, as President Obama desires, or someone else if he fails to win Senate confirmation. With few signs of an imminent breakthrough in talks aimed at peacefully resolving the Iranian nuclear issue, many analysts believe that military action - if not by Israel, than by the United States - could be on this year's agenda.

Lurking just behind the Iranian imbroglio, however, is a potential crisis of far greater magnitude, and potentially far more imminent than most of us imagine. China's determination to assert control over disputed islands in the potentially energy-rich waters of the East and South China Seas, in the face of stiffening resistance from Japan and the Philippines along with greater regional assertiveness by the United States, spells trouble not just regionally, but potentially globally.

X

France imposes media blackout on Mali war

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Photo shows French army soldiers standing on armored vehicles as they leave Bamako and start their deployment to the north of Mali.
France has reportedly imposed a media blackout on its invasion of Mali amid a growing war that rages on in the West African nation.

On January 11, France launched the war under the pretext of halting the advance of fighters in Mali. However, as Paris has stepped up its ground offensive and aerial strikes in Mali few images of the conflict have come out of the African country.
French networks TF1 and France Televisions have also sent several teams to Bamako, but a media blackout on images of the clashes has confined all journalists to the city.
This comes as French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said the number of French troops on the ground in the West African country could top the initially-planned number of 2,500.

Attention

Holocaust denier may face prosecution

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Sylvia Schultz (R) and Ivo Sasek address a conference of the Anti-Censorship Coalition in November 2012.
A German lawyer may face prosecution for questioning the Holocaust and making an argument that there is 'no evidence' to prove the event.

Sylvia Schultz denied the Holocaust during a conference of the Anti-Censorship Coalition held in the canton of Graubunden, Switzerland, in November 2012.

According to reports, Daniel Kettiger, a Bernese lawyer, has filed a criminal complaint against Schultz at the Graubunden Prosecutors Office.

Megaphone

Cornel West exposes Obama hypocrisy

"You don't play with Martin Luther King, Jr. and you don't play with his people, said West. "By his people, I mean people of good conscience, fundamentally good people committed to peace and truth and justice, especially the Black tradition that produced it.

"All of the blood, sweat and tears that went into producing a Martin Luther King, Jr. generated a brother of such high decency and dignity that you don't use his prophetic fire for a moment of presidential pageantry"


Snakes in Suits

Senator John McCain cracks jokes about hostages and waterboarding

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© AFP Photo
Senator John McCain, the US Navy veteran who was tortured during his years in a Vietnam prison, joked Tuesday about the prospect of a colleague being held hostage in Afghanistan and another being waterboarded.

McCain made the remarks just days after a hostage drama in Algeria left dozens of hostages dead, including three Americans.

He was speaking at a bipartisan press conference with four other senators as they discussed their recent congressional mission to Afghanistan, Egypt, Israel and Jordan.

The lawmakers also met in Cairo with members of the Syrian opposition, which is battling to oust strongman Bashar al-Assad in a civil war that has left more than 60,000 dead, according to the United Nations.

Cowboy Hat

U.S. military says Martin Luther King would be proud of its weapons

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© Photograph: screen grab of US Air Force release.A posting from the US Air Force's Global Strike Team claims Martin Luther King would be "proud" of its weapons.
A repellent piece of propaganda appropriates the words and images of this nonviolence advocate to glorify US militarism.

Yesterday, I highlighted the extraordinary anti-war speech Martin Luther King gave in 1967, in which he said, among other things, that the US government is "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today" and the leading exponent of "the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long." The speech was devoted to arguing that America's militarism and war-fighting were degrading the soul of the nation and the citizenry and - for financial, political and cultural reasons - were making domestic progress impossible.

The US Air Force's Global Strike Command yesterday posted a truly vile bit of propaganda in which it appropriates King's image, name and words in order to claim that he would "be proud to see our Global Strike team . . . standing side-by-side ensuring the most powerful weapons in the US arsenal remain the credible bedrock of our national defense" (ellipses in original):
"The Department of Defense is a leader in equal opportunity for all patriots seeking to serve this great nation. . . The vigilant warriors in AFGSC understand they are all equal and unified in purpose to provide a safe, secure and effective deterrent force for the United States. . . .

"Dr. King would be proud to see our Global Strike team - comprised of Airmen, civilians and contractors from every race, creed, background and religion - standing side-by-side ensuring the most powerful weapons in the US arsenal remain the credible bedrock of our national defense. . . Our team must overlook our differences to ensure perfection as we maintain and operate our weapon systems. . . Maintaining our commitment to our Global Strike team, our families and our nation is a fitting tribute to Dr. King as we celebrate his legacy."

Snakes in Suits

New York City Council candidate won't answer campaign finance questions from 'pretty girl' reporter

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© from EdHartzog2013.comEd Hartzog
A Democratic candidate for a soon-to-be-vacated seat on New York's City Council refused to answer a campaign finance question on Tuesday, asking a reporter from DNAinfo.com what "a pretty girl" like her is doing reading electoral finance disclosures. Reporter Victoria Bekiempis wrote that the candidate, Ed Hartzog, made the remark to her when she asked about the fact that at least 10 of Hartzog's 21 donors live outside of New York state.

Hartzog, a former staffer for U.S. Congressional Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), is running for Jessica Lappin's seat as the representative for New York City's District 5, which includes the Upper East Side, Flatiron, Union Square, Times Square and Gramercy Park neighborhoods. His campaign has not been widely publicized, but he has raised nearly $8,000 in the last month.

Bekiempis noted to Hartzog at a press conference that, according to filings at the New York City Campaign Finance Board website, at least half of Hartzog's donors live out-of-state.

War Whore

Best of the Web: Bomber in chief: 20,000 airstrikes in Obama's first term cause death and destruction from Iraq to Somalia

Obama drone
© Unknown

Day after day, U.S. air strikes have conclusively answered the familiar question of 9/11: "Why do they hate us?"


Many people around the world are disturbed by U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere. The illusion that American drones can strike without warning anywhere in the world without placing Americans in harm's way makes drones dangerously attractive to U.S. officials, even as they fuel the cycle of violence that the "war on terror" falsely promised to end but has instead escalated and sought to normalize. But drone strikes are only the tip of an iceberg, making up less than 10 percent of at least 20,130 air strikes the U.S. has conducted in other countries since President Obama's inauguration in 2009.