Puppet MastersS

Eye 2

Dead British MP Cyril Smith raped boys, Manchester police confirm

Police find 'overwhelming evidence' former Rochdale MP attacked vulnerable boys and CPS criticises 1970s decision not to prosecute

Police have acknowledged that the late MP Sir Cyril Smith repeatedly physically and sexually abused children at a Rochdale care home but escaped answering the allegations after prosecutors declined to put him on trial.

Smith, the Liberal and subsequently Liberal Democrat MP for the town, who died in 2010, was the subject of police investigations dating back to the 1960s.

In a statement, Greater Manchester Police said there was "overwhelming evidence" that he attacked boys, six at the Cambridge House children's home in Rochdale, and two others.

Smith was secretary of the Rochdale Hostel for Boys Association, where he was accused of abusing vulnerable youngsters by spanking and touching them.

War Whore

Psychopathic warmonger Tzipi Livni announces return to Israeli politics

Former foreign minister attacks Binyamin Netanyahu and unveils new party to 'fight for peace'

The former Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, has announced her return to politics, telling supporters she is forming a new party to run in January's parliamentary elections on a platform promising an aggressive push for peace with the Palestinians.

Livni, who served as Israel's foreign minister and chief peace negotiator from 2006-09, bitterly attacked the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, as she announced the formation of her new party, called the Movement.

"I came to fight for peace ... and I won't allow anyone to turn peace into a bad word," she said.

Her announcement brought a new, high-profile voice to the campaign to oust Netanyahu's hardline government. But with his Likud party leading in opinion polls and the dovish opposition divided between several parties, her candidacy did not immediately appear to pose a threat to the prime minister.


Revealed: The real identities behind Britain's secret property deals

© Leon Neal/AFP/Getty ImagesDisclosures about property ownership follow pledge by Vince Cable to look at evidence of sham directors.
The real identities behind British property deals previously cloaked in secrecy are revealed in the latest part of a major investigation into offshore firms, which prompted the government on Monday to promise that it would investigate any abuses revealed involving sham nominee directors.

Previously secret owners are identified in a sample of almost 60 UK homes and offices, ranging from multimillion-pound commercial premises in the heart of London to a small hotel in Southend, Essex.

They typify the 100,000 such purchasers who have set up offshore companies, largely registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), since 1999. The owners of BVI entities use them to hide their dealings in UK property and to take advantage of tax loopholes.


How secret offshore firms feed London's property boom

© Daniel Berehulak/Getty ImagesLondon's rising housing market bucks the national trend, aided by overseas investors.
Investigation names investors exploiting offshore tax and duty loopholes allowing overseas purchasers to buy up UK property

The UK is increasingly turning into a property speculators' haven, thanks to tax loopholes and the offshore secrecy offered by the British Virgin Islands (BVI) that hides many property transactions. We disclose the identities of some of the people secretly buying up Britain.

The Guardian's investigation with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), covering nearly 60 sample premises, shows how anonymous buyers are taking over more and more blocks of luxury housing.

Some purchasers live abroad; other buyers live in the UK itself while they build up property empires using these artificial structures.

In 2011 alone, more than £7bn of offshore money flooded into potentially tax-exempt purchases of UK houses, flats and office blocks. Most buyers snapped up property in central London. These offshore buyers are a driving force of the capital's spiralling property prices versus the rest of the UK: since March 2009, property prices in prime central London have increased by 49% - five times more than the rest of the UK, according to estate agents Knight Frank.

Comment: London appears to be the center of a spider's web of sham companies:

Corruption in Science: Francesco Fucilla and the Telesio-Galilei Academy of Science


Offshore secrets revealed: The shadowy side of a booming tax avoidance industry

© James Ball/guardian.co.ukHome of Sarah Petre-Mears on Nevis.
A worldwide research effort in collaboration with BBC Panorama and the ICIJ reveals the people behind these anonymous companies

The existence of an extraordinary global network of sham company directors, most of them British, can be revealed.

The UK government claims such abuses were stamped out long ago, but a worldwide joint investigation by the Guardian, the BBC's Panorama and the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has uncovered a booming offshore industry that leaves the way open for both tax avoidance and the concealment of assets.

More than 21,500 companies have been identified using this group of 28 so-called nominee directors. The nominees play a key role in keeping secret hundreds of thousands of commercial transactions. They do so by selling their names for use on official company documents, using addresses in obscure locations all over the world.

This is not illegal under UK law, and sometimes nominee directors have a legitimate role. But our evidence suggests this particular group of directors only pretend to control the companies they put their names to.

Comment: The SOTT team unveiled another similar operation earlier this year:

Corruption in Science: Francesco Fucilla and the Telesio-Galilei Academy of Science


Political manoeuvring: U.S. ambassador to UN Susan Rice under fire for Benghazi comments

© AFPSenator John McCain has been leading attacks against UN Ambassador Susan Rice... the question is; on behalf of whom?

US ambassador to the UN failed to assuage critics over discredited remarks regarding the US embassy attack in Libya.

The White House has condemned Republicans' "obsession" over comments made by UN Ambassador Susan Rice following the September 11 attack on the US embassy in Libya.

Spokesperson Jay Carney was speaking after Rice's reportedly "discordant" meeting on Tuesday with senior GOP figures, in an ongoing row, which may hurt her chances of becoming the next US secretary of state.

"There are no unanswered questions about Ambassador Rice's appearances on Sunday shows," Carney said.

Comment: See also:

Petraeus, Allen, Gaouette, Ham: The Benghazi Story The Media Isn't Telling You

Palace Revolution

How U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens may have been linked to jihadist rebels In Syria


Al Qaeda kills 34 civilians in twin bomb attack on Damascus

© AFPWednesday's attacks were the fourth time Jaramana was targeted by the West's Al Qaeda agents since August
Two explosions in eastern Damascus have left at least 34 dead, according to Syrian hospital officials.

The state-run SANA news agency said two cars packed with explosives detonated early on Wednesday morning in the capital's eastern Jaramana district, populated mostly by the Christian and Druze minorities.

Among the dead were 10 unidentified bodies, according to SANA. Another 83 people were reported be injured.

Al Jazeera's Rula Amin, reporting from Beirut, said: "When people gathered to try to rescue those injured in the first explosion, another big explosion took place."

Local residents said the series of bomb attacks took place at 6:30am (04:30 GMT) in a location where forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, are stationed to defend the area against the armed opposition.

Star of David

Yasser Arafat exhumed and reburied in six-hour night mission

© Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty ImagesYasser Arafat's mausoleum, where tarpaulin obscured the entrance during his exhumation.
Yasser Arafat was buried eight years ago to a chorus of gunfire before a crowd of thousands amid the rubble of his Ramallah headquarters. Yesterday, the gravediggers who came to disinter him slipped in under cover of darkness. For hours they hacked through the several metres of concrete that were supposed to ensure that no one could ever desecrate his body. The Palestinian leadership had the Israelis in mind when it buried the old revolutionary so deep and secure.

Eight years after his death, it was Arafat's widow, Suha, who had him brought up again as part of a French murder investigation into whether he was slowly killed by a radioactive poison, polonium-210 - the same substance used to murder the former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006 - after it was detected on his clothes earlier this year.

The plan had been to move Arafat's corpse to a mosque for religious rites to be observed before samples were taken by rival teams of scientists hired by Suha and the Palestinian Authority, who are deeply distrustful of each other. After that, there was to be a reburial with full military honours.

Comment: Did the Mossad Murder Arafat?

Star of David

Brzezinski to U.S.: Stop following Israel on Iran like a stupid mule

Leading US strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski, unofficial dean of the realist school of American foreign policy experts, has drawn an unflattering picture of US-Israel relations.

In a speech to the National Iranian American Council, Brzezinski said, "I don't think there is an implicit obligation for the United States to follow like a stupid mule whatever the Israelis do. If they decide to start a war, simply on the assumption that we'll automatically be drawn into it, I think it is the obligation of friendship to say, 'you're not going to be making national decision for us.' I think that the United States has the right to have its own national security policy."

By denying any US "obligation" to "follow like a stupid mule whatever the Israelis do," Brzezinski accurately implied that this is exactly what the US has been doing up until now. And by plaintively opining that "the United States has the right to have its own national security policy," the former National Security Adviser underlined the fact that since the assassination of John F. Kennedy, who secretly went to war with Ben Gurion in a doomed effort to abort the Israeli nuclear weapons program, the US has not enjoyed that right.

Comment: The American mule is not "finally waking up." At best, the US elite is just doing what appears to have been planned all along, to cut their Israeli counterparts loose.


6 chilling testimonies from occupied Palestine

Smoke rises following an Israeli attack in Gaza City
© AP/Adel HanaSmoke rises following an Israeli attack in Gaza City.
Israeli veterans speak out about the realities of their country's military policies in Gaza and other territories

This piece originally appeared on TomDispatch.

"There is no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders," President Barack Obama said at a press conference last week. He drew on this general observation in order to justify Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel's most recent military campaign in the Gaza Strip. In describing the situation this way, he assumes, like many others, that Gaza is a political entity external and independent of Israel. This is not so. It is true that Israel officially disengaged from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, withdrawing its ground troops and evacuating the Israeli settlements there. But despite the absence of a permanent ground presence, Israel has maintained a crushing control over Gaza from that moment until today.

The testimonies of Israeli army veterans expose the truth of that "disengagement." Before Operation Pillar of Defense, after all, Israel launched Operations Summer Rains and Autumn Clouds in 2006, and Hot Winter and Cast Lead in 2008 - all involving ground invasions. In one testimony, a veteran speaks of "a battalion operation" in Gaza that lasted for five months, where the soldiers were ordered to shoot "to draw out terrorists" so they "could kill a few."

Israeli naval blockades stop Gazans from fishing, a main source of food in the Strip. Air blockades prevent freedom of movement. Israel does not allow building materials into the area, forbids exports to the West Bank and Israel, and (other than emergency humanitarian cases) prohibits movement between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. It controls the Palestinian economy by periodically withholding import taxes. Its restrictions have impeded the expansion and upgrading of the Strip's woeful sewage infrastructure, which could render life in Gaza untenable within a decade. The blocking of seawater desalination has turned the water supply into a health hazard. Israel has repeatedly demolished small power plants in Gaza, ensuring that the Strip would have to continue to rely on the Israeli electricity supply. Daily power shortages have been the norm for several years now. Israel's presence is felt everywhere, militarily and otherwise.

By relying on factual misconceptions, political leaders, deliberately or not, conceal information that is critical to our understanding of events. Among the people best qualified to correct those misconceptions are the individuals who have been charged with executing a state's policies - in this case, Israeli soldiers themselves, an authoritative source of information about their government's actions. I am a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), and I know that our first-hand experiences refute the assumption, accepted by many, including President Obama, that Gaza is an independent political entity that exists wholly outside Israel. If Gaza is outside Israel, how come we were stationed there? If Gaza is outside Israel, how come we control it? Oded Na'aman

[The testimonies by Israeli veterans that follow are taken from 145 collected by the nongovernmental organization Breaking the Silence and published in Our Harsh Logic: Israeli Soldiers' Testimonies From the Occupied Territories, 2000-2010. Those in the book represent every division in the IDF and all locations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.]