Puppet MastersS


North Korean Leader Kim Jong-il Dies

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il had suffered from poor health since his stroke in 2008
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has died at the age of 69, state-run television has announced.

Mr Kim, who has led the communist nation since the death of his father in 1994, died on a train while visiting an area outside the capital, the announcement said.

He suffered a stroke in 2008 and was absent from public view for months.

His designated successor is believed to be his third son, Kim Jong-un, who is thought to be in his late 20s.

The BBC's Lucy Williamson in Seoul says Mr Kim's death will cause huge shock waves across North Korea.


French Credit Downgrade Could Come "Within Days"

© European Press Association/Justin LaneStandard and Poor's is expected to cut France's triple A credit rating 'within days'
Standard & Poor's expected downgrade could create panic in the financial markets and make eurozone crisis even worse

France could be stripped of its triple-A credit rating before Christmas, raising new doubts about the survival of the euro, analysts have predicted.

Standard & Poor's - one of the three top rating agencies - is expected to cut France's rating within days, in a move that would weaken its ability to raise funds on financial markets.

The move would raise doubts over the future of the single currency at a time when questions abound as to whether the deal thrashed out in Brussels represents the breakthrough hoped for in advance of the summit. Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Commons Treasury select committee, raised the spectre of Greece leaving the eurozone, saying it was unlikely Athens could afford to pay its way if it stayed in the zone. "Few people believe that Greece can remain solvent within the eurozone," he said. "Should Greece have to leave, the recapitalisation of a number of continental banks would be necessary."

David Cameron and George Osborne have stressed that their top priority is for the eurozone to survive the crisis because the consequences of a disorderly breakup would be devastating for the UK as well as the European economies. However, most Tory MPs now doubt that it can survive in its current form. Bill Cash, the veteran Eurosceptic MP, said: "The entire European Union project is unravelling as the euro itself unravels."


Newt Gingrich says he'd defy Supreme Court rulings he opposed

© Scott Olson / Getty ImagesNewt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich attends a screening of "The Gift of Life" at the historic Hoyt Sherman Place on Dec. 14, 2011 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Newt Gingrich says as president he would ignore Supreme Court decisions that conflicted with his powers as commander in chief, and he would press for impeaching judges or even abolishing certain courts if he disagreed with their rulings.

"I'm fed up with elitist judges" who seek to impose their "radically un-American" views, Gingrich said Saturday in a conference call with reporters.

In recent weeks, the Republican presidential contender has been telling conservative audiences he is determined to expose the myth of "judicial supremacy" and restrain judges to a more limited role in American government. "The courts have become grotesquely dictatorial and far too powerful," he said in Thursday's Iowa debate.

As a historian, Gingrich said he knows President Thomas Jefferson abolished some judgeships, and President Abraham Lincoln made clear he did not accept the Dred Scott decision denying that former slaves could be citizens.

Star of David

Religious Jews still try to segregate Israel buses

© Unknown
Jerusalem: Israel's political leaders and chief rabbis on Sunday condemned persistent efforts by ultra-Orthodox Jewish men to shunt Israeli women to the back of public buses, a year after the country's Supreme Court outlawed the practice.

The outcry came in reaction to an Israeli woman's experience of being asked to move to the back of a bus, which was posted on Facebook and became a cause celebre in the Israeli media on Sunday. The case even drew public comment from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who deplored gender segregation.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews, who make up about 10 percent of Israel's population of 7.6 million, have become increasingly aggressive in their efforts to impose their norms in public spaces. The ultra-Orthodox have segregated bus lines and some walkways in their neighborhoods.


Best of the Web: Obama Approves Draconian Police State Law

Obama, Police State
© unknown
On December 16, Obama's signature will head America closer to full-blown tyranny.

Obama supports draconian FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act provisions. Justification given is national security and war on terror hokum.

Henceforth, anyone anywhere, including US citizens, may be indefinitely held without charge or trial, based solely on suspicions, spurious allegations or none at all.

No reasonable proof is needed, just suspicions that those detained pose threats. Henceforth, indefinite detentions can follow mere membership (past or present) or support for suspect organizations.

Presidents now have unchecked dictatorial powers to arrest, interrogate and indefinitely detain law-abiding citizens if accused of potentially posing a threat.

Constitutional, statute and international laws won't apply. Martial law will replace them if so ordered.

As a result, US military personnel anywhere in the world may arrest US citizens and others, throw them in military dungeons, and hold them indefinitely outside constitutionally mandated civil protections, including habeas rights, due process, and other judicial procedures.

Bad Guys

War Without End, Amen: The Reality of America's Aggression Against Iraq

soldier & crowd/Iraq
© AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed
In March 2003, the United States of America launched an entirely unprovoked act of military aggression against a nation which had not attacked it and posed no threat to it. This act led directly to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. It drove millions more from their homes, and plunged the entire conquered nation into suffering, fear, hatred and deprivation.

This is the reality of what actually happened in Iraq: aggression, slaughter, atrocity, ruin. It is the only reality; there is no other. And it was done deliberately, knowingly, willingly. Indeed, the bipartisan American power structure spent more than $1 trillion to make it happen. It is a record of unspeakable savagery, an abomination, an outpouring of the most profound and filthy moral evil.

Line up the bodies of the children, the thousands of children -- the infants, the toddlers, the schoolkids -- whose bodies were torn to pieces, burned alive or riddled with bullets during the American invasion and occupation of Iraq. Line them up in the desert sand, walk past them, mile after mile, all those twisted corpses, those scraps of torn flesh and seeping viscera, those blank faces, those staring eyes fixed forever on nothingness.

This is the reality of what happened in Iraq; there is no other reality.

Bad Guys

SOTT Focus: Iraq War: The End? Or Is It?

Here we are, almost at the end of the year 2011. After eight and a half long years, millions of lives lost, leaving a country visibly unrecognizable from 2003, trillions of dollars gone, Obama has called an end to the Iraq war, so that must be it then?

How it all began

After the 9/11 attacks, spun by the Powers That Be (PTB) as "terrorist attacks" by Muslim extremists, the War on Terror™ began. As a 'subwar', the invasion and occupation of Iraq was initiated after the governments of US and UK accused Iraq of employing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and that it imposed a threat to their "sovereign nations". Of course, the claim that Iraq was harboring WMDs was later completely dismissed and no such weapons were ever found. After the questionable capture and execution of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the Western governments began justifying their occupation of Iraq as "bringing democracy" to the country.

Now, almost nine years later the US army are exiting the country after being asked to leave by the Iraqi government for several years. One would assume that if the Iraqi government wasn't so adamant that the US leave Iraqi soil, the US would probably never leave. But this "leave" is only on the surface and most likely a political stunt by the Obama administration before the 2012 presidential elections; so as to state that Obama actually ended the war. But in actuality the US has no intention of leaving Iraq and they are most definitely maintaining a presence there.


Iran Intelligence 'Arrests CIA Spy'

© Agence France-PresseA grab taken from the official Iranian state TV on December 8, shows what Iranian officials claim is the US RQ-170 Sentinel high-altitude reconnaissance drone. Tehran has arrested an alleged US Central Intelligence Agency spy of Iranian origin before he could complete his mission of infiltrating the intelligence ministry, media quoted the ministry as saying.
Tehran has arrested an alleged US Central Intelligence Agency spy of Iranian origin before he could complete his mission of infiltrating the intelligence ministry, media quoted the ministry as saying on Saturday.

"Based on the scenario, he was supposed to infiltrate the intelligence ministry ... and feed it deceptive information on a large scale and spy on it," said a statement reported by the ISNA news agency.

"The Iranian-origin CIA agent received complex training, had worked as an analyst and also worked with the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan," the statement added, without identifying him.

The man was first identified at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and arrested in Iran, the statement said, without identifying the man or saying when he was seized.

Bad Guys

It's All Part of the Plan: The US "Pro-Israel" Right Loses It

It has been over a week since the lobby that deems itself "pro-Israel" began its recent effort to suppress the views of those of us it considers Israel haters, self-hating Jews or -- in a most ridiculous twist given that most of us are Jews -- "anti-Semites."

The effort to silence us now stems from (1) the determination to defeat President Obama, and (2) the need to intimidate us as the lobby and its congressional acolytes cowboy up for a bombing campaign against Iran.

I am one of the least significant figures to come under attack.

The bill of particulars against me is that I use the term "Israel firster" to describe those who consistently -- and without exception -- thwart the efforts of U.S. Presidents to achieve Middle East peace. (Worse, according to Fox News, I "defiantly" refuse to back down).

I view their goals as those of the Israeli right: to maintain the occupation and prevent diplomacy with Iran.

These people (take a look at Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post) think nothing of attacking the President of the United States in the most vicious of terms but condemn anyone with the temerity to criticize anything done by the prime minister of Israel.


Could hackers develop a 'computer virus' to infect the human mind?

© UnknownCalifornian biologist Andrew Hessel says, 'Cells are living computers and DNA is a programming language,' but warns that this could lead to viruses and bacteria used to 'hack' human minds

The field of 'synthetic biology' is in its infancy. We can 'tweak' the genetics of life forms - but billionaire entrepreneur Craig Venter only created 'artificial life' for the first time last year, christening his life form 'Synthia'.

But experts working within the field believe that our expertise is out-accelerating natural evolution by a factor of millions of years - and some warn that synthetic biology could spin out of control.

It could lead, says Andrew Hessel of Singularity University, on Nasa's research campus, to a world where hackers could engineer viruses or bacteria to control human minds.

Hessel believes that genetic engineering is the next frontier of computing.

'This is one of the most powerful technologies in the world,' says Hessel 'Synthetic biology - the writing of life.'