Puppet MastersS


Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arrested

Yulia Tymoshenko
© unknownFormer Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko
Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has been taken to a detention center on the orders of the judge at her trial for "systematically violating courtroom proceedings."

After Judge Rodion Kireyev adjourned the court until Monday, Tymoshenko was driven away from the court under a heavy police escort on Friday, with members of the opposition chanting "Shame," Reuters reported.

Hundreds of her supporters took to the streets of downtown Kiev, and Tymoshenko's party has called for members of her bloc to stage more rallies in front of the courthouse in the capital.

Ukrainian prosecutors charged Tymoshenko with abuse of office, accusing her of illegally forcing state energy company Naftogaz to sign a gas supply contract with Russia in 2009.

Tymoshenko is Ukraine's leading opposition politician and the most formidable opponent of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich, who says her actions in the gas deal with Russia were a "betrayal of national interests."

War Whore

NATO Airstrike Kills 8 Afghan Civilians

Eight civilians, including women and children, have been killed in a US-led NATO airstrike in the southern Afghan province of Helmand.

© unknownA US-led NATO airstrike has left eight civilians dead in southern Afghanistan.
Provincial officials said the attack was carried out at 2 p.m. local time on Friday after Taliban militants attacked US-led troops in the area, a Press TV correspondent reported.

NATO has not commented on the incident.

In a separate incident, at least four people were killed when police opened fire during an anti-US demonstration held in the southern province of Zabul on Friday.

Bad Guys

Bread, Circuses, Spending Cuts, Unicorns & The Appearance Of Wealth

"Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions - everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses" - Juvenal - 100 A.D.
Bread and Circuses_1
© The Burning Platform

Juvenal makes reference to the Roman practice of providing free wheat to Roman citizens as well as costly circus games and other forms of entertainment as a means of gaining political power through populism. Roman politicians devised a plan in 140 B.C. to win the votes of the poor: giving out cheap food and entertainment, "bread and circuses". The Roman politicians realized this would be the most effective way to rise to power and stay in power.
Bread and Circuses_2
© The Burning Platform
With the revolting display of political theater in the last few weeks, I couldn't help but consider the parallels between the Roman Empire and the American Empire. The entire debt ceiling farce was a circus on an epic scale - The Greatest Show on Earth. The American public was treated to high wire acts of near debt experiences, Senators putting their heads into the mouths of lions, and hundreds of clowns riding tiny bikes with squeaking horns. In the end, American politicians did what they do best - pretended to solve a spending problem without cutting spending. Only in America could politicians put the country on course to increase its national debt from $14.5 trillion to $23 trillion by 2021 and declare they are cutting spending. For those that need to visualize the lies of politicians, take a gander at this chart and try to find the cuts in spending.

Bread and Circuses_3
© The Burning Platform


US, Police: Mock us in Cartoons, go to Prison

© KIRO 7A Renton, Washington native has been accused of felony cyberstalking for making a satirical cartoon depicting local crooked cops.
Police department with long history of internal affairs investigations looks to charge satirist with felony

When cartoonist "Mrfuddlesticks" decided to make a series of animated videos parodying the local police department in Renton, Washington, they had ample source material from the media and the public record -- the city had suffered repeated misconduct scandals in recent history. The individual used the popular animation site www.xtranormal.com to create a series of videos making fun of the city's police department. Little did they know, those videos would have them facing criminal charges [Scribd] for "cyberstalking".

I. Satirist Accused of Felony Crime for Cartoons

In what legal experts are calling a rampant abuse of power, police have taken the first steps towards filing criminal charges against the creator, claiming their creator violated the Washington State cyberstalking statute "RCW 9.61.260." A local judge at the Superior Court for King County -- James Cayce -- has signed off on a search warrant sent to Google Inc. (GOOG).
© YouTube/KIRO 7The video reportedly depicts a city bureaucrat, Penny Bartley, talking about covering up wrongdoing.

The warrant is designed to obtain the real world identity of the cartoonist, who posted the videos to YouTube. The videos were created using the same free animation suite as the famous viral "iPhone4 vs HTC Evo" video. Two of the videos can be viewed here [1][2].

Legal experts blasted the move. In an interview with a local news network, lawyer Venkat Balasubramani, a Constitutional and cyber-law expert, states, "The cyberstalking angle doesn't pass the laugh test. It's a serious stretch. I'd be surprised if somebody looked at it and realistically thought well these acts actually fit the statute and we and could make a violation and hold someone criminally liable. [More likely] they were trying to get at the identity of the speaker and the looked around for a statute to shoehorn their conduct into."

But while legal experts say the felony charges are laughable, they're no laughing matter for the accused. The statute lists the type of cyberstalking named in the case as a Class C felony -- applicable for up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 USD fine. Drug dealing and major theft are other examples of local Class C felonies.

Bad Guys

The farce continues as usual: EU 'profoundly disappointed' by new Israeli settlement plan

© AFP, Jaafar AshtiyehA Palestinian youth throws a stone at Israeli soldiers
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Friday roundly disapproved Israel's go-ahead to the building of 900 new homes in east Jerusalem, saying new settlements damaged the prospects for peace.

"I am profoundly disappointed" by Thursday's approval of a project that has triggered fierce criticism from the Palestinians and the international community, Ashton said.

The new homes will expand a neighbourhood in Jerusalem's southwest that is defined as being within municipal boundaries despite lying directly next to the Palestinian West Bank town of Bethlehem.

"The European Union has repeatedly urged the government of Israel to immediately end all settlement activities in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem. All settlement activities are illegal under international law," she added in a statement.


The Obama Administration's "Secret" Patriot Act Spys On Americans

IAO logo
© Unknown
During last spring's run-up to the re authorization of three expiring provisions of the USA Patriot Act, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) charged that the administration and the FBI was relying on a "secret" interpretation of law to vacuum-up exabytes of data, including cell phone location records and internet data mining that target Americans.

In March, a written statement to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security by Justice Department official Todd Hinnen confirmed that the administration had used Section 215, the so-called "business records" section of the Act "to obtain driver's license records, hotel records, car rental records, apartment leasing records, credit card records, and the like."

Further confirmation of Wyden's charges came from an unlikely source: a White House nominee for a top counter terrorism position.

Star of David

Israel releases West Bank Hamas leader, other Palestinian prisoners

Palestinian flags
© flickr.com/JoiPalestinian flags
Israel released 132 Palestinian political and security prisoners Thursday, including West Bank Hamas leader Hasan Yousef who had spent six years in prison, Palestinian officials said.

The Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Prisoners Affairs said the 132 who were freed had all completed their sentences earlier, but had been kept in jail till Thursday.

The ministry rejected Israeli claims that the release was an Israeli goodwill gesture for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.


Facial Recognition Software Takes One Glance at You and Brings Up Your Facebook Profile

Facial Recognition
© Brian Teutsch / FlickrFaces in a crowd.

Worried about privacy on the Internet? It may be even worse than you thought - with rapidly improving face recognition technology, your automatically tagged Facebook pictures could help a stranger, or the authorities, quickly identify you on the street.

A simple system that compares Facebook pictures and webcam snapshots can make a positive match after less than three seconds, according to Carnegie Mellon University researchers. Alessandro Acquisti and colleagues presented their findings at the Black Hat computer security conference in Las Vegas.

"A stranger could know your last tweet just by looking at you," Acquisti told CNET's privacy blog.

The system was able to correlate Facebook profile pictures to webcam shots, and to otherwise anonymous photos on a dating website. The Facebook-webcam system identified about 31 percent of users, and only 10 percent of the dating site users, but the message was clear - anonymity is becoming harder and harder to maintain.

This can be problematic for several reasons, not the least of which is the damage that can be done by mistaken identity. Computer systems that put the wrong name to a face can cause headaches or worse. But in simpler terms, do average Facebook users really want random people to find out their e-mail addresses and phone numbers simply by looking at their faces?


US Air Force Pulls 'Jesus Loves Nukes' Training

© UnknownAir Force Nuclear Weapons Center Emblem
The Air Force has suspended decades-old Bible-centric ethics training intended to make Christian officers comfortable with the possible use of nuclear weapons. The training program was given to all new missile officers by Air Force chaplains.

"We're in the process of reviewing that training and we'll make a determination whether or not to continue [it] or if it will be a different course," Air Education and Training Command spokesman Dave Smith told Military.com.

Smith said the ethics training has been in place more than 20 years, although he didn't know exactly when it was begun.

The training slides include quotations from the Bible, portraits of Christian saints, prophets, and famous American generals known for their faith, including George Washington, Union Army Gen. Joshua Chamberlain, and Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.

Eye 1

A Link to the Murdoch Scandal?: Under the Radar, Firm Sells Phone Tracking Tools to Police, Intelligence Agencies

Following revelations earlier this year by The Tech Herald that security firms with close ties to the Pentagon ran black ops for major U.S. banks and corporations, it became clear that proprietary software developed for the military and U.S. intelligence was being used to target Americans.

Those firms, including now-defunct HBGary Federal, parent company HBGary, Palantir (a start-up flush with cash from the CIA's venture capital arm In-Q-Tel) and Berico Technologies had partnered-up with the Bank of America's law firm Hunton & Williams and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and devised a sub rosa plan of attack against WikiLeaks and Chamber critics.

And when the cyber-guerrilla collective Anonymous published some 70,000 emails and documents filched from HBGary servers, it was off to the races.