Puppet MastersS

Bad Guys

Best of the Web: Sarkozy's Coup d'État: Mohamed Merah was French Intelligence Asset

French President Nicolas Sarkozy stands by soldiers
© AP Photo/Jacques BrinonFrench President Nicolas Sarkozy stands by soldiers carrying a coffin during a ceremony honoring the three soldiers killed by a suspect identified as Mohammad Merah.
Press reports and comments by top intelligence officials suggest that Mohamed Merah, the alleged gunman who killed seven people including three Jewish schoolchildren in a nine-day shooting spree in Toulouse, was a French intelligence asset.

These revelations raise questions about French intelligence's failure to stop Merah, and whether this failure was dictated by political considerations. The investigation of Merah was led by the Central Directorate of Internal Intelligence (DCRI), run by Bernard Squarcini - a close associate of incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy, previously running far behind Socialist Party (PS) candidate François Hollande in next month's presidential elections, has benefited from massive media coverage after the attacks and now is catching up to Hollande in polls.

In a March 23 Le Monde interview, Squarcini had confirmed that Merah had traveled extensively in the Middle East, even though his legal earnings were roughly at the minimum wage: "He spent time with his brother in Cairo after having traveled in the Near East: Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and even Israel. ... Then he went to Afghanistan via Tajikistan. He took unusual routes and did not appear on our radars, nor those of French, American, or local foreign intelligence services."

Squarcini apparently aimed to bolster the official explanation for Merah's ability to escape police: he was an undetectable "self-radicalized lone wolf." This story is being shattered by revelations that French intelligence agencies were apparently in close contact with Merah, trying to develop him as an informant inside Islamist networks.

Comment: Just as the FBI Organizes Terror Plots in the US, so the French intelligence apparatus is manipulating public opinion to favour Sarkozy's Backers.

Eye 1

FBI Said to Have Gathered Intelligence on California Muslims

FBI logo
U.S. civil liberties advocates said on Tuesday the FBI had engaged in secretly collecting intelligence about Muslims in the San Francisco Bay area in recent years, including details about a sermon delivered at a mosque.

The American Civil Liberties Union called for an inquiry into the FBI's data collection, citing investigative practices from between 2004 and 2008 that it said raised the possibility of privacy violations.

The FBI defended its actions, saying the information in question was gathered as part of authorized law-enforcement activities, some intended to bolster ties with the Muslim community.

Police monitoring of Muslim organizations has been a concern across the country. According to reports by the Associated Press, the New York Police Department kept tabs on Muslim neighborhoods in New York and surrounding areas by sending undercover officers into mosques, meetings of college campus groups and local businesses, and keeping records of what they found.

The ACLU said records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request showed FBI agents visited the Seaside Mosque in northern California five times in 2005. Government personnel documented the subject of a sermon and discussions about a property purchase for a new mosque.


Lone wolf's accomplice sends doctored footage of Toulouse murders to Al Jazeera

TV channel says it will not screen footage that appears to show Mohamed Merah's deadly attacks at a school and a barracks

Al-Jazeera has decided against airing a video that purports to show the attacks on soldiers and a Jewish school in south-western France, which was apparently filmed by the killer, and includes the cries of his victims.

The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, other French officials and family members of the victims had asked for it not to be broadcast.

The station later posted a brief statement on its website, saying: "al-Jazeera will not air video of French shootings.

"In accordance with al-Jazeera's code of ethics, given the video does not add any information that is not already in the public domain, its news channels will not be broadcasting any of its contents." The footage was contained on a USB key sent with a letter to the Paris office of the Qatar-based television company, Zied Tarrouche, the station's Paris bureau chief, said on the French TV station BFM.

Comment: Yes, the headline is absurd, but so is this whole story. Nothing makes sense because it's all based on LIES.

Toulouse Attacks: The Official Story of the Death of Mohamed Merah is a Lie


French Advisory Council Speaks Out Against Sarkozy's Plan to Criminalize Visiting Extremist Websites

© Reuters/Philippe Wojazer
France's National Digital Council (CNNum), an advisory committee created by President Nicolas Sarkozy himself, has spoken out against a plan to punish frequent visitors of extremist websites.

CNNum was established in April last year and plays an advisory role with the French government, under the supervision of the French Minister of the digital economy. CNNum is consulted by the government on any legislation that may impact the country's digital economy.

In a statement addressed to Sarkozy, the committee has requested to be consulted in regard to the drafting of any legislation criminalizing Internet activity. It emphasized the fact that fighting against any form of cybercrime must be reconciled with the principles of freedom of expression and communication.


Israeli spies in Iran: In an attempt to find "smoking gun" evidence that Iran is building a nuclear warhead

© ReutersIranian nuclear site
Israel using permanent base in northern Iraq to launch intelligence missions in Iran in search of nuclear evidence, Western intelligence sources say.

Israel is using a permanent base in Iraqi Kurdistan to launch cross-border intelligence missions in an attempt to find "smoking gun" evidence that Iran is building a nuclear warhead, the Sunday Times reported Sunday.

According to Western intelligence sources, Israel has used sensitive equipment during its covert operations to monitor the radioactivity and magnitude of explosives tests. It was also reported that Israeli special forces used Black Hawk helicopters to carry commandos disguised as members of the Iranian military and using Iranian military vehicles.

Cowboy Hat

Repsol and Canary Snake Oil

Part of the dune ecosystem of northern Fuerteventura. Photo © PMadeira
Or: 7000 admitted accidents and counting.

Repsol the Spanish oil company infamous for more than 7000 oil prospecting related accidents, not least of which in Nigeria and now off the coast of Brazil, has just signed the convening of a BP style deepwater prospecting contract with the Spanish Govt off the tourist islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, Canary Islands, both of which are designated UNESCO Biospheres.

Notable not least for their high economic dependency on year round tourism, both have high levels of marine and terrestrial protections under both Spanish and European laws (please don't laugh) which relate as much to the marine environments as well as the beautiful beaches (notably Fuerteventura) along the eastern seaboard, the designated prospecting sites.

The Gulf style deepwater prospecting in 1600mts of water within the Canary Current will extend down to 3,500mts in some 19 different areas along a seaboard of some 100kms (64miles) and as close as 12kms offshore from the tourist venues of Caleta Fustes and Gran Tarajal.

The potential was laid off for some years during the socialist Zapatero government, but now that the PP - Popular Party or Conservative (Aznarist) Rajoy administration has taken over the reins with over 5million unemployment and rising, it's up to the usual corruptive activities of money first, environment & islands nowhere!

Bad Guys

Trial Delayed in Nashville for Somalis Accused in Child Sex Trafficking Ring

Nashville, Tenn. - A federal judge has delayed the start of a trial for more than a dozen people accused in a sex trafficking ring run by Somali gangs that reached from Minnesota to Tennessee.

Opening arguments were scheduled to start Monday, but over the weekend the U.S. attorney's office released to defense attorneys hundreds of pages of investigator notes and hours of telephone recordings of one of the juvenile female victims.

The indictment said three gangs called the Somali Outlaws, the Somali Mafia and the Lady Outlaws were forcing teenage girls into prostitution and operated in St. Paul, Minn.; Minneapolis; Columbus, Ohio; and Nashville.

Alarm Clock

Bullfinch Update: Gagging Order Blocks Reporting

The Oxford Mail and The Oxford Times has been gagged from reporting details of a hearing involving an Oxford businessman which took place in a neighbouring court room.

The hearing was held at High Wycombe Magistrates' Court at the same time as the six men accused of being part of the alleged child prostitution ring.

The Oxford Mail believes the hearing is linked to the Operation Bullfinch investigation but the man at the centre of it - who is in his mid-30s - is not one of the six charged.

Star of David

Israel to Bar UN Fact-Finding Team from Entering Country for Investigation Into Jewish Settlements

Avigdor Lieberman
© unknownAvigdor Lieberman
Israel cut working relations with the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday and will bar a U.N. team from entering Israel or the West Bank for a planned investigation of Jewish settlements, the Foreign Ministry said.

Israel accuses the council of having a pronounced anti-Israel bias because of what it says is its disproportionate focus on Israeli policy toward the Palestinians.

Israeli leaders have been in an uproar over the council's adoption of a resolution last week condemning Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem and its decision to send a fact-finding mission to investigate.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced Israel was severing working ties with the council.

"It means that we're not going to work with them. We're not going to let them carry out any kind of mission for the Human Rights Council, including this probe," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said he was not surprised by the Israeli move.

Penis Pump

Dominique Strauss-Kahn charged in French prostitution case

© Agence France-PresseDominique Strauss-Kahl was charged with complicity in an illegal prostitution ring.
Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn faced preliminary charges Monday of "aggravated pimping" and procurement in an illegal prostitution ring in France.

The preliminary charges came as DSK was summoned for eight hours of questioning Monday by French judges investigating an illegal prostitution ring operating out of the northern French city of Lille, Bloomberg News reported. The former IMF chief was later allowed to leave after paying 100,000 Euros in bail, and agreeing not to talk to others being investigated in the case, the Associated Press reported.

French prosecutors in Lille have been investigating an illegal prostitution ring that is alleged to have brought prostitutes from Belgium to luxury hotels in France and abroad to have sex with VIP clients, France's Radio France International reported in October. At least five men have already been jailed as a result of the inquiry, including the director and PR chief of one of the city hotels.

An attorney for Strauss-Kahn adamantly denied Monday that his client had broken any law. "He firmly declares that he is not guilty of these acts and of never having the least inkling that the women he met could have been prostitutes," Richard Malka, a lawyer for Strauss-Kahn, told Agence France Press.