Puppet MastersS

Black Cat

Why are DHS and ICE Stockpiling Ammo?

The US Department of Homeland Security and the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Office have placed an order for 450 million rounds of .40 caliber bullets. The amount of ammo exceeds the amount of people that live in the US and many wonder the motives behind the vast purchase. The contractor Alliant Techsystems is the company supplying the ammunition to DHS and ICE and although the agencies claim these bullets are to be used for target practice many believe they have something else in mind. Jason Bermas, radio host and Filmmaker, joins us for more on the questionable purchase.

Arrow Up

The Fable of the Century

© SOTT.net
Imagine a country in which the very richest people get all the economic gains. They eventually accumulate so much of the nation's total income and wealth that the middle class no longer has the purchasing power to keep the economy going full speed. Most of the middle class's wages keep falling and their major asset - their home - keeps shrinking in value.

Imagine that the richest people in this country use some of their vast wealth to routinely bribe politicians. They get the politicians to cut their taxes so low there's no money to finance important public investments that the middle class depends on - such as schools and roads, or safety nets such as health care for the elderly and poor.

Imagine further that among the richest of these rich are financiers. These financiers have so much power over the rest of the economy they get average taxpayers to bail them out when their bets in the casino called the stock market go bad. They have so much power they even shred regulations intended to limit their power.

These financiers have so much power they force businesses to lay off millions of workers and to reduce the wages and benefits of millions of others, in order to maximize profits and raise share prices - all of which make the financiers even richer, because they own so many of shares of stock and run the casino.

Alarm Clock

Sarkozy Accused of Using Terror Raids to Boost Election Campaign

A renewed focus on security in recent weeks has boosted the reelection campaign of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, but his opponents are now accusing him of cracking down on potential terrorists for election purposes.

Several factors are working in Mr. Sarkozy's favor. First, there were the shootings in the Toulouse area. A self-proclaimed member of al Qaeda shot three soldiers dead in two separate attacks and raided a Jewish school in Toulouse, killing four people.

Mr. Sarkozy immediately put his campaign on hold, becoming the leader of a grieving nation at a time of frantic soul-searching. Meanwhile, his interior minister blanketed the airwaves, assuring radio and TV audiences that the government was in control. The suspected killer, Mohamed Merah, was himself shot dead by French police on March 22 after a dramatic siege at his Toulouse apartment.

About a week later, TV viewers watched over their morning coffee more scenes of police commandos breaking into the homes of suspected terrorists in a series of dawn raids that led to 17 arrests. And on Wednesday morning, it happened again with 10 more arrests.

To be sure, even prior to the terror attacks in and around Toulouse last month, Mr. Sarkozy was recovering in the polls. But the focus on security allowed him to close the gap with his principal rival, François Hollande, in surveys of the first round. Now, some polls show the incumbent has overtaken his challenger, upping the pressure on Mr. Hollande to increase the momentum of his campaign ahead of the first round of voting on April 22.

But Mr. Sarkozy's political opponents are now accusing the government of leaking the planned raids to television crews.

Eye 1

Chris Hedges: "No Outcry Within Media" on NDAA

We had reported on the show that a group of political activists and journalists testified in a New York Court about why they're suing the Obama administration over the National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA. Chris Hedges, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter is also one of the plaintiffs; he joins the show to discuss.

Star of David

When Europe Develops, and Israel Destroys

The European Commission has released a document that lists projects it funded that were destroyed or damaged by the Israel Defence Forces between May 2001 and October 2011.

The list documents 82 such instances, amounting to a monetary loss of 49.2 million euro, 30 million of which came directly from European aid.

British Member of the European Parliament, Chris Davies, released the list following his inquiry to the European Commission. Davies subsequently published the findings on his webpage where he stated that the list was "the most detailed response I have ever received from the European Commission." (See the list here)

The recently published record is yet another indicator of the disregard with which Israel treats its European allies' activities in the occupied Palestinian territories. Last year, it was calculated that Israeli-imposed travel restrictions cost international aid organizations 4.5 million dollars a year.


Best of the Web: Bush tried to destroy torture memo

© AP/Ron EdmondsGeorge W. Bush in 2006
A document advising the Bush administration against torture has resurfaced, despite his best efforts to hide it

In February of 2006, Philip Zelikow, counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, authored a memo opposing the Bush administration's torture practices (though he employed the infamous obfuscation of "enhanced interrogation techniques"). The White House tried to collect and destroy all copies of the memo, but one survived in the State Department's bowels and was declassified yesterday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the National Security Archive.

The memo argues that the Convention Against Torture, and the Constitution's prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment, do indeed apply to the CIA's use of "waterboard[ing], walling, dousing, stress positions, and cramped confinement." Zelikow further wrote in the memo that "we are unaware of any precedent in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, or any subsequent conflict for authorized, systematic interrogation practices similar to those in question here, even when the prisoners were presumed to be unlawful combatants." According to the memo, the techniques are legally prohibited, even if there is a compelling state interest to justify them, since they should be considered cruel and unusual punishment and "shock the conscience."

Eye 1

Supreme Court Ruling Allows Strip-Searches for Any Arrest

strip search victim
© Mel Evans/Associated PressAlbert W. Florence was strip-searched twice after being wrongly detained over a fine.
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, joined by the court's conservative wing, wrote that courts are in no position to second-guess the judgments of correctional officials who must consider not only the possibility of smuggled weapons and drugs, but also public health and information about gang affiliations.

"Every detainee who will be admitted to the general population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed," Justice Kennedy wrote, adding that about 13 million people are admitted each year to the nation's jails.

The procedures endorsed by the majority are forbidden by statute in at least 10 states and are at odds with the policies of federal authorities. According to a supporting brief filed by the American Bar Association, international human rights treaties also ban the procedures.

The federal appeals courts had been split on the question, though most of them prohibited strip-searches unless they were based on a reasonable suspicion that contraband was present. The Supreme Court did not say that strip-searches of every new arrestee were required; it ruled, rather, that the Fourth Amendment's prohibition of unreasonable searches did not forbid them.


Active Endeavour and Drug Trafficking

Moscow (Russia)- NATO is engaged in combating terrorism in Afghanistan (with a UN mandate) and in the Mediterranean (without UN mandate). These operations include tracking down terrorist financing and therefore drug trafficking as well. Yet, Afghanistan has become the largest producer of heroin and the drug is delivered to Western Europe via the Mediterranean, of which NATO has yet to seize a single gram. According to Oriental Review journal, the facts contradict the discourse, concluding that NATO itself is responsible for organizing and securing the drug trafficking.

We all are aware of the basic frameworks of the US response to barbaric 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Bush's administration and NATO launched unprecedented media, diplomatic and military campaigns aimed to suppress the adversary inside its haunt in Afghanistan. But few remember that the US Operation Enduring Freedom and NATO's International Security Assistance Force weren't the only military frameworks for multilateral rebuff to Al-Qaeda. At the same time the United States announced an unprecedented maritime operation named Active Endeavour. The latter is known less as it was based not on the UN Resolution 1368, but notorious article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty stipulating 'collective self-defense'.

Immediately after, all the operations started gaining momentum. But while the expediency of the Enduring Freedom and ISAF couldn't be seriously challenged as the need to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan was quite clear at that time, the mission and results of the maritime initiative are not so obvious. Since the very beginning it was announced that the main objective of the operation was to fight terrorism and other illegal activities on maritime communications. But they suddenly started monitoring only Mediterranean trade routes.

2 + 2 = 4

Best of the Web: The Toulouse Murders

The current French presidential election campaign was rudely interrupted at its very start by a series of murders in and around the southwestern city of Toulouse. On March 11, a paratrooper was shot dead by a mysterious motorcyclist in Toulouse. Four days later, in the nearby garrison town of Montauban, two more paratroopers were shot dead in similar circumstances. Then, four days after that, early in the morning of March 21 in a residential neighborhood of Toulouse, a helmeted gunman approached a Jewish school and coolly shot dead a rabbi and three children at point blank range before driving off on his motorcycle.

Since the targeted paratroopers were reported to be of North African extraction, the first wave of reaction focused on the assumption that the gunman was a far right racist, comparable to the Norwegian mass murderer Ander Behring Breivik. Commentators and politicians rushed to blame rightwing campaign rhetoric for "stirring up hatred". Bernard Henry Lévy recycled his perpetual accusation that France is inherently anti-Semitic, writing: "So there you have it, France is a country where in 2012, in the third largest city, one can shoot at a Jewish school and kill several innocent children at point blank range." The insinuation that France as a whole was somehow guilty was echoed on the front page of the International Herald Tribune, which predicted that the political debate around the shooting was likely to continue as "soul-searching about the nature of France".

The reactions necessarily shifted drastically after it was reported that the lone killer had been identified as a 23-year-old Frenchman of Algerian extraction, Mohamed Merah. Rather than a neo-Nazi racist, the killer presented himself as an Al Qaeda fighter. As police surrounded his apartment in Toulouse, he reportedly claimed by telephone that he had killed the paratroopers for having fought in Afghanistan and murdered Jewish children to "avenge Palestinian children".

Comment: The statement:
"In any case, polls have shown no impact on voters' intentions from the Toulouse killings. The Toulouse drama is unlikely to affect the outcome of the presidential election, which takes place in two rounds on April 22 and May 6."
is not true. Sarkozy jumped in the polls in the week of the killings. He is now more or less neck and neck with Hollande for the first round and has moved to within 6 points of Hollande (47% to 53%) in the second round. As noted by Joe Quinn in his article Sarkozy's Backers To Use Toulouse Attacks To Steal French Election, France uses electronic voting for 4% of voters. This is enough to flip the vote in favor of Sarkozy in the second round.


Afghanistan "Suicide Blast" Leaves at Least 12 Dead

A suicide bomber on Wednesday killed at least 12 people and injured many more in the Faryab province in northern Afghanistan, a Norwegian armed forces' spokesman told AFP.
© Agence France-Presse/Getty ImagesAfghan policemen inspect the site of the suicide attack in Maymana, the capital of Faryab province, north of Kabul

"There are many dead and injured. The numbers I have for the time being are at least 12 killed, but this number is not definitive," Lieutenant Colonel John Espen Lien said, adding that no Norwegian soldiers in Nato's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were nearby when the blast occurred.

Most of the foreign forces in the Faryab province are Norwegians.

Whether the victims were civilians or military personnel was not immediately clear.