Puppet MastersS


Why is the U.S. government stockpiling guns, ammo?

Is the U.S. government getting ready for a war we don't know about?

And, if that's why Washington is stockpiling massive amounts of ammunition (hollow points, by the way), why is Homeland Security doing the buying instead of the Defense Department?

I have some theories.

Many of you will remember a story I broke a long time ago - about presidential candidate Barack Obama's little-noticed announcement that, if elected in 2008, he wanted to create a "civilian national security force" as big, as strong and as well-funded as the Defense Department.

Here's what he actually said at a campaign stop in Colorado July 2, 2008: "We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."

Comment: Why are DHS and ICE Stockpiling Ammo?


Kashmir cleric calls all-girl rock group 'un-Islamic'

© AFP Photo
Indian Kashmir's most senior Muslim cleric has called for the plug to be pulled on an all-girl rock group, calling the band "un-Islamic" and accusing them of "indecent" behaviour.

Pragaash (First Light) sprang to prominence last December when the high school trio, all of whom are Muslim, won an annual "Battle of Bands" competition held in Srinagar, the state capital.

But the three-piece, whose members are all aged around 16, has since been the target of a cultural backlash in the Muslim majority state, including hate mail on their Facebook page, and have held back from playing any more concerts.


For first time, most Americans believe federal government threatens personal freedoms

Distrust of the U.S. government has reached an all-time high among Americans, a majority of whom now say Washington represents a threat to their personal freedoms.

According to a new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 53% of respondents said the federal government threatens their own personal rights and freedoms. Those disagreeing numbered 43%.

Stock Down

Best of the Web: Severe disaffection: Seventy-five percent of U.S. citizens don't trust government

A new survey from the Pew Research Center finds the nation is increasingly distrustful of the federal government: 73 percent don't have faith that lawmakers - members of Congress in particular - will do the right thing. Judy Woodruff asks Andy Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center, for more details and historical context. - PBS Newshour

Dominant Social Theme: This has been going on for a long time and is nothing new. When the economy improves, people will feel better.

Free-Market Analysis: The Pew Survey has found that three-quarters of the United States population doesn't trust government but for the Public Broadcasting System, it's a partisan issue and also "business as usual."

From our point of view, it is not, of course. It is a manifestation of a larger disaffection that has been exacerbated by what we call the Internet Reformation. The Internet allows people to understand their world in ways they didn't before and tends to put discontent into a larger perspective.


Drone warfare: U.S. covert actions in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia

© US Air Force – Sgt Brian FergusonA fully armed Reaper taxis before a mission
In Pakistan a heavy CIA drone campaign targeted both so-called 'good' and 'bad' Taliban. Three senior militants were among the dead.

Yemen was hit by the highest number of airstrikes in one month since June 2012, though none have been formally confirmed as US operations.

No US operations were reported in Somalia.

The United Nations also launched a major investigation into the legality and casualties of drone strikes by the United States, Britain and Israel.


January 2013 actions
Total CIA strikes in January: 6
Total killed in strikes in January: 27-54, of whom 0-2 were reportedly civilians
All actions 2004 - January 31 2013
Total Obama strikes: 310
Total US strikes since 2004: 362
Total reported killed: 2,629-3,461
Civilians reported killed: 475-891
Children reported killed: 176
Total reported injured: 1,267-1,431

For the Bureau's full Pakistan databases click here.

War Whore

Best of the Web: Hillary Clinton: Profile of imperial arrogance and lawlessness

She was Washington's 67th Secretary of State. She served from January 21, 2009 - February 1, 2013. She's arguably America's worst.

From 2001 - 2009, she was US Senator from New York. In 2008, she challenged Obama for the Democrat party's presidential nomination.

Supporters urge her to run again in 2016. She's noncommittal. When asked, she says "I am not thinking about anything like that right now."

She also said she'll "do everything (she) can to make sure that women compete at the highest levels, not only in the United States but around the world."

Husband Bill urges her to run. Some suspect she already made her move.


In Amerika, law no longer exists: The extermination of truth

In the 21st century Americans have experienced an extraordinary collapse in the rule of law and in their constitutional protections. Today American citizens, once a free people protected by law, can be assassinated and detained in prison indefinitely without any evidence being presented to a court of their guilt, and they can be sentenced to prison on the basis of secret testimony by anonymous witnesses not subject to cross examination. The US "justice system" has been transformed by the Bush/Obama regime into the "justice system" of Gestapo Germany and Stalinist Russia. There is no difference.

In an article available here Stephen Downs, formerly Chief Attorney with the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct and Kathy Manley, a criminal defense attorney and member of the New York Civil Liberties Union, report on how the US government destroyed a charity, the Holy Land Foundation, which provided money for feeding the poor and for building schools and hospitals in Palestine.

The charity, aware of the perils of being based in the US and doing anything for Palestinians, relied on the US State Department and the US Department of Justice (sic) for guidance on where to send humanitarian aid. The charity sent its aid to the same aid committees in Palestine that the US Agency for International Development and the UN used to distribute aid to the Palestinians.


UK authorities probe Barclays over Qatar loan: FT

© Reuters/Phil NobleA logo of Barclays bank is seen outside a branch in Altrincham, northern England April 26, 2012.
British authorities are looking into an allegation that Barclays (BARC.L) loaned Qatar money to invest in the bank as part of its rescue fundraising at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, the Financial Times reported.

Qatar Holding is not accused of any wrongdoing, the FT said.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) and Serious Fraud Office (SFO) have been looking into Barclays' emergency fundraising since July.

Qatar Holding invested 5.3 billion pounds ($8.4 billion) in Barclays in June and October 2008, helping it avoid being bailed out by the government, unlike rivals Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L).

Allegations over a loan to the Qataris is a new thread of the investigation, the FT said, citing two sources familiar with the situation.

A Barclays spokeswoman said: "Both the FSA and SFO investigations are on-going and, as such, we are unable to comment further."

The FSA and SFO both declined to comment.

New Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins has been trying to restore the bank's reputation after a string of scandals, including a $450 million fine in June for rigging Libor interest rates that prompted the resignations of previous CEO Bob Diamond and chairman Marcus Agius.

The deal with Qatar was controversial from the outset. Shareholders were angry Qatar was offered more attractive terms to invest than existing investors, and a sale of warrants in November left Qatar sitting on a gain of 1.7 billion pounds from its investment, according to Reuters estimates.

Comment: Excerpt fro the FT : "UK authorities investigations into whether Barclays gave a loan to Qatar to fund the bank's cash call in 2008 have highlighted its desperate and ultimately successful attempt to avoid a state bailout at the height of the financial crisis. The Financial Times this week revealed that the UK's Financial Services Authority and the Serious Fraud Office are looking into such allegations, adding yet another blow to Barclays attempts to repair its tarnished image ... Qatar Holding was one of two Qatari investors that participated in Barclays' two cash calls in 2008. The other one was Challenger, an investment vehicle of Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, the prime minister of Qatar, and his family."

Conclusion: When you are a bank, you can do a bit of trafficking with your account to avoid nationalisation.

War Whore

Best of the Web: Calling out the hypocritical, war-loving left

For much of the last decade, the left participated in activism and protests condemning the Bush administration's wars of aggression, and calling for the President's impeachment. Now that it is a Democrat in the White House, however, these self-same activists are suddenly shying away from impeachment as a way to stop the American war machine. Find out more about the movement to impeach Obama -- and its opponents in the phoney "anti-war" left -- in this week's GRTV Backgrounder.


Best of the Web: George Galloway: Drones, Palestine, 'Tony Blair belongs at the Hague'

Abby Martin speaks to George Galloway, author and politician of UK's Respect Party about Iraq, Palestine, US drone wars, and the British Parliament.