Puppet MastersS


The Glorification of our Serial Killers: The United States and Its Dark Passenger

© Christian Weber/Showtime
Part 1:

I could have been a vicious raving monster who killed and killed and left towers of rotting flesh in my wake. Instead, here I was on the side of truth, justice and the American way. Still a monster, of course, but I cleaned up nicely afterward, and I was OUR monster, dressed in red, white and blue 100 percent synthetic virtue.

-Jeff Lindsay, Dearly Devoted Dexter

I teach creative writing in a maximum security prison in Philadelphia. During the week I scour two thrift shops for 35-cent paperbacks that I haul in to stock a small lending library I created for inmates. Amazingly, the prison had no library.

In the process of collecting used books, I've surveyed the crime, mystery and noir genre of popular fiction. I collect some books for myself and have read many in part or end to end. The range of quality in such a genre runs from garbage to genius.

I'm a Vietnam veteran and a veteran anti-war activist who follows the US war news closely. The psychological and mythic forces of Eros and Thanatos (Death) interest me and how they play out in popular culture. Freud in Civilization and Its Discontents writes about "the struggle between Eros and Death, between the instinct of life and the instinct of destruction." Eros is the force that brings humans together and Thanatos is the force that drives us apart. "This struggle is what all life essentially consists of," Freud writes.

The other day I picked up Jeff Lindsay's second book in the Dexter series - Dearly Devoted Dexter - about a Miami police department forensic expert by day and psychopathic killer by night. Lindsay's Dexter novels have spun off into a popular Showtime TV series. The Miami Herald called the book about a lovable serial killer "A macabre work of art."


Palestine: Israel Approves 500 New Illegal West Bank Homes

For Palestinians, Israeli settlements are the very crux of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
© Gallo/Getty ImagesFor Palestinians, Israeli settlements are the very crux of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
An Israeli committee approved on Wednesday the construction of 500 new illegal homes in the West Bank settlement of Shilo and retroactively legalize more than 200 already built without permits, a spokesman said.

The committee, which falls under the auspices of the defense ministry, approved "construction of 500 units," civil administration spokesman Guy Inbar told AFP.

He also confirmed reports that more than 200 homes which were built without a permit, some in the nearby settler outpost of Shvut Rachel, would be legalised.

Israel has sped up expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory in defiance of international law, which considers such construction illegal.

A Palestinian official said the move was a "very serious development" and warned the Palestinian Authority would not enter negotiations while Israel's "destructive" policies continued.

Che Guevara

Israel Capitulates: Palestinian Hunger Striker Khader Adnan Avoids Death by Starvation

© Carlos Latuff
The human rights victory draws sharp attention to Israel's politics.

International media attention over the hunger strike of a Palestinian father named Khader Adnan, has opened the world's eyes once again to the Jewish state's unbalanced sense of political justice.

After refusing food for more than 66 days, Mr. Adnan's attorneys finally reached an agreement with the Israeli government, and unless these officials have any other tricks up their sleeves, he will be released on 17 April, which ironically, is 'Prisoner's Day' in Palestine; all the while never having been charged.

The incredible image below that was posted on Twitter, expresses in visual terms, the story of dedicated, political hunger. This is not the 'power-hungry' political aspiration we know so well in America, but a political act where the desire to refrain from eating itself... is what becomes insatiable. This act of sacrifice, almost always conducted behind bars, has moved mountains, ending suffering and strife on a wide scale. Starvation for the benefit of others is the act of Khader Adnan.

How does it feel to live in a country that supports rules in another country, that Hitler would be proud of? What country you say...? Sadly, the answer is Israel.


Canada: U.S. Law Panel Urges Harper to Avoid 'Costly Failure' of Mandatory Minimum Pot Punishments

Stephen Harper
© Reuters/Chris WattieStephen Harper
A high-profile group of current and former U.S. law enforcement officials has sent a letter to the Harper government with a surprising message: Take it from us, the war on drugs has been a "costly failure."

The officials are urging the Canadian government to reconsider mandatory minimum sentences for "minor" marijuana offences under its "tough-on-crime bill" and said a better approach would be to legalize marijuana under a policy of taxation and regulation.

"We are ... extremely concerned that Canada is implementing mandatory minimum sentencing legislation for minor marijuana-related offences similar to those that have been such costly failures in the United States," the letter reads. "These policies have bankrupted state budgets as limited tax dollars pay to imprison non-violent drug offenders at record rates instead of programs that can actually improve community safety."

The letter was signed by more than two dozen current and former judges, police officers, special agents, drug investigators and other members of the advocacy group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.


UK: Tony Blair's Wife Cherie Sues News Corp., Convicted Phone-Hacker Mulcaire

Tony Balir, Cherie Blair
© unknownTony Blair with wife Cherie Blair
Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair's wife Cherie sued News Corp. (NWSA) and a former private investigator for its now-defunct News of the World tabloid for hacking into her phone.

The lawsuit, filed Feb. 21 against the company's U.K. unit and Glenn Mulcaire, comes as News Corp. prepares for the first civil trial over the scandal, scheduled to start next week in London. The company has already settled phone-hacking claims by Blair's former press chief, Alastair Campbell, and former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch shuttered the News of the World in July in a bid to contain public anger after it was revealed the tabloid hacked into the voice mails of a murdered schoolgirl. While most of the current lawsuits have settled, the company may face claims by more than 800 possible victims identified by police.

"If it is true that a former prime minister's family have been targeted by Rupert Murdoch's hackers, then it is clearly a significant moment in the scandal," Tom Watson, a Labour Party lawmaker who is on a parliamentary committee investigating the scandal, said in an e-mail.

A message left with the press office of News Corp.'s U.K. unit, News International, wasn't immediately returned. Mulcaire's lawyer, Sarah Webb, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment. Mulcaire was jailed in 2007 for hacking phones of members of Britain's royal family.


Journalists Among Dozens Killed as Bombing Continues in Syrian city of Homs

© unknown French photographer Remi Ochlik and American journalist Marie Colvin were killed in Homs, activists and a French government spokeswoman said.
Syrian forces continued to bombard the city of Homs on Wednesday, as international outrage at the growing death toll increased pressure on the government of President Bashar al-Assad ahead of a meeting of world leaders Friday to discuss the crisis.

Ignoring the International Committee of the Red Cross's call for daily two-hour cease-fires to allow medicine and food into civilian areas that are increasingly deprived of basic supplies, Syrian authorities defiantly asserted Wednesday that terrorist groups and sanctions were responsible for any lack of medical care.

Among dozens of people reported killed Wednesday in Homs, a center of opposition to Assad and a target of intermittent heavy artillery fire for almost three weeks, were journalist Marie Colvin of Britain's Sunday Times and photojournalist Remi Ochlik from France.

The two, who had traveled into Syria without official permission, were killed and three other reporters were injured when a hail of missiles hit the house in which they were working Wednesday morning. Their deaths came less than a week after the demise of award-winning New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid, from an apparent asthma attack, in northern Syria and a little more than a month after French journalist Gilles Jacquier died in violence in Homs.

Comment: To get a better picture of what's really going on in Syria, please read the Sott Focus "Syria's Bloody CIA Revolution - A Distraction?"


Venezuela's Chavez Says His Cancer is Likely Back

Hugo Chavez
© Agence France-Presse/Getty ImagesHugo Chavez
President Hugo Chavez has raised serious doubts about whether he'll have the stamina for a successful re-election bid, revealing that he needs to return to Cuba to have a lesion removed that is probably malignant.

Chavez was meeting with top aides today to plan for his absence while expressions of support poured in from his allies around the region.

Venezuela's foreign ministry said Chavez had received messages of concern from Presidents Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Francisco Mujica of Uruguay, Evo Morales of Bolivia and Cristina Fernandez of Argentina.

Chavez told Venezuelans yesterday that doctors in Cuba had over the weekend found a two-centimetre (less than an inch) lesion is in the same place where they removed a cancerous tumour last year.

The socialist president, who hopes to extend his 13 years in power with another six year term in the October 7 elections, said he will likely need radiation therapy.


Assassination Attempt on Abkhazia President Fails

Alexander Ankvab
© The Associated Press/Mikhail Metzel Alexander Ankvab
Unidentified assassins tried Wednesday to kill the president of Abkhazia, a Russian-backed rebel Georgian enclave, employing automatic rifles, grenade launchers and a powerful roadside bomb in an assault that raised fresh questions about Moscow's ability to preserve order there.

The president, Alexander Ankvab, survived the attack without injury, but at least one bodyguard died and two more were seriously wounded. It was the sixth attempt on Ankvab's life in less than a decade, a testament to the volatility of Abkhazia.

Reached by telephone at his office in Abkhazia's capital, Ankvab's voice was faint and shaky.

"I'm sorry, I can't talk right now, especially about this topic," he said. The attack was likely to provoke new anxiety in Moscow, which has been struggling to damper recent political tremors in Abkhazia and another breakaway Georgian enclave, South Ossetia.

Officials in Abkhazia had no immediate information on possible suspects in the attack. Ankvab took office in August and immediately began a campaign against criminal groups that he alleged had infiltrated government agencies.

Evil Rays

Britain at Risk From EMP Attack From Space, MPs Warn

Russian Topol-12M mobile nuclear missile
© ReutersA Russian Topol-12M mobile nuclear missile.
Britain's critical national infrastructure could be crippled in a high-altitude space attack by a rogue state or terrorists, MPs have warned.

A nuclear device detonated up to 500 miles above the earth's surface could generate an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) with a "devastating" effect on power supplies, telecommunications and other vital systems, the Commons Defence Committee said.

It warned that countries such as Iran - which is resisting international pressure to end its nuclear programme - and even eventually some "non-state actors" could acquire the technology to mount such an attack, in a scenario akin to the plot of the 1995 James Bond film GoldenEye.

Terrorists could also build a "crude" non-nuclear EMP weapon, with the power to cause disruption over a more limited area.

But despite the vulnerability of the UK to such an attack, the committee accused the Ministry of Defence of appearing "complacent" and "unwilling to take these threats seriously".

It said ministers should start work on "hardening" the infrastructure to protect against an EMP attack "as a matter of urgency".


Russia Warns Against 'Hasty Conclusions' Over Iran

© The Associated Press/Ronald Zak Herman Nackaerts, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, is interviewed as he arrives after his flight from Iran at Vienna's Schwechat airport, Austria, on Wednesday Feb. 22, 2012.
Russia said Wednesday the world should not draw "hasty conclusions" over Iran's most recent rebuff of U.N. attempts to investigate allegations the Islamic Republic hid secret work on atomic arms, but the U.S. and its allies accused Tehran of nuclear defiance.

Under international pressure to show restraint, Israel, which has warned repeatedly that it may strike Iran's nuclear facilities, pointedly urged major world powers to mind their own business, saying it alone would decide what to do to protect the Jewish state's security.

France said Iran's continued stonewalling of the International Atomic Energy Agency "is contrary to the intentions" expressed by Tehran in its recent offer to restart talks over its nuclear activities.

In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney said while world powers have not yet reached a decision on those talks, Iran's refusal to cooperate with the investigation "suggests that they have not changed their behavior when it comes to abiding by their international obligations."

The IAEA's acknowledgment of renewed failure came early Wednesday at the conclusion of the second trip in less then a month aimed at investigating suspicions of covert Iranian nuclear weapons work.

The IAEA team had hoped to speak with key Iranian scientists suspected of working on the alleged weapons program, break down opposition to their plans to inspect documents related to nuclear work and secure commitments from Iranian authorities to allow future visits.