CISPA Passed, which will give the government power to spy on your internet communiacations, US troops on the ground in the middle east, 10b arms deal to Israel, Saudis, UAE, Afghan opium up, more issues at Fukushima, Reuters goofed on Soros obituary.
A funny thing happens during the 24/7 news cycle in the headlong rush of a breaking news story: people become fixated on one story to the exclusion of everything else. Of course, that is exactly what happened with the developments in Boston this week. Since there is nothing I could say here that you won't have already heard in triplicate (and likely several hours ago) by the time you read this, why don't we turn our attention to some of the unreported stories that have slipped under the radar during the Boston bombing coverage? After all, the powers-that-shouldn't-be are well aware of how to use these types of events as sleights-of-hand to distract the public from moves being made elsewhere on the political chessboard.
Without further ado, let's delve into five stories you probably missed during the Boston hysteria:
1 – CISPA passed the House (again)
The Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) has passed the US House of Representatives on its way to the Senate...again. It first passed the House on April 26th of last year but failed to make it through the Senate after a concerted campaign to raise public awareness rode the coattails of the SOPA/PIPA protests to get the legislation stopped.
For those who have no idea about CISPA or why it's important, the bill would provide a legal framework for facilitating real-time data sharing of customer information between websites/ISPs and the government. CISPA would allow companies to collect all manner of user information under the guise of 'monitoring cybersecurity threats' and share that data with the government, including the FBI, the NSA, and literally hundreds of other government agencies. The type of data collected could include (but would by no means be limited to) data from private communications. The fight now moves to the Senate, where wrangling over amendments to appease some of those pesky “civil liberties activists” is likely.
If all of these 'cybersecurity' bills threatening your fundamental internet rights and freedoms are starting to blur into a stream of baffling acronyms and boring computer jargon, you're not alone. In fact, that's the point. It's a war of attrition, and the first side to give up loses. For those internet users who are sick of scrambling to mount protest movements and public awareness campaigns against these bills, I will leave you with a search term that might just offer an actual solution to the problem of internet censorship: wireless mesh networks. Just don't use Google to search it (I use Startpage.com myself).
2 – US troops are staging in Jordan to assist Al Qaeda in Syria
As The Corbett Report first reported a year and a half ago, US troops have been on the ground in Jordan near the Syria border for some time now. But now even CNN is reporting that there are 200 US soldiers staging along the Syrian border in what could be the next escalation in the ongoing conflict.
We have known for some time now about the various help that the US government has been providing the so-called “rebels” in Syria. The CIA, for example, has been aiding in arms airlifts into Syria since at least early 2012. Other direct US monetary and logistic support for the country's opposition factions has been ongoing in various capacities for years, even back to the Bush administration. Now it is being revealed that the US government has been footing the bill for a covert operation to provide food aid to Syrian rebels. But as the Washington Post is pointing out, it's the US's new best friends in Syria, the “al-Qaeda”-linked Jabhat al-Nusra that is taking the credit for it. In effect, even the mainstream media is admitting that the US is funding al-Qaeda's PR effort now. (What was that about a terrorist manhunt in Boston?...)
The latest deployment of US troops along the Syrian border is a blatant provocation and undoubtedly designed to provoke some sort of response from Syrian forces. At the moment, we have no way of knowing whether the deployed troops are preparing for specific operations or whether this is merely meant for intimidation. But this much is certain: if the NDAA 2012 was actually enforced as written, the entire Obama Administration would have to be indefinitely detained by the US military for aiding and abetting terror groups in Syria.
3 – US on the brink of $10 billion arms deal with Israel, Saudis, UAE
The US DoD is using the ever-helpful Iranian boogeyman as the excuse to ink a massive $10 billion arms deal with Iran's regional rivals, including Israel, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The deal includes a sale of V-22 Osprey aircraft to Israel (the first sale of V-22 Ospreys to any foreign military) and $3 billion in military aid to Israel. The deal would also throw some KC-135s, missiles, and advanced radars into the pot for America's “best” ally. The UAE and Saudis, meanwhile, would purchase some F-16s and precision missiles under the deal.
4 – Afghanistan expecting record opium crop...again
12 years after America began the longest military operation in the history of the Republic (and one year before it's due to “wind down”), Afghanistan is expecting yet another record poppy crop this year. Despite the sporadic and half-hearted efforts by the US and their NATO allies to engage in opium crop elimination over the years, the crop is on course for a record yield this year, thus regaining Afghanistan the undisputed crown as the world's largest opium producer, supplying 90% of the global supply. Prices remain near historic highs for the product, meaning that NATO has succeeded in nothing during its 12 year occupation of the country but securing the opium supply and insuting that it will continue to flow for many years to come.
The Russians, for their part, are kicking up a fuss about the situation. Last month the head of the country's Federal Drug Contral Service lambasted NATO forces for their part in contributing to the disaster at a presentation at the UN: “Afghan heroin has killed more than 1 million people worldwide since ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ began and over a trillion dollars has been invested into transnational organized crime from drug sales.”
As President Bush would no doubt observe: Mission Accomplished.
5 – George Soros died
Just kidding. But Reuters did accidentally publish his premature obituary on their website before hastily removing it from their servers. Under the headline “George Soros, enigmatic financier, liberal philanthropist dies at XX,” the story purported to lament the loss of George Soros from the mortal coil at the age of “XXX.” The article contained such gems as: “George Soros, who died XXX at age XXX, was a predatory and hugely successful financier and investor, who argued paradoxically for years against the same sort of free-wheeling capitalism that made him billions.”
Oddly missing from the obit was any mention of his collaboration with the Nazis in Hungary or the role of his various non-profits in fostering color revolutions in far-flung parts of the globe, but to its credit it did mention his role in devaluing the pound in 1992 and triggering the Asian financial crisis in 1997. It also mentioned that he was a convicted inside trader in the third to last paragraph of a very lengthy article.
Zero Hedge's proposed revision for when Reuters has to dust off this template for Soros' eventual death: “Today after XX centuries of monetizing debt, the Emperor of the Galactic Central Bank, Gaius Maximus Printius Bernankius the DCLXVIth, ended QE in the year of the alien invasion, XXXXX. Bread costs XXXXXXXXXXX."
6 – TEPCO dealing with (yet more) leaks at Fukushima
The Tokyo Electric Power Co has been dealing with a leak of tens of thousands of gallons of water from an underground storage pool at Fukushima for weeks now. The problem highlights TEPCO's ongoing battle to store the hundreds of thousands of tons of radioactive water that they have used for cooling the reactor cores over the past two years. The latest news is that it will take six days to drain the faulty pond using makeshift pipes and a temporary tank to store the water on its way to a destination 550 metres away.
In other Fukushima news, one of the most radiated villages in Fukushima, Iitate-mura, is now offering a coupon incentive program to lure children back to the town. The deal would offer a $100 equivalent coupon for the purchase of school books to children who attend the local schools if they undergo their annual health checkup at the local hospital. Evacuated children only receive $50 under the scheme. The town admits it is a scheme to incentivize the return of children to the town, which was radiated with million becquerels/kilo of Iodine-131 as well as neptunium-239. Sadly, this is only the latest in a series of schemes that have encouraged tourists to visit the Fukushima area and Japanese to eat Fukushima-sourced foods as a way of helping out the local economy.