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Sunday, February 28, 2010

From hedge funds to handcuffs...

From hedge funds to handcuffs
Art Nadel pleads guilty; Another hedge fund owner takes over Venice FBO
February 26, 2010
by Daniel Hopsicker

In a surprise court appearance last Wednesday hedge fund owner Art Nadel pled guilty in a New York Federal court.

It was a bitter disappointment to swindled investors, as well as to interested onlookers anxious for a glimpse of not only how he did it, but who he did it with.

Nadel’s guilty plea may have removed the best—maybe the only—chance to make accountants and bookkeepers and managers at feeder hedge funds, all of whom had front row seats to the scandal, face public scrutiny while testifying about what went on at Scoop Management.

Most people find it impossible to believe he acted alone.

Nadel isn't tall, rangy, and CIA-connected, like fellow Ponzi All Star Allen Stanford, or even burly, like Bernie Madoff, but meek-looking, and unprepossessing physically. He's the Woody Allen, or, for those who still remember him, the Wally Cox of Ponzi World.

There's lots of anger among jilted investors, who stand little chance of getting back anything more than a few pennies on the dollar of the $168 million they're estimated to have lost.

Why do Florida lawyers all seem like extras from "Body Heat?"

If they're counting on Tampa attorney Burton Wiand's help, they may be waiting a long time. Many actions taken by Wiand since being named the federal receiver charged with unraveling Nadel's finances last January seem open to question.

Real suspicions should also focus on what he hasn't done. Reading court transcripts can sometimes be eye-opening...

Long-time SEC lawyer Wiand dragged his feet (top snippet) on supplying Nadel's files, which he'd seized in the civil action he's involved in against Nadel, to federal prosecutors in New York charged with convicting him in criminal court, clearly higher priority.

Perhaps more importantly, his testimony in September revealed that he's not going after any money, other than his own ($750,ooo reportedly so far), with anything like the vengeance his job description promises jilted investors.

"One of the receiver's highest priorities is to locate and recover any additional funds," reads the brief he filed when he went back to court asking for more money last summer.

Yet three months later, almost nine months after he was appointed, Wiand's testimony revealed that he's aware, though somewhat vaguely, of $5 million he's owed from Christopher and Neil Moody... but he hasn't gotten around to asking them about it yet!

Wiand to investors: "The check's in the mail"

Things look bad for Nadel's hapless investors. But the outlook for the citizens of Venice, Florida, where Nadel owned the same business that earlier trained Mohamed Atta to fly, is even more bleak.

For them, Nadel’s descent from hedge fund owner to handcuffs may feel like going from the frying pan to the fire.

That's because the new owner of the former Huffman Aviation owns a hedge fund, too.

What a coincidence.

Even worse, the new owner's top henchman, who often fronts for his various financial entities as their President, was at the heart of a Wall Street scandal that looted more money from investors than Art Nadel ever dreamed of stealing, and which was—until the financial meltdown last year—the biggest Wall Street had ever seen.

The name of the new owner of the former Huffman Aviation, which a Venice City Attorney told the Venice City Council they had no right to know, is Eugene Gorab.

Gorab, who claimed to be worth more than 100 million dollars in an interview with the Sarasota Herald Tribune last year, made his pile buying and selling hotels and casinos.

He worked for a hugely successful tycoon named Barry Sternlicht who at one point while Gorab was working for him, owned more casinos than anyone on the planet.

We know what you're thinking. But wait. It gets worse.

Gorab owns the majority stake in private equity fund Greenfield Partners in Norwalk Connecticut, just a few exits up the Merritt Parkway from Greenwich, where “private equity fund” Fairfield Partners helped Bernie Madoff relieve investors of unwanted capital.

More interesting by far is that Gorab owns Clayton Holdings, a company whose failures in due-diligence played a direct role in the multibillion dollar collapse of the nation's housing market.

Clayton Holdings is a due-diligence company, the nation's largest, which get hired by investment houses to make sure blocks of loans meet the seller's own standards.

Despite the fact that the underlying home loans didn't get within shouting distance of meeting those quality standards, Clayton Holdings paid off like a slot machine, signing off on the mortgage investments, the instrument of mass destruction which Wall Street has successfully used to bomb the American economy back to the Stone Age.

Gorab, who didn't own Clayton Holdings until recently, wasn't responsible. He bought the company as Clayton’s former President received immunity from New York’s Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in return for testimony about underwriting "exceptions" his firm’s project managers gave its Wall Street accounts.

Does anyone remember the words "modified limited hangout?"

Maybe we’ll learn how they did it... if Eugene Gorab—the man who now owns the former Huffman Aviation—decides to let the world take a look at Clayton's books.

The Straw Men

Definition of “straw man”: noun (CRIME) n (also man of straw): Someone, often an imaginary person, who is used to hide an illegal or secret activity.

“The fraud depended on hundreds of bank accounts being opened on behalf of straw men.” How do we know that Gorab owns Huffman Aviation, even though the three lads who say they're the owners refused to release the names of their investors?

Simple: Gorab, for one thing, also owns Volo Aviation in Sarasota, and has a hundred million dollars in other aviation investments. That's one hundred million more in aviation investments than the lads claiming to be the new owners.

More importantly, they were working for Gorab when they bought it. And he didn't fire them.

Finally, the new front man for Volo Aviation at the Sarasota Airport, who "bought" it from Gorab, is Gorab's long-time lieutenant, he former President of Volo.

Meet Thom Harrow. He's "working to keep your trust."

Thom Harrow, most recently listed as President of Volo Holdings, has been an officer of a myriad of Gorab's shell companies, which change almost daily, as the "ownership: of the Volo Sarasota just did, again.

Harrow operates at least four FBO’s (Fixed Base of Operations) already, including the one at the Sarasota Airport.

Remember the old TV commercials for The Rock? Prudential Securities? "The most important thing we earn is your trust."

Turned out, it wasn't true.

Harrow was a senior executive at Prudential Securities during the late 80’s and early 90’s while executives and brokers at the company were busily defrauding investors of $8 billion.

Back then—in those far more innocent times—reporters called it the largest fraud in US history.

No other Wall Street scandal came close to touching the debacle at Prudential Securities. Mike Milliken, at Drexel Burnham, was a piker by comparison. They settled his securities scandal (junk-bonds, remember?) for $650 million, a pittance by the $ 8 billion standard set by the Prudential scandal.

According to NEWSWEEK,

"In this topsy-turvy world due diligence was a sham, brokers were hounded — even fired — for questioning the quality of deals, and no executive displayed much interest in knowing what was really going on."

Does that sound familiar?

Kurt Eichenwald covered the story for TIME magazine, then wrote "Serpent on the Rock," a book about the scandal. According to a review of his book in the New York Times:

"Eichenwald presented an appalling indictment of managers who did dozens of deals with a convicted embezzler, spent millions of investors' dollars on lavish trips to places like Cancun and Maui, and made cozy arrangements with developers to make themselves rich no matter how their clients fared."

But wait... Harrow himself wasn't charged with a crime, and deserves the benefit of the doubt. He deserves the benefit of the doubt, as he was, after all, unindicted.

He was probably one of the good guys who stuck around to clean up the mess.

Locking-in profits for decades to come.

Discovering that Harrow was working for "The Rock" when it melted into butter was no easy task. Few of Harrow's bios make mention of it. Perhaps because leaving it out creates an almost decade-long hole in his curriculum vitae, he 'fessed up and included it here.

Then we discovered that, currently--right now--Harrow is Treasurer of a Baton Rouge Louisiana-based non-profit charity called Provident Resources Group.

Provident's own literature shows them to be (charitably, natch!) involved in providing resources (hence the company's name, it appears they are big on providing resources) in the following fields: CitiState (sic), Education, Healthcare, Housing, and Senior Living. Here's how they describe themselves:

"Based in Baton Rouge, La., Provident Resources Group is a not-for-profit organization with the mission of serving the needs of the elderly; promoting and advancing health care; assisting the poor by providing affordable housing; lessening the burdens of government; promoting and advancing education; and preserving the environment."

In the pursuit of its charitable mission, Provident has become a national non-profit organization committed to the development, ownership and operation of state-of-the-art health, education, senior living, and multi-family housing facilities and services across the country.

“Furthermore, Provident actively strives to assist state and local governments in lessening the burdens they face in providing many needed services to their citizens.”

Its all good. Right?

So it came as something of a shock to discover that what they do mostly—resource-wise, that is—build and run: private prisons: eleven Private Correctional Facilities in Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia,, and Alaska.

Apparently, it came as something of a shock to the Wall Street Journal too.

The May 1, 2002 Wall Street Journal covered Provident in their Section in Enron, under this headline: "Charities Said To Be Playing Enron-Style Partnership Game.

"At the D. Ray James Prison in south Georgia, the inmates have been kept behind bars by all types of lawmen: sheriffs, chiefs of police and more than a few wardens. But never, until now, have they been kept in jail by a charity."

What Provident offers the corrections world, in the most charitable way, of course, reported the Journal is “offering off-the-books financing for public and private prison operators."

"Provident does this by creating special subsidiaries and partnerships that take advantage of controversial accounting rules and allow its clients to keep debt off of their balance sheets."

Provident "isn't a conventional charity. It is run by a group of lawyers, investment bankers and financial consultants. Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc. and other Wall Street titans do its financial work."

With that "impressive firepower, Provident is trying to carve a unique niche for itself in the corrections world, offering off-the-books financing for public and private prison operators."

It has "helped the state of North Carolina and Cornell Cos., a for-profit prison company, buff their financial profiles."

Provident "does this by creating special subsidiaries and partnerships that take advantage of controversial accounting rules and allow its clients to keep debt off of their balance sheets." In exchange for its role, Provident "arranges to receive potentially lucrative fees, some of which it calls exempt from federal income tax.

In the last nine months Provident entities, with help from Lehman, have sold more than $420 million of debt to investors."

Like Enron. Only unindicted.

We thought: maybe we're just being cynical. It can happen. Then we found this headline:


Provident got involved with a struggling community hospital in the San Fernando Valley... offering to help. Reporter Evan Pondel in the January 22, 2003 Los Angeles Daily News picks up the story:

"In an effort to rescue the hospital, Wallace struck a deal with a controversial charity for help. Soon thereafter, California's attorney general approved Baton Rouge, La.-based Provident Foundation Inc. to take control of the hospital's board."

The organization has been operating as a not-for-profit group since 1999, and analysts say Provident is by no means a conventional charity.

Matt Hull, analyst with Avondale partners in Nashville, Tenn., said in a previous interview that the company is run by a group of lawyers, investment bankers and financial consultants -- many of whom are former Lehman Brothers employees.

James Doulgeris was hired by Provident to serve as interim CEO, and his firm, Healthcare Resource Specialists, was tapped to provide crisis and turnaround management strategies for the hospital.

"We are in the center of settling our bankruptcy with creditors ... and the decline in patients we serve in the perinatal unit has been accelerating," said Doulgeris.

"There are no plans to close other departments, and emergency services for expectant mothers still will be available through the hospital's emergency room."

Uh-oh. We could already tell the hospital wasn't going to make it...

According to analyst Hull::

"Company President Stan Hicks, 53, who served as a member of the national finance committee for the Clinton-Gore campaign in 1992, appears to manage a company that, by some reports, receives lucrative fees under the guise of being a charity."

Millie Hernandez has worked at the hospital for 17 years. She understands that Provident has invested in prison facilities and has a murky business reputation.

"There's only so much you can take," Hernandez said. "The hospital can't function like this for much longer."

In case you're wondering, the company is politically-connected at the highest levels. Provident's President Stan Hicks was on the National Finance Committee for the Clinton-Gore campaign in 1992.

"Meet the new Boss. Same as the old Boss."

When the new owner of the former Huffman Aviation FBO took over operations at the Venice Airport last month, the Sarasota Herald Tribune was quick to note that the only noticeable change in operations “was a Shell fuel truck on the premises to replace the Chevron brand that former owner Art Nadel sold.”

The statement was meant to be reassuring. In reality, it was not.

It was business as usual.

The ingredients for another world-class scandal at the Venice Airport are frighteningly visible. Sleazy characters in expensive suits. Abuse of power. Cover-up.

During the special meeting of the Venice City Council called to consider the lease transfer before the federal bankruptcy judge's deadline, questions were repeatedly raised about why TriState would release no financial information on its owners.

Surprisingly, the supposed new owners weren’t forced to answer. Leaping to their defense was an assistant city attorney who repeatedly advised the council they had no reason to object to Wiand’s choice.

Calling the backgrounds of the new managers "blue chip," he said, "As staff we think they have passed the test probably more so than any tenant we've had at the airport."

Groundbreaking American muckraker Upton Sinclair put it best: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

Mayor Ed Martin, in a remarkable admission, indicated that he wasn’t fooled.

"We're not in a position to determine who these people are,” he said. “Whether they are U.S. nationals, or whether they have criminal ties."

Well, Ed. Now you know.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Senator Jim Bunning kills the unemployment benefits extension for hundreds of thousands of Americans...

Jim Bunning killed the unemployment benefits extension. What now?
Jim Bunning's opposition to unemployment benefits extension means they'll expire Saturday. But the unemployed won't see cuts immediately.
By Laurent Belsie / February 26, 2010

When Sen. Jim Bunning (R) of Kentucky held up a bill authorizing the extension of certain unemployment benefits Friday, he put the plans of hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans on hold.

With those benefits set to expire at midnight Saturday, here's a look at what they can expect:

1. What's the immediate impact?

There's little practical impact over the next few days. Even though the extended benefit program officially ends Saturday, unemployed Americans will still be able to file Sunday and Monday for the benefits they are entitled to this week. It's the benefits for next week that would be affected.

2. How many people are affected?

At the outset, a couple hundred thousand of the nearly 5.4 million unemployed American receiving benefits will be affected. If Congress doesn't act, the number of Americans will grow to 400,000 during the first two weeks of March and nearly 3 million by May, according to the Labor Department.

3. Are all unemployed Americans at risk?

No. The extended benefits program is the last of three tiers of unemployment insurance, offering 13 or 20 weeks of additional money after the unemployed have exhausted other benefits. The first two programs remain in effect. At the moment, 37 states have unemployment rates high enough to qualify for the extended benefits program.

4. Will Congress act to extend benefits?

It always has in the past and usually quite quickly. Even when benefits have expired, Congress has routinely made their extension retroactive.

5. Why did Senator Bunning vote against the extension?

The senator, who is not running for reelection, wants to quit running up the national debt.

"We have run up $5 trillion in debt. There has to be a time to stop that," he said on the floor of the Senate Friday.

6. Is he right?

That depends entirely on one's point of view. Unemployed Americans can receive up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits – nearly two years – which is a record. The last time unemployment was this high, in the early '80s, the maximum was 55 weeks. That said, in terms of overall economic activity, this downturn looks like it will be the most severe since the Depression.

Keith Olbermann(On his father and death panels)

Liberian president urges MP's to back bill banning vulture funds from preying on poor countries...

Liberian leader urges MPs to back action against vulture funds
Liberia's president calls on MPs to support bill that would bar vulture funds from pursuing debts of poorer nations in UK courts
Heather Stewart and Greg Palast The Guardian, Thursday 25 February 2010

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the president of Liberia, is urging MPs to back a bill banning vulture funds from using British courts to prey on poor countries when it comes to a vote on Friday .

Liberia lost a $20m (£13m) case in London last year against two so-called vultures. Such funds buy up the loans of poor governments, wait for them to win debt relief from the international community, and then use courts to pursue the countries for assets.

Sirleaf said: "We've been waiting for a parliament or an assembly to take this kind of hard decision. I hope the US Congress and maybe some others in Europe will pick up this gauntlet and will follow the example of Britain."

An investigation for BBC's Newsnight, to be broadcast tonight, has uncovered allegations that speculators subverted the international debt relief process for Liberia, in an attempt to gain more money from its government and international donors than 97% of its other creditors accepted.

Liberia received debt relief worth $4bn from the international community in 2007 under the heavily indebted poor countries initiative, including $2bn from private-sector bondholders. Insiders to negotiations allege that two US financiers, Eric Hermann and Michael Straus, allowed other creditors to accept a low payout from Liberia, then quietly transferred their holdings to two other firms, which then sued in Britain for the debt in full.

One of Liberia's biggest creditors, Hans Humes, owner of New York's Greylock Capital, criticised the behaviour of speculators in the negotiations over the country's debts. "[They were] just sitting there and saying: 'OK, we're the last guys and we're going to hold up any process by which the country can grow unless somebody takes care of us.' It's extortion," he said.

Two others who were involved in the negotiations confirmed that Humes's criticisms must refer to Hermann and Straus.

The private member's bill, which will receive its second reading on Friday, would prevent vultures from pursuing any of the 40 countries that have qualified as heavily indebted poor countries. Sponsored by Labour MP Andrew Gwynne, it would prevent assets being seized, even in cases that have already been brought – so campaigners say it should help Liberia.

When a Newsnight crew went to Hermann's New York office to question the financier, the company's nameplate had been unbolted from the wall, the suite number removed and the firm's staff locked inside the office. A security guard said he had been ordered to look out for the BBC crew and keep it out of the building.

In 1998, a US judge found lawyer Straus guilty of "champerty" – buying poor nations' debts just for the purpose of suing them. An appeals court later reversed the finding.

In February 2002, Straus and Hermann sued Liberia for $18m for debts they had obtained for a fraction of that sum. They filed the suit in the US, the week Liberia's capital was under siege from rebels, without electricity, water or a functioning government. Straus and Hermann won a judgment for the $18m by default.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bernanke feigns ignorance of $12 billion in cash going to provisional government in Iraq after 2003 invasion...

Paul, Bernanke, Waxman and $12 Billion in Cash Squandered
Kurt Nimmo
February 25, 2010

It was an exchange largely ignored by the corporate media.

On February 24, Rep. Ron Paul asked Fed mob boss Ben Bernanke about $12 billion in cash. Paul said “a lot of cash was passed through — and a lot of people suppose it was passed through the Federal Reserve — when there was a provisional government [in Iraq] after the 2003 invasion. That money was not appropriated by the Congress as required by law.”

“Congressman, these specific allegations you’ve made are absolutely bizarre, and I have no knowledge of anything remotely like what you just described,” Bernanke responded.

Bizarre? Apparently Helicopter Ben does not have a grasp on the recent history of the “federal” agency he administers.

Last July Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, addressed this very issue.

“In a 13 month period from May 2003 to June 2004, the Federal Reserve sent nearly $12billion in cash, mainly in $100 bills from the United States to Iraq,” Waxman explained. “To do that, the Federal Reserve Bank in New York had to pack 281 million individual bills … onto wooden pallets to be shipped to Iraq. The cash weighed more than 363 tons and was loaded onto C-130 cargo planes to be flown into Baghdad.”

See the video below.

“The US flew nearly $12bn in shrink-wrapped $100 bills into Iraq, then distributed the cash with no proper control over who was receiving it and how it was being spent,” the Guardian reported on February 8, 2007.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the corporate media all but ignored the story and that is why it became the #13 story out of 25 selected by Project Censored in 2009.

“Beginning in April 2003, one month after the invasion of Iraq, and continuing for little more than a year, the United States Federal Reserve shipped $12 billion in US currency to Iraq. The US military delivered the bank notes to the Coalition Provisional Authority, to be dispensed for Iraqi reconstruction. At least $9 billion is unaccounted for due to a complete lack of oversight,” Project Censored wrote.

It is incomprehensible that Ben Bernanke would not know about this. If it is true he is ignorant of the facts, it is another reason for him to be bounced and the Fed Reserve closed down permanently.

His “bizarre” comment is disrespectful of Paul and the House Financial Services Committee. It is said the Federal Reserve is a federal agency and as such is answerable to the American people. It is, of course, nothing of the sort. It is a criminal organization established to fleece the American people.

Jundullah terrorist leader says US promised him military base and unlimited aid...

Jundalla Terrorist Leader: US Promised Military Base and Unlimited Aid
www.presstv.ir | 25 Feb 2010

Jundallah terrorist leader Abdolmalek Rigi confesses to offers of unlimited support by the US spy agency, the CIA. In a televised confession on Press TV, Rigi said that in a Dubai meeting with CIA agents, he was promised unlimited support that included a military base anywhere near the Iranian border equipped with weaponry and training facilities.

Rigi added that he was to meet a top US intelligence official in the US military base of Manas in Kyrgyzstan to work the details of the support US will provide for his group.

The terrorist leader emphasized that the US operatives insisted in their meetings with him that Iran is their primary focus in the region, even more important than al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Rigi added that the CIA agents also explained to him that since a US military attack on Iran would be very difficult, they intend to support all anti-Iran groups that have the capability of waging war inside Iran and to destabilize the country.

Federal judge says Fourth Amendment 'is now gone'...

Federal judge says Fourth Amendment 'is now gone'
February 24, 1:05 PM
Civil Liberties Examiner J.D. Tuccille

Last week, admonishing his colleagues, who had just turned away an important search-and-seizure case, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, effectively pronounced the Fourth Amendment dead. After the court signed off on police search of an apartment without a warrant, probable cause or reasonable suspicion, Kozinski said, "Whatever may have been left of the Fourth Amendment ... is now gone."

In the case of United States v. Lemus, police peacefully arrested Juan Hernan Lemus of Calexico, California, outside his home "before he could fully enter the doorway and retreat into his living room." With Lemus in custody, and without a search warrant for the apartment, police then entered the dwelling for a look around.

From the majority decision (which is written like a crime novel):

Diaz, in the living room, got Detective Longoria’s attention. Wasn’t there something sticking out from the couch? Detective Longoria thought it looked like the butt of a weapon. Since Lemus was a felon, having a gun would be a crime. Detective Longoria lifted the couch cushion to make sure, and confirmed that it was a semi-automatic handgun. It was later determined to be a Sturm and Ruger, 9 millimeter.

Unsurprisingly, Lemus's attorneys challenged the search, which was the basis for subsequent charges unrelated to the original arrest. They pointed out that precedent permits search of the immediate area around suspects arrested in their home to assure the safety of the arresting officers, and limited protective sweeps of the full dwelling to make sure no potential allies of the arrestee are lurking in the shadows. But Lemus was already in custody, having been arrested outside. Police chose, on their own, to enter the residence.

No problem, said the district court. The majority of judges at the appeals level agreed. "Lemus was arrested in an area 'immediately adjoining' the living room, a limited search of that room was proper without either reasonable suspicion or probable cause as a protective search incident to the arrest."

But Kozinski objects (PDF):

The panel's fig leaf for this clearly illegal search is that "at most Lemus was only partially outside" of his living room door when the officers seized him. Lemus, 582 F.3d at 963. So what? Under Buie, Lemus’s location at the time of arrest is irrelevant; it's the location of the police that matters. Buie authorizes a search incident to an in-home arrest because being inside a suspect's home "puts the officer at the disadvantage of being on his adversary’s 'turf,' " ...

Frankly, the majority's reasoning seems to suggest that police can conduct a full, warrantless search of your home if they arrange to arrest you within reach of your front door. Not that they would ever game such a legal rule, of course ...

Judge Kozinski points out the startling implications of the appeals court's decision to let the lower-court decision stand.

This is an extraordinary case: Our court approves, without blinking, a police sweep of a person’s home without a warrant, without probable cause, without reasonable suspicion and without exigency -- in other words, with nothing at all to support the entry except the curiosity police always have about what they might find if they go rummaging around a suspect’s home. Once inside, the police managed to turn up a gun "in plain view" -- stuck between two cushions of the living room couch -- and we reward them by upholding the search. ...

The opinion misapplies Supreme Court precedent, conflicts with our own case law and is contrary to the great weight of authority in the other circuits. It is also the only case I know of, in any jurisdiction covered by the Fourth Amendment, where invasion of the home has been approved based on no showing whatsoever. Nada. Gar nichts. Rien du tout. Bupkes.

Whatever may have been left of the Fourth Amendment after Black is now gone. The evisceration of this crucial constitutional protector of the sanctity and privacy of what Americans consider their castles is pretty much complete. Welcome to the fish bowl.

Very well reasoned. Very strongly worded.

But the majority decision in favor of the "fish bowl"still stands.

Political ally of Colombian president arrested for links to far-right drug-running paramilitaries...

Political ally of Colombian president arrested
The Associated Press
Wednesday, February 24, 2010; 7:06 PM

BOGOTA -- A former senator with close political ties to President Alvaro Uribe was arrested by Colombian authorities Wednesday on charges of colluding with far-right death squads.

Mario Uribe, a second cousin to the president, is one of the most prominent figures in a scandal that has sent dozens of current or former lawmakers to jail on charges of benefiting from links to outlawed rightist paramilitary groups.

Under an order handed down by Colombia's Supreme Court, Uribe was arrested in the city of Medellin, 155 miles (250 kilometers) north of Bogota, police said. He was to be transferred to the capital.

The 60-year-old former senator has denied any wrongdoing.

Uribe, who presided over the Senate in 2000-2001, is a close confidant of Colombia's conservative president. The two launched a political party together in the mid-1980s and have remained allies ever since.

The arrest stems from allegations by a former paramilitary leader that Uribe conspired with right-wing militias in the 1990s to gain control of land in northeastern Colombia's agriculturally rich regions where paramilitaries controlled large swaths of territory.

The former paramilitary leader, Jairo Castillo, alias "Pitirri," claims he witnessed a meeting during which Uribe negotiated a deal with paramilitary leaders to obtain prime cropland.

Paramilitary groups formed in the 1980s to defend wealthy ranchers from kidnapping and extortion by Colombia's leftist rebels, but evolved into drug-trafficking criminal mafias. Prosecutors blame them for at least 10,000 murders and the theft of millions of acres of land.

Uribe was imprisoned for four months in 2008 on charges of colluding with paramilitaries, but he was released in August of the same year after Colombia's No. 2prosecutor said there was insufficient evidence to hold him. He remained under investigation, however, and was barred from leaving the country.

Australia warned in '04 that Israel's Mossad spy agency was using Australians passports fraudulently...

Warning on passport forgery ignored, says former diplomat
Mark Dodd and Paul Maley
From: The Australian February 26, 2010 12:00AM

IN 2004, it was an open secret in Canberra's Middle Eastern community that Israeli agents were trying to obtain "clean" passports from countries such as Australia and New Zealand to be used by its spy agency, Mossad.

Ali Kazak was the Palestinian representative to Australia at the time and he went public with his concerns, warning the Howard government that Mossad was trying to obtain Australian passport details fraudulently.

Mr Kazak, who served as a semi-official ambassador from 1982 to 2006, last night said he had been vindicated by confirmation that cloned Australian passports were used by suspects in the murder of Palestinian militant Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

"I told you but you didn't act on the warning," Mr Kazak said. "And you've put Australian lives at risk."

In 2004, Mr Kazak declared that a Mossad agent operating in Sydney at the time had obtained 25 false Australian passports.

Mr Kazak said his claims were played down by then federal attorney-general Philip Ruddock.

Months later, New Zealand police arrested two suspected Mossad agents who had flown in from Australia after a botched attempt to obtain a false passport using identity details of a wheelchair-bound cerebral palsy victim.

The agents had picked a target they guessed was unlikely to travel abroad but their attempts at faking a New Zealand accent aroused the suspicion of an immigration official who alerted Wellington's small but sharp security service.

The two Israelis, Eli Cara and Urie Zoshe Kelman, were promptly arrested.

New Zealand's prime minister at the time, Helen Clark, blasted Israel and suspended all high-level diplomatic contacts over the incident.

Cara and Kelman pleaded guilty to the charges and were sentenced to six months' jail by an Auckland court on charges of having attempted falsely to obtain a passport.

The two served their sentences and were sent home to Israel.

A year later, Israel apologised and diplomatic ties were restored.

Cara, a former Israeli air force officer, had operated a travel business based in the northern Sydney suburb of Turramurra.

Mr Kazak said yesterday he had no doubt Mossad was behind the murder of Mabhouh.

"Yesterday the Israeli members of parliament were praising the head of Mossad for what he did -- for assassinating the Hamas leader in Dubai," he said.

"We know they've been responsible for counterfeiting New Zealand passports. We know that in 1997 when they (Mossad) attempted to assassinate the Hamas leader Khalid Meshaal they used Canadian passports. And we know Mossad agents were operating out of Sydney (in 2003), were counterfeiting Australian passports.

"I said that at the time, but did the Australian government -- Alexander Downer -- investigate seriously this Mossad activity? No, I don't think so."

In 1997, Mossad bungled the assassination of Meshaal, who was injected with a poison while in Jordan by Israeli agents travelling on Canadian documents. Meshaal survived after his assailants were captured by his bodyguards and Israel provided the antidote.

Mr Kazak said the Australian government's failure to properly investigate Mossad's activities here amounted to appeasement and had put Australian lives at risk. "Can you imagine what Australia would do if this (passport fraud) was being done by an Arab or Muslim country?" he said.

"This neglect, this appeasement, this closing of eyes towards Israel is putting Israel's interest above Australia."

Mr Downer last night rejected Mr Kazak's claim.

Speaking from Greece, the former foreign minister said the Howard government had bluntly warned Israel not to issue fake Australian passports to its intelligence operatives.

"I'm not 100 per cent sure that I didn't myself raise it with the Israelis," Mr Downer said. "I may have done. I couldn't rule it out."

Mr Downer said the warning was issued in the context of a series of botched operations involving Mossad agents travelling on fake passports.

"My recollection is that over time we have raised this issue with the Israelis," he said. "We have raised the issue of Israeli intelligence officers using foreign passports and that they should not consider using Australian passports."

Mr Downer said the attempted forgery of a New Zealand passport provoked outrage across the Tasman.

"It was certainly raised with me in a very animated way by Phil Goff when he was the New Zealand foreign minister," Mr Downer said. "They were very, very animated about it."

The normally voluble Jewish lobby group Australia Israel Jewish Affairs Council last night declined to comment on the looming diplomatic spat. An AIJAC spokesman told The Australian its director, Colin Rubenstein, was seeking more details.

Haiti at risk for more damaging earthquakes this year...

Haiti At Risk for More Damaging Earthquakes This Year

RESTON, Virginia, February 24, 2010 (ENS) - Earthquake aftershocks are still being felt in the ruined city of Port-au-Prince - a 4.7 magnitude quake 20 miles away shook the city early Tuesday morning and another of the same magnitude was felt on Monday. Even though further damage and deaths were not reported, the aftershocks cause frightened residents to flee their homes lest cracked buildings fall, burying them in rubble as so many others were buried on January 12.

Haiti will remain at risk for additional damaging earthquakes for at least the next year, according to an updated scientific analysis by the U.S. Geological Survey issued Tuesday.

The magnitude 7.0 earthquake of January 12 near Port-au-Prince, has generated a sharp increase in concerns about the potential for future earthquakes in Haiti and the surrounding region.

Because these concerns extend to understanding the causes of the earthquake hazard and learning what can be done to ensure seismic safety in the future, USGS Director Marcia McNutt has asked the team of USGS earthquake scientists to provide a continuing evaluation of the earthquakes facing Haiti now and in the future.

The death toll in the disastrous January 12 quake could reach 300,000 once all the bodies are recovered, Haitian President Rene Preval told a meeting of Latin American and Caribbean leaders in Mexico on Sunday.

"More than 200,000 bodies were collected on the streets without counting those that are still under the rubble," Preval said. "We could arrive at 300,000 deaths." Haitian government officials estimate 700,000 people are living outdoors in tents and that one in three of Haiti's 10 million residents were affected by the quake.

As the world rushes millions of dollars in recovery aid to Haiti, the USGS scientists predict that the aftershock activity will continue for many months, although they say the frequency of these events should diminish with time.

USGS scientists estimate the probability of an aftershock with a magnitude of 7.0 or greater within the next year is three percent; within the next three months, two percent, and within the next 30 days just one percent.

An aftershock with a magnitude of 6.0 or greater is predicted with 25 percent likelihood within the next year, 15 percent within the next three months, and five percent within the next 30 days.

Within the next year there is a 95 percent chance of an aftershock of magnitude 5.0 or greater. Within the next three months, that probability drops to 80 percent, and within the next 30 days the probability of a magnitude 5.0 aftershock drops to 55 percent.

"Any aftershock above magnitude 5.0 will be widely felt and has the potential to cause additional damage, particularly to vulnerable, already damaged structures," the USGS warns.

"Everyone in the Port-au-Prince area must maintain awareness with regard to their personal earthquake safety. Individuals should always have in mind what action to take if the ground starts to shake. Open spaces are generally safe. If indoors, drop to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk or table, and wait for the shaking to stop," the USGS advises. "Do not go outdoors until the shaking stops."

Only qualified engineers can determine if a damaged building is safe for reoccupation. Until engineering assistance arrives, the USGS advises, "If it does not look safe, it probably is not safe. Entry into or reoccupation of obviously damaged structures should be avoided."

The geologic fault that caused the Port-au-Prince earthquake is part of a seismically active zone between the North American and Caribbean tectonic plates. The January 12 earthquake relieved some stress on the fault segment that ruptured during the event, but the USGS scientists say the extent of rupture along the fault is unclear at this time.

Fault slip models, preliminary radar surface deformation measurements, and examination of satellite and airborne imagery for surface rupture suggest that the segment of the Enriquillo fault to the east of the January 12 epicenter and directly adjacent to Port-au-Prince did not slip appreciably in the earthquake.

This means that the Enriquillo fault zone near Port-au-Prince still stores sufficient strain to be released as a large, damaging earthquake during the lifetime of structures built during the current reconstruction effort.

"We have estimated the probabilities of a future large earthquake on the Enriquillo fault," the USGS scientists said. "Our estimates indicate a probability range of five percent to 15 percent, less than one chance in six, for an earthquake of magnitude 7 on the Enriquillo fault near Port-au-Prince during the next 50 years."

For comparison, the probability of a magnitude 7.0 or greater earthquake within the next 50 years on the Hayward-Rodgers Creek fault in the eastern portion of California's San Francisco Bay region is also about 15 percent.

Given these estimates of earthquake hazard, buildings in Port-au-Prince and environs will continue to be at risk from strong earthquake shaking. These risks can be minimized through the use of earthquake-resistant design and construction practices that apply the results of a comprehensive earthquake hazard assessment. It has been shown that the benefits of losses avoided through earthquake mitigation practices outweigh the costs, the USGS advises.

This entire region is seismically active due to the relative motion between tectonic plates and is prone to damaging earthquakes. It is a small-scale "ring of fire" similar to that encircling the Pacific Ocean.

Over the past three centuries, earthquakes as strong or stronger than the recent one have struck Haiti at least four times, including those in 1751 and 1770 that destroyed Port-au-Prince.

Historical earthquakes greater than magnitude 7.0 have occurred in Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Martinique, and Guadeloupe.

Along the northern coast of Venezuela, the juncture of the Caribbean and South American plates has caused damaging earthquakes in the vicinity of Trinidad and Tobago. The USGS advises that earthquake safety policy, including building codes throughout the region, should be based on thorough seismic hazard assessments.

Microsoft pulls Cryptome offline after site publishes info on how Microsoft helps police and intel agencies violate citizens personal privacy...

Microsoft's wiretap guide goes online, security site goes offline
By John Leyden
25th February 2010 09:09 GMT

Long-established privacy and cryptology website Cryptome.org was pulled offline on Wednesday after Microsoft launched a legal offensive over its publication of Redmond's guide to internet wiretapping.

Microsoft's Global Criminal Compliance Handbook, a 22 page booklet designed solely for police and intelligence services, provides an overview of Microsoft's online services, what information it collects on users and how long it keeps it. The guide also explains how to serve warrants and how to make sense of the records it stores to understand, for example, when and to who a Hotmail user sent an email.

Redmond's lawyers used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in an attempt to force Cryptome to pull the guide, a request it refused, before going to hosting provider Network Solutions. The firm not only complied with this order but went one step further by placing a lock on the Cryptome.org domain to keep the site down.

Cryptome.org remain unavailbel but the site, minus the controversial Microsoft documents, can still be found at cryptomeorg.siteprotect.net.

The secret government surveillance document didn't stay offline for long and was soon republished on Wikileaks which, unlike Cryptome, has a distributed system not tied to a US registered domain.

Cryptome, which began way back in 1996 and serves as an outlet for whistleblowers, previously got into hot water for publishing Microsoft's point-and-click "computer forensics for cops" COFFEE tool back in November.

More background on the circumstances of the Cryptome DMCA takedown can be found on the Geekosystems blog here.

The blog reports that last year Cryptome published a surveillance guide from Yahoo, similar to Microsoft's but including a price-list for lawful interception compliance absent from Redmond's run-down. ®

Iran to reveal evidence of Jundallah ties with US...

Iran to reveal evidence of Jundallah ties with US
Tue, 23 Feb 2010 23:08:51 GMT

Iran says it has irrefutable evidence confirming that terrorist ringleader Abdolmalek Rigi had been aided and abetted by the US government before his arrest.

The leader of the Jundallah terrorist group was on a flight from the United Arab Emirates to Kyrgyzstan when he was tracked down by Iranian security forces on Tuesday.

An informed source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Press TV that Rigi and one of his deputies were captured after Iranian security forces forced their plane to land at an airport in the Persian Gulf city of Bandar Abbas.

Iranian security forces said he was at a US base in Afghanistan 24 hours before his capture and had a forged Afghan passport issued by the US in his possession when he was detained.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters on Tuesday that there is strong evidence suggesting that Rigi was supported by the United States.

"Not only are we aware of the many crimes against humanity committed by [Rigi], but we also have more than enough evidence that this terrorist group was in fact acting on US orders," Mehmanparast said.

"This is a disgrace for a country which tries to portray itself as an avid supporter of human rights," he added.

The details of Rigi's arrest and his link to the US government will be made public by the Intelligence Ministry in the near future, Mehmanparast said.

On Tuesday, Iranian Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi said security officials had been tracking Rigi down for over five months.

In addition to Rigi's stay at a US base, he had also met with the NATO military chief in Afghanistan in April 2008 and also had links with some EU member states, Moslehi stated.

He noted that Iran received no assistance from regional intelligence services in the capture of Rigi.

Jundallah, which is based in Pakistan, has carried out a slew of bombings, assassination attempts, and terrorist attacks in Iran, one of which killed at least 40 people in the southeastern city of Pishin.

Members of the Iranian parliament have expressed their satisfaction over the arrest of the Jundallah leader.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, over 200 Iranian lawmakers congratulated Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on the successful arrest of Rigi.

"We are overjoyed by the arrest of the Jundallah leader, who was acting as a lackey and a spy on behalf of the intelligence agencies of Britain and the US," read part of the statement.

"This certainly is good news. We are proud of our military, police, and security forces for their hard efforts to find this man and bring him to justice," the statement added.

According to the parliamentarians, the arrest of Iran's most wanted man shows the strength and power of the Islamic Republic in security issues, which is something the entire Muslim world should be proud of.

The MPs also said Rigi's arrest would have never been possible without the support and positive encouragement of the Leader.

CIA briefed 68 lawmakers on interrogation program...

CIA briefed 68 lawmakers on interrogation program
David Alexander
Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:48pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - CIA officials briefed at least 68 U.S. lawmakers between 2001 and 2007 on enhanced interrogation methods like simulated drowning that were being considered or used against captured al Qaeda members, according to declassified documents released on Tuesday.

The once-secret CIA papers, obtained in a lawsuit by the conservative legal foundation Judicial Watch, shed new light on which lawmakers knew the details of the controversial interrogation program and when.

Human rights groups have argued the harsh interrogation methods were forms of torture and violated U.S. obligations under the Geneva Conventions on treatment of war prisoners. President Barack Obama banned the techniques shortly after taking office in January 2009.

The declassified memos show the program began after the capture of al Qaeda lieutenant Abu Zubaydah, a Saudi-born Palestinian who was the group's operations director, in the city of Faisalabad in central Pakistan in March 2002.

In a statement to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence dated April 12, 2007, then-CIA director Michael Hayden said the agency decided new "techniques" were needed because "Abu Zubaydah was withholding information that could help us track down al Qaeda leaders and prevent attacks."

The CIA briefed lawmakers as it began seeking expanded authority for the interrogation program. Current House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, then minority whip, attended a briefing on Abu Zubaydah's interrogation April 24, 2002, along with seven other members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the documents show.

The CIA did not begin using the interrogation techniques until after receiving legal guidance from the Department of Justice in August 2002.

Pelosi, who became House Democratic leader in late 2002, said at a news conference in April last year that she was never told at the time that simulated drowning -- or waterboarding -- and other harsh interrogation techniques were being used. She said she was only told the CIA had legal opinions that approved harsh interrogation methods.

Hayden, in his 2007 statement for the Senate Select Committee, said as the CIA began implementing the interrogation program in 2002 "the majority and minority leaders of the Senate, the speaker, and the minority leader of the House, and the chairs and ranking members of the intelligence committees were fully briefed on the interrogation procedures."


Documents obtained by Judicial Watch indicate 68 lawmakers were briefed on the interrogation program between 2001 and 2007.

After the interrogation program began, Abu Zubaydah become "one of our most important sources of intelligence on al Qaeda," helping U.S. authorities identify alleged al Qaeda operative Jose Padilla and others, according to Hayden's statement, marked "TOP SECRET."

Early in his detention, Abu Zubaydah identified Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as the mastermind of the September 11 attacks, Hayden's statement says. Until that time, it says, Mohammed "did not even appear in our chart of key al Qaeda members and associates."

According to the statement, Sheikh Mohammed also provided information about another al Qaeda operative, Majid Khan, who, in turn, identified another operative named "Zubair" who was captured in June 2003.

Zubair later provided information that led to the arrest of Jamaah Islamiya leader and al Qaeda's South Asia representative Hambali, Hayden said.

The memos show that lawmakers were told as far back as July 13, 2004, that Mohammed had been subjected to waterboarding 183 times.

CIA Inspector General John Helgerson, briefing Reps. Porter Goss and Jane Harman, said "three people had been interrogated with the waterboard," a CIA memo on the meeting states.

"On one, the IG felt that it had been used excessively, beyond what the IG thought was the agreement with DOJ (Department of Justice). Khalid Sheikh Mohammed got 183 applications (redacted)," it says.

(Additional reporting by Adam Entous; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The media-lobbying complex(Video)

"The Media-Lobbying Complex": Investigation Exposes Undisclosed Corporate Ties of Network Political Pundits

A four-month investigation into the covert corporate influence on cable news found that since 2007 at least seventy-five registered lobbyists, public relations representatives and corporate officials have repeatedly appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, CNBC and Fox Business Network with no disclosure that they are paid by corporate interests. We speak to journalist Sebastian Jones, who carried out the investigation for The Nation magazine.

McCain's Dietary Supplement Bill: An attempt to implement Codex Alimentarius

McCain’s Dietary Supplement Bill: An Attempt to Implement Codex Alimentarius
Brandon Turbeville
February 24, 2010

A bill recently introduced to the U.S. Senate, the Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010 (S. 3002), by Senators John McCain and Byron Dorgan is possibly the most direct assault on natural health freedom we have seen for some time. If passed into law, this bill would require all dietary supplement manufacturers, distributors, and holders all the way down to the retail store level to be comprehensively registered. It would also allow for the arbitrary banning of nutritional supplements by the FDA and the introduction of deceitful reporting of adverse events related to them.

The cover for this legislation is that it is designed to prevent both intentional and unintentional steroid adulteration of dietary supplements. The trigger, according to McCain, was six NFL players who were accused of doping with supplements tainted with steroids. Even with this being the case, however, the FDA already has the authority to regulate synthetic anabolic steroids via the Anabolic Control Act of 2004 which permits them to do just that. Nevertheless, under the guise of the behavior of six NFL players, an entire market that has been proven not only very safe but very healthy will be essentially regulated out of business. (NHF)

The Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010 would require registration of any “business or operation engaged in manufacturing, packaging, holding, distributing, labeling, or licensing a dietary supplement for consumption in the United States,” definitions which could possibly include even retail stores that sell herbal and nutritional products. (DSSA p.2) Currently, under the Dietary Supplements and Non-Prescription Consumer Protection Act, small retailers are not required to register. This, however, will change with the passage of McCain-Dorgan’s bill. (NHF)

The switch from the current practices of Serious Adverse Event Reporting to that of simply Adverse Event Reporting is of concern as well. Existing law requires the reporting of serious adverse events related to the supplement in question to be reported for regulatory and recall purposes. The McCain-Dorgan bill, however, removes the language “Serious Adverse Event” and replaces it with the term “adverse event,” opening up the floodgates for the most ridiculous possible claims of adverse events such as bad taste or even dislike of packaging. This “report everything possible” stance is will vastly increase the numbers of complaints that will hence be used to add credence to the arguments for banning supplements in the future. Not only that, but more government bureaucracies will have to be created in order to organize and sort through all of the incoming “adverse event reports.” (NHF)

Yet the most frightening aspect of this bill is the immediate effects it would have on natural supplements. Currently, due to the Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), all supplements on the market prior to October 15, 1994 can lawfully be sold in the United States. However, the legislation being proposed completely reverses this and defines a “new dietary supplement” as one that “is not included on the list of ‘Accepted Dietary Ingredients’, to be prepared, published, and maintained by the Secretary” (DSSA p.5-6). This seemingly slight change in language actually removes the grandfathering in of supplements on the market prior to 1994. These new dietary supplements will also be considered “adulterated” unless “there is a history of use or other evidence of safety establishing that the dietary ingredient when used under the conditions recommended or suggested in the labeling of the dietary supplement….” (DSSA p.5) The registrants are then required to create and maintain a “scientifically reasonable substantiation file” which is to be made available for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to inspect at his/her whim. These products are to be registered at least 75 days prior to market. (NSF)

As quoted above, the bill also mandates that an “Accepted Dietary Ingredients” list should be created by the Secretary of HHS which will replace the current guidelines. Such a list effectively gives the FDA carte blanche to do whatever it wishes in regards to natural supplements. The FDA is given absolute authority to determine what supplements are allowed on the “Accepted Dietary Ingredients” list, thereby granting it the authority to ban any supplement without due process, scientific merit, or even a hearing simply by refusing to place it on the ADI list. (NSF) The FDA will also be able to remove supplements from market even after it has allowed it to be included on its’ list. As the bill states,

“If the Secretary finds there is a reasonable probability that a dietary supplement or a product marketed or sold as a dietary supplement would cause serious, adverse, health consequences or death, or is adulterated or misbranded, the Secretary shall issue a cease distribution and notification order requiring the person named in the order to immediately – cease distribution of such dietary supplement or a product marketed or sold as a dietary supplement; notify distributors, importers, retailers, and consumers of the order; and instruct those distributors, importers, retailers, and consumers to cease distributing, importing, selling, and using the dietary supplement.”(DSSA p.9)

The cost of the recall, of course, will be absorbed by the retailer. (DSSA p.11)

While the Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010 is an egregious attack on Americans’ freedom of choice, it is also a symptom of an even larger problem. The McCain-Dorgan bill is not just another silly attempt by corrupt politicians to demonstrate that they still have some value to their constituents, but an attempt to implement Codex Alimentarius at the national level and move the United States away from our Common Law heritage. The European Union has already passed similar legislation in the European Union Food Supplements Directive which has decimated open access to natural dietary supplements. Canada has passed laws to the same effect in recent weeks as well.

AE911Truth gets local news time(Video)

Architects and Engineers for 9/11 truth get exposure on A Channel news in Victoria British Columbia on Feb 19/2010

Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth press conference(Video)

AE911Truth Press Conference from MysterE Productions on Vimeo.

Six more British passports used in Dubai assassination...

Six more British passports used in Dubai assassination
Hugh Tomlinson, Dubai and Catherine Philp, Diplomatic Correspondent
From Times Online

Six more Britons had their passports cloned by the killers of a senior Hamas official, Dubai police said today, as they revealed a total of 15 new suspects in the assassination.

The latest information brings to 26 the total number of suspects wanted in connection with the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, 12 of whom entered the Gulf State using the stolen identities of real British nationals.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said the names and passport numbers of the new suspects corresponded to real British nationals but, once again, the signatures and photographs were different, suggesting a repeat of the original fraud.

A spokeswoman said they were working to locate the latest victims, at least two of whom were traced by The Times in Israel. The original six victims are all dual British nationals living in Israel.

“If these individuals live in Israel or are dual nationals, then we will of course raise this with the Israeli authorities,” the spokeswoman said.

“We expect the Israeli Government will cooperate fully with the investigation that has been launched by the Prime Minister and is being undertaken by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency.”

The drip-drip of information from Dubai has kept up pressure on Israel to explain its suspected role in the slaying despite official insistences that it is ignorant.

Mr Mabhouh was murdered in his Dubai hotel room on January 19, in what local police said they are “99 percent certain” was a hit by Israel’s spy agency Mossad.

New details of the suspects’ travel movements released today show that a large group of agents visited Dubai from November 6 to 10. Insiders close to the case say that they believe the team had been tipped off more than two months in advance that Mr Mabhouh would be visiting the emirate.

The new British suspects named are Daniel Schnur, Gabriella Barney, Roy Cannon, Stephen Drake, Mark Sklar and Philip Carr. Police also named three new Irish suspects, three French and three Australian. Six women have now been named in the assassination team.

Last week, Dubai police named 11 suspects in the case, including six UK passport holders. All six were forged passports carrying the name of British citizens living in Israel.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), which is working closely with the Dubai authorities to investigate the use of forged passports, said that the latest documents to come to light also appeared to be fraudulent.

Hamas founder's son worked for Shin Bet for years...

Haaretz exclusive: Hamas founder's son worked for Shin Bet for years
By Avi Issacharoff

The son of a leading Hamas figure, who famously converted to Christianity, served for over a decade as the Shin Bet security service's most valuable source in the militant organization's leadership, Haaretz has learned.

Mosab Hassan Yousef is the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a Hamas founder and one of its leaders in the West Bank. The intelligence he supplied Israel led to the exposure of a number of terrorist cells, and to the prevention of dozens of suicide bombings and assassination attempts on Israeli figures.

The exclusive story will appear in this Friday's Haaretz Magazine, and Yousef's memoir, "Son of Hamas" (written with Ron Brackin) will be released next week in the United States. Yousef, 32, became a devout Christian 10 years ago and now lives in California after fleeing the West Bank in 2007 and going public with his conversion.

Yousef was considered the Shin Bet's most reliable source in the Hamas leadership, earning himself the nickname "the Green Prince" - using the color of the Islamist group's flag, and "prince" because of his pedigree as the son of one of the movement's founders.

During the second intifada, intelligence Yousef supplied led to the arrests of a number of high-ranking Palestinian figures responsible for planning deadly suicide bombings. These included Ibrahim Hamid (a Hamas military commander in the West Bank, Marwan Barghouti (founder of the Fatah-linked Tanzim militia) and Abdullah Barghouti (a Hamas bomb-maker with no close relation to the Fatah figure). Yousef was also responsible for thwarting Israel's plan to assassinate his father.

"I wish I were in Gaza now," Yousef said by phone from California, "I would put on an army uniform and join Israel's special forces in order to liberate Gilad Shalit. If I were there, I could help. We wasted so many years with investigations and arrests to capture the very terrorists that they now want to release in return for Shalit. That must not be done."

The story of Yousef's spiritual transformation appeared in Haaretz Magazine in August 2008. Only now, however, is Yousef exposing the secret he kept since 1996, when he was first held by Shin Bet agents seeking to enlist him in infiltrating the upper echelon of Hamas.

Their efforts proved successful, and Yousef was released from prison in 1997. His former handler, who no longer serves with the security service, says Yousef collaborated with Israel because he wanted to save lives.

"So many people owe him their life and don't even know it," said the handler, named in Yousef's book as Captain Loai. "People who did a lot less were awarded the Israel Security Prize. He certainly deserves it."

Loai makes no secret of his admiration for his former source. "The amazing thing is that none of his actions were done for money," he says. "He did things he believed in. He wanted to save lives. His grasp of intelligence matters was just as good as ours - the ideas, the insights. One insight of his was worth 1,000 hours of thought by top experts."

Loai recalled one time when the Shin Bet received information that a suicide bomber was going to be picked up at Manara Square in Ramallah and be given an explosives belt.

"We didn't know his name or what he looked like - only that he was in his 20s and would be wearing a red shirt," he said. "We sent the Green Prince to the square and with his acute sense, he located the target within minutes. He saw who picked him up, followed the car and made it possible for us to arrest the suicide bomber and the man who was supposed to give him the belt. So another attack was thwarted, though no one knows about it. No one opens Champagne bottles or bursts into song and dance. This was an almost daily thing for the Prince. He displayed courage, had sharp antennae and an ability to cope with danger. We knew he was one of those who in any situation - rain, snow, summer - give their all."

With his memoir, Yousef hopes to send a message of peace to Israelis. Still, he admits he is pessimistic over the prospect of Israel signing a peace agreement with the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, let alone Hamas.

"Hamas cannot make peace with the Israelis. That is against what their God tells them. It is impossible to make peace with infidels, only a cease-fire, and no one knows that better than I. The Hamas leadership is responsible for the killing of Palestinians, not Israelis," he said. "Palestinians! They do not hesitate to massacre people in a mosque or to throw people from the 15th or 17th floor of a building, as they did during the coup in Gaza. The Israelis would never do such things. I tell you with certainty that the Israelis care about the Palestinians far more than the Hamas or Fatah leadership does."

Afgan prez takes control of election watchdog...

Karzai takes control of election watchdog
Posted Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:37am AEDT

Afghan president Hamid Karzai has signed into law changes that remove foreign observers from the electoral watchdog tasked with reviewing voting fraud.

The move could put Mr Karzai in conflict with Western donors, who have said they will not fund September 18 parliamentary elections without electoral reforms following a 2009 presidential poll beset by massive fraud.

The five-member Electoral Complaints Commission previously had three members appointed by the United Nations, and last year nullified a third of Mr Karzai's votes as fraudulent.

Free and fair elections are part of a Western strategy to return the nation to stability, while a NATO-led military operation battles a renewed Taliban insurgency with the aim of returning all of Afghanistan to the Karzai-led government.

"The Afghan government for a long time has wanted to Afghanise the electoral process, and 10 days ago the cabinet ratified the amendment and the president endorsed it," Mr Karzai's spokesman Siamak Herawi said.

He said parliament could not overturn the law since Mr Karzai had signed it into effect when the legislature was in recess.

The change raises the prospect of criticism that the overall elections commission, which is appointed by Mr Karzai, would not be seen as independent.

Mr Karzai's opponents criticised the national elections body for failing to halt last year's fraud.

The UN-backed watchdog threw out nearly a third of Mr Karzai's votes, lowering his total below the 50 per cent required to avoid a run-off.

But Mr Karzai was declared the winner after his main opponent pulled out before a planned second round.

Donor nations provided security and more than $US230 million ($258 million) for the poll last year.

The UN is holding tens of millions of dollars earmarked for this year's vote, with diplomats saying they will not release the money without reforms.

"It is vital the Afghan government learns the lessons from the 2009 elections as it works with the international community to prepare the 2010 parliamentary elections," a British Foreign Office spokesperson said on condition of anonymity.

The US said the composition of the electoral watchdog was "ultimately an issue for the Afghan government and people to determine", a spokesman for the US embassy in Kabul said.

"We support electoral institutions and reforms that provide the Afghan people with a system that ensures elections will be fair, credible, transparent and respectful of human rights," the spokesman said.

Mr Karzai acknowledged some fraud at last year's poll, but said its extent had been exaggerated by Western media.

Leadership vs. Leaderless Resistance: The white separatist movement's operating model...

Leadership vs. Leaderless Resistance: The Militant White Separatist Movement’s Operating Model
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Madeleine Gruen, CTR Vantage

White separatism today bears little resemblance to the movement a decade ago. At that time, the movement could have been described as inhabiting the furthest political margins, yet it was visible due to its outspoken leadership and controversial public demonstrations. The major groups, such as the Aryan Nations, National Alliance, and the World Church of the Creator (now known as the Creativity Movement) were structured hierarchically with big personalities at the top. These groups’ leaders, and the leaders of other prominent white power groups, have either died or been incarcerated; and their organizations fractured, either due to infighting or lack of confidence in the systems of operation.[1] The movement has become less clearly organized: there are now no major compounds, very few leaders whom the general public would recognize (such as William Pierce or David Duke), and little evidence of solid organizations with bosses, lieutenants, and foot soldiers.

Some observers think the apparent lack of cohesion within the movement indicates its overall weakness; others believe that it instead means militant white separatists are adopting a “leaderless resistance” or “lone wolf activist” model of operation. Though it is unwise to overestimate the movement’s adoption of leaderless resistance,[2] it is clear that leaderless resistance as a concept is widely discussed and promoted in white separatist circles. Moreover, this strategic idea has been put into practice by some white separatists in recent years. There are distinct disadvantages to leaderless resistance in comparison to a pyramidal leadership model, in that a more diffuse model makes it difficult to attain major strategic objectives due to a lack of coordination. However, leaderless resistance also offers the movement several clear advantages by making civil lawsuits or RICO prosecutions more difficult, and helping adherents maintain their eligibility for military service and other sensitive jobs that prohibit participation in racist organizations. This article examines the theory and practice of leaderless resistance.

Leaderless Resistance in Theory

The most frequently-cited work on the concept of leaderless resistance in relation to white separatism is Louis Beam’s essay “Leaderless Resistance,” which he self-published in his Inter-Klan Newsletter & Survival Alert in 1983, and again in his journal The Seditionist in 1992. Beam’s essay argues that the federal government is the foremost threat to liberty, stating morosely that “[t]he writer [Beam] has joyfully lived long enough to see the dying breaths of communism, but may, unhappily, remain long enough to see the last grasps of freedom in America.”[3] Beam argues that the government is already oppressive, but has far worse planned: white separatists will be unjustly labeled “domestic terrorists” or “cultists,” and their views will be suppressed. (Interestingly, Beam does not actually discuss the white separatist movement or his own racist views in the essay other than a single reference to “those who love our race, culture, and heritage”; but the scope of his biography and thinking makes the context clear enough.)

To Beam, the problem this poses for the traditional hierarchical methods of organizing the white separatist movement is that the government is well positioned to stifle dissent-and beyond that, it is clear to him that “the most powerful government on earth” will surely “crush any who pose a real threat to that power.” For that reason, he believes that at some point white separatists simply will not have the option of belonging to a group. His solution is “leaderless resistance,” which he describes as modeled after “committees of correspondence” that existed throughout the thirteen colonies during the American Revolution. “Each committee was a secret cell that operated totally independently of the other cells,” he writes. “Information on the government was passed from committee to committee, from colony to colony, and then acted upon on a local basis.” Similarly, he argues that the white separatist movement should be organized around “very small or even one man cells of resistance.” Though Beam concedes that there are many disadvantages to leaderless resistance, he argues that it is “a child of necessity,” the only hope of preventing the movement from being crushed. Pyramidal organizations are “an easy kill” for the government, he writes, in light of federal informants and intelligence-gathering capabilities, while in contrast “the last thing Federal snoops” would want is “a thousand different small phantom cells opposing them.”

Beam’s ideas about leaderless resistance came to prominence within the movement at an October 1992 meeting convened by Christian Identity minister Pete Peters in Estes Park, Colorado. There, Beam was a featured speaker, and Peters included his essay on leaderless resistance in a published report on the proceedings. George Michael notes that “[t]his event, more than any other, popularized the notion” of leaderless resistance “in the far right subculture.”[4] Thereafter, the idea of leaderless resistance found its supporters, such as Lynchburg, Virginia-based Richard Kelly Hoskins and ultimately David Lane; it also had detractors within the movement, most prominently William Pierce. Opponents of leaderless resistance argued that it was akin to anarchy, and that small cells working independently from each other would be unable to accomplish any strategic objectives. “I’ve got the evidence inside why this resistance won’t work,” said Tim Bishop of the Aryan Nations. “It’s called prison mail…. basically, you get 50 different people going 50 different ways and whatever happens to enter their minds at the moment. Lots of them are gonna end up in prison.”[5]

Tom Metzger, one of the best-known remaining white separatist leaders from the “old guard,” answers this criticism by claiming that the disparate cells will know to act when the system “tips itself.” Speaking with us in late December, he argued that even riots within the black community could be the spark that leads the movement to action: if the government moves in repressively, it will “show its face,” and “that will be the ‘go’ signal for us to defend ourselves.” In describing how leaderless cells will know how to act, Metzger also referred to the hundredth-monkey phenomenon, wherein ideas and behavior that have reached a “critical mass” supposedly spread spontaneously.[6] Metzger’s defense is similar to a claim made in Beam’s seminal essay, that those “truly committed to the cause of freedom will act when they feel the time is ripe, or will take their cue from others who precede them.” They will know when to do so through such information organs as “newspapers, leaflets, computers, etc., which are widely available to all.”[7]

Leaderless Resistance in Practice

George Michael notes that “some of the most lethal incidents of right-wing terrorism in America” fall under the category of leaderless resistance.[8] He has compiled a non-exhaustive list of sixteen cases that can be categorized this way, including mass murderers Joseph Christopher killing at least 13 blacks and Hispanics in the Buffalo, N.Y. area in September 1980 and Joseph Paul Franklin killing at least 13 people in a campaign that explicitly targeted interracial couples between 1980 and 1982.[9] In practice, though, attempts at implementing a model of leaderless resistance have been bedeviled by errors. Two such cases-those of Alex Curtis and Eric Rudolph-illustrate this point.

In 1998, the San Diego field office of the FBI and the San Diego Police Department initiated a joint investigation, “Operation Lone Wolf,” to dismantle a small white separatist cell led by Alexander James Curtis.[10] Curtis was at the time a prominent advocate of leaderless resistance for reasons similar to those advanced by Beam; he advocated “a two-tiered resistance organizational structure with an above ground propaganda arm and a second tier of lone wolves.”[11] Curtis was not only a theorist of leaderless resistance, but also a practitioner-one who attempted to embody both the movement’s propaganda arm and also its militant arm. As a propagandist, Curtis ran a telephone hotline and published a bi-monthly periodical called The Nationalist Observer. But Curtis and four associates also vandalized San Diego synagogues and harassed local politicians, bureaucrats, and Jewish leaders.

Despite Curtis’s advocacy of leaderless resistance, and the small size of his cell, he fell victim to the very thing the strategy was designed to avoid: authorities were able to place informants inside his group. A San Diego Police Department memorandum about the case explains that “[o]ne subject, who had a pending criminal case, provided specific information and evidence against Curtis” in one of the vandalism cases, while another informant succeeded in befriending cell member Robert Morehouse and thus infiltrating the group.[12] Authorities were able to garner enough evidence to give them probable cause for a wiretap. In November 2000, about two years after the investigation commenced, Curtis was indicted on three federal counts of conspiracy to violate civil rights. He ultimately pled guilty in return for prosecutors recommending that his prison term be no more than three years. In addition, “Curtis agreed to apologize, publicly and privately, to his victims. For the duration of his sentence, he consented to refrain from associating with 138 ‘known’ extremists and to cease promoting hate via his Web site, e-mail mailing list and magazine.”[13]

There are many other examples of militant white separatists who have acted pursuant to the leaderless resistance model. But one of the most significant cases of leaderless resistance-both for the length of time he managed to evade the government and also the record of his travails that he has left behind-is a man who disavows any allegiance to the movement.[14] Eric Robert Rudolph became notorious for setting off a pipe bomb in Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 festivities, then subsequently bombing several abortion clinics and a gay bar. He then managed to evade the FBI for five years.

When he was a teenager, Rudolph’s mother moved her family to Schell City, Missouri, due to the proximity to Christian Identity leader Dan Gayman. Gayman spent some time trying to cultivate Rudolph: “He assumed a fatherly relationship with Eric, enrolled him in Christian Identity youth programs, and made sure he read the literature of the movement.”[15] There are several reports of Rudolph adopting racist and anti-Semitic views during this period, even carving swastikas into furniture and referring to the television as “the Electronic Jew.”[16] However, Rudolph’s mother only spent several months in Schell City before returning to Topton, North Carolina; Rudolph would later write that he “didn’t believe” the Christian Identity’s “doctrine twenty-five years ago,” and does not today.[17]

Epitomizing the lone wolf ethos, Rudolph never attended rallies, did not have a web site, and did not even post statements expressing his views on the Internet until after his arrest. During his five years of flight from law enforcement, Rudolph survived in the North Carolina wilderness. He was captured at 4:30 a.m. on May 31, 2003, by a rookie police officer who spotted Rudolph riffling through a dumpster, looking for food.[18] Rudolph’s time of flight was not easy for him, and at times he was reduced to eating acorns and salamanders.[19] The Army of God web site has published a number of essays he has written, including detailed accounts of his survival tactics while living as a fugitive. Anyone hoping to follow in his footsteps, and learn from his successes and mistakes, can do so from reading these writings.

Ten years have passed since Curtis’s arrest, and nearly seven since Rudolph’s. Others who are not as well known to the general public, but known to advocates of lone wolf activism, have been imprisoned in the meantime. Thus, white separatists have a greater body of practical experience to draw from in order to perfect the leaderless resistance model. In a 2003 paper, Simpson Garfinkel argued that many of the problems inherent in leaderless resistance “can be overcome through modern communications technology” because modern technology allows adherents to privately study the actions of their predecessors.[20]

A statement posted on Tom Metzger’s web site, known as “The Creed of the Lone Wolf,” describes how lone wolf activists learn from others’ experiences:

I am the Lone Wolf; I am covert. I conduct surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence on my opponents. I do not join groups and or [sic] organizations due to informants, agent provocateurs, and troublemakers. I avoid being on a list. Even if I am on a list, I have a list and data on my opponents. I know where they live, where they go shopping, where their kids go to school, where their spouse works, what model their vehicle is, where their relatives live, where they go for recreation, who their friends are, their habits and even their birth dates. I have studied and researched people like the Unabomber, Eric Rudolph, Robert Mathews, Timothy McVeigh, and others and learned from their errors. I am preparing for the coming War. I am ready when the line is crossed. When the oppression becomes too great the Wolf will spring. For now, I do not engage in unconventional warfare until the time is right. I do not seek out trouble, my enemies do that which shall give me the natural reason to fight back! I am prepared when I am arrested or questioned by authorities to insist on 5 words, I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY. The Lone Wolf stores sensitive information in another location away from his or her place of residence. If in school or military or on the job I will keep no incriminating material on my person. I will not share my true beliefs with others in the workplace, nor will I carry such information in my mode of transportation, work or school locker. If need be I will pretend to be an anti-racist or very liberal as a cover. If I am in a position of authority I will not disclose to anyone my true objectives. My actions must be totally covert in nature. I protect my informants who are working inside government and non-government agencies who provide me with intelligence information to improve my effectiveness when the struggle intensifies…. I am the underground insurgent fighter and independent. I am in your neighborhoods, schools, police departments, bars, coffee shops, malls, etc. I am, The Lone Wolf! I am always listening.[21]

The Case of the Aryan Nations

In some cases, resort to leaderless resistance may be caused by simple inability to retain followers. This appears to be the case for the Aryan Nations, which was once among the country’s most recognizable white separatist groups, and its founder Richard Butler one of the movement’s most respected leaders. Butler served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II, and thereafter worked as an engineer for Lockheed Martin, where he developed a patented method for fixing airplane tires. Upon retirement, Butler opened a 20-acre compound in Hayden Lake, Idaho, and built the Aryan Nations movement.

The group’s downfall began in 1998, after Aryan Nations security guards “shot at a woman driving by the compound, ran her off the road and assaulted her and her son.”[22] The woman won a $6.3 million civil suit against the Aryan Nations, forcing Butler to close the compound. The group began to splinter without a base of operations, and Butler died in 2004. After his death, several factions proclaimed themselves to be the “official” Aryan Nations.

One of the factions was led by August Kreis, whose long hair, beard, and oversized girth give him the appearance of a disheveled biker. Kreis was already known to television viewers for his many combative appearances on The Jerry Springer Show in the mid-1990s; since then, he has continued to issue provocative remarks to the mainstream media, the main purpose of which seems to be attracting attention. For instance, in 2005 Kreis told CNN that he admired Osama bin Laden, and that the Aryan Nations was willing carry out attacks at al-Qaeda’s behest: “The message is, the cells are out here and they are already in place. They might not be cells of Islamic people, but they are here and they are ready to fight.”[23] These remarks were met with derision from a rival Aryan Nations faction, which said of al-Qaeda: “The simple fact is that they aren’t white.”[24]

In 2005, Kreis moved the “world headquarters” of Aryan Nations from Sebring, Florida, “to a doublewide trailer” in Lexington, South Carolina.[25] Discussions on white separatist message boards of the various personalities that emerged as Aryan Nations leaders after Butler’s death suggest that Kreis has generated little support. Some estimates have placed his following at about a dozen members.[26]

So it was not exactly revolutionary when Kreis announced in 2007 that the Aryan Nations would begin to follow a leaderless resistance model, despite his proclamation that it was “a historic decision in the history of this organization.” Kreis wrote that from that date onward, “[t]here is nothing to join per se, in the old way of doing things: there is no membership application to be filled out-there is no longer any room for internal debate, dissent and posturing. The doors have now been slammed shut in the face of our enemies, as the leadership of the Aryan Nations sets it’s [sic] course in granite: down a path that is undemocratic toward dissent from within and without and which upholds a policy of absolute hostility to all machinations of anti-Aryan forces.[27] Despite this, the group’s web site still prominently solicits contributions.

Kreis’s buffoonish public persona and outrageous public declarations likely necessitated a move to leaderless resistance because he found himself a leader without followers. Yet while most observers would like to think that discussions of leaderless resistance throughout the broader movement is likewise prompted by a lack of followers, this is by no means a given.


Large parts of the contemporary white separatist movement are shrouded in secrecy, and there are often more questions than answers. One question that cannot be answered satisfactorily is the extent to which the movement now employs leaderless resistance. But it is clear that the large separatist organizations of the past have crumbled due to their structural weaknesses: vulnerability to informants, civil lawsuits, and the like. Louis Beam described leaderless resistance as “a child of necessity,” and the necessity has only become more apparent since he wrote those words.

Alexander Haig's dark side...

Alexander Haig’s Dark Side
Tom Shachtman
February 21, 2010

Former Secretary of State Alexander Haig is now posthumously being recast as the quintessential soldier-patriot. The truth is, he had a dark side: wiretapping for Richard Nixon, facilitating the operations of a military spy ring that stole classified documents from the White House, sabotaging peace negotiations over Vietnam and détente with the USSR, and unduly hastening Nixon’s exit from office. Haig is most lauded as the man who, according to conventional wisdom, held the presidency together during the depths of Watergate. But that evaluation obscures Haig’s true role in the Nixon White House.

He began to come to prominence in 1968 when Fritz Kraemer, who had helped Haig rise within the Pentagon, recommended him to another protégé, Henry Kissinger, as Kissinger’s military advisor on the Nixon National Security Council. Haig shared Kraemer’s militarist, simplistic, anti-Communist, anti-diplomacy view of the world and of America’s place in it.

At the NSC, even before Haig finished elbowing rivals out of the way to become Kissinger’s deputy, he was up to his eyeballs in questionable activities, submitting the names of targets for the wiretapping of newsmen and NSC and Pentagon staffers, and reading the resulting wiretap logs, though he later denied involvement or said he had done everything at Nixon’s request. Nixon had no reason to think of tapping Secretary of Defense aide Robert Pursley, but Haig had been butting heads with Pursley.

Haig quickly learned how to curry favor with Nixon: by feeding the president’s need to be bellicose. The White House tapes reveal Haig as the ultimate sycophant, urging Nixon to smite the enemy in Vietnam, unleash the bombs, stand tough against the Soviets, and, not incidentally, to keep Kissinger in his place — all in the violent, pusillanimous language that philosopher Lionel Rubinoff so aptly labeled “the pornography of power.” Nixon rewarded Haig with one star, two stars, four stars.

What has not been generally understood until the recent publication of The Forty Years War, by Len Colodny and me, is that despite Nixon’s attention and assistance, Haig consistently undermined the president, primarily because of his antagonism toward what he saw as Nixon’s radical foreign policies. Haig channeled Kraemer’s views that diplomacy was useless and détente a farce, that the Russians could never be trusted, that the Chinese were playing us, and that the war in Vietnam could be won on the battlefield if only Nixon would stop withdrawing 10,000 troops a month.

Furthering the militarist agenda, Haig facilitated the operations of a military spy ring that stole classified national security documents from Kissinger and from the National Security Council, and therefore from the president, and conveyed them to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the purpose of slowing the détente express. The JCS leaked some classified information to the press, embarrassing Nixon and coming close to capsizing U.S. policy toward the India and Pakistan, then at war with each other. On December 21, 1971, when the stunned Nixon learned of the existence of the spy ring, he labeled it “a federal offense of the highest order.” For political reasons, he decided not to prosecute anyone for it; and, oblivious to Haig’s involvement because of a bureaucratic slip-up, gave him more and more responsibilities.

Haig, for his part, fought successfully through the remaining years of the Nixon Administration to keep secret his involvement in that espionage.

Dispatched to Phnom Penh, Haig exceeded Nixon’s instructions and told Lon Nol that the U.S. would continue to fight in Cambodia even after Congress had expressly forbidden further American incursions there and Nixon had agreed to that restriction. Visiting Vietnam to bring back honest reports of the war’s progress, Haig returned with rosy ones that belied what soldiers in the field said to him. Jumped over hundreds of generals so that Nixon could appoint him Vice-Chief of Staff of the Army, Haig was in that job only a few months before being brought back to the White House in May 1973 as chief of staff. Thus began what Colodny and I call “The Haig Administration.”

As we document in our book, Haig returned to the White House with a secret to protect and an agenda to pursue. “Al controlled everything, everybody and everything,” former White House aide Larry Higby told us about this era. That control was far from benevolent. For instance, during this period he worked closely with another Kraemer friend, Democratic Senator Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson, to allow Jackson to effectively block progress on détente. Haig and his long-term friend J. Fred Buzhardt had been brought into the White House primarily to protect the president from the mounting mess of Watergate. But at every turn they worked to hasten Nixon’s exit from office.

We reveal for the first time, based on a close reading of White House documents and tapes, that within days of taking the reins at the White House, Haig maneuvered Nixon into not claiming executive privilege to prevent Lt.-General Vernon Walters — an old friend of the president’s — from testifying to Congress and turning over a crucial “memcon.” The memcon contained Walters’ account of the June 23, 1972 meeting at the White House of himself, CIA Director Richard Helms, and Nixon aides John Ehrlichman and H. R. Haldeman, in which the Nixon aides conveyed the need to have the CIA block the FBI’s investigation into Watergate. That memcon, and Walters’ testimony, would lead investigators directly to the “smoking gun” tape that eventually sealed Nixon’s fate.

A month after the Walters memcon affair, Haig assured that Alexander Butterfield would reveal the White House taping system in testimony to the Senate Watergate Committee by concealing from Nixon the fact that Butterfield was about to testify, thus preventing the president from forbidding that testimony on the grounds of executive privilege, which Nixon later wrote that he would have done.

In October 1973, according to then-attorney general Elliot Richardson, Haig’s duplicity exacerbated a bad situation with Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox until it mushroomed into the Saturday Night Massacre — the resignations of Richardson and his deputy, and the firing of Cox — which spurred the first calls for Nixon’s impeachment.

During this period, Haig frequently usurped the president’s power, telling a delegation from a high-level security panel who insisted on seeing Nixon, “I am the president” and sending them away.

Some have said that Haig acted imperially and hastened Nixon’s exit to protect the country. But as the evidence we have found makes clear, Haig’s aims in the Nixon White House in 1973-74 were always to protect himself and aggrandize his own power.

In 1981, when President Reagan was shot, Haig told the Cabinet and the press, “As of now, I am in control here in the White House,” and by this obvious mis-stating of the correct chain of succession forever disqualified himself from further high office. In retrospect he claimed his outburst had been no more than a “poor choice of words;” rather, the statement was symptomatic of Haig’s lifelong attitude toward democratically elected public officials and presidential power.


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