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Friday, April 30, 2010








BP's profits more than doubles as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill grows...

Occidental’s profit nearly triples; BP’s more than doubles
Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell also report higher first-quarter earnings than in 2009. British Petroleum’s earnings report draws ire as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill grows.
By Ronald D. White, Los Angeles Times
April 30, 2010

Occidental Petroleum Corp. nearly tripled its net income compared with a year earlier, with $1.1 billion, or $1.32 a share, in the first quarter of 2010, the Westwood company said Thursday. The announcement came during a week in which most of the giants of oil and gas reported sharp increases in quarterly earnings.

Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's biggest integrated oil company, reported a 38% gain in first-quarter net earnings, with $6.3 billion, or $1.33 a share. Royal Dutch Shell's net income grew 57% to $5.48 billion. But it was London-based BP, with quarterly profits that rose to $6.1 billion from $2.6 billion a year earlier, that was the lightning rod for ire over huge earnings in the midst of a deadly and growing disaster.

Eleven workers were missing and presumed dead after a BP oil platform built by Transocean Ltd. exploded and sank last week in the Gulf of Mexico. A resulting oil spill five times as large as BP originally suspected was classified as an incident of national significance Thursday by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's Energy Program, called it an example of what happens "when you let the oil industry run things on the cheap."

"The issue with BP is that they were failing to reinvest adequate money into energy infrastructure assets and employee safety measures. They claim the cost is too high," Slocum said. "They're posting huge profits. There's no excuse."

BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward told shareholders April 15 that the company had worked hard to improve its safety record. On Thursday, Hayward said BP was doing all it could to contain the spill.

"Our action plan is safety-focused, multi-layered and has the full resources of the BP Group behind it," he said.

Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming, called on the heads of the nation's five biggest oil companies to appear before his panel. Markey noted that gasoline and oil prices were continuing to rise "even as American families and businesses are beginning to recover from a recession. And driving season hasn't even yet begun."

Even with greatly improved oil earnings, Wall Street had been expecting better.

Exxon Mobil's earnings were 8 cents short of the $1.41 a share expected by analysts polled by Thomsen Reuters, drawn down by weakness in its refinery operations. Occidental's net profit was short of the expected $1.36 a share.

Ray R. Irani, Occidental's chairman and chief executive, focused on the much better business climate provided by sharply higher oil prices compared with last year.

"We continue to see progressive growth in Occidental's quarterly net income into 2010," Irani said, later adding that the performance "reflects strengthening of worldwide product prices and higher volumes."

Occidental said it got $71.88 a barrel for its oil in the first quarter, up from $39.29 a barrel in the first quarter of 2009.

Occidental's performance was quite good, said Fadel Gheit, managing director of oil and gas research for Oppenheimer & Co.

On Gheit's list of the industry's most important attributes, Occidental ranks near the top in such things as production costs per barrel. With 73% of its reserves in oil rather than natural gas, higher than most in the industry, Occidental is better positioned to take advantage of oil-price increases, he said.

Phil Weiss, a senior energy analyst for Argus Research, said Occidental could compete against much bigger oil companies.

"They are able to do business and negotiate deals on the kind of major projects that other companies of similar size cannot," Weiss said.

Occidental reported a profit of $1.1 billion, or $1.32 per diluted share, in the first quarter, up from $371 million, or 45 cents, a year earlier. The company also reported a sales increase of more than 55% to $4.77 billion, compared with $3.07 billion a year earlier. Production of oil and natural gas rose to the equivalent of 743,000 barrels from 713,000 in the year-earlier quarter.

The one weak spot came in chemicals, where earnings fell to $30 million from $169 million. The company said this reflected "continued weakness in the domestic market, particularly in the housing and construction sectors."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Blackwater will be allowed to bid on big State Dept. contract...

Blackwater Will Be Allowed to Bid on Big State Department Contract
By Spencer Ackerman 4/28/10 11:02 AM

GUANTANAMO BAY — A brief detour from my Guantanamo coverage, as a State Department official, speaking only on background, confirmed something else I’ve been working on. The private security company formerly known as Blackwater and now known as Xe Services, will be allowed to bid on the next generation of the State Department’s lucrative Worldwide Protective Services Contract. The company’s track record of killing Iraqi civilians, shooting at Afghan civilians, taking for personal use U.S. military-issued rifles from the Afghan police and setting up shell companies to win government contracts will not be an obstacle.

Once again, the fact that no federal acquisition official has recommended Blackwater be barred from bidding on federal contracts means, the official said, that “any company, including Xe Services and its subsidiary companies, [may] submit a proposal in response to an acquisition process established on the basis of full and open competition.” While a Blackwater/Xe Services spokeswoman did not reply to repeated phone calls seeking comment before I left for Guantanamo, she told me last year that the company intends to bid on the contract — which is the successor contract to the one that allowed it to protect U.S. diplomats in Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place.

Nor is the fact that the Iraqi government took away Blackwater’s license to operate in Iraq a dealbreaker. “The solicitation is for undefined worldwide requirements,” the State Department official said, meaning any specific country “license is not required for the award of the base contract.”

The last Worldwide Protective Services contract, as it’s formally known, was awarded to a consortium of three firms: Blackwater/Xe, Triple Canopy and DynCorp. This time around, State intends to award it to six firms, who will then bid on the right to protect diplomats in specific dangerous countries. The year-long contract has an annual option for renewal for four years, making it essentially a four-year contract. Its cost has yet to be determined, but it’ll be announced — along with the winners — by September 30. A back-of-the-envelope calculation places the value of the previous WPS contract at $2.2 billion.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), whose Armed Services Committee uncovered the shell-company establishment and the Afghanistan weapons diversions, wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder in February to request the Justice Department investigate the company for fraud.

CNN reporter quits after network denies him time off to deal with PTSD from Iraq war...

CNN Reporter Quits After Network Denies Him Time Off To Deal With Post-Traumatic Stress From Iraq War
Joe Pompeo | Apr. 28, 2010, 2:12 PM

Big loss for CNN: Foreign correspondent Michael Ware, famous for his coverage of the Iraq war, has left the network.

All Things CNN, an independent blog covering the network, writes that Ware has been on leave working on a book and struggling with PTSD from his years of war reporting. He needed more time off, but his request was denied, and now he's not coming back, the blog reports.

A CNN spokesperson confirmed to The Huffington Post that Ware has been on leave but declined to comment further than that.

Ware discussed his PTSD in a disturbing December 2008 Men's Journal piece. “I am not the same f**king person," reads the lede.

It's unclear exactly how long he's been on leave, but the last update on his personal website was on Dec. 18, 2009.

Ware is a successful and well-loved correspondent, and fans have been getting curious about his absence.

Indeed, All Things CNN writes:

His work for CNN over the past four years has been an astonishing and brutally honest look at the causes and results of war. Not easy subject matter to watch… but he made us care. His urgency and passion burst through our television sets and made us pay attention, made us want to understand.

You'd think that given CNN's ratings troubles it would be doing anything it can to give the viewers what they want.

Kyrgyzstan's ousted government's Russian-Israeli mob links...

Kyrgyzstan's ousted government's Russian-Israeli mob links
publication date: Apr 29, 2010

After his father Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted as president in a popular uprising in Kyrgyzstan, Maxim Bakiyev hightailed it for Latvia, where his business partner, Valeri Belakon, co-owns Belaton Manas Bank, along with Maxim.

In many ways, Latvia has become a favorite locale for Russian-Israeli mobsters who continue to cause financial and political problems within the sphere of the former Soviet Union. Although Kyrgyzstan is a primarily Muslim country and Maxim Bakiyev is a Muslim, Valeri Belaton's business partner in Belakon Holdings is former chairman of the Latvian Jewish community, Grigori Krupnikov. Belakon is also reportedly linked to George Soros's Quantum activities.

During the Bakiyev regime, Maxim was the head of the State Development and Innovation Agency, which directed the privatization of state sectors of the economy.

Belakon co-owns with Maxim Bakiyev, Blackpool (UK) football club, which is believed by law enforcement to operate as a money laundering operation. Belakon also owns Baltic International Bank, which saw its credit downgraded in June 2009 by Moody's. After fleeing Kyrgyzstan for Kazakhstan, there were rumors that Kurmanbek Bakiyev might join his son in Latvia. However, the elder Bakiyev ended up in Minsk, the Belarusian capital.

Before heading to Riga, Maxim was due to attend an economic investment conference in Washington, DC on April 8, co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Kyrgyz-North America Trade Council. However, the uprising in Bishkek changed Bakiyev's plans. WMR has learned that the Kyrgyz-US seminar was a mere cover designed to mask Maxim Bakiyev's meetings with top CIA officials to explain the entire Italian-Russian mafia operation, the popular Kyrgyz outrage over which, led to the U.S. airbase at Manas being put into jeopardy.

Maxim is tied to Belakon through a number of Latvian companies, including half owner (along with Belakon) of Maval aktivi, LLC; sole owner of Who Is Who LLC, which Bakiyev bought from Belakon; and deputy chairman of Kimmels Riga, LLC, which is owned by Belakon.

It appears that after they ousted Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev from power in the Soros-inspired "Tulip Revolution" of 2005, the Bakiyev clan set out to open up Kyrgyzstan for an influx of Russian Jewish mafiosi who were intent on reaping huge profits from the privatization of Kyrgyz state enterprises, including Kyrgyztelecom and the electrical power supply company Severelectro.

Belakon and Kyrgyzstan's Jewish community are closely linked to the dodgy Chabad-Lubavitch movement, which uses a network of Chabad Houses around the world for illicit activities, including drug and weapons smuggling. After Bakiyev's ouster in Bishkek, the Chabad-Lubavitch synagogue in Bishkek was firebombed and posters appeared throughout Bishkek that read: "Dirty Jews and all those like Maxim Bakiyev have no place in Kyrgyzstan."

The new Kyrgyz government points to the connection of Maxim Bakiyev's financial adviser, U.S. citizen Eugene Gourevitch, the director of MGN Capital, and an Italian probe into the siphoning off by Gourevitch and his friends of $2.7 billion from divisions of Telecom Italia SpA and Fastweb SpA from 2003 to 2006. It was also MGN Capital that advised the Kyrgyz government on the privatization and sale of Kyrgyztelecom and Severelectro. Maxim appointed Gourevitch, a Russian-born American Jew, to run the Kyrgyz Development Fund.

Gourevitch also served on the boards of Manas International Airport, where the United States maintains the Manas Transit Center for U.S. troops and logistics, and Electricheskie Stancii, the Kyrgyz state electricity production monopoly.

Gourevitch was implicated in a money laundering scandal involving Asiauniversalbank (AUB), run by Mikhail Nadel. Serving on AUB's board undet its chairman, Nadel, were two former U.S. senators, Bob Dole (R-KS) and J. Bennett Johnston (D-LA). In addition, it was discovered that Gourevitch had contributed to the failed U.S. Senate re-election campaign of Elizabeth, Dole's wife. The donations to Mrs. Dole were made by Gourevitch's Virage Consulting Ltd. of Long Island City, New York. Gourevitch also served on the board of AUB.

MGN Capital was also heavily involved in the corrupt Vancouver Stock Exchange and Kyrgyz gold shares, particularly those of Centerra Gold, which operates in Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Turkey, Russia, and the United States.

After the recent Kyrgyz uprising, Gourevitch was arrested in Almaty, the capital of Kazakhstan. The Kazakhs were operating pursuant to an arrest warrant issued by Kyrgyzstan's new government. Gourevitch also has an Italian arrest warrant hanging over his head after his conviction in Italy in March of this year for March 2010 for ties with criminal syndicates and involvement in the fraud involving Telecom Italia and Fastweb. On April 12, the Kyrgyz police also arrested Vugar Khalilov, the CEO of Flexi Communication and Gourevitch's representative in Bishkek who is also a UK citizen. It is noteworthy that Kyrgyzstan's National Security Service picked Khalilov up just after he had a meeting with David Moran, the British ambassador to Kyrgyzstan. Khalilov maintains he worked for 20 years for the BBC and Radio Liberty, the latter's operations now overseen by Soros.

Before the fall of the Bakiyev regime, journalists and websites that attempted to investigate Gourevitch came under heavy assault. Last December, a prominent Kyrgyz investigative journalist was murdered and the Bakiyev regime tried to block access to websites reporting on Gourevitch's trial in Italy. The Italian prosecutors revealed details about Gourevitch's links to the Bakiyevs and the Kyrgyz government. Arrest warrants in the affair were also issued by Italian authorities for individuals in the U.S. U.K., and Luxembourg.

Gourevitch set up two brass plate companies to launder money from the Italian fraud, Planetarium Srl and Global Phone Network Srl. These companies then laundered the money through Vienna, Austria bank accounts established by Gourevitch. Two other Gourevitch firms, Wolstin Ltd and Crown Era Investments Ltd., were reportedly involved with money laundering for cigarette and drug smuggling. Gourevitch was also the CEO of a New York hedge fund called Gamma Square Partners and a director of an "offshore" software company called GSN Tech LLC. Gourevitch also was a senior vice president of Investment Bank of Africa.

One of Gourevitch's Italian associates is Gennaro Mokbel, an Egpytian-Italian who was allegedly involved in the 1980 "Gladio" bombing of the train station in Bologna, as well as smuggling blood diamonds from Africa. Mokbel and Gourevitch were also able to invest in the Milan firm Ikon Srl, which makes a sophisticated web surveillance program used to track terrorist cells and child pornographers. Chabad Houses are beginning to expand in central Africa, the source for most of the conflict diamonds in the world today. Chabad of Central Africa, based in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, is expanding the Chabad presence in the DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, and Gabon.

Mokbel is a major supporter of far-right wing Italian political parties. Mokbel laundered his ill-gotten gains from the Italian telecommunication fraud through his firm Broker Management of Panama, run by its titular head Augusto Morri, who is said to have worked from a yacht off the Venezuelan coast.

Implicated in the Mokbel-Gourevitch scandal is Italian Senator Nicola Di Girolamo,a member of the People of Freedom Party of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Blackwater trained Canadian troops...

Blackwater trained Canadian troops
Defence spent more than $6-million at controversial U.S. security firm
By Tom Blackwell, National Post
April 27, 2010

The National Defence Department has spent more than $6-million having its troops trained by the controversial Blackwater security company, whose own employees have been accused of needlessly killing civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, documents show.

The department sent a succession of personnel to Blackwater’s Moyock, N.C., training compound from 2005 to as recently as April2009, some of them learning tactics for working in dangerous settings, records obtained through access-to-information legislation indicate.

The work continued even after the U.S. State Department cancelled its pricey security contract with the company in Iraq amid mounting criticism of Blackwater’s actions.

The training courses included defensive driving and “close protection” in hostile environments, as well as specialized weapons use, a DND spokesman said.

The U.S. firm was judged to be the best bidder in tenders put out for the work, and controversy associated with other aspects of its business would not have come into play,

Major Vance White said.

“We require some sort of specialized training ... and if that company wins the contract, then they’ve obviously proven they can provide the training we need,” he said. “What they might do in another part of their company doesn’t detract from the fact that they have capacity to provide excellent training.”

Despite its notoriety, in fact, Blackwater, recently renamed Xe Services, has been called the “Cadillac” of security training outfits.

One critic, however, called the contracts “appalling” and said the government should be prohibited from doing business with the company, or any others accused of serious human-rights abuses.

“This group is akin to a bunch of gangsters or mercenaries,” charged Steven Staples, president for the liberal-minded Rideau Institute. “I would have to really question what the military thinks it can learn from an organization like Blackwater: How to kill civilians? How to operate outside the law? How to bilk taxpayers?”

Blackwater is the most contentious example of a recent trend in many countries to contract out services traditionally performed by military and other government security forces.

Though it started as a training centre for police officers and soldiers, the firm earned more than a billion dollars in the past several years by providing protection to U.S. diplomats in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some detractors portray its overseas staff as a de facto private army, while others praise the guards’ aggressive safeguarding of American officials.

Blackwater employees eventually were accused of indiscriminately harming civilians in the course of that work, allegations that came to the fore with the killing of 17 Iraqis during a 2007 incident in Baghdad. U.S. authorities charged five of the guards involved with manslaughter in 2008, though a judge threw out the charges this past December. Days later, however, the Justice Department charged two employees for a Blackwater subsidiary with murder in a 2009 Kabul shooting that left two Afghans dead.

The State Department cancelled the Iraq close-protection contract in January 2009.

Four senior Blackwater executives were charged this month with weapons offences. Two former employees accused Blackwater in court documents of chronic billing fraud; a U.S. government auditor concluded last year the firm had been overpaid $55-million by the State Department.

An access-to-information request submitted last fall to Canada’s National Defence Department for the previous five years of “call-ups” — contracts under a standing order for services — elicited a string of transactions from late 2005 until April 2009.

Maj. White said he did not know if the department was continuing to deal with Blackwater today. The censored documents contained little information about the services provided, other than references to training and accommodation at the Blackwater headquarters.

There were also small contracts for equipment, such as rental of pistols and “carbines” and purchase of ammunition for the guns. Individual call-ups ranged from less than $100 to just over $1-million, totalling about US $6-million.

In 2007, an official with the U.S. Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association told The Washington Post that Blackwater was considered the Cadillac of training services. “You’ve got the best of the best teaching close-quarter-combat tactics,” he said.

US subpoenas Times reporter over book on CIA...

U.S. Subpoenas Times Reporter Over Book on C.I.A.
Published: April 28, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is seeking to compel a writer to testify about his confidential sources for a 2006 book about the Central Intelligence Agency, a rare step that was authorized by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

The author, James Risen, who is a reporter for The New York Times, received a subpoena on Monday requiring him to provide documents and to testify May 4 before a grand jury in Alexandria, Va., about his sources for a chapter of his book, “State of War: The Secret History of the C.I.A. and the Bush Administration.” The chapter largely focuses on problems with a covert C.I.A. effort to disrupt alleged Iranian nuclear weapons research.

Mr. Risen referred questions to his lawyer, Joel Kurtzberg, a partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel L.L.P., who said that Mr. Risen would not comply with the demand and would ask a judge to quash the subpoena.

“He intends to honor his commitment of confidentiality to his source or sources,” Mr. Kurtzberg said. “We intend to fight this subpoena.”

The subpoena comes two weeks after the indictment of a former National Security Agency official on charges apparently arising from an investigation into a series of Baltimore Sun articles that exposed technical failings and cost overruns of several agency programs that cost billions of dollars.

The lead prosecutor in both investigations is William Welch II. He formerly led the Justice Department’s public integrity unit, but left that position in October after its botched prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska.

Matthew A. Miller, a Justice Department spokesman, declined to discuss the subpoena to Mr. Risen or to confirm its existence. “As a general matter, we have consistently said that leaks of classified information are a matter we take extremely seriously,” he said.

Mr. Risen and a colleague won a Pulitzer Prize for a December 2005 New York Times article that exposed the existence of the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program. While many critics — including Barack Obama, then a senator — called that program illegal, the Bush administration denounced the article as a damaging leak of classified information and opened an investigation into its sources. No one has been indicted in that matter.

The second chapter in Mr. Risen’s book provides a detailed description of the program. But Mr. Kurtzberg said the Justice Department was seeking information only about Mr. Risen’s sources for the ninth chapter, which centers on the C.I.A.’s effort to disrupt Iranian nuclear research. That material did not appear in The Times.

The book describes how the agency sent a Russian nuclear scientist — who had defected to the United States and was secretly working for the C.I.A. — to Vienna in February 2000 to give plans for a nuclear bomb triggering device to an Iranian official under the pretext that he would provide further assistance in exchange for money. The C.I.A. had hidden a technical flaw in the designs.

The scientist immediately spotted the flaw, Mr. Risen reported. Nevertheless, the agency proceeded with the operation, so the scientist decided on his own to alert the Iranians that there was a problem in the designs, thinking they would not take him seriously otherwise.

Mr. Risen described the operation as reckless, arguing that Iranian scientists may have been able to “extract valuable information from the blueprints while ignoring the flaws.” He also wrote that a C.I.A. case officer, believing that the agency had “assisted the Iranians in joining the nuclear club,” told a Congressional intelligence committee about the problems, but that no action was taken.

It is not clear whether the Iranians had figured out that the Russian scientist had been working for the C.I.A. before publication of Mr. Risen’s book.

The Bush administration had sought Mr. Risen’s cooperation in identifying his sources for the Iran chapter of his book, and it obtained an earlier subpoena against him in January 2008 under Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey. But Mr. Risen fought the subpoena, and never had to testify before it expired last summer. That left it up to Mr. Holder to decide whether to press forward with the matter by seeking a new subpoena.

If a judge does not agree to quash the subpoena and Mr. Risen still refuses to comply, he risks being held in contempt of court. In 2005, a Times reporter, Judith Miller, was jailed for 85 days for refusing to testify in connection with the Valerie Plame Wilson leak case.

Department rules say prosecutors may seek such subpoenas only if the information they are seeking is essential and cannot be obtained another way, and the attorney general must personally sign off after balancing the public’s interest in the news against the public’s interest in effective law enforcement.

Congress is considering legislation that would let judges make that determination, giving them greater power to quash subpoenas to reporters. The Obama administration supports such a media-shield bill, and the House of Representatives has passed a version of it. But a Senate version has been stalled for months.

Behind the Arizona immigration law: GOP game to swipe the November election

Behind the Arizona Immigration Law:
GOP Game to Swipe the November Election
Our investigation in Arizona discovered the real intent of the show-me-your-papers law.
by Greg Palast for Truthout.org
April 26, 2010

[Phoenix, AZ.] Don't be fooled. The way the media plays the story, it was a wave of racist, anti-immigrant hysteria that moved Arizona Republicans to pass a sick little law, signed last week, requiring every person in the state to carry papers proving they are US citizens.

I don't buy it. Anti-Hispanic hysteria has always been as much a part of Arizona as the Saguaro cactus and excessive air-conditioning.

What's new here is not the politicians' fear of a xenophobic "Teabag" uprising.

What moved GOP Governor Jan Brewer to sign the Soviet-style show-me-your-papers law is the exploding number of legal Hispanics, US citizens all, who are daring to vote -- and daring to vote Democratic by more than two-to-one. Unless this demographic locomotive is halted, Arizona Republicans know their party will soon be electoral toast. Or, if you like, tortillas.

In 2008, working for Rolling Stone with civil rights attorney Bobby Kennedy, our team flew to Arizona to investigate what smelled like an electoral pogrom against Chicano voters ... directed by one Jan Brewer.

Brewer, then Secretary of State, had organized a racially loaded purge of the voter rolls that would have made Katherine Harris blush. Beginning after the 2004 election, under Brewer's command, no less than 100,000 voters, overwhelmingly Hispanics, were blocked from registering to vote. In 2005, the first year of the Great Brown-Out, one in three Phoenix residents found their registration applications rejected.

That statistic caught my attention. Voting or registering to vote if you're not a citizen is a felony, a big-time jail-time crime. And arresting such criminal voters is easy: after all, they give their names and addresses.

So I asked Brewer's office, had she busted a single one of these thousands of allegedly illegal voters? Did she turn over even one name to the feds for prosecution?

No, not one.

Which raises the question: were these disenfranchised voters the criminal, non-citizens Brewer tagged them, or just not-quite-white voters given the José Crow treatment, entrapped in document-chase trickery?

The answer was provided by a federal prosecutor who was sent on a crazy hunt all over the Western mesas looking for these illegal voters. "We took over 100 complaints, we investigated for almost 2 years, I didn't find one prosecutable voter fraud case."

This prosecutor, David Iglesias, is a prosecutor no more. When he refused to fabricate charges of illegal voting among immigrants, his firing was personally ordered by the President of the United States, George W. Bush, under orders from his boss, Karl Rove.

Iglesias' jurisdiction was next door, in New Mexico, but he told me that Rove and the Republican chieftains were working nationwide to whip up anti-immigrant hysteria with public busts of illegal voters, even though there were none.

"They wanted some splashy pre-election indictments," Iglesias told me. The former prosecutor, himself a Republican, paid the price when he stood up to this vicious attack on citizenship.

But Secretary of State Brewer followed the Rove plan to a T. The weapon she used to slice the Arizona voter rolls was a 2004 law, known as "Prop 200," which required proof of citizenship to register. It is important to see the Republicans' latest legislative horror show, sanctioning cops to stop residents and prove citizenship, as just one more step in the party's desperate plan to impede Mexican-Americans from marching to the ballot box.

[By the way, no one elected Brewer. Weirdly, Barack Obama placed her in office last year when, for reasons known only to the Devil and Rahm Emanuel, the President appointed Arizona's Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano to his cabinet, which automatically moved Republican Brewer into the Governor's office.]

State Senator Russell Pearce, the Republican sponsor of the latest ID law, gave away his real intent, blocking the vote, when he said, "There is a massive effort under way to register illegal aliens in this country."

How many? Pearce's PR flak told me, five million. All Democrats, too. Again, I asked Pearce's office to give me their the names and addresses from their phony registration forms. I'd happily make a citizens arrest of each one, on camera. Pearce didn't have five million names. He didn't have five. He didn't have one.

The horde of five million voters who swam the Rio Grande just to vote for Obama was calculated on a Republican website extrapolating from the number of Mexicans in a border town who refused jury service because they were not citizens. Not one, in fact, had registered to vote: they had registered to drive. They had obtained licenses as required by the law.

The illegal voters, "wetback" welfare moms, and alien job thieves are just GOP website wet-dreams, but their mythic PR power helps the party's electoral hacks chop away at voter rolls and civil rights with little more than a whimper from the Democrats.

Indeed, one reason, I discovered, that some Democrats are silent is that they are in on the game themselves. In New Mexico, Democratic Party bosses tossed away ballots of Pueblo Indians to cut native influence in party primaries.

But what's wrong with requiring folks to prove they're American if the want to vote and live in America? The answer: because the vast majority of perfectly legal voters and residents who lack ID sufficient for Ms. Brewer and Mr. Pearce are citizens of color, citizens of poverty.

According to a study by prof. Matt Barreto, of Washington State University, minority citizens are half as likely as whites to have the government ID. The numbers are dreadfully worse when income is factored in.

Just outside Phoenix, without Brewer's or Pearce's help, I did locate one of these evil un-American voters, that is, someone who could not prove her citizenship: 100-year-old Shirley Preiss. Her US birth certificate was nowhere to be found as it never existed.

In Phoenix, I stopped in at the Maricopa County prison where Sheriff Joe Arpaio houses the captives of his campaign to stop illegal immigration. Arpaio, who under the new Arizona law, will be empowered to choose his targets for citizenship testing, is already facing federal indictment for his racially-charged and legally suspect methods.

I admit, I was a little nervous, passing through the iron doors with a big sign, "NOTICE: ILLEGAL ALIENS ARE PROHIBITED FROM VISITING ANYONE IN THIS JAIL." I mean, Grandma Palast snuck into the USA via Windsor, Canada. We Palasts are illegal as they come, but Arpaio's sophisticated deportee-sniffer didn't stop this white boy from entering his sanctum.

But that's the point, isn't it? Not to stop non-citizens from entering Arizona -- after all, who else would care for the country club lawn? -- but to harass folks of the wrong color: Democratic blue.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Seize and liquidate Goldman Sachs(Webster Tarpley)

Seize and Liquidate Goldman Sachs
Webster Tarpley
Mpril 28, 201

Today’s Senate hearings, carried on CNBC, Bloomberg, and C-SPAN, represent the first major exposure of the American people to the scandalous frauds of the derivatives casino, including synthetic collateralized debt obligations (synthetic CDOs or CDO²). These are things most people have heard very little about. They begin to open up the shocking reality behind such shopworn euphemisms like “toxic assets,” “exotic instruments,” and “troubled assets.” Reactionaries in general and Republicans in particular have done everything possible to hide the role of derivatives, which must be considered the main cause of the financial panic of September 2008 which brought down Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and AIG, after felling Bear Stearns in March of the same year. The reactionary legend, repeated yesterday on the Senate floor by financier minion GOP Sen. Gregg of New Hampshire, is that the crisis was caused by poor people taking out subprime mortgages and then defaulting, bringing down the entire Anglo-American banking system and triggering the bailouts. Either that, or too much government spending was too blame.

A mass of kited derivatives blew up in September 2008

This Big Lie has come from such propaganda sources as the Limbaugh Institute of Retarded Reactionary Ranting. But the $1.5 trillion in subprime mortgages were dwarfed by the $15 trillion US residential real estate market, to say nothing of the $1.5 thousand trillion world derivatives bubble. But, starting with Bush-Goldman Sachs Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the talk has been of a “housing correction,” not a derivatives panic. It must be pointed out that derivatives are nothing but wagers, bets placed from a distance on securities which themselves are often not mortgages, but rather other derivatives. The bettor buying a synthetic CDO or CDO² does not own the underlying mortgages or mortgage-backed securities, any more than someone who bets on a racehorse owns part of the horse. Blankfein and others tried to portray derivatives as a service to hedgers and end-users, but it’s clear that the vast majority of derivatives involve neither hedgers nor users, but only bettors on both side of the transaction. It is in any case this mass of kited derivatives which blew up in 2008, bringing on the present world economic depression.

Goldman Sachs executives are babbling cretins

The mystique of Goldman Sachs is based in large part on their reputation as the smartest financiers on Wall Street. After today’s hearings, this mystique has permanently dissipated. The Goldman executives babbled. They sounded dumb. They stalled and stammered and went into contortions to avoid giving straight answers to simple questions. They were mendacious and evasive when they did speak. Financial powers around the world will note carefully the refusal of three out of four Goldman executives on one panel to state that they had a duty to defend the interests of their clients. Who will want to do business with such a gang? Goldman Sachs got $10 billion of taxpayer money in low-interest loans under the Bush-Paulson TARP. Part of that money went to pay for obscene bonuses for Goldman executives like the ones on display today. The argument for bonuses is that they must be paid to retain the highly talented personnel, virtual geniuses, who are indispensable for Wall Street speculative success. But these are no geniuses, they are imbeciles. No more bonuses should be paid by banks saved through public money.

Don’t buy any used cars from Lloyd Blankfein

Sleaziest of all was Goldman’s risk-monger in chief, Lloyd Blankfein, who pretended not to know that derivatives are often kept hidden off balance sheet. The morally insane Blankfein testified that his role was to provide the firm’s clients with “the risk they wanted.” Other GS witnesses represented the firm’s role as “distributing risk.” But it turned out that they were manufacturing risk through the very existence and activities of Goldman Sachs, which had the result of pyramiding the total risk of the US financial system into intergalactic space. It is time to regulate much of that unbearable risk out of existence with appropriate regulatory legislation. In the meantime, no sane person would buy a used car from Blankfein. Nor should they believe his assurance that the “recession” has ended.

But when at the end of the day Blankfein finally suggested to Sen. Tester that synthetic CDOs might be outlawed, we should accept his proposal immediately.

Today’s hearings reveal the Goldman Sachs gunslingers and whiz kids as ignorant gangsters and con artists, notable only for their ability to practice massive fraud with impudence. These sleazy mediocrities do not deserve bonuses paid for by taxpayers. Rather, it is time to shut them down and put them in the dock.

If Goldman Sachs had cared about is clients, it would have urgently warned them to unload their subprime risk by late 2006 or thereabouts. Instead, Goldman was busily increasing its clients’ risk by selling them more toxic CDOs out of its own inventory warehouse.

Goldman Sachs: bookies who stack the deck and fix the games

As the philandering Sen. Ensign pointed out, comparing Wall Street to Las Vegas is a slander on the croupiers of Las Vegas, where everyone knows or should know that the game is rigged so that the house always wins. To use the comparison introduced by Sen. McCaskill, Goldman Sachs was operating as the gambling house, or the bookie. At the same time, Goldman was betting for their own account. But much worse was the fact that Goldman was stacking the decks, loading the dice, fixing the games on which the bets were placed, and bribing the umpires.

As Ensign put it in a rare moment of lucidity, the subprime mortgage was bad. But the collapse of subprime would not have had anything like its actual destructive effect on the US economy if it had not been compounded by the mass of synthetic derivatives that were piled on top of subprime.

No national or social purpose served by Goldman Sachs and toxic derivatives bets

The broader issue raised by today’s hearing is: what human purpose is served by the existence of Goldman Sachs, which concocts toxic synthetic CDOs for the purpose of allowing speculators, who are often lied to and duped, to bet for or against them. Goldman Sachs can only be described as a speculative parasite which promotes the activities of other speculative parasites, such as the John Paulson hedge fund at the expense of the public and of its other clients. It was a crime to inject $10 billion of Treasury money into Goldman Sachs. It was another crime for the Fed to lend Goldman untold billions (just how many billions Bernanke still refuses to disclose) to keep them afloat and enable more predatory profits. These crimes must stop, and the public money must be clawed back. Most important, it is time to shut down the derivatives rackets.

Goldman got $12.5 billion from taxpayers for AIG credit default swaps

Useful questions from GOP Sen. Coburn pointed to another kind of derivative: the infamous credit default swap (CDS). These CDS are what brought down AIG, whose London hedge fund had issues $3 trillion in derivatives. When the government bailed out AIG, part of that $180 billion of taxpayer money was used for payouts to the CDS counterparties of AIG, biggest among them Goldman, which got $12.5 billion from the US taxpayer. That was 100 cents on the dollar on a mass of toxic CDS. Coburn wanted to know why Goldman got all their money back, while GM bondholders took a bath as GM went bankrupt. That was, of course, a matter of Goldman’s political clout through GS alum Henry Paulson and Obama Car Czar Steve “The Rat” Rattner, backed up by the historic preponderance of finance capital over industrial capital in this country since Andrew Carnegie sold out to JP Morgan over a century ago.

Derivatives and zombie banks: the toll

Thanks to Goldman Sachs, the other Wall Street zombie banks, and their derivatives, the financial panic of 2008 has turned into a world economic depression of unimaginable proportions. The unemployed and underemployed in the US alone are surely in excess of 20 million. Five to six million home foreclosures are already done or in the pipeline, throwing tens of millions of Americans out of their homes. World trade has been seriously impacted. The budgets of California, New York, Illinois, and many other states are in crisis, with massive layoffs of teachers and other state employees. An entire generation is being destroyed. Now, Greek bonds are trading at junk levels under the attack of speculative predators including Soros, Greenlight Capital, SAC, and the protagonists of today’s hearings – Paulson and Co and Goldman Sachs itself. The attack on Greece and the euro represents the leading edge of the second wave of the depression, which is now arriving in much the same way that the second wave of the 1930s depression was unleashed by the Vienna Kreditanstalt bankruptcy in May of 1931, about 79 years ago and just a year and a half into that depression.

The goal of the Republicans is to portray themselves as stern judges of Wall Street, even as they line up in a unanimous phalanx to protect the finance jackals from any meaningful regulation whatsoever — as seen in yesterday’s vote to block cloture on derivatives re-regulation and reform. The goal of the Democrats is to expose the sociopathic evil of Goldman Sachs and the rest of Wall Street while preening themselves as defenders of the public interest, without however banning credit default swaps, banning synthetic CDOs, and imposing a Wall Street sales tax on all remaining derivatives and asset transactions.

To this degree, today’s hearings are being conducted in bad faith by both major parties. However, the dynamic of the resulting spectacle has the result of educating and mobilizing public opinion against the predatory practices which are the essence of Wall Street, even a year and a half after the banking panic of September 2008 and the monster bailout of zombie banks which soon followed. What is required is a new edition of the anti-banker sentiment set off by the Senate Banking Committee hearings conducted from January 1933 to May 1934 by committee counsel Ferdinand Pecora, which unmasked the corruption of Wall Street. Persons of good will need to get active now to push this process as far as possible while these social dynamics are working. It is time to hit the zombie banks, the hedge funds, and their derivatives as hard as possible, before the second wave of the depression hits. The program necessary to fight the depression and break the strangle-hold of Wall Street on the US economy and political system is given on my web site.

Mitch McConnell on the bailout: “Harry, I think we need to do this, we should try to do this, and we can do this.”

During a break the senators filed out, and the GOP reactionary lockstep once again blocked cloture for a final debate on the Wall Street reform bill, weak as it is. Many activists of the Tea Party naively believe that they have been fighting for a year and a half that they have been fighting to take back the Republican Party. If that is what they believe, today’s second cloture vote proves that they have gotten nowhere in their efforts. Despite their charades, the GOP are the bodyguards of the Wall Street predators. Tea baggers who think they can break the Wall Street grip on the Republicans are pathetic dupes, and they need to wake up, pronto.

When Paulson went to the leaders of Congress to demand a $700 billion bailout for Goldman and his Wall Street cronies, GOP Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell was “deeply frightened” by the apocalyptic briefing delivered by Paulson and Bernanke. When Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid started talking about how difficult it would be to get so much money in a hurry, McConnell urged an immediate bailout, saying: “Harry, I think we need to do this, we should try to do this, and we can do this.” (Andrew Ross Sorkin, Too Big to Fail [New York: Viking, 2009], p. 442) The GOP was the original party of the bailout, and they have not repented, as best seen through the continuance of McConnell, one of the key midwives of the bailout, as Republican Senate Majority Leader. This is the same McConnell who went to Wall Street recently to meet with zombie bankers and hedge fund hyenas, pledging to block derivatives reforms in exchange for big bucks contributed to the GOP’s campaign coffers. Tea baggers who think the GOP has changed or is moving to their side are sadly deluded.

Today, the market fetishism of the crackpot Austrian school has taken a severe blow. Now that Blankfein‘s public image has been soiled by Goldman’s scurrilous and scatological emails, the time is ripe for the radical reform of derivatives and the zombie banks. This is a matter of national survival.

Now that Goldman Sachs is masquerading as a bank holding company, it is subject to FDIC rules. If Goldman’s derivative hoard is marked to market, it is bankrupt. The FDIC should therefore seize Goldman and liquidate it under chapter 7 of the US Code. Sheila Bair should not wait for Friday.

Europe debt crisis spreads to Portugal...

Europe debt crisis spreads to Portugal
Greek debt drops to junk status, Portugal's also downgraded; markets slide on fears of crisis
Nicholas Paphitis and Pan Pylas, Associated Press Writers, On Wednesday April 28, 2010, 1:27 am EDT

ATHENS (AP) -- Greece was pushed to the brink of a financial abyss and started dragging another eurozone country -- Portugal -- down with it, fueling fears of a continent-wide debt meltdown.

Stocks around the world tanked after ratings agency Standard & Poor's on Tuesday downgraded Greek bonds to junk status and downgraded Portugese bonds two notches, showing investors that Greece's financial contagion is spreading.

Major European exchanges fell more than 2.5 percent, and on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average finished down 213 points, or 1.9 percent. The euro slid more than 1 percent to nearly an eight-month low.

Renewed worries about Greece's debt problems spread to Asia Wednesday, sending stock markets broadly lower following sharp declines in the U.S. and Europe.

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average led the region-wide retreat with a 2.5 percent fall to 10,935.99. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index shed 1.9 percent to 20,853.83, while South Korea's Kospi lost 1.5 percent to 1,723.76. All other major Asian benchmarks were down more than 1 percent and oil slid below $83 a barrel.

"We have the makings of a market crisis here," said Neil Mackinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital.

Greece is struggling with massive debt, and with prospects for economic growth weak it could end up in default. Its 15 eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund have tried to calm the markets with a euro45 billion rescue package, but it hasn't worked.

Standard & Poor's warned that holders of Greek debt could take large losses in any restructuring, but a greater worry is that Greece's debt crisis is mushrooming to other debt-laden members of the eurozone.

One bailout can be dealt with but two will be stretching it, and there are fears that other weak economies could be pulled down in the Greek spiral -- including Europe's fifth-largest, Spain. Can Germany, Europe's effective paymaster, continue to bail out the weaker members of the eurozone?

The crisis threatens to undermine the euro and make it harder and more expensive for all eurozone governments to borrow money.

It has also disrupted cooperation between eurozone governments, with Germany resisting the idea of bailing out Greece unless strict conditions are met.

Many investors think Greece will have enough money to avoid default in the coming weeks, but the future is cloudier.

Both Standard & Poor's and the Greek finance ministry insisted that the country will have enough money to make the euro8.5 billion bond payments due on May 19.

Even if it does, Greece faces years of austerity with living standards sharply reduced. Standard & Poor's warned that the Greek economy was unlikely to be as big as it was in 2008 for another decade.

Junk status sinks Greece's hopes even deeper. Losing investment-grade status for its bonds means that Greece will have to pay higher costs to borrow if it taps debt markets again, and increases the chances that existing debt will have to be restructured.

"The latest developments mean that the chances of Greece solving this situation without restructuring its debts are now dim," said Diego Iscaro, senior economist at IHS Global Insight.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her position that Greece should first conclude the current negotiations with the IMF and the European Union about austerity measures for the coming years before receiving the international loan package.

Speaking at an election rally Tuesday afternoon, Merkel said it is appropriate to tell Greeks, "You have to economize, you have to become fair, you have to be honest; if not, nobody can help you," according to the German news agency DAPD.

A government spokesman said Tuesday evening he could not tell if Merkel was at that point aware of the latest downgrade. He declined to be named in line with government policy.

The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed down 2.6 percent, Germany's DAX slid 2.7 percent and the French CAC-40 in France ended 3.8 percent lower.

Greek and Portuguese stocks were pounded -- down 6.7 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively -- while their market borrowing costs went through the roof. The interest rate for Greek two-year bonds jumped to a massive 18 percent.

The interest rate gap, or spread, between Portugese and benchmark German 10-year bonds rose about half a percentage point Tuesday to reach its highest point since the euro came into circulation. The higher the gap, the less confidence in Portugal; its bonds on Tuesday had an interest rate 5.86 percentage points higher than German bonds.

Both the Portugese and Greek governments have imposed budget cutbacks against political resistance from unions at home. Markets have been skeptical that they can push through enough cuts, given political resistance, to put their finances in order.

Both governments responded with alarm at the downgrades.

"This decision will not help markets to calm down, but will, on the contrary, contribute for their turbulence," Portugese Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos said.

Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said the downgrade "does not reflect the real state of our economy, nor the fiscal situation, nor the ongoing negotiations which have the very realistic propects that they will be completed successfully in the next few days."

Papaconstantinou said Greece will pull through.

"One wishes that Europe had acted a little differently. Three and four months ago we were saying that the mechanism must be ready and it must be detailed, that the markets must know what exactly is going. Unfortunately, for a series of political reasons, we are down to the wire," he said.

The crisis has highlighted the eurozone's inability to keep governments from undermining the euro by running up big debts. Rules that limit deficits to 3 percent of gross domestic product have been widely flouted, and EU officials are talking about ways to strengthen them.

AP Business Writer Pan Pylas contributed from London.

Further details on command and control system used to coordinate 9/11 incident...

Further details on command and control system used to coordinate 9/11 incident
publication date: Apr 27, 2010

On April 26, 2010, WMR reported: "Multiple U.S. intelligence sources have reported to WMR that a super-classified network with only some 70 terminals in select U.S. government locations handled the parallel command-and-control activities that permitted the 9/11 terrorist attacks to be successful.

The 'above top secret' network bears the acronym 'PDAS.' WMR has not yet discovered what the acronym stands for, however, the system is limited to only a few hundred people with Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) Special Access Program (SAP) need-to-know access, in addition to the President and Vice President."

WMR has confirmed from multiple sources that PDAS is the Planning and Decision Aid System (PDAS) that is used to support the operational capabilities to the Joint Staff at the Pentagon and and Combatant Commanders (COCOMs). The PDAS system is used to network Special Technical Operations (STO) elements located within the Joint Staff, COCOMs (with a significant presence within the US Central Command), military service information operations organizations, and the intelligence agencies (including the CIA, National Security Agency, and Defense Intelligence Agency).

The Department of Defense officially defines PDAS as "the Planning and Decision Aid System (PDAS) is an automated information system protected program under Secretary of Defense (SecDef). PDAS supports the planning and execution of Integrated Joint Special Technical Operations (IJSTO)."

WMR has been informed that IJSTO operations have also been used to target foreign leaders for assassination, including Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic (unsuccessful) and Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira (successful aerial assassination in 1994). One of the chief promoters of PDAS and Special Technical Operations during the Clinton administration was Supreme Allied commander General Wesley Clark.

Access to the PDAS network is usually accompanied with access to other intelligence systems, including the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRnet) and the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System (JWICS), as well as the Non-classified Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRnet).

PDAS has, since 9/11, been extended to Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

PDAS special technical anmd information operations training for users is conducted at the 704th Military Intelligence Brigade at Fort Meade, Maryland. The unit, according to its website, conducts "Signals Intelligence and Network Warfare" on behalf of Army, Joint Command, and National requirements.

PDAS was developed from a prototype system developed by Hughes for NSA's Joint Special Studies Group (JSSG) in 1983 that eventually linked military commands and intelligence agencies to STOs responsible for, among other signals intelligence (SIGINT) activities, hacking into Soviet government and military communications networks and key nodes. One such program that tapped into Soviet submarine communication cables, but was compromised by a Soviet spy inside the NSA, was code-named IVY BELLS.

PDAS supposedly saw its funding yanked after the fall of the Soviet Union. However, based on information recently received by WMR, PDAS continued to function with a new mission: coordinating covert U.S. special technical operations against governments and individuals in the Balkans, Rwanda, and then, on September 11, 2001, the United States itself.

Russia says genetically modified foods are harmful...

Russia says genetically modified foods are harmful
Apr 16, 2010 17:26 Moscow Time

Russia has started the annual Days of Defence against Environmental Hazards from the 15th of April to the 5th of June with the announcement of sensational results of an independent work of research. Scientists have proved that Genetically Modified Organisms are harmful for mammals. The researchers discovered that animals that eat GM foodstuffs lose their ability to reproduce. Campbell hamsters that have a fast reproduction rate were fed for two years with ordinary soya beans, which are widely used in agriculture and those contain different percentages of GM organisms. Another group of hamsters, the control group, was fed with pure soya, which was found with great difficulty in Serbia because 95 percent of soya in the world is transgenic.

Concerning the experiment carried out jointly by the National Association for Gene Security and the Institute of Ecological and Evolutional Problems, Dr. Alexei Surov has this to say. “We selected several groups of hamsters, kept them in pairs in cells and gave them ordinary food as always,” says Alexei Surov. “We did not add anything for one group but the other was fed with soya that contained no GM components, while the third group with some content of Genetically Modified Organisms and the fourth one with increased amount of GMO. We monitored their behavior and how they gain weight and when they give birth to their cubs. Originally, everything went smoothly. However, we noticed quite a serious effect when we selected new pairs from their cubs and continued to feed them as before. These pairs’ growth rate was slower and reached their sexual maturity slowly. When we got some of their cubs we formed the new pairs of the third generation. We failed to get cubs from these pairs, which were fed with GM foodstuffs. It was proved that these pairs lost their ability to give birth to their cubs,” Dr. Alexei Surov said.

Another surprise was discovered by scientists in hamsters of the third generation. Hair grew in the mouth of the animals that took part in the experiment. It’s unclear why this happened. The researchers cannot understand why a programme of destruction is launched when animals take GMO foodstuffs. They say that this can be neutralized only by stopping to eat these foods. Consequently, scientists suggest imposing a ban on the use of GM foods until they are tested for their bio-security. The results of Russian scientists coincide with those of their colleagues from France and Austria. For one, when scientist proved that GM maize was harmful for mammals, France banned immediately its production and sale. The scientists who carried out the experiment say that it’s too early to make far-reaching conclusions about the health hazards of the GMO. They insist that there is a need to carry out comprehensive research. They suggest implementing the project, “Safety Gene Technology” at the innovation centre, “Skolkovo” which is being set up near Moscow.

Queen Elizabeth II the largest landowner on Earth...

Largest Landowner
“Queen Elizabeth II the largest landowner on Earth.”

Queen Elizabeth II, head of state of the United Kingdom and of 31 other states and territories, is the legal owner of about 6,600 million acres of land, one sixth of the earth’s non ocean surface.

She is the only person on earth who owns whole countries, and who owns countries that are not her own domestic territory. This land ownership is separate from her role as head of state and is different from other monarchies where no such claim is made – Norway, Belgium, Denmark etc.

The value of her land holding. £17,600,000,000,000 (approx).

This makes her the richest individual on earth. However, there is no way easily to value her real estate. There is no current market in the land of entire countries. At a rough estimate of $5,000 an acre, and based on the sale of Alaska to the USA by the Tsar, and of Louisiana to the USA by France, the Queen’s land holding is worth a notional $33,000,000,000,000 (Thirty three trillion dollars or about £17,600,000,000,000). Her holding is based on the laws of the countries she owns and her land title is valid in all the countries she owns. Her main holdings are Canada, the 2nd largest country on earth, with 2,467 million acres, Australia, the 7th largest country on earth with 1,900 million acres, the Papua New Guinea with114 million acres, New Zealand with 66 million acres and the UK with 60 million acres.

She is the world’s largest landowner by a significant margin. The next largest landowner is the Russian state, with an overall ownership of 4,219 million acres, and a direct ownership comparable with the Queen’s land holding of 2,447 million acres. The 3rd largest landowner is the Chinese state, which claims all of Chinese land, about 2,365 million acres. The 4th largest landowner on earth is the Federal Government of the United States, which owns about one third of the land of the USA, 760 million acres. The fifth largest landowner on earth is the King of Saudi Arabia with 553 million acres.

Police State 4: The Rise of FEMA(Full Video)

European taxpayers to be stuck with the volcano 'ash cloud' tab...

Airlines could get £2bn ash pay-outs... and the taxpayer will pick up the bill
By Ray Massey and Paul Sims
Last updated at 8:16 AM on 28th April 2010

Airlines could share in a £ 2billion taxpayer-funded compensation bonanza in the wake of the volcanic ash chaos which turned Europe into a six-day no-fly zone.

The European Union has agreed to allow state help for airlines which have complained bitterly that the flight ban has cost them millions.

They will be offered emergency loans and allowed to postpone payments of charges.

Up to 35,000 British passengers are still stranded in Asia, Africa, America and Australia.

According to estimates, 13,000 are waiting to get back from the U.S. while a further 10,000 are in Egypt, 2,500 in Thailand and 2,000 in Malaysia.

The remaning 7,500 are scattered around the globe.

Many have run out of cash and are living under blankets in airports. Others have borrowed from family and friends to pay for hotels.

Their anger about the continued delay in returning home has intensified as it was claimed that some planes are flying back to the UK half empty while airlines jack up seat prices to more than £2,500.

But last night British Airways rejected accusations of ‘ profiteering’, saying the inflated fares were a ‘technical’ device to ensure the seats remain unbooked and available to stranded passengers.

These passengers do not have to pay any extra for their flight home but have to wait for a seat to be allocated when they are given a ‘rebooking date’.

BA denied it was letting planes fly half empty.

'We have been doing everything we can to ensure that aircraft are full when they depart for the UK,’ said a spokesman.

‘However there have been instances where customers who held bookings for flights either cancelled their bookings at short notice or did not turn up.

'Those customers had paid normal fares, and we do not know why they decided not to travel. ‘

Our advice to customers who want to return sooner than their rebooking date is to keep checking on ba.com, contact British Airways directly or your travel agent to see if an earlier option has become available.’

The state aid compensation package to airlines was pledged yesterday by European Union Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas.

But it will be individual governments – and their taxpayers – who will be picking up the tab.

Airlines have been furious that under EU rules they are obliged to pay for accommodation and meals for their stranded passengers.

They complain that the nervous reaction of safety quangos such as Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority was to blame for the flying ban and spiralling costs.

More than 30 aircraft, including jumbo jets and helicopters, have reported incidents linked to the Icelandic volcano since the flying ban was lifted last week.

These include a ‘smell of sulphur’ or evidence of volcanic ash, but the CAA stressed last night that there was no damage to any aircraft.

Under new rules introduced last Tuesday, airlines must by law report any traces of ash and whether any damage has been caused.

Still stranded in Disneyland

For Richard Burton and his family, their £5,000 holiday of a lifetime at Disneyworld in Florida has turned into a nightmare.

Long after the flights ban was lifted they remain stranded and are now borrowing money from relatives in the UK just to survive.

They have not been given any vouchers by their airline, Virgin Atlantic, being told instead to claim back their expenses once they returned.

So far, they have spent £1,000 on food and £1,500 on phone bills trying to organise flights home.

Their hotel cost has been met by Virgin. Mr Burton, 42, from Clacton, Essex, travelled to Orlando with his children Tom, 13, and Lucy, 11, his partner Victoria Manning, 41, and her 15-year-old son Reece.

They were due to fly home ten days ago, on April 18, but their flight was cancelled.

Since then they have attended daily meetings with airline representatives in the hope that they will at last be repatriated.

Each day they, and dozens of others, have been told that flights will become available within 24 hours, only to find that they are full.

Mr Burton, who runs his own home improvements business, said: ‘We are living off money put into our bank accounts by relatives back home in the UK. At the same time I’m not earning, so this may bankrupt me.’

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Arizona's SB1070: Gestapo law reveals right-wing version

Arizona's SB1070: Gestapo Law Reveals Right Wing Version of "Liberty"
Friday, 23 April 2010
by Miguel Guadelupe

"Show me your papers, are your papers in order?" This phrase was made famous, or rather infamous, by the Gestapo, and will soon be heard throughout the state of Arizona, should their Governor sign into law SB1070, a vague and broad law giving law enforcement the unprecedented power to stop and check the documentation of any individual where "reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S.."

There are no guidelines as to what "reasonable suspicion" is, but knowing the reality on the ground, it is obvious to all that "reasonable suspicion" means those looking like, sounding like, or acting like general stereotypes of undocumented immigrants coming from Latin America. In short -- this is a bill that allows police to suspect all Latinos of being undocumented, and gives them the right to question their status at any time, for any reason.

The legality of this will of course be challenged as the rest of the nation and the world reacts in horror at what many who support immigration reform have long warned would be the consequence of allowing far right politicians to control the debate around immigration, and write enforcement-only laws which drip of xenophobia and racism.

This law also uncovers the unbelievable hypocrisy of the right -- those who have threatened to take up arms to "take their country back" from the brink of socialism, to defend freedom against tyranny. Where are you Tea Party, to decry this obvious encroachment on the individual liberties of the citizens of Arizona? Where are you, conservatives, decrying the use of government funds and resources to form a "police state" where the populace can be stopped for no other reason than for moving about freely in public?

While the right have been busy chasing socialist unicorns and barricading themselves against gun controlling Yeti, a real world example of everything they claim to be defending this country against has been grown like a prickly bush in their own lawn-chaired backyards.

But I forget. They support this measure, because it's against "the other." This doesn't effect "real Americans," but only outsiders who look different from them and who shouldn't be here anyway.

What of fellow citizens? What of the millions of US born and naturalized persons, or those who are in the process of becoming so, who might share the physical characteristics of these "outsiders?" Shall we pin our papers to our coats when walking on the street to avoid harassment?

Perhaps we should stitch patches to our sleeves so the police can easily tell who we are and what our status is? If you can ask for papers of any one on the street, why not at their homes? Better yet, why not relocate us to a central part of town, so that the authorities can have an easier time monitoring our movements, all in the name of keeping out the undesirables.

Where are your documents? In a safe deposit box? Our bad, sorry we kept you locked up over the weekend and sent your husband on a plane to the middle of Guatemala, but we got a tip from your neighbor that aliens might be living in this apartment.

We see now where the right plans to take this country. We see that their cries of liberty are not about liberty at all, but the simple wailings of an angry mob longing to be rid of "the other."

And what of "The Maverick" that never was? What of the Senator from Arizona, the one who claimed to have the temperament to lead our country? What of the man who just years ago, supported comprehensive immigration reform? He now supports his wayward statesmen, saying this legislation is necessary because these people "were causing accidents on the freeway." My god man. Are you so desperate to continue your senatorial ride that you'd hitch your cart to any ass in front of you? And by ass, I mean mule, of course.

The farce that we are witnessing before us cannot be ignored or defended as an isolated occurrence. Already we see an unprecedented raise of violence against those suspected of being so-called aliens across the country. From "beaner hopping" in Long Island, NY to the deportation of lawful Immigrants, this wave of anti immigrant and by extension, anti-Latino hate crime is up and has very real, very tragic consequences. Families live in fear for their children, and even multi-generation Americans like myself feel the stress when a society has decided to place Sarah Palin's crosshairs on our backs.

So show us, oh self proclaimed "defenders of liberty," that you are not just a band of angry White men still bitter from the last election, and defend us. What better example of government overreach than one that would force your fellow countrymen to walk under a cloud of suspicion, fearful that if one day we leave our wallets at home, we can be arrested, incarcerated, and shipped off to another country? You should be descending upon the Arizona legislature like you have on Congress, who merely wanted to reform healthcare for its citizens. Where is your anger, Mr. Beck?

But we already know what the answer to all this is -- those rallies about freedom aren't about freedom at all. It's not about liberty of the universal kind. It is hypocritical posturing to intimidate the rest of the country to allow the right back in the driver's seat, so that they can pass legislation like Arizona's SB1070.

I fear for an America where liberty can be so fickle and discriminate.

This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Unemployment for those who earn $150,000 or more is only 3%, while unemployment for the poor is 31%

Unemployment for Those Who Earn $150,000 or More is Only 3%, While Unemployment for the Poor is 31%
Washington’s Blog
April 26, 2010

Boeing CEO Jim McNerney succinctly summarized a recent study by Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies regarding unemployment rates for different income brackets:

The Center analyzed the labor conditions faced by income-grouped U.S. households during the fourth quarter of 2009.

In the face of one of the worst economic environments in memory, those in the highest income groups had nearly full employment levels, with just a 3.2 percent unemployment rate for households with over $150,000 in income and a 4 percent rate in the next-highest income group of $100,000-plus.

The two lowest-income groups — under $12,500 and under $20,000 annually — faced unemployment rates of 30.8 percent and 19.1 percent, respectively.

The study – published in February – notes that the poor are suffering Depression levels of unemployment:

Workers in the lowest income decile faced a Great Depression type unemployment rate of nearly 31% while those in the second lowest income decile had an unemployment rate slightly below 20% …. Unemployment rates fell steadily and steeply across the ten income deciles. Workers in the top two deciles of the income distribution faced unemployment rates of only 4.0 and 3.2 percent respectively, the equivalent of full employment. The relative size of the gap in unemployment rates between workers in the bottom and top income deciles was close to ten to one. Clearly, these two groups of workers occupy radically different types of labor markets in the U.S.

The study is subtitled “A Truly Great Depression Among the Nation’s Low Income Workers Amidst Full Employment Among the Most Affluent”.

Arianna Huffington, commenting on the study, pointed out that it if were the high-earners suffering 31 percent unemployment, the media would be discussing unemployment non-stop. But because it is the poor who are suffering Depression-level unemployment, they largely ignore it.

As I noted last August:

Chris Tilly – director of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at UCLA – points out that some populations, such as African-Americans and high school dropouts, have been hit much harder than other populations, and that these groups are already experiencing depression-level unemployment.

For background on unemployment, see this and this.

Co-chairman of Obama's debt commission says tax hikes are "on the table"...

Obama Debt Czar Says Tax Hikes “On The Table”
Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Monday, April 26, 2010

The Democratic co-chairman of President Obama’s debt commission, Erskine Bowles, told Fox News Sunday that tax hikes for Americans are “on the table,” despite Obama’s election campaign promise that no individual earning under $200,000 dollars a year would be hit with any tax increases.

Asked if he felt bound by the President’s pledge, Bowles responded, “Everything is on the table, we’re going to look at every single way to right this fiscal ship….raising revenue, we have to have everything on the table.”

Bowles also said that a European-style VAT tax, which would increase living costs by as much as 25 per cent, was also under consideration.

“I think that there are many good arguments that you could make for a value-added tax or a consumption tax as oppose to a tax on wages but I think it’s just one of the things that ought to be on the table that we ought to discuss.”

Bowles’ suggestion that a VAT tax would supplant or be offset by a reduction in income tax is likely a ruse. People in Europe pay the highest levels of income tax in the world but they are also forced to pay VAT on most goods at a level between 15-25 per cent in addition to costly income tax rates.

VAT taxes are typically introduced at low rates in order to dampen opposition, but then gradually raised over the course of decades. For example, Denmark’s VAT tax started at 9 per cent in 1962, but today has bloated to a whopping 25 per cent.

The 18 members of the debt commission will unveil their plan by December 1.

The prospect of income tax hikes contradicts Obama’s pre-election promise that he would not raise taxes for American families earning under a quarter of a million dollars a year.

During a speech on the campaign trail, Obama guaranteed, “No family making under $250,000 dollars a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

“You will not see any of your taxes increase one single dime,” Obama repeatedly vowed.

As we have highlighted, even aside from any income tax hikes, Americans already face a myriad of tax increases under Obamacare, a potential VAT tax, not to mention a future consumption tax based on CO2 emissions.

As the Associated Press reported On April 1, the largest ever increase in tobacco tax, and one that would disproportionately affect the poor, was passed by Obama despite his pledge to protect lower earners.

Last week, Obama himself said that a value-added tax, which would hit Americans across the income bracket but particularly the poor and struggling middle class, was “still on the table” just days after White House aides had assured otherwise.

Lawmakers call for troops on the streets of Chicago...

Lawmakers Call for Troops on the Streets of Chicago
Kurt Nimmo
April 26, 2010

Illinois state Reps. and Chicago Democrats John Fritchey and LaShawn Ford are calling for on the governor, Chicago mayor Daley and Superintendent Jody Weis to use the National Guard in response to crime in the city.

“As we speak, National Guard members are working side-by-side with our troops to fight a war halfway around the world,” Fritchey said in a Sunday release. “The unfortunate reality is that we have another war that is just as deadly taking place right in our back yard. Is this a drastic call to action? Of course it is. But is it warranted when we are losing residents to gun violence at such an alarming rate? Without question.”

“Enough is enough. We’ve already lost too many lives. We need action now,” Ford said.

Fritchey said guard members have been trained in civil law enforcement as part of their nation-building assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is illegal to own a handgun in Chicago. Proponents of outlawing the Second Amendment in the city argue that taking guns out of the hands of citizens will reduce violence and the murder rate. 113 people have been killed in Chicago so far this year, the exact same number as U.S. troops reported killed during the same time period in Iraq and Afghanistan. The murder rate in Chicago soared immediately after the city banned handguns in 1982.

The Posse Comitatus Act prohibits members of the federal uniformed services, including the State National Guard, from exercising nominally state law enforcement, police, or peace officer powers that maintain law and order on non-federal property within the United States. The act does not apply to National Guard units while under the authority of the governor of a state.

The John Warner National Defense Authorization Act gave the president the authority to call out National Guard troops in the event of “public emergencies,” although the wording of the bill was later repealed and reverted to the previous wording of the Insurrection Act.

In 2007, following Hurricane Katrina, Congress changed the 200-year-old Insurrection Act to allow the president to control state National Guards in the event of an emergency. In a letter to Congress, a number of state governors called the change “a dramatic expansion of federal authority during natural disasters that could cause confusion in the command-and-control of the National Guard and interfere with states’ ability to respond to natural disasters within their borders.”

In 2008, Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered the Pentagon to conduct a “broad review” to determine if the military and the National Guard and Reserve can “adequately deal with domestic disasters.” Gates’ order followed an earlier report released by the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves urging the Pentagon to “use the nation’s citizen soldiers to create an operational force that would be fully trained, equipped and ready to defend the nation.”

Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis said he did not believe calling out the National Guard is the best solution for a soaring crime rate in the city. “I appreciate their frustration and their willingness to help,” he told Fox News. “But I am simply not sure the National Guard is the answer to our problems — at least in terms of mass deployment. I’m frankly not sure what their mission would be.”

“I spent six years in the Army, and I never got any course on how or why to obtain a search warrant,” Weis said. “That simply isn’t part of the military mission, but it’s something our officers have to deal with every day.”

In July of 2009, an Illinois National Guard military police unit deployed armored vehicles on the streets of Springfield.

In February, Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl called in the National Guard in response to a snow storm. The troops soon began patrolling the streets. The mayor told residents on a live broadcast that the should “be advised that you will begin to see National Guard Humvees in some of your neighborhoods beginning this evening.” Ravenstahl also said issues that would normally be handled by police would be handled by the National guard, including “domestic disputes” normally addressed by the police.

During the G20 summit in Pennsylvania last year, neighboring New York announced it would mobilize the National Guard and deploy Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters. “The New York Army National Guard aircrew and helicopters are flying in support of the Pennsylvania National Guard’s Joint Task Force G20 which is executing Operation Steel Kickoff, security support for the G20 Summit involving 2,500 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen working at the direction of the Secret Service,” reported ReadMedia Newswire in January.

In 2008, National Guard troops were dispatched to patrol Times Square during the New Year celebration.

The Iowa National Guard was forced to rollback a military training exercise on the streets of a rural Iowa town in February, 2009, after negative publicity. The Guard had planned a four-day urban military operation in tiny Arcadia, Iowa, population 443, sending troops to take over the town and search door-to-door for a suspected weapons dealer, WorldNetDaily reported.

Satellite images show no 'doomsday' volcanic ash cloud...

Remember that ash cloud? It didn't exist, says new evidence
By Sean Poulter
Last updated at 10:28 AM on 26th April 2010

Britain's airspace was closed under false pretences, with satellite images revealing there was no doomsday volcanic ash cloud over the entire country.

Skies fell quiet for six days, leaving as many as 500,000 Britons stranded overseas and costing airlines hundreds of millions of pounds.

Estimates put the number of Britons still stuck abroad at 35,000.

However, new evidence shows there was no all-encompassing cloud and, where dust was present, it was often so thin that it posed no risk.

The satellite images demonstrate that the skies were largely clear, which will not surprise the millions who enjoyed the fine, hot weather during the flight ban.

Jim McKenna, the Civil Aviation Authority's head of airworthiness, strategy and policy, admitted: 'It's obvious that at the start of this crisis there was a lack of definitive data.

'It's also true that for some of the time, the density of ash above the UK was close to undetectable.'

The satellite images will be used by airlines in their battle to win tens of millions of pounds in compensation from governments for their losses.

The National Air Traffic Control Service decision to ban flights was based on Met Office computer models which painted a picture of a cloud of ash being blown south from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano.

These models should have been tested by the Met Office's main research plane, a BAE 146 jet, but it was in a hangar to be repainted and could not be sent up until last Tuesday - the last day of the ban.

Evidence has emerged that the maximum density of the ash was only about one 20th of the limit that scientists, the Government, and aircraft and engine manufacturers have now decided is safe.

British Airways chief Willie Walsh always insisted the total shutdown went too far.

'My personal belief is that we could have safely continued operating for a period,' he said.

Mark Tanzer, chief executive of Britain's ABTA, which represents British travel agents and tour operators, said about 100,000 stranded British travellers should have been returned home by Monday morning.

About 35,000 more will remain marooned until Friday, the group said.

'While most flights are back to normal, and most stranded British passengers will be back by the end of this weekend, there is still quite a high level of disruption in some destinations.

'In some areas of the world, there is a significant lack of air capacity to enable British people to be returned quickly,' Tanzer said.
Many Icelandic airports are closed and though authorities say Eyjafjallajokull is now producing much less ash, they confirmed no signs of the eruption ending.

Soros strikes again in Kyrgyzstan...

Co-opting a counter-color revolution: Soros strikes again.
publication date: Apr 25, 2010

The new interim president of Kyrgyzstan, Roza Isakovna Otunbayeva, is an operative of George Soros's Open Society Institute, according to sources familiar with Kyrgyz politics. Otunbayeva became interim president after a popular uprising ousted Kyrgyzstan's nepotistic and corrupt president Kurmanbek Bakiyev. One of Otunbayeva's first acts was to reassure the United States that its lease of the Manas airbase, known as the Manas Transit Center," would be extended for at least one more year. A clear majority of the Kyrgyz opposition to Bakiyev remain opposed to the U.S. military presence at Manas.

Otunbayeva cultivated her links with Soros and U.S. intelligence while serving as Kyrgyzstan's first ambassador to the United States from 1992 to 1994. She had been Kyrgyzstan's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister upon her nation's independence and she served under President Askar Akayev. Otunbayeva cultivated her links with Soros's London operations as Kyrgyzstan's ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1998 to 2001.

Otunbayeva was the deputy head of the UN Mission in Georgia from 2002 to 2004 but was, according to WMR's sources, an unofficial adviser to Mikhael Saakashvili who stormed Georgia's parliament in November 2003, ousting President Eduard Shevardnadze, the former Soviet foreign minister. Otunbayeva was one of several unofficial advisers to Saakashvili's "Rose Revolution," one of a series of themed revolutions concocted by Soros and supported by neocons like Randy Scheunemann, a top adviser to Senator John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, and political operative Daniel Kunin of the CIA-linked US Agency for International Development and the National Democratic Institute, a CIA-linked arm of the U.S. Democratic Party that, like the Republican Party's international arm, the International Republican Institute, receives funding from the National Endowment for Democracy.

In early 2005, fresh with knowledge of Soros's themed revolution propaganda and street demonstration techniques used in Tbilisi in 2003 and Kiev in 2004, Otunbayeva set about to organize demonstrations that ultimately led to the "Tulip Revolution" against Akayev in Bishkek. The Tulip Revolution was funded by CIA money laundered through the State Department and Soros's OSI contrivances.

The Tulip Revolution saw Bakiyev come to power. Otunbayeva became acting Foreign Minister but failed to win parliamentary approval to retain the position. She then went into opposition.

When it became apparent that Bakiyev and his son, Maxim Bakiyev, who was a habitue of Soros-linked seminars and forums and a corporate official of a string of entities, from the Latvian holding company Maval Avtivi and the British holding company BSB Solutions Ltd. to part-owner of Britain's Blackpool Football Club, were receiving bribes from the United States laundered through Red Star Enterprises, Ltd., incorporated in Gibraltar with offices in London and Bishkek, the Kyrgyz people rose up in opposition to the nepotism and corruption of the Bakiyev family.

Enter the scene Otunbayeva. The United States, concerned that the new government in Kyrgyzstan would oust the United States from Manas, moved quirky, with the help of Soros's organization in the country, to ensure that America's reliable partner, Otunbayeva, became interim president of the country.

Immediately, and contrary to many officials in the interim Kyrgyz government, Otunbayeva assured Washington that Manas would be safe for at least another year.

WMR has learned that the Obama administration moved fast to ensure that Otunbayeva would be calling the shots in Bishkek.

The United States granted lucrative contracts to Red Star Enterprises and the company moved fuel to Manas with Maxim Bakiyev skimming at least $8 million a month from fuel sales to the base, according to The New York Times. Red Star was part of an interwoven corporate operation that included firms with names like Mina Corporation Ltd. and Manas Aerofuels.

In fact, Red Star and the Defense Energy Supply Corporation, which inked the contract through a Chuck Squires, a retired US Army officer, are front operations for the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) contract awarded by the U.S. Army to Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR), a former subsidiary of Dick Cheney's old firm Halliburton. The LOGCAP III contract was a virtual license for KBR to engage in fraudulent contract activity from Iraq and Afghanistan to Bosnia and Kyrgyzstan and some 90 other countries.

In 2003, KBR beat back congressional critics over an audit report that KBR had overcharged the Defense Department for fuel deliveries. At the time, the United States was permitting similar payoffs for fuel deliveries to Manas to be placed in the pocket of Aidar Akayev, the son of Kyrgyzstan's then-president Akayev. That construct repeated itself with KBR bribes, laundered through LOGCAP III, tlo go to Bakayev's son Maxim.

In 2005, Bunnatine Greenhouse, a US Army Corps of Engineers chief contracting officer, was fired after she revealed that the $1.2 billion Restore Iraqi Oil contract was awarded to KBR in a sole source, non-competitive bid process. Cheney denied profiting from all the KBR contract fraud, however, it was clear that both Cheney and the Bush family would suffer financially if the Kyrgyz government forced the U.S. to leave Manas.

President Obama, eager to please the Bush family and Cheney, moved fast, along with Soros, to ensure that a longtime U.S. operative took control of the situation in Bishkek. Thus, Otunbayeva moved in to become acting president with the U.S. assured of a continued presence at the Manas base with the dodgy oil deals with KBR remaining in effect.


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