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Monday, December 31, 2012

"A letter thought to mark the beginning of the warm relationship between Margaret Thatcher and Jimmy Savile has been made public for the first time. But other correspondence between the pair has been censored, raising questions over what it contains"...

Via DM

A letter thought to mark the beginning of the warm relationship between Margaret Thatcher and Jimmy Savile has been made public for the first time.


But other correspondence between the pair has been censored, raising questions over what it contains.

The Top Of The Pops presenter sent an adoring letter to the then prime minister in 1980, singing her praises and declaring his love for her.

She responded by inviting the now-disgraced DJ to lunch at Chequers, spending 11 consecutive New Year’s Eves with him and overseeing his knighthood.


The letter, part of a Savile file released under the 30-year rule by the National Archives at Kew today, reveals how well connected to the establishment he was.

But parts of some exchanges between Savile and Mrs Thatcher were censored in October this year – eight days after claims that he had sexually abused people surfaced in an ITV documentary.

The text of a letter from Savile to Mrs Thatcher and a phone message that he left for her were deleted from the file under the Freedom of Information Act on October 11.

The information is exempt because it is ‘personal’ or ‘confidential’.

But the timing raises the question of whether the information was redacted in light of the negative headlines.

Correspondence remaining in the file includes the gushing letter Savile sent to Mrs Thatcher after a lunch meeting to discuss funding for Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

In it, he also hints at becoming a knight, something arranged during Mrs Thatcher’s tenure and awarded in the New Year’s Honours in 1990, a month after she left office.

The letter reads: ‘I waited a week before writing to thank you for my lunch invitation because I had such a superb time I didn’t want to be too effusive.

‘My girl patients pretended to be madly jealous and wanted to know what you wore and what you ate. All the paralysed lads called me “Sir James” all week. They all love you. Me too!!’

The note, written in February 1980, is signed with kisses and bears Savile’s distinctive signature, with a smiley face in the J of his name.

There is no record of Mrs Thatcher’s reply, but a later memo to her from her personal secretary asks in a worried tone whether she has agreed to appear on Jim’ll Fix It.

In the message dated March 9, 1981, after the DJ had lunch with Mrs Thatcher at Chequers, Caroline Stephens wrote: ‘Can you kindly let me know if you made any promises to Jimmy Savile when he lunched with you yesterday, for instance:

‘(i) Did you offer him any money for Stoke Mandeville?

‘(ii) Did you tell him that you would appear on Jim’ll Fix It?’

In felt pen, Mrs Thatcher replies to the first saying: ‘Will tell you in detail. MT.’ To the second, she simply writes: ‘No.’

Praised during his life for his charity work, especially at Stoke Mandeville, Savile has now been unmasked as a serial child abuser.

More than 450 people have made allegations of abuse by the DJ, who died last year aged 84.

The papers released by the National Archive today include an entire Savile file devoted to his correspondence with Mrs Thatcher and her aides about his charity work and pleas for Government money for his projects.

There are also a number of redactions made in October – other files released today were edited much earlier in the year.

In the 1981 section of the file, there are discussions about Savile’s suggestion of a Government contribution to Stoke Mandeville during a meeting with Mrs Thatcher.

No 10 private secretary Mike Pattison wrote: ‘The Prime Minister said was he thinking of a million pounds and Mr Savile replied that they would be grateful for any sum.’

In December 1981, the Government announced that it would give £500,000 to the Stoke Mandeville Appeal.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

US soldier suicides outnumber combat deaths in 2012...

Via

American soldier suicides continue to outnumber combat-related deaths in 2012, and the trajectory for soldier suicides continues to get worse.


Statistics released by the Department of the Army show that through November potentially 303 active-duty, Reserve and National Guard soldiers committed suicide. As of Dec. 7, Stars and Stripes reports that 212 soldiers have died in combat-related deaths in Afghanistan.

The Army set a grim new record of 177 potential active-duty cases with 2012 coming to a close on Tuesday – 64 of these cases remain under investigation, 113 have been confirmed.

In June of this year, The Pentagon reported there had been at least 154 suicides among active-duty troops – a rate of nearly one each day. The number of suicides continues to increase despite numerous new training and awareness programs put into effect in the past few years.


Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated on Nov. 12 that the Obama administration will cease combat operations by the end of 2014, but it is still refining its timeline for withdrawing the remaining 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

“So we’re dealing with broader societal issues,” Panetta said in a June speech. “Substance abuse, financial distress and relationship problems — the risk factors for suicide — also reflect problems … that will endure beyond war.”

A bipartisan group of lawmakers from both the House and the Senate are pushing for new rules that would allow military commanders and mental health specialists to ask unstable troops if they own personal firearms, reports Stars and Stripes.

About 53 percent of those who died by suicide in the military in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, had no history of deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan, according to the Defense Department. And nearly 85 percent of military members who took their lives had no direct combat history, meaning they may have been deployed but not seen action.

“As part of the Army’s team-based and holistic approach to suicide prevention and stigma reduction, Army chaplains remain committed to fostering a resilient and ready force by enhancing strength, reducing stigma and encouraging help-seeking behaviors,” the Army’s Maj. Gen. Donald L. Rutherford, Chief of Chaplains, said in the Department of Defense press release “Our soldiers, families and civilians are our most precious resource, and the chaplaincy embodies the best of our Army values when it proclaims hope, embraces community, and stands with those who feel they stand alone.”




Dementia linked to loneliness, study finds...

Via

People who feel lonely are much more likely than those who do not to develop dementia in old age, according to new research suggesting that loneliness is a risk factor for the condition.


Those who suffer from loneliness have a 64% greater risk of dementia, according to a Dutch study that appears in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. But the authors stress that the risk depends on having those feelings and not simply the fact that someone lives alone or is socially isolated.

"Individuals with feelings of loneliness remained 1.64 times more likely to develop clinical dementia than persons who did not feel lonely. In contrast, objective aspects of social isolation no longer showed such an association," concluded the authors of the Amsterdam Study of the Elderly (Amstel), led by Dr Tjalling Jan Holwerda from VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam.

"These results suggest that feelings of loneliness independently contribute to the risk of dementia in later life. Interestingly, the fact that 'feeling lonely' rather than 'being alone' was associated with dementia onset suggests that it is not the objective situation but, rather, the perceived absence of social attachments that increases the risk of cognitive decline," the authors say.

They studied risk factors for depression, dementia and high death rates among 2,173 Dutch people aged 65 or over who did not have dementia, then examined their health again three years later.

"We hypothesise that feelings of loneliness may ... be considered a manifestation of the deteriorating social skills that are seen as part of the personality change accompanying the process of dementia," they conclude. Feeling lonely can be considered "a major risk factor" for dementia, regardless of whether someone has vascular disease or depression, they add.

But British experts in Alzheimer's reacted cautiously to the study. Dr Simon Ridley, head of research at Alzheimer's Research UK, said someone's age was still the biggest factor in the development of dementia. "But this study links feelings of loneliness to a slightly higher risk of the condition. While such a finding could have important consequences for society, it is hard to determine cause and effect at this stage. Feelings of loneliness could be a consequence of the early stages of dementia rather than a contributing factor."

Jessica Smith, research officer at the Alzheimer's Society, said that while "as this study suggests, feeling lonely could have close links to dementia", more research was needed to ascertain if it was a risk factor or an early symptom of the disease.

US sailors sue Japan over Fukushima radiation...

Via CHN

The Fukushima nuclear disaster exposed Navy rescue workers to dangerous levels of radiation, which the government-owned power plant covered up, eight U.S. sailors claim in court.


Eight crew members of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan, whose home port is San Diego, sued the Tokyo Electric Power Co. in Federal Court.

They claim the utility company, "a wholly owned public benefit subsidiary of the government of Japan," misrepresented radiation levels to lull the U.S. Navy "into a false sense of security."

Lead plaintiff Lindsay R. Cooper claims Tokyo Electric (TEPCO) intentionally concealed the dangerous levels of radiation in the environment from U.S. Navy rescue crews working off the coast of Japan after the March 10, 2011 earthquake and tsunami set off the nuclear disaster.

"TEPCO pursued a policy to cause rescuers, including the plaintiffs, to rush into an unsafe area which was too close to the FNPP [Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant] that had been damaged. Relying upon the misrepresentations regarding health and safety made by TEPCO ... the U.S. Navy was lulled into a false sense of security," the complaint states.

There were 5,500 sailors aboard the Reagan, the plaintiffs say, but this is not a class action. Six of the eight plaintiffs worked on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier; two worked in air contamination or the "air department." One sued also on behalf of her infant daughter.

Japan called the relief effort Operation Tomadachi.

The complaint states: "Defendant TEPCO and the government of Japan, conspired and acted in concert, among other things, to create an illusory impression that the extent of the radiation that had leaked from the site of the FNPP was at levels that would not pose a threat to the plaintiffs, in order to promote its interests and those of the government of Japan, knowing that the information it disseminated was defective, incomplete and untrue, while omitting to disclose the extraordinary risks posed to the plaintiffs who were carrying out their assigned duties aboard the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan."

It adds: "Defendant represented and warranted that the levels of contamination to which the plaintiffs would be exposed were less than harmful to them and that their presence during 'Operation Tomadachi' would not cause any different or greater harm to them than they may have experienced on missions in the past. ...

"At all times relevant times, the defendant, TEPCO, was aware that exposure to even a low dose of radiation creates a danger to one's health and that it is important to accurately report actual levels.

"As a consequence of the earthquake and tsunami, the reactors were damaged and power to the cooling mechanism of the FNPP was interrupted, resulting in a meltdown of the fuel and reactor itself, thereby triggering the release of high levels of radiation."

And, they say: "Defendants had actual and/or constructive knowledge of the properties of radiation that would ensure that, once released into the environment, radiation would spread further and in concentrations that would cause injury to the plaintiffs."

The plaintiffs claim the government deliberately misled them: "the Japanese government kept representing that there was no danger of radiation contamination to the U.S.S. Reagan ... and/or its crew, that 'everything is under control,' 'all is OK, you can trust us,' and there is 'no immediate danger' or threat to human life, all the while lying through their teeth about the reactor meltdowns at FNPP.

"Such reports were widely circulated with the defendant, TEPCO's, organization at the time it was published, despite the fact that the defendant knew that higher levels of radiation existed within the area whereat the plaintiffs and their vessel would be and were operating."

TEPCO controlled all activities at the power plant, so it is responsible for the plaintiffs' radiation exposure and subsequent damages, the sailors say.

"According to then-existing data uniquely known to the defendant at the time, the plaintiffs' consequent exposure to radiation within their zone of operation, then indicated that radiation levels had already reached levels exceeding the levels of exposure to which those living the same distance from Chernobyl experienced who subsequently developed cancer," the complaint states.

"Consequently, the potential for the development of cancer in the plaintiffs has also been enhanced due to the levels of exposure experienced by them during 'Operation Tomadachi.'"

The sailors say they "face additional and irreparable harm to their life expectancy, which has been shortened and cannot be restored to its prior condition."

The plaintiffs are Lindsay Cooper, James Sutton, Kim Gieseking and her daughter, Charles Yarris, Robert Miller, Christopher Bittner, Eric Membrila and Judy Goodwin.

They are seeking $10 million in compensatory damages and $30 million in punitive damages for fraud, negligence, strict liability, failure to warn, public and private nuisance, and defective design. They also want TEPCO ordered to establish a fund of $100 million to pay for their medical expenses.

They are represented by Paul Garner.

"The US gave strong support to Argentina on Friday in the Latin American country's legal battle with hedge funds over the repayment of $1.3 billion to holders of defaulted bonds...The US also warned the ruling could create risks for the dominance of the dollar in the bond market. "The decision could encourage issuers to issue debt in non-US currencies in order to avoid the US payments system, causing a detrimental effect on the systemic role of the US dollar"

Via

The US gave strong support to Argentina on Friday in the Latin American country's legal battle with hedge funds over the repayment of $1.3 billion to holders of defaulted bonds.


Shortly before a court-imposed deadline, the US filed a "friend of the court" brief backing Argentina's attempt to overturn a ruling ordering it to make good on the bonds held by US hedge funds.

A hearing for Argentina's appeal has been set for February 27, 2013, again putting off a reckoning over Argentina's debt, which fell into arrears 11 years ago.

In a 15-page document, the administration of President Barack Obama warned the court that the November ruling "adopts a novel interpretation of a standard pari passu (fairness) clause" that "runs counter to longstanding US efforts to promote orderly restructuring of sovereign debt."

The US also warned the ruling could create risks for the dominance of the dollar in the bond market.

"The decision could encourage issuers to issue debt in non-US currencies in order to avoid the US payments system, causing a detrimental effect on the systemic role of the US dollar," it said.

Argentina defaulted on some $100 billion in debt in 2001, and has since restructured its debt twice, covering around 75 percent of the nominal value of the bonds.

But it insists it should not have to repay the $1.3 billion in bonds held by investment funds NML and Aurelius because they refused to take part in a 2005 restructuring agreed to by most of the other bondholders.

The two funds have demanded 100 percent repayment plus interest.

The November 21 ruling by New York lower court judge Thomas Griesa rejected Buenos Aires' position and ordered it to repay the $1.3 billion in full, before or in parallel with any other debt payments the country must make.

With Buenos Aires scheduled to pay out $3 billion on previously restructured debt on December 15, Griesa's order -- if it had been upheld -- would have meant it also must pay the $1.3 billion by that time or fall into default on all of its debt.

The ruling also raised questions for future debt restructurings, such as in Greece.

Beyond worries for the bond market, the US warned in its brief that the ruling could harm US foreign relations, as "such an order could have adverse consequences for the treatment of U.S. property under principles of reciprocity."

Monday, December 24, 2012

The FBI investigated Occupy Wall Street and referred to protests as "criminal activity" and "domestic terrorism"...

Via CD

The FBI organized a nationwide law enforcement investigation and monitoring of the Occupy Wall Street movement beginning in August of 2011.


Just released heavily-redacted documents revealing the FBI's actions were obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) via a Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA). In some documents, the FBI refers to the Occupy Wall Street protests as a "criminal activity" and "domestic terrorism."

“This production, which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI’s surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement,” stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF).  “These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity.  These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, a legal nonprofit that focuses on civil rights, said Saturday that the 112-pages of FBI documents are now available for public viewing here.

The documents show that FBI offices and agents across the US were actively conducting surveillance on the Occupy movement in August 2011, a month before the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park in New York City and the blossoming of hundreds of other Occupy actions around the country

The full Partnership for Civil Justice Fund statement:

FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) pursuant to the PCJF’s Freedom of Information Act demands reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat even though the agency acknowledges in documents that organizers explicitly called for peaceful protest and did “not condone the use of violence” at occupy protests.

 

The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country. 

“This production, which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI’s surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement,” stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF).  “These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity.  These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”

“The documents are heavily redacted, and it is clear from the production that the FBI is withholding far more material. We are filing an appeal challenging this response and demanding full disclosure to the public of the records of this operation,” stated Heather Benno, staff attorney with the PCJF.
  • As early as August 19, 2011, the FBI in New York was meeting with the New York Stock Exchange to discuss the Occupy Wall Street protests that wouldn’t start for another month. By September, prior to the start of the OWS, the FBI was notifying businesses that they might be the focus of an OWS protest.
  • The FBI’s Indianapolis division released a “Potential Criminal Activity Alert” on September 15, 2011, even though they acknowledged that no specific protest date had been scheduled in Indiana. The documents show that the Indianapolis division of the FBI was coordinating with “All Indiana State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies,” as well as the “Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center,” the FBI “Directorate of Intelligence” and other national FBI coordinating mechanisms.
  • Documents show the spying abuses of the FBI’s “Campus Liaison Program” in which the FBI in Albany and the Syracuse Joint Terrorism Task Force disseminated information to “sixteen (16) different campus police officials,” and then “six (6) additional campus police officials.”  Campus officials were in contact with the FBI for information on OWS.  A representative of the State University of New York at Oswego contacted the FBI for information on the OWS protests and reported to the FBI on the SUNY-Oswego Occupy encampment made up of students and professors.
  • Documents released show coordination between the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and corporate America. They include a report by the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), described by the federal government as “a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector,” discussing the OWS protests at the West Coast ports to “raise awareness concerning this type of criminal activity.” The DSAC report shows the nature of secret collaboration between American intelligence agencies and their corporate clients - the document contains a “handling notice” that the information is “meant for use primarily within the corporate security community. Such messages shall not be released in either written or oral form to the media, the general public or other personnel…” (The DSAC document was also obtained by the Northern California ACLU which has sought local FBI surveillance files.)
  • Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS) reported to the DSAC on the relationship between OWS and organized labor for the port actions. The NCIS  describes itself as “an elite worldwide federal law enforcement organization” whose “mission is to investigate and defeat criminal, terrorist, and foreign intelligence threats to the United States Navy and Marine Corps ashore, afloat and in cyberspace.” The NCIS also assists with the transport of Guantanamo prisoners.
  • DSAC issued several tips to its corporate clients on “civil unrest” which it defines as ranging from “small, organized rallies to large-scale demonstrations and rioting.” It advised to dress conservatively, avoid political discussions and “avoid all large gatherings related to civil issues. Even seemingly peaceful rallies can spur violent activity or be met with resistance by security forces. Bystanders may be arrested or harmed by security forces using water cannons, tear gas or other measures to control crowds.”
  • The FBI in Anchorage reported from a Joint Terrorism Task Force meeting of November 3, 2011, about Occupy activities in Anchorage.
  • A port Facility Security Officer in Anchorage coordinated with the FBI to attend the meeting of protestors and gain intelligence on the planning of the port actions. He was advised to request the presence of an Anchorage Police Department official to also attend the event. The FBI Special Agent told the undercover private operative that he would notify the Joint Terrorism Task Force and that he would provide a point of contact at the Anchorage Police Department.
  • The Jacksonville, Florida FBI prepared a Domestic Terrorism briefing on the “spread of the Occupy Wall Street Movement” in October 2011. The intelligence meeting discussed Occupy venues identifying “Daytona, Gainesville and Ocala Resident Agency territories as portions …where some of the highest unemployment rates in Florida continue to exist.”
  • The Tampa, Florida FBI “Domestic Terrorism” liaison participated with the Tampa Police Department’s monthly intelligence meeting in which Occupy Lakeland, Occupy Polk County and Occupy St. Petersburg were discussed. They reported on an individual “leading the Occupy Tampa” and plans for travel to Gainesville for a protest planning meeting, as well as on Veterans for Peace plans to protest at MacDill Air Force Base.
  • The Federal Reserve in Richmond appears to have had personnel surveilling OWS planning. They were in contact with the FBI in Richmond to “pass on information regarding the movement known as occupy Wall Street.” There were repeated communications “to pass on updates of the events and decisions made during the small rallies and the following information received from the Capital Police Intelligence Unit through JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force).”
  • The Virginia FBI was collecting intelligence on the OWS movement for dissemination to the Virginia Fusion Center and other Intelligence divisions.
  • The Milwaukee division of the FBI was coordinating with the Ashwaubenon Public Safety division in Green Bay Wisconsin regarding Occupy.
  • The Memphis FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force met to discuss “domestic terrorism” threats, including, “Aryan Nations, Occupy Wall Street, and Anonymous.”
  • The Birmingham, AL division of the FBI sent communications to HAZMAT teams regarding the Occupy Wall Street movement.
  • The Jackson, Mississippi division of the FBI attended a meeting of the Bank Security Group in Biloxi, MS with multiple private banks and the Biloxi Police Department, in which they discussed an announced protest for “National Bad Bank Sit-In-Day” on December 7, 2011.
  • The Denver, CO FBI and its Bank Fraud Working Group met and were briefed on Occupy Wall Street in November 2011. Members of the Working Group include private financial institutions and local area law enforcement.
  • Jackson, MS Joint Terrorism Task Force issued a “Counterterrorism Preparedness” alert. This heavily redacted document includes the description, “To document…the Occupy Wall Street Movement.”
You can read the FBI - OWS documents below where we have uploaded them in searchable format for public viewing.

The PCJF filed Freedom of Information Act demands with multiple federal law enforcement agencies in the fall of 2011 as the Occupy crackdown began. The FBI initially attempted to limit its search to only one limited record keeping index. Recognizing this as a common tactic used by the FBI to conduct an inadequate search, the PCJF pressed forward demanding searches be performed of the FBI headquarters as well as FBI field offices nationwide.  

The PCJF will continue to push for public disclosure of the government’s spy files and will release documents as they are obtained.

The terror lurking in a Christmas tree: Israel attempts to ban "non-Jewish" celebrations

Via GR

Israel’s large Palestinian minority is often spoken of in terms of the threat it poses to the Jewish majority. Palestinian citizens’ reproductive rate constitutes a “demographic timebomb”, while their main political programme – Israel’s reform into “a state of all its citizens” – is proof for most Israeli Jews that their compatriots are really a “fifth column”.

But who would imagine that Israeli Jews could be so intimidated by the innocuous Christmas tree?

This issue first came to public attention two years ago when it was revealed that Shimon Gapso, the mayor of Upper Nazareth, had banned Christmas trees from all public buildings in his northern Israeli city.

“Upper Nazareth is a Jewish town and all its symbols are Jewish,” Gapso said. “As long as I hold office, no non-Jewish symbol will be presented in the city.”

The decision reflected in part his concern that Upper Nazareth, built in the 1950s as the centrepiece of the Israeli government’s “Judaisation of the Galilee” programme, was failing dismally in its mission.

Far from “swallowing up” the historic Palestinian city of Nazareth next door, as officials had intended, Upper Nazareth became over time a magnet for wealthier Nazarenes who could no longer find a place to build a home in their own city. That was because almost all Nazareth’s available green space had been confiscated for the benefit of Upper Nazareth.

Instead Nazarenes, many of them Palestinian Christians, have been buying homes in Upper Nazareth from Jews – often immigrants from the former Soviet Union – desperate to leave the Arab-dominated Galilee and head to the country’s centre, to be nearer Tel Aviv.

The exodus of Jews and influx of Palestinians have led the government to secretly designate Upper Nazareth as a “mixed city”, much to the embarrassment of Gapso. The mayor is a stalwart ally of far-right politician Avigdor Lieberman and regularly expresses virulently anti-Arab views, including recently calling Nazarenes “Israel-hating residents whose place is in Gaza” and their city “a nest of terror in the heart of the Galilee”.

Although neither Gapso nor the government has published census figures to clarify the city’s current demographic balance, most estimates suggest that at least a fifth of Upper Nazareth’s residents are Palestinian. The city’s council chamber also now includes Palestinian representatives.

But Gapso is not alone in his trenchant opposition to making even the most cursory nod towards multiculturalism. The city’s chief rabbi, Isaiah Herzl, has refused to countenance a single Christmas tree in Upper Nazareth, arguing that it would be “offensive to Jewish eyes”.

That view, it seems, reflects the official position of the country’s rabbinate. In so far as they are able, the rabbis have sought to ban Christmas celebrations in public buildings, including in the hundreds of hotels across the country.

A recent report in the Haaretz newspaper, on an Israeli Jew who grows Christmas trees commercially, noted in passing: “hotels – under threat of losing kashrut certificates – are prohibited by the rabbinate from decking their halls in boughs of holly or, heaven forbid, putting up even the smallest of small sparkly Christmas tree in the corner of the lobby.”

In other words, the rabbinate has been quietly terrorising Israeli hotel owners into ignoring Christmas by threatening to use its powers to put them out of business. Denying a hotel its kashrut (kosher) certificate would lose it most of its Israeli and foreign Jewish clientele.

Few mayors or rabbis find themselves in the uncomfortable position of needing to go public with their views on the dangers of Christmas decorations. In Israel, segregation between Jews and Palestinians is almost complete. Even most of the handful of mixed cities are really Jewish cities with slum-like ghettoes of Palestinians living on the periphery.

Apart from Upper Nazareth, the only other “mixed” place where Palestinian Christians are to be found in significant numbers is Haifa, Israel’s third largest city. Haifa is often referred to as Israel’s most multicultural and tolerant city, a title for which it faces very little competition.

But the image hides a dirtier reality. A recent letter from Haifa’s rabbinate came to light in which the city’s hotels and events halls were reminded that they must not host New Year’s parties at the end of this month (the Jewish New Year happens at a different time of year). The hotels and halls were warned that they would be denied their kashrut licences if they did so.

“It is a seriously forbidden to hold any event at the end of the calendar year that is connected with or displays anything from the non-Jewish festivals,” the letter states.

After the letter was publicised on Facebook, Haifa’s mayor, Yona Yahav, moved into damage limitation mode, overruling the city’s rabbinical council on Sunday and insisting that parties would be allowed to go ahead. Whether Yahav has the power to enforce his decision on the notoriously independent-minded rabbinical authorities is still uncertain.

But what is clear is that there is plenty of religious intolerance verging on hatred being quietly exercised against non-Jews, mostly behind the scenes so as not to disturb Israel’s “Jewish and democratic” image or outrage the millions of Christian tourists and pilgrims who visit Israel each year.

Sandy Hook massacre hooks into another tragedy...

Via WMR

WMR has followed up on leads that Adam Lanza, the suspected killer of 26 people, including twenty 6- and 7-year old children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, may have been victimized at a young age by pedophile abusers.

St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Newtown, where the Lanzas attended church and where Adam Lanza attended parochial school as a young boy, employed Father John Castaldo as a priest between 1998 and 2000. Castaldo, who was one of the five priests at the church, ministered to the St. Rose congregation while Adam Lanza was enrolled in the church's school. Lanza, born in 1992, would have been between 6 and 8-years old when Castaldo was at the church-school.

In 2001, Castaldo was arrested for engaging in sexually explicit Internet communications with a police detective who Castaldo had believed was a 14-year old boy. Castaldo asked the "boy" to meet at a motel for sex. Castaldo pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a weekend in jail. The following year, Castaldo was arrested again for molesting a young boy.

In 2009, a lawsuit was filed that named the Bridgeport Catholic diocese, of which St. Rose is a part, and two former diocesan bishops, retired New York Cardinal Edward Egan and the estate of the late Bridgeport Bishop Walter W. Curtis, as defendants.

Castaldo had previously been at St. Theresa's Church in Trumbull, Connecticut. The suit against the Bridgeport diocese contended that Castaldo molested between 1989 and 1992, Brooks Thopsey, who was age 10 in 1992. The suit contends that Castaldo, using threats and intimidation, forced Thopsey to perform oral sex on him. The suit also charged that Egan, the senior prelate for the diocese, knew about Castaldo's conduct and not only failed to take action but promoted him. Thopsey's older brother, Ryan, also sued the diocese for abuse, later settled for an undisclosed sum. A Connecticut Superior Court judge issued a judgement against the diocese in 2010.

After St. Theresa's, Castaldo served at St, Mark's in Stratford from 1992 to 1994; St. Edward the Confessor in New Fairfield from 1994 to 1998; St. Rose of Lima in Newtown from 1998 to 2000; St. Maurice's in Stamford from 2000 to 2001. It was while he was servong as Spiritual Director at Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford that Castaldo was first arrested for the sexual communications with the police detective posing as a minor. Castaldo was subsequently defrocked by Egan's successor, Bishop William Lori.

WMR spoke to a mental health official for the state of New York, who also has experience dealing with mental health issues in Connecticut, that it is highly possible that Lanza was abused as a child. The fact that Lanza may have suffered from autism would have made him a particularly attractive abuse target for pedophile priests.

Castaldo must have had a charmed existence at St. Rose. While he served the church as the head of the youth group, he was also the chaplain for Connecticut State Police Troop A in Southbury and Troop G in Bridgeport. Castaldo was also involved in the prison ministry upon graduating from seminary. The Connecticut State Police have had the lead in the investigation of the Sandy Hook massacre and have leaked erroneous information to the media.

Adam's mother, Nancy Lanza, took her son out of Sandy Hook Elementary School after he attended it for only a brief time and enrolled him in school at St. Rose. There have been reports that Adam had problems at Sandy Hook and there were contentious issues between Nancy Lanza at the Newtown school board when Adam attended Newtown High School. Eventually, Adam was pulled out of the high school and home schooled whereupon he earned a GED.

There are other reports that Nancy Lanza had been a teacher's aide at Sandy Hook, one of her classes being the kindergarten class that many of her son's victims had attended the year before. Nancy Lanza was also reportedly friendly with Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach. Hochsprung and Sherlach, along with Nancy Lanza, were all reportedly killed execution style by Adam Lanza.

During mass on Sunday, December 16, St. Rose received a bomb threat and was evacuated. During the evening of December 20, federal agents raided the Riverview Sales gun store in East Windsor, Connecticut. It was discovered that a 26-year old man with a history of mental illness named Jordan Marsh (oddly, the name of a New England department store chain) had stolen an AR-15 with a scope -- the same type of weapon Adam Lanza was said to have used in the massacre at Sandy Hook -- from the East Windsor gun shop where Nancy Lanza had purchased one of the guns her son used in the school massacre. Marsh, arrested at the Hartford Hilton Hotel, where he was checked in, was reportedly planning to carry out a Sandy Hook-type massacre.

---

The pedophile angle to the Newtown massacre will be studiously avoided by the corporate media. The primary reason is that The New York Times, the flagship for so many pack journalists, especially those in the television news business who fail to conduct their own in-depth investigations and piggyback off a few major papers and magazines, has a problem in its new corporate president, former British Broadcasting Corporation Director-General Mark Thompson.

In December 2011, Thompson, who had served as director of the BBC for eight years, claimed he knew nothing about the decision by the BBC to kill a "Newsnight" segment exposing the pedophile activities of longtime BBC celebrity TV host Jimmy Savile. The pedophile ring extended to other BBC celebrities, as well as into government and royal circles. Thompson claimed he knew nothing about the decision to spike the investigation of Savile and in September 2012 threatened to sue The Sunday Times for planning to report that Thompson was involved in the decision to kill the "Newsnight" segment.

With Thompson, who has been mired in a controversy about his own cover-up of a major pedophile scandal in Britain, at The New York Times, the paper will have to take major steps to convince its readership that it is not putting the reins on its Connecticut suburban reporters and New York-based investigative staff and limiting the reporting on the pedophile connections to the Sandy Hook massacre.





US Navy Seal commander dead of "suicide"


Via

The commander of an elite U.S. Navy SEAL unit has died in Afghanistan, the Defense Department said on Sunday, and a U.S. military official said his death was being investigated as a suspected suicide.

Commander Job Price, 42, of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, died on Saturday of a non-combat related injury in central Afghanistan's Uruzgan Province, the Pentagon said in a statement.

"This incident is currently under investigation," it said.

Price, was assigned to a Naval Special Warfare unit in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and was the commanding officer of SEAL Team Four. He failed to show up for an event on Saturday and colleagues found him dead in his quarters, the U.S. military official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
NBC News and CNN also quoted unnamed military officials as saying that the death was being looked at as a possible suicide.

Lieutenant David Lloyd, a spokesman for Naval Special Warfare Group Two, which comprises the four SEAL teams on the U.S. East Coast, declined to comment on the cause of death, saying it was under investigation.

Price was married and had a daughter. He had been a naval officer since May 1993, Lloyd said.

Captain Robert Smith, the Group Two commander, said in a statement:

"The Naval Special Warfare family is deeply saddened by the loss of our teammate. We extend our condolences, thoughts and prayers to the family, friends, and NSW community during this time of grieving.

"As we mourn the loss and honor the memory of our fallen teammate, those he served with will continue to carry out the mission."

SEAL is an acronym for sea, air, land.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

9/11 film 'September Morn' starring Martin Sheen and Woody Harrelson is "sabotaged" according to actor (Video)

Via


"While Canada has the world's largest supply of fresh water, more than 100 aboriginal communities have tapwater so foul they are under continual boil alert. Aboriginal peoples constitute 3% of Canada's population; they make up 20% of its prisons' inmates...Billions have indeed been spent – not on fixing housing, building schools or ending the country's two-tiered child aid services, but on a legal war against aboriginal communities. Every year, the government pours more than $100m into court battles to curtail aboriginal rights"

Via

Canada's placid winter surface has been broken by unprecedented protests by its aboriginal peoples. In just a few weeks, a small campaign launched against the Conservative government's budget bill by four aboriginal women has expanded and transformed into a season of discontent: a cultural and political resurgence.

It has seen rallies in dozens of cities, a disruption of legislature, blockades of major highways, drumming flash mobs in malls, a flurry of Twitter activity under the hashtag #IdleNoMore and a hunger strike by Chief Theresa Spence, in a tepee minutes from Ottawa's parliament. Into her tenth day, Spence says she is "willing to die for her people" to get the prime minister, chiefs and Queen to discuss respect for historical treaties.

The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs John Duncan has dismissed the escalating protest movement, saying "that's social media, so we'll just have to see where that goes." He told international media that relations with First Nations are "very good". If only that were the truth. What remains unspeakable in mainstream politics in Canada was recently uttered, in a moment of rare candour, by former Prime Minister Paul Martin:
"We have never admitted to ourselves that we were, and still are, a colonial power."
The evidence – and source of the current anger and unrest – is hard to dispute. While Canada has the world's largest supply of fresh water, more than 100 aboriginal communities have tapwater so foul they are under continual boil alert (pdf). Aboriginal peoples constitute 3% of Canada's population; they make up 20% of its prisons' inmates. In the far north, the rate of tuberculosis is a stunning 137 times that of the rest of the country. And the suicide rate capital of the world? A small reserve in Ontario, where a group of school-age girls once signed a pact to collectively take their lives.

Such realities have not stopped politicians and pundits from prattling on about the sums supposedly lavished on aboriginal peoples. The myth that aboriginals freeload off the state serves to conceal the real scandal: that most money pays for a sprawling government bureaucracy that keeps aboriginals poor, second-class, and dependent. The widespread notion that First Nations mismanage and squander what funds they do receive is simple prejudice: government reports acknowledge that communities are buried under a mountain of strict accounting; they are no more corrupt than non-native municipalities.

Billions have indeed been spent – not on fixing housing, building schools or ending the country's two-tiered child aid services, but on a legal war against aboriginal communities. Every year, the government pours more than $100m into court battles to curtail aboriginal rights – and that figure alone went to defeating a single lawsuit launched by two Alberta First Nations trying to recover oil royalties essentially stolen by bureaucrats.

Despite such odds, the highest courts of the land have ruled time and again in favour of aboriginal peoples. Over the last three decades, they have recognized that aboriginal nations have hunting, fishing and land rights, in some cases even outright ownership, over vast areas of unceded territory in British Columbia and elsewhere. And that the treaties Chief Spence is starving herself to see upheld – signed by the British Crown in the 1700 and 1800s, and the Canadian government until the early 1900s – mean the land's wealth should be shared, not pillaged.

Federal and provincial governments have tried to claw back these rights using every means at their disposal: unilateral legislation and one-sided negotiations, spying on and demonizing aboriginal activists, and, when all else fails, shuttling troublesome leaders to jail.

Parliament will soon debate a bill that would break up reserves – still, mostly, collectively held – into individual private property that can be purchased by non-native speculators. The undeclared agenda of government policy is the same as it was a century ago: a grab for resource-rich lands, and the assimilation of aboriginal nations.

Canadians have often turned a blind eye, having been taught to see the rights of aboriginal peoples as a threat to their interests. Dare to restore sovereignty to the original inhabitants, the story goes, and Canadians will be hustled out of their jobs and off the land. Or more absurdly, onto the first ships back to Europe.

But here's the good news. Amidst a hugely popular national movement against tar sands tankers and pipelines that would cross aboriginal territories, Canadians are starting a different narrative: allying with First Nations that have strong legal rights, and a fierce attachment to their lands and waters, may, in fact, offer the surest chance of protecting the environment and climate. Get behind aboriginal communities that have vetoes over unwanted development, and everyone wins. First Nations aren't about to push anyone off the land; they simply want to steward it responsibly.

Think of this as a sign of things to come: an image of Vancouver's mayor, flanked by aboriginal chiefs, speaking out together against a destructive pipeline project. After all, who would Canadians rather control enormous swathes of rural, often pristine land : foreign corporations who see in it only dollar signs over the next financial quarter, or aboriginal communities whose commitment to its sustainability is multigenerational?

The importance of #IdleNoMore cannot be overstated. Grassroots movements are what have ensured the survival of aboriginal culture, and what remains of an aboriginal land base. If it grows in energy and coordinates in a network of activism like Defenders of the Land, it could be a powerful force to reset aboriginal-state relations.

It will not only ensure Prime Minister Stephen Harper finally takes the short drive from his office to visit an ailing Theresa Spence. It may also inspire non-native Canada itself, idle for too long, to reckon with the past and envision a very different future.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Footage of police arresting second man in woods right after Sandy Hook elementary school shooting...

Via BI

On Friday police were "questioning a handcuffed suspect in connection with the Newtown school shooting" after they found a man wearing camouflage pants and a black jacket in the woods near the school.

CBS reported that "a potential second shooter is in custody and that SWAT is now investigating the home of the suspect."

Connecticut State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance later told reporters that there was only one shooter, and officials haven't given any more information on the man.

This helicopter footage obtained by the AP shows the man running into the woods before being apprehended.

And here's an interview with a witness who said that the man was telling parents he "did not do it" as he was led away by police.



It's still unclear why the man was running from police or if he had anything to do with the massacre, which claimed the lives of 28 people.

------------------------------------------------

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Honorary Italian Supreme Court President calls for new 9/11 investigation at ICC...

Via

Ferdinando Imposimato has extensive experience investigating high crimes as a former state prosecutor The reports of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), November 20, 2005, set forth the following conclusions: The airplanes that struck each of the Twin Towers caused a breach as well as an explosion evidenced by a giant fireball. The remaining jet fuel flowed onto the lower floors, sustaining the fires. The heat from the fires deformed the building structures and both towers collapsed completely from top to bottom. Very little that was of any size remained after these events except steel as well as aluminum fragments and the pulverized dust from the concrete floors.

World Trade Center 7 also collapsed––in a way that was inconsistent with the common experience of engineers. All three buildings collapsed completely, but Building 7 was not hit by a plane. WTC7’s collapse violated common experience and was unprecedented.

The NIST report does not analyze the actual nature of the collapses. According to experts at the Toronto Hearings (Sept. 8–11, 2011), the collapses had features that indicate controlled explosions. I agree with architect Richard Gage and engineer Jon Cole, both highly experienced professionals [from Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth – now numbering 1,700 strong], who have arrived at their conclusions through reliable tests, scientific proof, and the visual testimony of people above suspicion, including firefighters and victims. The authoritative theologian David Ray Griffin has described very precisely why the hypothesis of controlled demolition should be taken into consideration. Various witnesses heard bursts of explosions.

According to NIST the collapse of Building 7 was due to fires provoked by the collapse of the twin towers. Chemist and independent researcher Kevin Ryan, however, has demonstrated that NIST gave contradictory versions of the collapse of Building 7. In a preliminary report NIST declared that WTC7 was destroyed because of fires provoked by diesel fuel stored in the building, while in a second report this fuel was no longer considered the cause of the building’s collapse. Additional comments on the NIST version of events have been made by David Chandler, another expert witness at the September 2011 Toronto Hearings.. Despite NIST’s claim of three distinct phases of collapse, Chandler pointed out that many available videos show that for about two and a half seconds the acceleration of the building cannot be distinguished from freefall. NIST has been obliged to agree with this empirical fact as pointed out by Chandler, and now understandable by everyone.

The only possibility for achieving justice is to submit the best evidence concerning the involvement of specific individuals in 9/11 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and ask him to investigate according to the articles 12, 13, 15 and 17, letters a and b, of the Statute of the ICC, recalling also the preamble of the Statute:
Recognizing that such grave crimes threaten the peace, security and the well being of the world.

Affirming that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished and that their effective prosecution must be ensured by taking measures at the national level and by enhancing international cooperation.

Determined to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes and thus to contribute to the prosecution of such crimes, Recalling that the duty of every state to exercise its jurisdiction over those responsible for international crimes, …"

TSA's grip on internal travel is tightening...

Via

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is tightening its grip on domestic travcel. I don't mean the random, unpredictable security checks at bus, subway and train stations which already exist. I mean a coordinated and systematic police control of internal travel within America. Groundwork is being laid.

APPLICATION TO MAKE U.S. INTO AN AIRPORT SCREENING ZONE

TSAThe application was tucked away on page 71431 of Volume 77, Number 231 of the Federal Register (November 30). It was surrounded by soporific references to forwarding “the new Information Collection Request (ICR) abstracted below to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA).”

The application for funding from the TSA constitutes a preliminary step toward systematically expanding TSA's authority from airports to highways and almost every other means of public travel. The expansion would erase one of the last remaining differences between the US and a total police state; namely, the ability to travel internally without being under police surveillance. The total police state you experience at airports wants to spill into roads and bus stops, to subways and trains. Or, rather, the TSA wants to solidify and spread the fledgling and erratic presence it already has.

The official request reads, “TSA's Highway BASE program [Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement] seeks to establish the current state of security gaps and implemented countermeasures throughout the highway mode of transportation by posing questions to major transportation asset owners and operators.” An example would be an owner and the employees of a long-haul truck company. The application continues, “Data and results collected through the Highway BASE program will inform TSA's policy and program initiatives and allow TSA to provide focused resources and tools to enhance the overall security posture within the surface transportation community.”

Meanwhile, the Government Security News Service provides additional details on TSA's plans. TSA wants funding to conduct “security-related assessments” on about 750 “transportation assets” including “140 public transportation agencies.” An example would be bus depots or train stations.

Security Magazine (May 30th) offered a sense of how sweeping the definition of “assets” might be, including “trucking, school bus, and motor coach industries, privately-owned highway assets that may include bridges and tunnels, and other related systems and assets owned and operated by state departments of education and transportation.”

At this point, the goal is merely “an assessment.” But when did a government agency ever conclude that it didn't need funding, expansion and more power? This is especially true of the militarized TSA that treats the public as “hostiles.”

The fact that the agency lamented the lack of a “single database” on public transportation is not reassuring. (Federal Register, Vol.77, No.104, pg. 31867, May 30.) The entire push seems aimed at not merely expanding but also centralizing information, efforts and authority, with BASE itself being a consolidation of several other TSA programs.

TRAVEL AUTHORITIES WILL COMPLY

Private companies and public travel authorities will co-operate with this “voluntary” program of assessment and with whatever policies result. They will co-operate for two reasons: the stick and the carrot.

The stick: The BASE program is voluntary in the same sense that compliance with TSA demands at airport screening are voluntary – which is to say, not at all. A company that refuses to comply is likely to receive the same harassment and extra scrutiny as passengers who refuse to be screened.

The carrot: The May 30th Federal Register report listed one use to which data from the TSA assessments would be put. It would “inform...the most effective application of available resources, including funds distributed under the Transit Security Grant Program.” In short, government money will flow to the compliant.

TSAThe case of Amtrak is instructive.

On March 3rd, 2011, Trains: The Magazine of Railroading ran the headline: “TRAINS Exclusive: Amtrak police chief bars Transportation Security Administration from some security operations.” The article went on to describe how TSA personnel “took over” an Amtrak station on their own authority and “thoroughly searched every person who entered.” When Amtrak Police Chief John O’Connor found out, he was reportedly “livid” and insisted on restricting the TSA's authority before he would consider “allowing them back on Amtrak property.”

On October 9th, 2012, Homeland Security Today – the official magazine of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – announced that DHS had forged a partnership Amtrak by which “over 8,000 frontline transportation employees and Amtrak Police Department officers” will be trained.

How did Amtrak go from threatening to evict the TSA (an agency within DHS) to joining enthusiastically in the harassment of passengers? What happened in a year-and-a-half?

Money happened. In 2011, Amtrak received $1.5 billion in federal funds and broke records with 30 million passengers; it still lost money. Amtrak's losses were so huge and persistent that one of Mitt Romney’s campaign promises was to privatize the behemoth. By partnering with national security in October, however, Amtrak guaranteed both funding and survival no matter who won the election.

No wonder so many transit authorities are scrambling to be “golden.” The Gold Award is the highest score a transportation provider can receive from the TSA. It is achieved by obtaining high ratings in 17 categories in Security and Emergency Preparedness. Who do you think will be first in line for federal hand-outs? Compliance with the TSA will be high.

The Amtrak dynamic also points to how the TSA will solve a major problem in monitoring internal travel; namely, it doesn't have enough personnel to cover the vast stretches and variety of internal transportation. The TSA doesn't need them. All it needs to do is co-opt the existing personnel of railroads and buses, of trucking and subways. If it does so, then the TSA will acquire 100,000s of de facto agents who are trained to report back on any suspicious activity or people.

Airport-style control of travel within America is coming. Some would argue it has been here for decades in the form of speed limits. But what's coming is different in kind. The unmarked police cars hiding in bushes are after your money; the uniformed TSA agents and their “partners” want your freedom, your obedience, and control of your life.

CONCLUSION

The Art of Being Free, Wendy McElroy, coverThe Constitution will not protect the right to travel. Although many legal scholars consider it to be a Constitutional right akin to freedom of association, the word “travel” or its equivalent does not appear in the document except to guarantee the right of Congress members to travel back and forth from 'work'. The Supreme Court case Sáenz v. Roe (1999) rejected the Constitutional basis of free travel and rooted it instead within judicial precedent. These are weak roots and shallow soil.

Those who fret over their continued ability to travel abroad should glance over their shoulders to glimpse what is happening to travel within America. The two are politically connected, intimately so. Many of the same methods that now restrict foreign travel will be used within America because the same agency will handle both: the TSA in its many manifestations. They might be called BASE agents or VIPRs (Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response), like the ones who partnered with law enforcement in 2011 in Tennessee to conduct random “terrorist” checkpoints on highways. They may be the specially trained clerks who sell you a ticket . But TSA agents in whatever guise are coming to the highway, bus stop and train station you frequent.

Police revisit the grim mystery of Elm Guest House...

RP Note: The true 'nightmare on Elm Street'...

Via

There is no more ordinary-looking row of suburban Edwardian houses in the country than Rocks Lane, south-west London. But nowhere has given rise to such an outlandish series of allegations than the one formerly known as Elm Guest House. The claims are now being re-investigated by the Metropolitan Police, decades after they were first made. Attempts have been made by care workers to lay bare the secrets of Rocks Lane but to no avail. Whatever the outcome of their investigations in the past, the police seem convinced that a number of serious wrongs need to be righted.

Rocks Lane is a conspiracy theorist's dream, taking in allegations of the grooming of young boys in care for sex, elaborate gay parties involving senior public figures including members of the Conservative Party, charges of a police cover-up and even the suggestion of murder. The police believe that in the context of the Jimmy Savile scandal and renewed claims over the treatment of boys in care in North Wales, there is every reason to look again at an extremely murky saga.

A month ago, in conditions of the utmost secrecy (so much so that nothing was even put on computers), the Metropolitan Police set up Operation Fairbank, to look into, among other things, allegations made by Tom Watson in the House of Commons. The Labour MP had spoken of a "powerful paedophile ring" and its links to a previous prime minister's "senior adviser". Mr Watson has been uncharacteristically diffident about speaking to journalists on the issue since then, saying that he is passing on any information to the police. He said yesterday: "I'm not seeking to add any specific allegations myself, but hope that my comments will help the authorities get to the bottom of this."

What is known is that in the late 1970s, the Elm Guest House on Rocks Lane was a safe, unthreatening meeting place for homosexual men free from the stigma of a sexual orientation legalised barely a decade earlier. According to a former friend of Carole Kasir, the guest house's German-born manager, she initially regarded herself as offering gay men an opportunity to "be themselves" without fear. Rocks Lane, which overlooks a playing field, was known to homosexual men as it is close to Barnes Common, itself popular with gay men for cruising.

But Elm Guest House's willingness to accommodate a small industry ("It became a convenient place for rent boys to take their clients," says one person familiar with the place), began to attract the attentions of the local police force. One neighbour remembers a months-long police stakeout: "They were there all the time. Police hiding behind the trees to look at the property was a running joke with the neighbours."

In 1982, the police learned that one of the guest house's parties was to take place, and the Met's notorious Special Patrol Group, the precursor of the Territorial Support Group, duly raided the property, resulting in a number of charges being brought against Kasir. The fact that two police officers were in the house at the time of the raid has fed the speculation. The IoS has established that, according to an officer closely involved at the time, two officers were embedded as guests in the property for two or three days, one even pretending to have a broken arm, hiding a police radio in a plaster cast to make secret recordings. If there was a cover-up, it appears not to have involved the local police force, who seem to have been assiduous in seeking to have the place closed down.

As many as 12 boys gave evidence to the police to the effect that they had been abused by men at the house, The IoS has established, but the only conviction was the comparatively minor one of running a disorderly house (ie, a brothel). "Abused boys do not always make the most impressive of witnesses once they get into the witness box," someone involved in the case said. "The real unlawful activity was underage sex. The police should have been able to make the other charges stick, but the boys were only ever interviewed with a view to them being witnesses against Carole, not as kids who were abused themselves."

The place continued to attract speculation. Who was at that party has never been established, but as time went on, more and more allegations began to emerge about Rocks Lane. The local police paved the way for the raid, but at some stage Special Branch felt the need to get involved. Why was that, some have asked, unless there was something even murkier going on? Child-protection campaigners alleged that boys had been taken from a local council-run home and abused, a line of investigation that police are now pursuing.

What makes the Rocks Lane story so tantalising for the media is the list of alleged attendees at the parties. One source suggested that Anthony Blunt, former keeper of the Queen's pictures and an exposed Soviet mole, used to go the parties, but then Blunt's notoriety made him a magnet for any number of fanciful theories. Those who knew him say the idea is absurd, and that his sexual tastes were far more conventional. Others have spoken of two High Court judges and a Foreign Office official attending. Chris Fay, a social worker who worked for a small charity, the National Association for Young People in Care (Naypic), has alleged that a terrified Kasir had shown him about 20 photographs of middle-aged men with young boys, taken at what he said were kings and queens fancy-dress parties, attended by a number of powerful and well-known people. One, Mr Fay alleged, featured a well-known public figure wearing nothing but a French maid's apron alongside a young boy nude apart from a tiara.

In 1990, at the age of 47, Kasir was found dead in her flat. The coroner's inquest concluded that, a diabetic, she had suffered an insulin overdose. Two Naypic employees told the coroner they believed that because she seemingly had not had an insulin injection for three days, she had been murdered, the victim of powerful people who feared she knew too much. Nonetheless, she was found to have committed suicide, worn down by an eight-year battle to have her son, who was taken into care after her conviction, returned to her.

So was the story of Rocks Lane (now mercifully restored to blameless respectability) just another one of consenting adults "romping" behind lace curtains? Or was it qualitatively different, involving something much nastier and more exploitative? Since 1990, ineffectual efforts have been made to overturn this vast stone. A reported 2003 "inquiry", which ended up being examined by the IPCC, foundered, frustratingly, on unsupported evidence based on the wrong time frame. But now, with child abuse no longer regarded as unthinkable, the climate seems to be changing.

Tom Watson's Commons statement brought forward a flood of emails from the public. Police have been hindered by the loss of many documents and impassioned but unverifiable testimony, much of which has surfaced on the internet. The allegations deserving of most scrutiny, though, have seemingly eluded the web. The two surviving Naypic employees are reluctant to discuss the case, but it is believed the police are interviewing what, tellingly, they now refer to as "victims", and are encouraging others to come forward.

The alleged presence of household names adds to the intrigue, but in a celeb-obsessed age, there is a danger that, should such names not materialise, Rocks Lane will be seen as "just another" child abuse case. Yet police sources fear that dozens of boys were either taken or on the run from care homes to be abused. By any standards, that should be a big story.

The net widens

The scandal of abuse at care homes in North Wales, including Bryn Estyn, was reawakened following the Jimmy Savile allegations.

Reports of abuse – involving in the region of 300 children, mainly in the 1970s and 1980s – first led Clwyd Council to commission a report into failings. But the Jillings report was never published, and, amid rumours of a botched police investigation, the Waterhouse report was commissioned. It named 200 abusers, or those who failed to protect children, but was seen as a whitewash after no prosecutions resulted.

Victims of child abuse in Northern Ireland are still waiting for an inquiry into abuse at Catholic church and state-run institutions between 1973 and 1989. It followed the Ryan report in the Republic of Ireland, which found that sexual and psychological abuse was "endemic" in Catholic-run schools and orphanages for most of the 20th century.

In 2010, a three-year investigation into child abuse in Jersey led to seven people being convicted for a series of assaults they inflicted on children, mainly at the Haut de la Garenne home, from the 1970s onwards. Police took 1,776 statements from 192 alleged victims during the course of their inquiry.

Many victims there believe more abuse remains uncovered. An investigation into claims that Savile had abused girls in Jersey was launched last month.

The James Holmes conspiracy (Video)

Via


2 mass shootings connected to Libor scandal?

RP note: Make of this article what you will. Personally i'm skeptical of it because i haven't seen any solid evidence or connections..We'll see

 

Via

The father of Connecticut school shooter Adam Lanza, Peter Lanza, was the tax director for General Electric, a corporation that paid -0- taxes on 14.2 billion dollars in profits last year. According to Fabian4Liberty, Peter Lanza was scheduled to testify in the ongoing global LIBOR scandal. In what could only be described an amazing coincidence, the father of Colorado Batman shooter James Holmes, Robert Holmes, was also a LIBOR witness in his position with FICO. According to the link at FICO, Robert Holmes was a ‘Fraud Scientist’.

From Fabain4Liberty:

The father of Newtown Connecticut school shooter Adam Lanza is Peter Lanza who is a VP and Tax Director at GE Financial. The father of Aurora Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes is Robert Holmes, the lead scientist for the credit score company FICO. Both men were to testify before the US Sentate in the ongoing LIBOR scandal. The London Interbank Offered Rate, known as Libor, is the average interest rate at which banks can borrow from each other. 16 international banks have been implicated in this ongoing scandal, accused of rigging contracts worth trillions of dollars. HSBC has already been fined $1.9 billion and three of their low level traders arrested.

Oil may be seeping (again) from Deepwater Horizon site...

Via CBS

CBS News has learned that BP is set to embark Thursday on the fifth day of a little-known subsea mission under Coast Guard supervision to look for any new oil leaking from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.


The BP oil rig exploded in 2010, killing 11 workers and sending a total estimated 206 million gallons of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico for three months before it was capped.

In September, a new oil sheen was spotted about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. Tests confirmed the oil came from the infamous Macondo well underneath the Deepwater Horizon. BP's underwater vehicle observed oil seeping from the well's containment dome and, after a remote operation, declared the leaks plugged on October 23. The company and the Coast Guard said it wasn't feasible to clean up the slick, and that it didn't pose a risk to the shoreline.

But more oil continues to surface. Slicks and sheens of varying sizes and shapes have been documented by satellite photos, as well as aerial video recorded by the non-profit environmental group "On Wings of Care." It's suspected that an unknown amount of oil trapped in the containment dome, and in the wreckage and equipment from 2010, could be seeping out.

Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., helped lead the original investigation of BP after the Deepwater Horizon exploded, and says it's deja vu: BP is not turning over videos and information requested by Congress.

"My concern is that substantial amounts of oil could still be leaking from the wreckage," Markey told CBS News.

Last month, BP pleaded guilty to more than a dozen felonies from the 2010 disaster, including lying to Congress about how much oil was really pouring into the water.

Markey says BP is now repeating its stonewalling behavior of two years ago. For more than two months, Markey and Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., have been asking BP for underwater video and information such as the size of the slicks and how much oil could be trapped, but BP has said it will not provide the information due to pending investigations and litigation.

"Back in 2010, I said BP was either lying or incompetent. Well, it turns out they were both," says Markey. "This is the same crime scene, and the American public today is entitled to the same information that BP was lying about in 2010 so that we can understand the full dimension of the additional environmental damage."

BP spent a fortune after the 2010 disaster -- on ads to improve its image. It also spent $18 billion on cleanup and victims, and $4.5 billion more to settle criminal charges.

The Coast Guard canceled an interview with CBS News at the last minute on Wednesday. BP also declined to be interviewed but told us in a statement, "The Macondo well and its associated relief wells are secure." BP also says it will work with the Coast Guard "on any further steps, as needed, to address the results" of this week's survey of the wells and wreckage where oil from 2010 could still be trapped.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Rudi Dekkers behind bars for drug trafficking...

Via MC

The long run of Rudi Dekkers, 56, the Dutch national who first passed out bunks to Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi when they arrived in the United States to enroll at Huffman Aviation in Venice, Florida, ended last week when he was arrested for drug trafficking in Houston.(read the criminal complaint .pdf)

Before relating the details of 'what went down in Houston,' a little 'back story' on Dekkers, who is an historically important figure:

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, it was Rudi Dekkers' running account of the character and personality of Mohamed Atta and the other terrorists which transfixed a nation and the world. He was everywhere on television.

Even though it seemed to many observers that he was making it up as he went along, Dekkers fixed an image of the hijackers that changed remarkably little in the years that followed.

Marwan was the jolly one. Atta was rude. Dekkers' didn't like him, he asserted, ever more emphatically. He just didn't.

"I just had this funny feeling"



On the day after the attack, Dekkers had denied to reporters that he's ever talked to Atta or Al-Shehhi, There were dozens of foreign students at the school. He was a very busy man. But his memory very shortly seemed to improve. Later, the operations manager at the second flight school (in Naples) told me someone she thought was an FBI agent had been coaching him behind the scenes.

It didn't matter. It was of no consequence.

While Dekkers was getting more face time than anyone since O.J. Simpson, he was wanted for felony fraud in his native Netherlands,  I reported exclusively.

This was thought to be unremarkable.

Over the next decade I filed dozens of stories presenting evidence that Huffman Aviation in Venice Florida was like no other flight school in America; that while the terrorist hijackers were practicing “touch and go’s” on the runway outside, what owner Wally Hilliard and manager Rudi Dekkers had been running looked very much like a continuing criminal enterprise.



For example, three weeks after Atta showed up Wally Hilliard's Learjet (N351WB) was busted on a runway at Orlando Executive Airport carrying 43 lbs of heroin, an amount known as "heavy weight" in the drug trade.

At that time, July of 2001, something like 80% of the world's heroin came from Afganistan. (The percentage is much higher today.) Mohamed Atta had been in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden was still there.
But no alarm bells went off.  It didn't matter.

Runs out of 'get out of jail free' cards



Dekkers first came to the attention of U.S. law enforcement in 1996, according to sources who worked with him at the Naples Airport. He was the subject of a multi-agency Federal task force, investigating allegations, and numerous sources said they were much more than that, that he had been illegally exporting state-of-the-art computer memory chips out of the U.S.

However, no charges were ever filed. In the case of someone who’s been the subject of a multiple agency task force, this was thought to be highly unusual. An executive who worked at Naples Airport, directly under Wally Hilliard, said, "You don't get the FBI US Customs and the DEA all on your ass at once for singing too loud in church."

The suspicion among aviation observers in SW Florida was, and has always been, that Dekkers was offered—and accepted—some kind of deal.   Then, last week, in Houston, for an as-yet unknown reason Rudi Dekkers' finally ran out of “get out of jail free” cards.

It had been a long run.

Hooray for Halloween…in Houston



It was Halloween in Houston, the one day a year most people set aside to pretend to be someone else.  Rudi Dekkers has been doing it for a living, full-time, for years. The meeting which led to Dekkers arrest took place on October 31 of this year.

On that date, according to the affadavit filed with the criminal complaint, a drug kingpin named Arturo Astorquiza, described as “the head of an international drug trafficking organization (DTO),” introduced an associate of his, who he did not yet know was an undercover agent, to Rudi Dekkers.

Dekkers told the agent, quoting the affidavit, that he was “involved in narcotics transportation using private aircraft and that he has flown narcotics and currency previously without any problem.”

No doubt, what Dekkers actually said was phrased in a considerably less bureaucratic fashion. Probably something like, “I’ve been a drug pilot for years. Drugs. Money. No problem. What do you need?”

A week later, agents arrested  “drug kingpin” Astorquiza in the parking lot of his Houston condo.

Agents must be able to suppress snickering at all times



The next week, Dekkers phoned the undercover agent “on his own accord” to tell him that Astorquiza had been busted by the ATF.

The undercover agent must have been successful in suppressing his snickers, because Dekkers then went on to inform him he would soon be flying in to Houston Intercontinental Airport on his way to do a drug flight, and would still be interested in working something out. Dekkers said he would be picking up 6 kilos of cocaine, for which he was to be paid $9000.

This is interesting, and seems to indicate that in the drug business, over the past 30 years, little has changed, because $3000 a key was exactly what Barry Seal charged for transportation way back during the 1980’s.



When he got to Houston Dekkers was placed under round the clock surveillance. He was spotted meeting with Rogelio Martinez-Flores, who proceeded to hand Dekkers something the affidavit refers to as THE  BLUE ROLLING SUITCASE, all caps.

At that point, the jig was up. Agents moved in. They brought with them a K-9 unit. Then Jack the dog did a little canine dance all over THE BLUE ROLLING SUITCASE.

One surprise: Instead of the 9 kilos Dekkers said he’d be transporting, in the suitcase was 18 kilos of cocaine, as well as 860 grams of heroin.

 No damn schadenfreude

The news that Rudi Dekkers has finally been caught trafficking drugs does not fill me with elation. I confess am somewhat surprised.  Not even a little satisfying schadenfreude—taking satisfaction another’s misfortune.

I’m no saint. I'm human. Spending a decade as a non-person for telling the truth has been no walk in the park. But I don't think  “I told you so” is an ennobling sentiment.  But that's not really it, either.  I've been thinking about something that happened almost 20 years ago.

During a press conference announcing the launch his new magazine,  the short-lived George, JFK Jr. was asked if he'd use the magazine as a platform to investigate his father’s murder. His answer, it seems to me, was very wise, and also incredibly poignant.



No, he said Too much time had passed. Said John Kennedy Jr., “Time is the great enemy of the truth.”

Meaning that by the time the general public figured out that the people who killed John Fitzgerald Kennedy had shot their way into power, just like Hitler's Nazis did,  it was too late to do anything about it but grieve.

By the time we figure out we've been successfully lied to about what Mohamed Atta was doing in the U.S.—and what his presence here had to do with importing heroin from Afghanistan— it will be too late to do anything about it.

For some, it’s already too late: the 4000 American soldiers killed in a needless war in Iraq, for example, that might not have been rammed through so easily if the truth about the terrorist conspiracy in Florida had been better understood.

And too late for the Iraqis who died too, even though the blood that was spilled on September 11 2001 was not on their hands.

Some of that blood, though, is on Rudi Dekkers' hands. I think he knows it, and has been running away from it.

I guess he'll just have to live with it.

"Ministers have agree to pay more than £2m to the family of a prominent Libyan dissident abducted with the help of MI6 and secretly flown to Tripoli where he was tortured by the security police of the former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Having sought for years to avoid the agents of the Libyan dictator, Sami al-Saadi was forced on board a plane in Hong Kong with his wife and four young children in a joint UK-US-Libyan operation"...

Via

Ministers have agree to pay more than £2m to the family of a prominent Libyan dissident abducted with the help of MI6 and secretly flown to Tripoli where he was tortured by the security police of the former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Having sought for years to avoid the agents of the Libyan dictator, Sami al-Saadi was forced on board a plane in Hong Kong with his wife and four young children in a joint UK-US-Libyan operation. They were then flown to Libya, where all of them were initially imprisoned. Saadi was held and tortured for years.

The Saadi family had accepted a settlement of £2.23m, the high court heard on Thursday. The government paid the sum by way of compensation and without admitting any liability.

Evidence of the UK's role in the operation – believed to be the only case where an entire family was subjected to "extraordinary rendition" – came to light after Gaddafi's fall in 2011.

CIA correspondence with Libyan intelligence, found in the spy chief Moussa Koussa's office in Tripoli by Human Rights Watch, states: "We are … aware that your service had been co-operating with the British to effect [Saadi's] removal to Tripoli … the Hong Kong government may be able to co-ordinate with you to render [Saadi] and his family into your custody."

The operation was arranged in 2004 at the time of Tony Blair's "deal in the desert" with Gaddafi, after which UK intelligence services helped track down and hand over his opponents.

Another Libyan victim was Abdel Hakim Belhaj, who was rendered alongside his pregnant wife. A letter from the MI6 head of counter-terrorism Sir Mark Allen to Koussa, also found in Tripoli, said: "I congratulate you on the safe arrival of [Belhaj]. This was the least we could do for you and for Libya. I know I did not pay for the air cargo [but] the intelligence [on him] was British."

Belhaj is pursuing his legal action against the British government.
Saadi said on Thursday: "My family suffered enough when they were kidnapped and flown to Gaddafi's Libya. They will now have the chance to complete their education in the new, free Libya. I will be able to afford the medical care I need because of the injuries I suffered in prison."

He said: "I started this process believing that a British trial would get to the truth in my case. But today, with the government trying to push through secret courts, I feel that to proceed is not best for my family. I went through a secret trial once before, in Gaddafi's Libya. In many ways, it was as bad as the torture. It is not an experience I care to repeat.

"Even now, the British government has never given an answer to the simple question: 'Were you involved in the kidnap of me, my wife and my children?' I think the payment speaks for itself."

He said his family would donate some of the proceeds to support other Libyan torture victims.

"We look forward to the result of the police investigation and hope there will be a full and fair public inquiry into our case," he said.

His eldest daughter, Khadija, who was rendered to Libya aged 12, said: "I wrote to [the then justice secretary] Ken Clarke when I heard about the secret courts plan, but he would not say that he would not seek to try my case in secret. I still feel this would have been unnecessary, unfair and unworthy of the UK. I hope the inquiry will be as open and as fair as the phone-hacking inquiry."

Kat Craig, legal director of the charity Reprieve, which acts for the two families, said: "We now know that Tony Blair's 'deal in the desert' was bought with ugly compromises. Perhaps the ugliest was for MI6 to deliver a whole family to one of the world's most brutal dictators."

Sapna Malik, of Leigh Day, the law firm representing the families, said:

 "The sheer terror experienced by the Saadi family when they were bundled on to their rendition flight and delivered up to their nemesis clearly lives with them all to this day. Having concluded one part of their quest for justice, they now look to the British criminal courts to hold those responsible for their ordeal to account and await the judge-led inquiry they have been promised."

Belhaj, who last year led the battle for Tripoli, said: "When my friend Sami al-Saadi was freed from Abu Salim prison on 23 August 2011, he weighed seven stone. He was close to death. It is a miracle he survived his ordeal and is home with his family."

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