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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Check out Real Politik's Tumblr page...

RP Note: So for whatever reason/s, lately whenever i try to post articles on here the computer just slows down or crashes. I'm not sure if the issue is with Google's blog or my computer..So for now just catch all the updated articles on my Tumblr page, at least until i figure out the glitch..Thanx!

                                                                              -DJ Blendz

Tamerlan Tsarnaev's links to CIA operations in Caucasus...


Evidence is mounting that the accused dead Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev became a "radicalized" Muslim while participating in a covert CIA program, run through the Republic of Georgia, to destabilize Russia's North Caucasus region. The ultimate goal of the CIA's campaign was for the Muslim inhabitants of the region to declare independence from Moscow and tilt toward the U.S. Wahhabi Muslim-run governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Russia's Izvestia is reporting that Tsarnaev attended seminars run by the Caucasus Fund of Georgia, a group affiliated with the neo-conservative think tank, the Jamestown Foundation, between January and July 2012. The U.S. media has been reporting that during this six month time frame Tsarnaev was being radicalized by Dagestan radical imam "Abu Dudzhan," killed in a fight with Russian security last year. However, in documents leaked by the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs's Counterintelligence Department, Tsarnaev is pinpointed as being in Tbilisi taking part in "seminars" organized by the Caucasus Fund, founded during the Georgian-South Ossetian war of 2008, a war started when Georgian troops invaded the pro-Russian Republic of South Ossetia during the Beijing Olympics. Georgia was supported by the United States and Israel, including U.S. Special Forces advisers. The Georgian intelligence documents indicate Tsarnaev attended the Jamestown seminars in Tbilisi.

Tsarnaev also visited Dagestan in 2011. On December 16, 2011, WMR reported on the CIA's and George Soros's operations in Georgia that funded the Caucasus Fund, the Jamestown Foundation, and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) activities. It should also be noted that Tsarnaev's Maryland-based uncle, Ruslan Tsarni (name changed from Tsarnaev) was also contracted to USAID.

"The money from USAID for Russian dissidents is being funneled through the Georgian Ministry of Education. The Georgian Minister of Education Dmitry Shashkin also attended the Tbilisi ceremony (a World AIDS Day ceremony also attended by U.S. ambassador to Georgia John Bass and Georgia First Lady Sandra Roloefs, the Dutch wife of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili), which provided cover for the covert aid program to the Russian dissidents. USAID money was used to fund scholarships in Georgia for exiled Chechen "students" who were being trained as CIA agenst to interface with Chechen guerrilla forces and the Caucasus Emirate terrorists of Doku Umarov.

Georgia has become the nexus for the U.S. aid to the Russian opposition trying to unseat Putin. In March [2010], Georgia sponsored, with CIA, Soros, and MI-6 funds, a conference titled 'Hidden Nations, Enduring Crimes: The Circassians and the People of the North Caucasus Between Past and Future.' Georgia and its CIA, Soros, and British intelligence allies are funneling cash and other support for secessionism by ethnic minorities in Russia, including Circassians, Chechens, Ingushetians, Balkars, Kabardins, Abaza, Tatars, Talysh, and Kumyks."

Note: the Talysh and Kumyks live primarily in Dagestan.

The conference, held on March 21, 2010, was organized by the Jamestown Foundation and the International School of Caucasus Studies at Ilia State University in Georgia. If Georgian counter-intelligence documents had Tamerlan Tsarnaev attending Jamestown conferences in Tbilisi in 2011, could the Russian FSB have tracked him to the Jamestown Hidden Nations seminar in March 2010? In any event, a year later the FSB decided to contact the FBI about Tsarnaev's ties to terrorists.

The first Russian request to the FBI came via the FBI's Legal Attache's office at the U.S. embassy in Moscow in March 2011. It took the FBI until June of 2011 to conclude that Tamerlan posed no terrorist threat but it did add his name to the Treasury Enforcement Communications System, or TECS, which monitors financial information such as bank accounts held abroad and wire transfers. In September 2011, Russian authorities, once again, alerted the U.S. of their suspicions about Tamerlan. The second alert went to the CIA. The Russians were well aware that the Hidden Nations seminar held a year earlier was a CIA-sponsored event that was supported by the Saakashvili government in Georgia. In their second communication with Washington, the Russians were likely making the CIA aware that it was on to one of Langley's assets.

At some point in time after the first Russian alert and either before or after the second, the CIA entered Tamerlan's name into the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment list (TIDE), a database with more than 750,000 entries that is maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center in McLean, Virginia.

On March 31, 2010, shortly after the Hidden Nations conference in Tbilisi, deadly mass casualty suicide bomb blasts in the Moscow Metro system and in Dagestan, and Georgia's Georgia's launching of a Russian-language TV channel targeting the north Caucasus and designed to whip up anti-Russian feelings in the volatile region, WMR reported:

"The Jamestown Foundation is a long-standing front operation for the CIA, it being founded, in part, by CIA director William Casey in 1984. The organization was used as an employer for high-ranking Soviet bloc defectors, including the Soviet Undersecretary General of the UN Arkady Shevchenko and Romanian intelligence official Ion Pacepa. The Russian FSB and the SVR foreign intelligence agencies have long suspected Jamestown of helping to foment rebellions in Chechnya, Ingushetia, and other north Caucasus republics. The March 21 Tbilisi conference on the north Caucasus a few days before the Moscow train bombings has obviously added to the suspicions of the FSB and SVR.

Jamestown's board includes such Cold War era individuals as Marcia Carlucci; wife of Frank Carlucci, the former CIA officer, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of The Carlyle Group [Frank Carlucci was also one of those who requested the U.S. government to allow former Chechen Republic 'Foreign Minister' Ilyas Akhmadov, accused by the Russians of terrorist ties, to be granted political asylum in the U.S. after a veto from the Homeland Security and Justice Departments], anti-Communist book and magazine publisher Alfred Regnery; and Caspar Weinberger's Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Kathleen Troia "KT" McFarland. Also on the board is former Oklahoma GOP Governor Frank Keating, the governor at the time of the 1995 Murrah Federal Building bombing.

The Georgian International School for Caucasus Studies in a perfect partner for Jamestown. Its current major project is designed to stir up anti-Russian sentiments in the north Caucasus by creating such new research programs as "Tsarist Russian policy and state-sponsored Soviet ethnic policies conducted in the North Caucasus during the 19th and 20th century."

Cooperating with Jamestown in not only its north and south Caucasus information operations, but also in Moldovan, Belarusian, Uighur, and Uzbekistan affairs, is George Soros's ubiquitous Open Society Institute, another cipher for U.S. intelligence and global banking interests. Soros's Central Eurasia Project has sponsored a number of panels and seminars with Jamestown. Soros and his NGO contrivances and constructs provided the impetus for Saakashvili's themed 'Rose Revolution.' Jamestown's Monitor and the Soros-influenced Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty often quote from each others' sources and reports.

On March 9, 2005, the Jamestown Foundation, Soros's Open Society Institute, and the Moldova Foundation sponsored a seminar in Washington on the Moldovan elections. Among the advisory board members of the Moldova Foundation are Bari-Bar Zion, CEO of A4E and Amin in Israel and a former business adviser to the head of the Israel State Lottery, and Sam Amadi, special adviser to the President of the Senate of Nigeria. The Moldova Foundation receives support from Soros's Open Society Institute."

Georgia was a major launching pad for anti-Russia operations by the CIA, Mossad, and Britain's MI-6. Not only did Georgian Imedi TV presented a fake news report about a Russian invasion of Georgia -- which also suggested that Russian troops had killed Saakashvili -- but Caucasus Emirate terrorists were conducting a number of terrorist attacks inside Russia, including a suicide bombings in Moscow and Dagestan, at the same time NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was hosting Saakashvili in Brussels.

The Russians indicated in their first communication with the FBI that Tamerlan had changed drastically since 2010. That change came after the Hidden Nations conference in Tbilisi. U.S. support for Chechen and North Caucasus secession came as a result of a public statement on August 2008 by GOP presidential candidate John McCain that "after Russia illegally recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Western countries ought to think about the independence of the North Caucasus and Chechnya."

Upon becoming President in 2009, Barack Obama adopted McCain's proposal and authorized CIA support for North Caucasus secessionists and terrorists with money laundered through the USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy, Soros's Open Society Institute, Freedom House, and the Jamestown Foundation. In January 2012, Obama appointed a Soros activist and neocon, Michael McFaul of the right-wing Hoover Institution at Stanford university, as U.S. ambassador to Moscow. McFaul immediately threw open the doors of the U.S. embassy to a variety of Russian dissidents, including secessionists from the North Caucasus, some of whom were suspected by the Russian FSB of ties to Islamist terrorists.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

NYPD to inject "harmless" gas into subway system this summer...


In addition to all the other exotic fumes roiling around the subway, the NYPD will this summer release some nice, "harmless" gases into several stations in order to test for "risks posed by airborne contaminants, including chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) weapons," the department announced today.

“The NYPD works for the best but plans for the worst when it comes to potentially catastrophic attacks such as ones employing radiological contaminants or weaponized anthrax,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said in a statement. The airflow tests will be performed in partnership with the energy department's Brookhaven National Laboratory using perfluorocarbon tracer gases (PFTs), which, though alarmingly named, are apparently benign. (Wikipedia tells us the gases are regularly used to map oil reserves and, awesomely, to track ransom money following kidnappings.)

The $3.4 million study, called the Subway-Surface Air Flow Exchange, will be the largest of its kind. The exact dates of the test, to be held over the course of three non-consecutive days in July, will be determined by weather conditions and announced to the public one day in advance. Research will be conducted during the daytime in parts of all five boroughs, but is not expected to hamper operations.

“The NYPD, in partnership with the MTA, is responsible for keeping more than 5 million daily subway customers safe and secure, Acting Chairman Fernando Ferrer said in a statement. "This study will bolster the NYPD's understanding of contaminant dispersion within the subway system as well as between the subway system and the street, thereby improving its ability to better protect both our customers and the city population at large."

Sounds good, Ferrer. Now when will someone look into the MTA's little electric eel problem?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Boston bombers 'Uncle Ruslan' a CIA agent?

Via MC

The uncle of the two men who set off bombs at the Boston Marathon, who struck the only grace note in an otherwise horrific week, worked as a “consultant” for the Agency for International Development (USAID) a U.S. Government Agency often used for cover by agents of the CIA, in the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan during the “Wild West” days of the early 1990’s, when anything that wasn’t nailed down in that country was up for grabs.

“Uncle Ruslan” Tsarni of Montgomery Village Md., whose name was the top trending topic worldwide on Twitter last Friday for his plain-spoken condemnation of his two nephews, has had a checkered business career, that began well before he graduated (as Ruslan Z Tsarnaev) from Duke Law School in 1998.

Tsarni, a well-connected oil executive, is currently involved in an international criminal investigation into a Kazakh billionaire banker-turned-fugitive alleged to have absconded with $6 billion from Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank.

The story begins with The London Sunday Times on May 8, 2011, which reported the sale of the personal home of England’s Prince Andrew to billionaire Kazakh Oligarch Timur Kulibayev, who “controls that country’s oil industry and happens to be married to the daughter of its autocratic President Nursultan Nazarbayev.”

What does that have to do with "Uncle Ruslan?" Let's take a look.

"Can't tell your Oligarchs without a scorecard"

Headlined "Prince's home in 'laundered cash' inquiry," the story raised several red flags.

One was that the President-for-Life’s son-in-law had paid $5 million over the asking price to purchase Prince Andrew’s home, which raised eyebrows.

Red flags and eyebrows were raised still further, in these times of global near-depression, at the conspicuous oligarchic consumption (read: bad taste) exhibited when the Kazakh President-for-Life’s daughter-for-life Goga Ashkenazi celebrated her 30th birthday with a lavish party before the scandal hit.

Goga, who made her appearance in a Swarovski crystal-encrusted, backless lace dress, attended by Prince-for-Life Andrew, was entertained by fire-eaters, peacock-feathered stilt-walkers, and a girl swinging on a trapeze pouring vodka into ice sculptures shaped like naked male and female torsos.

There was even a woman suspended in a bird cage (true) who was there to direct guests to strategically-placed vomitoriums (alas, not true) strewn about the mansion grounds.

Enter "Uncle Ruslan"

But the biggest red flag, the one pertinent to murder in Boston, was Oligarch Kukibayev's use of money laundered through a network of offshore companies to attempt to hide his purchase of Prince Andrew's crib, which emerged during a legal battle between another billionaire Kazakh oligarch, Mukhtar Ablyazov, and BTA Bank, from which Kazakhstan claims Ablyazov embezzled a very cool $6 billion dollars.

And this is where “Uncle Ruslan” Tsarni comes in.

The purchase of the Prince's estate was put together, according to prosecutors in Italy and Switzerland, by a group of oil executives who comprise “a network of personal and business relationships” allegedly used for “international corruption," reported The London Telegraph.

Tsarni, called “a US lawyer who has had dealings in Kazakh business affairs,” by the Sunday Times, clearly appears to be a member of that network.

The Sunday Times reported, “A statement by Ruslan Zaindi Tsarni was given in the High Court in December, claiming that Kulibayev bought Sunninghill and properties in Mayfair with $96 million derived from a complex series of deals intended to disguise money laundering.”

“Tsarni alleged that the money came from the takeover of a western company, which had been used as a front to obtain oil contracts from the Kazakh state.”

A Big Big Sky's the Limit

The “western company” used to launder the money which the Sunday Times referred to is Big Sky Energy Corporation, where Ruslan Tsarni was a top executive.

Big Sky, which used to be known as China Energy Ventures Corp, is a now-bankrupt US oil company run by S.A. (Al) Sehsuvaroglu, a long-time executive of Halliburton, which had oil leases in Kakakhstan’s Caspian Basin.

Tsarni was Big Sky’s Corporate Secretary and Vice President for Business Development. He joined Big Sky in 2005.

A press release announcing his appointment stated:

“Mr. Ruslan Tsarni, a U.S. citizen, has over 10 years of professional experience in oil and gas legislation and corporate law. Previously, Mr. Tsarni served as Corporate Counsel of Nelson Resources Limited Group as well as Managing Director of several of its operating subsidiaries.

“From 1999 to 2001, Mr. Tsarni worked as Head of Legal Affairs of Golden Eagle Partners LLC.

Big Sky was on somebody's watch list

“From 1994 to 1996, Mr. Tsarni served as a consultant contracted by USAID for projects aimed to develop securities markets in Central Asia, where he trained corporate governance and corporate finance principals in state and private companies.”

According to a source who worked for many years as a journalist at Platts Oilgram News, a respected oil industry trade publication, good corporate governance was not a Big Sky priority.

“Nelson, Big Sky, Ablyazov, Kulibayev and the rest were all on my watch list for intelligence connections and pay-offs of various kinds at Platts,” stated the source, who requested anonymity.

The news corroborates other reports beginning to emerge about the family and its abundant connections.

A "connected" family?

Before the Tsarnaev family moved to the United States a decade ago, they lived in the northern Kyrgyz town of Tokmok, near the border with Kazakhstan, which is home of the country's largest ethnic Chechen community.

The day after the massive manhunt in the Boston area that led to the death of Tamerlan and the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Radio Free Europe and Kyrgyz Service correspondent Timur Toktonaliev traveled to Tokmok.

From there, he reported that the extended Tsarnaev family is well-known there, even beyond their local community.

“It is not known if there was anything more than a personal connection,” the story reported, “but organized crime boss Aziz Batukaev, who is also an ethnic Chechen, lived next door to the Tsarnaevs. Batukaev grew up and lived in Tokmok, but is now in Chechnya.

Halliburton executives, suspected CIA assets, Chechnyan crime bosses, oligarchs stealing billions from banks and laundering money with seeming impunity, fire-eaters, peacock-feathered stilt-walkers, and a girl swinging on a trapeze pouring vodka into ice sculptures shaped like naked male and female torsos…

If there hadn't been two of them, the investigation would already be pointing to a single misfit, a lone nut bomber.

Tsarnaevs' ties to Big Oil and Kazakhstan...


The morning after the Boston Marathon bombings, when Washington, DC-based news crews showed up in a wealthy subdivision in tony Montgomery Village, Maryland to interview Ruslan Z. Tsarni, the uncle of accused marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, questions abounded. How was a guy whose brother, Anzor Tsarnaev -- Tamerlan's and Dzhokhar's father -- and who once worked as a car mechanic in Somerville, Massachusetts, able to afford a house that sells for over $600,000 in today's money?

When news crews descended on Ruslan's neighborhood to interview him, he was at first cagey only admitting that his family had a falling out with that of his brother Anzor and that his two accused nephews were "losers." Ruslan's and Anzor's other brother, Alvi Tsarni, also lives in Maryland. Alvi Tsarni said that he and Ruslan changed their names from Tsarnaev to Tsarni although they gave no reason for the name change. Ruslan Tsarni, like his nephew Dzokhar Tsarnaev, are U.S. citizens. Dzhokhar, ironically, became a U.S. citizen on September 11, 2012.

After his initial hesitancy to provide much in the way of details on his family to the media, Ruslan later gave an interview to NBC's Today show and stated that his nephews were "just puppets and executors of something of bigger scale.”

WMR previously reported on the close association of leading U.S. politicians, including Senator John McCain and the late Senator Edward Kennedy, with Ilyas Akhmadov, the former Chechen "foreign minister" who Russia accuses of having terrorist links. Akhmadov's friends, including the former number one and number two chiefs of the CIA, overcame initial Homeland Security and Justice Department objections to his being granted political asylum in the United States. Currently, Akhmadov and a small number of ethnic Chechens, some veterans of the terrorist guerrilla war against Russia in the Caucasus republic of Russia, now call the Boston area their home. Their chief defender in Boston is former U.S. News and World Report Moscow correspondent Nicholas Daniloff, jailed by the Soviet KGB in 1986 on the charge that he was a CIA agent. Daniloff is now the director of the School, of Journalism at Boston's Northeastern University. In interviews, Daniloff has downplayed the Chechen diaspora's numbers and importance in the Boston area.

In addition to Boston, there is a small Chechen community in the Washington, DC area. Among the DC area Chechens are Ruslan and Alvi Tsarni and their families. A few Chechens living in the Maryland suburbs of Washington and Baltimore have been contracted by the National Security Agency (NSA) to teach the Chechen language to NSA linguists and other ethnic Chechens have coalesced around one another in New York, North Jersey, and Miami. Some ethnic Chechens in the DC area have been hired by the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency to provide translation for documents captured in Afghanistan that have been written in the Chechen language.

The Chechens in America have been either been first generation new arrivals or second and third generation arrivals from third countries after Soviet leader Joseph Stalin deported the Chechens to Siberia for collaborating with the invading Germans during World War II. A number of Chechens fled to Transjordan from where a few emigrated to the United States during the Cold War. The later arrivals came to the United States after the fall of the USSR and the onset of the Chechen war for independence from Russia. The Chechen independence movement gradually became influenced by Saudi-financed Salafists and many Chechen war veterans soon found themselves fighting for radical Islamists in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

Some 50,000 Chechens now live in the Kyrgyzstan/Kazakhstan border region. The Tsaranev brothers were reportedly born in Kyrgyzstan and carried Kyrgyz passports when the family emigrated to the United States beginning in 2002. There is a question as to whether they entered the United States directly from Kyrgyzstan or via the Russian republic of Dagestan, which borders Chechnya. Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov stated that the Tsarnaev brothers never lived in Chechnya, adding "the family lived in Kazakhstan for a long time and then emigrated to the United States, where all members got residence permits." Toronto photographer Johannes Him who took promotional boxing photos of Tamerlan in 2010, said Tamerlan told him that he was born in Chechnya and had lived in the United States for five years. At some point in time, Anzor and Zubeidat Tsarnaev, the parents of the accused bombers, moved from Kazakhstan to neighboring Kyrgyzstan, where Tamerlan and Dzhokhar were born, according to other news reports.

The FBI has denied that it uncovered anything suspicious about Tamerlan Tsarnaev after Russian law enforcement inquired about any links he had with Islamist radicals. Tamerlan had requested a Russian visa to visit the Caucasus region in 2011. However, when the business connections of Ruslan Tsarni are examined closely, there is little doubt why the FBI wasn't interested in pursuing an investigation of anyone in the family.

Ruslan Tsarni's expensive house in Montgomery County, Maryland is easily explained by his work with a number of oil companies active in Kazakshtan, a country where a percentage of the oil profits end up in the pockets of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and his kleptocratic family. As will be seen later in this report, the FBI has actively protected members of Nazarbayev's family from being prosecuted for crimes, including kidnapping and murder.

Tsarni is Vice President for Business Development for Big Sky Energy Corporation, formerly China Energy Ventures Corporation, which is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. Interestingly, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings, Big Sky Energy Group is the holding company for Big Sky Corporation. Big Sky Energy Group is headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Subsidiaries of Big Sky Corporation include Big Sky Energy Kazakhstan, Big Sky Energy Atyrau Ltd., and Big Sky Alakol, Ltd.

The Arkansas presence of the firm is not by accident. Former President Bill Clinton is an active lobbyist for U.S. energy companies active in Kazakhstan owing to his close connection with President Nazarbayev. The Tsarnaev family's connections with Big Oil in the United States and Kazakhstan also explains why they were easily granted residency in the United States and why the FBI was not interested in assisting Russia in pursuing Tamerlan Tsarnaev's activities in the United States and abroad. Those activities could have embarrassed certain companies, U.S. intelligence agencies, and politicians, including one whose wife was Secretary of State and continued to bear presidential ambitions.

Tsarni has been associated with a number of companies, some of which have little to no corporate histories. He is listed as having been managing director of Tobe Llp, about which little is known other than that it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Golden Eagle Partners, LLC, for whom Tsarni was the head of Legal Affairs. Little is known about Golden Eagle Partners. The Kazakh flag is emblazoned with a golden eagle.

Tsarni, who is an attorney with a law degree from Duke University, has also been corporate and legal counsel for Nelson Resources, Ltd., a holding company that is headquartered in London. Virtually all of Nelson's business is conducted through joint operations in Kazakhstan. In 2005, Nelson was acquired by the Russian firm LUKOIL.

Tsarni was also a senior associate for the law firm Salans Hertzfeld and Helibronn, now known as Salans LLP, of London. Founded in 1978 by two American lawyers, Carl Salans and Jeffrey Herzfeld, and a French lawyer, Eliane Heilbronn, Salans was the first Western law firm to enter post-Soviet Russia in 1991. Tsarni was also consultant Arthur Andersen. While working for Andersen and Financial Markets International LLC, Tsarni was contracted with the U.S. Agency for International Development to advise countries in transition like Kazakhstan and Ukraine on how to create derivatives markets, the lifeblood of the new "casino capitalism" that has brought ruin to so many nations. FMI has been active on behalf of the USAID in Ukraine, Russia, India, Romania, Nicaragua, West Bank/Gaza.

It appears that Ruslan Tsarni has more connections with Big Oil than with U.S. intelligence agencies, although at times their operations abroad do overlap.

It is not just oil that has attracted U.S. companies to Kazakhstan. On December 19, 2008, WMR reported the involvement of another former resident of the White House in Kazakh political and business circles. In our report on major donors to the Clinton Foundation run by former President Bill Clinton, we wrote:

"Another major donor is Clinton Foundation trustee Frank Giustra, a Canadian billionaire who made a windfall profit in 2006 after landing a huge uranium contract from Kazakhstan's authoritarian President Nursultan Nazarbayev with Bill Clinton's help."

Clinton's involvement in Kazakh business ventures may explain why Big Sky Holdings, for whom Tsarni works, is headquartered in Little Rock, also the home of the Clinton Foundation.

Ruslan Tsarni's work with oil contracts in Kazakhstan coincides with the little-reported scandal known as "Kazakhgate." WMR covered the scandal in detail after we were contacted by principals in the case.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

El Salvador unions fighting US-supported privatization scheme...


Unions in El Salvador are on high alert, fighting a privatization scheme that has the full weight of the U.S. government behind it. Led by the Salvadoran Union Front, a militant coalition of public- and private-sector unions, workers are mobilizing against a proposed Public-Private Partnership (P3) Law, drafted by Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes’ office with U.S. Treasury Department assistance. The law is an initiative of the bilateral development agreement called the Partnership for Growth, which the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador calls a “signature effort of President Obama’s development policy.” With everything from ports, airports, and roads to municipal services and higher education on the auction block, the P3 law threatens public-sector workers with layoffs, wage cuts, and union busting. In the face of aggressive U.S. pressure for the law’s passage, Salvadoran workers are counting on international solidarity to protect their jobs and defend state services.

“For us,” says José Alberto Cartagena Tobias of the SITEAIES airport workers union, “a public-private partnership is nothing more than privatization.” Workers like him know firsthand the cost of privatization. After state banks, telecommunications, electricity, and pensions were sold off under the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) administrations of the 1990s, labor conditions plummeted. Five thousand workers were laid off at the telecommunications company, and those remaining saw salary reductions, the loss of seniority, and their union dissolved. Nearly 1,000 workers were laid off at the Acajutla port following privatizations in 2001; dock workers’ daily wages dropped by 90% and their union was dismantled. At the airport, security, cargo, and cleaning services were privatized that year; these workers now earn $240/month, while the unionized airport workers earn a minimum of $552/month.

Soaring utility rates and rising unemployment soon turned public opinion against privatization. In 2003, 150,000 Salvadorans took to the streets to shut down ARENA President Francisco Flores’ attempt to privatize the health-care system; little has been privatized since.

Today, the U.S. government and Salvadoran economic elite are trying a different tack. The new strategy, explains Gilberto García of the Center for Labor Study and Support (CEAL), “appears more ‘lite’.” The P3 Law is designed to shield new contracts from the controversies that damned past concessions. Currently, all privatizations and concessions require legislative approval. The proposed law, however, would create a body in the executive office to approve concessions, with many contracts bypassing the legislature entirely. And the bill is more generous to corporate bidders than it is to state budgets; for larger concessions requiring legislative approval, a bidding corporation would be guaranteed a 1% return on bid value if debate extends past 45 days, or if the bid is rejected. Furthermore, equal-treatment stipulations ensure a major bidding advantage for transnational corporations, which generally have more capital than local companies. Workers like Cartagena fear that with concessions funneling former sources of state funding into foreign bank accounts, vital social programs will inevitably suffer: “The few resources that remain with the State will be in private hands—people who come from other countries to exploit [us] and then take our money who-know-where.”

Through constant lobbying and mobilizations over the past year, the Salvadoran labor movement has made its position clear. These efforts have won the support of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), the leftist governing party that allied with Mauricio Funes, a non-FMLN member and progressive journalist, to win the Presidency in 2009. But while the FMLN opposes the President’s bill, it alone does not hold enough legislative seats to block the law’s passage. “We are rejecting public-private partnerships,” shouted Mari Carmen Molina of the Union Confederation of Salvadoran Workers to the cheers of 70,000 amassed in a San Salvador plaza on May Day 2012, “because even though the government sells it as a concession, we know that these are privatizations!”

But the U.S. is hitting back. In recent months, U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador Mari Carmen Aponte has launched a pressure campaign for the passage of the P3 Law, warning in national media that the law is a “prerequisite” for a disbursement of over $350 million in development aid, and stating that $50 million of those funds must be reserved for P3 projects.

Salvadoran public-sector unions are calling on U.S. allies to denounce this intervention. In February, Salvadoran labor leaders met with union members and officials in cities across the United States during a tour organized by the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES).In Washington, D.C., Jaime Rivera of theElectrical Sector Workers’ Union (STSEL) emphasized the stakes of the struggle: “This matter goes far beyond what will happen to us as workers. This is a matter of defending our national assets, of not allowing them to be turned over to private hands, who will profit off of our infrastructure and national resources at the expense of our people.”

U.S. unions and labor councils, recognizing similar privatization threats to U.S. workers, are heeding the call. Labor groups including the San Francisco and Washington State labor councils, SEIU local 6, ILWU local 5, UNITE HERE local 2, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement NYC, DC 37 and many others have passed resolutions condemning the US pressure for the P3 Law, and have sent letters to President Funes’ office and party leaders in the legislature to support the Salvadoran unions’ opposition to the bill. In addition, over 1,000 US residents have added their signatures to a petition to Ambassador Aponte, demanding an end to US pressure for the law.

Early debate around the P3 law has already begun in the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly. The right-wing parties have the majority votes necessary for the bill’s approval; only massive popular opposition can stall its passage. Addressing U.S. workers, SITEAIES’ José Alberto Cartagena Tobias calls for solidarity: “What we need, definitely, are allies. We need a lot of allies. ... And as soon as possible, because we know that this is practically already on top of us.”

Koch Brothers may be making possible bid to buy up Tribune newspapers...


Three years ago, Charles and David Koch, the billionaire industrialists and supporters of libertarian causes, held a seminar of like-minded, wealthy political donors at the St. Regis Resort in Aspen, Colo. They laid out a three-pronged, 10-year strategy to shift the country toward a smaller government with less regulation and taxes.

The first two pieces of the strategy - educating grass-roots activists and influencing politics - were not surprising, given the money they have given to policy institutes and political action groups. But the third one was: media.

Other than financing a few fringe libertarian publications, the Kochs have mostly avoided media investments. Now, Koch Industries, the sprawling private company of which Charles G. Koch serves as chairman and chief executive, is exploring a bid to buy the Tribune Company's eight regional newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Orlando Sentinel and The Hartford Courant.

By early May, the Tribune Company is expected to send financial data to serious suitors in what will be among the largest sales of newspapers by circulation in the country. Koch Industries is among those interested, said several people with direct knowledge of the sale who spoke on the condition they not be named. Tribune emerged from bankruptcy on Dec. 31 and has hired JPMorgan Chase and Evercore Partners to sell its print properties.

The papers, valued at roughly $623 million, would be a financially diminutive deal for Koch Industries, the energy and manufacturing conglomerate based in Wichita, Kan., with annual revenue of about $115 billion.

Politically, however, the papers could serve as a broader platform for the Kochs' laissez-faire ideas. The Los Angeles Times is the fourth-largest paper in the country, and The Tribune is No. 9, and others are in several battleground states, including two of the largest newspapers in Florida, The Orlando Sentinel and The Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. A deal could include Hoy, the second-largest Spanish-language daily newspaper, which speaks to the pivotal Hispanic demographic.

One person who attended the Aspen seminar who spoke on the condition of anonymity described the strategy as follows: "It was never 'How do we destroy the other side?' "

"It was 'How do we make sure our voice is being heard?' "

Guests at the Aspen seminar included Philip F. Anschutz, the Republican oil mogul who owns the companies that publish The Washington Examiner, The Oklahoman and The Weekly Standard, and the hedge fund executive Paul E. Singer, who sits on the board of the political magazine Commentary. Attendees were asked not to discuss details about the seminar with the press.

A person who has attended other Koch Industries seminars, which have taken place since 2003, says Charles and David Koch have never said they want to take over newspapers or other large media outlets, but they often say "they see the conservative voice as not being well represented." The Kochs plan to host another conference at the end of the month, in Palm Springs, Calif.

At this early stage, the thinking inside the Tribune Company, the people close to the deal said, is that Koch Industries could prove the most appealing buyer. Others interested, including a group of wealthy Los Angeles residents led by the billionaire Eli Broad and Ronald W. Burkle, both prominent Democratic donors, and Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, would prefer to buy only The Los Angeles Times.

The Tribune Company has signaled it prefers to sell all eight papers and their back-office operations as a bundle. (Tribune, a $7 billion media company that also owns 23 television stations, could also decide to keep the papers if they do not attract a high enough offer.)

Koch Industries is one of the largest sponsors of libertarian causes - including the financing of policy groups like the Cato Institute in Washington and the formation of Americans for Prosperity, the political action group that helped galvanize Tea Party organizations and their causes. The company has said it has no direct link to the Tea Party.

This month a Koch representative contacted Eddy W. Hartenstein, publisher and chief executive of The Los Angeles Times, to discuss a bid, according to a person briefed on the conversation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the conversation was private. Mr. Hartenstein declined to comment.

Koch Industries recently brought on Angela Redding, a consultant based in Salt Lake City, to analyze the media environment and assess opportunities. Ms. Redding, who previously worked at the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, did not respond to requests for comment.

"As an entrepreneurial company with 60,000 employees around the world, we are constantly exploring profitable opportunities in many industries and sectors. So, it is natural that our name would come up in connection with this rumor," Melissa Cohlmia, a spokeswoman for Koch Companies Public Sector, said in a statement last month.

"We respect the independence of the journalistic institutions referenced in the news stories," Ms. Cohlmia continued. "But it is our longstanding policy not to comment on deals or rumors of deals we may or may not be exploring."

One person who has previously advised Koch Industries said the Tribune Company papers were considered an investment opportunity, and were viewed as entirely separate from Charles and David Kochs' lifelong mission to shrink the size of government.

At least in politically liberal Los Angeles, a conservative paper could be tricky. David H. Koch, who lives in New York and serves as executive vice president of Koch Industries, has said he supports gay marriage and could align with many residents on some social issues, Reed Galen, a Republican consultant in Orange County, Calif., said.

Koch Industries' main competitor for The Los Angeles Times is a group of mostly Democratic local residents. In the 2012 political cycle, Mr. Broad gave $477,800, either directly or through his foundation, to Democratic candidates and causes, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Mr. Burkle has long championed labor unions. President Bill Clinton served as an adviser to Mr. Burkle's money management firm, Yucaipa Companies, which in 2012 gave $107,500 to Democrats and related causes. The group also includes Austin Beutner, a Democratic candidate for mayor of Los Angeles, and an investment banker who co-founded Evercore Partners.

"This will be a bipartisan group," Mr. Beutner said. "It's not about ideology, it's about a civic interest." (The Los Angeles consortium is expected to also include Andrew Cherng, founder of the Panda Express Chinese restaurant chain and a Republican.)

"It's a frightening scenario when a free press is actually a bought and paid-for press and it can happen on both sides," said Ellen Miller, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan watchdog group.

Last month, shortly after L.A. Weekly first reported on Koch Industries' interest in the Tribune papers, the liberal Web site Daily Kos and Courage Campaign, a Los Angeles-based liberal advocacy group, collected thousands of signatures protesting such a deal. Conservatives, meanwhile, welcomed the idea of a handful of prominent papers spreading the ideas of economic "freedom" from taxes and regulation that the Kochs have championed.

Seton Motley, president of Less Government, an organization devoted to shrinking the role of the government, said the 2012 presidential election reinforced the view that conservatives needed a broader media presence.

"A running joke among conservatives as we watched the G.O.P. establishment spend $500 million on ineffectual TV ads is 'Why don't you just buy NBC?' " Mr. Motley said. "It's good the Kochs are talking about fighting fire with a little fire."

Koch Industries has for years felt the mainstream media unfairly covered the company and its founding family because of its political beliefs. KochFacts.com, a Web site run by the company, disputes perceived press inaccuracies. The site, which asserts liberal bias in the news media, has published private e-mail conversations between company press officers and journalists, including the Politico reporter Kenneth P. Vogel and editors at The New Yorker in response to an article about the Kochs by Jane Mayer.

"So far, they haven't seemed to be particularly enthusiastic about the role of the free press," Ms. Mayer said in an e-mail, "but hopefully, if they become newspaper publishers, they'll embrace it with a bit more enthusiasm."

A Democratic political operative who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he admired how over decades the brothers have assembled a complex political infrastructure that supports their agenda. A media company seems like a logical next step.

This person said, "If they get some bad press that Darth Vader is buying Tribune, they don't care."

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Gil Scott-Heron - 'Work For Peace' (Video)


Russian officials had warned FBI about Boston marathon bomber back in 2011...

Russian officials warned the FBI in 2011 that alleged Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have subscribed to the teachings of "radical Islam," according to the Boston Globe. Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout with police early Friday morning, is thought to have been the mastermind of the attack that killed three people and wounded about 170. His younger brother, Dzhokhar, who was taken into custody Friday night, remains in serious condition and unable to communicate at a Boston hospital.

While he was living in the U.S., Tamerlan traveled to Russia several times and stayed there for several months in 2012. "Suspicious activities" on his part caught the attention of Russian authorities who were monitoring militant Islamic groups in the Caucasus region in early 2011, theGlobe reports. After receiving the warnings, the FBI interviewed the Tsarnaev family but found no ties to terrorism.

"The FBI had this guy on the radar and somehow he fell off," a senior congressional aide with ties to the Boston Marathon investigation told the Globe.

Meanwhile, sources also tell the Globe that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev went about his routine activities at UMass-Dartmouth in the wake of the bombings, attending classes, going to the gym and sleeping in his dorm room as late as Wednesday night, as police were working to identify who staged the attack.

"He was just relaxed," according to one of Dzhokhar's classmates, who saw him at a party Wednesday night.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Paraguayan presidential candidate believed to be head of an organization that launders large quantities of United States currency generated through illegal means, including through the sale of narcotics"

Via IT
Five years ago today Paraguay was a country striding towards a better future.
On April 20th, 2008, voters elected former Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo as president, bringing to an end six decades of increasingly mafia-style rule by the populist Colorado party with promises to clean up public life and redistribute wealth in a desperately unequal society.
But the new dawn turned out to be a false one. Lugo was impeached last June after four wasted years in power and now the man favourite to win tomorrow’s presidential election is a shady Colorado businessman whom foreign governments believe is involved in drug trafficking and cigarette smuggling.
Horacio Cartes laughs off the suggestion that he is a “narco”. But during the campaign he has ducked talking to foreign reporters least they question him about US diplomatic cables which discuss Drug Enforcement Agency investigations that identify him as heading up an organisation “believed to launder large quantities of United States currency generated through illegal means, including through the sale of narcotics”.
And while Washington clearly believes Cartes is involved in Paraguay’s booming drug trade the Brazilians have identified him as a key player in the country’s cigarette smuggling rackets.
Paraguay’s outsized cigarette industry is built for contraband. Local factories produce 20 times more than domestic demand and legitimate exports do not explain the surplus, most of which is exported illegally around the world — in 2006 gardaí seized five million cigarettes hidden in a container that originated in Paraguay.
The main destination for such contraband is Brazil where a 2004 congressional investigation identified a firm owned by Cartes (himself a smoker) as a major offender in flooding the country with illegal cigarettes.
Some in Asunción shrug their shoulders at all this and explain that Cartes amassed his dubious fortune in a different era when rules did not apply in Paraguayan business and that this past should not be read as a guide as to how he would rule as president. Maybe so, but for all his modernising business bluster on the stump Cartes’s campaign has been dogged by ample evidence of good old-fashioned Colorado vote-buying.
Luckily for him his opponents have had their own corruption scandal. The president of Paraguay’s congress was forced to resign this week after evidence emerged his party – the National Union of Ethical Citizens – was paid a $15 million bribe with public money to back the ruling Liberal party candidate Efraín Alegre.

Canada PM's link to ultra-right wing foundation...


Stephen Harper was a member of the ultra-right-wing Northern Foundation in 1989, Mr. Harrison documents that this was a group that had numerous Neo-Nazi skinheads as organizers, as well as a leadership that included a well-known white supremacist and anti-feminist crusader as a prominent leader that sought to take over the mass-media to enable the fulfillment of a right wing agenda. The Northern Foundation, with the support of corporate allies was able to get Mr. Harper elected in the first place by indeed, taking over the mass-media in Canada. This was done to shelter Mr. Harper from the kinds of critical journalism which had kept him out of power, in the first place. Corporate mass-media owners would seek to remake Mr. Harper and the Conservative Party from being ultra right, into a fabricated image of a non-threatening “moderately conservative” party.
Trevor Harrison also documents that “He [Mr. Harper] had little trouble doing so, as the media had been largely muffled by one fact: press baron Conrad Black, then reaching the height of his powers was also a member of the Northern Foundation and equally shy about having it publicly known.” Mr. Harrison elaborates that, “Journalists feared incurring his wrath as he employed many of them at the time, and was a potential employer for those whom he didn’t employ. Had they made the membership list public, Mr. Black would have been exposed.”
Now that Mr. Harper has been able to seize power by taking over the PC Party (through a breach of contract law), and with the help of, for example, media owners of CanWest Global (that form example, controls many Canadian newspapers including the National Post, and the Ottawa Citizen) who donated money to his political campaigns, the Conservative Party in association with the Northern Foundation now seeks to focus on the fulfillment of an NWO agenda.
Complaining of “socialist/progressive thinking”, and a media/political system controlled by ‘lib/left’ elites, who had been ‘able to impose their agenda on the Canadian people because “small-’c’ conservatives” had been divided. Mr. Harrison further documents that the Northern Foundation was the creation of a number of generally extreme right-wing conservatives, including Anne Hartmann (a director of REAL Women), Geoffrey Wasteneys (A long-standing member of the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada), George Potter (also a member of the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada), author Peter Brimelow, Link Byfield (son of Ted Byfield and himself publisher/president of Alberta Report), and Stephen Harper.
Mr. Harrison, also links former Reform Party leader Preston Manning, who continues to be a leading intellectual of the Conservative Party, right-wing author David Frum (linked to the current U.S. Bush administration), Toronto Sun columnist Peter Worthington and others, as having been affiliated to the Northern Foundation.
The roster of conservative adherents speaking at foundation conferences in 1989, 1990 and 1992 is equally instructive, further to Mr. Harrison’s very detailed documentation. Among speakers were Dr Walter Block (the Fraser Institute), Ed Vanwoudenberg (leader of the Christian Heritage party), Lubor Zink (an extreme right-wing columnist with the Sun chain), Dr. John Whitehall (of the Canadian Christian Anti-Communist Crusade), Ron Leitch (president of the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada), Gwen Landolt (founder of the right wing organization REAL Women), Ken Campbell (founder of Renaissance Canada), Paul Fromm (former member of the Western Guard, a neo-fascist group, and later of CFAR), and author William Gairdner. The Foundation’s quarterly, The Northern Voice, had sought to regularly provide advertising space for these same individuals, their fascistic visions, and their related organizations.
Ostensibly, therefore, the Northern Foundation has sought to be a vehicle for bringing together several disparate right-wing groups and otherwise for disseminating a Neo-Nazi ideology. Significantly, it also had cultivated substantial connections to the Reform Party, which would eventually evolve into the current Conservative Party of Canada.
Mr. Harrison also documents, that the Reform Party under the watchful eye of Preston Manning and Stephen Harper, housed former Neo-Nazi Western Guard (an infamous Toronto-area hate group launched in the 1960’s) members like Leigh Smith, and Wolfgang Droege. Mr. Droege had gone on to form Heritage Front and brought other members of that group into the Reform Party and eventual Conservative Party political interests.
More on the makings of the Northern Foundation
The Northern Foundation’s president was Rita Ann Hartmann, widow of former Western Guard radical Paul Hartmann. Ms. Hartmann had moved to Ottawa in 1987 with her six children, two of whom were skinheads who would go on to recruit on behalf of the Heritage Front in the national capital. The Hartmann family, the Toronto Star elaborates. lived in a huge home at 25 Delaware Avenue, in the well-to-do Golden Triangle neighbourhood. From there, Hartmann maintained connections with Neo-Nazi groups across North America. In March 1990, for example, she wrote to the ultra-violent Confederate Hammerskins of Tulsa, Oklahoma, using an alias she favours, Eleanor Cameron. Out of the same address, Ann Hartmann busied herself with REAL Women of Canada. Ms. Hartmann, who has a law degree from the University of Toronto, provides legal advice to REAL Women. In April 1989, for example, she gave an anti-abortion speech to a REAL Women conference at the Radisson Hotel in Ottawa.
Author, Mr. Harrison also further documents that the Northern Foundation’s inaugural conference was also attended by a well-known Conservative MP; a founder of Alberta Report magazine; a senior representative of the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada; and a columnist for the Toronto Sun. Many of those associated with the Northern Foundation would go on to play key roles in the Neo-Nazi Heritage Front. These persons include Steve Dumas, the Foundation’s research officer, who would write a regular column in the Front’s Up Front publication under the pseudonym Steve Baker; Geoff Lupton, who had made an unsuccessful attempt in 1989 to establish a Nationalist Party club at Carleton University and who used the pseudonym Geoff Edwards when working on behalf of the Heritage Front; and Eric (Stilts) Hartmann, son of Paul and Ann, who was moved to pen an anti-abortion editorial for Mr. Droege.
“The Northern Foundation Conference was the start of it all for the Heritage Front,” recalls Droege. “From that point on, things really took off.” So too, did things take-over for Mr. Harper who became Prime Minister of Canada, and leader of a party which has apparently sought to fulfill the agenda of the Northern Foundation. That agenda apparently includes blocking candidates like Mr. Warner, which do not present the ideology of the Northern Foundation, that in turn endorses the U.S. President George Bush administration.
Further links with the neo-con National Citizens’ Coalition (NCC)
“The connections between the National Citizens’ Coalition (NCC) and the Reform Party/Canadian Alliance/Conservative Party go back a long way,” also documents Mr. Harrison. Their political agendas have been virtually identical: so called “deficit reduction” against progressive social policies; restriction of immigration; ending universal social programs; lowering taxes for corporations and high-income earners, and ending universal public healthcare,” further elaborates Mr. Harrison.
Colin Brown, the founder of the NCC, began his conservative crusade in 1967 with a full-page ad in the Globe and Mail attacking the federal Liberal government’s plans for a national medicare scheme. Brown would eventually incorporate the far right National Citizens’ Coalition in 1975.
There are no direct ties between the Conservative Party and the National Citizens’ Coalition. Furthermore, with the former President of the National Citizens’ Coalition as leader of the Conservative Party formal ties, with that organization, would be redundant.

Chechen terrorists and the neo-cons...

Via CN

I almost choked on my coffee listening to neoconservative Rudy Giuliani pompously claim on national TV that he was surprised about any Chechens being responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings because he’s never seen any indication that Chechen extremists harbored animosity toward the U.S.; Guiliani thought they were only focused on Russia.

Giuliani knows full well how the Chechen “terrorists” proved useful to the U.S. in keeping pressure on the Russians, much as the Afghan mujahedeen were used in the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan from 1980 to 1989. In fact, many neocons signed up as Chechnya’s “friends,” including former CIA Director James Woolsey.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Author John Laughland wrote: “the leading group which pleads the Chechen cause is the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC). The list of the self-styled ‘distinguished Americans’ who are its members is a roll call of the most prominent neoconservatives who so enthusiastically support the ‘war on terror.’

“They include Richard Perle, the notorious Pentagon adviser; Elliott Abrams of Iran-Contra fame; Kenneth Adelman, the former US ambassador to the UN who egged on the invasion of Iraq by predicting it would be ‘a cakewalk’; Midge Decter, biographer of Donald Rumsfeld and a director of the rightwing Heritage Foundation; Frank Gaffney of the militarist Centre for Security Policy; Bruce Jackson, former US military intelligence officer and one-time vice-president of Lockheed Martin, now president of the US Committee on Nato; Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, a former admirer of Italian fascism and now a leading proponent of regime change in Iran; and R. James Woolsey, the former CIA director who is one of the leading cheerleaders behind George Bush’s plans to re-model the Muslim world along pro-US lines.”

The ACPC later sanitized “Chechnya” to “Caucasus” so it’s rebranded itself as the “American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus.”

Of course, Giuliani also just happens to be one of several neocons and corrupt politicians who took hundreds of thousands of dollars from MEK sources when that Iranian group was listed by the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The money paid for these American politicians to lobby (illegally under the Patriot Act) U.S. officials to get MEK off the FTO list.

Down the Rabbit Hole

Alice in Wonderland is an understatement if you understand the full reality of what’s going on. But if you can handle going down the rabbit hole even further, check out prominent former New York Times journalist (and author of The Commission book) Phil Shenon’s discovery of the incredible “Terrible Missed Chance” a couple of years ago.

Shenon’s discovery involved key information that the FBI and the entire “intelligence” community mishandled and covered up, not only before 9/11 but for a decade afterward. And it also related to the exact point of my 2002 “whistleblower memo” that led to the post 9/11 DOJ-Inspector General investigation about FBI failures and also partially helped launch the 9/11 Commission investigation.

But still the full truth did not come out, even after Shenon’s blockbuster discovery in 2011 of the April 2001 memo linking the main Chechen leader Ibn al Khattab to Osama bin Laden. The buried April 2001 memo had been addressed to FBI Director Louis Freeh (another illegal recipient of MEK money, by the way!) and also to eight of the FBI’s top counter-terrorism officials.

Similar memos must have been widely shared with all U.S. intelligence in April 2001. Within days of terrorist suspect Zaccarias Moussaoui’s arrest in Minnesota on Aug. 16, 2001, French intelligence confirmed that Moussaoui had been fighting under and recruiting for Ibn al-Khattab, raising concerns about Moussaoui’s flight training.

Yet FBI Headquarters officials balked at allowing a search of his laptop and other property, still refusing to recognize that: 1) the Chechen separatists were themselves a “terrorist group” for purposes of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act’s (FISA) legal requirement of acting “on behalf of a foreign power” and 2) that Moussaoui’s link to Ibn al Khattab inherently then linked him to bin Laden’s well-recognized Al Qaeda group for purposes of FISA (the point in my memo).

This all occurred during the same time that CIA Director George Tenet and other counter-terrorism officials — and don’t forget that Tenet was apprised of the information about Moussaoui’s arrest around Aug. 24, 2001 — told us their “hair was on fire” over the prospect of a major terrorist attack and “the system was blinking red.”

The post 9/11 investigations launched as a result of my 2002 “whistleblower memo” did conclude that a major mistake, which could have prevented or reduced 9/11, was the lack of recognition of al Khattab’s Chechen fighters as a “terrorist group” for purposes of FISA.

As far as I know, the several top FBI officials, who were the named recipients of the April 2001 intelligence memo entitled “Bin Laden/Ibn Khattab Threat Reporting” establishing how the two leaders were “heavily entwined,” brushed it off by mostly denying they had read the April 2001 memo (which explains why the memo had to be covered up as they attempted to cover up other embarrassing info).

There are other theories, of course, as to why U.S. officials could not understand or grasp this “terrorist link.” These involve the U.S.’s constant operating of “friendly terrorists,” perhaps even al Khattab himself (and/or those around him), on and off, opportunistically, for periods of time to go against “enemy” nations, i.e., the Soviet Union, and regimes we don’t’ like.

Shifting Lines

But officials can get confused when their former covert “assets” turn into enemies themselves. That’s what has happened with al-Qaeda-linked jihadists in Libya and Syria, fighters who the U.S. government favored in their efforts to topple the Qaddafi and Assad regimes, respectively. These extremists are prone to turn against their American arms suppliers and handlers once the common enemy is defeated.

The same MO exists with the U.S. and Israel currently collaborating with the Iranian MEK terrorists who have committed assassinations inside Iran. The U.S. government has recently shifted the MEK terrorists from the ranks of “bad” to “good” terrorists as part of a broader campaign to undermine the Iranian government. For details, see “Our (New) Terrorists, the MEK: Have We Seen This Movie Before?”

Giuliani and his ilk engage, behind the scenes, in all these insidious operations but then blithely turn to the cameras to spew their hypocritical propaganda fueling the counterproductive “war on terror” for public consumption, when that serves their interests. Maybe this explains Giuliani’s amazement (or feigned ignorance) on Friday morning after the discovery that the family of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers was from Chechnya.

My observations are not meant to be a direct comment about the motivations of the two Boston bombing suspects whose thinking remains unclear. It’s still very premature and counterproductive to speculate on their motives.

But the lies and disinformation that go into the confusing and ever-morphing notion of “terrorism” result from the U.S. Military Industrial Complex (and its little brother, the “National Security Surveillance Complex”) and their need to control the mainstream media’s framing of the story.

So, a simplistic narrative/myth is put forth to sustain U.S. wars. From time to time, those details need to be reworked and some of the facts “forgotten” to maintain the storyline about bad terrorists “who hate the U.S.” when, in reality, the U.S. Government may have nurtured the same forces as “freedom fighters” against various “enemies.”

The bottom line is to never forget that “a poor man’s war is terrorism while a rich man’s terrorism is war” – and sometimes those lines cross for the purposes of big-power politics. War and terrorism seem to work in sync that way.

Before the Waco blast, fertilizer plant filed price-fixing lawsuit against Monsanto...

Via CR

As details emerge about the Texas fertilizer plant that was the site of Wednesday’s fatal explosion and fire, a few tidbits can be gleaned from a 2007 lawsuit that the plant’s owners filed against agribusiness giantMonsanto Co. The suit, filed as a potential class action in U.S. District Court for the western district of Texas, claimed that Monsanto had artificially inflated prices for its herbicide Roundup through anti-competitive actions. The suit did not relate to storing fertilizer, believed to be at the root of Wednesday’s blast.

The suit was filed by Texas Grain Storage Inc. The company now calls itself West Fertilizer Co. In the suit, the company said that it was started in 1957 as a grain-storage business by the Plasek family in the town of West, Texas. It later built a small fertilizer-blend plant and started selling fertilizer to area farmers.
Zak Covar, executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, told a news conference Wednesday that the fertilizer storage and blending facility had been there since 1962.
In 1970 it started selling other agricultural products, including some from Monsanto, and by 1997 it had struck a deal with Monsanto to directly purchase Roundup each year. A court filing in 2008 indicated that Texas Grain Storage recently had been sold. Emil Plasek is listed as a former owner. Texas Grain Storage said it monitored the Roundup, stored in a stainless steel tank, through a telephone connected to the tank, the company said.
Many documents in the case are sealed, and the public documents don’t reveal the names of the plant’s then-current owners. Texas corporation records list the president of the company as Donald R. Adair, and show a business operating as Adair Grain Inc. at the same address.
Texas Grain Storage was represented by roughly 30 lawyers at 12 firms, according to court records. One lawyer who represented Texas Grain said the suit stalled in 2010 after a magistrate judge denied a request to certify the case as a class action. The lawyer said Texas Grain appealed the ruling, and that a district judge has yet to rule on the appeal. The last public filing in the case was in 2010.
Monsanto responded to Texas Grain’s complaint by saying the company didn’t have standing to bring the case and was barred by the statute of limitations. Thursday, a Monsanto spokesman said, “The long dormant lawsuit filed by Texas Grain had nothing to do with fertilizer or the operation of the West, Texas plant.”

Friday, April 19, 2013

Suspect in ricin case feared conspiracy...


A Corinth man charged with mailing letters containing ricin to national leaders believed that he had uncovered a conspiracy to sell body parts on the black market, and he maintains that he is innocent, his lawyer said Thursday. The suspect, Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, an Elvis impersonator, is accused of threatening President Obama, Senator Roger Wicker and a Mississippi judge. The letters said: “Maybe I have your attention now even if that means someone must die. This must stop.” Mr. Wicker said Thursday that Mr. Curtis once worked as Elvis at a party where the senator and his wife were among the hosts. Mr. Wicker called him “quite entertaining: but said that “my impression is that since that time he’s had mental issues and perhaps is not as stable as he was back then.”

UPDATE: Feds find no ricin in suspects home, hearing delayed

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Teen stunned by portrayal as (Boston) bomb suspect...


An American teenager says he is scared to go outside after he was portrayed on the internet and on the front page of the New York Post as connected to the Boston Marathon bombings.

Photos of Salah Eddin Barhoum, 17, and friend Yassine Zaime were posted on websites whose users have been scouring marathon finish line photos for suspects.

The two were also on the Post's front page on Thursday with the headline: "Bag men: Feds seek these two pictured at Boston Marathon."

The Post reported later Thursday that the men weren't considered suspects, and the FBI has since identified two other men as suspects in the bombings that killed three and injured more than 180.

But Barhoum, a track runner at Revere High School, said he is convinced some will blame him for the bombings, no matter what.

He was so fearful on Thursday that he ran back to the high school after a track meet when he saw a man in a car staring at him, talking into a phone, he said.

Barhoum added he received more than 200 messages online, with one commenter from Oregon asking: "How could you do that? Did you even think about the consequences?"

Barhoum said he won't feel safe until the actual bombers are caught.
"I'm going to be scared going to school," Barhoum said. "Workwise, my family, everything is going to be scary."

Attempts to reach Zaime were not immediately successful.

Barhoum's father, El Houssein Barhoum, who moved his family from Morocco five years ago, said he is worried his son will be shot and also fears for his wife and two young daughters. He said he can't go to his job as a baker in Boston.

"Right now, we are not secure," he said. "So, the news (media), when they put something, they should be sure about the information."

In a statement, New York Post editor Col Allan said, "We stand by our story. The image was emailed to law enforcement agencies yesterday afternoon seeking information about these men, as our story reported. We did not identify them as suspects."

The photos show Barhoum with a black Nike athletic bag, wearing a blue and black track suit. Zaime is carrying a black backpack, wearing a white cap and black track clothes.

Men with bags at the marathon have been a focus of internet scrutiny, because officials believe that's how the bombers carried in the explosives.

Barhoum said there are only two reasons he's been labelled a suspect: his bag and his brown skin.

Barhoum said he was at the marathon with Zaime, a friend from the running club, hoping to run a portion of it behind the official field. They took the subway, and Barhoum's bag was for his running gear.

But the pair got the address wrong and ended up at the finish line instead of the start. Barhoum said they decided to stick around to see the top runners, then left.

Barhoum said that late Wednesday, friends started flagging the online photos, and commenters started their work. He said he was so upset, he visited police early Thursday to clear his name. He said they advised him to restrict access to his Facebook account.

When the Post published the photo later Thursday, a bad situation got worse, Barhoum said.

"It hurts because the person who did it must be happy right now, looking at the people who are getting blamed," he said. "And I'm one of them."

Autism: "Absolutely vaccine-induced" (Video)


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

War, fascism and General Electric...

Via CR

In 1947, a campaign was taking shape to prove that unions had become too powerful. Detractors argued that massive post-war strikes were putting the nation’s economic and national security in jeopardy. The House Committee on Education and Labor convened in February of 1947 to hear testimony on whether the balance between labor and capital needed readjustment in favor of capital. They heard dozens of witnesses alleging that unions had become infiltrated by Communists, and that without more oversight, they posed a threat to national security and economic stability. Several months and thousands of pages of testimony later, Congress decided that unions needed to be reined in and passed the Taft Hartley Act with enough bi-partisan support to override President Truman’s veto.

At the same time, an incredible trial was beginning in a federal courthouse in New York City. The U.S. government was charging General Electric (GE) with being a monopoly engaged in an international price-fixing scheme. The trial examined whether GE conspired with the massive German company, Krupp Aktiengesellschaft, during World War II to create shortages of carboloy, a proprietary mix of tungsten carbide that was an important material during the war. At the same time that the Nazis had begun carving up the globe, GE was dividing the world with Nazi-dominated Krupp to force the price of carboloy from $48/pound to $453/pound.

The juxtaposition could not have been more ironic. As Congress fretted over whether machinists at GE who were members of the United Electrical Workers (UE) might have Communist sympathies (and therefore be a national threat), letters ending with the valediction “Heil Hitler” were being admitted into evidence showing a several-year-long conspiracy between Krupp and GE that had actually endangered national security. In what should have been the trial of the century sat only one journalist, James Lerner of the UE News.

James Lerner’s posthumously published memoir, Course of Action, tells the tale of a man who spent the first half of his life fighting against war and the second half fighting for labor. The book is filled with first-hand accounts of Lerner’s resistance against the creeping forces of war, fascism, and Boulwarism—three forces that are intimately connected in Lerner’s telling. Throughout, Lerner expresses his sincere confusion over how citizens and workers who struggled to preserve American freedoms could so quickly be turned into the enemy.

Raised Jewish by artisan parents in early 20th-century New York, Lerner inherited a keen sense of class. His father told of being arrested for striking—and sent to prison—within two months of immigrating to America. His mother often spoke of how her father walked away from his position as the assistant to a prestigious rabbi in the Ukraine after he was told he should not wear the same style coat as the rabbi because it was above his station. Lerner later had to leave college because of the Great Depression, moving back home to work at a tailor shop which serviced the wealthy, while his father heeded Herbert Hoover’s call to sell apples in the street.

Lerner joined the newly formed American League Against War and Fascism, and worked as an organizer, traveling the country for a decade trying to build support against war. As World War II began, Lerner started his 44-year career with UE. The union was still relatively young when Lerner came on board, and it enshrined in its founding constitution sexual and racial equality, opposition to war, and commitment to rank-and-file leadership.

Course of Action’s most important section is the second-half of the book that chronicles Lerner’s time as editor of the UE News. The union has a fascinating history, but precious little has been written about it. UE was, for a period, one of the three largest in the CIO, representing workers at some of the nation’s largest companies; it suffered large-scale attacks from the government, the Catholic Church, and America’s largest corporations; it was expelled from the CIO and cannibalized by fellow unions; and yet it survived this massive dismemberment, remaining one of the few independent unions left standing today.

The UE News was not simply a workers’ newsletter. Because of the lofty goals of the union, and the constant attacks it sustained, the UE gave its newspaper broad latitude to report on a range of issues. Articles covered trade policy, international affairs, war (which UE was openly opposed to), health, civil rights and equality. The UE News covered the entirety of the GE-Krupp conspiracy trial, whereas the New York Times covered little more than the verdict, and relegated that to its Entertainment Section.

James Lerner was present for the stories that too many other journalists ignored. In turn, he ignored stories that he felt were distractions from the real class struggles of the day. A decade after the GE-Krupp conspiracy trial, where Lerner sat as the sole journalist, the gallery of the same federal courthouse in New York was packed with journalists for another trial involving GE. This time, GE executives were accused of transporting prostitutes across state lines to entertain prospective customers. Lerner wryly notes, “At UE News we decided to ignore the story.”


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