Saturday, October 31, 2009

Roughing It with Alex Constantine

Out here in the Sierras, the sun blasts you awake before 7:00 am. Up for another day of roughing it, survival training in paradise. This photo was taken at a car park by the side of Highway 395, over a bubbling pot of Sarrano fondu with crepes. I had a shot of champagne to brace for the hard day ahead on the trails, and finished off my breakfast by nibbling on mint leaves. By the end of the day, the unflitered UVs of high country burned me to a crisp. But I was in ignorance of the future when this photo was taken. If only you could step through the photo, through time, and warn youself to use sunblock. Then the emergency room visit wouldn't have even been necessary ...

Pick up a pair of Gore-Tex hiking boots before hitting the high Sierra trails because you WILL be wet before the ordeal is over. I tried to cross this river by hopping on the rocks. At precisely the moment I patted myself on the back for my emergent superhuman agility - "finally, I'm a true outdoorsman ... " - I slipped on a wet rock and fell, backpack and all, straight into the soup. Thank God for the Forest Service. They launched a rapid rescue and dragged me out of the freezing cold froth before I iced over completely. I tipped my hat at the rangers giving me baleful glances as I set out on the trail again, blue-skinned, limping along as best I could, chattering like a Flamingo dancer. The unexpected bears were just up the trail a piece, roused out of hibernation by global warming. I was about to learn why you should never pack frozen steaks and fish sticks on an outing in the Sierras ...

It's wild out there - and lonely, too. So before the sun went down I was on the Blackberry, called an escort service. A few hours later, Suzy here, guided by GPS and cell phone, strutted into my campsite and we turned in early.

Hemingway was right. Man is more primal up here in the mountains. Still, I'd have traded my right arm for a good steambath after a rigorous, cold, bloody day on the trail. Determined to endure like a primitive, Suzy and I ate smoked sausages and pickled herrings, topped off with a really decent Cabernet the escort service packed along. Thank God the bears didn't bother her or it would have been a long, lonely, hungry night at 12,500 feet above sea level with nothing to do but blink at the blazing stars overhead and think about how small we are, when you really get down to it.

- AC

Lockerbie Evidence 'Move' Claims

Click to enlarge

20 October 2009

An MSP claims a piece of evidence vital to the conviction of the Lockerbie bomber was taken from Scotland to Germany during the investigation.

Nationalist MSP Christine Grahame claimed a fragment of the timer said to have detonated the 1988 Lockerbie bomb was taken to Munich for examination. She said the information was confirmed by the Crown Office in response to a Freedom of Information request.

The Crown Office said Megrahi's defence team knew of the German move.

A total of 270 people died when Pan Am flight 103 exploded over the town of Lockerbie in southern Scotland. The Crown Office have confirmed to me that the fragment, PT-35, the piece of evidence that it was claimed linked Libya to the attack, was also sent to Germany in April 1990, as well as the US

A timer fragment about the size of a thumb nail, known as PT-35, was taken to the Siemens company in Munich in April 1990 by Scottish police officers, according to Ms Grahame.

In a separate development, a senior FBI investigator, Dick Marquise, also claimed the fragment was taken to the United States.

PT-35 was crucial to the case as it was found in fragments of clothing bought in Malta. It was these, the prosecution claimed, that linked the man convicted of the atrocity, the Libyan Abdelbasset al-Megrahi, to the bombing. If there was any suspicion that the fragment had been tampered with, it could have undermined the entire prosecution case.

Megrahi was convicted of the bombing in 2001, after a trial at a specially-convened court in the Netherlands.

The Libyan served eight years in prison before being released in August on compassionate grounds, due to his terminal illness. His release came days after he had dropped the appeal against his conviction, which had been granted by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission. Megrahi has always protested his innocence and has published documents on the internet which would have been used in his appeal.

Ms Grahame said: "The Crown Office have confirmed to me that the fragment, PT-35, the piece of evidence that it was claimed linked Libya to the attack, was also sent to Germany in April 1990, as well as the US.

"On 22 June, 1990, it was then taken to the FBI lab in Washington for examination by FBI officials there."

She said that on both occasions Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, the chief prosecutor at the time, did not know the evidence had been taken out of Scottish jurisdiction and control.

A Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service spokesman said: "Contrary to what is being claimed by Ms Grahame, the fact that the fragment of MST-13 timer known as PT-35 was taken to West Germany in 1990 by Scottish police officers was known to Mr Megrahi's defence team prior to his trial and indeed was presented to the court by the Crown as evidence in the trial.

"During the trial Hans Brosamle of Siemens was called as a Crown witness and described examining PT-35 in Munich to the court." He added: "At no time during the investigation was the timer fragment ever outside the custody and control of the Scottish police officers, or forensic scientists at the Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment."

DynCorp Sub-Contractor Inter-Risk was Behind the Oct. 10th Suicide Bombing of Pakistan's Army HQ

Also see: "Islamabad: Americans Dressed as Afghans Caught With Illegal Weapons and Explosives"

" ... The charges against [INTER-RISK'S] Capt. R. Zaidi also consist [of] the alleged arrangement of suicide jackets to one of the arrested suicide bombers. The shocking revelation is suddenly deleted from the media reports. ... "

Edited by Alex Constantine

ISI Website Suspects Inter-Risk was Behind October 10th Assault on Pakistani Army Headquarters:

Arab News Blog

This website is said to be linked to the ISI, and seems to be blaming the attack on the Pakistani army HQ on the US.

“On October 10, 2009, we witnessed a deadly attack on the Pakistan Army GHQ in Rawalpindi. We take this as a direct assault on the national security, sovereignty, integrity and dignity of the State of Pakistan. We suggest and recommend that the following measures should at least be taken to respond to this serious attempt to sabotage Pakistan’s national security:

"President Zardari and at least his erstwhile Interior Minister Rehman Malik should be thrown out of the avenues of power immediately and must be interrogated regarding granting mass-scale permissions for suspicious US personnel to enter Pakistan in recent months, allowing foreign ‘diplomats’ to carry illegal weapons in the Federal capital and permitting the suspicious activities of foreign security agencies like Inter-Risk, DynCorp, etc. and their possible link with today’s attack. ...
Security Firm’s Role in Pakistan Questioned

* Police raids on Inter-Risk – subcontractor for US firm DynCorp Int’l – reveal unlicensed arms

Daily Times Monitor
October 08, 2009

LAHORE: A firm providing security for US diplomats in Pakistan is equipped with sophisticated weaponry that appears more suited to Special Forces commandos, raising questions about its real role in a country facing a serious terrorist threat. ...

A senior Pakistani defence official privy to the situation said there had been “extraordinary concern among government officials over DynCorp”.

... A US official denied that the US was sending CIA operatives or special operations forces commandos to Pakistan under the guise of DynCorp guards.
A week before the attack on Pakistan's army HQ ...

Inter-Risk owner disappears
By Imran Mukhtar
The Nation
October 03, 2009

ISLAMABAD - The owner of notorious Inter-Risk Security Company, Syed Jafar Ali Zaidi’s whereabouts are not known anymore. He was on physical remand with the Kohsar police for the last two days but now he has “disappeared”.

Sources privy to the developments claimed that Zaidi had been admitted in the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) for treatment early this morning (Friday). Dr. Waseem Khawaja, the spokesman of the PIMS was contacted several times but he gave vague answers saying that he was not clear about Zaidi’s admission in the hospital and was still checking his presence there.

This scribe himself visited PIMS but could not find out the whereabouts of Zaidi in the hospital. A close friend of Zaidi was also contacted but he replied that even he could not succeed in tracing him.

Police sources claimed that Zaidi was not present behind the bars of Kohsar Police Station but was “out”. However they did not make it clear the exact location of Zaidi.

Rana Akram, Station House Officer (SHO) of Kohsar Police Station was contacted time and again but was not available for the comments.

Zaidi was given under the custody of police on two-day physical remand on 30th of last month by the court of Judicial Magistrate, Fahim Shah. The US diplomats spoke in his defence in their talks with the press. Could they have had a hand in Zaidi’s disappearance from the police station?



"Anti-Terrorist Course from British Special Air- Services (UNITED KINGDOM). Pathfinder Operations Course from United States Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia (USA). Airborne Operations Course from United States Army Infantry, School, Fort Benning, Georgia (USA). Protective Group Course (American Special Secret Services Training Group (USA). ... "
Pakistan's Perspective on Inter-Risk, Terrorist Ties

A few days after the disappearance of Inter-Risk's proprietor, it was reported that he'd been arranging suicide bombings, and that the media were suppressing information to this effect: " ... The charges against Capt. R. Zaidi also consist [of] the alleged arrangement of suicide jackets to one of the arrested suicide bombers. The shocking revelation is suddenly deleted from the media reports. ... The tone of Americans seems to be satanic ... "

Black Water and DynCorp with Inter Risk are our enemies
Oct 5th, 2009

The roar in Pakistan against Black Water and private armies of USA has reached the highest pitch. The voice of the media and every Pakistani is showing anger and discomfort over the issue of Black Water and other private armies operating in the name of security agencies. Inter Risk is among the list of those companies or agencies who are working behind the curtains and sometimes openly against the interest of our motherland Pakistan.

Many people know that Capt R. Zaidi the owner of Inter-Risk was involved in attaining most sophisticated weapons without Government's permission!! those sophisticated weapons have been taken into custody by the security agencies of Pakistan. Most ashamed to know that Government is trying to keep the matter in low profile and media is not given access to complete information. The charges against Capt. R. Zaidi also consists the alleged arrangement of suicide jackets to one of the arrested suicide bombers. The shocking revelation is suddenly deleted from the media reports. It is most disgusting that people of Pakistan and the Government have sacrificed a lot to fulfill the ugly demands of USA. The whole country is burning with no investment coming in and no development since the war on terror started. Still after paying the huge price for the sake of America, the tone of Americans seems to be satanic. They always intimidate Pakistan sometimes on nuclear issue, sometimes on the issue of Taliban's shura allegedly present in Quetta and in many cities in Pakistan. The devastating reaction of Americans was expected after uncovering of black agenda which was to be executed through their private armies. The biggest slap on Pakistan's face was seen today when an office of The World Food Program of United Nations came under the attack of a suicide bomber who somehow managed to slip through highly secured and guarded area of Islamabad. Just moments after these attacks, our Government stated like parrot what USA wanted them to speak. Immediately the responsibility was put on Islamic militants and Beitullah Mehsud's accomplices and it is confirmed that Talibans of Pakistan would also accept this responsibility soon to obey their masters sitting in Washington. One must look seriously how the Government so quickly arrive to the conclusion that this attack is done by Mehsud's men??? Why America does not object if investigations are not made seriously about the previous attacks??? why no serious investigations are made on these incidences??? One must understand that America, Beitullah Mehsud and all the enemies of Pakistan are working on the same frequency. The only motive to attack Islamabad now and that too in a very highly secured area seems to be a message drafted for the world to make every body understand that Pakistan's nukes are still not safe!!! Ironically no condemnation is made by USA and instead of putting some ice cubes on Pakistan's wounds the Ambassador to Pakistan Ms. Peterson is trying to prove that the threat of nukes falling into the hands of militants is still a possibility.

I would tell the nation and the high ups that it is time to bring the truth in front of the public eye. People should know what kind of weapons were confiscated from Capt. R. Zaidi's house. It has been learned from different sources though unconfirmed, that among the weapons confiscated were some highly sensitive anti surveillance devices which can block the CCTV, Explosive detectors, voice tappers and many other equipments. Although this is hard to believe but the way it is seen on the footage of today's blast it is quite possible that suicide bomber may had possessed any such device which blocked the capability of explosive detectors and other security equipments installed in that area. The Government should look into the matter through this angle. This is an alarming development and if it is true that terrorists are using any such device then people should also know that such complicated and highly dangerous devices are manufactured in USA by Black Water and Dyn Corps subsidiaries and suppliers.

Today Pakistani people are dieing like chickens and the Government is fearing to disclose facts about USA's private armies and their backstabbing. As a nation we should understand that with Aid Bills like Kerry Lugar, our sovereignty is at stake and we must also understand that Beitullah Mehsud was and his men are allegedly the old CIA and RAW agents further supported by the Pentagon. These criminals are creating havoc in the country only to benefit Americans and their allies who have great interest in the change of geographical status of Pakistan and to capture our nuclear assets. Even if Pakistan will kill the whole population of Waziristan and Swat, American thirst would never end, they will always ask to "Do More" "Do More" and Just Do More.

I would request the government to see if there is really such kind of anti surveillance device owned and kept by Capt. R. Zaidi? If that kind of equipment had arrived from USA then it must be investigated that how it reached to Inter Risk for further distribution to the terrorists.

The Government should take a firm stand. We should not term this Kerry Lugar Bill as a worthy one for the nation. It is just a sugar coated poison and a symbol of our undeclared slavery.
Why is US embassy protecting Inter-Risk?
October 4, 2009 Sikander Shaheen

ISLAMABAD – The ongoing investigations with the owner of notorious Inter-Risk Security Company, Captain (Retired) Ali Zaidi would unearth some shocking revelations in the days ahead, with a bulk of startling discoveries already in store.

Even though Zaidi has confessed during interrogation that most of the recruits, whom he called ‘company’s security guards’, carrying weapons of prohibited bores are deputed at the US consulate Peshawar; these recruits are inaccessible to investigators due to the alleged protection being provided to them by US Embassy.

As rightly pointed out in a news item published in this newspaper entitled “Trained recruits plus record go missing,” the major problem encountered by Pakistani authorities in Zaidi’s case involves their inability to reach out to the recruited lot. “If the authorities succeed to apprehend the recruits and they divulge information, one can’t imagine how big breakthrough could be, but the US Embassy would never want this to happen,” The Nation heard from a well informed source. Despite their best efforts, the investigators have not been able to get hold of the accurate record of recruits and their original documents that could be instrumental in this regard. “We have been trying for the last many days but still we are clueless about those guys who received trainings from Zaidi, we really don’t know who are they, and how do they operate,” source added. ...

The Nation


Also see: "Who Owns DynCorp?"

Prior Scandals: DynCorp Disgrace, by Kelly Patricia O Meara

Friday, October 30, 2009

Adam Holland: Republican Leader Met With Holocaust Museum Shooter

General Wedemeyer and the China Lobby, a fascist front on intimate terms with the John Birch Society (Birch served under Wedemeyer in China): "The 'China Lobby' evolved from American military and intelligence personnel who served in China during the war. Most important of these was General Albert C. Wedemeyer.... Educated (in part) at the German military academy in Nazi Germany, Wedemeyer rented his apartment from Gerhard Rossbach. Along with Ernst Rohm, Rossbach had commanded the SA and worked for the CIA after the war. Wedemeyer remains the chief suspect in the deliberate betrayal of the U.S. mobibilization for World War II to the Chicago Tribune, bitterly opposed to both FDR and the prospect of American entry into the war. Its publication fundamentally compromised U.S. military preparation for war. Wedemeyer became a lynchpin of the China Lobby and a darling of the far right in the 1940’s and 50’s. In the 1980’s, Reagan appointed the reactivated Wedemeyer to a special military position. ... The [Birch Society] functioned in a manner roughly analogous to the German Nazi Party in the 1920’s. ... Elements of the John Birch Society participated in the assassination of President Kennedy, functioning in conjunction with fascist and Nazi elements dating from World War II."

- AC
Adam Holland: Republican Leader Met With Holocaust Museum Shooter
Source: Adam Holland Blog (10-28-09)
History News Network
(Revised 1:07 pm)

James von Brunn, the neo-Nazi accused of killing security guard Stephen Johns in an attack on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on June 10, 2009, corresponded with and visited the home of General Albert C. Wedemeyer, a major figure in the U.S. military and in Republican politics during the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

Von Brunn's meeting with Wedemeyer took place in the spring of 1981 at Wedemeyer’s home, and their correspondence lasted for a year after that, until March, 1982. During this period, in December, 1981, von Brunn was arrested for entering the Federal Reserve Board headquarters in Washington, D.C. armed with guns and a phony bomb, stating that he intended to conduct a "citizen's arrest" of the Fed’s board members for treason. (He was arrested and tried for this and served a six year sentence in a federal prison.) After von Brunn's arrest, Wedemeyer broke off their friendship.

Largely forgotten now, Wedemeyer had at one time been a prominent figure in politics and in the military. Before the U.S. entered World War II, General Albert C. Wedemeyer was the author of the Victory Plan, which served as the basis for U.S. strategy in the war. During the war, Wedemeyer served in a number of key positions in East Asia, rising in 1944 to be commander of the China theater. He later played key roles in two Republican presidential campaigns (those of Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater), and would serve as a key fundraiser for and adviser to Ronald Reagan. He was on the original board of directors for both the John Birch Society and the magazine The National Review. Wedemeyer also played a major role in framing the debate over “who lost China” – an issue which was central to the McCarthy era anti-communist witch hunts of the 1950s.

Wedemeyer met with von Brunn at the general's farm in Boyds, Maryland in the spring of 1981 and corresponded with him sporadically for about 10 months thereafter. Their correspondence is collected in Gen. Wedemeyer’s papers at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. While Wedemeyer's ties to far-right groups were public and well-known, historian Joseph W. Bendersky in his 2000 book The "Jewish Threat": Anti-Semitic Politics of the U.S. Army, found extensive evidence that, behind the scenes, Wedemeyer worked to promote anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist policies within the U.S. military establishment. Wedemeyer's correspondence with von Brunn shows just how extreme Wedemeyer's politics were.

In June and July of 1981, the two exchanged letters concerning von Brunn's belief that a Zionist conspiracy had taken over the United States in order to "destroy the White Race". Von Brunn wrote to Wedemeyer that he believed that Jews were conspiring to send African-American soldiers to Germany in order to "destroy the white gene pool". The only remedy for this, Von Brunn wrote, was "DESTROYING THE ZIONIST OCCUPIED GOVERNMENT" (caps in original). Shockingly, General Wedemeyer wrote in response that he was "in complete accord with (this) objective", but felt that it was not achievable.

In January, 1982, one month after his arrest at the Fed Board headquarters, von Brunn sent Wedemeyer a description of the attack in the form of a detailed military mission report which he apparently also sent to a number of other recipients.

In March, 1982, von Brunn sent General Wedemeyer a rambling five-page political manifesto in the form of a memo to his attorney planning a legal defense for the Fed Board attack. Von Brunn justified the attack as an attempted citizen's arrest for various "crimes" he accused the Federal Reserve of having committed. On the back of this memo, von Brunn wrote a handwritten apology to Wedemeyer for an angry outburst, indicating that the two had a conversation around the time of the Fed attack. (Based on this note, it seems possible that von Brunn attempted to contact Wedemeyer after his arrest, was rebuffed by Wedemeyer and grew angry in response.) Von Brunn's note also states his belief that the U.S. government was controlled by evil "illuminati" intent on instituting "One World Gov't", and expresses his belief instead in "One World with Western Man uber alles".

Von Brunn’s attempts to continue his correspondence with Wedemeyer were discouraged in a polite letter from Wedemeyer’s secretary in March 1982. This letter stated that Gen. Wedemeyer had "no interest in the matter described in (von Brunn’s) letter", and that he believed that political change should be pursued only by legal means.

Obama Birthplace Lawyer Submits Suspect Document

Also see: Judge's ruling dismissing the Taitz "lawsuit"

Martin Wisckol, Politics reporter
October 26th, 2009

Updated Oct. 27 with Associated Press statement that it never reported that Obama was born in Kenya - that it has reported he was born in Hawaii.

Laguna Niguel lawyer Orly Taitz on Sunday electronically filed with the federal court in Santa Ana a document purporting to be a June 27, 2004, Associated Press story in a Kenyan newspaper saying that Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

But there’s a couple potential problems with that. First, Obama’s first name is misspelled as “Barrack” - an unlikely typo for the Associated Press to make on a man about to be elected to the U.S. Senate. Second, perusal of the Nexis database finds several versions of a similar story using the same quotes - but none mention Obama’s birthplace. Farther down in this blog item, I have a link to Taitz’s version and I’ve re-printed a version from the Nexis database.

Plus … since originally posting this item, I received the following statement from Paul Colford, director of media relations for the Associated Press: “The AP has never reported that President Obama was born in Kenya. In fact, AP news stories about the state of Hawaii have confirmed that he was born there. The Kenyan paper that you cite rewrote a 2004 AP story, adding the phrase ‘Kenyan-born.’ That wording was not in the AP version of the story.”

As I wrote in this profile of Taitz in yesterday’s newspaper, Taitz has had past problems with authenticity of her documents in her longshot legal efforts to prove that Obama is not a natural-born citizen and so is not the legitimate president.

In her filing yesterday, Taitz writes that her version of the AP story - from The Sunday Standard - ”is unauthenticated, but is allegedly derived from a well-known and highly respected news wire service, namely the Associated Press.”

Click here to see the suspect AP story filed by Taitz on Sunday.

Here’s a typical version of the story filed by AP, as drawn from the Nexis database:

June 26, 2004 Saturday
Final Edition

Illinois Senate candidate drops out of race;
Sex club charges left Ryan ‘a dead man walking’

LENGTH: 456 words

CHICAGO — Illinois Senate candidate Jack Ryan dropped out of the race Friday amid a furor over lurid sex club allegations that horrified fellow Republicans and caused his once-promising candidacy to implode in four short days.

“It’s clear to me that a vigorous debate on the issues most likely could not take place if I remain in the race,” Ryan, 44, said in a statement. “What would take place, rather, is a brutal, scorched-earth campaign — the kind of campaign that has turned off so many voters, the kind of politics I refuse to play.”

The campaign began to come apart Monday following the release of embarrassing records from Ryan’s divorce. In those records, his ex-wife, “Boston Public” actress Jeri Ryan, said Ryan took her to kinky sex clubs in Paris, New York and New Orleans and tried to get her to perform sex acts with him while others watched.

Ryan disputed the allegations, saying he and his wife went to one “avant-garde” club in Paris and left because they felt uncomfortable.

In quitting the race, Ryan lashed out at the media and said it was “truly outrageous” that the Chicago Tribune got a judge to unseal the records.

“The media has gotten out of control,” he said.

Top Illinois Republicans immediately began the work of selecting a new candidate. Their choice will become an instant underdog against Democratic state Sen. Barack Obama in the campaign for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Peter Fitzgerald. Obama held a wide lead even before the scandal broke.

“I feel for him actually,” Obama said on WLS-AM. “What he’s gone through over the last three days I think is something you wouldn’t wish on anybody. Unfortunately, I think our politics has gotten so personalized and cutthroat that it’s very difficult for people to want to get in the business.”

Ryan had faced mounting pressure to quit from party leaders, who met several times in Washington this week to discuss whether the campaign could survive.

“He really was a dead man walking,” Gary MacDougal, former Illinois Republican Party chairman.

Ryan conducted an overnight poll to gauge his support. After reviewing the results, Ryan’s advisers told the candidate that the only way to survive would be wage an extremely negative and expensive response.

“Jack Ryan made the right decision. I know it must have been a difficult one,” said House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois, who made his feelings known by canceling a fund-raising event scheduled for Thursday with Ryan.

During the primary, Ryan waved off rumors of damaging sex allegations in his sealed divorce records, assuring state officials there was nothing in the file to worry about.

But the Tribune and Chicago TV station WLS sued for the records’ release, and a California judge ordered them unsealed.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

NSA to Build Secretive Data Center in Utah (Shhh - it's Actually for Surveillance, not "Cyber-Security" as Widely Reported)

Edited by Alex Constantine

All news outlets are describing the proposed facility as a "cyber-security" center, but "Utah news reports, based on federal budget documents, have described the center as a collection point for surveillance of domestic and international telecommunications ... "

(AP) – 6 days ago

SALT LAKE CITY — An intelligence official says the National Security Agency will build a secretive electronic data center at a National Guard camp in Utah.

The deputy director for the Office of National Intelligence for Collection, Glenn Gaffney, says the data center will be dedicated to protecting the nation from cyber-attacks.

But that may be only part of the data center's mission. Utah news reports, based on federal budget documents, have described the center as a collection point for surveillance of domestic and international telecommunications.

Gaffney refused to say exactly what would go on at the data center. He was at the Utah Capitol on Friday along with Gov. Gary Herbert and Utah's congressional delegation to talk about the $1.6 billion project.
Surveillance, according to the budget documents, not cyber-security, but nearly all news reports give us this ...

NSA To Build $1.5 Billion Cybersecurity Data Center

The massive complex, comprising up to 1.5 million square feet of building space, will provide intelligence and warnings related to cybersecurity threats across government.

By J. Nicholas Hoover
October 29, 2009

The National Security Agency, whose job it is to protect national security systems, will soon break ground on a data center in Utah that's budgeted to cost $1.5 billion.

The NSA is building the facility to provide intelligence and warnings related to cybersecurity threats, cybersecurity support to defense and civilian agency networks, and technical assistance to the Department of Homeland Security, according to a transcript of remarks by Glenn Gaffney, deputy director of national intelligence for collection, who is responsible for oversight of cyber intelligence activities in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. ...

As part of its mission, NSA monitors communications "signals" for intelligence related to national security and defense. Gaffney gave assurances that the work going on at the data center will protect civil liberties. "We will accomplish this in full compliance with the U.S. Constitution and federal law and while observing strict guidelines that protect the privacy and civil liberties of the American people," Gaffney said. ...

Data Center Costs:

"Congressional records show that initial construction - which may begin this year - will include tens of millions in electrical work and utility construction, a $9.3 million vehicle inspection facility, and $6.8 million in perimeter security fencing. The budget also allots $6.5 million for the relocation of an existing access road, communications building and training area. ...

"It will also require at least 65 megawatts of power -- about the same amount used by every home in Salt Lake City combined. ... "

But that's not enough "data collection" (spying) for the NSA: "The agency is building a similar center in San Antonio at the site of a former Sony microchip plant."

The planned NSA facility is in newspapers coast to coast but supposedly it's hush-hush: "Sen. Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, refused to answer questions about the project. Officials from Hatch's office said they were not at liberty to discuss a classified matter, though it is referenced in several public documents and has been spoken about openly by state officials for the past week. ... "
Glenn Gaffney, the government's point man on the Utah facility, is a data collection specialist, primarily, with little background in cyber-security:

In January 2008, Glenn A. Gaffney was appointed as Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Collection. In this role, Mr. Gaffney works on behalf of the Director of National Intelligence to coordinate and integrate the collection efforts of the 16 intelligence agencies and ensures that the DNI priorities are appropriately reflected in future planning and systems acquisition decisions. Mr. Gaffney recently served as the Deputy Director for Science and Technology. In 1996, the DS&T and DO established the Clandestine Information Technology Office; the predecessor to today's IOC. Mr. Gaffney was part of a team which laid the foundation for this new office and established its targeting program for DO Information Operations. After joining the DS&T in 1997, Mr. Gaffney served CITO and IOC as Chief/Targeting and Analysis, Deputy Chief/Programs, Policy, and Resources, and then Chief/Computer Operations. He was appointed Deputy Chief/IOC in October 2002 and Chief/IOC in November 2005. Mr. Gaffney began his career with the CIA in 1986 as a technical analyst in the Directorate of Intelligence (DI) responsible for the analysis of Soviet space systems and space launch vehicles. His experience in this area led to a position as a senior analyst in the former Office of Scientific and Weapons Research where he was increasingly involved in supporting the Directorate of Science and Technology (DS&T) and the Directorate of Operations (DO) in designing and conducting clandestine technical collection operations to address critical technical intelligence gaps. Mr. Gaffney also led and participated in a number of DI technical research projects focused on developing and evaluating new collection techniques and approaches in support of the DS&T and the National Reconnaissance Office. Mr. Gaffney served two tours as a branch chief in the DI. He led a team responsible for technical analysis and intelligence production on foreign abilities to conduct air warfare against the US. During his second assignment, Mr. Gaffney established the CIA's first analytic team dedicated to assessing foreign Information Warfare threats to the US and providing technical targeting support to DO and US military Information Operations efforts. Mr. Gaffney was born and raised in New Jersey. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1986 in Engineering Science with a specialty focus in astrophysics from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Is The Military Ignoring The Heroin Problem In The Ranks?

By Megan Carpentier
Air America
Tuesday October 20, 2009

The U.S. military has known about the problem of drug use in its ranks since the Vietnam War, when contemporaneous accounts suggested up to 15 percent of enlisted men tried or became addicted to opiates. But, for the first time since then, the military has soldiers in combat in a producer-country: Afghanistan, which produces more than 90 percent of the world's heroin despite decades of eradication efforts.

For many soldiers bored or traumatized, the access to cheap, strong heroin is likely to be a powerful lure and, in fact, reports going back to 2006 show that heroin can be easily--and cheaply--obtained mere steps off Bagram Air Base. Shaun McCanna, reporting for Salon in 2007, was able to arrange to receive heroin worth hundreds of dollars in the U.S. for $30 in the Bagram Bazaar multiple times.

My driver translates, "He wants to know how much you want? Twenty, 30, 50 dollars' worth?" From past experience, for I have arranged this same transaction a dozen times in a dozen different Bagram Bazaar shops, I know that the $30 bag will contain enough pure to bring hundreds of dollars on the streets of any American city. Afghanistan, after all, is the source of 90 percent of the world's heroin. I say 30 and the teen jogs off.

McCanna was initially turned on to the heroin problem at Bagram by the death of a soldier, John Torres, who told his family about the heroin problems at Bagram before his death under mysterious circumstances. McCanna bought heroin more than a dozen times in Bagram while filming a documentary about Torres' death and saw ample evidence that soldiers were trading military equipment for drugs as well. ...


Video: Re "Karzai Brother 'on CIA Payroll'"

Hi Alex,

I read your post about the recent revelation that Afghan President Hamid Karzai's brother has been on the C.I.A. payroll for the past 8 years. In your post you detail his reported role in C.I.A. operations in the region and describe how his position may have been the reason his alleged drug connections have been largely ignored. I think the following video will complement your post:

It uses news coverage from multiple news organizations to unravel different angles of this story. ...


Five Bizarre Republicans Vie for Position in Connecticut Senatorial Race

CHRIS POWELL: In challenging Dodd, money isn’t everything
The Register Citizen (Litchfield County, CT)
October 11, 2009

With polls showing Democratic U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd extremely vulnerable as he seeks election to a sixth term next year, the Republican nomination to challenge him is for once worth something. So there are five candidates, each with the ability to get noticed. Whether each should be taken seriously is something else.

The leader by far is eastern Connecticut’s former U.S. representative, Rob Simmons of Stonington, who in terms of experience may be as qualified for the Senate as anyone in the country -- Vietnam veteran with two Bronze Stars, CIA officer, Senate committee staff director, state representative for 10 years, U.S. representative for six years, and state government’s business advocate. He is well known throughout the state.

In Congress Simmons was ranked among the most independent members of the Republican caucus. To some conservative Republicans, this makes Simmons a RINO -- Republican in name only. But a hard-right Republican hasn’t been elected to Congress from Connecticut since 1968, when Fairfield County’s Gold Coast sent to the House that Vietnam war-supporting, Justice William O. Douglas-impeaching plutocrat, Lowell P. Weicker Jr.

Simmons is hard-working and his long record makes him a known quantity. It also offers points of attack, like his support for going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. But now that those wars have been taken over by a Democratic administration, Simmons may be off the hook.

Some Republicans view Simmons’ experience as a drawback, insofar as it connotes his age, 66, which puts in doubt his ability to hold the Senate seat for the party with a second term. Some of these Republicans find Waterbury state Sen. Sam Caligiuri more attractive. While Caligiuri’s experience is a fraction of Simmons’, he has excelled as president of Waterbury’s Board of Aldermen and acting mayor and, for the last three years, state senator. As acting mayor he lifted Waterbury out of a horrifying scandal and began to get the city’s budget under control. In the state Senate he has candidly noted the excesses of the state budget even when fellow Republicans were going along. Caligiuri’s weaknesses are his lack of statewide recognition and his fund-raising ability.

Another candidate is Greenwich businessman Tom Foley, former ambassador to Ireland by virtue of his raising a lot of money for President George W. Bush’s campaign. Foley already has raised a lot of money for his own campaign but he is unknown, and being a Bush money man isn’t likely to have much appeal to Connecticut voters.

Then there are two candidates for whom fund raising will be no problem, just nearly everything else.

Peter Schiff of Weston, an investment company manager and frequent commentator on financial market programs on television, is noted for having predicted the 2008 financial market crash. His libertarian economic philosophy is refreshing amid government bailouts and takeovers but probably would leave big money just as much in charge of the country as it is now. Schiff’s father, Irwin, the famous tax resister, is in federal prison, which would cause inconvenient discussion. Schiff has raised a million dollars from a national libertarian network but not only lacks experience with issues beyond the markets; he admits having hardly ever voted. He announced his candidacy on a national TV program, not in Connecticut, where he is little-known.

The fifth candidate, Linda McMahon of Greenwich, made a fortune from a business of grotesque comedy — World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. — and her candidacy is following suit. Her only experience in government is her recent appointment by Governor Rell to the state Board of Education. McMahon boasts of limiting contributions to her campaign to $100 per person but has put no limit on what she might spend from her personal funds and already has blanketed the state with mailings and television commercials. She complains about establishment politicians but has been a major donor to them — and more to Democrats than to Republicans. She too admits hardly ever voting.

Dodd may hope that Foley, Schiff, or McMahon can buy the Republican nomination in a primary with a mere plurality in a divisive five-way race. For having long extracted millions in campaign contributions from the financial industry, which he oversees as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, only to find himself widely distrusted back home, Dodd now may know that money isn’t everything.

Chris Powell is the managing editor of the Journal Inquirer in Manchester.

The Secret, Underground Sex and Drugs Lair of Broadcom Corp. Co-Founder Henry Nicholas III

Billionaire sought secret lair for sex, drugs, complaint says
A lawyer for the Broadcom co-founder denies the allegations.

By E. Scott Reckard and Kim Christensen
Los Angeles Times/July 18, 2007

Flush with wealth from Broadcom Corp.'s 1998 public stock offering, computer chip magnate Henry T. Nicholas III made a few additions to his equestrian estate in Laguna Hills: hidden doors and secret levers, an underground grotto, tunnels and a 2,000-square-foot sports bar he called "Nick's Cafe."

But there was more, according to a claim made in court documents: plans for a "secret and convenient lair" with hidden entries for Nicholas to indulge his "manic obsession with prostitutes" and "addiction to cocaine and Ecstasy."

The filing in Orange County Superior Court added that Nicholas had the interior built in warehouse space nearby, which became his "personal brothel" until his wife caught him having sex with a prostitute there.

The allegations by a construction team, denounced as fabrications by Nicholas' lawyer, echoed others in a recently surfaced lawsuit filed late last year by Kenji Kato, a Nicholas assistant from 1999 to 2006. In his suit, Kato claims that Nicholas and his companies owe him $150,000 in back wages. Filings in the suit allege drug use and debauchery at a Newport Coast home owned by Nicholas, who denies the accusations.

Responding in a lawsuit pending in Orange County Superior Court, Nicholas has alleged that Kato is bound by confidentiality agreements that bar him from disclosing information about the billionaire and his businesses. Kato's allegations are being examined by federal authorities probing Nicholas' role in the manipulation of stock options at Broadcom, according to people with knowledge of the investigation. Through his attorney, Nicholas has denied any wrongdoing.

Nicholas, 47, co-founded Broadcom in 1991 and served as its chief executive until 2003. Broadcom's success made him one of the nation's richest men, and he has given millions to schools, the Orange County Performing Arts Center and other causes.

The alleged plans for the covert underground hideaway, to be connected to Nicholas' Laguna Hills home, were detailed by Roman James of Newport Beach, the lead contractor on the project, and six other contractors, engineers and construction workers who worked on it and filed a lawsuit against Nicholas in 2002.

The construction team accused Nicholas of failing to pay millions of dollars for work performed between April 1998 and April 2002. Nicholas was said to have used "manipulation, lies, intimidation and even death threats" to pressure "nearly every contractor and vendor" on the project to perform extra work without pay "at warp speed."

The allegations were contained in a draft complaint that was prepared but not filed as part of the contractors' lawsuit, which was resolved in a confidential settlement in 2002. The draft complaint, however, was attached in 2005 as a supporting document to a lawsuit against the attorney for James, James R. Traut, by another man who sought a larger share of the 2002 settlement. There was a 2006 judgment in that case, but the outcome was not clear in court documents and attorneys involved in that case could not be reached for comment. Nicholas was not named in that case.

The Times obtained the draft complaint from the Orange County Superior Court file -- and blanket denials of its allegations from the Nicholas camp -- on Tuesday. Nicholas attorney Steven A. Silverstein said Tuesday that "all of the allegations are denied" and charged that the similarity between the Roman and Kato cases was not coincidental.

"Basically, where Kenji got his idea for his extortion came from Roman James," Silverstein said, contending that Kato was familiar with the previous case. James could not be reached Tuesday. His lawyer, Traut, did not return repeated messages left at his Santa Ana office.

In court filings in his lawsuit, Kato said Nicholas made him oversee supplies of cocaine and other drugs, pay prostitutes from a "petty cash" fund and conceal his boss' illicit activities.

Kato's lawyer, Joseph Kar, said his client knew of the James case only because "Dr. Nicholas had mentioned it infrequently." But Kar said he and his client "have not seen that complaint" and were unfamiliar with its allegations. Any similarity in the lawsuits "goes to corroborate the abuse and misbehaving of Mr. Nicholas" detailed in Kato's court papers, Kar said.

Nicholas made no secret of the underground passageways and rooms under his Laguna Hills home, but the filing by James contended the subterranean complex was more elaborate than even Stacey Nicholas was aware of and ultimately cost $30 million over three years.

Nicholas took his wife to Hawaii for a week in August 2000 while work on his secret chamber was being completed, the filing claimed. Stacey Nicholas has since filed for divorce.

"Plaintiffs were promised payment and/or threatened with financial ruin -- whatever it took -- if they failed to complete the task within a week," the draft complaint said, and hundreds of workers began toiling 18 hours a day to excavate and pour concrete.

The noise and presence of armed guards hired to block access to community horse trails near the project prompted neighbors to complain to Laguna Hills authorities, who discovered the work was being performed without a permit and shut it down, "although the room ceiling was covered over so it was not observable from above ground," the contractors said.

In a September 2000 Times story about the dispute, Nicholas said the newest underground structure was "a pump house" to handle water runoff from the horse trails. The draft complaint disputed that account and claimed the new construction was tied to the alleged separate underground facility being built by Nicholas.

It said Nicholas, anticipating he would eventually obtain a permit from the city "to complete his lair," implemented a backup plan, arranging "to completely fabricate the interior" of the hideaway at a Laguna Niguel warehouse.

The location, referred to as the Pond or the Ponderosa, "was infamous for its excessive extravagance, its sex rooms and its million-dollar sound equipment," the document alleged.

Nicholas had his private jet pick up prostitutes in New Orleans, Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles "and bring them back to the Pond for his rock star friends," the draft complaint said. "He provided his guests with transportation and cocaine, Ecstasy, methamphetamines, marijuana, mushrooms, and nitrous oxide [laughing gas]" -- and even arranged for his private helicopter to land at a nearby hospital helipad, it said.

The lawsuit alleged that Nicholas required pledges of loyalty and secrecy from the contractors and at one point threatened James' life.

Nicholas, in an interview with The Times last week about the Kato suit, said the allegations of drug use against him were especially absurd because he had been recognized by authorities for his efforts to boost law enforcement.,0,7173518,full.story

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Junk food as 'Addictive as Drugs'/Why Junk Food is Addictive

"When researchers electronically stimulated the part of the brain that feels pleasure, they found that the rats on unlimited junk food needed more and more stimulation to register the same level of pleasure as the animals on healthier diets."

Junk food is almost as addictive as heroin, scientists have found.

28 Oct 2009
A diet of burgers, chips, sausages and cake will programme your brain into craving even more foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat, according to new research.

Over the years these junk foods can become a substitute for happiness and will lead bingers to become addicted.

Dr Paul Kenny, a neuroscientist, carried out the research which shows how dangerous high fat and high sugar foods can be to our health .

“You lose control. It’s the hallmark of addiction,” he said.

The researchers believe it is one of the first studies to suggest brains may react in the same way to junk food as they do to drugs.

“This is the most complete evidence to date that suggests obesity and drug addiction have common neuro-biological foundations,” said Paul Johnson, Dr Kenny’s work colleague.

Dr Kenny, who began his research at Guy’s Hospital, London, but now works at Florida’s Scripps Research Institute, divided rats into three groups for his research, due to be published in teh US soon.

One got normal amounts of healthy food to eat. Another lot was given restricted amounts of junk food and the third group was given unlimited amounts of junk, including cheesecake, fatty meat products, and cheap sponge cakes and chocolate snacks.

There were no adverse effects on the first two groups, but the rats who ate as much junk food as they wanted quickly became very fat and started bingeing.

When researchers electronically stimulated the part of the brain that feels pleasure, they found that the rats on unlimited junk food needed more and more stimulation to register the same level of pleasure as the animals on healthier diets.
"The right combination of tastes triggers a greater number of neurons, getting them to fire more. ... The message to eat becomes stronger, motivating the eater to look for even more food. ... "

Why junk food really is addictive

Ice cream and chocolate bars are addictive because the mix of ingredients in them activates our "bliss point", according to Professor David Kessler, a leading scientist.

By Ben Leach
29 Jun 2009

Snacks, cereals and ready meals can trigger the brain in the same way as tobacco, according to the former head of America's food standards watchdog.

Professor Kessler, ex-commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), claims that manufacturers have created combinations of fat, sugar and salt that are so tasty many people cannot stop eating them even when full.

Living near fast food restaurants 'increases obesity risk' He argues that manufacturers are seeking to trigger a "bliss point" when people eat certain products, leaving them hungry for more.

"It is time to stop blaming individuals for being overweight or obese," he said. "The real problem is we have created a world where food is always available and where that food is designed to make you want to eat more of it. For millions of people, modern food is simply impossible to resist."

While at the FDA, Prof Kessler was well known for his criticism of the tobacco industry, which he accused of manipulating cigarettes to make them even more addictive.

In a new book, The End of Overeating, he suggests precise combinations of fat, sugar, salt and texture have been used by foods manufacturers to make products "hyper-palatable".

Heinz tomato ketchup and Starbucks white chocolate mocha Frappuccino are cited as examples of the thousands of modern foods that have been engineered to stimulate feelings of pleasure.

"The right combination of tastes triggers a greater number of neurons, getting them to fire more," he said. "The message to eat becomes stronger, motivating the eater to look for even more food."

"Many of us have what's called a 'bliss point' – the point at which we get the greatest pleasure from sugar, fat or salt. As more sugar [and fat or salt] is added, food becomes more pleasurable until we reach the bliss point, after which it becomes too sweet and the pleasure drops off."

Prof Kessler, who ran the FDA from 1990 to 1997 and is now professor of paediatrics, epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, added that at the optimum point, food stimulates many people's appetites instead of suppressing it.

Did Texan Help Nazi Goring Cheat the Hangman?


The Oct. 28, 1946 issue of Time magazine posed the question the whole world was asking: “How did Hermann Goring kill himself?”

How the last surviving member of the Nazi “Big Four” took his life mere minutes before he was scheduled to hang for his monstrous crimes was not, in fact, the issue. By the end of October, everyone knew he had swallowed a lethal dose of cyanide. The burning question was how did Adolph Hitler’s wouldbe successor get his hands on the poison while under 24-hour surveillance in the most secure prison on the planet?

Even though Hermann Wilhelm Goring was one of the most infamous villains of the twentieth century, younger readers may benefit from a brief introduction. As a fighter pilot in World War I, he shot down 22 enemy aircraft, won the “Blue Max” and was the last commander of “The Red Baron,” Manfred von Richthofen. He joined the Nazi Party in 1922, built the Luftwaffe into the most formidable air force in the world and played a vital part in Hitler’s twin policies of aggression and genocide.

With the Russians hot on his heels, Goring gladly surrendered to the U.S. Army on May 9, 1945. American officers gave him a shamefully warm reception eating, drinking and singing late into the night with the war criminal. Their disgraceful behavior brought a stern reprimand from an outraged Gen. Eisenhower.

With Hitler, Joseph Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler all dead by their own hand, Goring was the lone Nazi leader left alive to face the music. Twenty-one other high-ranking defendants joined him in the dock at Nuremberg for the trial of the century, which began on Nov. 21, 1945.

To Goring, who always loved being the center of attention, the courtroom was just another stage. Throughout the ten months of the historic tribunal, he seemed to be having a wonderful time and rarely acted like a man on trial for his life.

The verdicts announced on Oct. 1, 1946 brought Goring crashing back to earth. He was not among the three defendants acquitted nor even the seven given prison sentences of ten years to life. The “reichmarshall” would hang along with 11 others.

Late on the night of Oct. 15, guards went to fetch Goring for his last meal and final preparations. They found him lying in bed on his back in his death throes with two envelopes on his stomach. One contained a cartridge with a removable cap and the other four suicide letters.

A quartet of ranking officers, including the prison commandant, cleared the cell and debated the merits of hanging Goring anyway. They finally discarded the wild idea after agreeing that the truth was bound to get out. There was no alternative but to have the body taken to the execution chamber, where the assembled witnesses could see for themselves that Hermann Goring was dead.

The official inquiry into the sensational suicide was a sham. Goring’s assertion that he had brought the cyanide into the prison with him and succeeded in hiding it for nearly a year was accepted without question. That dubious version of events conveniently let prison personnel from the commandant down to the guards off the hook.

Theories about what actually happened were a dime a dozen. Goring hid the cyanide capsule in a tiny incision in his abdomen or back, in his navel, in a tooth, in his pipe stem or in a book. His wife passed the poison to him with her goodbye kiss. He faked imminent death so the German doctor could come to his bedside and administer the poison.

The hard-pressed prison authorities and their superiors counted on it all blowing over and it did. After all, Goring was no more and that was what really mattered.

Then in 1978 Ben E. Swearingen, a public-school administrator living in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, added to his collection of WWII memorabilia the brass cartridge that once contained the cyanide capsule. He knew at first glance that it was much too big for Goring’s navel or anyplace else on his person.

Swearingen remembered a conversation with the widow of an Army lieutenant on duty at the Nuremberg prison during the trial. She had in her possession an inscribed silver wristwatch, gold fountain pen and cigarette case Hermann Goring had given to his friend Jack G. Wheelis, whom he called “the great Texas hunter.”

The former Mrs. Wheelis added, almost as an afterthought, “They thought my husband gave Goring the poison.”

A seven-year investigation convinced the amateur historian that Wheelis, the officer in charge of the prison property room, allowed his Nazi pal access to his personal belongings on the eve of his execution. And that was how Goring got his hands on the cyanide.

Swearingen presented his findings in the book The Mystery of Hermann Goering’s Suicide published in 1985. Historian and biographer Joseph E. Persico reached the same conclusion nine years later in Nuremberg – Infamy on Trial that was made into a television mini-series.

“Secession & Civil War” – brand new “Best of This Week in Texas History” collection available for $10.95 plus $3.25 postage and handling from Bartee Haile, P.O. Box 152, Friendswood, TX.

Risks and Returns: Exploiting the Immigrant Detention Industry

By Michelle Chen, RaceWire
October 27, 2009

Last winter, a remote Texas prison convulsed in a cry of outrage, voicing the desperation of the immigration system's silenced captives. Two recent articles in the Boston Review and Texas Observer reflect on violent uprisings at the Reeves County Detention Center in Pecos last December and January. Tom Barry and Forrest Wilder describe a system of calculated lawlessness in the heart of Dixie.

The clash was driven by detainees' protests about inhumane conditions, particularly poor medical care and overcrowding. The catalyst was the death of Jesus Galindo, an epileptic who had been isolated in solitary confinement. Immigrant detention has become a political flashpoint for the Obama administration amid reports of abuse and miserably inadequate healthcare.

Although the White House recently pledged to improve detention conditions, there's been little real questioning of the economic underpinnings of the system. The Pecos rebellion illustrated the consequences of marrying America's prison-industrial complex with zero-tolerance immigration enforcement.

As he toured various "prison towns" along the U.S.-Mexico border, Barry observed that "all the prisons I saw had two common features: they were managed and operated by private-prison corporations--including two of the world's largest, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO [which runs Reeves]--and they were located in remote, rural areas, invariably described by locals as being 'in the middle of nowhere.'"

The industry, he says, capitalizes on towns hungering for economic development.

The prison industry introduces the governments of desperate communities to what some call "backdoor financing": project revenue bonds in the tens of millions of dollars that suddenly make them feel like economic players....

The full cost of the public-private immigrant prisons that now litter the Southwest and elsewhere is not yet known. Most counties and municipalities are still ten to fifteen years away from paying off the bonds.

The private detention sector works much like the crooked lenders who drove the country into financial crisis, building facilities as "speculative" ventures.

Though business slumped during the 1990s, CCA struck gold with the Bush administration's anti-immigrant crackdowns. Reporting on the Hutto family detention center, Margaret Talbot wrote in the New Yorker, "When immigration detention started its precipitate climb following 9/11, private prison companies eagerly offered their empty beds, and the industry was revitalized."

Wilder describes how the detention boom-bust cycle works in a cash-strapped Texas town:

In the mid-1980s, with the regional economy devastated by the Texas oil bust, local business and government leaders decided to move into a recession-proof industry that was exploding in an increasingly criminalized America: prisons. In 1986, the county built a 300-bed prison. The prison filled rapidly with federal inmates, pumping revenue into the county's budget and adding decent-paying jobs to the local work force. By 2002, Reeves had 2,000 beds. In 2003, the county completed construction on a $39 million, 960-bed unit only to find that the feds had no interest....

While the prison sat empty, payments on the bonds, reduced to junk status, were coming due. On the verge of default, county officials begged the Bush administration to send prisoners and hired Randy DeLay, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's brother, to lobby in Washington, D.C. That's when Wackenhut Corrections Corp., now GEO Group, rode to the rescue. In November 2003, GEO agreed to take over management of the whole 3,000-bed prison complex and soon struck a deal with the Bureau of Prisons to fill the new unit.

Now cut to winter 2008. Jesus Galindo, a 32-year-old Mexican American who was caught crossing the border illegally, desperately needed careful treatment for his epilepsy, Wilder reports. Instead, he got locked up in solitary and spiraled toward his death. An autopsy traced the death to his epilepsy and noted signs of medical neglect.

According to a report by the National Immigration Forum, it's unclear exactly how many private entities are working under Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but prison corporations are well fed by federal largess.

The $1.7 billion budget for "Custody Operations" provides ICE with funding to maintain its current detention capacity of 33,400 people in over 500 facilities on any given night, including operational expenses....

The two largest private prison companies in the U.S. each receive over ten percent of their revenue directly from ICE, which pays an average per diem fee of $87.99 for every immigrant detainee.

All this despite the Obama administration's acknowledgement that most detainees pose no real public danger. Many could in fact be monitored safely outside prison at a far lower cost to taxpayers. Nonetheless, ICE pushed privatization as a revenue-boosting scheme in its initial budget proposal for fiscal year 2010.

Even in the midst of a recession, the detention market is looking bullish. Just as Homeland Security announced its detention reform initiatives earlier this month, Business of Detention project reported, CCA unveiled a brand new 500-bed facility in Gainesville, Georgia.

A company spokesperson boasted, "Our positive impact, for more than a decade, on the State of Georgia is considerable, in terms of bringing strong careers to hard-working Georgians and much needed taxes and local dollars."

Profit-driven immigrant detention is just one facet of a much larger epidemic that is destroying poor communities of color across the country. Yet Pecos is an especially striking display of the cruel economics of mass incarceration.

The detainees, as well as those running their prisons, have more in common than they probably know. As economic desperation propels migrants to seek work across the border, impoverished American communities, which are conditioned to dehumanize immigrant workers, gravitate toward a prison business underwritten by draconian federal laws.

And so the machine whirs on, muffling the cries of immigrants like Galindo. Once they're inside, it seems, no one has to listen anymore.

This post originally appeared in RaceWire, the blog of Colorlines magazine, and at Working In These Times.

Karzai Brother 'on CIA Payroll'/"Plausible" Denial from Karzai Contradicted by Congressional Officials, who have Known about CIA Ties "for Some Time"

Look what those warped, brain-damaged, tinfoil-fringe conspiracy theorists at the NY Times are saying now: " ... Ahmed Wali Karzai, a suspected participant in Afghanistan's booming illegal opium trade, has taken payments for much of the past eight years ... " We sober, objective news reporters at The Blacklist don't buy into wild conspiracy theores propagated by the "mainstream" media, but we elite, informed professionals have known of these allegations for years, and no one cared so only casually reported on CIA/drugs - too pedestrian. Yawn. When you get down to it, everybody already knows - old story - so we'll let the naive ignoramuses of the media-at-large catch up. We'll just get back to assassinations made to look like suicides, mass-murdering coup plots and such, and leave the common, work-a-day CIA drug trafficking conspiracy theories to drooling "mainstream" media Bozos engaged in a perennial search of a clue. - AC

Al Jazeera
October 28, 2009

The brother of Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has been receiving regular payments from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The New York Times has reported.

The newspaper, quoting current and former US officials, said on Wednesday that Ahmed Wali Karzai, a suspected participant in Afghanistan's booming illegal opium trade, has taken payments for much of the past eight years that the US has been in the country.

It said Karzai gets paid for a variety of services that include helping in recruiting an Afghan armed force that operates at the CIA's direction in and around the southern city of Kandahar, where he has a home.

But the newspaper added that Karzai said in an interview that he only co-operated with US civilian and military officials, and did not engage in the drug trade, or receive payments from the CIA.

Significant questions

The Times said the financial ties and close working relationship between the intelligence agency and Karzai raise significant questions about Washington's war strategy in Afghanistan, which is currently under review at the White House.

The US has stationed troops in the country since 2001 as it attempts to defeat Taliban fighters there.
"If we are going to conduct a population-centric strategy in Afghanistan, and we are perceived as backing thugs, then we are just undermining ourselves" - Major-General Michael T Flynn, senior US military intelligence official in Afghanistan
The newspaper report comes amid deepening concern about growing US troop deaths in Afghanistan, with October going down as the deadliest month since the soldiers were deployed.

The Times quoted Major-General Michael T Flynn, the senior US military intelligence official in Afghanistan, as saying: "If we are going to conduct a population-centric strategy in Afghanistan, and we are perceived as backing thugs, then we are just undermining ourselves."

The ties to Karzai have created deep divisions within the administration of Barack Obama, the US president, according to the newspaper.

The Times says that critics say the relationship complicates Washington's increasingly tense ties with Hamid Karzai, who has struggled to build sustained popularity among Afghans and has long been portrayed by the Taliban as a US puppet.

The CIA's practices, the newspaper reported, also suggest that the US is not doing everything in its power to stamp out the lucrative Afghan drug trade, a major source of revenue for the Taliban.

'Unauthorised operation'

Several US officials the newspaper interviewed said the relationship between Ahmed Wali Karzai and the CIA is wide ranging.

The officials said he helps the CIA to operate the Kandahar Strike Force, an armed group that is used for raids against suspected Taliban fighters.

On at least one occasion, the newspaper reported, the officials said the strike force had been accused of mounting an unauthorised operation against an official of the Afghan government.

The president's brother is also paid for allowing the CIA and US Special Operations soldiers to rent a large compound outside the city - the former home of Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban's founder - The Times said.

The same compound is also the base of the Kandahar Strike Force.

The newspaper quoted a senior US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying: "He's our landlord."

Paul Gimigliano, a CIA spokesman, told The Times: "No intelligence organisation worth the name would ever entertain these kind of allegations."
"Plausible" Denial is the CIA's Primary Tactic for Dealing with Exposure

Karzai brother denies CIA payments
CBC News
October 28, 2009

"Ahmed Wali Karzai, brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, has been on the CIA payroll for the past eight years, according to the New York Times. (Allauddin Khan/Associated Press)The brother of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday denied a report that he received regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency. ... "

BUT ...

"The CIA ties to Karzai — who for months has been suspected of being part of Afghanistan's illegal opium trade — are reported to have created divisions in the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama. ... The Associated Press said a U.S. congressional official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the accuracy of the details in the Times story, saying that some members of Congress have known about the link between Karzai and the CIA 'for some time.' ... "

Ex-Sullivan & Cromwell Associate, Under Investigation for Insider Trading, Commits Suicide

By Mark Hamblett
New York Law Journal
October 28, 2009

An attorney who killed himself in Canada on Monday had leaked insider information while an associate with Sullivan & Cromwell in New York in the 1990s and as a partner in Dorsey & Whitney's Toronto office from 2004 to 2008, according to a complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Attorney Gil I. Cornblum, 39, whose body was found below a bridge in Toronto at 7:16 a.m. on Monday, sent his former law school classmate Stanko J. Grmovsek, 40, material, non-public information on some 40 mergers and acquisitions that he learned about while on the job at both law firms. All told, the two men made $10 million on the scheme, according to the SEC.

Mr. Grmovsek, a self-employed business consultant, pleaded guilty to insider trading charges in a criminal information in Toronto yesterday morning and was then flown to New York, where he waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to commit securities fraud in the form of insider trading before Southern District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald.

Mr. Gromvsek is likely to be sentenced to a prison term of between three years and one month to three tears and 10 months by Judge Buchwald, but only after he is sentenced in Canada.

The SEC complaint filed late yesterday said the conspiracy between the two began in 1994 as Mr. Cornblum fed Mr. Grmovsek information on "at least two mergers involving Canadian Companies." The SEC action arrived at the clerk's office in the Southern District having already settled.

Mr. Cornblum worked as an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York from March 1996 through June 1998. During that time, the SEC said, "Cornblum tipped Grmovsek with material, non-public information on at least 15 pending transactions on which Sullivan was working."

The two close friends, who went to Osgoode Hall School of Law in Toronto and at one point were roommates, took a five-year break in their conspiracy, and then started up again in 2004, sharing information on more than 20 pending transactions Mr. Cornblum learned of while a partner at Dorsey & Whitney between April 2005 and May 2008, when he was fired by the firm. Dorsey & Whitney fired him after he was accused by the Ontario Securities Commission in connection with the insider trading scheme.

Yesterday, with attorney Paul Calli of Carlton Fields in Miami, by his side, Mr. Grmovsek told Judge Buchwald that he split the profits, which the SEC said amounted to $10 million, with Mr. Cornblum.

The SEC complaint details how in the early days of the scheme, Mr. Grmovsek would make "wake-up calls" to Mr. Cornblum at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. so he could get to Sullivan & Cromwell to search for information before other employees arrived.

In the second phase of the conspiracy, when Mr. Cornblum was at Dorsey & Whitney, the SEC alleges he had worked on three of the transactions handled by the firm and learned of the others through file searches of Dorsey's electronic database system, through conversations with other lawyers and through conflict checks.

Mr. Grmovsek, a resident of Woodbridge, Ontario, was released on $100,000 personal recognizance bond and allowed to return to Canada, where he is expected to be sentenced quickly.

Raymond Lohier, chief of the Southern District's securities and commodities fraud task force, is handling the prosecution.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Canada: Ignatieff Brushes off Idea of Inquiry into Mob Scandal

"Quebec ... has been rocked by reports construction companies working together to drive up the price tag on public-works projects, funding political parties with cash, and sharing their profits with the Mafia. ... "

October 27, 2009
The Canadian Press

Michael Ignatieff has become the latest politician to brush off calls for a public inquiry into an alleged an corruption scheme in Quebec involving politicians, construction companies and the Mafia.

The federal Liberal leader said Tuesday that the Quebec government has done a good job appointing a special police unit to investigate allegations of a massive scam, and Ottawa should only step in if there's evidence of federal involvement.

With government spending billions on the most expensive construction program in Canadian history, organized-crime experts say criminal collusion exists in many places where the Mafia operates.

But it's Quebec that has been rocked by reports construction companies working together to drive up the price tag on public-works projects, funding political parties with cash, and sharing their profits with the Mafia.

'Nobody in Canada wants to address the corporate side of organized crime — that the Mafia invests money in legitimate business, are funding political campaigns of candidates.'

A recent poll suggested overwhelming support in the province for an inquiry, and opposition politicians at the provincial and municipal levels have demanded one.

But the federal Liberals have joined the governing Conservatives, the mayor of Montreal and the Quebec provincial government in rebuffing talk of an inquiry.

"This is a matter that the Quebec government is handling well, and it's a matter for police authorities, and they're handling it well," Ignatieff told reporters during a stop in Montreal.

"Should there be federal implications, at that point we can get federal authorities involved, but at the moment, I think the government of [Premier Jean]Charest is doing its homework."

Organize crime entrenched in society

Antonio Nicaso, an expert on the Italian mob, believes Canada has no interest in fighting organized crime, in part, because it's afraid of how entrenched it's become in legitimate society — something Nicaso said is particularly true in Quebec.

"Nobody in Canada wants to address the corporate side of organized crime — that the Mafia invests money in legitimate business, are funding political campaigns of candidates," Nicaso said in an interview.

"I don't think that's something that we want to uncover."

Scott Hennig of the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation supports calls from the Parti Québécois for a public inquiry but believes federal politicians are justified in staying out of what appears, so far, to be a strictly local matter.

Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan has said there's been no evidence of federal stimulus money winding up with the Mob. However, he cautioned that Ottawa doesn't dish out the bucks to construction companies itself.

Infrastructure cash is transferred through federal-provincial arrangements with municipalities that are subject to provincial laws for tendering, he said.

So far, only opposition politicians in Quebec have demanded an inquiry.

The Parti Québécois is expected to present a non-confidence motion against the governing Liberals over the corruption scandal. Since the Liberals hold a majority in the legislature, the motion appears doomed to fail.

New Book: Merchants of Deception - An Insider's Chilling Look at the Worldwide, Multi-Billion Dollar Conspiracy of Lies that is Amway

" ... nearly 99% of all investors suffer financial loss - and sometimes ruin - while Amway generates billions in 'revenues.' ... this financial scam is carried out publicly in well orchestrated recruitment rallies attended by thousands of hopefuls. They are urged to continue in Amway by high-profile Republican politicians, famous motivational speakers and Christian religious leaders, and the crafted presentation of a business hoax audaciously and guilefully portrayed as a legal and viable business model. ... "

Montoursville, PA - Merchants of Deception, a new book released yesterday, offers detailed revelations of a Main Street Ponzi that seems to dwarf Bernard' Madoff's Wall Street fraud in scale and audacity. While much attention is directed at financial investment scams, whistleblower Eric Scheibeler reveals how the very same model of "endless chain" investments is carried out by the Amway Corporation and its high level distributors. He shows that, just as Bernard Madoff escaped scrutiny disguised by high-powered credentials and the camouflage of a legitimate "hedge fund," Amway operates in plain sight as a successful "direct selling company."

As it was ultimately revealed that Madoff had no revenue source other than new investors, Scheibeler shows how Amway's "business model" includes almost no retail sales revenue, just a continuous enrollment of "salespeople" whose personal investments in product purchases and marketing materials provide Amway and its top recruiters with billions ill-gotten revenues. The large-scale losses caused by the fraudulent and unsustainable Ponzi scheme are borne by million or more "losers" who "fail" and quit the scheme each year, only to be replaced by new hopefuls.

Continuous defrauding of new investors enables the Amway scheme to thrive, as the documentation seems to clearly support that nearly 99% of all investors suffer financial loss - and sometimes ruin - while Amway generates billions in "revenues."

As a high level former insider and whistleblower, Scheibeler shows how this financial scam is carried out publicly in well orchestrated recruitment rallies attended by thousands of hopefuls. They are urged to continue in Amway by high-profile Republican politicians, famous motivational speakers and Christian religious leaders, and the crafted presentation of a business hoax audaciously and guilefully portrayed as a legal and viable business model. The plan is fraudulently proclaimed from the stage as a beacon of hope for millions of consumers weakened and desperate from the housing collapse, declining wages, shrinking income and unemployment.

Scheibeler shows how the multibillion dollar fraud is then spread virally, out of sight of the media, in the privacy of homes, between friends and family members, inspired by the false story of the "greatest income opportunity in the world" and the last best hope of the American Dream.

The euphoria and belief of victims are based upon Amway high level leaders' fraudulent promise that each new investor can find wealth and security by recruiting other investors, all of whom can do the same, in a chain that will expand forever.

While the false hopes in the endless chain plan may be seen as merely a popular delusion, Scheibeler's insider account reveals that the catastrophic consequences of the fraud are perfectly understood by the perpetrators at the top of the Amway sales chain and within the company. The blatant deception and the illegality of making the false income claims are also well known to them, Scheibeler charges. This calculated strategy of fraud is protected with an aggressive force of lawyers that sue detractors or whistle-blowers and a powerful lobbying force in Washington to stave off regulation or investigation Amway victim testimonials from over 30 nations. Many of these alleged losses range from small to tens of thousands of dollars, bankruptcy, foreclosure, divorce and multiple suicides. Cult expert and licensed family therapist Steve Hassan has had to do cult interventions for well indoctrinated distributors, as detailed in Merchants of Deception. The author has consulted with the UK government, law enforcement in India and class action law firms when they took action against the Amway scheme.

The purposeful execution of this massive fraud is fully revealed in Scheibeler's own story of what transpired when he presented his realization of the fraud to the company and announced intentions to expose it. Scheibeler was sued, defamed by Amway and/or company distributors.

An individual (not an Amway employee) told Scheibeler told what gun specifically would be used to "take him out" if he made trouble. Even Scheibeler's wife and young son were threatened anonymously on the telephone. Unlike others who were forced into submission or shamed into silence, Eric Scheibeler fought back and stood up to the intimidation. The book Merchants of Deception has been described as "Erin Brockovich on steroids."

"Mr. Scheibeler's book is a chilling portrayal of the process by which intelligent people can persist for years in pursuing the Amway dream while making no money. It is all the more significant because he earned his way to one of the highest distributor levels in the Company . . .

I learned of similar experiences from ex-distributors when I interviewed them for the State of Wisconsin's Amway litigation in the early 80's. Such conditioning may explain why the tax returns (obtained for this litigation) of all active Wisconsin Direct Distributors, the company's top 1%, showed an average net income of minus $900. Why did these men and women persist . .. under these economic circumstances? Eric Scheibeler's book answers this question for those whose minds are clear enough to read its pages."

- BRUCE A. CRAIG, retired Assistant Attorney General,
Wisconsin Department of Justice - Office of Consumer Protection
(This statement is my own and not that of the State of Wisconsin.)

This economy has driven the industry of "business opportunity" to epidemic levels. If you or anyone you care for has been recruited into Nikken, Nuskin, Mannatech, ACN, Herbalife, Tahitian Noni, Morinda, Market America, Arbonne, NSA, Symmetry, Quixtar or any multi level marketing business, this book is a must read.

Merchants of Deception - An Insider's Chilling look at the worldwide, multi-billion dollar conspiracy of lies that is Amway and its motivational organizations.

High level whistle blower and former federal auditor reveals documentation on loss rates for the vast majority of all who are induced to invest in "their own Amway Business". Victims have responded with detailed testimonials of large losses, bankruptcy, foreclosure, divorce and suicides while the owners create billions in net worth, buy the Orlando Magic and name the Amway Arena in Orlando.

NYT Editorial re Torture: "The Cover-Up Continues"

NYT Editorial
October 25, 2009

The Obama administration has clung for so long to the Bush administration’s expansive claims of national security and executive power that it is in danger of turning President George W. Bush’s cover-up of abuses committed in the name of fighting terrorism into President Barack Obama’s cover-up.

We have had recent reminders of this dismaying retreat from Mr. Obama’s passionate campaign promises to make a break with Mr. Bush’s abuses of power, a shift that denies justice to the victims of wayward government policies and shields officials from accountability.

In Britain earlier this month, a two-judge High Court panel rejected arguments made first by the Bush team and now by the Obama team and decided to make public seven redacted paragraphs in American intelligence documents relating to torture allegations by a former prisoner at Guantánamo Bay. The prisoner, Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian-born British national, says he was tortured in Pakistan, Morocco and at a C.I.A.-run prison outside Kabul before being transferred to Guantánamo. He was freed in February.

To block the release of those paragraphs, the Bush administration threatened to cut its intelligence-sharing with Britain, an inappropriate threat that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton repeated. But the court concluded that the actual risk of harm to intelligence-sharing was minimal, given the close relationship between the two countries. The court also found a “compelling public interest” in disclosure, and said that nothing in the disputed seven paragraphs — a summary of evidence relating to the involvement of the British security services in Mr. Mohamed’s ordeal — had anything to do with “secret intelligence.”

The Obama administration has expressed unhappiness with the ruling, and the British government plans to appeal. But the court was clearly right in recognizing the importance of disclosure “for reasons of democratic accountability and the rule of law.” ...