Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Word is the Connecticut Attorney General Might be able to get up off his own ass

Click Here, for what was posted on this blog last Sunday regarding Lyme Disease.

And now this:

November 16, 2006 08:00 AM Eastern Time

Historic Move by CT Attorney General to Investigate IDSA Guidelines Process
Gives Hope to Thousands of Lyme Disease Patients

Statement from Pat Smith, President, Lyme Disease Association

HARTFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The national non-profit Lyme Disease Association (LDA), representing more Lyme disease patients than any organization in the United States, applauds Connecticut State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal for beginning an investigation into the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) Lyme disease guidelines development process.

In an unprecedented move, the Attorney General’s office filed a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) to look into possible anti-trust violations by the IDSA in connection with exclusionary conduct and monopolization in the development of the Lyme guidelines.

Although unprecedented, the LDA feels this action is vitally necessary to protect the welfare of chronic Lyme patients nationwide whose treatments have been impacted by the stance taken by the IDSA. Their guidelines deny the existence of chronic infectious Lyme disease and list as “not recommended” most of the conventional medical treatments prescribed by physicians as well as alternative treatments often chosen by patients for any Lyme manifestation. Even some nutritional supplements should not be an option according to IDSA.

Clinical guidelines now drive the standard of care, and these IDSA guidelines have already been published on the CDC website. They are being used to deny treatment reimbursement and will have a continued chilling effect on the small numbers of treating physicians, since clinical discretion is not recommended in the guidelines.

The October 2006 guidelines do not acknowledge that a complex bacterium such as the Lyme disease spirochete could possibly survive in the body and the brain, evading the immune system and short-term courses of antibiotics, nor do they take into consideration any other professional diagnostic or treatment guidelines such as those published by the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), which discuss chronic disease diagnostic and treatment modalities. The IDSA also refused to allow patient or chronic disease-treating physician input into the guidelines process through the LDA and ILADS, respectively, although both organizations requested to be a part of the process.

The national LDA and its affiliates Time for Lyme (CT) and the California Lyme Disease Association and ILADS, a professional medical organization, had appealed to the Attorney General on behalf of patients and treating physicians. We are encouraged by the issuance of the CID, and we hope that this will lead to actions that will guarantee patients the right to be treated and support physicians’ right to treat using clinical discretion.

The above found here on the web.

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Monday, November 14, 2005

UTSA opens new bioterrorism lab
Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO - A new research lab for bioterrorism opened Monday at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The $10.6 million Margaret Batts Tobin Laboratory Building will provide a 22,000-square-foot facility to study such diseases as anthrax, tularemia, cholera, lyme disease, desert valley fever and other parasitic and fungal diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified these diseases as potential bioterrorism agents. Fifteen university researchers make up the newly established South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Earlier this year, the researchers were awarded $9 million in federal funding for bioterrorism research conducted in a smaller lab on campus.

The above found here on the web, posted on the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation website

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Click Here, for post on The Bush Crime Family Tree

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Click Here for a post on the Bush Family Criminal Syndicate Piggy Bank, The Riggs Bank, fomerly run by Jonathan Bush, George H.W. Bush's brother.

Ex-Riggs Manager Won't Testify About Accounts Senate Panel Probes Money From Equatorial Guinea

By Terence O'Hara and Kathleen DayWashington Post Staff Writers
Friday, July 16, 2004; Page A01

A former Riggs Bank manager yesterday invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer questions from a Senate panel investigating his handling of hundreds of millions of dollars in suspicious transactions for a West African dictator, including why he lugged a 60-pound suitcase stuffed with $3 million in plastic-wrapped cash to Riggs's Dupont Circle branch.

The Senate probe is the latest in a series of investigations into Riggs's once-prestigious embassy banking division, now tarnished by reports that it helped former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet hide millions and that it appears to have allowed its biggest customer, Equatorial Guinea, and that country's president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, to siphon oil revenue into his personal accounts. Despite the fact Obiang and his wife made cash deposits of nearly $13 million over a three-year period into their Riggs accounts, the bank never filed a single suspicious activity report to federal regulators as required by law.

The Senate permanent subcommittee on investigations called four current and former Riggs executives to testify yesterday, after releasing the results of its year-long probe into the bank.

Simon P. Kareri, who managed Riggs's West African business until he was fired in January, was the only executive to assert his right not to testify against himself.

As details unfolded about the relationship of Riggs and Obiang -- whose government has been under scrutiny by international watchdog organizations for corruption and human rights abuses, Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), the ranking minority member whose staff conducted the investigation, leaned over and removed his glasses as he pointedly asked Riggs President Lawrence I. Hebert how he could live with himself.

Referring to a letter sent to Obiang after Riggs officials entertained him at a luncheon at the bank, Levin asked: "How do you write that stuff to a guy who's as abominable as this guy? And knowing that he's abominable?"

Obiang had "a significant amount of money in the bank," Hebert replied, defending the deferential language in the letter, which both he and Riggs Chairman Robert L. Allbritton had signed. "I wanted to see this person."

In addition to the subcommittee's inquiry into Riggs's dealings with Pinochet and Obiang, the full Senate Governmental Affairs Committee is conducting a separate review of the bank's dealings with the Embassy of Saudi Arabia. In May, Riggs was fined $25 million for repeated violations of laws designed to prevent money laundering, particularly in its dealings with the embassies of Saudi Arabia and Equatorial Guinea. Since then, the bank has retained investment bankers to explore a sale of the company.

The probe into Riggs reflects broader concerns in Congress and elsewhere that systems designed to detect suspicious financial transactions may not be adequate for a job that now includes preventing financing for terrorism.

Yesterday's hearing included lengthy questioning of R. Ashley Lee, who was hired by the bank as an executive vice president after retiring from his post as the federal bank examiner in charge of overseeing Riggs.

Levin pressed Lee on his actions as Riggs's examiner-in-charge from 1998 to 2002. Lee contradicted sworn affidavits from two former Riggs examiners under his supervision who told the committee that Lee instructed them to exclude documents detailing Riggs's relationship with Pinochet from a regulatory database. Lee yesterday denied ever giving the instruction.
"I don't remember instructing anyone to do this," Lee said.

Levin said contradictions between Lee's sworn testimony and that of other regulators warrant a review by the Justice Department to determine whether anyone lied. Subcommittee Chairman Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) said through a spokesman yesterday that he plans to refer the matter to the Justice Department to determine whether Lee broke any laws.

"The referral to the Justice Department is a matter for Ashley Lee to address, but what I can tell you is that Ashley Lee has been with Riggs since 2002 and we believe he has conducted himself in an honorable and ethical manner," Riggs spokesman Mark N. Hendrix said.

Yesterday's hearing was the first unscripted public accounting Riggs officials have provided about the growing scandal in its embassy banking division. The bank is shutting down that business.

Much of yesterday's hearing focused on Riggs's eight-year relationship with Equatorial Guinea, a profoundly poor country whose president has been cited by the State Department and various human rights organizations as among the most corrupt and brutal dictators in the world.

Significant amounts of oil were discovered in Equatorial Guinea in the mid-1990s; since 1995 hundreds of millions of dollars in cash from U.S. oil companies poured into "the oil account" the country maintained at Riggs, at one point reaching $700 million. Much of the suspicious activity that was conducted at Riggs by Obiang, his family and other government officials involved this government account, Senate investigators found.

Equatorial Guinea had more than 60 accounts at Riggs. The oil account was the largest, acting as the virtual state treasury. About half of the 60 accounts were private bank accounts for the country's various ministers and their families, with millions of dollars, much of it in cash, moving in and out. All of it was managed by Kareri, the report states.

Riggs helped Obiang create Otong SA, a Bahamas-based company owned by him. From 2000 to 2002, Obiang deposited $11.5 million in cash into this account in increments of $1 million to $3 million. On at least two occasions, a bank employee told subcommittee investigators, Kareri would go to the embassy in Washington and bring back suitcases filled with up to $3 million in $100 bills.

Riggs also accepted cash deposits totaling $1.4 million into accounts held by Obiang's wife, Constancia Nsue. All of the cash deposits were accepted with "no questions asked," according to the subcommittee.

The subcommittee also heard testimony from three major oil companies on their substantial financial relationships with Equatorial Guinea: ExxonMobil Production Co., Amerada Hess Corp. and Marathon Oil Co. All three have oil operations in the country and often contracted, for security and other services, with companies in which the ruling family had an interest.

In addition to the oil account, Riggs managed several accounts funded by oil companies to pay tuition and expenses for Equatorial Guinean nationals studying abroad. Hundreds of thousands of dollars passed into and out of these accounts from 2001 to 2003 to more than 100 students, many of them relatives of the country's top officials.

The executives each said their companies' business relationships with Obiang and his family were not a quid pro quo for being able to extract the country's oil.

Eventually, Riggs hired a former Secret Service agent, David B. Caruso, as its chief compliance officer. Caruso conducted an investigation into the bank's Equatorial Guinea dealings and discovered more than $35 million had been wired out of the country's oil account from 1998 to 2002 to companies with accounts in "jurisdictions with bank secrecy laws."

In other words, Riggs could not identify the destination of the money. Caruso set up a meeting with Equatorial Guinea officials, including Obiang, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown in February to ask about the transfers and other matters. Equatorial Guinea officials declined to answer questions. Soon after, Riggs asked Equatorial Guinea officials to close all their accounts at Riggs.

Kareri had been fired a month earlier, after the bank began questioning him about a $140,000 check made out to a friend of Kareri's by Obiang's son. Investigators at the bank also later discovered that more than $1 million had been transferred out of the oil account to an offshore company controlled by Kareri's wife. According to the Senate report, Kareri "abruptly left the United States and went to EG in January 2004. During his absence, the bank initially suspended and then fired him."

A source familiar with the subcommittee investigations said Kareri returned on his own to the United States. A grand jury in the District is focusing on Riggs's relationship with Equatorial Guinea and is still gathering documents, according to a federal official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

None of the transactions detailed in the report generated suspicious activity reports to law enforcement at the time they were made. Hebert attributed this to the domination of Kareri over the relationship and the lack of internal systems designed to track and identify suspicious transactions.

"I was not aware that they were bringing that amount of cash into the bank," Hebert said, admitting that proper procedures were not followed in the Equatorial Guinea relationship. "[Anti-money-laundering] compliance was a challenge for this bank."

Riggs National Corp., the bank's holding company, is considering offers to buy the bank. Cleveland's National City Corp., Pittsburgh's PNC Financial Services Group Inc., Mercantile Bankshares Corp. of Baltimore, and M&T Bank Corp. of Buffalo all have expressed interest, according to a source close to the negotiations who asked not to be identified because of ongoing talks.

Riggs's stock price closed yesterday at $22.67, up 17 cents, as investors anticipate its likely sale. Riggs is scheduled to release second-quarter results next week.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

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Riggs Bank and 9/11

The Riggs Bank Scandal: Pinochet, the CIA, the Saudis, 9/11 and ... of course... Jonathan Bush!

by Ted Kahl on 01/18/2005 5:01pm.

- revised 01/18/2005 8:07pm

Speaking of Bush's my personal favorite of the last four years -- the Riggs Bank scandal. Jack Shafer has written some recent articles about Riggs Bank's long relationship with the CIA (going back to the Bay of Pigs, and later, a CIA operation in Iran), based on an investigation by Wall Street Journal writer Glenn Simpson. (See "The CIA and Riggs Bank: A Wall Street Journal story that the press gang should chase" and "The Spook Bank")

Most articles about Riggs focus on the Pinochet accounts, but downplay the Saudi accounts -- and outright ignore the 9/11 connection. And of course, these articles almost never mention that Uncle Jonathan Bush is a top Riggs executive. Back when we wrote our "Top Bush Scandals of 2003", we included this mention of Riggs Bank under our #4 scandal, "The 9/11 Coverup".

First the White House dragged out the release of the entire 800-page congressional report on 9/11. Then they redacted the key 28 pages about Saudi financing of the 9/11 attacks. What deeply damaging information is in these 28 pages?...Do these 28 pages establish if Saudi Princess Al-Faisal, wife of longtime Bush family friend Prince Bandar, did in fact fund two of the hijackers? Do they reveal if those funds came from her Riggs Bank account where Bush's uncle Jonathan is a director?

At this point, we can only guess. Interestingly, when the Saudi Embassy got wind of the FBI investigation into the Princess' finances, they sent over employees to review the checks issued from her bank account. Did Riggs officials help the Saudis scrub the records?

Do these 28 pages follow the money trail back from those same two hijackers -- Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaq al-Hazmi -- to Omar al-Bayoumi? Al-Bayoumi is the Saudi "student" who received $3000 per month from Hamid al-Rashid, a top official of the Saudi Civil Aviation authority, whose son is linked to Al Qaeda.

Did al-Rashid develop the sophisticated plan for the hijackings in collaboration with Al Qaeda?For more about Riggs Bank, enter "riggs" at our old search engine.

IMHO, this really is THE great ignored scandal of the last four years. Have you ever heard it mentioned on the Nightly News???

The above found here on the net


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