Friday, March 30, 2007

Presidential Quality Control?

If you draw a paycheck, or have earned your keep anytime in your life, you’ve had someone over your shoulder, a boss.

We the People are supposed to be the boss, we pay taxes, and we pay the salaries of elected and other officials from the US President on down.

Does the President really have anyone looking over his shoulder? What would have prevented the Iran Contra or the Monica Lewinsky scandal?

What if the local librarian, trash collector, or town “pain in the ass” could look over the President’s shoulder for us, report to us, and be the alter ego that keeps a President honest? This person would have no real power other than information and the free spread of it. Obviously exposing the names of CIA undercover operatives would not be covered under the “free” spread of information to the public.

I think all towns and districts of a certain size range based on the number of people should be instituted, for proposed legislation, to vote for someone with no political affiliations or special interests to be our Presidential watchdog/advocate. This person would be elected by a small group.

A national lottery could be held for the winner of all these contests to be picked purely by chance to oversee the President, Vice President, cabinet, and others in their daily routine. This individual would have total access, would have no powers, but with immunity could “leak” all stories he or she chose to, to media, bloggers, or the world, with clearly defined exceptions, with penalties starting at income docking for our advocate, with the maximum being removal, except for clear criminal activity.

Fun could be had, Americans would be in less danger traveling abroad, and we the people might get a start on getting our money’s worth and just a little respect for all that WE do, if we could get legislation passed that put some ethics back into office, curbing our current Culture of Corruption.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Officer Felony Sexual Assault

I think there ought to be a law regarding police officers not having any sexual contact or gratification on the job, while being paid with tax dollars. This practice should end for better quality officers and law enforcement.

A victim of trauma could have seconds to live, so officers otherwise involved could mean life or death.

By making sex on the job, a felony, the non-consensual sex that police officers are engaged in would be curbed as would other forms of police misconduct, especially in States like Connecticut.

Most police misconduct is not investigated and victims of police brutality, rape, and other crimes, fear being victimized again by other officers out to protect a "brother".

If a police officer can be charged with felony theft for the gas used to go home at lunch time, why shouldn't sex on the job also be a felony?

Underage girls plied for sex by officers supplying alcohol or drugs would be curbed.

There would be less incentive to "skim" drugs off of a bust.

Officers with illegal drugs on them off duty would have a harder time explaining everything away.

Accounting for police officer's "informant money" would keep officers from using it to gamble, paying informants to kill or beat up citizens that make police misconduct complaints. [example]

Officers should not be able to steal from the "till" to commit crimes.

Women being "allowed to negotiate" out of drug charges or a DUI would be curbed.

Sex is cop currency. A lot of cops would not have gone dirty had they feared felony arrests for getting in entry level, going bad for cops.

If police officers are driving and do not have their emergency lights flashing they are supposed to obey traffic laws too. Officers should have to write themselves tickets when flashed down by a civilian for officer infractions, there ought to be a law for this procedure to exist. It should taken an officer driving on the wrong side of the interstate smashing into a bus for an officer to be charged with driving infractions. [example]

Police Officers need quality control, just like food products, or they spoil or are served "tainted".

Civilian Oversight of Police is needed nationally.

Ritt Goldstein fled to Sweden seeking political asylum after proposing Civilian Oversight of Police. [his video] Ritt assembled victims and international experts on the subject to testify in front of the Connecticut Judiciary Committee Legislators at the Hartford Capitol.

I ask the new Connecticut State Police Commissioner John A. Danaher III., "What about crimes committed by Police Officers?" [here]

[click here] for a post on the Connecticut State Police "Goon Squad" which includes pictures.

This post accepts anonymous comments. To share this post just click on white envelope below.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Military beefs up Internet arsenal

USA Today Excerpt:

"Our opponents do a heck of a lot more than just watch us in cyberspace," Davis said. "They are acting in cyberspace. We need to develop options so that we can … dominate cyberspace."

Cyberattacks can take different forms, including eliminating terrorist websites and creating doubts among insurgents about their networks' security, said Arquilla, who favors an offensive approach he calls a "virtual scorched-earth policy." [more]

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Those that are politically active may notice websites and blogs in the US critical of Bush's regime and corruption can be hacked and attacked. Others are taken down by nervous website hosting services when they receive a "target letter". The Intelligence Community and Law Enforcement should do their jobs. They should also be reminded and be required to act Constitutionally when dealing with American citizens.

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[click here] for post on some of George W. Bush's relatives

[click here] for:

Louis Giuffrida

Louis O. Giuffrida

War Games?

US Navy starts war games in Gulf
The USS Dwight D Eisenhower in the Gulf
The USS Dwight D Eisenhower is off the coast of Iran
The US Navy has begun its most extensive manoeuvres in the Gulf region since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but denies sabre-rattling aimed at Iran.

Two aircraft carriers, plus their strike groups, have sailed to the region and have begun war games involving as many as 100 US war planes.

The exercises follow Iran's capture of 15 British navy personnel, and high tension over its nuclear programme.

The US Navy said the exercises were not meant to exert pressure on Iran.

US Navy Commander Kevin Aandahl, based with the US Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, across the Gulf from Iran, said: "What it should be seen as by Iran or anyone else is that it's for regional stability and security.

"These ships are just another demonstration of that. If there's a destabilising effect, it's Iran's behaviour."

You can't fly missions over Afghanistan from the Gulf because you'd have to fly over Iran
Lt-Cmdr Charlie Brown

Each US strike group incorporates an aircraft carrier, a submarine and four or five frigates or destroyers.

The exercises involve more than 10,000 US personnel on warships and aircraft making simulated attacks on enemy shipping with aircraft and ships, hunting enemy submarines and finding mines, the Associated Press reported.

'No pressure'

Meanwhile the two groups are also supporting operations and flying missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower is in the Gulf, within reach of Iraq, while pilots on the John C Stennis, in the Arabian Sea, are flying sorties over Afghanistan.

"You can't fly missions over Afghanistan from the Gulf because you'd have to fly over Iran," explained Lieutenant-Commander Charlie Brown.

Also in the Arabian Sea is a French carrier group, led by the Charles de Gaulle, which is flying missions to Afghanistan.

France is part of the European troika that has been pressing Iran to halt uranium enrichment - a plea it has rejected.

However, Lt-Cmdr Bertrand Bonneau, chief of press for the French navy, said the deployment had "nothing at all" to do with exerting pressure on Iran.

Positions are approximate
USS Dwight D Eisenhower in the Gulf, supporting operations in Iraq
USS John C Stennis in the northern Arabian Sea, flying missions over Afghanistan
French carrier Charles de Gaulle also supporting Nato's Afghan operation from the Arabian Sea

State Trooper Charged In Wrong-Way Crash

Vehicle Hit Tour Bus On Bay State Turnpike
March 28, 2007
By TRACY GORDON FOX, Hartford Courant Staff Writer [Connecticut]

A state police sergeant who crashed his department vehicle into a tour bus on the Massachusetts Turnpike this month has had his police powers suspended after he was charged in the incident by state police in Westfield, Mass.

Sgt. Daniel Herman, 46, of East Hartland, was given a summons by Massachusetts State Police for operating to endanger, wrong way driving, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, police said. He is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Westfield today for a hearing to determine whether he will be tried on those charges, police said.

Police are still investigating how the crash occurred, including whether it was done intentionally. It was not clear why Herman was driving the wrong way on the turnpike during the daytime.

Herman, who was a supervisor at Troop W at the airport, was driving west on I-90, the Massachusetts Turnpike, on March 9 at 1:22 p.m. on the wrong side of the road, Massachusetts state police said.

His 1997 Ford Explorer collided with the left front of a motor coach bus, driven by Phillip Bourget, 60, of Worcester, police said. The bus then spun around and struck a Saab sedan driven by Michelle Koenig, of New Hampshire.

Herman, Bourget and a child passenger in Koenig's car suffered minor injuries and were treated and released at a hospital in Westfield, police said.

Lt. J. Paul Vance, spokesman for the Connecticut State Police, said Herman's police powers have been suspended pending an investigation by Massachusetts State Police. His gun and vehicle have been taken from him, Vance said.

When he returns from injury leave, he will be placed on administrative duty, pending the criminal charges and a subsequent internal affairs investigation, Vance said.

Herman is a veteran state trooper who was promoted to sergeant in 2001.

Contact Tracy Gordon Fox at

Click link below to read the Hartford Courant's reader's comments:

Read all 6 comments »

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[click here] for:

Connecticut's "Worthless" Police

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Every child to be screened for risk of turning criminal under Blair justice plan

· Police would demand DNA samples from all suspects
· Tories condemn strategy as 'nanny state gone mad'

Alan Travis, home affairs editor
Wednesday March 28, 2007
The Guardian

Young people gather on an estate in Bristol
Young people gather on an estate in Bristol. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty

A new-style "11-plus" to assess the risk every child in Britain runs of turning to crime was among a battery of proposals unveiled in Tony Blair's crime plan yesterday.

The children of prisoners, problem drug users and others at high risk of offending will also face being "actively managed" by social services and youth justice workers. New technologies are to be used to boost police detection rates while DNA samples are to be taken from any crime suspect who comes into contact with the police.

What about Crimes Committed by Police?

John A. Danaher III speaks before the Connecticut Joint Committee on Executive and Legislative Nominations on his confirmation as Commissioner of Public Safety.

Mar. 20, 2007

Copyright 2007, Hartford Courant

The Connecticut State Police, and all of our nation's police need, Civilian Oversight where there are honest investigations into police misconduct and where citizens are not intimidated out of Free Speech and their Quality of Life for wanting honest government.

If police have no incentives to investigate routine calls in and complaints, why even bother investigating police misconduct complaints? In Connecticut, the Connecticut State Police have a policy of "Arrest and Discredit" regarding those that lodge police misconduct complaints. Will Connecticut's newest police commissioner be of the same "old guard"? Should cops be allowed to be too arrogant and lazy to do their jobs?

Is "Gay Bashing" still going on within the ranks of the Connecticut State Police? [more]

If police are arranging hits, raping, and robbing, how can we get them to investigate crimes? [more]

Will the new Connecticut State Police Commissioner have the "balls" and ethics to investigate the alleged crimes, citizen abuse, obstruction of justice, racketeering, and fraud allegedly committed by Arthur L. Spada, a former Connecticut State Police Commissioner?

[click here] for the crimes I am still waiting for the Governor, the Commissioner of the Connecticut State Police, and the Connecticut Attorney General to initiate investigations on.

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[click here] for more of the below:

Connecticut's "Worthless" Police

Sex, Violence and Politics, aka The Smolinski Case

by CTNJ Webmeister | March 26, 2007 10:44 AM
Posted to Legal

Jim Brewer photo
Jim Brewer photo

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The Hartford Courant reports on the latest Connecticut State Police scandal [here]

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Oh My God!

John Murphy photo

From "Public Enemy" on the Connecticut State Police secret "Enemies List", Kenneth Krayeske went from arrested, defendant facing prison, to having his picture taken with the Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell, like everything is better. [click here] for story on Connecticutnewsjunkie

[click here] for an earlier Stark Raving Viking post on Ken

From my past:
[blast 1], [blast 2], [blast 3]

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Spies of a Police State

New York police spied broadly before 2004 GOP convention

Published: Saturday March 24, 2007

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"For at least a year before the 2004 Republican National Convention, teams of undercover New York City police officers traveled to cities across the country, Canada and Europe to conduct covert observations of people who planned to protest at the convention, according to police records and interviews," the New York Times will report.

Records show that in hundreds files labeled "NYPD Secret," the NYPD intelligence operations "chronicled the views and plans of people who had no apparent intention of breaking the law."

The files included members church and anti-war groups, environmentalists, and even three New York City elected officials.

In some cases, records of lawful activities were shared with police departments in other states.

Excerpts from the report follow:


From Albuquerque to Montreal, San Francisco to Miami, undercover New York police officers attended meetings of political groups, posing as sympathizers or fellow activists, the records show.

They made friends, shared meals, swapped e-mail messages and then filed daily reports with the department's Intelligence Division. Other investigators mined Internet sites and chat rooms.

From these operations, run by the department's "RNC Intelligence Squad," the police identified a handful of groups and individuals who expressed interest in creating havoc during the convention, as well as some who used Web sites to urge or predict violence.



A Nazi Style Police State in the Making

[click here] for Connecticut's State Police Goon Squad Spies for keeping minorities, white trash, and dissenters in check.

the below found here

1931: Sleepwalking Security

M (1931)
Directed by Fritz Lang
110 min.; Germany; Black and White; Mono

Note: this isn't my typical type of post. In fact, it's not really a blog post at all. It's a sneak peak at an article-in-progress. Actually it started out as a paper and I'm slowly transforming it into an article. In the meantime it needs a home where I can continue to flesh it out. Please be aware that it contains spoilers for all four movies. As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.

In January 1933, the National Socialist German Workers Party, led by Adolf Hitler, ascended to power in Germany and struck to undo all of the perceived ills of the Weimar Republic's post-war modernist society. Detection of criminals, as perceived by the Third Reich (political or otherwise), depended on a vigilant network of citizen informants ready to denounce their neighbors as Jews, "bolshies," murderers, subversives, spies, etc. Recent research has shown that police surveillance of public and private behavior in Nazi Germany relied on spontaneous denunciations by a significant minority of the population. The Secret State Police, the Gestapo, depended on a culture of mutual public surveillance in order to exert state dominance over German citizens. However, denunciations, defined as "spontaneous communications from individual citizens to the state...containing accusations of wrongdoing by other citizens or officials and implicitly or explicitly calling for punishment," predate Nazi Germany. Mutual surveillance as a public practice was developed and promoted by police officials in Germany before the Nazi period and was a stated goal of the Berlin police in the Weimar Republic (1919-1933). Some of the best filmmakers working in Germany in the Weimar period made films that reveal an awareness of this phenomenon. Robert Weine, Joe May, F.W. Murnau and Fritz Lang were familiar enough with it to weave key scenes around it in some of their most important works: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Asphalt, The Last Man and M respectively.1

CaligariThe public’s role as observer and informer is explored in the first artistic film success of the Weimar era. Robert Weine’s Das Kabinett des Dr. Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari 1920) illustrates that memory is unreliable and can produce alternate versions of events that diverge from reality in crucial ways. It also examines the consequences of the public’s role as observers and informers. For most of the film a young student named Francis (Friedrich Feher) tells a fellow the story of Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss), a mad hypnotist who fiendishly keeps a somnambulist (Conrad Veidt) under his control and forces the hypnotized subject to unknowingly commit a string of murders in Holstein during the annual carnival. The terror-stricken public denounce a known criminal for the murders and inform the police who throw the man in jail. In fact, he’s innocent of the crimes and the murders continue. Weine’s use of extremely unrealistic, expressionist sets—trapezoidal doorways, streets that meet at a point in the distance, shadows painted on floors and walls—help us to understand that we’re seeing, and feeling, events as imagined in Francis’s mind not as they actually are. In the latter part of the film, a second narrative frames the first and reveals that reality is quite different from what we’ve been watching: Dr. Caligari is actually the benevolent director of the state asylum and Francis, his accuser, is a mad patient under the doctor’s care. Perhaps this framing reality was added to the picture as politically motivated censorship to prevent an authority figure (Dr. Caligari) from being shown as a raving serial murderer, or perhaps it is merely an ingenious plot twist. But, regardless of why this framing reality was added to the picture it provokes a question apropos of the uncertainty that pervaded Weimar society: who do you believe? The man making accusations may be guilty of the very crime that he is accusing someone else of committing. Caligari can be seen as an allegory of the battles by disparate political groups waged for control of Weimar politics which were fought by blaming each other for that society’s ills (the extreme leftists blamed the corporate capitalists, the extreme right blamed the Jews, everybody blamed the ruling social democrats, etc., but who was right?). Moreover, it reveals that as early as 1919, the year that the film was in production, filmmakers in Germany were already criticizing the wisdom of relying on public accusations because those accusations could be wrong. Not only is the wrong man thrown in jail for the murders in Caligari but the man accusing Dr. Caligari of insanity and murder is mad himself. It is important to consider that the alternate version of events in Caligari—Francis is actually mad not the Doctor—is never explained in the inter-titles; only by closely following the events onscreen do we understand how reality has diverged. In this way Weine avoids becoming an authoritarian or an instructor and lets his audience decide the truth about accuser and criminal for themselves. 2

In Der Letzte Mann (The Last Man), a 1924 film by F.W. Murnau, Germans in a working class neighborhood of Berlin do not denounce a criminal for illegal activity but rather they publicly deride a fellow citizen for losing his job and social status. The film centers around a once proud porter (Emil Jannings) for the extravagant Hotel Atlantic in Berlin who is downgraded to a bathroom attendant after being told he’s too old for any other job at the Hotel. The sadness he feels over the loss of his job and self-respect is insignificant compared with the shame and humiliation heaped upon him by his neighbors when they surveil the porter’s niece (Maly Delschaft), eavesdrop on her conversations, learn about the turnabout in his fortunes, and spread the word among the worker’s quarter that he’s been reduced to doing menial labor. The tables are turned again in a plot twist, a happy-ending narrative concession admitted as such in the film’s only inter-title. A chance meeting transforms the bathroom attendant into a millionaire, and he is embraced by the rich and famous who are charmed by newspaper accounts of his sudden rise to riches. While the screenplay doesn’t involve spying to inform the police, it clearly demonstrates the consequences of a citizenry amenable to mutual surveillance, and public accusatory behavior albeit here denouncing the loss of social standing rather than criminal activity. In addition, the sudden acceptance he receives from this previously scornful public after his unexpected windfall is reported in the newspapers suggests that Murnau is criticizing the public as fickle and easily manipulated by the press—perfect fodder for the police to enlist as observers and informants.

AsphaltIf ordinary citizens readily assume the responsibility of surveilling each other what happens if they take a step beyond observing or publicly accusing and assume the role of police by apprehending those accused? Some filmmakers used questions like this one to both criticize such behavior and construct narratives in a new type of crime picture set in the city streets of Berlin where the problems of modernity clashed with lives of everyday citizens. For example, director Joe May and screenwriters Hans Székely and Rolf E. Vanloo use public accusation and seizure to bring the main characters together in Asphalt (1929). After attractive grifter Elsa Kramer (Betty Amann, looking very Clara Bowish) charms her way out of a jeweler’s shop with a sizable stone hidden in her umbrella it is the crowds packing Berlin’s nighttime streets who respond to the jeweler’s cries of “stop thief!” rather than the police (who is busy directing traffic; a lone man in a sea of automobiles). The masses of people and commotion of Weimar Berlin not only provide Kramer with opportunities to commit her crimes, but also result in her capture due to a vigilant public ready to act. The angry citizens surround Kramer, pressing in on all sides until she is swallowed up by the masses and her protests are all but drowned by their accusations. Only then does traffic cop Holk (Albert Steinruck) take notice and intervene on her behalf. May shows us that the public and not the police discover and detain the suspect. However once the crowd has her surrounded and in its control May has them appear so agitated that we feel that they’re only moments away from doing something drastic and we're relieved when the authorities arrive in the form of Officer Holk to ensure that justice prevails. We know that she’s guilty of the accusations, but we're strangely reassured when the power over her fate transfers from an emotional, unpredictable mob to the rational investigating techniques of the state police (though the films plays with that notion later). May, Székely and Vanloo are critical of the public taking agency in surveilling fellow citizens in so far as the results of such surveillance can be dangerous when the public confuses its role as observers and informers with the role of the police as law enforcers.


Fritz Lang’s M (1931) is, perhaps, Weimar’s most often discussed critique of Germany’s publicized system of surveillance and denunciation. A serial murderer (Peter Lorre) is loose in Berlin and Lang shows us how public fear lets the accusations fly. Old friends accuse each other over dinner, a petty criminal is accosted by a violent crowd (until the police arrive a la Asphalt), people accuse anonymous strangers, deranged individuals even accuse themselves and try to turn themselves into the police. Still, the murderer evades detection. Lang adds another question to the issue: is voluntary fascism preferable to an ineffectual police force? A pack of known criminals organize a vigilante syndicate to keep Berlin under surveillance, ostensibly providing security but ultimately resulting in injustice because if the criminals assume the role of the police who will make sure that they operate within the law? In addition, the criminal syndicate’s motives are entirely self-serving because they want to get back to committing crimes against the people of Berlin themselves. Instead of turning the killer over to the authorities once they capture him, this pack of thieves, forgers, and cutthroats led by an accused murderer hold a kangaroo court (for their own amusement and satisfaction, like the crowds that gather to watch a lynching) and intend to execute him. As in all of the movies we’ve discussed, the authorities arrive at the very last moment (reminiscent of the arrival of the cavalry in a Hollywood western) and the killer is sentenced by the proper authorities after a trial. Lang’s final statement in the film however adds a new motivation for M. A grieving mother looks into the camera and remarks, “This won’t bring our children back. We must watch over our children better.” Lang appears to be suggesting that neither public surveillance nor trusting our security to any political group (in M the syndicate of criminals makes a fitting stand-in for the Nazis) will make us safe; our welfare and that of our children is ultimately our own personal responsibility—an acceptable alternative to the dangers of mutual surveillance as the twisted motives and actions of the syndicate illustrate.

In Fritz Lang Interviewed by William Friedkin (1974), Lang explained his intentions with M by comparing it to Fury (1936), a film he made in Hollywood about a man who barely escapes from a lynch mob: "[Lynching] is an evil, but I cannot change it," he said. "I can only point it out." Likewise Murnau, May, Lang and Weine couldn’t change the culture of mutual surveillance and denunciation that they saw spreading around them, but as filmmakers they could make their audiences aware of it.


1. For recent work on denunciation practices in pre-war Germany, see Sace Elder, "Murder, Denunciation and Criminal Policing in Weimar Berlin," Journal of Contemporary History 41.3 (2006). Elder argues that mutual surveillance began in the Weimar era and set the stage for a "culture of denunciation" that flourished in the Nazi and GDR periods; definition of denunciation quoted from Sheila Fitzpatrick and Robert Gellately, "Introduction to the Practices of Denunciation in Modern European History" in Fitzpatrick and Gellately (eds), Accusatory Practices: Denunciation in Modern European History, 1789–1989 (Chicago 1997): 21.

2. David A. Cook, A History of Narrative Film (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2004), 93-94. Cook suggests that Fritz Lang, the initial choice for director, revised the original Caligari screenplay, at the request of producer Erich Pommer, adding the framing reality narrative to contrast the Expressionist look of the rest of the film. However, Lang’s name doesn’t appear in the film’s credits and Cook doesn't reveal his source for the information. Siegfried Kracauer argues that Weine added the framing device for commercial reasons against the wishes of Caligari's authors. See From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological Examination of The German Film (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1947), 66.

Israel, Spies, and the Drug Trade into the US?

the below found here

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Carl Cameron of FOX news did a series in 2002 on Israeli artists who were in the US before 9/11. Cameron thought there were as many as 140 passing themselves off as art students. What is interesting is that two of them came to Miami directly from Hamburg, a city where Mohammed Atta had been and where he retained many ties. Several were working for three Israeli corporations in the U.S. Some were active military and others had the skills one would expect spies to have. They knew how to run polygraph machines and were good with communications. One had been the bodyguard of the head of the Israeli army and the other was the son of a two star general. Another was a former military intelligence agent. Their cover story was that they were here to establish art studios. Some of them failed polygraph tests after 9/11. It is likely they were tracking would-be Arab terrorists. Cameron thought this was the case, but added that his sources told him they were not sharing what they knew. FOX is an odd place to find this kind of information, but the lead is worth pursuing. There is clear evidence that high Mossad officials came to Washington before 9/11 to deliver a grave warning, but one cannot expect FOX to add that part of the story. Cameron admitted that a grave warning was given but wondered if it was accompanied with useful details. Government sources assured him that the warnings were only general.

A November 23, 2001 New York Times story told about 60 Israelis being detained here after 9/11. Le Monde reported on March 6, 2002 that they actually numbered more than a hundred. It added that about 120 were expelled. In June, 1999, Insight magazine reported that Division Five of the FBI had found Israelis tapping White House lines. Apparently, the FBI was also aware of this large spy ring before 9/11.

The Israeli agents seemed to cluster where the terrorists were and in places where drug money was being laundered. The Israelis seemed to be organized into teams of 8 to 10 agents. Often the agents were found in federal buildings and top secret military bases.. The terrorists were probably using drug money as well as the funds that were wired in to them. It is interesting that it was the DEA that first became aware of the activities of the Israeli artists and began to track them. The report showed that the Israelis often were addresses very close to where the terrorists were staying. Coincidence? The DEA report on their activities, what art they bought, etc. is incredibly detailed The British and European press assumed the DEA started watching the Israelis, thinking they were peddling Ecstasy, as some claim that US authorities have farmed out this franchise in the US to Mossad. This cannot be proven, but it can be shown that Mossad has shared the drug trade in southern California with US agencies.

The DEA and Justice Department actually started deporting the Israelis in April, 2001—before the 9/11 attack. The Israelis had a good handle on at lest fcour ofc the terrorists. When the Israelis caught up with two in Hollywood, Florida, the DEA nabbed them and they were deported. At one point the Justice Department threatened to hold “dozens” indefinitely, but in the end they were all released.

Those who deny that the Israelis were spies rely on the fact that the DEA report does not say they were spies. They also note that other Israelis were deported after 9/11 because they lacked proper papers. Finally, it is noted that the intelligence people who usually feed information to the mainstream press are denying there is any significance to the Israeli art students story.

Less than an hour after the first blast at the Trade Center, East Rutherford New Jersey police arrested five Israelis who had been in a white Chevrolet van described in an FBI alert (BOLO) twenty-five minutes before. The Bergen Record offered a different time frame but the same essential information. The FBI spotted them at Liberty State Park. Money, marked maps of the and multiple passports were found in the van. They were videotaping the collapse of the World Trade Center. They were seen giving themselves high fives when the first plane hit. One of them refused to take a lie detector test and subsequently failed when he did submit to one. The van belonged to Urban Moving Systems , whose owner fled to Israel two days later. In the company’s warehouse, investigators found traces of anthrax, fertilizer, and pipes. A number of computers were removed. Much later, The Forward confirmed that two them were spies and that the moving company was a front. An ABC investigation revealed in 2002 that the FBI assumed the agents were in the US to track terrorists. The FBI quickly shut down its investigation, allegedly on orders from the White House.

There is good evidence that another Israeli surveillance team was attached to the World Trade Center. That might help explain why the movers were pleased with themselves. They had gotten the event on tape and may have beaten the other team. One of the movers assumed the Palestinians had done it. He told the police “We are Israelis” and that the police should be worrying about Palestinians. Maybe the observation and documentation force was separated from the agents who were tracking Al Qaeda.

Anti-Semites are quick to conclude that the Israel is behind the bombing or somehow in league with Al Qaeda. A New Jersey police official suggested the latter as did one DEA officer. A variant of this theme is that Mossad was somehow helping US intelligence stage the hit. After all, Mossad has been partner to many US black Ops in the past. But there is no evidence that Mossad took any steps to help the hijackers.

It has been confirmed that two employees of the Odigo Company , an Israeli firm near the WTC, received text messages hours before the attack warning that the WTC would be hit. The story appeared in Ha'aretz, an Israeli paper and was later confirmed by that source. This does not mean the hit was an Israeli plot; it probably means an Israeli agent was worried about some friends.

On September 4, 2001, Zim-American Israeli Shipping Co. moved from the WTC to Norfolk. But they had announced the move before and they had ten emp[loyees in the building on September 11. Fortunately they escaped. Daniel Lewin, a former Mosad agent and passenger on Flight 11, was reportedly killed on the plane but reports differ on how he was killed.

Similarly, it is difficult to believe that after all this surveillance of Al Qaeda suspects that Mossad confined itself to very general warnings. That probably could have been done by relying on a few agents in Hamburg, Greater New York, and Florida. Another possibility, though very remote, is that the Mossad agents were simply inept and turned up very little.

One could not be blamed for concluding that Mossad gave the US good leads on what Al Qaeda was up to and that for some reason or other, the US did not pursue the leads. Many times in the past, Mossad has possessed very damaging information about US operations, and it is likely that the existence of such information has given Israel great influence over some US administrations. Perhaps there was not enough time to debate whether the renewed “hold” on investigating suspicious Saudis should be lifted. Perhaps there was simply more ineptitude on the part of the FBI. One cannot remove the possibility that some in government saw that a terrorist attack would have political benefits, including fueling a new and aggressive program to create a new American century. The troub le with accepting the last possibility is that it makes one a conspiracy theorist. Far better to remain respectable and believe Condi Rice’s pronouncements.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Sheriffs Sell Crack Cocaine / Date-Rape Drugs

Michael Ruppert confronts CIA director about Drug Laundering

Text with video: Michael Ruppert from confronts Bill Clinton's CIA Director John Deutch about the CIA's involvement in cocaine smuggling. He goes further in this documentary in detail about how exactly drug money is laundered into Wall Street. He concludes that 9/11 was orchestrated as a pretense to further Wall Street's cause of laundering opium money from Afghanistan and America's conquest in securing the world's natural resources in the face of PEAK OIL.

Covert Actions Against American Citizens Living in America

Text with the video: Members of the Church Committee, which investigated the FBI's COINTELPRO, talk about covert actions against American citizens living in America.

[click here] for more on this theme

Smith Act

[click here] for definition
Excerpt: The Act was proposed by Congressman Howard W. Smith of Virginia, a Democrat who supported the poll tax (a mechanism for keeping certain ethnic groups from voting) and was a leader of the "anti-labor" bloc of Congressmen. It was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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Should citizens be arrested and put in prison for reading and understanding communist works? Reading something doesn't mean you agree with it, and if you do, so what. What are the new tricks of the Bush Regime to curb Free Speech?

The Investigation of William Mandel by Sen. Joseph McCarthy

Text with above YouTube video: THIS IS THE COMPLETE VERBATIM SOUNDTRACK OF THE HEARING: On March 23, 1954, at the height of the Cold War, with the US fighting China in Korea, and the Rosenbergs facing electrocution, Senator Joseph McCarthy, Republican of Wisconsin, investigated William Mandel, author of several scholarly books about the USSR which were in State Department Information Service Libraries. Mandel's unprecedent critical responses to McCarthy's interrogation were seen on nationwide television by an estimated 40 million viewers.

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Maintenance of National Security and the First Amendment [click here]

[click here] for my reasons to dislike George W. Bush and his regime.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Yo Yo Ma plays Ennio Morricone (2)

Clint Eastwood in the duel scene of the "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"

The Good, the Bad & the Radkes

These high school students during a talent show tear it up. I'd love to buy them their first legal beer.

Ennio Morricone - The Good, the bad and the ugly (concert)

short, but wonderful clip

Ennio Morricone "Abolicao". Live in Warsaw, Poland

[click here] for The SRV

Justice and being in the News

Kenneth Krayeske, the political activist and blogger whose Jan. 3 arrest raised concerns over civil rights issues and the actions of police, won dismissal Wednesday of the charges against him in Hartford Superior Court.

Jan. 30, 2007

Copyright 2007, Hartford Courant

If you are wronged in the courts and are a target of police, falsely arrested, little is done unless you are front page news. Newspaper and television reporters are the only checks and balances left. Judges have qualified immunity and "protect the integrity" of the system with helping out in cover ups and official retaliation. The below story highlights the existence of a domestic spying program where police target those on their secret "Enemies Lists" for arrests for the "Enemy" to end up in prison for having tested Free Speech or for wanting just representation for taxation.

I believe I was on such a list of what I wrote about Connecticut State Police misconduct in letters to the editor printed in newspapers, for having proposed Civilian Oversight of Police to legislators, for telling local legislators that I intended to sue police for violating my rights, for trying to have Judge Jonathan J. Kaplan removed from the bench for bias in civil cases, and for not agreeing to rent to only Whites in the apartment houses I used to own.
-Steven G. Erickson aka blogger Vikingas [more of this story]


Charges Dismissed Against Krayeske

11:59 AM EDT, March 21, 2007
By JON LENDER, Courant Staff Writer
Kenneth Krayeske, the political activist and blogger whose Jan. 3 arrest while taking pictures of Gov. M. Jodi Rell's inauguration parade raised concerns over civil rights issues and the actions of police, won dismissal Wednesday of the charges against him in Hartford Superior Court.

Prosecutors at first offered only to nolle the charges of breach of peace and interfering with police -- that is, to not prosecute them but reserve the right to reopen the case for about a year -- on the grounds that Hartford police were in a "no-win" situation because they would have been strongly criticized if something happened to Rell.

But Krayeske's lawyer, Norman Pattis, pushed for an outright dismissal, saying it was Krayeske who was in the "no-win" situation because he was a nonviolent citizen exercising his First Amendment right by taking pictures of Rell for his website,

Pattis added that Krayeske should not have been identified as a threat to Rell, as he was by the state police, in a two-page security flier they prepared for police on parade patrol. The flier included information about Krayeske's past public criticism of the governor and two color driver's-license photos of him from motor vehicles department records.

Prosecutors then agreed to the dismissal, which did not involve any waiving by Krayeske of his right to bring a wrongful arrest suit in federal court. He said afterward he had not made a decision about legal action, and for now wanted merely to focus on his studies as a law student.

"I feel like a million pounds are off my shoulders," he said. "I'm just really happy to have my life back. I'm happy not to have this pockmark on my reputation anymore, and not to have to be the guy who got arrested taking pictures of the governor; I'm just so pleased that that's not me anymore."

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My Jan. 2007 post on Ken [click here]

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Looking at the Past

"We've done it before."

Louis Giuffrida

Louis O. Giuffrida

[click here] for Presidents think they can get away with more and more

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Excerpt: FEMA's precursor was the California Specialized Training Institute, a counterterrorism training center started by then-Governor Ronald Reagan in 1971. Reagan inaugurated the idea of utilizing the military and law enforcement to combat dissent. He hired retired National Guard General Louis O. Giuffrida to design Operation Cable Splicer. The Cable Splicer plans were martial law proposals to legitimize the arrest and detention of anti-Vietnam war activists and other political dissidents. At the Army War College in 1970, Guiffrida had written a proposal that advocated the roundup and transfer to relocation camps of at least 21 million "American Negroes" in the event of a national uprising. [click here] for more

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Excerpt: In 1979, under President Carter, FEMA was officially created with a single stroke of a pen by Executive Order 1-2148. However, Ronald Reagan elevated FEMA to intelligence agency status by giving the National Security Council authority over the planning for civil defense policy and security. Reagan created a senior-level interdepartmental board, the Emergency Mobilization Preparedness Board, or EMPB, a precursor to the cabinet-level Office of Homeland Security. The EMPB was charged with coordinating plans for civil security.

Oliver North enters the story here. From 1982 to 1984, North was assigned by National Security Advisor and fellow Iran-Contra conspirator Robert McFarlane to work on the EMPB. Former General Louis Giuffrida was at EMPB as well. According to Covert Action Quarterly, "By forming the Emergency Mobilization Preparedness Board, Ronald Reagan made it possible for a small group of people, under the authority of the NSC, to wield enormous power. They, in turn, used this executive authority to change civil defense planning into a military/police version" of domestic control. While at EMPB, North revised contingency plans for dealing with nuclear war, domestic insurrection and massive military mobilization.

Giuffrida and North worked to refine and implement Operation GARDEN PLOT, a plan to suspend the Constitution in the event of a national crisis, such as widespread internal opposition to a U.S. military invasion abroad. GARDEN PLOT was actually implemented during LA's Rodney King Riots in the form of street curfews as well as in recent anti-globalization protests.

In 1983, at the annual meeting of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, FEMA's General Frank S. Salcedo recommended expanding FEMA's power even further. As he saw it at least 100,000 U.S. citizens, from survivalists to tax protesters, were serious threats to civil security. Salcedo saw FEMA's new frontier as the protection of industrial and government leaders from assassination, and the protection of civil and military installations from sabotage or attack. Notable for stations such as this one, Salcedo warned against dissident groups gaining access to U.S. opinion or a global audience in times of crisis.

[click here] for more

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So what is, really, the George W. Bush agenda, connecting the dots from the past to right now?

From the North Coast Curmudgeon blog:

Lantern Spike

In the case of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Operation Lantern Spike involved military intelligence covertly operating a surveillance operation of the civil rights leader up to the time of his assassination. In a period of two months, recently declassified documents on Operation Lantern Spike indicate that 240 military personnel were assigned in the two months of March and April to conduct surveillance on Dr. King. The documents further reveal that 16,900 man-hours were spent on this assignment. [click here] for more

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What does Oliver North have to do with the current agenda of the George W. Bush regime? [more]

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Guest View From the Hill:

War on Terrorism or Police State?

America must stand up and protect itself from the threat not only of terrorism, but of a police state of its own

by Rep. Cynthia McKinney
(US Rep., 4th C.D., Georgia)
JULY 25, 2002--The attacks of September 11th, 2001 caused significant changes throughout our society. For our military services, this included increased force protection, greater security, and of course the deployment to and prosecution of the War on Terrorism in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Sadly, one of the first acts of our President was to waive the high deployment overtime pay of our servicemen and women who are serving on the front lines of our new War. The Navy estimates that the first-year costs of this pay would equal about 40 cruise missiles. The total cost of this overtime pay may only equal about 300 cruise missiles, yet this Administration said it would cost too much to pay our young men and women what the Congress and the previous Administration had promised them.

In another ironic twist, the War on Terrorism has the potential to bring the US military into American life as never before. A Northern Command has been created to manage the military's activity within the continental United States. Operation Noble Eagle saw combat aircraft patrolling the air above major metropolitan areas, and our airports are only now being relieved of National Guard security forces. Moreover, there is a growing concern that the military will be used domestically, within our borders, with intelligence and law enforcement mandates as some now call for a review of the Posse Comitatus Act prohibitions on military activity within our country.

In the 1960s, the lines between illegal intelligence, law enforcement and military practices became blurred as Americans wanting to make America a better place for all were targeted and attacked for political beliefs and political behavior. Under the cloak of the Cold War, military intelligence was used for domestic purposes to conduct surveillance on civil rights, social equity, antiwar, and other activists.

In the case of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Operation Lantern Spike involved military intelligence covertly operating a surveillance operation of the civil rights leader up to the time of his assassination. In a period of two months, recently declassified documents on Operation Lantern Spike indicate that 240 military personnel were assigned in the two months of March and April to conduct surveillance on Dr. King. The documents further reveal that 16,900 man-hours were spent on this assignment.

Dr. King had done nothing more than call for black suffrage, an end to black poverty, and an end to the Vietnam War. Dr. King was the lantern of justice for America: spreading light on issues the Administration should have been addressing. On April 4, 1968, Dr. King's valuable point of light was snuffed out.

The documents I have submitted for the record outline the illegal activities of the FBI and its CoIntelPro program. A 1967 memo from J. Edgar Hoover to 22 FBI field offices outlined the COINTELPRO program well: "The purpose of this new counterintelligence endeavor is to expose, disrupt, misdirect, or otherwise neutralize" black activist leaders and organizations.

As a result of the Church Committee hearings, we later learned that the FBI and other government authorities were conducting black bag operations that included illegally breaking and entering private homes to collect information on individuals. FBI activities included "bad jacketing," or falsely accusing individuals of collaboration with the authorities. It included the use of paid informants to set up on false charges targeted individuals. And it resulted in the murder of some individuals. Geronimo Pratt Ji Jaga spent 27 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. And in COINTELPRO documents subsequently released, we learn that Fred Hampton was murdered in his bed while his pregnant wife slept next to him after a paid informant slipped drugs in his drink.

Needless to say, such operations were well outside the bounds of what normal citizens would believe to be the role of the military, and the Senate investigations conducted by Senator Frank Church found that to be true. Though the United States was fighting the spread of communism in the face of the Cold War, the domestic use of intelligence and military assets against its own civilians was unfortunately reminiscent of the police state built up by the Communists we were fighting.

We must be certain that the War on Terrorism does not threaten our liberties again. Amendments to H.R. 4547, the Costs of War Against Terrorism Act, would increase the role of drug interdiction task forces to include counter intelligence, and that would increase the military intelligence's ability to conduct electronic and financial investigations. They could be the first steps towards a return to the abuses of constitutional rights during the Cold War. Further, this bill includes nearly $2 billion in additional funds for intelligence accounts. When taken into account with the extra-judicial incarceration of thousands of immigration violators, the transfer of prisoners from law enforcement custody to military custody, and the consideration of a 'volunteer' terrorism tip program, America must stand up and protect itself from the threat not only of terrorism, but of a police state of its own.

There does exist a need to increase personnel pay accounts, replenish operations and maintenance accounts and replace lost equipment. The military has an appropriate role in protecting the United States from foreign threats, and should remain dedicated to preparing for those threats.

Domestic uses of the military have long been prohibited for good reason, and the same should continue to apply to all military functions, especially any and all military intelligence and surveillance operations. Congress and the Administration must be increasingly vigilant towards the protection of and adherence to our constitutional rights and privileges. For, if we win the war on terrorism, but create a police state in the process, what have we won?

Cynthia McKinney represents Georgia's Fourth Congressional District. This article is a reprint of her remarks before the House Armed Services Committee on H.R. 4547, The Costs of War Against Terrorism Act. She can be reached at:

Copyright © 2003 The Baltimore Chronicle and The Sentinel. All rights reserved. We invite your comments, criticisms and suggestions.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on August 7, 2002.

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Added Jan. 10, 2010:

[click here] for:

Proposed Legislation removing Hoover's name from FBI

Rex 84

[click here] for post on how officials wanted to suspend the US Constitution during Iran Contra to shield the President and others from criminal prosecution.

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[click here] for full post of the below

Rex 84, short for Readiness Exercise 1984, was a plan by the United States federal government to test their ability to detain large numbers of American citizens in case of massive civil unrest or national emergency. Exercises similar to Rex 84 happen periodically.[1] Plans for roundups of persons in the United States in times of crisis are constructed during periods of increased political repression such as the Palmer Raids and the McCarthy Era. For example, from 1967 to 1971 the FBI kept a list of persons to be rounded up as subversive, dubbed the "ADEX" list.[2]

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[click here] for ideas of how the problems of above can be addressed from the State level

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[click here] for more information for excerpt:

On June 15, 1917, Congress passed the Espionage Act. The law set punishments for acts of interference in foreign policy and espionage. The Act authorized stiff fines and prison terms of up to 20 years for anyone who obstructed the military draft or encouraged "disloyalty" against the U.S. government.

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Arabs sacrifice their lives to save a shipwrecked crew

The Cruelest Journey
When their vessel wrecked along the Sahara's northwest coast in 1815, twelve American sailors faced the nightmarish prospect of dying at sea, or living as slaves to desert nomads. Those who survived endured unimaginable hunger, thirst, and brutality—and an epic trek across the unmapped desert to freedom. Nearly two centuries later, author Dean King returned to retrace their steps and shed light on one of history’s most remarkable survival stories.

Photo: camels in a desert
As the main boom swept across the deck, Captain James Riley heard a roaring sound that stopped him cold. Thinking it was a squall approaching unseen in the dark, he shouted, "All hands on deck!" and ordered his second mate, Aaron Savage, to brace up the yards. As the men hauled the lines, the square sails spilled the wind, checking the brig's speed. Riley was about to order the sails lowered when he saw foam billowing on the lee side of the brig. He had been wrong. The roar was not a squall. It was something even worse: the sound of breakers.

The Commerce, a 220-ton brig out of Middletown, Connecticut, had recently unloaded her cargo of flour and tobacco in Gibraltar. Now she was skirting the treacherous northwest coast of Africa to the Cape Verde Islands, where she was to take on a load of salt to sell at home. Sailing into fog on the night of August 28, 1815, Riley had assumed his ship was passing by the Canary Islands, some 60 miles (97 kilometers) off the coast. But he had a gnawing feeling that something wasn't right. Now, the sound of the Atlantic rollers pounding the shore to his lee told him he'd made a disastrous error in navigation.

Riley kept his head, barking out new commands. The crew cleared away the 1,400-pound (634-kilogram) iron-and-wood anchors on either bow. Before he could order them to be dropped, however, a ghastly jolt hurled the sailors to the deck. Every man knew instantly that his worst nightmare—the violent end that had stalked him all of his working life, waiting for his vigilance to slacken or his luck to sour—had finally come to pass; only instead of going to the bottom, the bottom had come to them. The surf rammed the Commerce onto the rocks and swept across her decks. Each deluge sent the men sprawling or scurrying for a handhold to keep from being washed overboard.

The sweet new brig that Riley's uncle had entrusted to him was doomed. Now Riley, a father of five, could only hope to save himself and his men. Among his crew of 11, second mate Aaron Savage, able seaman Archie Robbins, both in their early 20s, and the cabin boy Horace Savage, 15, all of old Puritan stock, were practically like sons to Riley. Horace's father, a sailor in the West Indies trade like most Lower Connecticut Valley watermen, had been Riley's best friend, until he himself was lost at sea.

Although Riley still had not seen land and had no idea how close they were, he prepared to abandon ship. He ordered the crew to bring provisions up from the hold and to make the longboat ready for launching. At around midnight, as the brig settled and the waves broke with increasing strength over the deck, Riley studied the horizon around them in the faint light of a quarter moon. At last, he made out the coast.

For centuries Cape Bojador has been known as one of the navigable world's most treacherous places. The British Royal Navy's Africa Pilot, warns that the charting of this coast is "reported to be inaccurate" to this day. The cape lies at the base of a narrow strait, where the Canary Islands form a funnel that squeezes the south-flowing current hard against the Moroccan coast in a frenzy of wind, whitecaps, and fatal shoals. There the Sahara abuts the sea in a mutable front of dun-colored cliffs and shifting walls of sand. The cape's rocky beaches collect ships the way a spider's web traps flies.

To an American sailor of 1815, the vast desert region beyond those bluffs was as alien and unexplored as Antarctica. Mariners knew that shipwrecked Christian sailors who refused to disarm on this coast were treated brutally by the Arabs and often slaughtered to the man, and some believed that the inhabitants were cannibals. The prospect of wrecking on this hostile shore had left strong men utterly undone. In 1784, when the French ship Les Deux Amies grounded near Cape Blanco, its captain became so distraught that he tried to blow up the ship's powder magazine. When stopped, he put two bullets in his throat.

Riley gave vent to no such fears. But the wreck of the Commerce would be the beginning of an ordeal that he would barely survive, and many of his crew would not. Ahead of them lay almost unimaginable trials: hunger and thirst, brutal captivity at the hands of desert nomads, and, for the lucky ones, an epic 800-mile (1,287-kilometer) trek across the Sahara to freedom.

[do a word search and most information is for free]

The epic has only just begun. To find out what becomes of the crew of the Commerce read the February 2004 issue of Adventure.

Online Extra
Q&A: Enslaved in the Sahara
The story is gruesome (five men met their end in the Sahara) and hopeful (another seven survived). Dean King talks about the remarkable story of Captain James Riley and the crew of the Commerce in our online Q&A >>

Subscribe to Adventure today and Save 62 percent off the cover price!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Kill a cop and not get in trouble if you have powerful family connections?

John M. Walker Jr.
Excerpt: City officials identified the driver of the SUV that hit [New Haven Connecticut Police Officer] Picagli as John M. Walker Jr., a senior judge on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, who lives in Connecticut and maintains court chambers in New Haven. They said he was leaving work when the accident happened.

Walker, a 1962 Yale graduate, was appointed to the federal bench by President Reagan in 1985. He was appointed to the 2nd Circuit in 1989 by his cousin, former President George H.W. Bush. [more]

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Mafia, CIA, and George Bush

Image stolen [from here]

The Mafia, CIA and George Bush (Part 1)

Text w/ video:
Pete Brewton teaches journalism and law at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. The author of the bestseller The Mafia, CIA and George Bush, he is an award-winning journalist with 15 years reporting experience at the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Post. He practiced law in Houston for five years.

Mr. Brewton holds a Bachelors degree in philosophy from Rice University, a Masters degree in astronomy from New Mexico State University, a Masters degree from the American Graduate School of International Management, and a law degree from the University of Texas. He travels frequently to help with his mothers working cattle ranch in Lampasas County.

Mr. Brewton has won more than 20 reporting awards, including a Katie Award from the Dallas Press Club, first place in public service from the Texas APME, and the PEN Center USA West Literary Award.

He is the author of the book The Mafia, CIA and George Bush, which is based on his investigations of powerful Texas businessmen, politicians, and their connections to the savings and loans scandals of the 1980s. Brewton also explores the relationship that George H. W. Bush had with Ted Shackley, Carl E. Jenkins, Paul Helliwell, Rafael 'Chi Chi' Quintero and Thomas G. Clines.

The Mafia, CIA and George Bush (Part 2)

Text with video:
Carlos "The Little Man" Marcello (February 6, 1910 - March 3, 1993) was an Italian-American mobster who became the boss of the New Orleans crime family, during the 1940s.

By the end of 1947, Marcello had taken control of Louisiana's illegal gambling network. He had also joined forces with New York Mob associate Meyer Lansky in order to skim money from some of the most important casinos in the New Orleans area. According to former members of the Chicago Outfit, Marcello was also assigned a cut of the money skimmed from Las Vegas casinos, in exchange for providing "muscle" in Florida real estate deals. By this time, Marcello had been selected as the "Godfather" of the New Orleans Mafia, by the family's capos and the Commission. He was to hold this position for the next 30 years.

On March 24, 1959, Marcello appeared before a United States Senate committee investigating organized crime. Serving as Chief Counsel to the committee was Robert F. Kennedy; his brother, Senator John F. Kennedy, was a member of the committee. In response to committee questioning, Marcello invoked the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, in refusing to answer any questions relating to his background, activities and associates.

After becoming President, John Kennedy appointed his brother Robert as U.S. Attorney General. The two men worked closely together on a wide variety of issues including the attempt to tackle organized crime. In March 1961 Attorney General Robert Kennedy, acting on requests which had been first made to the Eisenhower administration by former Louisiana state police superintendent Francis Grevemberg, took steps to deport Marcello to Guatemala (the country Marcello had falsely listed as his birthplace). On April 4, of that year, Marcello was arrested by the authorities and taken forcibly to Guatemala.

It did not take Marcello long to get back into the United States. Undercover informants reported that Marcello made several threats against John F. Kennedy, at one time uttering the traditional Sicilian death threat curse, "Take the stone from my shoe." Some of those who knew him, however, suggested that Marcello did not know enough Italian to utter such a threat. In September 1962, Marcello told private investigator Edward Becker that, "A dog will continue to bite you if you cut off its tail...," (meaning Attorney General Robert Kennedy.), "...whereas if you cut off the dog's head...," (meaning President Kennedy), "... it would cease to cause trouble." Becker reported that Marcello, "clearly stated that he was going to arrange to have President Kennedy killed in some way." Marcello told another informant that he would need to take out "insurance" for the assassination by, ".... setting up some nut to take the fall for the job, just like they do in Sicily."

Just before Kennedy was assassinated on 22 November 1963, Dallas, Texas nightclub owner Jack Ruby made contact with Marcello, and Tampa, Florida boss Santo Trafficante, about a labor problem he was having with the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA). Ruby was a longtime associate of the Chicago Outfit and was sent to Dallas to open up rackets for the Outfit, all while under the umbrella of the New Orleans branch of La Cosa Nostra, whose sphere of influence included Dallas.

After Kennedy's assassination, the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated Marcello. They came to the conclusion that Marcello was not involved in the assassination. On the other hand, they also said that they, "... did not believe Carlos Marcello was a significant organized crime figure," and that Marcello earned his living, "... as a tomato salesman and real estate investor." As a result of this investigation, the Warren Commission concluded that there was no direct link between Ruby and Marcello.

In 1966, Marcello was arrested in New York City after having met with the National Commission. The meeting was reportedly called because Marcello's leadership was being challenged by Trafficante Jr. and Anthony Carolla, the son of Marcello's predecessor as boss of the New Orleans Combine. The Commission had reportedly ruled in Marcello's favor just before the police burst in.

Marcello was then charged with consorting with known felons. After a long, drawn-out legal battle, Marcello was convicted of assaulting an FBI agent whom he had punched in the face on his return to Louisiana. Sentenced to two years in prison, he served less than six months, and was released on 12 March 1971.

The Mafia, CIA and George Bush (Part 3)

Text with video:
Pete Brewton teaches journalism and law at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. The author of the bestseller The Mafia, CIA and George Bush, he is an award-winning journalist with 15 years reporting experience at the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Post. He practiced law in Houston for five years.

James Addison Baker, III (born April 28, 1930) is an American attorney, politician, political administrator, and political advisor.

He served as the Chief of Staff in President Ronald Reagan's first administration and in the final year of the administration of President George H. W. Bush. Baker also served as Secretary of the Treasury from 1985-1988 in the second Reagan administration, and Secretary of State in the George H. W. Bush administration. He is also the namesake of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Baker served in the United States Marine Corps (19521954), attaining the rank of First Lieutenant and later rising to Captain in the United States Marine Corps Reserve.

From 1957 to 1969, and then from 1973 to 1975 he practiced law at the law firm of Andrews & Kurth.

Baker's first wife, the former Mary Stuart McHenry, was active in the Republican Party, working on the Congressional campaigns of George H. W. Bush. Originally Baker had been a Democrat, although he had been too busy trying to succeed in a competitive law firm to worry about politics and he considered himself apolitical. His wife's influence and enthusiasm led Baker to both politics as a career and the Republican Party. He was a regular tennis partner with Bush at the Houston Country Club in the late 1950s. When Bush decided to run for the U.S. Senate in 1969, he supported Baker's decision to run for the Congressional seat he was vacating. However, Baker changed his mind about running when his wife was diagnosed with cancer. She died of breast cancer in February 1970.

Bush then encouraged Baker to become active in politics to deal with the grief, something Bush had done when his daughter, Pauline Robinson (19491953), died of leukemia. Baker became chairman of Bush's Senate campaign in Harris County. Though Bush lost to Lloyd Bentsen in the election, Baker continued in politics, becoming the Finance Chairman of the Republican Party in 1971. The following year, he was selected as the Gulf Coast Regional Chairman for the Richard Nixon presidential campaign. In 1973 and 1974, Baker returned to the full time practice of law at Andrews & Kurth.

He served as Undersecretary of Commerce under President Gerald Ford in 1975 and ran Ford's unsuccessful re-election campaign in 1976. In 1978, Baker ran unsuccessfully to become Attorney General of Texas, losing the election to future Governor Mark White.

The Mafia, CIA and George Bush (Part 4)

Text with video:
Pete Brewton teaches journalism and law at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. The author of the bestseller The Mafia, CIA and George Bush, he is an award-winning journalist with 15 years reporting experience at the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Post. He practiced law in Houston for five years.

Palmer National of Washington, D.C. is a bank in Washington, D.C.. It was founded in 1983 by Harvey McLean, Jr. (a businessman from Shreveport, Louisiana. It was initially funded with $2.8 million to McLean from Herman K. Beebe. Oliver North used this bank during the Iran-Contra scandal by funneling money from his shell organization, the "National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty," through Palmer National Bank to the Contras.

Herman K. Beebe, from Louisiana, was a convicted felon and Mafia associate. He had many connections to the intelligence community and was considered godfather of the dirty Texas S&Ls. He initially started his career in the insurance business and eventually banking, specifically; Savings and Loan Banks. Herman Beebe played a key role in the Savings and Loan scandals. Houston Post reporter Pete Brewton linked Beebe to a dozen failed S & L's. Altogether, Herman Beebe controlled, directly or indirectly, at least 55 banks and 29 S & L's in eight states. What is particularly interesting about Beebe's participation in these banks and savings and loans is his unique background. Herman Beebe had served nine months in federal prison for bank fraud and had impeccable credentials as a financier for New Orleans-based organized crime figures, including Vincent and Carlos Marcello. Additionally, according to ABC News Beebe invested money in Robert Tilton.

It was thought that Harvey McLean Jr. funded the startup of Palmer National Bank. It was actually Herman K. Beebe Sr. close friend and business associate of McLean. It has been reported that Beebe had numerous connections to New Orleans Mafia boss Carlos Marcello, associations with Mafia families in New York and California, and links to the Teamsters. Marcello has extensive business ties with fellow Louisiana organized crime figure. Herman Beebe was involved in a scheme in the early 1970s to smuggle guns and explosives to anti-Castro Cubans operating in Mexico.

In 1983 Beebe loaned McLean $2.8 million from his Bossier Bank and Trust in Bossier City, La. McLean owned Paris Savings and Loan of Paris, Texas. The $2.8 million loan provided the majority of the money that was used to initially capitalize Palmer Bank. Palmer National Bank loaned money to individuals and organizations that were involved in covert aid to the Nicaraguan Contras. In February 1985 the National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty (NEPL), a conservative foundation run by Iran-Contra figure Carl "Spitz" Channell, who, as a director of International Business Communications, became a principal contractor for the OPD (now-defunct Office for Public Diplomacy). Channell secured $650,000 from Palmer National to illegally purchase weapons for the Nicaraguan Contras. Channell was one of the few private citizens convicted of crimes in the Iran-Contra scandal. He was the first to plead guilty to illegal activities in the scandal, and was placed on two years' probation for illegally using NEPL to help Oliver North raise donations for military supplies for the Contras. The money went through NEPL's account at Palmer National to a Banking in Swiss bank account used by North for Contra funding and the secret arms deals with Iran. NEPL raised about $10 million for the Contras after Congress had banned such military aid. In addition, the National Conservative Political Action Committee(NCPAC) borrowed more than $400,000 from Palmer National, as did political action committees for Senator Bob Dole (R-KS.) and then-Rep.Jack Kemp (R-NY).

A 1985 report by the comptroller of the currency listed Palmer as one of 12 national banks that Beebe had possible influence or control over. Further, Beebe has been implicated in the failure of at least 12 savings and loans (including Vernon Savings in Dallas and Continental Savings in Houston). In April 1985, just after Beebe had been convicted of defrauding the Small Business Administration and two months before the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation shut down Bossier, the $2.8 million loan from Bossier that established Palmer was transferred to San Jacinto Savings of Beaumont, Texas. Beebe pleaded guilty to fraud in connection with a loan at State Savings in Dallas and has twice been successfully prosecuted.

The Mafia, CIA and George Bush (Part 5)

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In American political jargon, an October surprise is a news event with the potential to influence the outcome of an election, particularly one for the U.S. presidency. The reference to the month of October is because the Tuesday after the first Monday in November is the date for national elections (as well as many state and local elections), and therefore events that take place in late October have greater potential to influence the decisions of prospective voters.

The term came into use shortly after the 1972 presidential election between Republican incumbent Richard Nixon and Democrat George McGovern, when the United States was in the fourth year of negotiations to end the very long and domestically divisive Vietnam War. Twelve days before the election day of November 7, on October 26, 1972, the United States' chief negotiator, the presidential National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, appeared at a press conference held at the White House and announced, "We believe that peace is at hand." Nixon, despite having vowed to end the unpopular war during his presidential election campaign four years earlier, had failed to either cease hostilities or gradually bring about an end to the war. Nixon was nevertheless already widely considered to be assured of an easy reelection victory against McGovern, but Kissinger's "peace is at hand" declaration may have increased Nixon's already high standing with the electorate. In the event, Nixon outpolled McGovern in every state except Massachusetts and achieved a 20 point lead in the nationwide popular vote. The fighting ended in 1973, but the last soldiers didn't leave Vietnam until 1975.

Since that election, the term "October surprise" has been used preemptively during campaign season by partisans of one side to discredit late-campaign news by the other side.

During the Iran hostage crisis, the Republican challenger Ronald Reagan feared a last-minute deal to release the hostages, which might earn incumbent Jimmy Carter enough votes to win re-election in the 1980 presidential election. As it happened, in the days prior to the election, press coverage was consumed with the Iranian government's decision—and Carter's simultaneous announcement—that the hostages would not be released until after the election.

It was first written about in a Jack Anderson article in the Washington Post in the fall of 1980, in which he alleged that the Carter administration was preparing a major military operation in Iran for rescuing U.S. hostages in order to help him get reelected. Subsequent allegations surfaced against Reagan alleging that his team had impeded the hostage release to negate the potential boost to the Carter campaign.

After the release of the hostages on the same day as Reagan's inauguration on January 20, 1981, some charged that the Reagan campaign made a secret deal with the Iranian government whereby the Iranians would hold the hostages until Reagan was inaugurated, ensuring that Carter would lose the election. Gary Sick, former Naval intelligence officer, and member of the National Security council under Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan made the accusation in a New York Times editorial. Initial response from Congress was hostile: House Democrats refused to authorize an inquiry, and Senate Republicans killed a $600,000 appropriation for a probe. Some former hostages sent an open letter demanding an inquiry. In subsequent Congressional testimony, Sick said that the popular media had distorted and misrepresented the accusers, reducing them to "gross generalizations" and "generic conspiracy theorists." Sick presented three main grounds for suspicion: 1. The disappearance of then-CIA Director William Casey during the time he is alleged to have been making the deal. 2. The refusal of both the F.B.I. and U.S. Customs to release records about Cyrus Hashemi, alleged to be working for both the Carter administration and Casey at this time. 3. "There is a considerable body of evidence that military equipment began to flow in substantial quantities from Israel to Iran almost immediately after the Reagan inauguration and that these shipments were known to, and approved, by the new administration."

Bani-Sadr, the former President of Iran, has also stated "that the Reagan campaign struck a deal with Teheran to delay the release of the hostages in 1980," asserting that "by the month before the American Presidential election in November 1980, many in Iran's ruling circles were openly discussing the fact that a deal had been made between the Reagan campaign team and some Iranian religious leaders in which the hostages' release would be delayed until after the election so as to prevent President Carter's re-election." He makes the same charge in "My Turn to Speak: Iran, the Revolution & Secret Deals with the U.S."

The Mafia, CIA and George Bush (Part 6)

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Lloyd Millard Bentsen, Jr. (February 11, 1921 - May 23, 2006) was a four-term United States senator (1971 until 1993) from Texas and the Democratic Party nominee for Vice President in 1988 on the Michael Dukakis ticket. He also served in the House of Representatives from 1949 to 1955. In his later political life, he was Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the U.S. Treasury Secretary during the early years of the Clinton administration.

For 16 years, Bentsen worked in the financial sector in Houston. He was successful and became very secure financially. By 1970, he had become president of Lincoln Consolidated, a financial holding institution.

Following his successful primary campaign, which upset liberal incumbent Ralph Yarborough for the 1970 Democratic nomination for a Texas seat in the U.S. Senate, Bentsen resigned all management positions and directorships.

Later that year, Bentsen went on to win the general election when he was pitted against Congressman and future President George H. W. Bush. On election night, Bentsen beat Bush convincingly.

Beginning in 1974, Bentsen campaigned for the Democratic Party's 1976 presidential nomination. In 1974 he visited 30 states and raised $350,000 at a single fundraiser in Texas. Bentsen formally announced his candidacy on February 17, 1975, and in the early part of that year he had already raised over $1 million for his campaign; only George Wallace of Alabama and Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson of Washington had raised more money by that point. Bentsen did not organize effectively on a national level, and many observers believed the freshman senator was running without any real hope of winning the nomination, hoping instead to secure a vice-presidential nomination.

Wallace and Jackson were considered to be the two main contenders for the moderate to conservative voters to whom Bentsen would appeal; early in the campaign few foresaw Jimmy Carter of Georgia also effectively appealing to that group.

By October 1975 Bentsen, generating little national attention or significance in the polls, scaled back his campaign to a limited effort in areas of 8 to 10 states, hoping for a deadlocked convention. In the first state contest Bentsen vigorously contested, he managed only 1.6% of the vote in Mississippi. Two weeks later Bentsen staked the remainder of his campaign and resources in neighboring Oklahoma but finished third with only 12%. A few days later Bentsen shut down his national campaign, staying in the race only as a favorite son in Texas. However, in the May 1, 1976, primary Jimmy Carter won 92 of Texas' 98 delegates. The eventual nominee and president, Carter was later quoted as saying he had expected a much stronger showing by Bentsen but that Bentsen's failure to campaign nationally had ended his hopes.

Firmly ensconced in Washington, Bentsen was overwhelmingly re-elected to the Senate in 1976, 1982, and 1988. He defeated sitting Republican congressmen from "safe" House seats in all four of his Senate elections, including Bush in 1970. In 1976, he ended the career of Alan Steelman of Dallas. In 1982, he defeated James M. Collins of Dallas. In 1988, he defeated Beau Boulter of Amarillo. Bentsen was also on the ballot as the Democratic vice presidential nominee that year; he could seek both offices under the 1960 "Johnson law."

Bentsen was known as a moderate Democrat. His support for abortion rights, the Equal Rights Amendment, and civil rights was balanced by his endorsement of public school prayer, capital punishment, tax cuts, and deregulation of industry. He generally supported business interests in the arena of economic policy and swiftly rose to become a power to be reckoned with on the Senate Finance Committee.

Bentsen's reputation as a moderate Democrat served to alienate him not only from supporters of Ralph Yarborough, but from prominent national liberals, as well. Indeed, during the 1970 Senate race, the Keynesian economist John Kenneth Galbraith endorsed George Bush, arguing that if Bentsen were elected to the Senate, he would invariably become the face of a new, more conservative Texas Democratic Party, and that the long-term interests of Texas liberalism demanded Bentsen's defeat.

The Mafia, CIA and George Bush (Part 7)

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The savings and loan crisis of the 1980s and 1990s (commonly referred to as the S&L crisis) was the failure of 745 savings and loan associations (S&Ls aka thrifts). An S&L association is a financial institution in the United States that accepts savings deposits and makes mortgage loans. The ultimate cost of the crisis is estimated to have totaled around $160.1 billion, about $124.6 billion of which was directly paid for by the US government—that is, the US taxpayer, either directly or through charges on their savings and loan accounts — which contributed to the large budget deficits of the early 1990s.

The concomitant slowdown in the finance industry and the real estate market may have been a contributing cause of the 19901991 economic recession. Between 1986 and 1991, the number of new homes constructed per year dropped from 1.8 million to 1 million, which was at the time the lowest rate since World War II.

The United States Congress granted all thrifts in 1980, including savings and loan associations, the power to make consumer and commercial loans and to issue transaction accounts. Designed to help the thrift industry retain its deposit base and to improve its profitability, the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act (DIDMCA) of 1980 allowed thrifts to make consumer loans up to 20 percent of their assets, issue credit cards, accept negotiable order of withdrawal (NOW) accounts from individuals and nonprofit organizations, and invest up to 20 percent of their assets in commercial real estate loans.

The damage to S&L operations led Congress to act, passing a bill in September 1981 allowing S&Ls to sell their mortgage loans and use the cash generated to seek better returns; the losses created by the sales were to be amortized over the life of the loan, and any losses could also be offset against taxes paid over the preceding 10 years. This all made S&Ls eager to sell their loans. The buyers—major Wall Street firms—were quick to take advantage of the S&Ls' lack of expertise, buying at 60%-90% of value and then transforming the loans by bundling them as, effectively, government-backed bonds (by virtue of Ginnie Mae, Freddie Mac, or Fannie Mae guarantees). S&Ls were one group buying these bonds, holding $150 billion by 1986, and being charged substantial fees for the transactions.

In 1982, the Garn-St Germain Depository Institutions Act was passed and increased the proportion of assets that thrifts could hold in consumer and commercial real estate loans and allowed thrifts to invest 5 percent of their assets in commercial loans until January 1, 1984, when this percentage increased to 10 percent.

A large number of S&L customers' defaults and bankruptcies ensued, and the S&Ls that had overextended themselves were forced into insolvency proceedings themselves.

The US government agency FSLIC, which at the time insured S&L accounts in the same way the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insures commercial bank accounts, then had to repay all the depositors whose money was lost. From 1986 to 1989, FSLIC closed or otherwise resolved 296 institutions with total assets of $125 billion. An even more traumatic period followed, with the creation of the Resolution Trust Corporation in 1989 and that agencys resolution by mid-1995 of an additional 747 thrifts.

A Federal Reserve Bank panel stated the resulting taxpayer bailout ended up being even larger than it would have been because moral hazard and adverse selection incentives that compounded the systems losses.

There also were state-chartered S&Ls that failed. Some state insurance funds failed, requiring state taxpayer bailouts.

Silverado Savings and Loan collapsed in 1988, costing taxpayers $1.3 billion. Neil Bush, son of then Vice President of the United States George H. W. Bush, was Director of Silverado at the time. Neil Bush was accused of giving himself a loan from Silverado, but he denied all wrongdoing.

The US Office of Thrift Supervision investigated Silverado's failure and determined that Neil Bush had engaged in numerous "breaches of his fiduciary duties involving multiple conflicts of interest." Although Bush was not indicted on criminal charges, a civil action was brought against him and the other Silverado directors by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; it was eventually settled out of court, with Bush paying $50,000 as part of the settlement, the Washington Post reported.

As a director of a failing thrift, Bush voted to approve $100 million in what were ultimately bad loans to two of his business partners. And in voting for the loans, he failed to inform fellow board members at Silverado Savings & Loan that the loan applicants were his business partners.

The Mafia, CIA and George Bush (Part 8)

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Pete Brewton teaches journalism and law at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. The author of the bestseller The Mafia, CIA and George Bush, he is an award-winning journalist with 15 years reporting experience at the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Post. He practiced law in Houston for five years.

Mr. Brewton holds a Bachelors degree in philosophy from Rice University, a Masters degree in astronomy from New Mexico State University, a Masters degree from the American Graduate School of International Management, and a law degree from the University of Texas. He travels frequently to help with his mothers working cattle ranch in Lampasas County.

Mr. Brewton has won more than 20 reporting awards, including a Katie Award from the Dallas Press Club, first place in public service from the Texas APME, and the PEN Center USA West Literary Award.

He is the author of the book The Mafia, CIA and George Bush, which is based on his investigations of powerful Texas businessmen, politicians, and their connections to the savings and loans scandals of the 1980s. Brewton also explores the relationship that George H. W. Bush had with Ted Shackley, Carl E. Jenkins, Paul Helliwell, Rafael 'Chi Chi' Quintero and Thomas G. Clines.

The Mafia, CIA and George Bush (Part 9)

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Silverado Savings and Loan collapsed in 1988, costing taxpayers $1.3 billion. Neil Bush, son of then Vice President of the United States George H. W. Bush, was Director of Silverado at the time. Neil Bush was accused of giving himself a loan from Silverado, but he denied all wrongdoing.

The US Office of Thrift Supervision investigated Silverado's failure and determined that Neil Bush had engaged in numerous "breaches of his fiduciary duties involving multiple conflicts of interest." Although Bush was not indicted on criminal charges, a civil action was brought against him and the other Silverado directors by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; it was eventually settled out of court, with Bush paying $50,000 as part of the settlement, the Washington Post reported.

As a director of a failing thrift, Bush voted to approve $100 million in what were ultimately bad loans to two of his business partners. And in voting for the loans, he failed to inform fellow board members at Silverado Savings & Loan that the loan applicants were his business partners.

Neil Bush paid a $50,000 fine and was banned from banking activities for his role in taking down Silverado, which cost taxpayers $1.3 billion. A Resolution Trust Corporation Suit against Bush and other officers of Silverado was settled in 1991 for $26.5 million.

As a result, the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) dramatically changed the savings and loan industry and its federal regulation. The highlights of the legislation, signed into law August 9, 1989, were: 1. The Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB) and the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC) were abolished.
2. The Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), a bureau of the Treasury Department, was created to charter, regulate, examine, and supervise savings institutions.
3. The Federal Housing Finance Board (FHFB) was created as an independent agency to oversee the 12 federal home loan banks (also called district banks).
4. The Savings Association Insurance Fund (SAIF) replaced the FSLIC as an ongoing insurance fund for thrift institutions (like the FDIC, the FSLIC was a permanent corporation that insured savings and loan accounts up to $100,000). SAIF is administered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
5. The Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) was established to dispose of failed thrift institutions taken over by regulators after January 1, 1989. The RTC will make insured deposits at those institutions available to their customers.
6. FIRREA gives both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae additional responsibility to support mortgages for low- and moderate-income families.

While not part of the savings and loan crisis, many other banks failed. Between 1980 and 1994 more than 1,600 banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) were closed or received FDIC financial assistance.

From 1986 to 1995, the number of US federally insured savings and loans in the United States declined from 3,234 to 1,645. This was primarily, but not exclusively, due to unsound real estate lending.

The market share of S&Ls for single family mortgage loans went from 53% in 1975 to 30% in 1990. US General Accounting Office estimated cost of the crisis to around USD $160.1 billion, about $124.6 billion of which was directly paid for by the US government from 1986 to 1996. That figure does not include thrift insurance funds used before 1986 or after 1996. It also does not include state run thrift insurance funds or state bailouts.

The US government ultimately appropriated 105 billion dollars to resolve the crisis. After banks repaid loans through various procedures, there was a net loss to taxpayers of approximately $124 billion dollars by the end of 1999.

The concomitant slowdown in the finance industry and the real estate market may have been a contributing cause of the 19901991 economic recession. Between 1986 and 1991, the number of new homes constructed dropped from 1.8 to 1 million, the lowest rate since World War II.

Some commentators believe that a taxpayer-funded government bailout related to mortgages during the savings and loan crisis may have created a moral hazard and acted as encouragement to lenders to make similar higher risk loans during the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis.

The Mafia, CIA and George Bush (Part 10)

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Gulf and Western Industries, Inc., for a number of years known as Gulf+Western, was an American conglomerate.

Gulf and Western's prosaic origins date to a manufacturer named Michigan Bumper Co. founded in 1934, though Charles Bluhdorn treated his 1958 takeover of what was then Michigan Plating & Stamping as its "founding" for the purpose of later anniversaries.

Under Bluhdorn the company diversified widely, leaving behind things like stamping metal bumpers not only for communications properties like Paramount Pictures (1966) but also clothing (Kayser-Roth, which happened to own the Miss Universe pageant because it had bought Pacific Mills, which had invented the pageant to sell its Catalina brand of swimsuits), APS Holding Corp. auto parts, New Jersey Zinc (1966), the South Puerto Rico Sugar Company in La Romana, Dominican Republic (1967), the Associates First Capital Corporation, a financial services company (1968), Consolidated Cigars (1968), Stax Records (1968), Sega (1969), Simon and Schuster (1975), Madison Square Garden and by extension the New York Rangers and New York Knicks (1977) and Simmons Bedding Company (1979).

The company also purchased Desilu Productions from Lucille Ball in 1967, which included most of Ball's television product, as well as such properties as Star Trek and Mission: Impossible (It and its successor companies would make millions on both series over the following decades with such projects as Star Trek's various hit follow-up TV projects and films, beginning in the late 1970s). On June 5, 1980, Gulf+Western unveiled an electric car, powered by a zinc chloride battery that would hold a charge for several hours and permit speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. By year's end, however, the U.S. Department of Energy (which had invested $15 million in the project) reported that the battery had 65% less power than predicted and could be recharged only by highly trained personnel.

In 1983 Bluhdorn died of a heart attack on a plane en route home from the sugar plantation to New York headquarters, and the board bypassed president David Judelson and named senior vice president Martin S. Davis, who had come up through Paramount Pictures, as the new Chief Executive Officer.

Davis slimmed down the company's wilder diversifications and focused it on entertainment, and sold all of its non-entertainment and non-publishing assets. In 1981, former officials of Gulf and Western's Natural Resources Division led a buyout of New Jersey Zinc and made it a subsidiary of Horsehead Industries, Inc. In 1983, Gulf & Western sold Consolidated Cigar Corporation to five of its senior managers. Also in 1983, Gulf+Western sold the U.S. assets of Sega to pinball manufacturer Bally Manufacturing Corporation. The Japanese assets of Sega were purchased by a group of investors led by David Rosen and Hayao Nakayama. South Puerto Sugar was sold to an investment group including The Fanjul Brothers in 1984. In 1985, APS auto parts, Kayser-Roth clothing and Simmons Bedding were sold to the Wickes Companies. The company restructured, subsequently renamed itself Paramount Communications in 1989, and promptly sold The Associates to the Ford Motor Company. * The Talking Heads song "Puzzling Evidence" which is about the commercialization of America mentions the conglomerate in the line "With your Gulf and Western and your Mastercard, got what you wanted and lost what you had". * In Mel Brooks' 1976 film, Silent Movie, the main characters make a colorized silent film to prevent "Engulf & Devour" from taking over a film studio. This was in reference to the Gulf+Western takeover of Paramount Pictures in 1966. * In the Animaniacs episode "This Pun For Hire", a rare and valuable statue serves as a plot device - when one of the characters tries to run off with it, she says that she "claims it in the name of Gulf+Western", and Yakko concludes she works for Paramount. By the time the episode aired, G+W had ceased to exist.

The Mafia, CIA and George Bush (Part 11)

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The below re-posted [from here]

The War on Drugs - a Bush Family Production

The World's #1 Drug Dealer of All Time

From 1976 to 1979, Papa Bush directed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In 1979 he made his first try to become President of the United States. He lost the Republican Party nomination to Ronald Reagan who asked Bush to be his Vice-President. Bush became Vice- President in 1980 and headed the National Security Council's "Crisis Management Team". Mr. Bush was busy during his term as Vice-President becoming the largest crack cocaine dealer in the World.

After becoming the World's #1 Drug Dealer during his term in office as Vice-President, in 1988, George Bush was elected President. The San Jose Mercury News in August, 1996, in an expose by reporter Gary Webb based on court records described how the Nicaraguan Contras with the backing of the Reagan-Bush administration, flooded the streets of Los Angeles with crack cocaine during 1983-87, supplying gangs like the Crips and Bloods. The Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) reported on September 20, 1996 that this was done while George Bush was overseeing the entire operation along with Oliver North (of Iran-Contra fame). As a direct result, there were 100,000 to 200,000 people imprisoned in America on drug charges.

An article, "CIA Genl. Counsel: Contra Drug Records May Not Exist" published in The New Federalist on September 30, 1996 reports that Jeff Smith, General Counsel of the CIA has "acknowledged--for the first time-- that records of such activities may not exist, for the reason that U.S. government officials may have been involved in privatized, 'off-line' secret operations."
The article goes on to say that the activities of Oliver North, Richard Secord, Felix Rodriguez, and others, were all supervised by George Bush and that the operation was actually run outside the "official" CIA through private networks and contractors. Apparently, such covert operations are permitted under the 1981 Executive Order 12333, and under National Security Decision Directives 2, 3, and others.

At a Washington, D.C. press conference on Sept. 19, 1996, EIR Washington bureau chief Bill Jones, Law Editor Edward Spannuas, Counterintelligence Editor Jeffery Steinberg, and EIR analyst Gail Billington, released a 120-page special multi-client report, '
Would a President Bob Dole Prosecute Drug Super-Kingpin George Bush?' which documents the role of the former Vice President and President, in overseeing the biggest cocaine-smuggling operations of the 1980s. Steinberg reviewed many of Reagan Presidential Executive Orders and National Security Decision Directives, many now declassified, that placed Vice President Bush -- not the CIA -- directly in charge of the Contra operation. Although active and former CIA personnel were involved in the Contra supply operations, Steinberg documented that it was senior Bush aides, including ex-CIA official Donald Gregg, ex-CIA officer Felix Rodriguez, and Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, who administered the secret program and who had first-hand knowledge of the illegal drug trafficking by Contra pilots.

The evidence is overwhelming,' Steinberg concluded, 'that the Contras were flooding the United States with illegal drugs, to finance the war in Central America; and that Vice President George Bush sat on top.'' And who was his right-hand man? Dick Cheney! Scary, isn't it?

During his term of office he granted 6 pardons to former officials in Watergate scandals. Bush officially began his "
War on Drugs" on September 5, 1989, just two years after supplying street gangs in the United States with millions of dollars in crack cocaine. He outlined the Federal Government's strategy for eliminating drug use when he gave the first prime time address of his presidency. His budget asked for $7.9 billion from Congress, a $2.2 billion increase from the previous budget. Of that, 70% would go to law enforcement, which included $1.6 billion for jails. However, only 30% went to prevention, education, and treatment.

Bush chose to wage his war by primarily focusing on demand in the United States, which meant arresting the drug user (not the trafficker) rather than focusing on prevention, education and treatment, or interdiction (trying to reduce the supply of drugs). Since the federal government has very limited police power, Bush decided to wage this war through by coercing the states. States that did not comply with the Bush plan would be penalized with a reduction in funding from the federal government.

A bill was passed in December, 1990 that coerced the states into suspending the driver's licenses and revoking government permits and benefits including college loans of those who were convicted of drug crimes. If the states did not enact the legislation mandated by this federal bill, there would be a significant reduction of federal aid to their highways, beginning in 1993. This is America? No. It is Papa George Bush’s view of America – not unlike a dictatorship. By coercing the states into doing the brunt of the fighting, without providing them with adequate funds, the federal government was forcing them to spend more money out of their own budgets to fight Bush's “War on Drugs” – a “war” he had created himself by supplying the drugs!

Bush used forfeiture, or confiscation of property that "
the government believed to be drug related". This law was used to confiscate cars, currency and land. The seized property is then auctioned off to raise money for both the state and federal governments. Forfeiture doesn't even require a trial, let alone a conviction. It's Good Old Russia right here in America and nobody is saying anything!

Forfeiture laws operate under assumed guilt. In 1989, the United States government took in over $1 billion due to forfeiture. Jails soon became overcrowded. Drug arrests rose almost 69%. By 1992 there were more people in federal jails for drug charges than there were for all crimes in 1980, causing Chief Justice of the Supreme Court William Rehnquist to complain that there were too many arrests. Despite the $1.6 billion that had gone to build new federal prisons, there was a logjam due to Bush's focus on the drug user; twice as many people were arrested for possession than for selling. This overcrowding meant that sentences had to be shortened, usually of violent offenders since drug offenders received mandatory sentences.

The drug war was a dismal failure in its dealings with the poor and it was planned that way. Bush glutted the streets of America with drugs. Then he started his "War on Drugs", not on the traffickers, but on the users, the same users that for whom he had provided the drugs. He made sure people were put in jail with mandatory sentencing, deprived them of personal property through forfeiture, and labeled them a "drug user" by society. Thanks to Bush many corporations and businesses in American rob our citizens of their basic right to privacy by requiring drug testing before employment. Worst of all, he made the States pay for it. It is the way they divide and conquer the American people.

No effort was made to rehabilitate or treat those convicted of drug related crimes. If Bush actually wanted to reduce demand, he would have placed more emphasis on treatment. Bush ignored treatment, education and research. Congress felt that his initial budget for treatment was so inadequate that it added $1.1 billion for treatment, prevention, and education. By 1992, the amount for treatment alone had grown to $1.9 billion. Not enough was known about drug abuse and addiction to treat it. This is the father of the man who claims to be a “compassionate Conservative”, an oxymoron is there ever was one.

Papa Bush's War on Drugs was a racist attack on the poor who by 1992 used more cocaine, heroin, and crack than when the War on Drugs began. One million people still smoked crack by the end of the Bush administration. The crime rate actually increased during the war on drugs. After a year of fighting drugs in Washington, D.C., his drug czar admitted failure. Drug use did not decline, and the homicide rate remained steady.

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I, Steven G. Erickson, had filmed Vermont Attorney General candidate Charlotte Dennett and Vincent Bugliosi from the current Attorney General's office around the streets of Montpelier, VT, as they were asking about prosecuting US President George W. Bush for murder and about voting.

Whether or not you live in Vermont, if you want to see Bush prosecuted I advise getting in touch with people in Vermont to get out in support of Progressive candidate Dennett.

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