Monday, March 31, 2008

"Traced Back to This Money"

This is a very educational article: Fact check: Obama and oil money, March 31, 2008, by Jim Kuhnhenn, reproduced in its entirety.

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama has seized on a key feature of voters' economic concerns - rising fuel prices - and is casting himself as the candidate who could bring about energy independence because he is not beholden to energy companies.

Last week, Obama aired a television ad in Pennsylvania called "Nothing's changed" that outlines his energy proposals while declaring, "I don't take money from oil companies or Washington lobbyists, and I won't let them block change anymore."

THE SPIN: In his ad, Obama states: "Since the gas lines of the '70's, Democrats and Republicans have talked about energy independence, but nothing's changed except now Exxon's making $40 billion a year, and we're paying $3.50 for gas. ... I don't take money from oil companies or Washington lobbyists, and I won't let them block change anymore. They'll pay a penalty on windfall profits. We'll invest in alternative energy, create jobs and free ourselves from foreign oil."

The Clinton campaign last week accused Obama of "false advertising."

"Senator Obama says he doesn't take campaign contributions from oil companies but the reality is that Exxon, Shell, and others are among his donors," Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said.

THE FACTS: True enough, Obama does not take money from oil companies. No candidate does. It is illegal for corporations to give money to politicians. Corporations, however, do have political action committees that collect voluntary donations from employees and then donate them to candidates. Obama doesn't take money from PACs. He also doesn't take money from lobbyists.

But he does accept money from executives and other employees of oil companies and two of his fundraisers are oil company executives. As of Feb. 29, Obama's presidential campaign had received nearly $214,000 from oil and gas industry employees and their families, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Clinton had received nearly $307,000 from industry workers and their families and Republican Sen. John McCain, the likely GOP presidential nominee, received nearly $394,000, according to the center's totals.

Two of Obama's fundraisers are Robert Cavnar, the chairman and chief executive of Houston-based Mission Resources Corp., and George Kaiser, the president and CEO of Tulsa-based Kaiser-Francis Oil Co.

In January and February alone, Obama received nearly $18,000 from Exxon Mobil workers, according to Federal Election Commission records. Most of the donations were of $250 or less; the money came from workers ranging from executives to engineers to geologists to shift supervisors. Overall, he has raised about $34,000 from Exxon Mobil workers since the beginning of his campaign. Exxon Mobil employees have given Clinton about $16,000 since the beginning of last year.

There are many points to be made here.

First of all, people who have jobs are just as entitled to contribute to the election campaign of a candidate for political office as anyone else; doing so is not sinister, and neither is employment at an oil company.

However, if the leaders of a corporation (or other group) wish to support a candidate, we get a glimpse of how it can be done. First, a political action committee associated with the corporation is formed, and employees contribute to that PAC, which then contributes to the candidate.

Additionally, employees of the corporation can contribute directly to the candidate's campaign; so can others who are perhaps less directly affiliated with a corporation, such as family members of its employees. Someone associated with the corporation may organize and host a fundraiser for the candidate where this happens -- people get to meet the candidate, and have their picture taken with him or her.

Furthermore, people who wish to contribute more to a certain candidate can give to another PAC, and that PAC, in turn, can then support the candidate.

It is also interesting to look at the FEC reports (there's a link in my sidebar so you can do your civic duty and look at them), and see how PACs give money to other PACs. Why do they do that?

Another way of steering money around the legalities and towards the candidate of your choice is to give to a county or state political party, with the understanding that it will spend that money in favor of the candidate of your choice. They may not pay much attention to someone who walks in off the street waving a $5 bill, but if a representative of an important business comes in and talks about doing a fundraiser, the party officials may be interested in that.

This is all basically legal.

There are, of course, illegal methods of channeling money to your candidate -- the paper bag or even suitcase full of small bills being useful, although in this case it would be more likely to be big bills with pictures of Benjamin Franklin on them ($100-bills, the largest denomination in circulation, for my foreign readers) and such Benjamins would more likely be a straight-out bribe.

In the context of all this, it is interesting to review some of my posts in the series entitled "The Heroin Lobby" (see sidebar for March, 2008, when the series began), and examine how I came to some of my conclusions. For example, in The Heroin Lobby, Part 8, I pointed out the $59,600 worth of campaign contributions from two students to various political campaigns. These same two students are supporters of TC-USA PAC, which is affiliated with the Turkish Coalition of America, which we have identified as a front organization for Turkish organized crime.

It is also interesting to consider how, in The Balkan Connection, Part 2, we showed that a group that fronts for Albanian organized crime, the AACL, is associated with pizzerias that have served as fronts for heroin trafficking. Its leader, former Congressman Joseph DioGuardi, has long supported ethnic Albanian groups in the Balkans. He has lobbied politicians for US support of these groups; the groups themselves are linked to Islamic extremist terrorists, including Osama bin Laden, and to the trafficking of heroin, arms, and sex slaves, among other contraband. The associated PAC, AAPAC, has as its treasurer Shirley Clowes DioGuardi, who is also the AACL's Balkan Affairs Advisor. AAPAC, for its part, receives a great deal of money from self-employed business leaders, including a high proportion of "restaurateurs" and owners of pizzerias.

Undoubtedly, many of these people are in family businesses that are on the up-and-up, and are proud to be American citizens -- working hard, earning an honest living and having their voices heard in government -- and there is nothing wrong with that, it is what America is all about.

But, we cannot help but suspect that some of these people have operations and connections that they do not want brought to light. And, as we move up the chain, to former Congressman DioGuardi and his support for Senator McCain, and as we consider Senator McCain's support for Kosovo Islamic terrorists -- the KLA -- we begin to wonder, don't we? Just as we begin to wonder about Senator Hillary Clinton's connections to these same groups of terrorists and mobsters.

Some random thoughts...

An Interview with Sibel Edmonds, Page Two by Chris Deliso, July 1, 2004

SE: I can't say anything specific with regards to these departments, because I didn't work for them. But as for the politicians, what I can say is that when you start talking about huge amounts of money, certain elected officials become automatically involved. And there are different kinds of campaign contributions – legal and illegal, declared and undeclared.

John McCain armed Kosovo Islamic terrorists, February 13, 2008

The Candidates on Kosova ... and perhaps beyond, 2008

(D) Senator Hillary Clinton who insisted that her husband initiate the NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 has repeatedly declared that the bombing of Serbia was "a success". She has been the honored guest to of many Albanian fundraisers and is hailed as someone that would continue her husband's legacy as a friend and defender of Albanians. Hillary receives 63% of her campaign donations from individuals who donate $2300 or more and 37% from those who donate the maximum $4,600; in short, she is a "big money" candidate. Hillary Clinton is a socially liberal and aggressively interventionist.

Big money in politics - sign of excess? March 26, 2008

Klaman agreed.

"That is what should frighten Americans -- when these guys get elected are they looking primarily out for the good of the people or are there debts that they need to pay back," he said.

Former FBI Translator Sibel Edmonds Calls Current 9/11 Investigation Inadequate by Jim Hogue, May 07, 2004

JH: Here's a question that you might be able to answer: What is al-Qaeda?

SE: This is a very interesting and complex question. When you think of al-Qaeda, you are not thinking of al-Qaeda in terms of one particular country, or one particular organization. You are looking at this massive movement that stretches to tens and tens of countries. And it involves a lot of sub-organizations and sub-sub-organizations and branches and it's extremely complicated. So to just narrow it down and say al-Qaeda and the Saudis, or to say it's what they had at the camp in Afghanistan, is extremely misleading. And we don't hear the extent of the penetration that this organization and the sub-organizations have throughout the world, throughout their networks and throughout their various activities. It's extremely sophisticated. And then you involve a significant amount of money into this equation. Then things start getting a lot of overlap -- money laundering, and drugs and terrorist activities and their support networks converging in several points. That's what I'm trying to convey without being too specific. And this money travels. And you start trying to go to the root of it and it's getting into somebody's political campaign, and somebody's lobbying. And people don't want to be traced back to this money.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bushfire, Part 2

Continued from Part 1

My mind's been going places without me lately

Cracking the Case: An Interview With Sibel Edmonds August 22, 2005

SH: That is very interesting. In fact, my next guest after you will be Bob Dreyfuss about the AIPAC spy scandal and something that occurred to me last night as I read the Vanity Fair piece An Inconvenient Patriot about you, was that some of the things I read about in there, and we'll try to get to some of this a little bit later, were about "unnamed Department of State and Department of Defense employees," which made me wonder whether perhaps your case is tied in with the AIPAC spy scandal case in any way.

SE: Absolutely. And I cannot go into any details -- and maybe some other investigative journalist from across the ocean will come here and do the rest of this article -- as article part two. But even the AIPAC spy scandal, as far as I'm reading today, is just touching the surface of it. It's going only to a certain degree. It doesn't go high enough, in what it involves and how far it goes, and that's as far, and the best -- as far as I can explain.

I need your arms to take me down

Bin Laden, Iran, and the KLA: How Islamic Terrorism Took Root in Albania September 19, 2001


A report of 22 March, 1998 in the Times of London confirmed that bin Laden and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards had signed a pact (on 16 February in Teheran) consolidating their operations in Albania and Kosovo, hoping "to turn the region into their main base for Islamic armed action in Europe." This was the unfortunate but logical outcome of almost a decade of a growing Iranian presence in Albania, and a growing radicalization of the Albanian "freedom fighters."

At the 1994 summit of Islamic countries in Jeddah, an agreement had been reached to "help the 'brothers in the Balkans' with all available means, including military aid.... The Balkan peninsula was chosen as a beachhead for an organized penetration of Islam into Europe."

Take me to the ground

9-11 AND THE SMOKING GUN: Part 1: 'Independent' commission April 7, 2004

Andrew Rice, chair of the 9-11 Commission Committee of the September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows organization, is one among millions of terribly frustrated Americans. He believes that as far as this official 9-11 Commission is concerned, the "fix was in" from the beginning. Beverly Eckert, whose husband died on September 11, adds: "We wanted journalists, we wanted academics ... We did not want politicians."

The commission comprises nine men and a woman, five Republicans and five Democrats. They include two former governors, a former navy secretary, a former deputy attorney-general, two former Congressmen, two former senators and a former White House counsel. It's a consummate bunch of establishment arch-insiders, all inter-connected. One wonders how such a body can possibly investigate what's behind the myriad of political, military and intelligence interplay. Even the commission itself has been forced to admit that of the 16 federal agencies covered by its investigation, only the State Department is being "fully cooperative", with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as a distant second. This is leading to a growing perception, not only in Washington but in other parts of the world, of a "hidden agenda". "They seem to be interested in putting up a good show as a coverup; and of course they're very worried about damage control," says a diplomat from the European Union.

But I hold back

Sibel Edmonds: Still Silenced, But Why? December 17, 2004

We are getting closer to parallel confirmation of Ms. Edmonds' gagged testimony from independent sources. These sources have uncovered, either through personal knowledge or exhaustive investigations, the same names and countries that Ms. Edmonds may not disclose. Nor may she confirm such reports.

Get away from the heat

Sibel Edmonds: Still Silenced, But Why? December 17, 2004

In the documents are names like Atta, Ahmad, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Dostum, Khalilzad, and Bin Laden; and groups like Al Qaeda, the ISI of Pakistan, and the Taliban. The names of companies like Enron, Halliburton, Bechtel, Unocal, and Bin Laden Group appear connected to the off-shore banks that hide money for three infamous families: Marcos, Bush, and Bin Laden. And the same names, like Bush, Cheney, Rice, Bin Laden, Zelikow, Woolsey, and Giffen, intersect in the perpetration of unspeakable atrocities in the quest of empire and power.

Hold back

Cracking the Case: An Interview With Sibel Edmonds August 22, 2005

SH: Okay, and you mention when you talk about criminal activity, drug-running, money-laundering, weapons-smuggling...

SE: And these activities overlap. It's not like okay, you have certain criminal entities that are involved in nuclear black market, and then you have certain entities bringing narcotics from the East. You have the same players when you look into these activities at high-levels you come across the same players, they are the same people.

In my field of vision

9-11 AND THE SMOKING GUN: Part 1: 'Independent' commission April 7, 2004

It's unlikely fellow members at the 9-11 Commission will ask Kean to reveal to what extent he was aware of Mahfouz's links to al-Qaeda; or ask Amerada Hess to open its books and reveal what kind of deals it was cooking up with Mahfouz. After all, Bush himself also had a business connection with Mahfouz, owner of various investments in Houston, Texas. As to the 28 pages of the joint congressional committee detailing Saudi support to al-Qaeda, they also seem to have vanished into thin air.

The commission, for instance, also will not investigate the foreign policy that started it all in the late 1970s and early 1980s: the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA's) full support to the hardcore international Islamic brigades which joined the jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan -- and then turned against the US after the first Gulf War in 1991. This would mean that the commission would have to seriously investigate Secretary of State Colin Powell and his number two, Richard Armitage, key players in those 1980s proceedings.

Hold back

'The Stakes Are Too High for Us to Stop Fighting Now' August 15, 2005

SE: You know how they always talk about these Islamic charities funding the terrorists, right?

CD: Yes...

SE: Well, and this is not a firm statistic, just a sort of ratio... but these charities are responsible for maybe 10 or 20 percent of al-Qaeda's fundraising. So where is the other 80 or 90 percent coming from? People, it's not so difficult!

Baby burning, fire

Bin Laden, Iran, and the KLA: How Islamic Terrorism Took Root in Albania September 19, 2001

Although it's hard to gauge to what extent radical Islam has propelled the quest for a "Greater Albania," there is no question that religion is now a key factor in uniting the fractious Albanian groups -- Kosovars, Gegs and Tosks -- who never liked each other much before 1990, and who probably would never have developed strong feelings of unity, without the imposition of the kind of radical Islam championed by Osama bin Laden. It's sad to say that the nurturing of radical Islam in the Balkans may prove to be America's most lasting contribution to the region.

Fire in a field of molten flowers (aaaah)

'The Stakes Are Too High for Us to Stop Fighting Now' August 15, 2005

CD: Can you elaborate here on what countries you mean?

SE: It's interesting, in one of my interviews, they say "Turkish countries," but I believe they meant Turkic countries -- that is, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and all the 'Stans, including Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and [non-Turkic countries like] Afghanistan and Pakistan. All of these countries play a big part in the sort of things I have been talking about.

CD: What, you mean drug-smuggling?

SE: Among other things. Yes, that is a major part of it. It's amazing that in this whole "war on terror" thing, no one ever talks about these issues. No one asks questions about these countries -- questions like, "OK, how much of their GDP depends on drugs?"

CD: But of course, you're not implying...

SE: And then to compare that little survey with what countries we've been putting military bases in --

Fire in a field of molten flowers (aaaah)

'The Stakes Are Too High for Us to Stop Fighting Now' August 15, 2005

SE: I mean, come on, I wasn't some big diplomat or official or secret agent or something -- I was just a lowly translator! So what could possibly be so dangerous about letting me speak? Why are they covering this up?

You know, I found out the other day that there has been no person in the history of the United States to have had as many gag orders as I have. So when I say I am the most gagged person in history, I mean it. They are terrified of letting me speak, and just why they might be terrified -- well, this is what the media should be concentrating on, not that the poor whistleblower got fired.

There's a bushfire burning, yeah (aaaah)

Vanity Fair: An Inconvenient Patriot August 15, 2005

Another call allegedly discussed a payment to a Pentagon official, who seemed to be involved in weapons-procurement negotiations. Yet another implied that Turkish groups had been installing doctoral students at U.S. research institutions in order to acquire information about black market nuclear weapons. In fact, much of what Edmonds reportedly heard seemed to concern not state espionage but criminal activity. There was talk, she told investigators, of laundering the profits of large-scale drug deals and of selling classified military technologies to the highest bidder.

You better hold back, hold back (aaaah)

One More Reason to Win - Let Sibel Edmonds Speak October 30, 2006

Currently, according to former CIA agent Philip Giraldi, there is an investigation into Israel's illegal sale of U.S. military technology to countries like China and India. The companies mentioned in this article also have ties to the defense industry through their members' history in government service -- who also share close ties with Turkish front groups (as well as an alliance with AIPAC and JINSA) currently under investigation by the FBI. That these Turkish groups would be involved in the same illegal sales with the aid of the aforementioned businesses is not that difficult of a dot to connect as it definitely reflects the "can of worms" that Edmonds' superiors at the FBI did not want opened. It's also worth mentioning that Turkey is a large hub in the drugs coming out of Afghanistan and Edmonds has alluded to the drug trade in her past statements.


9-11 AND THE SMOKING GUN: Part 1: 'Independent' commission April 7, 2004

Former national security adviser to Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, also one of the key members of the Council on Foreign Relations, was the mastermind behind the building of an Islamic network in Afghanistan -- as part of a huge, covert CIA operation. To a large extent, the modern Islamic jihad exists thanks to Brzezinski. There are four members of the Council on Foreign Relations in the commission. There's hardly any chance of them investigating their fellow Brzezinski.


9-11 AND THE SMOKING GUN: Part 1: 'Independent' commission April 7, 2004

Commissioner Jamie S Gorelick is very close to CIA director George Tenet. No wonder: she works on the CIA's National Security Advisory Panel, as well as on the president's Review of Intelligence. Tenet is one of the masterminds of the Bush administration "war on terror". This means no chance for the commission to investigate dubious covert operations by the CIA which may foment terrorism instead of fighting it.


9-11 AND THE SMOKING GUN: Part 1: 'Independent' commission April 7, 2004

If the intellectual masterminds of the "war on terror" in the Council on Foreign Relations won't be investigated, neither will be those members of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). PNAC was prophetic in the sense that even before the Bush administration, in a 2000 white paper, their members were betting on "some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor" so the American people would support their agenda of global politico-military dominance. All neo-conservative superstars -- like Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle -- are members of PNAC (see Asia Times Online, March 20, 2003, This war is brought to you by ...)

But I'm moving to the beat of a big bushfire

Whistleblowers' Dirty Dozen: Interview with Sibel Edmonds July 08, 2006

"The following members of Congress, by their action or inaction, have stood against real investigations, hearings, and legislation dealing with government whistleblowers who have exposed waste, fraud, abuse, and or criminal activities within government agencies. These representatives of the People are not only standing against whistleblowers, but against the public's right to know, effective oversight, accountability, and ultimately against the democratic processes that underpin our society."

The Whistleblowers' Dirty Dozen list is as follows (in alphabetical order):

Senator Hillary Clinton

Senator Mike DeWine

Rep. David Dreier

Rep. Dennis Hastert

Senator Orrin Hatch

Rep. Peter Hoekstra

Senator Jon Kyl

Senator Joseph Lieberman

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger

Senator Rick Santorum

Rep. James Sensenbrenner

Rep. Mark Souder

I'm dancing to the heat of a big bushfire

Clinton bucks the trend and rakes in cash from the US weapons industry October 19, 2007

The US arms industry is backing Hillary Clinton for President and has all but abandoned its traditional allies in the Republican party. Mrs Clinton has also emerged as Wall Street's favourite. Investment bankers have opened their wallets in unprecedented numbers for the New York senator over the past three months and, in the process, dumped their earlier favourite, Barack Obama.

Mrs Clinton's wooing of the defence industry is all the more remarkable given the frosty relations between Bill Clinton and the military during his presidency. An analysis of campaign contributions shows senior defence industry employees are pouring money into her war chest in the belief that their generosity will be repaid many times over with future defence contracts.

And the flames are warm and getting brighter

Big money in politics - sign of excess? March 26, 2008

Klaman agreed.

"That is what should frighten Americans -- when these guys get elected are they looking primarily out for the good of the people or are there debts that they need to pay back," he said.


Cracking the Case: An Interview With Sibel Edmonds August 22, 2005

SH: So let's get into some of that criminal activity then. The semi-legit organization that I think you are most often referring to is the American Turkish Council, which is headed by Brent Scowcroft, a former national security adviser of the United States, and is packed with the leaders of Raytheon, Motorola, Boeing, Lockheed, Martin Marietta, and some of the most powerful company names in the military-industrial complex.

SE: Correct.

SH: Is the ATC just one of many semi-legitimate organizations that you are referring to, or is most of this story focused on the ATC itself?

SE: There are many.

Well everybody likes to dance around the heat and fire

'The Stakes Are Too High for Us to Stop Fighting Now' August 15, 2005

CD: But you can start from anywhere --

SE: That's the beauty of it. You can start from the AIPAC angle. You can start from the Plame case. You can start from my case. They all end up going to the same place, and they revolve around the same nucleus of people. There may be a lot of them, but it is one group. And they are very dangerous for all of us.

Stay tuned for Part 3

Friday, March 28, 2008

Bushfire, Part 1

Taliban rejects Bush's 'second chance' offer October 13, 2001

Afghanistan's ruling Taliban has rejected President George W. Bush's "second chance" offer to surrender terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden, the Afghan embassy in Islamabad said today.

President Bush told a news conference on Thursday that if the Taliban "cough him up and his people today" then the United States will "reconsider what we're doing to your country. You still have a second chance," Bush said. "Just bring him in, and bring his leaders and lieutenants and other thugs and criminals with him."

On the horizon

Bush pledges to get bin Laden, dead or alive December 14, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush pledged anew Friday that Osama bin Laden will be taken "dead or alive," no matter how long it takes, amid indications that the suspected terrorist may be bottled up in a rugged Afghan canyon. The president, in an Oval Office meeting with Thailand's prime minister, would not predict the timing of bin Laden's capture but said he doesn't care how the suspect is brought to justice. "I don't care, dead or alive -- either way," Bush said. "It doesn't matter to me."

The landscape's burning red

CNN EVANS, NOVAK, HUNT & SHIELDS: Interview With General Richard Myers April 6, 2002

HUNT: The Big Question for General Myers: One embarrassment for the U.S. has been that, in almost seven months after 9/11, we still haven't captured Osama bin Laden. With the apprehension this week of one of his top lieutenants, have we gotten enough information to be any closer to maybe finally getting bin Laden?

MYERS: Well, if you remember, if we go back to the beginning of this segment, the goal has never been to get bin Laden. Obviously, that's desirable.


'Ex-presidents club' gets fat on conflict: High-flying venture capital firm Carlyle Group cashes in when the tanks roll March 23, 2003

It is the sort of thing they really could have done without. For 15 years one of America's most powerful venture capital groups has tried to play down suggestions that its multi-billion dollar funds get fat on the back of global conflict. But now, with the invasion of Iraq under way, a new book chronicling the relatively short history of the Carlyle Group threatens to draw attention to the company's close links with the Pentagon.

Smoke in your eyes

Sibel, Giraldi, American Conservative Mag May 10, 2006

According to Sibel, (no link, via email), this is "a fantastic short piece by Phil Giraldi; it sums up the case very well, considering the length... as far as published articles go, this one nails it 100%"


On one level, her story appears straightforward: several Turkish lobbying groups allegedly bribed congressmen to support policies favourable to Ankara. But beyond that, the Edmonds revelations become more serpentine and appear to involve AIPAC, Israel and a number of leading neoconservatives who have profited from the Turkish connection.

Smoke in your eyes

Bush saw Iraq war as inevitable March 28, 2006

LONDON: In the weeks before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, as the United States and Britain pressed for a second UN resolution condemning Iraq, President George W. Bush's public ultimatum to Saddam Hussein was blunt: Disarm or face war.

But behind closed doors, the president was certain that war was inevitable. During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made it clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Blair's top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by The New York Times.

If you feel something

Sibel, Giraldi, American Conservative Mag May 10, 2006

Other noted neoconservatives linked to Turkey are former State Department number three, Marc Grossman, current Pentagon Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman, Paul Wolfowitz and former congressman Stephen Solarz. The money involved does not appear to come from the Turkish government, and FBI investigators are trying to determine its source and how it is distributed. Some of it may come from criminal activity, possibly drug trafficking, but much more might come from arms dealing. Contracts in the hundreds of millions, or even billions of dollars provide considerable fat for those well placed to benefit.

That makes you warm all over

Bush saw Iraq war as inevitable March 28, 2006

"Our diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning," David Manning, Blair's chief foreign policy adviser at the time, wrote in the memo that summarized the discussion between Bush, Blair and six of their top aides.

"The start date for the military campaign was now penciled in for 10 March," Manning wrote, paraphrasing Bush. "This was when the bombing would begin."

If you got a fire and you can't put it out

Israel: Background and Relations with the United States October 26, 2005

On June 13, 2005, U.S. Department of Defense analyst Lawrence Franklin was indicted for the unauthorized disclosure of classified information to a foreign diplomat. Press reports named Na'or Gil'on, a political counselor at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, as the diplomat. Gil'on has not been accused of wrongdoing and returned to Israel. [snip] On August 4, two former officials of the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC), Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, whom AIPAC fired in April, were indicted for their parts in the conspiracy. Both have denied wrongdoing.

Got a bushfire

US Tells Wary Ally Turkey That Move Against Iraq Inevitable July 17, 2002

ANKARA - A top US defense official asserted America's determination to oust Saddam Hussein as he sought support from key NATO ally Turkey, while Iraq's neighbor demanded consultations before any strike.

"As President (George W.) Bush emphasized, the Iraqi regime, hostile to the United States and supporting terrorism, is a danger that we cannot afford to live with indefinitely," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told reporters after two days of talks with Turkish leaders.

Rolling through a field of molten flowers (aaaah)

Cracking the Case: An Interview With Sibel Edmonds August 22, 2005

SH: Sibel, let's see if we can figure out why they [the government] are going to such lengths to keep you quiet. Can you tell me, what is the American Turkish Council -- let me rephrase that, can you tell me what the American Turkish Council is?

SE: Well sure, it's on the Web site. They are this lobbying organization for Turkish business and relationship between U.S. and Turkey. It's exactly like AIPAC.

SH: Oh good, exactly like AIPAC!

SE: Exactly. In fact, they have so many crossovers, if you look at their members you will see many that are members of both organizations. And if you look at the people who are in the management and are in charge of these lobbying groups, you come across the same names, which is very interesting.

Burning in a field of molten flowers (aaaah)

FULL INTERVIEW: Vice President Dick Cheney March 19, 2008

RADDATZ: And how long do you do that? There are no consequences.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: You do it as long as you have to until you get it right. You don't quit because it's hard.

RADDATZ: So there are no consequences, it just goes on until -- as long as it lasts? You let the Iraqis go and go and go, even --

THE VICE PRESIDENT: What if we quit two years ago or three years ago?

RADDATZ: So it could be 10 years?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I don't know how long it's going to take. I do know we have to get it done. And if it takes a long time, that doesn't make it any less worthwhile.

There's a bushfire (aaaah)

Sibel, Giraldi, American Conservative Mag May 10, 2006

Investigators are also looking at Israel's particular expertise in the illegal sale of US military technology to countries like China and India. Fraudulent end-user certificates produced by Defense Ministries in Israel and Turkey are all that is needed to divert military technology to other, less benign, consumers. The military-industrial-complex/neocon network is also well attested. Doug Feith has been associated with Northrup Grumman for years, while defense contractors fund many neocon-linked think tanks and "information" services. Feith, Perle and a number of other neocons have long had beneficial relationships with various Israeli defense contractors.

There a bushfire burning, yeah (aaaah)

FULL INTERVIEW: Vice President Dick Cheney March 19, 2008

RADDATZ: Let me go back to the Americans. Two-thirds of Americans say it's not worth fighting, and they're looking at the value gain versus the cost in American lives, certainly, and Iraqi lives.


RADDATZ: So -- you don't care what the American people think?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: No, I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.


'The Stakes Are Too High for Us to Stop Fighting Now' August 15, 2005

SE: Look, I think that that [the AIPAC investigation] ultimately involves more than just Israelis -- I am talking about countries, not a single country here. Because despite however it may appear, this is not just a simple matter of state espionage. If Fitzgerald and his team keep pulling, really pulling, they are going to reel in much more than just a few guys spying for Israel.

CD: A monster, 600-pound catfish, huh? So the Turkish and Israeli investigations had some overlap?

SE: Essentially, there is only one investigation -- a very big one, an all-inclusive one. Completely by chance, I, a lowly translator, stumbled over one piece of it.

But I can tell you there are a lot of people involved, a lot of ranking officials, and a lot of illegal activities that include multi-billion-dollar drug-smuggling operations, black-market nuclear sales to terrorists and unsavory regimes, you name it. And of course a lot of people from abroad are involved. It's massive. So to do this investigation, to really do it, they will have to look into everything.


'Ex-presidents club' gets fat on conflict: High-flying venture capital firm Carlyle Group cashes in when the tanks roll March 23, 2003

At the same time it emerged that the bin Laden family -- estranged from their terrorist son -- was an investor in the Carlyle fund that owned United Defense. The backlash was ferocious. Carlyle hired a PR firm but the group was under siege. In an astonishing move Democrat Representative Cynthia McKinney cited the Carlyle Group as an example of an organisation 'close to this administration poised to make huge profits off America's new war'. The bin Laden family sold their stakes in the fund. A spokesman said their investment was valued at 'only' around $2m, although Briody quotes insiders who say the family's investment had been significantly greater in the past.


'The Stakes Are Too High for Us to Stop Fighting Now' August 15, 2005

SE: [snip] It's like this with the so-called war on terror. We go for the Attas and Hamdis -- but never touch the guys on the top.

CD: You think they [the government] know who they are, the top guys, and where?

SE: Oh yeah, they know.

CD: So why don't they get them?

SE: It's like I told you before -- this would upset "certain foreign relations." But it would also expose certain of our elected officials, who have significant connections with high-level drugs- and weapons-smuggling -- and thus with the criminal underground, even with the terrorists themselves.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"A Broader Problem"

Just out on the wires: Gates orders inventory of US nukes

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered a full inventory of all nuclear weapons and related materials after the mistaken delivery of ballistic missile fuses to Taiwan, the Pentagon said Thursday.

Gates told officials with the Air Force, Navy and Defense Logistics Agency to assess inventory control procedures for the materials and to submit a report within 60 days.

Earlier this week, Gates directed Navy Adm. Kirkland H. Donald to take charge of a full investigation of the delivery mistake in which four cone-shaped electrical fuses used in intercontinental ballistic missile warheads were shipped to the Taiwanese instead of the helicopter batteries they had ordered.

It was the second nuclear-related mistake involving the military that has been revealed in recent months. In August an Air Force B-52 bomber was mistakenly armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and flown from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale Air Force Base, La. At the time, the pilot and crew were unaware they had nuclear arms aboard.

The electrical fuses were delivered in fall 2006, but the military did not fully realize the gravity of the blunder until last week. The revelation sparked sharp protests from China and forced President Bush to acknowledge the error in a phone call Wednesday with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

While the shipment did not contain nuclear materials, the error is particularly sensitive because China vehemently opposes U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. U.S. officials were quick to say that the incident did not suggest any change in policies toward Taiwan arms sales.

But China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said, in a statement posted on the agency's Web site, that China had sent a protest to Washington expressing "strong displeasure."

He said China demanded the U.S. investigate the matter and report back to China to "eliminate the negative effects and disastrous consequences created by this incident."

Despite quarterly checks of the inventory, defense officials said they never knew the fuses were gone. Only after months of discussions with Taiwan over the missing batteries did the Pentagon finally realize — late last week — the seriousness of what had happened.

During that time, according to a senior Taiwan defense official, the U.S. initially asked Taiwan to dispose of the missile fuses. U.S. officials said that early on it was thought the Taiwanese had simply received the wrong batteries.

Once the error was discovered, the military quickly recovered the four fuses, which are linked to the triggering mechanisms in Minuteman nuclear missile nose cones. But Gates has demanded sweeping reviews to discover how it happened and whether it indicates a broader problem in the security of the military's nuclear weapons and related materials.

In his memo released Thursday, Gates ordered a physical inventory of all nuclear related items. Donald, whose assessment is separate from the agencies' inventories, must provide Gates with an initial report by April 15.

They've got "a broader problem", alright.

The Triple Choice

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"Debts That They Need to Pay Back"

I begin with the first part of an article that appeared in Congressional Quarterly in January, 2007, entitled National Security Whistle Blowers: The 'Undead'? by Jeff Stein, CQ National Security Editor

You'd think a guy who helped bring down a corrupt congressman would get the thanks of a grateful government.

But you, of course, would be wrong.

Like so many other disillusioned ex-CIA, FBI and other erstwhile spooks, Haig Melkessetian's career was derailed for telling the truth.

Today, he's another casualty of Iraq, one of the growing number of national security "undead" in Washington's intelligence demimonde, "entities that are deceased yet behave as if alive," according to Wikipedia's take on the horror flick creatures -- "animated corpses," bureaucratically speaking.

Melkessetian, a former security aide and Arabic translator to Jerry Bremer, the first American proconsul in Iraq, now works in a far lesser job for a U.S. government contractor in the Virginia suburbs.

His first sin: Telling Pentagon officials how screwed up things were in Iraq.

A Beirut-raised former Special Forces operative, Melkessetian told Pentagon officials early in the war that the contractor he worked for had sent unqualified personnel to Baghdad. It was typical of the war's mismanagement, he said.

Half the linguists he worked with did not speak fluent Arabic, he reported. One was a Russian linguist who spoke no Arabic at all.

That contractor he was working for was the now-notorious MZM, whose president, Mitchell Wade, had an unusually close relationship with then-Rep. Randall "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, and other high-level politicians with national security connections.

When Wade tried to involve Melkessetian in an MZM scheme to put together a congressional delegation to Saudi Arabia, led by Cunningham, to brush up the kingdom's post-9/11 image, the former soldier balked: There were too many Saudi connections to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Eventually, of course, Cunningham went to jail for steering contracts to MZM in exchange for $2.4 million.

Wade, too, will almost certainly go to jail, after he finishes telling federal investigators about every palm he greased on Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, and perhaps the CIA, as part of his plea agreement.

Meanwhile, a federal prosecutor in San Diego has given the House Appropriations, Armed Services and Intelligence committees a Jan. 31 deadline for turning over records related to Cunningham and contractor earmarks.

Sibel Edmonds

Melkessetian's story is all too typical.

Take John M. Cole, a veteran FBI counterintelligence agent whose 18-year career took a nosedive when he came to the rescue of Sibel Edmonds.

Edmonds is the former FBI language specialist who surfaced in June 2002 with a strange tale of how she had been fired by the Bureau after telling supervisors that a foreign intelligence ring had penetrated the translators' unit where she worked, among other sensitive issues.

Now why would they do that?

You can't find out much, because then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft invoked a "state secrets privilege" to stop her suit against the FBI for wrongful dismissal.

A gag order prevents her from adding details to another of her sensational charges, that government eavesdroppers had intercepted the Sept. 11 hijackers plans.

Edmonds, born in Iran of Turkish origins, also claims she discovered unsavory links between U.S. defense and intelligence officials, weapons makers, Israel, and Ankara.

"I wanted to meet her because I wanted to help her," says Cole, who resigned from the FBI after years of writing unanswered reports about lax security and mismanagement of the translations unit, which handles electronic intercepts of foreign spies, among other materials.

"I thought that I could be of some assistance to her," Cole says in "Kill the Messenger," a new documentary film about her case, "because I knew she was doing the right thing. I knew because she was right."

Cole tells how he had "talked to people who had read her file, who had read the investigative report, and they were telling me a totally different story" than FBI officials, who had only perfunctorily investigated her allegations.

"They were telling me that Sibel Edmonds was a 100 percent accurate, that management knew that she was correct."

But they buried it.

In 2004, after months of harassment by superiors for his defense of Edmonds, Cole resigned.

A year later, the Justice Department's Inspector General concluded: "the evidence clearly corroborated Edmonds' allegations."

To put this into context, let's review excerpts of an article that appeared on Yahoo News today entitled Big money in politics - sign of excess? by Deborah Charles:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With eight months to go before the U.S. presidential election, the candidates have raised almost $1 billion to fund their campaigns -- more than the size of the economies of several African countries.

The unusually long race for the White House -- which began in earnest more than a year ago -- has been a cash bonanza, especially for Democrats who are breaking all records.

Republicans lag behind but still rake in tens of millions and have time to make up ground in the money game between now and the November 4 national election.

Between January 2007 and February, the candidates raised a record $814 million. By the end of this month, analysts expect the total taken in and spent by the candidates and interest groups will reach $1 billion.

"America's really taking a big step forward in terms of spending on their elections," said Steve Weissman of the Campaign Finance Institute, a research organization affiliated with George Washington University.

Weissman said the three main presidential candidates -- Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and Republican John McCain -- are pulling in a combined total of at least $100 million a month. Figures show the candidates are spending up to 93 percent of what they have raised.


"Yes it's a lot of money. But really -- it's less about the overall amount of money than where that money is coming from and who is supplying it," said [Gary] Klaman [of watchdog group U.S. PIRG].

Massie Ritsch of the Center for Responsive Politics said even with the Internet contributions, only about 4 percent of Americans make a contribution to a federal politician.

"The bulk of the money is coming from a tiny group of largely wealthy Americans who are having a great impact disproportionate to their numbers on something that should be important to everybody," he said.

Klaman agreed.

"That is what should frighten Americans -- when these guys get elected are they looking primarily out for the good of the people or are there debts that they need to pay back," he said.

Except for the last two paragraphs from the above article, which are repeated near the bottom of this post, the following snips were collected in Smuggler's Blues, Part 2:



The caption accompanying the above photo says McCain was in New York doing some fundraising, and it is fair to ask: how much money did he get from the Albanian lobby? As the great "reform" candidate who denounces the influence of "special interests" and the power of money in politics, McCain had better tell us exactly how much the Albanian lobby has thrown his way – and to what effect. Of all the lobbyists in Washington, it is the "special interests" represented by the agents of foreign powers that pose the greatest threat to the integrity of the Presidency.



There they are, the two of them, DioGuardi and McCain, side by side: one who would carve an Albanian empire in the midst of the blood-soaked Balkans, and the other who would be President of the United States. It is a disturbing juxtaposition, to say the very least.

The Turkish Lobby, Obstruction of Justice and Henry Waxman, 2008

While we're at it, notice who took a great deal of money from the Turkish lobby for her Presidential bid.

The Candidates on Kosova ... and perhaps beyond, 2008

(D) Senator Hillary Clinton who insisted that her husband initiate the NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 has repeatedly declared that the bombing of Serbia was "a success". She has been the honored guest to of many Albanian fundraisers and is hailed as someone that would continue her husband’s legacy as a friend and defender of Albanians. Hillary receives 63% of her campaign donations from individuals who donate $2300 or more and 37% from those who donate the maximum $4,600; in short, she is a "big money" candidate. Hillary Clinton is a socially liberal and aggressively interventionist.

Repeating the end of Big money in politics - sign of excess?

Klaman agreed.

"That is what should frighten Americans -- when these guys get elected are they looking primarily out for the good of the people or are there debts that they need to pay back," he said.

John McCain armed Kosovo Islamic terrorists, 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Heroin Lobby, Part 10

I begin by presenting excerpts from an article reproduced at the AACL's website, entitled SENATOR BIDEN: AN INDEPENDENT KOSOVA IS INEVITABLE by Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi, published in Illyria on September 20, 2002:

On Sunday, September 15, the Chicago chapter of the Albanian American Civic League, in conjunction with the Albanian community in the State of Illinois, hosted a reception and forum with Senator Joseph Biden at Diplomat West banquet hall in Elmhurst, Illinois. Members of the Civic League chapter in the greater Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area also participated. The event, which was coordinated by Pajazit Murtishi, owner of Illyria Travel in Chicago, with the help of former Congressman and AACL President Joe DioGuardi and Balkan Affairs Adviser Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi in New York, was part of the Civic League’s continuing effort to keep the Albanian dimension of the Balkan conflict at the forefront of U.S. foreign policy concerns.

The Civic League views Senator Biden as the key link for making foreign policy changes in the U.S. government that will impact the future of Albanians in the Balkans in a progressive way—not only because of his position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but also because of his in-depth knowledge and appreciation of the Albanian people. For this reason, the Civic League has been making a concerted effort to introduce Senator Biden to Albanian communities across the United States and to demonstrate to him that we do not take for granted his past and present contributions to bringing justice and freedom to all Albanians and to Southeast Europe.


In her introduction, Cloyes DioGuardi talked about the Civic League's presentation of the its 2nd annual Balkan Peace Award to Senator Biden (the first was presented to General Wesley Clark) on June 18, 2002, in the presence of Nexhat Daci, Speaker of the Kosova Assembly. Cloyes DioGuardi pointed out that the Civic League created the award to honor people who "do not simply talk about our issues, but who do something to get the job done." Senator Biden, she said, "has consistently and forcefully insisted that the United States must not abandon the Balkans to Europe and that we must not leave the region until there is peace and economic security for all."

In his remarks on June 18, Cloyes DioGuardi said that Biden drew a striking contrast between the vision of Robert Kaplan’s Balkan Ghosts—a book that falsely identified the source of the Balkan conflict in the 1980s and 1990s as centuries of ethnic hatred instead of the consequence of Slobodan Milosevic and his genocidal warfare—and the work of Joe DioGuardi, whom Senator Biden called the "Balkan Beacon," because Joe had kept a contant focus, a "beacon of light," on the possibilities for peace and justice in Southeast Europe since 1986. Cloyes DioGuardi then stated that the same could be said about Senator Biden: "If Joe DioGuardi is the 'Albanian Balkan Beacon,' then Senator Biden is the 'Congressional Balkan Beacon.' For more than fifteen years, he has been disinfecting the problems of the Balkans in his light and insisting on a just solution when others averted their eyes as thousands died. While the Albanian community is quick to credit former President Bill Clinton with dropping the bombs on Serbia, the bombs would never have been dropped and Milosevic's genocidal march across Europe would not have been halted if it had not been for Joe Biden. He has earned our respect and our support."

Would anybody care to guess where this is going?

In McCain's Ties to Islamic Terrorists -- and Heroin Traffickers? and especially in The Balkan Connection, Part 2, I identify the Albanian American Civic League (AACL) and its associated Albanian American Public Affairs Committee (AAPAC) as fronts for Albanian organized crime.

In Kosovo in 1999, Part 3 I touched on the role of Albanian organized crime in the ethnic cleansing of ethnic Albanians -- the KLA was intimidating anyone who was less than eager to support the KLA's criminal agenda.

With that in mind, it is useful to consider AAPAC's contributions to Senator Biden's recent Presidential aspirations:

10/29/2007: $1000.00
12/03/2007: $1000.00

Keep in mind that these legal, declared contributions are only the tiny tip of the iceberg.

From farther down in the article:

Throughout his foreign policy work in the Balkans, Senator Biden said that his aim was "to change five hundred years of history." As long as the Balkans are viewed as "a backwater and an appendage of Europe," Biden observed, "the world will not care if seven million Albanians are being persecuted." As long as the Balkans remain isolated, its peoples will be at the mercy of external powers, adding that the Europeans must stop making Albanians "pawns that can be moved on the chessboard by others." To the extent that the Robert Kaplans of the world can sell the message that the people of the Balkans are "uncivilized, not cultured, and not capable, we will lose," Biden said. He appealed to Albanians in the audience, and through the Civic League, to be the people who move the world’s perspective in a different direction.

Returning to the image of the spotlight, Biden expressed his grave concern that the "light that had shone brightly" during the NATO bombing campaign was "beginning to fade." He emphasized that, "To the degree that the world does not shine light on the plight of Albanians, their condition will become dire." To prevent this fate and to make Albanian freedom a reality, Biden said that Albanians must become part of Europe. Simultaneously, Biden expressed his strong conviction that the U.S. government must remain involved in the Balkans for integration to happen. The United States must have its "arms and rifles and boots on the ground," he said, if there is to be "ultimate security for seven million Albanians through integration into Europe." He added that the kind of functioning multiethnic societies that the West would like to see in the Balkans cannot occur in the absence of physical security and economic growth.

Biden was candid in his criticism of the Bush administration for "exaggerating progress in the Balkans" in order to allow Americans to disengage prematurely from Kosova, Macedonia, and Bosnia. He cited Serbia as an example. While acknowledging that the government of Kostunica and Djindjic was certainly better than the Milosevic regime, Biden said that he and many others in Congress would continue to insist that Serbia, as the "prime mover of the insane genocidal warfare of the 1980s and 1990s," must meet all of the conditions necessary to receive U.S. assistance. Specifically, he said that Belgrade must cease its negative interference in Kosova and Bosnia; that it must end the de facto partition of Mitrovice and let displaced Albanians return to their homes in the north and Serbs to theirs in the south; that it must turn over all of its war criminals to The Hague; and that it must publicly apologize for its genocidal campaigns in Kosova, Bosnia, and Croatia. Like the Germans of the Nazi era, Biden argued that it was important for Serbs to shed the mythology that they are victims—a mythology that has enabled them to justify their acts of aggression against others—so that new generations do not repeat history.

Biden also examined the situation in Macedonia, calling it "an explosion waiting to happen." He said that the United States could ill afford to leave Macedonia to Europe or abandon it before there is genuine peace. For years, the international community overlooked the institutionalized racism and police brutality against Albanians, while Albanians participated in the Macedonian government. Now, the Ohrid agreement has to be fully implemented, Biden insisted, "if we are to have any hope." If Ohrid fails, he expressed his fear that violent extremists on both sides will take over. The "racist, right-wing Interior Minister Boskovski" has recently tortured Albanians in Gostivar and is "itching to turn his goons loose on defenseless Albanians in Macedonia," Biden observed. But, while the Senator deplored the violence of Slavic Macedonian extremists, he expressed his deep disappointment that the "overwhelming small Albanian National Army" has a "siren song." He called AKSH’s approach, in which they denounce as traitors politicians who support the Ohrid agreement and kill policemen, as "sheer insanity." Through their actions, they allow the world to characterize Albanians "as thugs, no different from those who are Slavs."

Of course, as I have previously pointed out, Macedonia and Montenegro are next.

Heroin trafficking works best amid instability and hostilities. The destabilization of legitimate governments in the region facilitates a phenomenon known as "State Capture" (see sidebar), exemplified by the situation in Kosovo, where organized crime takes over an entire nation. Hostilities are good for weapons-trafficking, and the international peacekeepers stationed in the region are the perfect captive clientele for the sex slaves that organized crime traffics to the region for forced prostitution.

As long as Albanian organized crime keeps laundering money to Senator Biden through AAPAC & Co., Senator Biden will keep doing the bidding of AAPAC's associated AACL.

From The Criminalization of the State: "Independent Kosovo", a Territory under US-NATO Military Rule quoted in Kosovo in 1999, Part 3:

The laundering of dirty money

In order to thrive, the criminal syndicates involved in the Balkans narcotics trade need friends in high places. Smuggling rings with alleged links to the Turkish State are said to control the trafficking of heroin through the Balkans "cooperating closely with other groups with which they have political or religious ties" including criminal groups in Albanian and Kosovo.[21] In this new global financial environment, powerful undercover political lobbies connected to organized crime cultivate links to prominent political figures and officials of the military and intelligence establishment.

As I quoted from a January 16, 1997 press release from the United States Senate Republican Policy Committee in McCain's Ties to Islamic Terrorists:

For example, one such group about which details have come to light is the Third World Relief Agency (TWRA), a Sudan-based, phoney humanitarian organization which has been a major link in the arms pipeline to Bosnia. ["How Bosnia's Muslims Dodged Arms Embargo: Relief Agency Brokered Aid From Nations, Radical Groups," Washington Post, 9/22/96; see also "Saudis Funded Weapons For Bosnia, Official Says: $300 Million Program Had U.S. 'Stealth Cooperation'," Washington Post, 2/2/96] TWRA is believed to be connected with such fixtures of the Islamic terror network as Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman (the convicted mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) and Osama Binladen, a wealthy Saudi emigre believed to bankroll numerous militant groups. [WP, 9/22/96]

As Sibel Edmonds stated in the context of her own case, which deals with Turkish organized crime and its influence in Washington:

Former FBI Translator Sibel Edmonds Calls Current 9/11 Investigation Inadequate by Jim Hogue, May 07, 2004

JH: Can you explain more about what money you are talking about?

SE: The most significant information that we were receiving did not come from counter-terrorism investigations, and I want to emphasize this. It came from counter-intelligence, and certain criminal investigations, and issues that have to do with money laundering operations.

You get to a point where it gets very complex, where you have money laundering activities, drug related activities, and terrorist support activities converging at certain points and becoming one. In certain points - and they [the intelligence community] are separating those portions from just the terrorist activities. And, as I said, they are citing "foreign relations" which is not the case, because we are not talking about only governmental levels. And I keep underlining semi-legit organizations and following the money. When you do that the picture gets grim. It gets really ugly.

The Highjacking of a Nation, Part 2: The Auctioning of Former Statesmen & Dime a Dozen Generals by Sibel Edmonds, November 29, 2006

The foreign influence, the lobbyists, the current highly positioned civil servants who are determined future 'wanna be' lobbyists, and the fat cats of the Military Industrial Complex, operate successfully under the radar, with unlimited reach and power, with no scrutiny, while selling your interests, benefiting from your tax money, and serving the highest bidders regardless of what or who they may be. This deep state seems to operate at all levels of our government; from the President's office to Congress, from the military quarters to the civil servants' offices.

Did Speaker Hastert Accept Turkish Bribes to Deny Armenian Genocide and Approve Weapons Sales?, an interview with Amy Goodman, 2005

Sibel Edmonds: [snip] They are not speaking about the link between the narcotics and al Qaeda. Yes, we are hearing about them coming down on some charities as the real funds behind al Qaeda, but most of al Qaeda's funding is not through these charity organizations. It's through narcotics. And have you heard anything to this date, anything about these issues which we have had information since 1997? And as I would again emphasize, we are talking about countries. And they are blocking this information, and also the fact that certain officials in this country are engaged in treason against the United States and its interests and its national security, be it the Department of State or certain elected officials.

Former FBI Translator Sibel Edmonds Calls Current 9/11 Investigation Inadequate by Jim Hogue, May 07, 2004

JH: Here's a question that you might be able to answer: What is al-Qaeda?

SE: This is a very interesting and complex question. When you think of al-Qaeda, you are not thinking of al-Qaeda in terms of one particular country, or one particular organization. You are looking at this massive movement that stretches to tens and tens of countries. And it involves a lot of sub-organizations and sub-sub-organizations and branches and it's extremely complicated. So to just narrow it down and say al-Qaeda and the Saudis, or to say it's what they had at the camp in Afghanistan, is extremely misleading. And we don't hear the extent of the penetration that this organization and the sub-organizations have throughout the world, throughout their networks and throughout their various activities. It's extremely sophisticated. And then you involve a significant amount of money into this equation. Then things start getting a lot of overlap -- money laundering, and drugs and terrorist activities and their support networks converging in several points. That's what I'm trying to convey without being too specific. And this money travels. And you start trying to go to the root of it and it's getting into somebody's political campaign, and somebody's lobbying. And people don't want to be traced back to this money.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Race to Hell: Make Sure This Happens

We continue now from Race to Hell: Principle, Not Politics quoting from Exposure: The woman behind the camera at Abu Ghraib:

The next morning, after nearly thirty hours in the shower, the corpse was removed from the tier disguised as a sick prisoner: draped with a blanket, taped to an I.V., and rolled away on a gurney. Hydrue Joyner was reminded of the Hollywood farce "Weekend at Bernie's," in which two corporate climbers treat their murdered boss as a puppet, pretending he's alive to avoid suspicion in his death. "I was thinking to myself, Un-freaking-believable. But this came from on high," Joyner said of the charade with the I.V. "I took it as they didn't want any of the prisoners thinking we were in there killing folks." Joyner referred to the dead man as Bernie, but Army investigators soon identified him as a suspected insurgent named Manadel al-Jamadi. He was alleged to have provided explosives for the bombing that blew up the Red Cross headquarters in Baghdad a week before his arrest, and he had died while under interrogation by a C.I.A. agent. Within the week that followed, an autopsy concluded that Jamadi had succumbed to "blunt force injuries" and "compromised respiration"; and his death was classified as a homicide.

Jamadi's C.I.A. interrogator has never been charged with a crime. But Sabrina Harman was. As a result of the pictures she took and appeared in at Abu Ghraib, she was convicted by court-martial, in May of 2005, of conspiracy to maltreat prisoners, dereliction of duty, and maltreatment, and sentenced to six months in prison, a reduction in rank, and a bad-conduct discharge. Megan Ambuhl, Javal Davis, Chip Frederick, Charles Graner, and Jeremy Sivits were among the handful of other soldiers who, on account of the photographs, were also sentenced to punishments ranging from a reduction in rank and a loss of pay to ten years in prison. The only person ranked above staff sergeant to face a court-martial was cleared of criminal wrongdoing. No one has ever been charged for abuses at the prison that were not photographed. Originally, Harman's charges included several counts pertaining to her pictures of Jamadi, but these were never brought to trial. The pictures constituted the first public evidence that the man had been killed during an interrogation at Abu Ghraib, and Harman said, "They tried to charge me with destruction of government property, which I don't understand. And then maltreatment for taking the photos of a dead guy. But he's dead. I don't know how that's maltreatment. And then altering evidence for removing the bandage from his eye to take a photo of it and then I placed it back. When he died, they cleaned him all up and then stuck the bandages on. So it's not really altering evidence. They had already done that for me. But in order to make the charges stick they were going to have to bring in the photos, which they didn't want, because obviously they covered up a murder and that would just make them look bad. So they dropped all the charges pertaining to the guy in the shower."

The picture that gets painted here is one of soldiers who were basically good kids but who showed some bad judgment in following the orders of their superiors -- and they got punished for that.

It should be noted, though, that these were not all clear-cut orders they were following; the real criminals worked behind the scenes, manipulating, causing the troops to believe that certain things had to happen, but themselves carefully remaining in the shadows. These MP's were taken shameless advantage of.

But, of course, that has been the m.o. of the Bush Administration all along, hasn't it?

From Col. Janis Karpinski, the Former Head of Abu Ghraib, Admits She Broke the Geneva Conventions But Says the Blame "Goes All the Way to The Top", October 26, 2005:

COL. JANIS KARPINSKI: Well, there were only -- interrogation operations were only taking place -- at prisons under my control, interrogations were only being conducted at Abu Ghraib, and they were only being conducted in interrogation facilities built specifically for interrogations at Abu Ghraib. There was what they called "Interrogation Facility Wood" and "Interrogation Facility Steel." The pictures, although they were -- when they were released, it was widely reported that this was during interrogation operations. In fact, it was not during interrogation operations. These pictures were being staged and set up at the direction of contract interrogators, civilian contract interrogators, for the use in future interrogations.

AMY GOODMAN: Contract interrogators. What companies?

COL. JANIS KARPINSKI: There are several. Several of the contractors that were in some of the pictures were with Titan Corporation. There has been sworn statements saying they came from "OGA," other government agencies, and CACI. I can only say that some of the --


COL. JANIS KARPINSKI: That's right, and I can only say that the ones that I saw in the photographs were identified as being from Titan Corporation. Now, they were -- my experience with Titan Corporation was that they were providing translators, and again, in some of the information that's been released in the ACLU documents, we know that some of the translators were given the opportunity to become interrogators without any training whatsoever in interrogation operations.

Farming out this military job to untrained "contractors" meant a government contract -- and thus money -- for someone, didn't it?

COL. JANIS KARPINSKI: [snip] The sergeant that I spoke to said that their records had been seized by the investigators, and they started a new log to account for prisoners, make sure that their meals were on time, those kind of things, and he pointed out a memo that was posted on a column just outside of their small administrative office. And the memorandum was signed by the Secretary of Defense, and --

AMY GOODMAN: By Donald Rumsfeld.

COL. JANIS KARPINSKI: By Donald Rumsfeld. And said -- it discussed interrogation techniques that were authorized. It was one page. It talked about stress positions, noise and light discipline, the use of music, disrupting sleep patterns, those kind of techniques. But there was a handwritten note out to the side. And this was a copy. It was a photocopy of the original, I would imagine. But it was unusual that an interrogation memorandum would be posted inside of a detention cell block, because interrogations were not conducted in the cell block.

AMY GOODMAN: This was the command of Donald Rumsfeld himself?


AMY GOODMAN: Talking about the techniques?

COL. JANIS KARPINSKI: The techniques that were allowed. And there was a note -- handwritten note out to the side of where the list of tactics, interrogation tactics were. It said, "Make sure this happens." And it seemed to be in the same handwriting as the signature. That's what I could say about the memorandum.

But so far, the only people who have been held accountable are a few low-ranking personnel and some designated scapegoats. Nothing has happened to those in Washington, whose orders were to "make sure this happens."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Heroin Lobby, Part 9

Lukery is perhaps the best Sibelologist in the blogosphere. At one of his blogs there is a post entitled Sibel 'names names' (in pictures!), which links back to Sibel Edmonds' State Secrets Privilege Gallery. These two links take us on a pictorial tour of the Sibel Edmonds case. That tour names, among many others, Congressman Roy Blunt, former Congressman Bob Livingston and former Congressman Stephen Solarz.

It is interesting to consider some of the information I have turned up in light of that pictorial tour.

First of all, you may wish to review some of my previous posts. A good place to start might be The Turkish Lobby, Obstruction of Justice and Henry Waxman where I identify the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) as a front for Turkish organized crime.

More information can be found in Smuggler's Blues, Part 1 and Smuggler's Blues, Part 2, where I give my readers an overview of the heroin industry, dominated now by Afghan heroin, and how heroin is moved to Europe and the US via Turkish and Albanian organized crime groups.

This continues in The Heroin Lobby, Part 1 and The Heroin Lobby, Part 2, where I also revisit the connection to the TCA. In The Heroin Lobby, Part 3 I once again give the list of names of the Congressional Caucus of the Turkish Coalition of America. In The Heroin Lobby, Part 4 I give a list of names of Congressional representatives who are both members of the TCA's Congressional Caucus, and who have received money from the TCA's associated PAC, the TC-USA PAC.

In The Heroin Lobby, Part 5, we have passages that connect former Congressman Bob Livingston and former Congressman Stephen Solarz to the Turkish lobby, and specifically to events organized by the TCA; Solarz is identified as "a longtime lobbyist for Turkey", and both Solarz and Livingston are connected to a group called the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress (USAFMC).

In McCain's Ties to Islamic Terrorists -- and Heroin Traffickers? and especially in The Balkan Connection, Part 2, I identify the Albanian American Civic League (AACL) and its associated Albanian American Public Affairs Committee (AAPAC) as fronts for Islamic terrorists and for Albanian organized crime.

In The Heroin Lobby, Part 8, I call attention to the fact that two students, who are donors to TC-USA PAC, have given $59,600 in political contributions during this campaign cycle. Among the recipients: Congressman Roy Blunt, Republican from Missouri's 7th Congressional District, House Republican Whip and interim majority leader from September 29, 2005, to February 2, 2006.

With this background in mind, it may be interesting to see images of reports filed with the FEC (to which I link in my sidebar, so you can verify my work) showing AAPAC contributions to Congressman Roy Blunt:

Here are images of reports indicating contributions from the TC-USA PAC in this election cycle (the TCA and TC-USA PAC only came into existence in 2007) to Congressman Blunt:

As alluded to above, in The Heroin Lobby, Part 8 I identified two students as operatives (possibly unwitting) for Turkish organized crime; their function is to launder money and funnel it to politicians who are on the take. Here are images from FEC reports showing contributions from them to Congressman Blunt:

Congressman Roy Blunt, Republican from Missouri's 7th Congressional District and House Republican Whip, needs to be investigated for his association with foreign organized crime.

A competent, conscientious and honest investigation will yield indictments of Congressman Roy Blunt and of others; the charges will include, but will not be limited to, money-laundering, racketeering, influence-peddling, and treason.

Race to Hell: Principle, Not Politics

We pick up where we left off at the end of Race to Hell: The Scapegoats.

From Abu Ghraib Tactics Were First Used at Guantanamo by Josh White, July 14, 2005:

A central figure in the investigation, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who commanded the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and later helped set up U.S. operations at Abu Ghraib, was accused of failing to properly supervise Qahtani's interrogation plan and was recommended for reprimand by investigators. Miller would have been the highest-ranking officer to face discipline for detainee abuses so far, but Gen. Bantz Craddock, head of the U.S. Southern Command, declined to follow the recommendation.

Miller traveled to Iraq in September 2003 to assist in Abu Ghraib's startup, and he later sent in "Tiger Teams" of Guantanamo Bay interrogators and analysts as advisers and trainers. Within weeks of his departure from Abu Ghraib, military working dogs were being used in interrogations, and naked detainees were humiliated and abused by military police soldiers working the night shift.

Miller declined to respond to questions posed through a Defense Department liaison. Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said it is not appropriate to link the interrogation of Qahtani -- an important al Qaeda operative captured shortly after the terrorist attacks -- and events at Abu Ghraib. Whitman said interrogation tactics in the Army's field manual are the same worldwide but MPs at Abu Ghraib were not authorized to apply them, regardless of how they learned about them.

Some of the Abu Ghraib soldiers have said they were following the directions of military intelligence officials to soften up detainees for interrogation, in part by depriving them of sleep. Pvt. Charles A. Graner Jr., characterized as the ringleader of the MP group, was found guilty of abusing detainees and is serving 10 years in prison. Others have pleaded guilty and received lesser sentences.

Major General Geoffrey Miller abandoned what was right and honorable, and in so doing, instead of defending the United States of America, has damaged our national security by damaging our national image and giving reason to motivate those who fight against us.

The events are summarized in an editorial entitled The Truth About Abu Ghraib, from July 29, 2005:

FOR 15 MONTHS now the Bush administration has insisted that the horrific photographs of abuse from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were the result of freelance behavior by low-level personnel and had nothing to do with its policies. In this the White House has been enthusiastically supported by the Army brass, which has conducted investigations documenting hundreds of cases of prisoner mistreatment in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but denies that any of its senior officers are culpable. For some time these implacable positions have been glaringly at odds with the known facts. In the past few days, those facts have grown harder to ignore.

The latest evidence has emerged from hearings at Fort Meade about two of those low-level Abu Ghraib guards who are charged with using dogs to terrorize Iraqi detainees. On Wednesday, the former warden of Abu Ghraib, Maj. David DiNenna, testified that the use of dogs for interrogation was recommended by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, the former commander of the Guantanamo Bay prison who was dispatched by the Pentagon to Abu Ghraib in August 2003 to review the handling and interrogation of prisoners. On Tuesday, a military interrogator testified that he had been trained in using dogs by a team sent to Iraq by Gen. Miller.

In statements to investigators and in sworn testimony to Congress last year, Gen. Miller denied that he recommended the use of dogs for interrogation, or that they had been used at Guantanamo. "No methods contrary to the Geneva Convention were presented at any time by the assistance team that I took to [Iraq]," he said under oath on May 19, 2004. Yet Army investigators reported to Congress this month that, under Gen. Miller's supervision at Guantanamo, an al Qaeda suspect named Mohamed Qahtani was threatened with snarling dogs, forced to wear women's underwear on his head and led by a leash attached to his chains -- the very abuse documented in the Abu Ghraib photographs.

The court evidence strongly suggests that Gen. Miller lied about his actions, and it merits further investigation by prosecutors and Congress. But the Guantanamo commander was not acting on his own: The interrogation of Mr. Qahtani, investigators found, was carried out under rules approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Dec. 2, 2002. After strong protests from military lawyers, the Rumsfeld standards -- which explicitly allowed nudity, the use of dogs and shackling -- were revised in April 2003. Yet the same practices were later adopted at Abu Ghraib, at least in part at the direct instigation of Gen. Miller. "We understood," Maj. DiNenna testified, "that [Gen. Miller] was sent over by the secretary of defense."

But it doesn't stop with Major General Miller, does it? Nor does it stop with then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Returning to Exposure: The woman behind the camera at Abu Ghraib:

As far as Harman knew at the time, nobody else had taken any pictures on Tier 1A, although later she saw one from a few days earlier of a naked man in the corridor, handcuffed to the bars of a cell door. She wasn't surprised. By the end of Harman's first night, three of the M.P.s had taken at least twenty-five photographs, and over the ensuing months the M.P.s on the night shift took hundreds more pictures on the M.I. block. The officer in charge of the block at night, Corporal Charles Graner, said that he made a point of showing his photographs to officers higher up the chain of command, and that nobody objected to what they saw. On the contrary, after a month on the job, and after showing scores of photographs of prisoners in torment to his superiors, Graner received a written assessment from his captain, a frequent visitor to the block, who said, "You are doing a fine job.... You have received many accolades from the M.I. units here."

What these soldiers were doing had official sanction.

From farther down in the article:

One night in the first week of November, 2003, an agent of the Army's Criminal Investigative Division -- an agency sometimes described as the military’s F.B.I. -- came to the M.I. block to interrogate a new prisoner, an Iraqi suspected of involvement in the deaths of American soldiers. The story, as the M.P.s understood it, was that the prisoner kept giving a false name and insisting that he was not who the C.I.D. said he was. He was given the nickname Gilligan and subjected to the standard treatment: the yelling, the P.T., the sleep deprivation. Graner, who took charge of Gilligan's harassment, gave him a cardboard box -- an M.R.E. carton -- which he was ordered to carry around or to stand on for long stretches. Gilligan was hooded, and normally he would have been naked, too, but, because of the cold, Graner had cut a hole in a prison blanket and draped it over him like a poncho. Staff Sergeant Chip Frederick later told Army investigators that he asked the C.I.D. man -- whom he identified as Agent Romero -- about Gilligan, and that Romero said, "I don't give a fuck what you do to him, just don't kill them."

Frederick said that he took Romero's words "like an order, but not a specific order," and he explained, "To me, Agent Romero was like an authority figure, and when he said he needed the detainee stressed out I wanted to make sure the detainee was stressed out." Frederick found Gilligan where Graner had left him, perched on his box in the shower room of Tier 1A. "There were a lot of detainees that were forced to stand on boxes," he said. Behind Gilligan, he noticed some loose electrical wires hanging from the wall. "I grabbed them and touched them together to make sure they weren't live wires," he said. "When I did that and got nothing, I tied a loop knot on the end, put it on, I believe, his index finger, and left it there." Frederick said that somebody then tied a wire to Gilligan's other hand and Harman said, "I told him not to fall off, that he would be electrocuted if he did."

Harman had been busy for much of the night, keeping awake the prisoner they called the Claw, and attending to another one they called Shitboy, a maniac on Tier 1B who had the habit of smearing himself with his feces and hurling it at passing guards. She was taking a break when she joined the others in the shower room, and although Gilligan understood English, she wasn't sure if he believed her threat. Besides, the whole mock-electrocution business had not lasted more than ten or fifteen minutes -— just long enough for a photo session. "I knew he wouldn't be electrocuted," she said. "So it really didn't bother me. I mean, it was just words. There was really no action in it. It would have been meaner if there really was electricity coming out, and he really could be electrocuted. No physical harm was ever done to him." In fact, she said, "He was laughing at us towards the end of the night, maybe because he knew we couldn't break him."

Once the wires were attached to Gilligan, Frederick had stepped back, instructed Gilligan to hold his arms out straight from his sides, like wings, and taken a picture. Then he took another, identical to the first: the hooded man, in his blanket poncho, barefoot atop his box, arms outstretched, wires trailing from his fingers. Snap, snap -- two seconds -- and three minutes later Harman took a similar shot, but from a few steps back, so that Frederick appears in the foreground at the edge of the frame, studying on the display screen of his camera the picture he's just taken.

These were not the first photographs taken on the block that night, or the last. That afternoon, when the night shift M.P.s reported for duty at the hard site, their platoon commander had called them to a meeting. "He said there was a prisoner who had died in the shower, and he died of a heart attack," Harman said. The body had been left in the shower on Tier 1B, packed in ice, and shortly after the session with Gilligan somebody noticed water trickling out from under the shower door.

As Harman entered the shower room, she snapped a picture of a black rubber body bag lying along the far wall. Then she and Graner, their hands sheathed in turquoise latex surgical gloves, unzipped the bag. "We just checked him out and took photos of him -— kind of realized right away that there was no way he died of a heart attack because of all the cuts and blood coming out of his nose," she said, and she added, "You don't think your commander's going to lie to you about something. It made my trust go down, that's for sure. Well, you can't trust your commander now."


The pictures of Harman and Graner with the corpse may have been taken as a gag -- "for personal use," as Frederick said of his photos of Gilligan -- but they are starkly at odds with Harman's claim of a larger documentary purpose. By contrast, her grisly, intimate portraits of the corpse convey her shock at discovering its wreckage; and later that evening Harman returned to the shower with Frederick to examine the body more carefully. This time, she looked beneath the ice bags and peeled back the bandages, and she stayed out of the pictures.

"I just started taking photos of everything I saw that was wrong, every little bruise and cut," Harman said. "His knees were bruised, his thighs were bruised by his genitals. He had restraint marks on his wrists. You had to look close. I mean, they did a really good job cleaning him up." She said, "The gauze on his eye was put there after he died to make it look like he had medical treatment, because he didn't when he came into the prison." She said, "There were so many things around the bandage, like the blood coming out of his nose and his ears. And his tooth was chipped -- I didn't know if that happened there or before -- his lip was split open, and it looked like somebody had either butt-stocked him or really got him good or hit him against the wall. It was a pretty good-sized gash. I took a photo of that as well." She said, "I just wanted to document everything I saw. That was the reason I took photos." She said, "It was to prove to pretty much anybody who looked at this guy, Hey, I was just lied to. This guy did not die of a heart attack. Look at all these other existing injuries that they tried to cover up."

Let me pause the narrative to draw a line between myself and those who approve of this type of treatment for alleged -- or even for known and duly convicted -- terrorists.

I believe in America, and that America is worth fighting for.

But, Al Qaeda believes in what they are fighting for, as well.

The difference has to then be made in our conduct. We must conduct ourselves such that it is obvious that we really are the good guys. And killing a man through brutal interrogation, which is obviously what happened in this case, is wrong -- it is a crime. When those who commit this crime get away with it, it makes our side criminals, just like the terrorists, and the fact that Islamic extremists routinely do this and worse merely makes the difference between us and them one of degree, instead of one of principle.

There can be no peace in Iraq or anywhere else without justice, and there is no justice as long as those who have caused this atrocity and others like it to occur remain unpunished. They must be held legally accountable for their actions, and only when this has happened will America once again be on the path toward being "one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all."

I am against those who commit these crimes, I am against those who cause these crimes to be committed, and I am against those who excuse these crimes rather than condemn them.

I am a Republican, but more importantly I am an American -- and I stand on principle, not on politics.

To be concluded in Race to Hell: Make Sure This Happens.