3/31/08

Game Over

Americans do not worry too much about a war with Iran because they assume that we and/or Israel will quickly snuff out any Iranian response. Even Admiral Fallon (today is his last day on the job, btw) said, “Get serious. These guys are ants. When the time comes, you crush them.” (Read about it here.)

Smug people everywhere think that starting another war is not that big a deal, but they are wrong. A few days ago I linked to this George Galloway audio explaining a few important points: 1) Iran has military targets spread all over it’s country, and these would require near simultaneous strikes to disarm; and 2) we should fully expect Iran to respond to an attack, and to respond hard, and to retaliate on sensitive Western interests (he named London, for example).

Consider this scenario:

Phase III is the Israeli air attack against the Iranian nuclear facilities using American supplied bunker buster bombs. The Iranians have said they will respond by firing 11,000 missiles and artillery shells in the first 60 seconds. The Iranians have Russian made Sunburn and Yakhonts anti-ship missiles. They also have Chinese designed rocket artillery with a range up to 150 kilometers. This phase will be very brief lasting only a matter of hours as Israel will allow America to do most of the fighting and dying.

Phase 4 is the justification of World War III to the American public. We have 17,500 sailors and marines on aircraft carrier task forces in the Persian Gulf. Their ships are well within the 120 and 180 mile range of the Sunburn and Yakhonts. The Iranians also have 1,000 fast rubber boats to capture our sailors and marines. If Bush and Cheney wanted to protect the lives of those sailors and marines, they would put them in the Indian Ocean out of harms way when Israel attacks Iran. Our aircraft carrier task forces are in the Gulf precisely so they can be sacrificed for the greater good of Israel and the Bilderberg Society. The goal of WW III is to exterminate the Muslims so Israel and the Bilderbergers can have all of the Mideast oil.

Meanwhile, Russian intelligence reports on the flurry of US Armed Forces activity on the Iranian border and the buildup of ships in the Persian Gulf. This is not some academic exercise.

And there are the domestic consequences to consider.

The final phase or aftermath of WW III is the destruction of the United States so what remains can be folded into the North American Union. The Iranian response to the Israeli air strike will include the cut off of all oil from the Persian Gulf which should raise the price of oil to $300 or $400 a barrel. That would bankrupt more than 50% of all American families as they would have no means of buying gas to get to work. The destruction of the dollar will make food unaffordable too.

Bush would declare martial law. Here you can read about all the preparations which have already been made.

Note To The Reader: This paper addresses the possibility of a coup d’├ętat by national emergency before the end of Bush’s last year in office, citing recent institutional actions that can be reasonably interpreted as being consistent with and preparatory to such an undertaking. These actions, all occurring since Bush’s reelection, include among others:

  1. Claiming by executive order emergency powers unauthorized by Congress;

  2. Conducting nation-wide mass arrest exercises in 2005, 2006 and 2007;

  3. Obtaining from Congress removal of legal impediments to the indefinite detention of US citizens without trial;

  4. Obtaining from Congress the authority to use federal troops for domestic police duties, by nullifying the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878;

  5. Obtaining from Congress the authority to use national guard units, without the consent of state’s governor, in that or any other state;

  6. Establishing programs to assist in the implementation of martial law using business community, academics, and clergy;

  7. Authorizing by executive order seizing assets of anyone “undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq”; and,

  8. Contracting for the construction of high capacity detention centers throughout the country.

Right now people think they have freedom, but they also say they have no time to really understand what’s happening in the world. Soon we may have lots of time on our hands but no freedom to find out anything.

Stop passively accepting what’s happening in our country. Don’t wait until your own family suffers privation and death to start paying attention. It will be too late then. The time to act is now.

If you think about it, it’s the not speaking up, the submission, the not sharing of our discoveries, the not pointing out that the emperor is naked that allows the psychopaths in power to continue their predatorial ways and for the situation to continue on its downward spiral. As with so many problems in life, the problem here is one of fear-based faulty thinking. People fear that “they” will come for them if they speak out, but the paradox is that by not speaking out and facilitating our continued slide towards “Armageddon”, people vastly increase the chances that a jack booted agent of the Pathocrats will one day kick down their door. Because when “they” seek to imprison us, defame or attack us in one way or another, their first targets of choice are always those who speak out against “them”.


Efraim has left the building














Where could he have gone?

Concentrate now. Here are some clues...names and logos from the Diveroli family businesses: Botach Defense/Botach Tactical and Kley Zion.

But remember, it's rude to notice that any of this unfortunate scandal might have anything whatsoever to do with Israel. Therefore, your corporate media outlets will tread very gingerly around this story. They will dispose of the whole thing just as soon as possible.

As I said a few days ago, this is a story about networking. As someone who really does not like to network and will do just about anything to avoid it, I understand that Efraim networks. More than that, he was born into an existing network of wealth and privilege. People with money already have a network, and people who want to make money network, and that's how AEY landed a $300M contract. Very occasionally a person will just get discovered, but usually that happens to people with some unusual talent. Efraim is no Charlotte Church -- he was taken care of by people. So the real story lies in his network whether they be contractors in the US Government, the military, his family, Israel, etc. Who are they, and how do they know each other?

That's where the story gets very interesting. There are many tidbits to savor and confirm, like this one:
How do they afford it? The Botachs own much of downtown Los Angeles. They live under the radar in the modest Pico-Robertson neighborhood. They send their kids to Hillel and YULA and get scholarships because of their large families. No one dreams of the vast amounts of money this family accumulated. Yoav (Shmuley Boteach’s father) is the largest owner of warehouses in California. Rumored to be Israelis, their roots are Iranian.
The Botach roots are Iranian? OK, well, that could be important. As could be the rumors that the Diverolis are in the ecstasy business. And another thing, why did Efraim need a family member to post his $1000 bail if he makes so much money? Or is that just the equivalent of us working stiffs buying a round of Buds down at the bar? And who does this family know over at Banc of America Investment Services in Miami?

A relative paid Mr. Diveroli’s $1,000 bail as his bid for the Afghan contract was in its final review.

To be accepted, the company had to be, in Army parlance, “a responsible contractor,” which required an examination of its financial soundness, transport capabilities, past performance and compliance with the law and government contracting regulations.

The week after a relative paid his bail, the Banc of America Investment Services in Miami provided Mr. Diveroli a letter certifying that his company had cash on hand to begin buying munitions on a large scale. It said AEY had $5,469,668.95 in an account.

I think the original NYT reporters did a great job, but you know they can't go past a certain bright line. In fact, I'm pretty amazed this story got through the firewall at all. These other questions will be answered in the blogosphere if anyplace, where people don't have corporate minders to suck all the juice out of the story.

3/30/08

Good News, Bad News

Good News: This writer has great analytical skills. Read all three articles.

The reader is therefore asked to give this careful consideration because the eternal vigilance necessary to protect our liberty is better served by reasonable suspicion than by enduring trust or inattention.

Amen.

Bad News: These three articles together make a very compelling case for an imminent attack on Iran resulting in the declaration of a national emergency.

When might Bush declare a national emergency under NSPD-51? My own guess would be Spring 2008, after Bush is “forced” to attack Iran, perhaps with nuclear weapons, and Iran then fails to cooperate, attacking US ships in the Gulf and Mediterranean instead of accepting our offers of assistance. Or this might come after a UN Security Council resolution authorizing boarding Iranian ships for inspection, thereby creating an opportunity for a casus belli the Bush administration has been transparently pressing to create. Even if Iran denied Bush his basic objective by refusing to be goaded into reacting beyond its own borders, the resulting global economic chaos and spontaneous popular reactions beyond Iran to such attacks could compel Bush to invoke NSPD-51, quite apart from whatever our new enemy might undertake.

On the other hand, under NSPD-51 any provocation of Bush could lead to him creating a pretext for declaring a national emergency. For example, Ralph Nader quotes Massachusetts Rep. John W. Olver (D), who has a PhD from MIT, when presented with the votes of 13 Town Meetings [real Town Meetings, not the media events staged for candidate performances] in Olver’s congressional district calling for impeachment of Cheney and Bush, Olver responded that he opposed any impeachment move against Bush because “the current autocratic executive [Bush] would attack Iran from the air, declare a national emergency, institute martial law, and call off the 2008 elections were the Democrats to initiate impeachment.” Or, perhaps we have a national emergency for as yet unknown reasons, maybe in the late summer when likely replacement administrations are judged by Bush/Cheney to be unacceptable; and then, as the national emergency begins to unravel, we attack Iran. The essential assessment is that we have reached a point where the possibilities are vast and unpredictable precisely because its all up to Bush; he is The Decider.

…Should Bush declare a national emergency and begin exercising the many powers available to him in law, as well as the ever expanding “inherent” powers he claims by fiat, our nation could swiftly cross into a world increasingly difficult to predict, largely beyond our national experience, except perhaps for our revolution and civil war, subject to ad hoc, unchecked decision making, with genuine rule of law no longer an available guide. It would likely become increasingly difficult, in the absence of reliable information, to understand and deal with the originating crisis, however real or contrived. And to distinguish it from the difficulties arising from the declaration of a national emergency itself.

However, this sort of thing has occurred in many countries, with much the same result likely here: a self-sustaining crisis, in which the chief rationales for continuing the national emergency are the effects of the national emergency themselves, compounded by errors in governance and crimes by those who seized power, sustained by supporters profiting from it and their fear for what would happen to them should they end it.

There’s so much more in these articles.

The political calculus informing the decision to declare a national emergency would include the assumption that a state of crisis would itself provide substantial support, however temporary, among the populace for the nation’s leadership, as it always does. However, the endemic level of distrust toward the current government, and Bush in particular, is such that resistance to starting a war with Iran or to staging a coup d’├ętat by national emergency would likely spread once begun and be difficult to contain. This, however, is more relevant is assessing the likelihood of either a wide refusal of orders or a general insurrection rather than in predicting Bush’s appreciation of the situation before he acts.

In other words, Bush has proven time and again that he does not behave like a normal person. Whether this results from his own psychopathy, from hidden agendas, from the control of others, or from some combination of these things doesn’t much matter. The point is that just because many people consider a course of action crazy (e.g. starting preemptive wars) does not at all mean it won’t happen. We have recent history to guide us. What’s crazy and immoral to you and me may strike Bush, Cheney and others as deliciously exciting and profitable.

That’s the problem with psychopaths - they don’t experience normal human emotions and constraints. Remember, they comprise 6% of the population and can achieve high levels of success and power. This tiny slice of the human population has caused untold suffering throughout history. They will continue to do so if we let them.

Imagine - if you can - not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken.

And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools.

Now add to this strange fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs. Since everyone simply assumes that conscience is universal among human beings, hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is nearly effortless.

You are not held back from any of your desires by guilt or shame, and you are never confronted by others for your cold-bloodedness. The ice water in your veins is so bizarre, so completely outside of their personal experience, that they seldom even guess at your condition.

In other words, you are completely free of internal restraints, and your unhampered liberty to do just as you please, with no pangs of conscience, is conveniently invisible to the world.

You can do anything at all, and still your strange advantage over the majority of people, who are kept in line by their consciences will most likely remain undiscovered.

How will you live your life?

Chances are you will live it like any number of people: with cut-throat enthusiasm to seek your own gratification regardless of the cost to others. Six percent of the population is roughly one in every 30 people. Once you realize that these people exist, and they have always existed, and that given sufficient intelligence and opportunity they will naturally rise to positions of power, then you begin to understand what’s really wrong with the world. Psychopaths rule the world, and they have no intention of relinquishing control.


3/29/08

Minimal cost to whom?

Oh crap.

Russian Intelligence sees US military buildup on Iran border

MOSCOW, March 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russian military intelligence services are reporting a flurry of activity by U.S. Armed Forces near Iran’s borders, a high-ranking security source said Tuesday.

“The latest military intelligence data point to heightened U.S. military preparations for both an air and ground operation against Iran,” the official said, adding that the Pentagon has probably not yet made a final decision as to when an attack will be launched.

He said the Pentagon is looking for a way to deliver a strike against Iran “that would enable the Americans to bring the country to its knees at minimal cost.”

He also said the U.S. Naval presence in the Persian Gulf has for the first time in the past four years reached the level that existed shortly before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Col.-Gen. Leonid Ivashov, vice president of the Academy of Geopolitical Sciences, said last week that the Pentagon is planning to deliver a massive air strike on Iran’s military infrastructure in the near future.

A new U.S. carrier battle group has been dispatched to the Gulf.

The USS John C. Stennis, with a crew of 3,200 and around 80 fixed-wing aircraft, including F/A-18 Hornet and Superhornet fighter-bombers, eight support ships and four nuclear submarines are heading for the Gulf, where a similar group led by the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has been deployed since December 2006.

The U.S. is also sending Patriot anti-missile systems to the region.

The Russians would know since they will probably have to get involved. This is complete insanity.

Dance of the Seven Veils

Another short installment in my ongoing series: What the %^&$ is going on over there?

I so appreciate American Goy explaining this:

You’ve seen the reports on TV about the fighting going on in Basra and the surrounding area? You do realize that the fighting is between two groups of Shia? There is no background given on American TV on exactly who is fighting whom and for what… American Goy to the rescue!

[go read it]

So now, when the NATIONALIST al-Sadr is fighting the PRO-IRAN Hakim and Prime Minister Maliki, who does the United States military support with aircraft sorties and armored cars?

Why, the pro-Iran Hakim and Maliki of course.

Repeat that FACT: American soldiers are dying for Iranian interests in Iraq. This is horrifying to the rest of the Sunni Arab world, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan… Because they want to LIMIT Iran’s influence in the region, unlike the Americans, who fight now to expand it.

So…do we hate Iran or do we love Iran? How does one reconcile the Bush Administration’s rhetoric with the reality on the ground?

Remember the Map of the New Middle East. For those who drew up the map (apparently the US military), everything must inexorably lead toward making it a reality. Most of the land surrounding the Persian Gulf falls under Shia (Iranian) control in the new map. That doesn’t happen without bloodshed because people don’t take kindly to having their country’s borders redrawn and their resources stolen.

So big heists like this require years of planning and much patience. How do they keep the people on board in the meantime and predisposed to accept the final outcome? Here in America they use the TV, the War on Terror, al Qaeda, etc. You know how they manage the long queues at Disney? It’s simple. They just give people something to watch as they twist and turn through the line. Same thing here.

Oh, and over there we just use our military.

Key word: use. Sick.

Get the Zantac and the Clicker

Clearly Young Efraim's story will cause a bad case of heartburn for some people. The fact that Efraim & Co. have these Hebrew names naturally leads people to the conclusions that they are Jewish and perhaps even Israeli.

But surely that has nothing do to with anything.


So I don't really watch tv, but someone who doesn't read alternative news heard about AEY so it must be breaking through the media firewall. Major heartburn. Take another Zantac.

I would imagine the pressure in the corporate media to bat this story down must be immense. A sampling of rebuttals picked up in the blogosphere include:
  • Efraim got lucky landing those $300m government contracts. Nothing more to it than that. This family just got a little enthusiastic with their business-dealings.
  • The AEY people didn't donate money to Republicans so therefore none of this is a political scandal that can possible affect Republicans. In fact, uncle once gave $1000 to Edwards so HA! It's the Democrats fault, if anything.
  • People who suggest that this has anything at all, whatsoever, to do with Israel are completely anti-Semitic because the only reason the arms-dealing industry is full of Israelis is because poor Israel was forced to get into this line of work to protect itself from vicious Arabs. Don't you know anything?
  • Actually, it's anti-Semitic to even notice whenever Jews do anything wrong. Don't even go there. Sheesh.
  • Mossad? Never heard of it. What is it, some kind of dessert?
  • Let's watch American Idol.
There. That should cover it.

3/28/08

A fair question

Young Efraim has certainly garnered some attention. He’s called to testify before Henry Waxman and the House Oversight Committee. (Not that necessarily means anything…but still.) Also called to testify on April 17th are David Packouz, VP and Levi Meyer, GM both aged 25 and both of AEY. Dear Condi and Robert Gates have been asked to send representatives “with knowledge of the Department’s contracts”. This should be interesting.

Efraim has another website called AmmoWorks which specializes in reselling foreign ammo, a business filed with the State of Florida. The paperwork lists a Yeshaya Diveroli as secretary. The marketing style is…well, how shall I describe it…softcore porn?

Ammoworks has produced hundreds of millions of dollars worth of firearms, ammo, and tactical gear among other things for our special forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ammoworks is a huge supporter of our troops and does everything in its power to not only insure a quality product but a product that functions extremely well in battle situations.

Huge supporter of the troops, whatever the hell that means. People sure do have some strange ways of showing the love.

I think it’s fair to ask, since Efriam, Levi and Yeshaya are definitely Hebrew names, are these gentlemen Israelis? If so, does that have any bearing on their amazing ability to secure lucrative government contracts after spending a grueling two or three years in the industry? And while I’m speculating, what do you suppose the media reaction to this story would be if their names had been Abdul, Rashid and Habib?

Look, a Unicorn

via What Really Happened, you won’t often see this admitted:

“We know that some of the rockets launched against Israel are launched by Fatah militants. The objective is to push Israel to punish Hamas in Gaza” - Crisis Group interview, Hamas official in exile, November 2007, found at page 23 of ICG Report No. 73.


Keep your friends close but your enemies closer

Justin Raimondo weighs in on the mystery of Iran benefiting from the situation in Iraq, and how that perhaps happened. It’s along the same lines as my musings here but with the advantage of making much more sense and having lots of supporting links. Personally, I have no problem believing the Iranians could outfox US and Israeli intelligence. Heck, that’s probably one reason why the Israelis complain so bitterly about Iran hiding their supposed nuclear weapons program — the Iranians showed them up and they just can’t stand it. Now we have to listen to the Israelis and neocons whine nonstop about the sneaky Iranians.

It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this. The original plan of the neocons was to install Ahmed Chalabi, their own personal Iraqi puppet, but that soon fell through – and Chalabi, it turned out, had strong links to Iranian intelligence agencies. Accused of divulging American secrets to Tehran, Chalabi had his Iraq headquarters raided by Iraqi and U.S. personnel. Unfortunately, the horse was already out of the barn.

… When Chalabi’s shenanigans were exposed to the light of day, and his extensive interactions with the Iranians were revealed, a theory was floated by several in the intelligence community that we were basically suckered into the Iraq war by its chief beneficiaries, the Iranians. Using their chief asset, the double agent Chalabi, they and their neocon allies fed us ersatz “intelligence” via the various Iraqi “defectors” rounded up by the Iraqi National Congress and paraded across the front page of the New York Times by Judith Miller and her editors.

The consolidation of a strong Iraqi state is the last thing the Americans want, for that would threaten their occupation and lead to their swift exit from the country. It is also in the Iranian interest to keep Iraq divided and stop the nationalist Sadr and his brutal militia from taking power in Baghdad. And, as Robert Parry points out, another factor played a key role in tricking us into war:

“Israeli governments have long made a high priority out of forging alliances with countries like Iran on the periphery of the Arab world to divert Arab antipathy that otherwise could be concentrated on Israel. Plus, Israel and Iran had an important enemy in common: Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. Both Israel and Iran had a lot to gain by convincing the United States to remove their hated adversary.”

Find many links in the original piece at Antiwar.com. Still, how this all plays out is anyone’s guess. Perhaps the Iranians have proven themselves very smart, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have to grovel at least a little. Maybe they bruised some egos, and they will have to assuage them before we move on to some arrangement of grudging respect.

Think George Steinbrenner and the Yankees. He could afford the best talent, and he bought it. The fact that everyone hates the Yankees was simply beside the point because the Yankees won. I think this is how the US and Israeli power brokers view themselves, and a smart country like Iran needs to be brought into the fold - no question. If not they’ll work for Russia. Now whether the US and Israel can still pull this off…that is another thing entirely. And that power instability, I think, is what makes the situation so perilous. It’s not a done deal, not by any stretch.


Young Efraim

Remember when the Walter Reed story broke? I hope this munitions story has the same effect, as in exploding in the Bush Administration’s faces. People will understand this story. May it travel far and wide, and may it hang around George Bush’s and the Republican party’s necks like a bloody stone.

AEY is one of many previously unknown defense companies to have thrived since 2003, when the Pentagon began dispensing billions of dollars to train and equip indigenous forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Its rise from obscurity once seemed to make it a successful example of the Bush administration’s promotion of private contractors as integral elements of war-fighting strategy.

But an examination of AEY’s background, through interviews in several countries, reviews of confidential government documents and the examination of some of the ammunition, suggests that Army contracting officials, under pressure to arm Afghan troops, allowed an immature company to enter the murky world of international arms dealing on the Pentagon’s behalf — and did so with minimal vetting and through a vaguely written contract with few restrictions.

Which contracting officials? What are their names? Please note - so far they remain protected from public scrutiny. This story probably has deep and interesting roots. As any working stiff struggling to pay the mortgage knows, some 22 year old kid doesn’t land a $300 million government contract because he’s a business prodigy. This is a story about networking.

In purchasing munitions, the contractor has also worked with middlemen and a shell company on a federal list of entities suspected of illegal arms trafficking.

Moreover, tens of millions of the rifle and machine-gun cartridges were manufactured in China, making their procurement a possible violation of American law. The company’s president, Efraim E. Diveroli, was also secretly recorded in a conversation that suggested corruption in his company’s purchase of more than 100 million aging rounds in Albania, according to audio files of the conversation.

…But problems with the ammunition were evident last fall in places like Nawa, Afghanistan, an outpost near the Pakistani border, where an Afghan lieutenant colonel surveyed the rifle cartridges on his police station’s dirty floor. Soon after arriving there, the cardboard boxes had split open and their contents spilled out, revealing ammunition manufactured in China in 1966.

…In January, American officers in Kabul, concerned about munitions from AEY, had contacted the Army’s Rock Island Arsenal, in Illinois, and raised the possibility of terminating the contract. And officials at the Army Sustainment Command, the contracting authority at the arsenal, after meeting with AEY in late February, said they were tightening the packaging standards for munitions shipped to the war.

And yet after that meeting, AEY sent another shipment of nearly one million cartridges to Afghanistan that the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan regarded as substandard. Lt. Col. David G. Johnson, the command spokesman, said that while there were no reports of ammunition misfiring, some of it was in such poor condition that the military had decided not to issue it. “Our honest answer is that the ammunition is of a quality that is less than desirable; the munitions do not appear to meet the standards that many of us are used to,” Colonel Johnson said. “We are not pleased with the way it was delivered.”

Several officials said the problems would have been avoided if the Army had written contracts and examined bidders more carefully.

No shit. But that still doesn’t answer the question: how did young Efraim get the contract in the first place? Surely somebody must have brought him forward and approved his contract. After all, we are talking about the War on Terror here, which everyone knows is Extremely Important. Western Civilization hangs in the balance. Furthermore, American soldiers and our coalition forces deserve the Very Best because we Support the Troops.

Public records show that AEY’s contracts since 2004 have potentially been worth more than a third of a billion dollars. Mr. Diveroli set the value higher: he claimed to do $200 million in business each year.

Several military officers and government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the investigations, questioned how Mr. Diveroli, and a small group of men principally in their 20s and without extensive military or procurement experiences, landed so much vital government work.

“A lot of us are asking the question,” said a senior State Department official. “How did this guy get all this business?”

Now you must go and read about the charming Diveroli men. First they helped themselves to the customer base of a relative running a police and military supply company. Then within the space of a year (2004-2005) they had a whole stable of US government agencies under contract. The Diverolis must have some great contacts. This success appears all the more remarkable because AEY (what does that stand for anyway?) quickly developed a reputation as unreliable and full of excuses. Young Efraim, perhaps suffering stress from his incredible good fortune, took to terrorizing a young woman and ended up in court. But Efraim has the Best Hallpass Evah.

Mr. Diveroli sought court delays on national security grounds. “I am the President and only official employee of my business,” he wrote to the judge on Dec. 8, 2005. “My business is currently of great importance to the country as I am licensed Defense Contractor to the United States Government in the fight against terrorism in Iraq and I am doing my very best to provide our troops with all their equipment needs on pending critical contracts.”

He got a new girlfriend and terrorized her, too. Unfortunately, after Efraim and his partner got in more trouble beating up a parking attendant, he was charged with a misdemeanor (simple battery) and a felony (possession of a stolen or forged document - a fake license). Since his ‘business’ requires a federal firearms license, this felony charge posed a real problem. But he wriggled off that hook too thanks to his great contacts, whoever they are, and wouldn’t we love to know.

The week after a relative paid his bail [$1,000…couldn’t he afford that himself?], the Banc of America Investment Services in Miami provided Mr. Diveroli a letter certifying that his company had cash on hand to begin buying munitions on a large scale. It said AEY had $5,469,668.95 in an account.

AEY was awarded the contract in January 2007. Asked why it chose AEY, the Army Sustainment Command answered in writing: “AEY’s proposal represented the best value to the government.”

Oh my gosh. You get what you pay for. It seems that the Army allowed this garbage ammunition because it went for foreign weapons, primarily Russian, and therefore it’s Not Our Problem. (Hey, that’s the way to help your allies in the War on Terror. The bullets we gave you are 50 years old? So?) The Albanians were looking to get rid of this ancient ammunition before it exploded (too late), and AEY helpfully bought 100 million cartridges to fill the Pentagon’s order.

And now, after all that background, comes the part where AEY gets involved with shady foreigners dealing illegal arms. I’m not going to try and summarize it except to say that clearly, young Efraim is in way over his head, and he’s looking for a good Administrative Assistant on Craigslist. The Army suspended his contract and all his former colleagues, including pops, have moved on.

Michael Diveroli, the company’s founder, told a reporter that he no longer had any relationship with the company. Mr. Packouz, who was AEY’s vice president, and Levi Meyer, 25, who was briefly listed as general manager, had left the company, too.

Mr. Meyer offered a statement: “I’m not involved in that mess anymore.”

The most important questions: Who helped the Diveroli’s get all those contracts with the US Government, and who protected them from the consequences of their bad reputation? Why did they do this? Cui bono?

Indeed, who benefits from this whole affair? Certainly not our American soldiers or our allies fighting the War on Terror. If the Pentagon was serious about the War on Terror, would they allow such a joke to supply something as critical as ammunition? Doesn’t this whole episode illustrate the real reasons for the War on Terror: to keep Americans afraid, the world in turmoil, and the profiteers swimming in cash?

I think it does.

I think it would be very interesting to know who used Young Efraim and all these other cocky punks in their 20s, for surely they were tools for people who remain safely ensconced behind layers of security and plausible deniability. The handlers simply dissolve their shell companies and move on, laughing, having siphoned streams of US taxpayer money into their Swiss bank accounts and without regard for any related deaths.

3/27/08

Beyond the Pale

Behold how our government takes care of the men and women who serve in the US Armed Forces.

A lengthy investigation published Thursday reveals that the Pentagon gave an inexperienced 22-year-old a $300 million contract to provide ammunition to Afghanistan. The shady deal resulted in decades old, substandard munitions being delivered to US and Afghan troops fighting on the front lines of the war on terror.

Look at this guy.

Is this somebody who should be supplying $300 million worth of ammunition to US soldiers serving on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan? What is he, a Mossad reject? Does anyone do any oversight anymore, or is this some kind of sick joke?

You know some psychopaths had a good laugh over this maroon sucking $300m of US taxpayer dollars to send eBay ammunition over to our soldiers, who are, by the way, fighting and dying in a cocked-up war that we were lied into on behalf of rich Americans and Israelis and in which over one million innocent people have been killed for nothing more than money.

Honest to God, if this doesn’t snap people out of their torpor, I don’t know what will. I hope this unravels the whole ball of string.

Unbelievable, yet true. Surely more to come tomorrow…

Chess Masters



I’m telling you, the people running the world enjoy moving us around on their crazy chessboard. Regarding Iran, I have been following two trains of thought: 1) the murderous psychopaths in power want to attack Iran and will find a way to do it, and 2) the greedy psychopaths in power want to control Iran and will find a way to do it. I’m guessing they’re all murderous and greedy, but some must be more murderous and others must be more greedy. I tend to think the greedy ones will prevail in the end, but that’s just a hopeful guess. After all, the psychopaths know that they can engineer lots of innocent deaths without actually setting off nuclear weapons, fun though that might be for them. They have the age-old tools of grinding poverty along with many new ways to surreptitiously poison the earth and her inhabitants. So they can really have their cake and eat it too, whereas if they set off a nuclear conflagration they might leave some money on the table. You know?

When I wrote this post, I have to admit I thought it was pretty crazy, even for me. But it’s not looking so crazy anymore. When Ahmadinejad visited Iraq to the strains of ho hum, that was a clue. But a few days later I convinced myself the war with Iran was definitely on. Then a few more days passed, and lo and behold an oped came out singing Iran’s praises. And so on….

Do you see these two tracks? Isn’t that really strange?

Now yesterday a few things bubbled up that merit our attention:

US Moves Toward Engaging Iran

The coming few weeks are going to be critical in the standoff between the United States and Iran as the upheaval in the Middle East reaches a turning point. And all options do remain on the table, as the George W Bush administration likes to say, from military conflict to a de facto acceptance of Iran’s standing as the region’s dominant power.

One thing is clear. The time for oratorical exercises is ending. A phase of subtle, reciprocal, conceptual diplomatic actions may be beginning. An indication of this is available in the two radio interviews given by Bush last weekend and beamed into Iran, exclusively aimed at reaching out to the Iranian public on the Persian New Year Nauroz.

… Bush spoke of the evolution of the Iranian regime’s character rather than its overthrow. The criticism, if any, of Iranian government policies approached nowhere near the diatribes of the past. There was none of the boastful claims that the US would work toward isolating Iran in its region and beyond. In fact, Bush acknowledged, “There’s a chance that the US and Iran can reconcile their differences, but the [Iranian] government is going to have to make different choices. And one [such choice] is to verifiably suspend the enrichment of uranium, at which time there is a way forward.”

The secret American-Iranian security deal in Iraq, and how this connected to McCain’s visit to Israel

Ahmadinejad offered to calm the situation in Iraq, using the three days attacks-free visit to Iraq as a demonstration of what can Iran do, the second offer is to accept the long term Iraqi – American agreement.

…- To end all American – European political and logistic support for the Iranian opposition, especially Iran’s Resistance Council Organization, Pijac Kurdish organization, and other small opposition groups [Arabs, Turkmen, Azari…etc].

- Stop the secret and public American administration incitement of toppling the Iranian regime.

- End the U.S. and Europe campaign to push for the Iranian Jews immigration to Israel.

- To put an end to the campaign of the need to for pre-emptive strikes against selective and sensitive intelligence, military and nuclear Iranian sites.

In exchange for:

- Intelligence cooperation in Iraq and the region, while Washington gives Iran a space to maneuver internationally, easing the international pressure and the embargo, as a result, Tehran to postpone uranium enrichment operations for a period of two years, with the approval of Iran’s nuclear programme by the inspection teams of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

- Full cooperation between Tehran and Washington in all areas, and Iran to ensure the submission of several laws in Washington’s favour by the Shiite coalition blocs and Iraqi Kurdistan Alliance, including oil and gas law, the provinces a law, as opposed to because the American President George Bush to use his powers delegated by the military gives him the right to selective attacks on Iranian sites sensitive, to ensure the security of the American forces and the Iraqi people.

This “Iran - American” deal raised concerns in Israel therefore they invited McCain, the Republican candidate to visit Tel Aviv and asked him to visit Baghdad to be informed about what has been achieved talking with the Iranians, promised him that if the mission is successful, then he will get the support of Tel Aviv and the Zionist lobby in America presidential election.

With the banks and financial system hemorrhaging, perhaps the most pressing need right now (for those in power) is to stabilize their financial pic line. The latest finCEN move could simply be designed to make sure Iran is seated firmly at the negotiating table until the above deal goes through. Eh?

It’s hard for me to think like a psychopath, but I’m giving it a whirl.

3/26/08

We will make them pay for their insolence

A few months back I read this article over at Global Research: Behind the Drums of War with Iran: Nuclear Weapons or Compound Interest by Ellen Brown. My apologies for the long excerpts, but this article really explains a lot of what's happening right now.

If you're really busy, the shorter is: We must bomb Iran because those smart bastards outwitted our diabolical debt trap.
What bankers call the “miracle” of compound interest is called “usury” under Islamic law and is considered a crime...Modern Islamic thinkers are not averse to a profitable return on investment if it takes the form of “profit-sharing,” with investors taking some risk and sharing in business losses; but the usurer gets his interest no matter what. In fact he does better when the borrower fails. The borrower who cannot afford to pay off his loans sinks deeper and deeper into debt, as interest compounds annually to the lender. In The Coming First World Debt Crisis (2006), Ann Pettifor gives this modernized definition of “usury”:

Usury is the practice of exalting money values over human and environmental values; of creating money at no cost and lending at rates of interest intended not to foster and maintain humanity or the ecosystem, but to

a) accumulate reserves of unearned income;

b) extract wealth from the productive sector in a manner that is parasitic;

c) extract wealth from those who lack wealth (the asset-less); and

d) make a claim on the future.

It is this debt scheme, with its lethal weapon of interest compounded annually, that has allowed a small clique of financiers to dominate the business of the world. In Tragedy and Hope, Professor Carroll Quigley, Bill Clinton's mentor at Georgetown University, wrote from personal knowledge of this group, which he called “the international bankers.” He said their aim was “nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole,” a system “to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements.” The key to the bankers' success was that they would control and manipulate the money systems of the world while letting them appear to be controlled by governments.

...The first step in the process of prying resources loose from local economies was to induce national leaders to open up their capital and currency markets. In 1971, President Nixon took the U.S. dollar off the gold standard, making it the world's “reserve currency” without the tether of gold. Dollars could then be created and lent to whatever extent lenders could find borrowers for them. In 1974, OPEC was induced to enter into an agreement to trade its oil only in U.S. dollars, and the price of oil then suddenly quadrupled. Countries that did not have the dollars they needed to buy oil had to borrow them. The IMF then imposed its “conditionalities,” including the privatization of state-owned oil industries and banks. In the ensuing decades, this and other predatory lending schemes brought most of the world under the heel of the international bankers.

But guess which country has stayed out from under the international bankers' heels? Iran!

Iran was among the few nations to have escaped this global privatization scheme. Iran had its own oil. It managed to avoid the trap of letting its currency be devalued by speculators by imposing foreign exchange restrictions and price controls on its national currency (the rial), something it could afford to do because it had adequate foreign exchange reserves from its oil sales. Iran's state-owned oil industry has allowed its economy to perform well, despite economic sanctions and rumors to the contrary. A “reformist” movement toward increased privatization ended in 2005, when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected to the presidency. Ahmadinejad is a “populist” who has promised to redistribute Iranian oil wealth more expansively and has committed the government to funding public-sector projects and charitable investments.

Islamic scholars have been seeking to devise a global banking system that would serve as an alternative to the usury-based scheme now in control internationally, and Iran has led the way in devising that model. Iran is characterized as a democratic Islamic republic, which enforces Islamic principles not only morally but legally and politically. The 1979 revolution overthrowing the American-backed Shah of Iran ended 2,500 years of monarchical rule. All domestic Iranian banks were then nationalized, and the government called for the establishment of an Islamic banking system that would replace interest payments with profit-sharing. Its state-owned central bank issues the national currency, with the “seigniorage” (the difference between the cost of producing money and its face value) accruing to the government rather than to private banks. The Iranian government is among the few to have very little foreign debt. It uses its state-owned banks to make loans and credits available to industrial and agricultural projects. The most unique feature of the banking system, however, is that it follows the Islamic proscription against usury. That means loans are made interest-free.

At least, that is true in principle. To make their system work with the prevailing scheme, Islamic economists have had to come up with some creative definitions of “interest.” Assuming Iran can develop a workable alternative model, however, it might well threaten the usury-based banking system that now dominates international finance and trade. If governments were to start doing what banks do now - advancing “credit” created out of nothing with accounting entries - they could sidestep the hefty interest that is the principal cost of most government programs today.

Estimates are that eliminating interest charges could cut the cost of infrastructure, sustainable energy development and other government programs in half. Third World economies might then escape the grip of the global bankers, bringing a 300-year global banking empire crashing down.

Oopsie. Can't have that.
That could explain the big guns trained on Iran. The intent may not be to thwart the development of nuclear weapons so much as to pluck a budding economic alternative out by its roots before it has a chance to spread. Dominoes that won't fall into the debt trap must be pushed. Like in the brutal attacks in Lebanon in July 2006, the military targets in Iran are liable to be economic ones - ports, bridges, roads, airports, refiners.The threat posed by Iran's economic model will be obliterated by blasting it back into the Stone Age.
Fast forward to March 20, 2008. This is how the US government gets the ball rolling - they cut Iran off from the international financial community.
A unit within the US Treasury Department, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which issued a March 20 advisory to the world's financial institutions under the title: “Guidance to Financial Institutions on the Continuing Money Laundering Threat Involving Illicit Iranian Activity.”
...As of March 20, however, the US, speaking through FinCEN, is now telling all banks around the world “to take into account the risk arising from the deficiencies in Iran's AML/CFT [anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism] regime, as well as all applicable U.S. and international sanctions programs, with regard to any possible transactions” with – and this is important – not just the above three banks but every remaining state-owned, private and special government bank in Iran. In other words, FinCEN charges, all of Iran’s banks – including the central bank (also on FinCEN’s list) – represent a risk to the international financial system, no exceptions. Confirmation is possible by comparing FinCEN's list of risky Iranian banks with the listing of Iranian banks provided by Iran’s central bank.

The “deficiencies in Iran's AML/CFT” is important because it provides the rationale FinCEN will now use to deliver the ultimate death blow to Iran’s ability to participate in the international banking system.

...
So what does all this bureaucratic financial rigmarole mean?

What it really means is that the US, again through FinCEN, has declared two acts of war: one against Iran’s banks and one against any financial institution anywhere in the world that tries to do business with an Iranian bank.
And that simply means that the Iranians will be reduced to abject poverty, and they will die. Back to Ellen Brown:
But there is hope. The developing nations should not think that they are powerless in the face of their oppressors. Their best weapon now is the very scale of the debt crisis itself. A coordinated and simultaneous large scale default on international debt obligations could quite easily damage the Western monetary system, and the West knows it. There might be a war of course, or the threat of it, accompanied perhaps by lectures on financial morality from Washington, but would it matter when there is so little left to lose? In due course, every oppressed people comes to know that it is better to die with dignity than to live in slavery. Lenders everywhere should remember that lesson well.
I'm telling you, even Americans will figure this out some day, perhaps pretty soon. I'm no financial wizard, that's for sure, but I'm smart enough to know that everything in this world comes back to money. And if you really want to know what's going on, just figure out who owns all the banks and where their loyalties lie (wink wink). You, too, can have one of those aha mind-blowing moments that lasts for the rest of your life.

Much more on the amazing hypocrisy and injustice of the financial world here and here.

How Dare They

The other day I posted a clip of George Galloway manhandling a radio caller who thought attacking Iran is a good idea. If you haven’t listened to it, you’re missing a real treat and a 7-minute education.

Galloway reminds the caller that Iran will respond if attacked. Iran is not some rinky-dink backward little country without resources. It might retaliate against London even, or other European cities. How would we like them apples? We are talking about setting off WW III here, and any people who blithely consider that an attack on Iran will be just another fun little military adventure for our boys needs to remove their heads from their asses.

The groundwork has been laid for things to escalate very quickly. This February 2006 article by Michel Chossudovsky explains how the distinction between conventional and nuclear weapons has been purposefully blurred, as has the chain-of-command decision making process to use the weapons. Essentially, for purposes of military planning nuclear weapons have been declared ’safe for civilians’. You can imagine how redefining the weapons and loosening the traditional restraints against using them will facilitate the rapid escalation of conflict. Mass death will follow. As I wrote a few months back:

And look, they cleverly built in a delegation system whereby other people downstream can make “regrettable decisions”, and our leaders can shake their heads sadly after the “mistakes were made” and assure us that “people will be held accountable”.

Make no mistake. People in the US government and the Israeli government know that many, many people will die if they strike Iran, and they won’t all be Iranians. Israeli officials know that their own population could be decimated. Studies have been commissioned to work these scenarios out. The US government knows that our men and women in the service will die (Dick Cheney thanks them for volunteering). War games have been played to predict the losses. They all know that nuclear fallout will drift around the globe maiming and killing all manner of living things and polluting the earth. Don’t kid yourself. These people are contemplating utter disaster and ruin worldwide.

Now read this:

With U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in Israel this week talking about Iran, the big question was whether President Bush would be willing to use military force in the waning days of his presidency to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The answer from most Israeli intelligence analysts: not likely. … Israel also figures that the chances of the Bush administration ordering a pre-emptive military strike against Iran are virtually zero. The only such scenario the Israelis envision is if the Democratic presidential candidates appear to be far ahead of their Republican rival and Bush senses a “now or never” strike option. Even in these circumstances, the Israelis say, an American strike is highly unlikely. Still, the Israelis are hoping that the hard-line Cheney will push the envelope — a role he reportedly played vis-a-vis the U.S. invasion of Iraq. One official said Cheney is seen as “a significant player” who could influence “serious issues that cannot wait.”

Sick. Go back to the Galloway video. Iran hasn’t started a war in 300 years, and there’s no hard evidence that Iran is doing any of the things that Israel and the neocons accuse it of doing. So does this really rise to the level of starting WW III? Really? Are you sure, because there’s no turning back once the missile leaves the ship or the plane. Millions of people will die, the earth will be even more horrifically polluted than it is now, and we will all be plunged into unimaginable horrors, so are you sure this is what you want?

In a rational world people would rise up with one voice and say, “How dare you! How dare you even think about destroying the world you sick bastards!” And then we would lock up all the psychopaths until they died, and we would live in peace.


3/25/08

What's a Goy to do?

Obama comes under pressure from the Republican Jewish Coalition to fire one of his advisers, Gen. Merrill 'Tony' McPeak.

"By choosing to have a military advisor and national campaign co-chairman like General McPeak, serious questions and doubts are once again being raised about Senator Obama's positions and judgment on Middle East issues," said RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks.

In a 2003 interview with the Oregonian, Gen. McPeak resorted to old stereotypes and unfortunate language by blaming the lack of progress with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process on the undue political influence of American Jewry. The problem, said McPeak is "New York City. Miami. We have a large vote -- vote, here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it."

"Rather than putting the blame where it belongs -- on the Palestinian leadership and their continued reliance on terror, General McPeak finds it more convenient to blame American Jewry and their perceived influence," said Brooks. "This is the same dangerous and disturbing canard being promoted by the likes of Jimmy Carter and authors Mearsheimer and Walt in their book, The Israel Lobby."

In other words, the man knows what's up and has the nerve to say it. He speaks the truth, and goodness knows we can't have that.

So let's see what Obama does. I predict he will cave to this pressure. I have some advice for him from the lips of one George W. Bush. Obama, just tell the RJC, "Who cares what you think?"

Update: Just to recap...A Republican Jewish group demands that Obama, one of the Democratic candidates for president (and not even nominated yet!), fire an adviser because said adviser once said that American Jewish groups have 'undue political influence'. The irony is apparently lost on them over at Newsmax.

Problematic

The Winter Soldier hearings have come and gone and the videos percolate through the blogosphere. As they must, since the corporate media dutifully ignored the entire phenomenon.

Why is that? Do soldiers telling the truth about Iraq pose a problem? Why yes, yes they do. Americans must not find out how some of our soldiers behave when the embedded journalists aren't around. They'd fall right onto the fainting couch. For the forces unleashed in 2003 by Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush, Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzalez have whipped through Iraq many times now, reverberating through each hollowed out human being forced by circumstances to survive there for a time.

Officially 4,000 soldiers have died, never to tell their stories. Many others survive as shadows of their former selves. But of those who come back more or less whole, a few seem really quite angry. Some of those angry soldiers spoke at the Winter Soldier hearings.
The so-called Winter Soldier gathering organised by Iraq Veterans Against the War was designed to demonstrate that well-publicised incidents of U.S. brutality, including the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and the massacre of an entire family of Iraqis in the town of Haditha, are not isolated incidents perpetrated by "a few bad apples," as many politicians and military leaders have claimed. They are part of a pattern, the organisers said, of "an increasingly bloody occupation".

"We have the power to bring the troops home, when they throw down their weapons and refuse to fight," said Phil Aliff, a recently discharged combat veteran, who helped start the first active duty chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War at Fort Drum in upstate New York.
These soldiers took to organizing themselves because they object to being used for corrupt purposes. Dick Cheney's assertion that "they volunteered" notwithstanding, a few of them intend to use their civil rights.
When you're in the military, you are a citizen soldier," Rappenhagen said. "You still retain your rights as a citizen and you're able to use those rights."

To critics of his activities, Rappenhagen said: "It'll be a shame if the actual use of your first amendment right [to freedom of speech] becomes unpatriotic."
But this attitude causes nothing but problems for those intent on Supporting the Troops. How can you support the troops if the troops tell you they've been allowed and even encouraged to commit war crimes? That won't do. Americans can only comfortably support the troops when they believe that all soldiers are clean-cut boyscout types who say Yes Sir and No Ma'am and help old ladies with their groceries and exhibit the best military values of duty, honor and sacrifice at all times, even under the tremendous duress of war. We are a proud people who like to hold our views in comfort.

Winter Soldier testimony makes Americans uncomfortable - the cardinal sin. Cognitive dissonance reduces support for the war and generates inconvenient political turbulence. Therefore, no Winter Soldiers testimony shall be allowed on network TV.

And so it came to pass.
These increasing calls for GI resistance came amid an almost complete media blackout from the large U.S. news organisations.

Though the gathering was timed to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and was held in Silver Spring, Maryland less than 10 miles from the White House, the personal testimonies of hundreds of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans garnered only a small article in the metro section of the Washington Post. The New York Times¸ CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS ignored it completely.

Five years into the war, the country appears to be back where it started in terms of media coverage. A study by the Pew Research Centre last week revealed only 28 percent of respondents correctly said about 4,000 U.S. citizens have died in the war. Most thought the number was closer to 2,000 or 3,000.

According to the same survey, overall media coverage of the war dropped from an average of 15 percent of stories in July 2007 to just 3 percent in February 2008.
The corporate media puts forth a valiant effort to hide the truth, but it won't work. Too many people have burned with curiosity and interest about too many things, and now the answers they found lay strewn all over the internet in blogs, videos and alternative news sites. Some of the soldiers came back able to think and articulate what they saw, what they did and what it means.

Problematic? Only if you're still very comfortable.

3/24/08

Yes. Obviously.


"The president carries the biggest burden, obviously." - Dick Cheney answering Martha Raddatz's question about what affect 4,000 dead American soldiers has on the country.

Yes, I keep posting this picture because I find it so illustrative. He's doing a lighthearted little jig. Obviously, he's suffering under some tremendous personal burden.

Great Smackdown by George Galloway

A confluence of factors

Dick Cheney visits the Middle East, declaring his undying support for Israel among other things (like firming up the next steps). Fallon leaves his post March 31st. Meanwhile, an American nuclear submarine has joined other US ships in the Persian Gulf. American deaths in Iraq have reached the bloody milestone of 4,000. Osama bin Laden has risen from the dead (again, and pretty much in sync with Jesus!, wow good timing), and along with AQ#2 al-Zawahri calls for a war against Israel and the US. The 40-day mourning period for Imad Mughniyeh ends today, putting Lebanon on pins and needles. The US economy bravely dangles over the abyss with one sweaty palm holding onto the ladder swinging under Ben Bernanke’s confetti-dispensing helicopter. Let’s see…what else?

Well, you get the picture. It could soon be time for a false flag that will bring the world to it’s knees.

For much more pants-crapping fun, go read Winter Patriot.

Shiny happy people.

Cheney and Olmert

Bush dancing March 8, 2008

Fusion Centers

Russell Tice, the (Republican, Bush supporting) NSA whistleblower who some of the right think is a paranoid, embittered loon, said this back in January 2006:

In my case, there’s no way the programs I want to talk to Congress about should be public ever, unless maybe in 200 years they want to declassify them. You should never learn about it; no one at the Times should ever learn about these things.

Whatever he’s talking about there (and it sounds pretty horrifying), it’s not fusion centers. Russell Tice refers to something much worse that remains a mystery. Fusion centers, on the other hand, proudly operate in full view as part of the Department of Homeland Security.

Imagine that somewhere close to your local community there exists a secret computer center. Equipped with powerful mainframe computers and the database integrating powers of XML, this government-funded facility gathers data from thousands of sources including local, state and federal law enforcement, social welfare agencies, hospitals, banks, telephone companies, ISPs, computer search engines, private security companies, schools–essentially an endless list. With its massive computing power, this secret outpost is able to search and sift this data using vaguely defined criteria like “suspicious activity” in order to identify individuals for even closer scrutiny. Finally, this computer center dispenses the results of its analyses to local, state and federal law enforcement and to the military so that they can take action against the citizens tagged as threats.

Such a scenario is no longer the product of a paranoid, over-stimulated imagination. It is a reality called “fusion centers,” forty of which have been established throughout the United States.

Click here to see a map of which states have fusion centers. Here’s the website for the one in Massachusetts. Neat, huh? I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about (cough).

Here are some questions about Fusion Centers:

Under what authority does the Fusion Center operate (state law, local law, or federal law)?

Who is responsible for ensuring all federal, state and local laws protecting privacy and civil liberties are enforced?

What state or local sunshine laws or open meeting laws apply to activities taking place at Fusion Centers?

What information, intelligence and/or data are collected at the Fusion Center and how is it stored?

Who has access to this data at the Fusion Center? How is it protected from misuse?

What does the Fusion Center do to ensure the accuracy of the data it receives and disseminates?

Do any non-law enforcement entities participate in Fusion Center activities? If so, who?

Do any private sector entities participate in the Fusion Center activities? If so, who?

How are private sector entities selected to participate in the Fusion Center? May private sector entities not selected to participate in Fusion Centers receive the same information that is made available to those private entities that are selected? How would they get access to this information?

Do these non-law enforcement entities have access to law enforcement information or databases through their participation in the Fusion Centers? If they are co-located with law enforcement personnel what safeguards are in place to prevent unauthorized access?

Remember those card-carrying InfraGard people with their ’shoot to kill’ orders?

Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does—and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law. InfraGard is “a child of the FBI,” says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.

What do you want to bet some of the InfraGard people have privileges at the Fusion Centers? That’s the whole point of InfraGard - a special class of insiders with extra privileges, access, contacts, favors. If martial law ever does get declared here in the USA, you are going to see this country turned into a police state overnight. In the same way that our military has been largely supplemented with private contractors like Blackwater who operate without oversight, domestic security has also been farmed out to the private sector, also without oversight, even to the extent of giving these people “shoot to kill” permission. Unbelievable. These deputized private citizens will come out of the woodwork to take charge at the first opportunity. They will be armed with your private information and weapons, and you will be forced to do what they say.

This has all been arranged in the name of public safety. Public safety at what price? What price?

“Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.” - Benjamin Franklin


3/23/08

Overreach without Oversight

Here’s a small collection, by no means comprehensive, of recent incidents where people in authority have over-reached their power. The question to keep in mind when reviewing this data is not, “What would I do if I were a person in authority?” but rather, “How would I feel if I, my parent, my child, my spouse, or my friend was treated this way?” Why focus on that question? Because the vast majority of people are not in positions of authority. Most people aren’t going to be able to drop a name or have some inside connection to deliver them from whatever humiliations the authorities have in store. The very need to cultivate, nourish and protect such connections exposes the rot at the center of our democracy. It simply shouldn’t be necessary to “know people” in order to remain safe from abuse. That’s the kind of crap that flourishes in totalitarian states and banana republics.

Innocent Icelandic Woman Chained, Held, Tortured by Homeland Security at Airport

Sheriff apologizes to man dumped from wheelchair

Shreveport woman beaten by cop while in custody

Strip search of woman by Sheriff’s Deputies

List of taser deaths October/November 2007

NSA Whistleblower alleges illegal spying

Glenn Greenwald explains better than I ever could, just simply regarding domestic surveillance:

Why would anyone trust the current administration and subsequent administrations — not just their political officials but the thousands and thousands of permanent government and private employees — to spy on Americans, and store and collect extremely invasive information about Americans’ private lives, with no oversight or requirement to demonstrate probable cause to a court — as the Founders required — to believe that the citizen being spied on has actually done something wrong? Whatever the outcome of the Obama passport investigation is, whoever the parties responsible are and whatever their motives, shouldn’t this rather conclusively demonstrate the complete folly, the serious dangers, of continuing to vest in the government powers to spy on and collect data about Americans with no oversight?

3/21/08

Kafka's World

Speak of the devil…

Just the other day I wrote about the escalating game of acceptable police tactics to catch criminals. Here’s a sad story to illustrate how things can go tragically wrong and what happens when they do. To recap: a 28 year old Virginia man’s house had been broken into and rifled through, but nothing was stolen. A few days later he was in bed when he heard someone trying to break into his house again. In a matter of seconds he shot through the door and killed a police officer. He has been charged with first degree murder.

An open and shut case? Not at all.

Let’s replay it. A police informant breaks into a man’s home (his crime overlooked) and generates a ‘tip’ about marijuana. The police do not trouble to corroborate the tip (why bother?) but simply go to the man’s home a few nights later with a warrant. The man has no criminal record or history of violence. Instead of ringing the bell and asking to speak with him, they start banging down the door (excessive force). The man inside, recently victimized and not knowing who is crashing through his door, fires his gun. An officer dies. The man is charged with murder. It’s a tragedy.

Here’s the thing about having your cake and eating it too. People want to think of law enforcement officials as public servants. After all, we pay their salaries through our tax dollars, and theoretically, people go into public service to serve the public. So in a normally functioning society citizens should not be afraid of police officers or government officials. We should be proud of them and trust them. Are you with me? Good.

So if you are a law abiding citizen, going to work, paying your taxes, stopping at red lights, etc., you should not expect police officers to come to your house at night and bang your door down. No? Even if you had smoked a joint from time to time, it still would be out of the realm of possibility that cops would break your front door in over that, right? That’s how they treat hardened criminals, not law abiding citizens. We like to think they have bigger fish to fry, you know like terrorists and child molesters. So this man probably never expected, in his wildest dreams, that cops would be crashing his door down. Why would he? He’s not a criminal on the lam, he was just a guy living his life. As a matter of fact, he had just been the victim of a crime and had probably been in touch with the police the very same week.

And anyway, isn’t that the deal? Our government told us they needed tools to protect us, and our elected representatives said OK, do what you need to do. In exchange for our civil liberties, hard-working tax-paying law-abiding Americans are supposed to be able to go about their business and have nothing to worry about. You won’t be profiled, you won’t be spied on, and you won’t be bothered. Wasn’t that the deal? Isn’t that why people smugly say, “I don’t care if they _____. I have nothing to hide.”?

Well guess what? This deal sucks. We got scammed by our own government. They took our rights, and with all their new information they absolutely do profile, spy on and bother people more than ever before! Some government officials now behave with impunity. Some officers, perhaps a little vigorous in their enthusiasm, will not think twice about the consequences of sloppy police work. And why should they? They hold all the cards. But now one of them has been killed, and who is on the hook? The citizen. The citizen who, in this asymmetrical game of information warfare, had no idea what the hell was going on and had no reason to suspect or expect that police officers would be banging down his door. The citizen who bought the deal and trusted that he would not be treated like a criminal without cause.

But like Gregor in The Metamorphosis, one day he woke up to find himself a criminal. And like Joseph in The Trial, he’ll probably never get out of this in one piece. There will be no cake for him.

I’m just saying, it’s not supposed to work this way people. Anyone can get caught up in these grinding wheels. Anyone. You have no protection anymore, and that is why people complain about the loss of our civil liberties. The Bill of Rights is not some arcane document from the past - it’s the foundation of our democracy.

Suffer the little children

My heart is broken from all the suffering in the world, so much of it caused by our country and our 'friends' like Israel. It's so sad, and yet we have to look. People in this country desperately need to grasp the reality that our leaders have engineered across the globe. Please take five minutes of your life to watch this video of little boys in Iraq.

I spoke to someone the other day who still supports and likes Bush. This person does not think a war with Iran will happen. This person has not heard any Winter Soldier stories or seen any distressing YouTube videos from Iraq. This person chooses to believe only the best about our leaders and our military. Only the best. Anything less than that is definitely not patriotic. That is how this person chooses to see the world, and this person insists there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. As a matter of fact, this person considers that I am being negative, and negativity is unAmerican. Americans are positive. We are upbeat. We support the troops and we support the President. It's Not Complicated, you see. That's the point. That's why everyone loves us. It's Good v Evil, and we're Good.

I just don't agree. Over and over again I see a profound lack of curiosity in my fellow citizens. Their attitude is this: if the information doesn't come through the television, it must not exist. Or if it does exist, it must not be legitimate. Only wicked people and liberals (same thing) believe the horrible things on the internet. Our country would not do anything purposefully harmful, so just calm down. Sheesh. Have a drink.

I just live in a totally different place. I can't unsee and unknow the things I have searched for and worked to understand, but neither can I take a person like this and make him or her want to know the truth. Some people don't want to know the truth. They choose to believe only the good, and in that choice they see themselves as good.

But what is evil but a spirit of unreality? Who is Satan but the Father of Lies? Refusing to see evil does not make a person good. People who refuse to see evil don't make the evil go away. On the contrary, these people are feeding evil. They are protecting evil. They are nourishing evil. They are hiding evil. They accomplish the exact opposite of what they think they're doing. As the Penitential Rite says: I have sinned through my own fault in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do.

That is why we need to let our minds wrap around the alternative explanations of 9/11, and let our eyes take in pictures of dead civilians in Iraq and Gaza, and let our ears hear the testimony of Winter Soldiers. We need to see the evil and name it and understand it. Only then can we possibly begin to choke it off.

So today, on Good Friday, my heart is crushed for all the innocent people who have suffered and died and who suffer and live thanks to George Bush, his friends and his wars. I am crushed. I can't look at these little boys in Iraq without seeing my own son, and I don't know how God can possibly forgive us what's happened to them because we invaded their country. I just really don't know. It does not seem possible to me. May His will be done, and may He have mercy on us all.

3/20/08

Rock Paper Scissors

I recently attended an information night about internet safety for children. A couple of detectives ran the meeting and did a good job. They gave us a lot of information, much of which horrified me.

For example, they described how a 75 year old man owned a computer. His grandson used the computer to download some files (illegally) from a file-sharing site. But apparently this young man didn’t sign off when he was done ’sharing’, and while he went off to do whatever he had to do for a few hours, thousands and thousands of other people somehow were able to ’share’ files through his connection, or something like that (they weren’t very specific). The old man, since it was his house and his computer, ended up being slapped with a lawsuit for $75k because those files were stolen. The moral of the story: you can be sued if something goes wrong, even if you don’t know or understand a damn thing about what happened.

Another story…some people buy these tiny jump drives to store illegal things like pornography. If police officers suspect that you have something like that and need to search your house, they will turn your house upside down to find a jump drive the size of a thumbnail. You might have one, and it could be hidden anywhere. If you don’t have one? Well, then you will still get to spend the next two weeks of your life putting your house back together. The moral of the story: don’t do anything that might possibly cause a police officer to need to search your house for a type of technology that you may or may not have because they will ransack your house just to be sure.

I have nothing against law enforcement people doing their jobs to find criminals, but the attitude about things like this is a very cavalier Oh Well. As the criminals get wilier and harder to catch, the police have obviously been given greater powers under the pretext of keeping up. We know this. The technology changes so quickly that they cannot be left flat-footed, and therefore it’s understood that they will do what they need to do and worry about any problems later. Or not. Maybe they just don’t worry about things like ransacking someone’s home to find a tiny jump drive and not finding it after all, or finding it with family photos and not porn.

Let’s suppose grandma takes in her grandchild because the child’s parent has been shipped off to fight a war far away. Let’s suppose the teenage grandchild gets in trouble on the internet and the police come to search grandma’s house. Do they ransack grandma’s house to find the jump drive? What if grandma has a heart attack and dies over the stress of having police officers rummaging through her house? Oh well?

These are the scenarios that we need to think through. It’s my experience that suburban people tend to think that law enforcement should have all the power it needs to catch bad guys, and they don’t tend to think of how that power might be abused or misused. There’s an unspoken solidarity that we’re all on the same side…you know, we middle class suburban people and our police officers. Yup. And soldiers are boy scouts and the Easter Bunny is coming this Sunday.

I’m noticing that it keeps coming down to technology. It’s like a game of rock paper scissors with technology. Every time a new technology comes out, the people inclined to commit crimes use it to trump law enforcement. Then law enforcement has to trump the criminals, either by relaxing rules or getting their own new technology. Faster and faster the game goes. And most people have no clue just how relaxed the rules have gotten or how scary the technology has gotten. No clue whatsoever.

Not Down and Out

A site I rely on heavily, Crimes and Corruptions of the New World Order News, went down yesterday. It looks like someone hacked it. Makes you wonder...

If you don't check this site, he carries a lot of great news from around the world. Good alternative news. He's got it back up and running here in case you are looking for it.

NWO Newswire

3/19/08

2 Esdras: The Dream

I Beg to Differ

According to a top Clinton aide, Ann Lewis: “The role of the presidents of the United States is to support decisions made by the people of Israel.”

The blogosphere discusses this, and rightfully so. Look around.

I’m not going to explain the role of POTUS. That hardly seems necessary. Obviously people like Ann Lewis have been too long in the corridors of power. Are there fun house mirrors all over that corridor or something, because the Israeli interest seem much, much bigger in Washington, DC than it does to me out here in the United States of America.

I’m glad she made this obnoxious comment. Maybe people will start to open their eyes to the symbiotic parasitic relationship we have with Israel.

3/18/08

The House of Cards

Back in August I spoke with a guy who sold us a few financial products. He insisted, insisted, that this sub-prime thing was not a big deal. I took some of my money out of the market, a decision he really advised against. He thought the economy was doing great. People like me are just too damned negative.

I distinctly remember telling him the economy is a ‘house of cards’.

This morning one of the networks ran a graphic of a house of cards collapsing, eliciting a hearty snort from me.

I have used Herculean restraint not to email some snarky remark to him, especially since his company sends me a monthly pdf letter from their Kool-ade drinker-in-chief. The last letter wryly admitted that things weren’t going so swell but then hunkered down into the team huddle. This is what we’re gonna do….

Yeah sure whatever.

In any case, I have no financial expertise to offer anyone. All I can tell you is this: when network tv shows a graphic of a house of cards collapsing to describe what ‘might happen’ to the US economy, well, it’s too late. We have a runaway train on our hands here, and it stops by crashing at the bottom of a ravine and turning into a smouldering heap.

By the way, look at this picture of Bush doing a little dance on March 8, 2008. What do you suppose has him in such a good mood? Perhaps the destruction of the American middle class? The bankruptcy of our nation? The nearly 4,000 dead American soldiers in his war of choice? The exciting plans for the next war? One million dead Iraqis? Shredded Constitution? Dictatorial power? Martial law? I suppose if your goal is to destroy America, you might be in a really good mood right about now.

Bush dancing on March 8, 2008

legal mumbo jumbo

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