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Aiding the Insurgency

Aiding the Insurgency
By Luke Mogelson | Nation

"It was just a sham," says retired Lt. Col. Felix Boston, a member of a provincial reconstruction team deployed to Baghdad's Kadhimiya district, a Shiite stronghold ruled by various militias, including Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. Civil conflict was uncommon in Kadhimiya—its Sunni population had been decimated, with many people fleeing or killed by Shiite death squads after the fall of Saddam. But the militias that found safe haven there were still active in the insurgency, and USAID hoped to lure potential recruits away by enlisting them in the trash campaigns. Time sheets submitted to IRD by Kadhimiya contractors listed thousands of Iraqis, each receiving wages from USAID. But according to several embedded provincial reconstruction team members, many of these workers were phantoms, never seen by the US Army's Dagger Brigade during its regular patrols of the area. "The numbers were so inflated," says Boston. "They'd say 5,000, and there might have been a hundred people."

Last summer the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) closed one of its largest projects in Iraq, declaring that it had been a virtually unqualified success. The Community Stabilization Program (CSP), which cost $675 million over its three years of operation, has been lauded as one of the war's most effective counterinsurgency operations. Launched in May 2006, it was USAID's chief contribution to the Bush plan of rescuing a tailspinning military adventure with a civilian surge and increased focus on economic development. "Bottom line: it worked," said Jeanne Pryor, USAID's deputy director for Iraq reconstruction, during a recent colloquy on the CSP at the United States Institute of Peace. An evaluator contracted by USAID recommended that the CSP be replicated elsewhere, and in Afghanistan recent cash-for-work projects have emerged that appear to be based on the model it pioneered.

According to several senior military and government personnel, however, this vaunted program was responsible for sending millions of taxpayer dollars to Iraqi insurgents via a complex web of contractors and subcontractors. These sources claim that although USAID was fully aware of the problem, it delayed acting for as long as possible, unwilling to pull the plug on a program that generated propitious statistics, even when it jeopardized American lives.

When George W. Bush unveiled his "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" in November 2005, the approach—summarized as "clear, hold and build"—called for exactly the kind of work USAID had been doing for decades. The CSP was similar to past undertakings in that it sought to create jobs and engage youth; it was unique, however, in that it concentrated on fighting-age males vulnerable to recruitment by insurgents. Almost all USAID projects are administered through intermediaries—either private firms or nonprofits—and this one was no different. The cooperative agreement went to International Relief and Development (IRD), an American nonprofit run by a minister in the United Church of Christ.

As with most USAID "implementing partners" in Iraq and Afghanistan, IRD delegated much of its authority to local subcontractors; in the case of the CSP, this meant paying Iraqis to hire other Iraqis to clear streets of rubble and trash. The upshot was that money had to pass through several middlemen before reaching its intended target, flowing 
from USAID to IRD to IRD subcontractors—to sub-subcontractors sometimes, sub-sub-subcontractors other times—to young men at risk of joining the insurgency. On paper the scheme was successful. By the summer of 2007, IRD was not only meeting its employment goals; it was far exceeding them. The problem was that the reports belied rather than reflected reality. Read more.

Screw the Environment: BP and the Audacity of Greed

By Dave Lindorff

Even as BP’s blown well a mile beneath the surface in the Gulf of Mexico continues to gush forth an estimated 70,000 barrels of oil a day into the sea, and the fragile wetlands along the Gulf begin to get coated with crude, which is also headed into the Gulf Stream for a trip past the Everglades and on up the East Coast, the company is demanding that Canada lift its tight rules for drilling in the icy Beaufort Sea portion of the Arctic Ocean.

In an incredible display of corporate arrogance, BP is claiming that a current safety requirement that undersea wells drilled during the newly ice-free summer must also include a side relief well, so as to have a preventive measure in place that could shut down a blown well, is “too expensive” and should be eliminated.

Political Misspeak

By Missy Comley Beattie

Who hasn’t misspoken? Jeeez, I have—plenty of times—and especially if I’ve consumed one too many glasses of Cabernet.

Do you remember when Condi Rice referred to George W. Bush as “my husband”?

Yes, we've all made slips of the tongue and, some, like Condi’s, are quite Freudian funny. Or funnily Freudian.

Tapped Out: When Water Bills Force Foreclosure

Tapped Out: When Water Bills Force Foreclosure
By Fred Schulte, Ben Protess and Lagan Seber | Huffington Post Investigative Fund

Excerpts: Rather than collect the overdue money they are owed, many local governments are selling tax liens. Buyers range from behemoths such as JPMorgan Chase & Co, and some regional banks and law firms, to small-fry investors lured by late-night television commercials promising quick riches. Investors generally bid in an auction for the right to collect delinquent taxes and other municipal debts on property owners, sometimes by paying only a few hundred dollars. When owners can't pay, investors can pick up property at bargain prices....

Investors purchased an estimated $30 billion of real estate tax debt held by governments across the country in 2009, double the amount a year earlier, according to the Florida-based National Tax Lien Association. Altogether, 29 states and the District of Columbia can sell tax lien debt to investors.

Lien sales in Baltimore have nearly doubled since the housing bubble of 2006. On Monday, the city sold 12,689 liens - a probable record. Properties ranged from boarded-up shells and vacant lots to row homes in gentrified neighborhoods and some commercial buildings.

Last February, Vicki Valentine was evicted when she couldn't pay $3,603.41 to rescue her Baltimore home. Valentine's wasn't a typical foreclosure -- the mortgage was paid off. But when she failed to pay a $362.28 water bill, the city auctioned her debt off in a tax lien sale. An investor now owns her home.

City records show that one in five of these liens on properties is for unpaid taxes or other municipal bills amounting to $1,000 or less. If Baltimore's 2009 tax sale is any indication, hundreds will stem from delinquent water bills; there were 666 such liens last year.

Although the brisk tax lien trade thrives beneath the radar, largely unnoticed, it has occasionally drawn scrutiny from law enforcement authorities.

Some of Maryland's most prominent tax sale investors have been swept up in a criminal investigation into bid rigging at the sales. Federal prosecutors allege that those investors agreed in advance which properties to bid at some auctions, improperly reducing the money earned by municipalities. Read more.

Supplanting the United States Constitution: War, National Emergency and the "Continuity of Government"

Supplanting the United States Constitution: War, National Emergency and the "Continuity of Government"
By Peter Dale Scott | May 19, 2010 | Republished in its entirety courtesy of Global Research

Understandably there is great psychological resistance to the extraordinary claim that Cheney and Rumsfeld, even when not in government, were able to help plan successfully for constitutional modifications, which they themselves implemented when back in power. Most people cannot bring themselves even to believe the second, known half of this claim: that on September 11, 2001, COG plans overriding the constitution were indeed implemented. This is why the first two print reviews of The Road to 9/11, both favorable and intelligently written, both reported that I speculated that COG had been imposed on 9/11. No, it was not a speculation: the 9/11 Commission Report twice confirms that COG was instituted on the authority of a phone call between Bush and Cheney of which they could find no record. No record, I did speculate, because it took place on a secure COG phone outside the presidential bunker with such a high classification that the 9/11 Commission was never supplied the phone records.

In July 1987, during the Iran-Contra Hearings grilling of Oliver North, the American public got a glimpse of “highly sensitive” emergency planning North had been involved in. Ostensibly these were emergency plans to suspend the American constitution in the event of a nuclear attack (a legitimate concern). But press accounts alleged that the planning was for a more generalized suspension of the constitution.

As part of its routine Iran-contra coverage, the following exchange was printed in the New York Times, but without journalistic comment or follow-up:

[Congressman Jack] Brooks: Colonel North, in your work at the N.S.C. were you not assigned, at one time, to work on plans for the continuity of government in the event of a major disaster?

Both North’s attorney and Sen. Daniel Inouye, the Democratic Chair of the Committee, responded in a way that showed they were aware of the issue:

Brendan Sullivan [North's counsel, agitatedly]: Mr. Chairman?

[Senator Daniel] Inouye: I believe that question touches upon a highly sensitive and classified area so may I request that you not touch upon that?

Brooks: I was particularly concerned, Mr. Chairman, because I read in Miami papers, and several others, that there had been a plan developed, by that same agency, a contingency plan in the event of emergency, that would suspend the American constitution. And I was deeply concerned about it and wondered if that was an area in which he had worked. I believe that it was and I wanted to get his confirmation.

Inouye: May I most respectfully request that that matter not be touched upon at this stage. If we wish to get into this, I'm certain arrangements can be made for an executive session.[1]

But we have never heard if there was or was not an executive session, or if the rest of Congress was ever aware of the matter. According to James Bamford, “The existence of the secret government was so closely held that Congress was completely bypassed.”[2] (Key individuals in Congress were almost certainly aware.)

Take Action: Washington - Industry Complicity Behind the Gulf Disaster

Washington - Industry Complicity Behind the Gulf Disaster
By Stephen Lendman

It's common practice in America. A government-Wall Street cabal caused the financial crisis and subsequent fallout. Now debated financial reform is a stealth scheme to let bankers self-regulate. Rogue Democrats rammed through health reform to ration care and enrich corporate providers. Defense, technology, and related firms profit hugely from permanent wars, and a regulatory-free Washington - energy industry alliance lies at the root of the Gulf disaster, by far America's greatest ever environmental calamity, worsening daily with no fail-safe, or perhaps any, way to stop it.

It's too big even for the major media to ignore - to wit, on May 15, New York Times writer Justin Gillis headlined, "Giant Plumes of Oil Found Forming Under the Gulf of Mexico," saying:

Alarming reports show "Scientists are finding enormous oil plumes in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick in spots. The discovery" shows that BP and the Obama administration lied about the incident's severity, and they're still lying.

According to University of Georgia researcher Samantha Joye, "There's a shocking amount of oil in the deep water, relative to" what's visible on the surface, the tip of a big and growing iceberg, this one containing oil. "There's a tremendous amount of oil in multiple layers, three or four or five layers deep in the water column."

Worse still, it's depleting Gulf oxygen, prompting fears about killing sea life in the effected areas and permanently destroying the livelihood of area fisherman who supply 20% of the nation's supply.

Already since April 20, oxygen levels are down 30%, a pace that if maintained "could draw (it) down to very low levels that are dangerous to animals in a couple of months. This is alarming."

Even The Times admits the daily flow may be as high as 80,000 barrels (3.4 million gallons or the equivalent of an Exxon Valdez spill around every three days). Yet the Obama administration and BP still claim only 5,000 barrels a day, and company officials won't let scientists use sophisticated instruments to measure the output more accurately on the ocean floor. Clearly they have something to hide, but there's no way to suppress the growing ecological devastation once clear evidence substantiates it.

Arrest Warrant for US Special Ops, Running Kandahar Outlaw Militia?

Arrest Warrant for US Special Ops, Running Kandahar Outlaw Militia?
By Siun | FireDogLake

The Guardian is reporting that the chief military prosecutor in Kabul is accusing “the US of creating an outlaw militia which allegedly shot dead Matiullah Qateh, the chief of police in the city of Kandahar” and “has issued an arrest warrant for an American special forces commander:”

The militia, which Ranjbar claimed is armed and trained by US special forces, also allegedly killed Kandahar’s head of criminal investigations and two other officers, when they attempted to free one of their members from a courthouse…

Ranjbar said an investigation found that the force that killed Qateh operated from Camp Gecko, in the hills outside Kandahar, a base for both US special forces and the CIA.

Officials in Kandahar said the militia supplies guards and is trained to work alongside special forces and intelligence officials in raids against Taliban targets…

He claimed that suspects arrested for the courthouse raid had confessed to being part of a 300-strong militia unit run by “Johnny”. They said they “could not move a muscle and could not leave their base without Johnny’s orders” Ranjbar said. “He was the head of the group and they [the Americans] were the ones paying them.”

“Johnny” is the only known name of the US Special Ops member who is reported to command this “outlaw milita.” Read more.

Insider on Siegelman Prosecution Team Fears For His Life

Insider on Siegelman Prosecution Team Fears For His Life

Scott Horton, Legal Affairs writer for Harper's Magazine, exposes further misconduct in the Siegelman case quoting one member of the prosecution as saying that he would not come forward to expose government misconduct because:

--"you don't understand, these people would kill me if they have to to keep the lid on this." And Main Justice? "They’d be happy to learn that I was dead."

Horton says the person responsible for subverting justice is David Margolas, Deputy Attorney General and the right hand man to Eric Holder. (Who is David Margolas? See Scott Horton's speech below, 4th page, 3rd full paragraph.)

Please read this article and Horton's speech linked in The Legal Schnauzer. It is chilling!


A member of the team that prosecuted former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman says he witnessed rampant misconduct in the case but is afraid to come forward out of fear for his life.

Scott Horton, legal-affairs contributor for Harper's Magazine, made the revelation in a speech last week to the Rotary Club of New York and the American Constitution Society.

Horton says that one Justice Department whistleblower--Tamarah Grimes, of Montgomery--had come forward about misconduct in the Siegelman prosecution and wound up losing her job. A second, unnamed whistleblower fears a similar fate, or worse, if he comes forward.

Horton says he has interviewed both prosecution insiders, and they corroborate statements by key witness Nick Bailey that he was heavily coached and threatened with being outed as a homosexual. Says Horton:

As I note, two members of the prosecution team were appalled by the misconduct that drove the case against Siegelman. One of them filed internal complaints inside the Justice Department. The result? Her name is Tamara Grimes. She was persecuted, hounded, and finally dismissed from her position--in direct violation of the federal whistleblower protection statute.

And what about the second member of the team?

(He) tells me he will not step forward because he knows he would face the same fate. He even indicated the fear of a mob type--"you don't understand, these people would kill me if they have to to keep the lid on this." And Main Justice? "They’d be happy to learn that I was dead."

Horton goes on to summarize the Justice Department's disgraceful handling of the Siegelman case:

So today, even though the Siegelman case has been torn to shreds in the public and 104 state attorneys general, led by Grant Woods, the national co-chair of the McCain for President campaign, have formally complained about the Justice Department’s gross and abusive handling the case, the Justice Department admits no wrong. It's even issued a series of brazenly false public statements in an attempt to cover its tracks.

The Siegelman prosecution hardly is an isolated instance of abuse. Horton discusses other justice-related matters, and the full speech can be viewed here.

Slippery Talk: Obama Has Learned Nothing from the BP Blowout

By Dave Lindorff

(This article appears in full in the new, an e-newspaper put out by the TCBH News Collective)

President Obama claims to have learned a lesson from the disastrous blowout of British Petroleum drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico: a “cozy relationship” between the agency that regulates oil drilling, the Minerals Management Service, and the oil industry, he charges, allowed companies to drill in vulnerable offshore areas without properly assessing the risks to the ocean and its ecology.

He’s only just figuring this out?

Declassified GAO Report Exposes Fatally Flawed Israel Investigations

Declassified GAO Report Exposes Fatally Flawed Israel Investigations
By Grant Smith | AntiWar


...The report reveals why the 2010 Non-Proliferation Review Conference at the UN – like the GAO – isn’t really capable of challenging the true drivers of Middle East nuclear proliferation. “Nuclear Diversion in the U.S.? 13 Years of Contradiction and Confusion” is a report so unique and noble in intent that there will probably never be another like it. While it leaves unexplored the ongoing presence, influence, and effect of Israel’s lobbyists working at the center of U.S. presidential administrations, for concerned Americans the GAO provides a snapshot of a moment in time before their Congress, aspiring politicians, and mid-level management of government agencies all “got the memo.”

In 2010 that unwritten memo reads something like this: Crimes committed in the name of Israel – no matter how audacious – will never be properly investigated, let alone prosecuted… so don’t waste your time.

...But the 11-year gap “obviously hampered” the effort. The GAO revealed that the DOE’s nuclear materials safeguards, which before 1967 tracked the monetary value rather than the precise mass of the uranium, were seriously flawed. NUMEC claimed key records covering a period of heavy uranium loss were destroyed during a “labor dispute” in 1964. NUMEC paid a $1.1 million fine for 206 pounds of missing uranium in 1966, which closed the DOE case. NUMEC also hired away one of the DOE’s chief on-site investigators to enhance the appearance of serious materials control and accountability. The GAO found that even by 1978 the FBI had not contacted key individuals in the affair. An FBI agent-in-charge told the GAO it did not investigate the source of funds to pay NUMEC’s DOE fine anticipating “legal difficulties.” So the GAO investigated the matter, placing its own telephone calls to Mellon Bank.

The GAO report is highly critical of the CIA: “From interviews with a former CIA official and with former and current officials and staff of DOE and the FBI we concluded that the CIA did not fully cooperate with DOE or the FBI in attempting to resolve the NUMEC matter.” The report is inconclusive about exactly what happened at NUMEC, but not about the agencies involved in the investigation through 1978. “We believe a timely, concerted effort on the part of these three agencies would have greatly aided and possibly solved the NUMEC diversion questions, if they desired to do so.” Read more.

Ralph Nader Draws A Big Crowd at CWU

Ralph Nader draws a big crowd at CWU
By Chelsea Krotzer | Daily Record News

Nader spent about an hour discussing corporate influence, political party power and how to become a community civic leader.

"Why are we ruled by corporations and political parties?" Nader asked the audience. "It's a good clinical project for you. Learn how to evaluate these people and, from then on, never be subjected to this nasty syndrome where you can't take out the big boys.

"If you get out of college and are a cultured political slave, you are going to be a political slave forever."

Ralph Nader had one message to give to his captivated audience of 400 Thursday afternoon.

It is time.

"It's time for you to put your arm to the wheel of justice and take this wonderful work of human kind to new levels, here and abroad," said Nader, a four-time presidential candidate. "You are the last generation that will have to give up so little in order to achieve so much.

"Go for it." Read more.

The CIA - Murdering the Truth: A Terrible Mistake – The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments

The CIA - Murdering the Truth
“A Terrible Mistake – The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments”
By Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

They did experiments on children in orphanages. Some never recovered. Most would be impacted all of their lives, haunted by fear and subject to the physical effects of what they endured. The same government agency drugged unsuspecting adults prepared only for a casual social evening,invited there expecting friendship. They ignored all standards of decent personal behavior, endangering and killing as it suited them. They cloaked themselves in the authority of government. Entrusted to spend billions with no accounting of the funds they showed no sign of conscience, no remorse.

The echo of voices filled with terror, now long dead and silenced, reverberate through the pages of, “A Terrible Mistake – The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments,” as the dispassionate voice of author Hank Albarelli lifts the long hidden history of CIA experiments on unsuspecting Americans into the light of day.

The book, 900 pages, which hefts and reads like a Stephen King novel, leaves the reader uncomfortably aware they have been living a fantasy, now ending.

This is a book you need to read.

The story is framed around the death of Frank Olson, a bacteriologist who had been working for ten years at Camp Detrick at the time of his death. Explained as a suicide after he plunged ten stories from his room at the Statler Hotel in New York City on November 28, 1953 to die horribly, broken but still trying to speak, you learn through the meticulous detailing of events Olson was actually murdered by paid assassins working for the CIA because of remarks made about his work.

Olson wanted to leave his job. He wanted to become a dentist. The CIA made sure that could not happen.

Olson himself probably witnessed the drugging with LSD of an entire town in France. Pont-Saint-Esprit and it was likely his comments on the incident which eventually motivated the CIA to silence him.

Albarelli's search for the truth takes you on a tour through the horror house being built by the CIA in its search for weapons intended to provide seemingly limitless options for death, control, and destruction. In this pursuit a burgeoning proliferation of weapons which, in common, were used covertly in acts of war carried out in times of peace, were originated. These included biological weapons crafted to impact specific categories of individuals and may well have included the AIDS virus. Read Albarelli's article on the likely source of AIDS.

DOJ Responds to Velvet Revolution's Call for Criminal Investigations Into Goldman Sachs and Massey Energy

Twin StopTheChamber Successes! Criminal Investigation of Massey Energy and Goldman Sachs Announced by DoJ!

Our campaign has been on fire since we wrote to Eric Holder three weeks ago asking for a criminal investigation of Massey Energy CEO and Chamber of Commerce director Don Blankenship whose safety violations caused the death of 29 miners. Our spokesman, in numerous appearances, has been educating the mainstream press about the Chamber’s unethical activities. And last week, within 24 hours of when we publicly asked, “Where are the prosecutors” of Massey Energy and Goldman Sachs, the Department of Justice announced criminal investigations against both companies!

Watch Quick Video: RFK Jr. Talks to VR about Massey Energy's Criminality

Watch our Earth Day, interview with Bobby Kennedy Jr., who calls Massey Energy “a criminal enterprise,” and says Blankenship should “be in jail” for causing the death of the 29 miners.

VR Offers $50,000 Reward re: Massey Energy Bribes

On Monday we offered a reward for information leading the arrest of any Massey Energy executive who paid a bribe to federal officials to overlook safety violations. The FBI announced last Friday that it was investigating such bribes.

We have to keep the pressure on to hold these corporate criminals accountable. Will you help by signing on to our campaign?

Your tax-deductible donations are needed to enable us to continue with our press releases, ads and public relations campaign.

Watchdog Group Offers $50,000 Reward For Information Leading to Conviction of Massey Energy Officials For Bribery

Watchdog Group Offers $50,000 Reward For Information Leading to Conviction of Massey Energy Officials For Bribery

Washington, DC—StopTheChamber, com, a national watchdog group dedicated to government and corporate accountability, today offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any Massey Energy executive for paying a bribe to any federal official for any purpose, including to cover up or ignore safety violations, pass legislation, or install or appoint pro-Massey people in key oversight positions.

On April 14, 2010, attorney Kevin Zeese wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder requesting a criminal investigation of Massey Energy and its CEO Don Blankenship for engaging in a pattern of criminal activity. “Our letter and the new FBI investigation of Massey Energy provide a strong basis to believe that Massey, its CEO Don Blankenship and/or other executive Massey staff spent vast amounts of money to ensure that federal officials overlooked its pattern of criminal activity,” said Mr. Zeese.

Among the letter’s long list of criminal allegations was a cover-up of the massive, October 2000 coal slurry spill in Martin County, Kentucky, called one of the "nation's largest man-made environmental disaster east of the Mississippi.” After the spill, then-U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, who oversaw the Mining Safety and Health Administration, "put on the brakes" regarding an agency investigation into the spill by placing a staffer to her husband, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), in charge. In September 2002, after a Labor Department judge levied a nominal $5,600 fine, Massey's PAC gave $100,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which McConnell had previously chaired. Overall, McConnell has been one of the top recipients of Massey-related contributions, collecting at least $13,550 from Massey-connected contributors.

Blankenship's contributions to Republicans helped him place allies at the highest levels of the federal mine safety system during the Bush administration. Massey COO Stanley Suboleski was named a commissioner of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission in 2003 and was nominated in December 2007 to run the Energy Department's Office of Fossil Energy. Suboleski is now again on the Massey board. After being rejected twice by the Senate, President Bush put one-time Massey executive Dick Stickler in charge of the MSHA by a recess appointment in October 2006. In the 1990s, Stickler oversaw Massey subsidiary Performance Coal, the operator of the deadly Upper Big Branch Mine, after managing Beth Energy mines, which "incurred injury rates double the national average." Bush named Stickler acting secretary when the recess appointment expired in January 2008.

The letter specifically names Massey CEO Don Blankenship, stating that he “bought a seat on the West Virginia Supreme Court,” took vacations with a West Virginia Supreme Court justice, and paid the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to use its lobbyists to influence official action. Last Friday, National Public Radio reported that the FBI is investigating allegations that Massey Energy bribed officials of the MSHA.

“Although we did not use the word ‘bribe’ in our original letter to the Attorney General," Zeese continued, "We now believe that it is appropriate for law enforcement to look at whether the payments made by Massey to Senator Mitch McConnell, his wife, the MSHA, the NRSC and the Chamber constituted bribes under Section 201 of the federal bribery statute. That statute specifically prohibits the direct or indirect giving of anything of value to any federal official to do anything that benefits the giver."

"Clearly, Massey benefitted from payments to Senator McConnell, the Chamber and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. We now call on the Attorney General to investigate these payments as well as other alleged payments from the perspective of Section 201. And, to help with this investigation, we are offering a fifty thousand dollar reward for hard information that will stand up in court and lead to the arrest and conviction of any Massey executive staff who paid a bribe.”

The identity of those who contact the tip line will be kept strictly confidential. The campaign has set up a two ways to accept tips -- 1-888-4U-CHAMBR (1-888-482-4627) or

How Wall Street Creates Socialists

How Wall Street Creates Socialists
By E. J. Dionne, Jr. | Truthout

If money is an abstraction, the investment industry's creative inventions are abstractions of abstractions of abstractions. Banks no longer just give people loans to buy houses. Now Wall Street's geniuses -- and they are ingenious -- trade bizarre financial products in which the original loan is packaged with thousands of others and buried under piles of equations and economic gibberish.

Goldman may face SEC charges, but it's the entirety of our deregulated financial system that's on trial. In this new order, the inventiveness of our entrepreneurs goes not only into creating products that actually enhance our lives (from refrigerators to laptops to iPods) but also into fashioning "absolutely conceptual and highly theoretical" financial products whose main function is to enrich a very small number of well-placed people.

Maybe the next time someone calls Barack Obama a socialist, the president shouldn't issue a denial. He might instead urge his accuser to read the hearing transcript of this week's congressional testimony from the Goldman Sachs guys in their beautiful suits.

Capitalism has not taken a hit like this since Mr. Potter made his appearance as the evil banker on "It's a Wonderful Life." No leftist polemicist could come up with as damning a description of contemporary capitalism as the contents of an e-mail that Goldman's Fabrice "Fabulous Fab" Tourre sent to his girlfriend.

"Well," he wrote, "what if we created a 'thing', which has no purpose, which is absolutely conceptual and highly theoretical and which nobody knows how to price?"

Perhaps Fab once read the Karl Marx who wrote: "The more abstract money is, the less natural its relationship to other commodities." Read more.

Kaptur's Letter Calling For Criminal Investigation Into Goldman Heads to DOJ

Kaptur's letter calling for criminal investigation into Goldman heads to DOJ
By Vicki Needham | The Hill | Reprinted in its entirety courtesy of The Hill

A letter signed by more than 60 lawmakers calling for a criminal investigation against Goldman Sachs will be delivered to the Justice Department on Wednesday.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, (D-Ohio), who spearheaded the charge, will take the letter with the support 62 Members and a petition with 140,000 signatures to Attorney General Eric Holder.

Kaptur has worked with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and, to collect signatures backing the call for criminal charges.

Several Goldman Sachs employees, including CEO Lloyd Blankfein spent all day Tuesday on Capitol Hill discussing their firm's actions leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.

To see a copy of Kaptur's letter, click here.

To view the petition, click here.

How the SEC and Congress Can Bring Down Goldman Sachs and Expose the Financial Coup

How the SEC and Congress Can Bring Down Goldman Sachs and Expose the Financial Coup
By David DeGraw | AmpedStatus Report

Not only did Goldman Sachs profit on betting against CDOs they designed to fail; more importantly, they insured them through AIG which led to a $182 billion taxpayer bailout.

Have you heard the news? It’s everywhere! The SEC and Congress have all of a sudden sprung to life and are now “getting tough” on Goldman Sachs. Is this all the first phase of a long-awaited investigation that will reveal the causes of our current economic crisis, or is this just more show trials and psychological operations designed to manipulate public opinion and make the American people feel that our elected officials are finally standing up to their campaign funders on Wall Street?

First off, let’s address these SEC charges against Goldman Sachs. At first glance you might think, oh big deal, this is just a minor civil suit that only indicts a low-level Goldman employee. Goldman will just throw some money at it and it will most likely go away. After all, Wall Street firms have already thrown over $430 billion out to derail 1500 cases against them, so what will make this any different?

We are also left wondering, if the SEC was serious about this case, why aren’t they investigating and prosecuting John Paulson and top Goldman executives under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) statutes? Even the NY Times reported that top executives were involved in the process. If you think Lloyd Blankfein wasn’t fully aware of this billion dollar deal involving John Paulson, you’re delusional. Blankfein became CEO of Goldman due to his outstanding expertise in this particular area, serving as Goldman’s head of the Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Division (FICC) since its formation in 1997.

So unless this is just the first of many moves on the part of the SEC, this whole case amounts to a psychological operation designed to once again quell popular outrage. These indications lead me to believe that this is a classic “limited hang-out.” As Wikipedia explains it:

Lockheed Still Tops Misconduct Charts, But No Misconduct Pattern for Over a Third of Top Gov't Contractors

Lockheed Still Tops Misconduct Charts, But No Misconduct Pattern for Over a Third of Top Gov't Contractors | Project on Government Oversight

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is releasing its updated Federal Contractor Misconduct Database (FCMD), with a new top 100 ranking based on the fiscal year 2009 data of POGO's release is concurrent with the operational date for the federal government's contractor responsibility database — the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) — which will not be publicly accessible.

For 27 of the top 100 recipients of federal contract dollars, POGO did not find any instances of misconduct. "The fact that over a quarter of the top 100 contractors have no known instances of misconduct is further evidence that we should not accept contractor misconduct as a cost of doing business," said POGO Investigator Neil Gordon.

An additional 11 contractors in the top 100 have only one known instance, showing that more than one-third of the companies in the database do not show a pattern of misconduct.

However, 63 contractors did have multiple instances of misconduct, and once again Lockheed Martin tops the ranking with 50 instances of civil, criminal, or administrative misconduct since 1995. In FY 2009, Lockheed Martin received almost $40 billion in federal contract awards. Read more.

Why Were CIA Interrogation Tapes Destroyed?

Why Were CIA Interrogation Tapes Destroyed?
By Robert Baer | Time

The case of the missing 92 CIA interrogation tapes would be a good subject for a modern day Agatha Christie mystery. Someone at the CIA decided the tapes had to be destroyed — even at the risk of an obstruction of justice charge — but no one's confessing. By now John Durham, the assistant U.S. attorney investigating the tapes' destruction, must be scratching his head wondering if everyone at the CIA was complicit.

What we know to be fact is that in 2005, the then-head of the CIA's clandestine service, Jose Rodriguez, ordered the destruction of 92 videotapes of the interrogation in Thailand of two al-Qaeda suspects. The tapes were then destroyed, but that's where the trail ends. We can only guess whether Rodriguez acted on his own authority or on the orders of a higher-up. And then there's the question of why the tapes were destroyed. Did the CIA want to destroy graphic evidence of sleep-deprivation or waterboarding? They were interrogation methods approved by the Department of Justice in memos sent to the CIA, and therefore shouldn't have been deemed a legal problem. The closest thing we come to answer is an internal CIA e-mail released last Thursday, in which an unidentified CIA officer writes that Rodriguez decided to destroy the tapes because they made the CIA "look horrible; it would be devastating to us."

But was Rodriguez acting on his own, or following orders? Rodriguez's lawyer said his client had cleared the decision up and down the CIA's chain of command, even notifying Congress. The CIA director at the time, Porter Goss, denies it, saying he never approved the decision to destroy the tapes. But in one e-mail an unidentified CIA official writes that Goss had approved the tapes' destruction — but only after the fact. The CIA's acting General Counsel at the time, John Rizzo, also denies he knew of the decision, and says he was informed only after the tapes' destruction.

What adds to the mystery is that it wasn't as if the tapes' disposal was a routine administrative matter, easily lost in the press of business. One of the internal CIA e-mails described White House counsel Harriet E. Miers as "livid" when she heard about the tapes being destroyed, especially since she'd instructed that she be consulted before any decision was made about what do with the tapes. Read more.

SEC Porn Problem: Officials Surfing Sites During Financial Crisis, Report Finds

SEC Porn Problem: Officials Surfing Sites During Financial Crisis, Report Finds
SEC Employees Exposed Downloading, Uploading Pornography at Work
By Jonathan Karl | ABC News

The Securities and Exchange Commission is the sheriff of the financial industry, looking for crimes such as Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme, but a new government report obtained by ABC News has concluded that some senior employees spent hours on the agency's computers looking at sites such as, skankwire and youporn as the financial crisis was unfolding.

"These guys in the middle of a financial crisis are spending their time looking at prurient material on the Internet," said Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland and former director of the Office of Economics at the U.S. International Trade Commission.

"It's reckless, and indicates a contempt for the taxpayer and the taxpayer's interest in monitoring financial markets," Morici said.

The investigation, which was conducted by the SEC's internal watchdog at the request of Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, found 31 serious offenders during the past two and a half years. That's less than 1 percent of the agency's 3,500 employees but 17 of the alleged offenders were senior SEC officers whose salaries ranged from $100,000 to $222,000 per year. (Emphasis mine. ~Chip :)) Read more.

Ralph Nader: "Why Aren't Corporate Crimes Prosecuted?"

On April 20, 2010, author and political gadfly Ralph Nader gave a lecture at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), in Baltimore, MD. He spoke before a near capacity audience for over an hour. Mr. Nader said corporate crimes, as opposed to “street crimes,” go mostly under-reported by the establishment media in the U.S. and are “rarely prosecuted.” He detailed how corporate “misbehavior, negligence and crimes” cost thousands of deaths every year in the country from “preventable” work-related diseases and injuries, [the Massey Mine Explosion]; air pollution; negligence in hospitals; and from medical malpractice cases. He also spotlighted how Wall Street insiders, using various schemes, looted “trillions of dollars” from workers’ pension funds. Mr. Nader added: “Forty-five thousand people die every year because they don’t have any health insurance.” Professor Fimin DeBrabander of MICA introduced Mr. Nader. For more information on Mr. Nader, go here.

Proving Election Fraud - Book Review by Michael Collins

Proving Election Fraud - Book Review by Michael Collins | Altantic Free Press

Stock deals are rigged for insiders. Big money runs Congress. And we've gone to war based on a series of calculated lies.

Are you willing to accept the fact that our elections are subject to the same type of corruption?

If you are, then Proving Election Fraud by Richard Charnin pulls back the curtain and exposes the pattern of election fraud over the past four decades. It's not a mystery when your look at the numbers and check them against multiple public sources. The information is all there - if the experts care to look.

Charnin is the widely known internet poster using the name TruthIsAll. He was the first to discover the glaring discrepancies in the 2004 election results shortly after the polls closed. His internet posts on the mathematical impossibility of a Bush victory were critical in fueling the doubts about that election and those that followed.

His many posts are the basis for a consistent narrative and argument using a clearly outlined and heavily quantified analysis. The result is a wealth of information about how elections really work and a methodology (the True Vote Model) that allows the interested reader to check the official results of any national or state election.

Charnin's straightforward style fits his subject matter. For example, early on he makes a powerful point, one of many that appear throughout the book:

"Simple mathematics proves that the 1968, 1988, 2004 and 2008 elections were fraudulent. The returning voter mix required for the Final Exit Poll to match the recorded vote was not just implausible -- it was impossible. In each election, more voters from the prior election returned to vote than were alive. The fact that they were returning Nixon, Bush 1 and Bush 2 voters cannot just be a coincidence. The statistical anomaly has no rational explanation other than election fraud." (p.52)

When the official victory margin includes dead voters and excludes uncounted votes, it's more than reasonable to assume election fraud. Read more.

FLOOR FIGHT! It's On! Challenger Winograd Takes Harman To CA Democratic Convention Floor

By Linda Milazzo


Photo by Linda Milazzo (Marcy Winograd and supporter, Jim Hightower, at California Democratic Party's Progressive Caucus event Friday night at Palm Restaurant honoring Marcy).


One of the most watched primary campaigns of 2010, and one of the most dramatic, is taking to the floor of the California Democratic Party Convention on Sunday, April 18th.

Bush CIA Head Agreed To Destruction Of Torture Videotapes

Bush CIA head agreed to destruction of torture videotapes
By John Andrews | WSWS

According to a formerly secret email message made public Thursday, Porter J. Goss, appointed by President George W. Bush in 2004 to head the CIA, agreed to the November 2005 destruction of about 100 videos depicting the repeated waterboarding and other torture of two alleged Al Qaeda prisoners at a secret Thailand prison.

The email was among several documents recently released to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in the course of Freedom of Information Act litigation initiated in 2003. To date, the ACLU has made available over 100,000 pages of heavily redacted government documents detailing various aspects of the Bush administration’s torture program.

The latest batch of documents reveals disputes between the CIA and Bush administration lawyers over the retention of video recordings depicting the 2002 torture of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

Other documents confirm that CIA interrogators exceeded the generous limits on “enhanced interrogation techniques”—the Bush administration euphemism for torture—set out in the infamous torture memoranda prepared by White House counsel.

The recent cache of documents can be downloaded from the ACLU's web site. Read more.

Richard Dawkins Plans To Arrest The Pope For 'Crimes Against Humanity'

Richard Dawkins plans to arrest the Pope for 'crimes against humanity'
By Daily Mail Reporter | Daily Mail Online

Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens - who have both written books promoting atheism - have asked human rights lawyers to produce a case for charging Pope Benedict XVI over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

Two leading atheist campaigners are planning a legal ambush to have the Pope arrested during his state visit to Britain for 'crimes against humanity'.

Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens - who have both written books promoting atheism - have asked human rights lawyers to produce a case for charging Pope Benedict XVI over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

The pair believe they can exploit the same legal principle used to arrest Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator, when he visited Britain in 1998.

The Pope was embroiled in new controversy this weekend over a letter he signed arguing that the 'good of the universal church' should be considered against the defrocking of an American priest who committed sex offences against two boys. Read more.

George W. Bush 'Knew Guantánamo Prisoners Were Innocent'

George W. Bush 'knew Guantánamo prisoners were innocent'
By Tim Reid | Times Online

He [Wilkerson] added: “I discussed the issue of the Guantánamo detainees with Secretary Powell. I learnt that it was his view that it was not just Vice-President Cheney and Secretary Rumsfeld, but also President Bush who was involved in all of the Guantánamo decision making.”

Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld, Colonel Wilkerson said, deemed the incarceration of innocent men acceptable if some genuine militants were captured, leading to a better intelligence picture of Iraq at a time when the Bush Administration was desperate to find a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11, “thus justifying the Administration’s plans for war with that country”.

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror, according to a new document obtained by The Times.

The accusations were made by Lawrence Wilkerson, a top aide to Colin Powell, the former Republican Secretary of State, in a signed declaration to support a lawsuit filed by a Guantánamo detainee. It is the first time that such allegations have been made by a senior member of the Bush Administration.

Colonel Wilkerson, who was General Powell’s chief of staff when he ran the State Department, was most critical of Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld. He claimed that the former Vice-President and Defence Secretary knew that the majority of the initial 742 detainees sent to Guantánamo in 2002 were innocent but believed that it was “politically impossible to release them”.

General Powell, who left the Bush Administration in 2005, angry about the misinformation that he unwittingly gave the world when he made the case for the invasion of Iraq at the UN, is understood to have backed Colonel Wilkerson’s declaration. Read more.

The Case for Impeachment of President Barack Obama

By Dave Lindorff

Back in 2005-06, I wrote a book, The Case for Impeachment, in which I made the argument that President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, as well as other key figures in the Bush/Cheney administration--Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales--should be impeached for war crimes, as well as crimes against the Constitution of the United States.

These days, when I mention the book’s title, people sometimes ask, half in jest, whether I’m referring to the current president, Barack Obama.

Sadly, it is time to say, just 14 months into the current term of this new president, that yes, this president, and some of his subordinates, are also guilty of impeachable crimes--including many of the same ones committed by Bush and Cheney.

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