Thursday, September 30, 2004

Legalizing Tortune

Memo to the National Reublican Senatorial Committee

Spinning a Larger Web

Who Will Watch the Watchers?

Connie Rice: Top 10 Secrets They Don't Want You to Know About the Debates

Bush's Toxic Campaign Mix: God, Country, and Perpetual Fear

Food shortage alert for central Afghanistan

Federal Whistleblower on Extensive TREASONOUS Briberies and Cover Up Conspiracies Feds Aiding and Abetting Illegal Muslims

Palme ex-suspect dies in hospital

This story kinda out of left field, but this assassination seemed to be fishy.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

A Personal Message from George Soros: Why We Must Not Re-elect President Bush

Peak Oil & The Level Above Saudi

Blackening the Soul of the Country

Iraqi schools turn away from secular teachings

Growing Pessimism on Iraq

Gallup Polls- Conditioning for Vote Rigging?

(May require registration) Ashcroft Is Undeterred in Push for Capital Cases,1,7186371,print.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Sentenced to Be Raped

The Crusade Against Evolution

Herbal remedies 'do work'

Matters of Justice

9-11 widow cites attorney- presidential conflicts, threat in estate court petition to judge

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Iraq the Vote

Cable news is useless. TURN IT OFF.

Angus King endorses Kerry

A Leak Probe Gone Awry

Crowd cheers after Heinz Kerry rebuts heckler

Next president will pick scores of judges

NH widow fights 9-11 estate challenge linked to President Bush

Video of Cynthia McKinney from several months ago

Jonathan Stein: The Idiot Bush Supporter of the Day!

Donkey Farm: A Democrat Story
Jonathan M. Stein
Monday, Sept. 27, 2004 While George Orwell’s classic novel "1984" is a treatise on how totalitarian regimes maintain control over their populations, "Animal Farm: A Fairy Story" is essentially an essay on how totalitarian regimes acquire and ascend to power.
The contention here isn’t necessarily that Democrats endeavor to establish a totalitarian regime in America; the contention is that the methods and tactics John Kerry and the Democrats are using in their quest to ascend to power are strikingly similar to those outlined by Orwell.
Story Continues Below
"Animal Farm" centers around a revolt on Manor Farm, set in England. Furious over the conditions on Manor Farm and the way the human farmer, Mr. Jones, treated the animals, the animals staged a rebellion and ejected Jones and his men from the farm.
The triumphant animals renamed Manor Farm “Animal Farm.” However, the more intelligent animals, the pigs, quickly discovered that they could use their superior intellect to manipulate and dominate the less-intelligent animals, who didn’t understand what was happening until it was too late.
Eventually, the pigs, led by a pig named Napoleon, took control of the farm and established a regime far worse than that of Jones. In the end, fittingly, the pigs restored the farm’s original human name, Manor Farm.
Directly after the initial rebellion, the animals established “Seven Commandments” for the animals to live by. The first two were 1) whatever goes upon two legs (i.e., man) is an enemy and 2) whatever goes upon four legs (i.e., animals) ... is a friend.
When the least intelligent of the animals, the sheep, had trouble grasping this concept, the pigs discovered that they could convey their propaganda more effectively by distilling the more complex concepts into oversimplified slogans. So Squealer, effectively the pigs’ minister of propaganda, taught the sheep a simple platitude: “Four legs good, two legs bad.” The sheep ran around all day bleating this slogan.
When I hear John Kerry say, in his stump speech, “W stands for wrong,” all I hear is “Four legs good, two legs bad.” When I watched leftists running around New York during the convention with signs that said “Bush lied,” all I thought was “Four legs good, two legs bad.” It seems the Democrats have found their flock of sheep.
One pig, Snowball, was expelled from the farm after a vociferous disagreement with Napoleon – Orwell’s allusion to Trotsky. Soon thereafter, the pigs would blame any disaster or mishap that occurred on Snowball, making him the ethereal scapegoat – an inscrutable, phantasmal mastermind. If the windmill was destroyed, it was Snowball’s fault; if eggs were stolen from the hen house, it was Snowball’s fault; if there was any act of sabotage on the farm, it was Snowball’s fault, etc.
If the Democrats are caught passing forged documents to CBS, it’s Karl Rove’s fault; if Vietnam veterans oppose and expose John Kerry in a television ad, it’s Karl Rove’s fault; if the Democrats can’t get their message out ... It’s Karl Rove’s fault. Karl Rove has effectively become Snowball.
Anytime Napoleon or the other pigs felt that the animals on the farm were starting to catch on and wise up to what was truly happening on the farm, the pigs would resort to their ace in the hole: scare tactics. If the pigs’ dictates were not followed, warned Napoleon, farmer Jones would come back! As baseless as this threat was, it always successfully scared the other animals into compliance. They would do anything so long as Jones would not return.
The Democrats have mastered this tactic: If you don’t vote for John Kerry, you won’t have health insurance; if you don’t vote for John Kerry, you won’t have Social Security; if you don’t vote for John Kerry, the draft will come back. If you don’t vote for John Kerry, Jones will come back!
As the pigs acquired more and more power, they took on more and more human characteristics, until they eventually were even walking on two legs. To get away with this, of course, they had to modify the original “Seven Commandments,” while convincing the other animals that the commandments had not, in fact, been modified at all.
To help achieve this end, this deception, the pigs taught the sheep a new slogan: “Four legs good, two legs better!” In the end, the pigs had but one commandment: All Animals are equal, but some Animals are more equal than others. This, in a nutshell, seems to be the contemporary maxim of the Democrats.

Audit Finds FBI Has Large Translation Backlog WiresMonday, Sept. 27, 2004 WASHINGTON – The FBI has a backlog of hundreds of thousands of hours of untranslated audio recordings from terrorism and espionage investigations, despite large increases in money and personnel for translations since the 2001 terror attacks, a Justice Department audit released Monday said.In addition, the audit by Glenn A. Fine, the agency's inspector general, found that more than one-third of al-Qaida intercepts authorized by a secret federal court were not reviewed within 12 hours of collection as required by FBI Director Robert Mueller.

"Our audit highlighted the significant challenges facing the FBI to ensure that translation of key information is performed timely and accurately," Fine said.
The audit was completed in July in classified form. The version released Monday was edited to remove sections classified as "secret" by the FBI.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 123,000 hours of audio in languages associated with terrorism still had not been reviewed as of April 2004, the audit found. In addition, more than 370,000 hours of audio associated with counterintelligence had not been reviewed.
This backlog existed even though the FBI's language services funding had increased from $21.5 million in fiscal 2001 to about $70 million in fiscal 2004. The number of linguists has risen from 883 to 1,214 over that period.
The FBI also is not meeting Mueller's requirement that all al-Qaida communications collected under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act be reviewed within 12 hours of interception. During April 2004, the audit found, 36 percent of such communications were not even received at FBI headquarters within 12 hours.
The audit found that the FBI still lacks the necessary language personnel to do all the needed translation work and that limitations in its technology, especially in computer storage capacity, also cause problems that lead to backlogs.
The audit made 18 recommendations for the FBI, many of which have already been implemented, Fine said. FBI officials told auditors they are hiring linguists as quickly as possible.
"The FBI appears to be taking steps to address these issues, which are critical components of the FBI's counterterrorism and counterintelligence efforts," Fine said.
© 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Quote for day three hundred nine

D R Griffin: Response to the "Creepy" posting by Angie

Subject: [WarOnFreedom] Griffin's Reality Check on "Creepy Sides of the Movement"

September 13, 2004

Dear Angie,

A couple of people recently sent me your piece, "The Creepy Sides of the 911Truth Movement."Being short on time, I will respond only to your theory and your paragraphabout me and my associates.I gather that you do not put me in the category of those who do not "reallywant the 911 truth exposed." I am thankful for that. You put me merely inthe category of those who do want it exposed but NOT "for 'good' reasons."That is, I evidently "want it exposed" but am still "a bad guy."I must confess that, in the eyes of God, I am probably indeed a pretty bad guy. But I was somewhat surprised by the reasons you gave for warning really pure 9/11 truth-seekers to be wary of me. One of your reasons appears to be that both I and Richard Falk, the authorof the Foreword to my book, are "one world government aficionados." It is certainly true that I am in favor of global democracy and have been workingon a rather big book on this topic for many years. But I was surprised thatyou would assume that there is something "creepy" to what I have in mind without looking at my arguments and the particular form of "worldgovernment" that I advocate. Since you and I had corresponded some time back, if I correctly recall, I am puzzled why you, given your obvious concern for truth, did not write to find out exactly what my views arebefore suggesting, in a public document, that they are somehow involved in amassive conspiracy.I might add here that I too have wondered why US officials would haveapparently made it so evident that they did it. I have my own thoughts aboutthis, but am not certain enough about them to go public with them. Withregard to your own view, it is certainly possible. But it seems to me veryimprobable. However, even if you yourself consider your own theory highlyprobable, I think you should be cautious about simply assuming that there issome close correlation between it and The Truth. And you should, I wouldsuggest, be especially careful about then quickly concluding that anythingthat possibly might be part of this Big Picture of What Is Really Going On,which you have constructed, is indeed part of it. I would suggest that youshould be more cautions still about next, without even checking the truth ofvarious things you have read or heard, suggesting these connections to theworld. This is exactly the kind of approach that has given "conspiracytheorists" a bad name.In any case, to look at the issues you raise: In finding the idea of globalgovernment of any sort dangerous, you are certainly endorsing theconventional view. But if you are interested, I would be happy to send yousome writings in which I try to show why this conventional view needs to berethought. Of course, I don't know exactly why you find the very idea of global government creepy. (I have a list of 10 reasons that have commonly been given for opposing it.) But what I have in mind is a system in whichthe main decisions about the future of the planet would not be made by atiny elite group in a nation with around 4 percent of the world'spopulation. On my own creep-o-meter, this present system of globalgovernance gets extremely high marks. I believe that if we are in favor ofdemocracy as the best way to govern a country, we should be in favor ofdemocracy for human civilization as a whole.Indeed, if I were so inclined, I could weave a conspiracy theory in which,because you oppose my solution, you are covertly working for those who wantto keep the US government in control of the planet. You can see how easy andseductive this logic can be:(1) X (the present system of global governance) is the real problem.(2) Angie is denying that X is the real problem.(3) In fact, Angie is criticizing people who see that X is the real problem.(4) Therefore, Angie must be an infiltrator in our movement, working onbehalf of those who are promoting X.I myself would like to see a decline of this kind of thinking in the 9/11Truth Movement and an increase in work that focuses on exposing theperpetrators. For one thing, if we each insist that we will not work withothers if we know or even suspect that their motives, their convictionsabout 9/11, and their worldviews are not the same as our own, we will nothave a movement.In any case, to turn to the more particular issues you raise in relation tome and my associates, by way of suggesting that we are playing roles in yourown version of What Is Really Going On:Richard's work helped get me started thinking about global democracy, but hehas, in spite of my prodding, not been advocating the idea of globaldemocracy in what I call the strong sense (the sense in which Einsteinadvocated it). You say that you find "one world gov't. advocates creepy." Iam surprised that you would move from the perception that certain peoplehold ideas you disagree with to the conclusion that the people themselvesare creepy. But since Richard is not advocating one world government, youneed to restrict your conclusion to me alone. More generally, in any case,Richard is about the last person to whom I would apply the adjective"creepy."With regard to your specific statements. As to the Council of ForeignRelations, Richard became a member in about 1969, he says, and has "remaineda member despite a variety of misgivings." Although he was between tripswhen I caught up with him to ask him about this, I can imagine he hasremained a member with the thought of perhaps having some positiveinfluence. His field is International Law, and he is well known for tryingto introduce normative concerns into international politics. He has thereby opposed "political science" insofar as it seeks to leave out all normative(i.e. moral) considerations. He has also been an opponent of "politicalrealism," at least the sort that maintains that power is all that counts andshould count in international relations. One example of his trying to havean influence on CFR was what he describes as "a huge fight with DavidRockefeller over the appointment of William Bundy as editor of ForeignAffairs." With regard to your statement that Richard "has worked on newworld order projects for the CFR, like the World Order Models Project," hereports: "I did have a marginal relationship to the 1980s Project, which wastrying to project a set of future conditions in world affairs, and washeaded by Princeton colleague, Richard Ullman. It was a rather benignundertaking, and had nothing to do with the world order models project."You ask: "What the hell is one to make of a CFR member wanting to expose9-11?" You seem to have a very simple view of human motivations andbelongings, as if you could draw some inference from Richard's membership inCFR--which is one of literally dozens of organizations to which he belongsand probably one of the least important in his life--and his motivation forexposing the truth about 9/11. He wants to do the latter because he hasalways worked to expose the truth about important things, and because,through reading my manuscript, he came to believe that the official storyabout 9/11 was false. To come out publicly with his support for thealternative view took courage on his part, because he had previously arguedthat the US government's response in Afghanistan was correct--that it couldbe considered a "just response" (or could have been if the principles ofjust-war theory had been followed). This is the issue that he and I mostdisagreed about. But my point now is that Richard had the courage to say, bywriting the Foreword to my book, that he had been wrong.It would be hard, furthermore, to find many people who have worked longerand harder on behalf of good causes around the world. Because of this, Ifound your slurs against him the most offensive part of your essay. Tosuggest that Richard does not really want the truth exposed, or that he isdoing this for some nefarious reason, is simply inexcusable. Perhaps JohnGray will forgive you, but I confess that I will have difficulty.I am, furthermore, puzzled as to what research you did for your informationabout John Cobb. He was formerly my professor and then my colleague at theClaremont School of Theology and in the Department of Religious Studies atClaremont Graduate University, where he taught from the late 1950s until heretired 15 years ago. His wife will surely be somewhat amused to find thathe had been moonlighting as the "senior economist for the World Bank."I first thought you must have gotten him confused with Herman Daly, but thenI see that you mention Herman as well. Herman actually did work for theWorld Bank, but he--as long the leading advocate of green, sustainable,steady-state economics--could never have been the senior economist at theWorld Bank. I frankly don't know what connection he has had with the Club ofRome, but he obviously shares at least some of the concerns of what isprobably the most well-known book associated with the Club, The Limits toGrowth. But if you would read Herman's writings, you could disabuse yourselfof the suspicion that he would knowingly be involved with any of thenefarious schemes that you suggest are promoted by the Club. I can also tellyou that I have thus far been unable to interest Herman in my ideas aboutglobal democracy.Incidentally, you seem to think that "global governance" is simply a synonymfor "global government." But they may be very different. Those who use thelanguage of "global governance" often speak of "governance withoutgovernment." I suspect that this is the Club of Rome position. Whether thatposition is coherent is another question, but if you want to speakaccurately about these matters, you need to understand the difference.Although John is not an economist by training or profession, he did, withHerman's help, teach himself a lot about economics, and the two of themco-authored a book--For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy towardCommunity, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future--which I would commendto your attention. I don't think you will find it one bit creepy. (Indeed,they explicitly wrote against World Government, evidently having in mind thescary version of it that you share. In the meantime, John's position hasmoved closer to mine, but Herman's, as far as I know, has not.)John also wrote a book called The Earthist Challenge to Economism: ATheological Critique of the World Bank. But, alas, even that did not get himinvited to become the Bank's senior economist.He has, however, long been considered one of the best progressivetheologians in the world, and he has been passionately concerned about thefuture of the earth since he awoke to the ecological crisis in the late1960s. He is, in fact, known as the first philosopher as well as the firsttheologian to write a book reflecting this concern. His little book, Is ItToo Late? A Theology of Ecology, is still considered sufficiently relevantto be reissued. He has in the meantime written many books and article andgiven countless speeches on the need to change course before we destroyourselves and much of the rest of the life of the planet. I can assure youthat the purity of his motives probably rivals that of your own.Besides my association with these individuals, the next mark against me inyour book is evidently the fact that after Cobb and I founded the Center forProcess Studies, it "received support from the Rockefeller Foundation." Hadyou written to ask about this, I would have gladly given you more specificinformation: Our first conference, held in the summer of 1974, broughttogether a number of distinguished scientists and philosophers to discussproblems in the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution and to consider analternative to it. It took place at the Rockefeller Foundation's Study andConference Center at Bellagio, Italy. The arrangement is that if they acceptyour application and you can pay the way for all the conferees to get there,they give you room, board, and a meeting place for 3 or 4 days. That hasbeen the extent of our center's support from the Rockefeller Foundation.Cobb and I acknowledge this support in the Preface of the resulting book,Mind in Nature: Essays on the Interface of Science and Philosophy.Incidentally, I personally, as an individual scholar, went back to Bellagioin 1992, where my wife and I stayed for about 5 weeks. It was there, infact, that I first developed the conviction that if the world's globalproblems are to be solved, we need to move from the present globalstructure--technically known as global anarchy--to global democracy. Thispast year I applied to return, with the hope of finishing a book that Istarted the day after 9/11. But this time my application was denied. PerhapsI was foolish to reveal my topic: global democracy as the only, or at leastthe best, way to overcome US imperialism (certainly better than the standardapproach, which would be for the other nations to combine forces against us,which would probably be a route to global nuclear war).You also say that I have "some unusual ideas about how humanity should thinkabout God." Should I infer from this that you think the usual ideas--thoseof traditional theism--have been good enough? Compared to traditionaltheism, in any case, my ideas are indeed "unusual." But I am a member of themovement known as "process theology," and one of the complaints leveledagainst it by some of its opponents is that it has become "the establishmentview." That is, to be sure, a great exaggeration. But it suggests that amonginformed people, the kind of ideas I advocate are no longer consideredunusual. They have in particular been endorsed by many feminist theologians.You could get a brief overview in a book entitled Process Theology, whichCobb and I co-authored in 1977. Some of my reasons for preferring this viewto traditional theism are explained in my 1976 book, God, Power, and Evil,and my 1991 book, Evil Revisited. For a feminist process theologian, see thewritings of Catherine Keller. You also seem to think that there is something perverse about thefact that I advocate "some type of mysticism." You evidently are not muchconcerned with exactly which type. But you apparently assume that it is somereactionary type, since you say that I apparently want us "to revert" to it.But there are, of course, many different types of mysticism--or, to be moreprecise, types of positions that are sometimes labeled "mysticism," whetherby their advocates or their detractors. But since you appear to be interested in this part of my position,let me say that I do indeed endorse "mysticism," if that term is used in thedescriptive sense to mean that there is a Holy Reality with which we aredirectly connected. According to my epistemology, it is through this direct(nonsensory) connection that we are aware of the normative status of Truthand Justice and sometimes even become committed to having those abstractvalues actualized. (I explain this in a recent book, Reenchantment withoutSupernaturalism: A Process Philosophy of Religion.) I also endorse mysticismas a practice, understood as the attempt consciously to cultivate thisconnection, so that our motivations and actions will be attuned to the goodof the whole rather than to our own selfish good or to the good of only someportion of the whole, as in fascism and other forms of exclusivisticnationalism. With regard to my religious and theological writings, I am glad your referred interested readers to the little interview with me that In Context published back in 1990. But of course we can never assume that we have received an adequate account of a person's views on complex issues from a brief interview. And my philosophical and theological views are hardly a secret, but have been published in many other books, beyond the ones already mentioned (most of which can be found on Some people probablywonder, indeed, if I have an unpublished thought. In any case, given your evident concern for truth and purity of motive, I assumed that you would like to have these clarifications, so that in the future any statements you might wish to make about me and my views can bemore accurate. I was tempted to say something about the slurs you made against other people. But because of limits of time and knowledge, I will not. I do hope, however, that you will consider the possibility that what you have said and insinuated about them may be as ill-informed as what you have said and insinuated about me and my associates. In closing, let me add that I am sure that you mean well. I would never question your motives. But I do find the kind of approach you took in this particular essay unhelpful. For one thing, you probably will cause several people in the movement to waste time responding. I at the moment, for example, am trying to finish up a book on the 9/11 Commission Report, so every hour is precious. And yet I have now wasted over an hour responding to your ill-informed allegations and innuendoes. I, of course, did not need to respond. I usually simply ignore such stuff. But I have observed how false allegations, if not corrected, often quickly become accepted as established fact. I also noticed that someone in the movement whose opinion I respect spoke favorably of your piece. So I took the time. But I hope not to need todo this again.

Yours truly,
David Griffin

Dance of the Marionettes

Homeland Security's Info: Miles from Nowhere

Rather than a no-fly list, why don't we have a "fly list". Ashcroft and Bush could put people's names on the list that are allowed to fly.

GOP Bill Adds Police Powers to Intelligence Reforms

‘Origins’ takes on life, the universe and everything

How To Beat Bill O'Reilly

Dead Like Her: How Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross went around the bend.

This seems to be a fair article to post.

An Un-American Way to Cam

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Cheney and Bush: using NLP to hoodwink America

A Dove in Good Company

Baghdad Year Zero

Watergate reporter criticial of journalism, politics

'Invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity',4120,1311287,00.html

Mad Dog

No Joke: Daily Show Viewers Follow Presidential Race

Learning to Kill for Dummies

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

President Bush's Lead Balloon

Divine retribution?
This is too funny. After you click the link, scroll down for the map.


The Rapture racket

Allawi barking up the wrong tree

The Former Cat Stevens Gets Plane Diverted
Thank God for GWB, Thank God for Tom Ridge, Thank God for Homeland Security!

No Peace Train for you, USA

Marvin Bush, just a good article to mark
suspicious death

Taking Liberties: Ashcroft: 0 for 5,000

Time For A Checkup

Healthcare in the USA.

Crude dudes

Kerry in Florida: Bush failed to level with the U.N.

Put Away Your Hankies...a message from Michael Moore

Widespread Torture of Iraqi Prisoners Feared as Reports Emerge of Prisoner Abuse By U.S. In Mosul

How Tax Cuts Feed the Beast

KE04: Someone's Been Reading The Art of War or Something.

Wonkette may have started drinking early today. Still a interesting post.

The policy roots of Iraqi prison abuse

I picked a bad day to quit drinking

Journalism Under Fire
Bill Moyers

Embarrassing Find

Incident on Haifa Street (Iraq)

A Puzzling America

The Unfeeling President

In addition, based on the political polls, there must be a large contingent of unfeeling citizens too.

Why Americans Back the War

words on paper (pixels on the computer screen): how many other reader's stomach's turn as they read this, absorb, and face up to the American record of murderous acts.

Makes me think about Billy Joel song: "We didn't start the fire."

If one doesn't take a biblical prospective, who did start the fire? Testosterone? Empire? Tribalism?

Makes me think about "Lord of the Flies"

Separately, another quesiton: "Is it moral to pay taxes to this Regime"?

Monday, September 20, 2004

Robert Sheer Gets Rancorous

Molly Ivins, Terrorism in Russia, David Brooks the Dunderhead

AUSTIN, Texas -- You open the paper and read the news from Iraq these days, and all you can say is, "Damn, damn, damn." I'm flat out of ideas about how we can fix this, but I maybe see a couple of wrong roads we should give a miss. I was much struck by a column last week by David Brooks in The New York Times written in an understandable rage against the perpetrators of the school massacre at Beslan, Russia. Condemning the perpetrators of Beslan with all the vigor at his command -- hyperbole is impossible -- leads Brooks to an unfortunate conclusion. Brooks particularly blames the American media, which he argues are "averting their eyes" and being "quick to divert their attention away from the core horror of this act" by paying attention to what he regards as irrelevant: the grievance that served as a justification or pretext for these terrorists' act of evil. In other words, he is so exercised at the utter, unmitigated evil of the terrorists, he thinks history is irrelevant. History does not excuse terrorism, but it sure as hell is relevant, if for no other reason than you have to understand an enemy in order to combat him. Of course we should pay attention to what shaped the Chechen terrorists -- since when is learning about terrorists or trying to understand what motivates them the same as condoning them or their actions? In the case of Chechnya, the history is so grim it draws dramatic attention to precisely how a cult of death can start. Chechnya has a long, bitter history of fighting Russia going back at least two centuries. Those of you who have been paying attention know that after World War II, Stalin deported almost the entire nation of Chechnya to Siberia and dumped most of them off in frozen fields with nothing. So most adult Chechens were born in Siberia. Because of the Chechens' desire for independence, two hideous wars followed, one under President Yeltsin and one under President Putin. Most of us remember the mind-numbingly desolate photos of Grozny, the capital, after the surrender -- beyond Dresden. That's how Chechen terrorism was born. Desire for independence is not something this country normally condemns. Brooks blames the terrorism on the "death cult thriving at the fringes of the Muslim world." At least in the case of the Chechens, that's akin to blaming Catholicism for the IRA. On a larger plane, Brooks thinks we refuse to recognize the absolute evil of the Beslan terrorists because it "undermines our faith in the essential goodness of human beings." Speak for yourself, Brooks. Seems to me the one thing that does not change through history is human nature. Theologians and philosophers will continue to debate human nature. I've always liked an observation about politics made by an old West Texas rancher: "I feel like I'm about equal parts good and bad. There's just not may people appealin' to the good in me." I think we're all capable of evil under extreme circumstances. I do know that most humans are kinder and better people when they are healthy, well-fed, raised by loving people in a secure environment and taught it is wrong to kill. But that doesn't change human nature. One trouble with defining terrorism as absolute evil is, as the saying goes, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Second, we appear to be stuck -- permanently stuck -- with war of unequal forces, since no country is dumb enough to declare war on the United States. So we need to learn every thing we can about how to fight these people effectively. Third, defining "terrorist" or any "other" as an absolute, irrational evil gives us a spurious and intoxicating sense of self-righteousness. We become the simon-pure contrast, thus missing any chance to consider if correcting or just changing our own conduct would be effective. One of the things I know about human nature is that in order to kill strangers face to face -- or, God forbid, their children -- you have to either be very afraid or convince yourself that your enemy is completely evil, other, non-human. People seem far more capable of killing other people if they can't see them, which is probably why war has gotten nastier as the technology has gotten better. We have killed an estimated 12,000-14,000 Iraqis since "mission accomplished" and are bombing Fallujah today. For all I know, in some future I cannot envision, this will turn out to be the right thing to have done. Peace and democracy will flourish in Iraq, and we will all bow down to the great wisdom of Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. But so far, no good. According to both opinion polls in Iraq and in the larger Arab world, our invasion of Iraq has increased hatred of the United States and fanned terrorism. Ignorance and condemnation are not a strategy for dealing with that. To find out more about Molly Ivins and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at

Draft Alert

A Requested and Must-Read Manifesto
Back to the depressing stuff. This author ignores the Orwellian Psyops that are part of the record, but still an interesting read.

More Inspiration!

Book on Confidence

Good News for a Change

Great story from NPR's Tavist Smiley Show 9/20/2004
Student Gets Help from Guardian Angel
Nigerian immigrant, Mary Shodiya, moved to America when she was 11. She wanted an education from this country. The academic achieving Shodiya ran into a snag when she discovered she would not qualify for any loans, grants or scholarships to attend Barnard College. She took action and that's where Judith Aidoo, her guardian angel stepped in. NPR's Tony Cox talks with both about how they met on the streets of New York and how Shodiya is attending the college of her dreams.

Flight 93: Mayor of Shanksville Says 'There Was No Plane'

He's Got Facts, She's Fascinated

This is a concern, I'd say.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Freedom Core

In the previous post, I talked about the hall of mirrors. Maybe I meant the echo chamber.

So much of what passes for editorial comment seems to be quibbling about small details rather than an effort to elucidate the big lies.

Osama Disgrace

The hall of mirrors is such an odd place.

The Resort To Force

Small except from Chomsky's new book. Rhetoric seems less than inspiring.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Go get' em at the conference!: a review of "Confronting the evidence" at the Grand Ballroom, New York

OurFlorida: center of coziness

Journalist killed on camera

Note: Grissly description of war death,5478,10748238%5E401,00.html

If Bush is reelected in 2004, we can count on a military draft in 2005.
Just posting for your consideration. Not sure what I believe. In a way I think it is unjust to saddle the burden of military service largely on the underclass. Maybe the zoomies in the American public will wake and resist when it's their sons and daughters.

NYC: An Evening In Pursuit Of The Truth

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Mystery surrounds those who jumped
The heat that was present was impossible without incendiary devices, i.e. explosives in the building /possibly in the planes!

Why conservatives must not vote for Bush

New Book Says Bush Officials Were Told of Detainee Abuse

How to steal an airliner and fake a hijacking

Dissing Israel: Am I Crazy or What?

The Creepy Sides Of The 911 Truth Movement

Better article that I expected.

Nader: Social Ills Deadlier Than Terror
Ralphie, Do you think you could be a better shill for the ruling elite?

Rumsfeld Says Terror Outweighs Jail Abuse

What kind of people in the world accept this logic?

Friday, September 10, 2004

Forged Docs about Bush's Guard Duty

Tavistock - The Best Kept Secret in America

Tomgram: Alfred McCoy on the CIA's road to Abu Ghraib

The 9/11 Truth Movement - Sander Hicks

Russian Terror Psyop... more interesting and palatable

911 Video ofr Plane impacting WTC Tower
another debunk?

Homeland Security: Report Card from 2003
wonder if things have improved in the last 10 months

OK City Bombing....

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Terror cash wasted on home movies: Funds used to video statie graduation ceremony

A sort of funny post for a change....

Overthrow of the American Republic - Part 62: Buying & Selling Elections

Fasten you seat belt!

Graham book: Inquiry into 9/11, Saudi ties blocked

Why do I have a gut reaction that is more spin designed for obfuscation? Maybe not.

The women with death at their fingertips - martyrs or victims?

Document Reveals Mr. Bush Took Aim at Iraqi Oil Before the 2000 Election, Answers Why Mr. Cheney Has Fought So Hard to Keep Secrets

The Curse of Black's Perle (Richard Perle)

Behind the Israeli Mole Affair: Point of Maximum danger of war with Iran aproaching

Protesters Allege 9/11 Terror Attacks Were Government Conspiracy

Planes of 911 Exceeded Their Software Limits

As you can see in this post, the comments that follow at times dispute most everything in the post. It's still very worthwhile to consider the issues details etc.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's Blunder at the Republican Convention

Not an epithany, but wonder why this wasn't caught prior to Arnold's delivery. Among other things, the fact that it wasn't caught would seem to undermine the idea that the Repubs have thoroughly choreographed their presentation with to the most minute detail.

Friday, September 03, 2004

FEMA’s Plan for Mass Destruction Attacks: Of Course It’s True

Tax cuts were just the beginning: the President is signalling a far more radical agenda.

Help wounded get home

911 Was Staged To Defame Muslims

What Ownership Society?

NY 911 Meetings / Website

Prison Probe Raises Questions About CIA

Molly Ivins on the REPUB Convention

Violations of the Declaration on the Human Rights of

Guantanamo Farce,1,5816971.story?coll=la-news-comment-editorials

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Critique of 911 Commision Report

U.S. Seeks to Throw Out Terror Convictions

A Saudi Financier's Squeeze Play

A Saudi Financier's Squeeze Play

How a Minnesota brokerage firm fell prey to a complex stock-loan deal

For Eldon C. Miller, Sept. 24, 2001, should have been a banner day. Although the rest of the financial world was still in shock over September 11 and the resulting market turmoil, things had rarely looked better for MJK Clearing Corp Inc., a major unit of his Minneapolis securities firm, Stockwalk Group Inc. MJK, which is engaged in the humdrum but vital task of handling trades for other brokerage firms, had just enjoyed its best week ever, buoyed by a surge in trading that followed the terrorist attacks. But Miller's rejoicing was short-lived.

When the amiable Minnesotan, now 62, returned to his office after a celebratory lunch with friends, he was faced with staggering news: The firm he had spent 20 years building into a regional powerhouse -- which handled $12 billion in assets for its 175,000 customers -- was flat broke. He felt helpless, out of control. It was all over. Within a day, the NASD prodded him to shut MJK's doors. And two days later, MJK and its affiliates were in bankruptcy court, being liquidated by the Securities Investor Protection Corp. (SIPC), which shields investor money when brokerage houses go bust.

The price tag for MJK alone: more than $335 million.

The dizzying turn of events left Miller and his son, MJK Chief Operating Officer Todd W. Miller, in the grip of despair. But what came next -- and what has preoccupied the Millers ever since -- was even more disturbing. They had been victims of a complex scheme, described in three lawsuits as a vast fraud, in which Adnan Khashoggi, a storied Saudi financier and shadowy former arms dealer, was a key figure.

MJK, it turns out, was far from the only casualty. As detailed in a small mountain of court papers, others include E*Trade Securities as well as A.G. Edwards, Wedbush Morgan Securities, Robert W. Baird & Co., Pax Clearing, and Ferris, Baker Watts. The alleged perpetrators range from an executive at Deutsche Bank Securities in Toronto to stock promoter Rafi Khan and a motley pair of New Jersey brokers, one a convicted felon.

As spelled out in the lawsuits, the scheme centered around the shares of a California-based company, controlled by Khashoggi, called GenesisIntermedia Inc. The company was involved in making infomercials and running Internet kiosks. Khashoggi allegedly cashed out his shares in this company at inflated prices -- but not by dumping them on the public in the tried-and-true method of pump-and-dump schemes. Instead, the victims were brokerages.

Suits filed by MJK trustee James P. Stephenson and the firms allege that Khashoggi and a colleague loaned out the stock to the brokerages -- and in return received cash collateral that they never intended to pay back. To maximize the amount of cash squeezed out of the stock-lending process, the stock price had to rise and, according to lawsuits, that was done by extensive hyping of the stock. When Genesis shares collapsed in the wake of September 11, Khashoggi and a close ally, Genesis CEO Ramy El-Batrawi walked away with millions of dollars in cash -- the exact amount is unknown -- leaving the brokerages that had borrowed shares holding the bag. The most hard-hit victim was MJK. The whole mess is only now being sorted out, and has spawned investigations by the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles and the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Court documents and interviews reveal that an arcane, usually risk-free corner of the securities business was exploited for the illegal benefit of a few. It is a tale that raises some troubling questions about the continued ability of stock scamsters, and others working on the fringes of Wall Street, to turn illicit profits despite close scrutiny by regulators. Now, as investigators pore over details of the scheme, the Millers' misfortune -- though partly caused by their lack of adequate financial controls -- is forcing brokerage firms to rethink routine practices that up until now have seemed virtually risk-free.

Most of the accused parties would not comment for this article. Khashoggi, a fugitive in a Thai criminal case who is believed to be living in Cannes, France, was served with the suits in April. He has not yet responded to any of the lawsuits and could not be reached for comment.

THE SCHEME. Stock lending rarely gets much attention. In this low-margin and usually safe operation, firms borrow hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of stock from one another every day and post constantly changing cash collateral for it. Often the borrowers loan stock to other firms, which loan them out again. These are -- almost always -- routine transactions for routine business purposes. They mainly take place because stock loans are a key part of the mechanics of short-selling. Short-sellers bet on stock price declines by first borrowing the stock and then selling it, in the hope of buying it back at lower prices. The stock is borrowed for the shorts by their brokers.

The stock at the center of the scheme, GenesisIntermedia, was a classic product of the Internet bubble. GENI, its stock symbol and nickname, once marketed videos based on John Gray's Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus book series and was developing a modest business installing Internet kiosks in shopping malls. The company went public in June, 1999, for about $8.50 a share. Its stock leaped to a peak of about $60 a share, before a stock split in mid-2001, powered by a tide of plugs on business-TV programs.

As sketched out in various lawsuits, most of the major components of the scheme were in place by sometime in 2000. Khashoggi and El-Batrawi, described in court papers as a longtime Khashoggi friend, owned 77.5% of the company through Ultimate Holdings, a Bermuda holding company. (El-Batrawi could not be located and has not responded to the suits. One of his attorneys declined to comment). Khashoggi allegedly began the scheme by loaning out his shares to the New Jersey brokerage Freeman Securities.

A senior manager at Freeman, Richard Evangelista, was a key link in the chain. Freeman loaned GENI shares to MJK, which then loaned them out to other retail brokerage firms. The securities unit of Deutsche Bank in Toronto, run by Wayne Breedon, a longtime stock loan executive -- and a buddy of Evangelista's -- was the ultimate borrower. Each of the borrowers paid cash collateral that they expected to receive back when they eventually returned the stock. When the price of borrowed shares increases, borrowers are expected to pay the lenders additional -- and likewise refundable -- cash collateral.

Breedon was also a central figure in the scheme, according to court papers. To his supervisors, the GENI transactions appeared to be routine. However, according to the suits, Breedon was scheming on behalf of Khashoggi and El-Batrawi, in return for a promise that he would be compensated. Breedon borrowed the stock from several firms and provided the bank's money as collateral. The cash collateral then worked its way back through the chain of borrowers including Freeman, later absorbed into a firm called Native Nations, to Khashoggi and El-Batrawi. Attorneys for Breedon, who is now on administrative leave, and Deutsche Bank deny any improprieties on their part. In a statement, a spokeswoman says the bank is "confident that Deutsche Bank Securities will be found not to have been knowingly involved in any alleged fraud or manipulation." The bank, which says it lost an undisclosed amount in the affair, is contesting the allegations in the lawsuits.

Another alleged participant, Kenneth D'Angelo, was also from New Jersey. He knew his way around the stock loan business. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and to wire fraud in 1985 in connection with fraudulent stock-loan deals and phony purchases and sales of securities that took place from 1978 to 1982. D'Angelo knew Breedon well and talked with him often -- usually with Deutsche's tape recorders, which routinely tape such calls, tracking their blunt and sometimes foul-mouthed chats.

D'Angelo, reached in Edison, N.J., by BusinessWeek, declined to comment. Evangelista and D'Angelo have both cited their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in some of the litigation. In the Minnesota court papers, Breedon, Evangelista, and D'Angelo are described as "three old friends" who "hatched and orchestrated" the scheme. Some payoffs would sometimes come in ways other than cash. According to the lawsuit filed by E*Trade Securities, D'Angelo and Breedon spoke of making sure there were "goodies and extras for the boys," which the suit alleges El-Batrawi delivered in the form of expense-paid vacations, dinners, parties, sports tickets, and, at least twice, prostitutes. Once D'Angelo was taped telling Breedon, "you're going to get money out of this thing.... It's just a case of how we're doing it." A Deutsche attorney notes there are no specific allegations of Breedon actually being compensated.

In all, the scheme's participants dumped at least 7.2 million shares of GENI stock into the stock-lending chain between 1999 and 2001. As its price rose, the value of their shares rose commensurately, soaring to more than $130 million. And the collateral, which theoretically had to be paid back someday, continued to flow from borrowers to lenders -- ultimately Khashoggi and his associates, according to the suits.

THE HYPE AND THE SQUEEZE. The climb in GENI's price was no accident. Even while the company's dubious prospects should have sent the stock sliding, its valuation was lifted by the relentless hype of promoters who allegedly had been paid off by the company, according to the E*Trade complaint and a class action pending in California. According to the lawsuits, the hype, which helped boost the collateral paid out, was an essential part of the conspiracy. But that is hotly denied by the promoters. One GENI booster, independent money manager and financial commentator Courtney Smith, endorsed the stock 18 times in various appearances on CNBC, CNN, and other media outlets. GENI paid him in company stock, the suits charge. Smith, who says he sold a Web-site business to Genesis for company stock, denies playing any role in a "pump-and-dump" scheme, adding that he lost money when GENI's shares plunged.

Another GENI advocate, a former stockbroker named Rafi Khan who was barred from the securities industry by regulators, recommended buying the GENI shares. In a May, 2001, analyst report, Khan forecasted a "short squeeze" that would ratchet up GENI's price. According to court documents, he was right.

Short-sellers get squeezed when the stock they've borrowed rises sharply. Alternatively, it can happen when the lender demands his stock back or when brokerages conduct an involuntary "buy-in." Either way, the shorts can lose substantial amounts of money when they cover their positions. That is precisely what happened after Khan met with GENI officials, according to the class action. Khan denies engaging in any short squeeze or indeed that there was one. He told BusinessWeek he has cooperated with SEC investigators looking into the matter.

The squeeze pushed up share prices -- and, yet again, the amount of cash collateral paid to lenders of GENI stock, including Khashoggi. The trustee's suit quotes the transcript of a conversation in early January, 2001, in which Breedon and D'Angelo discussed how they were making life miserable for the short-sellers. Breedon: "Well, yeah, I mean there's no bloody stock out there." D'Angelo: "There's none. We got 5 million and change and there's only 6.4 million shares outstanding." Breedon: "Just buy the suckers in." D'Angelo: "Yep." Breedon: "Keep buying them in, buying them in."

THE FINAL PAYOFF. Initially at least, MJK had little reason for suspicion. Sure, GENI was a speculative stock, but in the stock-loan and short-selling business, most are, says Eldon Miller. Still, Breedon's supervisors in New York became nervous. In a March, 2001, conversation, Breedon's superiors were clearly uncomfortable that the bank appeared to be hoarding the stock and aiding a short squeeze. The trustee's suit says Breedon's managers in the end "simply walked away from the problem once Deutsche had been protected from the loss."

Deutsche Bank, the trustee says, insulated itself by dealing with well-capitalized firms that paid up when the bank demanded its collateral back. For their part, attorneys for the bank say the bank's actions amounted to nothing more than prudent risk management. MJK, which was dealing with Native Nations, turned out to be not so lucky.

When GENI's stock plunged after the September 11 attacks, almost all of Deutsche's cash collateral was returned. Then came a problem: MJK did not have enough money to pay back all that it owed other firms. It refunded about $65 million in cash collateral but still owed more. However, MJK was owed the cash collateral it had paid to the firm it borrowed the shares from, Native Nations.

Only one problem: Native Nations wasn't paying. In fact, it wasn't in business by then. Native Nations had closed its doors because it didn't have enough cash, either. According to the trustee, it was owed money by Khashoggi and his cohorts, and they weren't paying. Native Nations collapsed, leaving MJK $40 million in the hole -- short that much in capital with which to operate.

By the time the miserable news hit the Millers like a blackjack on Sept. 24, the damage had been done and was irreversible. The turnabout was especially painful for Todd, now 39, because he oversaw MJK's stock-loan department and had hired its executives. Todd had started working at his father's firm at 18 and earned both his certified public accounting license and MBA degree in Minnesota while working there. He was the one who had to tell his father they faced a fatal crisis. "I was just sick to my stomach," he recalls. The Millers and other partners rapidly called officials at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and the NASD in Kansas City, Mo. They were prodded to cease operations and the liquidation was begun.

The time since has been just as trying. For a while, the Millers and their partners were under a cloud. Todd Miller and several colleagues were accused of negligence by the SIPC trustee, who faulted them for "inadequate" controls. The trustee charged that "no system of supervision existed, not even a minimal one," blasting MJK for a "complete failure" to provide for limits on the stock-loan deals. The beef with the Millers has been settled as part of a $15 million global settlement by insurers and others involved, and the trustee is certain MJK was not part of the scheme. Still, some longtime customers and ex-colleagues have been cool to the Millers, and Eldon was even ridiculed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune at Thanksgiving, 2001, as one of the "turkeys" of the year.

Today, Eldon Miller is working as a bond salesman at Miller Johnson Steichen Kinnard, salvaged from the wreckage of the old firm. His son is a vice-president. The failure has cost Eldon his personal fortune of $7 million and Todd about $1 million. Says Todd Miller: "The cumulative result of 19 years of work were just gone in a day." What's more, while MJK's customers were almost entirely made whole by the SIPC, the firm still owes creditors some $50 million, which Todd Miller says he's working to pay off over 10 years.

Most of the lawsuits are unresolved. E*Trade and Ferris, Baker Watts, for instance, filed suit accusing Nomura Securities of being involved in the alleged scheme, through a former stock-loan executive at Nomura in Toronto. Nomura denied any such culpability and sued E*Trade in federal court in New York, demanding $9.9 million it says E*Trade owes it.

For the proud Midwesterners who used to own MJK, the litigation could bring ultimate vindication. But they have a more immediate concern: repairing the damage to their good names. That "has been the hardest thing of all," says Todd Miller. To him, the business "is my whole life." Just as they built the firm to begin with, both Millers are determined to rebuild. The schemers, they vow, will not win.

By Joseph Weber
With Gary Weiss in New York

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