Saturday, January 14, 2006

Pakistan condemns purported CIA airstrike

Pakistan condemns purported CIA airstrike
Al-Qaida's al-Zawahri reportedly unsuccessfully targeted by U.S.; Thousands of Pakistanis protest attack which killed at least 17
By Riaz Khan
Associated Press Writer
Originally published January 14, 2006, 11:05 AM EST
DAMADOLA, Pakistan // Pakistan on Saturday condemned a purported CIA airstrike on a border village that officials said unsuccessfully targeted al-Qaida's second-in-command, and said it was protesting to the U.S. Embassy over the attack that killed at least 17 people.

Thousands of local tribesmen, chanting "God is Great," demonstrated against the attack, claiming the victims were local villagers without terrorist links and had never hosted Ayman al-Zawahri.

Two senior Pakistani officials told The Associated Press that the CIA acted on incorrect information in launching the attack early Friday in the northwestern village of Damadola, near the Afghan border.

Citing unidentified American intelligence officials, U.S. news networks reported that CIA-operated Predator drone aircraft carried out the missile strike because al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant, was thought to be at a compound in the village or about to arrive.

"Their information was wrong, and our investigations conclude that they acted on a false information," said a senior Pakistani intelligence official with direct knowledge of Pakistan's investigations into the attack.

His account was confirmed by a senior government official who said al-Zawahri "was not there." Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the subject's sensitivity.

Washington had no comment on the reports that the attack was aimed at al-Zawahri, who has a $25 million U.S. government bounty on his head. Like bin Laden, he is believed to have been hiding along the rugged Pakistan-Afghan frontier since the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Pakistan says it does not allow Afghan or the 20,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan to cross the border in pursuit of Taliban and al-Qaida believed to be hiding there. The war on terror is opposed by many in this Islamic nation of 150 million people.

Pakistan's information minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, called the "incident" in Damadola "highly condemnable."

The Foreign Ministry later issued a statement saying a protest had been filed with the U.S. Embassy.

"According to preliminary investigations there was foreign presence in the area and that in all probability was targeted from across the border in Afghanistan," the Foreign Ministry said.

"The investigations are still continuing. Meanwhile the Foreign Office has lodged a protest with the U.S. ambassador in Islamabad."

U.S. Embassy spokesman Rakesh Surampudi said the protest had not been received by Saturday evening.

An AP reporter who visited Damadola about 12 hours after the attack saw three destroyed houses, hundreds of yards apart. Villagers had buried at least 15 people, including women and children, and were digging for more bodies in the rubble.

Villagers denied hosting al-Zawahri or any other member of al-Qaida or Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime, and said all the dead were local people.

More than 8,000 tribesmen staged a peaceful protest in a nearby town Saturday to condemn the airstrike, which one speaker described as "open terrorism." Police dispersed a smaller protest in another town using tear gas. A mob burned the office of a U.S.-backed aid agency near Damadola, but nobody was injured, residents said.

NBC News reported that U.S. and Pakistani officials said Predator drones had fired as many as 10 missiles at Damadola in the Bajur tribal region. ABC quoted anonymous Pakistani military sources as saying al-Zawahri could have been among five top al-Qaida officials believed killed.

A second Pakistani intelligence official told AP that the remains of some bodies had "quickly been removed" from Damadola after the strike and DNA tests were being conducted, but would not say by whom. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists.

The official said that hours before the strike some unidentified guests had arrived at the home of a tribesman named Shah Zaman.

Zaman, who said three of his children were killed when his home was destroyed, told AP he was a "law-abiding" laborer and had no ties to al-Zawahri or any other militants.

"I don't know him. He was not at my home. No foreigner was at my home when the planes came and dropped bombs," Zaman said.

Local lawmaker Sahibzada Haroon ur Rashid, who visited Damadola soon after the attack, said the dead had been buried and that no foreigners were among them. They came from a local family of jewelers, he said, adding that none of the bodies was burned so badly that identification was difficult.

In Washington, Pentagon, State Department, National Security Council and intelligence officials all said they had no information on the reports concerning al-Zawahri. A U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan, Lt. Mike Cody, referred questions on the matter to the Pentagon.

Doctors told AP that at least 17 people died in the attack, but residents of Damadola, a Pashtun tribal hamlet on a hillside about four miles from the Afghan border, said more than 30 died. They recounted hearing aircraft fly overhead before explosions in the village that were felt miles away.

Speaking as he dug through the rubble of his home, Zaman said he heard planes at around 2:40 a.m. and then eight huge explosions. He said planes had been flying over the village for three or four days.

At another destroyed house, Sami Ullah, a 17-year-old student, said 24 of his family members were killed and vowed he would "seek justice from God."

The attack was the latest in a series of strikes on the Pakistan side of the border with Afghanistan that have not been explained by authorities but are widely suspected to have targeted terror suspects or Islamic militants.

Pakistan lodged a protest Monday with the U.S. military in Afghanistan after a reported U.S. air strike killed eight people in the North Waziristan tribal region last Saturday. Pakistan says it does not allow U.S. forces to cross the border in pursuit of Taliban and al-Qaida fighters.

In Afghanistan, Mohammed Hasan, deputy police chief of Kunar province, which is opposite Bajur, said U.S. forces had for weeks been patrolling in airplanes along the rugged border, which he described as a hide-out for Arab terrorists.

Al-Zawahri, an Egyptian, has appeared regularly over the Internet and in Arab media to encourage Muslims to attack Americans and U.S. interests worldwide.

Associated Press writers Munir Ahmad, Sadaqat Jan and Matthew Pennington in Islamabad contributed to this report. - Canada would be a different nation - Canada would be a different nation

Canada would be a different nation
Jan. 14, 2006. 09:22 AM

As Canadians prepare to go to the polls, many are pondering what Canada might look like if the Conservatives under Stephen Harper are elected.

While it is impossible to foresee all the issues a new Conservative government might face in the future, or predict how it might address them, we can look back in time at some of the significant national issues this country has faced in recent years, and we can say with some confidence how the Tories would have dealt with them.

It is instructive to recognize that Canada would be different today, had the Conservatives been in a position to act on their past campaign promises and platform. And that should come as no surprise.

Harper ran for the Tory leadership vowing to "create a country built on solid Conservative values, not on expensive Liberal promises, a country the Liberals wouldn't even recognize." And while his views on specific issues have evolved, "I don't think my fundamental beliefs have changed in a decade," he told reporters this week. Harper is a conviction politician, who truly does believe in changing the nation's course.

Tomorrow, the Star will focus on what Canada will be like if the Conservatives implement the campaign platform they unveiled yesterday. But today, we are focusing on what would have been.

Canada would take more cues from the United States.

Canadian troops would likely have joined the American war on Iraq, which was waged under false pretences, to eliminate weapons of mass destruction that did not exist. Harper felt we should be "shoulder to shoulder" with our closest ally.

Canada would not have signed the Kyoto accord to curb global warming.

And we would have joined the controversial U.S. missile defence system.

Parliament itself might look very different.

Harper would have changed the dynamic in Parliament by appointing senators only after they had been elected provincially. Over time, this would create two competing power centres in Parliament, with the House of Commons championing the national interest and a Senate with more political legitimacy pulling for the provinces.

Ultimately, parliamentary gridlock might be a real risk.

Ottawa would be less activist.

Conservatives believe as an article of faith in smaller, less activist federal government, and a looser federation. Unlike the Liberals, the Conservatives also would not have promoted a new national social program, such as the proposed child-care network.

Canada would be a less progressive society.

It is hard to imagine Harper would have named a progressive pioneer, such as Madam Justice Rosalie Abella, to the Supreme Court. And a Conservative government would not have passed a law allowing same-sex couples to marry in Canada.

Rather, many Conservatives would have pushed for a far more restrictive abortion law, and for tougher pornography laws.

Canada's rich-poor gap would be more pronounced.

In the 2004 election, the Conservatives vowed to give Canadians the lowest taxes in the world, lower even than in the United States, where there is a more pronounced rich-poor gap. The Tories believe lower taxes will attract business investment, but we firmly believe they would actually lead to more polarization of the rich and poor. Generally, the Conservative preference for cutting taxes over providing services has traditionally favoured the more affluent. Moreover, the poor in Canada, who rely more heavily on services for health, education, child care and shelter, get shortchanged. Ottawa would have had to pare support for services as federal revenues shrank.

Toronto would be worse off.

Harper showed no great enthusiasm for a "new deal" for Toronto, and other cities, that involved giving them a multi-billion-dollar package of gas tax revenues, a goods and services tax break and other assistance. Nor would funding for transit infrastructure have been a major priority.

Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats will disagree on whether Canada would have been better or worse off under these different policies that the Tories would have pursued. But there is no debating that the country would have looked different, had the Conservatives been in a position to champion their agenda.

Canada would have a more pro-American foreign policy today. In Parliament, national-provincial tensions would be more keenly felt. Ottawa would be less active providing national social programs. Society itself would be less progressive. The rich-poor gap would likely be wider. And cash-strapped major cities would be receiving less federal help.

Tomorrow we will look at the current Conservative platform, which was fully unveiled yesterday, and how it proposes to reshape the country.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The tumultuous and tawdry travels of Neil Bush

The tumultuous and tawdry travels of Neil Bush
By Bill Berkowitz
Online Journal Guest Writer

Jan 13, 2006, 00:54
Over the past six months, Neil Bush, the son of former President George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara Bush, and the younger brother of President George W. Bush, has been shepherded around several former Soviet republics by a man wanted for fraud by Russian authorities, and has showed up in the Philippines and Taiwan at the side of a self-styled messiah.

If people know anything at all about the star-crossed Neil Bush, it likely relates to either his role in the failed Silverado Savings & Loan scandal during the 1980s -- which cost taxpayers more than $1 billion -- or, more recently, the lurid details of his divorce from his wife of 23 years.

After a brief hiatus from the spotlight, Neil Bush is back. Within a three-month period, Bush showed up in Latvia, Ukraine and Georgia with Russian fugitive Boris Berezovsky, and appeared at the side of the Unification Church's Rev. Sun Myung Moon in Taiwan and the Philippines.

In September, Bush visited Latvia with Boris Berezovsky, described by the Washington Post as "a fugitive Russian tycoon who made millions in the violent scramble for control of Russian government assets after the fall of communism."

Bush, whom the St. Petersburg Times characterized as "the scandal-tainted brother of the U.S. president," and Berezovsky, who currently lives in London, where he has received political asylum, was toodling around the former Soviet republics to promote Ignite! Learning, the Texas-based interactive education software company Bush founded in 1999.

Berezovsky took Bush "on a tour of countries from the former Soviet Union that have spun out of Moscow's sphere of influence," the newspaper pointed out. In June, it was Ukraine, then Georgia, "where Berezovsky's longtime partner and Tbilisi power broker Badri Patarkatsishvili was on hand to wine and dine the U.S. president's brother."

"He asked me to think about possible projects in the regions that I know about," Berezovsky said. "I've known this region for a long time. The CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] is my area of expertise."

According to the newspaper, Berezovsky, "a former Kremlin king-maker . . . served a stint as executive secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent States under former President Boris Yeltsin." He later clashed with Russian President Putin shortly after he was elected in 2000.

Ken Leonard, the president of Ignite!, said that he had no knowledge of any political problems that Berezovsky -- a shareholder in the company -- might have. "We know him in terms of his relationship directly with the company," he said.

The newspaper also pointed out that the U.S. Embassy in Moscow had disavowed any knowledge of Bush's activities, while the State Department denied any "involvement in, or any role in arranging, the activities of these two private individuals in Riga."

Leonard refused to discuss the company's earnings or profits, nor would he comment on how many schools were using the company's software. He did point out, however, that "thousands of students" had access to it in a number of states, including Texas, Florida, Washington and California.

The company has start-up projects in Latin America and South Korea, and is eager to move into the former Soviet space. The Bush/Berezovsky trip resulted in several countries ordering "10 of Ignite!'s science courses for pilot programs in their schools," the St. Petersburg Times reported. "So far, the agreement is to use the English-language U.S. curriculum available in existing material, Leonard said. But the programs, if successful, might be first translated into Russian and then localized to meet each country's curriculum, he said."

While traipsing through Eastern Europe with Berezovsky raised some eyebrows, the St. Petersburg Times reported that other Bush business deals are also controversial.

During his divorce proceedings Bush said he was co-chairman of Crest Investment Corporation, a company based in Houston, Texas, that invests in energy and other ventures. He said that he received $15,000 every three months for working an average three or four hours a week.

One of Bush's business partners is Jamal Daniel, "a Syrian-American businessman, who is co-chairman with Bush of a fund called Crest Investment Company." According to the newspaper, "Daniel boasts important connections with leaders and their families in the Middle East, including former Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, the Financial Times reported in a December 2003 investigative article on the Daniel-Bush relationship."

Last year, despite being a "little-known fund," Crest Investment Company was "granted lucrative rights to develop a plant to process liquefied natural gas near Freeport, Texas, in the process pushing out ExxonMobil, which had first rights to develop the plant."

Jamal Daniel was also a member of the advisory board of New Bridge Strategies, a low-profile Washington firm set up to help companies invest in postwar Iraq. Directors of New Bridge include political heavyweights Joe Allbaugh, the former manager of the Bush-Cheney election campaign in 2000, and Ed Rogers, a former senior White House aide to President Bush.

Neil and the Rev. Sun Myung Moon

More recently, Bush showed up in the Philippines and Taiwan at the side of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, the head of the controversial Unification Church. In the Philippines, Bush attended the inaugural convocation of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) in Manila, the Manila Bulletin reported. Bush, along with other "peace leaders" joined with Moon in meeting with Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The president "praised Moon for his global peace efforts and God-centered, family-centered economic and social initiatives in various parts of the world, including projects in a number of Philippine cities," the Manila paper reported.

Moon's tour has come up with a new way of promoting world peace, which he is calling the "World Peace King Bridge-Tunnel":

"For thousands of years, Satan used the Bering Strait to separate East and West, North and South, as well as North America and Russia geographically. I propose that a bridge be constructed over the Bering Strait, or a tunnel be dug under it, so that it will be able to connect the world super highway starting from the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa to Santiago in Chile, and from London to New York, making the world a single community."

Moon's Philippine trip, one stop on a 100-day tour that is taking him to 100 cities in 67 nations and covering nearly 100,000 miles, is also centered on building momentum for his idea of developing a faith-based path to peace by revamping the United Nations.

John Gorenfeld, a veteran investigative reporter and a longtime chronicler of Moon's sojourns, described Moon's thinking on another ongoing project, his attempt to transform the United Nations: "Moon speaks in parables from the Book of Genesis. He says the U.N. is like Cain, but he wants to build a second entity that is like Abel. Ideally, his 'Abel U.N.' -- a body fusing all religions -- would be embraced by the U.N. But if not, he wants to set up his own alternative diplomatic machine to outshine the U.N."

During a May 2003 meeting with President Bush at the White House, Philippines President Arroyo suggested that the United States might consider co-sponsoring the proposal, the conservative online news magazine, reported. According to that report, the president "expressed deep interest and asked his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, to study the matter."

"Some 3,000 people, including Vice President Annette Lu, US President George W. Bush's younger brother Neil Bush and Washington Times president Joo Dong Moon, listened to Reverend Moon's speech at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei," the Taipei Times reported.

Neil Bush is no stranger to showing up at out of the way places searching for business: One month after 9/11, Bush showed up at an international technology conference in Dubai where he was hunting for investors for Ignite!

A few months later, he was in Saudi Arabia, where he delivered the keynote address on the concluding day of the three-day Jeddah Economic Forum. Bush told conferees that the best way to change perceptions in the United States about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was to expand their political lobbying.

Divorced and Fancy Free

Stained by his involvement in the savings and loan debacle, Neil Bush's reputation was further soiled by revelations contained in a deposition that was part of his divorce from his ex-wife Sharon. In those documents, Bush revealed details about rewarding business deals and a series of sexual encounters with women in Asia.

Sharon Bush's lawyer, Marshall Davis Brown, questioned Bush about an August 2002 contract with Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp., a firm backed by Jiang Mianheng, the son of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, that would pay him $2 million in stock over five years: "You have absolutely no educational background in semiconductors do you?"

"That's correct," Bush responded.

"And you have absolutely over the last 10, 15, 20 years not a lot of demonstrable business experience that would bring about a company investing $2 million in you?"

In the deposition, Bush also admitted to having had a series of sexual encounters with Asian woman, while on trips to Thailand and Hong Kong. According to Bush, the women knocked on his door, entered and engaged in sex with him. According to a CNN report, Bush "said he did not know if they were prostitutes because they never asked for money and he did not pay them."

"Mr. Bush, you have to admit it's a pretty remarkable thing for a man just to go to a hotel room door and open it and have a woman standing there and have sex with her," Brown said.

"It was very unusual," Bush said.

Reverend Moon has been a longtime friend to the Bush family. After supporting George W. Bush's election in 2000 through his flagship publication, the Washington Times, the newspaper's foundation sponsored a prayer luncheon attended by some 1,700 religious, civic, and political leaders the day before Bush's inauguration.

In 1995, former President George H. W. Bush received $10,000 to speak at a Moon-sponsored Buenos Aires banquet that launched the Reverend's Latin American publication, "Tiempos del Mundo" (Times of the World). "A lot of my friends in South America don't know about the Washington Times but it is an independent voice," the former president said. "The editors of the Washington Times tell me that never once has the man with the vision interfered with the running of the paper, a paper that in my view brings sanity to Washington DC."
Bill Berkowitz is a longtime observer of the conservative movement. His WorkingForChange column Conservative Watch documents the strategies, players, institutions, victories and defeats of the American Right.

Legendary conspiracy historian Eustace Mullins mysteriously disappears; worst feared

Legendary conspiracy historian Eustace Mullins mysteriously disappears; worst feared
By John Kaminski
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jan 13, 2006, 00:57
Friends, associates, and admirers of renowned conspiracy author Eustace Mullins have gone into full panic mode over his mysterious disappearance. Mullins, 82, has been missing for seven days (as of Jan. 12) from his Staunton, Virginia, home, where his cars are still parked and his mail and newspapers are piling up on the front porch.

Local police say there's nothing they can do and are notoriously vague and nonchalant about his welfare or whereabouts, according to friends who have called them to express alarm over his sudden disappearance.

Mullins, author of "Secrets of the Federal Reserve" and more than a dozen other well-researched tomes about who runs the world from behind the scenes, was scheduled to appear on an Internet radio show, Hesham Tillawi's Current Issues, on Thursday, Jan 5, but did not appear.

Filmmaker Randy Atkins, who was scheduled to appear with Mullins and did actually participate in the show with Tillawi, has no idea where Eustace is, but noted it was very unlike the affable and professional Mullins to miss a scheduled appointment.

Atkins recently created a new film about Mullins' perspective on world events, titled "Neo-Zionist Order: Who Rules Your Rulers?" This DVD is available at Arsenal of Hypocrisy (a site named for an earlier Atkins film about the U.S. space weapons program that featured Noam Chomsky). Both Mullins and Atkins recently participated in a European talk show in which the methods of the international bankers who run the world from behind the scenes were extensively discussed.

Mullins' longtime friend and webmaster, Wayne Blanchard of Staunton, is not only worried about the sudden disappearance, but furious at the nonchalance of public officials in the matter.

"Both the sheriff's department and the police department gave me no cooperation," said Blanchard. "Eustace has lived there for 35 years. You'd think they'd be more concerned."

But, Blanchard noted, such a meticulous researcher of sacred cows as Mullins has made his share of enemies over the years. "He's filed a lot of lawsuits" (and has one pending)," Blanchard noted. "Everybody tends to shy away from him" over his involvement with the hottest topics possible.

The notorious bane of patriots everywhere, Morris Dees of the Zionist-front organization Southern Poverty Law Center, wrote a hit piece on Mullins for the local Staunton newspaper several years, and because of Mullins' dedicated zeal in researching the sinister underpinnings of corrupt politics, he has made a lot of enemies.

Nor does Mullins have a loving family to rely upon. According to Blanchard, when Mullins had a series of ministrokes three years ago, "his brother had him put in a nursing home, and tried to have him declared incompetent. I got him out."

But serious damage to Mullins' health had been done, not by his illness, according to Blanchard, but by his family.

"He lost everything," Blanchard explained. "His brother Bob proceeded to steal his assets, life insurance policy, and his silver collection worth $150,000." In addition, Blanchard said Mullins had a joint bank account with his grandnephew, Matt Mader, from which "$30,000 was stolen out of that account."

Mullins later sued his brother, Blanchard said.

Worse, brother Bob closed Mullins's post office box, which he had used for 35 years and from which he sold all his books.

Mullins' prolific career as a conspiratologist began when he befriended the legendary poet Ezra Pound who had been jailed in a mental hospital for broadcasting against American corporate interests during World War II. Mullins wrote the only approved biography of Pound.

Other noteworthy books by Mullins, all of which he self-published, include "Secrets of the Federal Reserve," "The Curse of Canaan: A Demonology Of History," "Murder By Injection: The Medical Conspiracy Against America," "The Rape of Justice," "Education for Slavery," "The London Connection," and "Who Owns the TV Networks."

Blanchard said "Secrets of the Federal Reserve" sold over 100,000 copies and insists it was later plagiarized by G. Edward Griffin in his popular book, "The Creature from Jekyl Island."

"Eustace gave power of attorney to his brother Bob under duress," Blanchard explained. His brother Bob put him into a nursing home, saying Eustace suffered from the initial stages of dementia. Later tests at the University of Virginia determined Eustace competent, Blanchard said.

"Bob was probably run by the ADL (the Jewish Anti-Defamation League)," Blanchard said. "Things just don't add up."

Filmmaker Atkins recently posted a sensational video clip of Mullins on his website, in which Mullins makes a chilling prediction of what is in store for the world at this time.

Quoting from the video clip: Mullins says, "Israel actually plans to exterminate the entire Arab Muslim population in the world, and the Muslims know this . . . Israel is interested only in genocide and exterminating all the Arab people or putting them under complete domination . . . the Israelis are always exterminationists."

Then Atkins asks, "Is the United States being used by Israel to create a Christian-Muslim war?"

Mullins responds, "Yes. It's all deliberate . . . a billion Christians and a billion Muslims are now at a war to the death with each other, and the only victor will be the state of Israel."

Atkins recounts the last time he talked with Mullins. "I talked to him that Monday (Jan. 2), reminded him of Thursday's interview. He said he was looking forward to it." Whether that was the last public utterance of Eustace Mullins remains to be determined.

Blanchard had a darker view. "I think the ADL probably snatched him and did away with him."
John Kaminski is a writer who lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida whose Internet essays are seen on hundreds of websites around the world. His latest collection of essays, "Recipe for Extinction," will be available for sale in late February. For more information see

Leaked memo: Corrupt DEA agents in Colombia help narcos and paramilitaries

Leaked memo: Corrupt DEA agents in Colombia help narcos and paramilitaries

Special Reports
Leaked memo: Corrupt DEA agents in Colombia help narcos and paramilitaries
By Bill Conroy
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jan 13, 2006, 01:05

Internal Justice Dept. Document Alleges Drug Trafficking Links, Money Laundering and Conspiracy to Murder

The drug war is supposed to follow a very clear script: According to the official screenwriters, the U.S. justice system is pitted against corrupt players in foreign countries who are trying to flood American streets with illicit drugs. The narco-traffickers, crooked cops, and thieving politicians in the drug war are always over there, in Latin America, and elsewhere, and U.S. law enforcers and government officials are always the good guys battling these forces of evil.

But what happens when evidence surfaces that turns that script on its ear? What happens if proof emerges that it is the U.S. justice system that is corrupt? A document obtained recently by Narco News makes those questions more than hypothetical queries. In this document, Department of Justice attorney Thomas M. Kent claims that federal agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration's office in Bogot�, Colombia, are the corrupt players in the war on drugs. (The DEA is part of the larger Justice Department.)

The information in that document is also corroborated by a number of other sources that spoke directly to Narco News, including former government officials who are familiar with the DEA's Bogot� operations

Kent's memorandum contains some of the most serious allegations ever raised against U.S. anti-narcotics officers: that DEA agents on the front lines of the drug war in Colombia are on drug traffickers' payrolls, complicit in the murders of informants who knew too much, and, most startlingly, directly involved in helping Colombia's infamous right-wing paramilitary death squads to launder drug money.

The memo further claims that, rather than being simply a few "bad apples" who need to be reported to their superiors, these allegedly dirty agents are being protected by an ongoing cover-up orchestrated by "watchdog" agencies within the Justice Department.

These charges blow away the smoke concealing the pretense of the war on drugs. If they are true, there will be no brushing them aside at pre-scripted press conferences; everyone who becomes aware of these allegations will be forced to consider where we go from here in that so-called war.

The Kent Memo

On Dec. 19, 2004, Thomas M. Kent, an attorney in the wiretap unit of the Justice Department's Narcotic and Dangerous Drugs Section (NDDS), sent off a memo to his section chief. Law enforcement sources tell Narco News that a number of other high-level officials within Justice and the DEA soon received copies of the same memo. In it, Kent raised a series of corruption allegations centering on the DEA's office in Bogot�.

Kent says his claims are supported by a number of DEA agents in Florida whom the agency muzzled and retaliated against after they tried to expose the corruption. Specifically, Kent contends that the DEA's Office of Professional Responsibility (or OPR, essentially the agency's Internal Affairs department) and elements of DOJ's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) have worked to keep a lid on the corruption charges. According to Kent, these offices -- which are supposed to serve as watchdog agencies that investigate corruption -- sabotaged investigations being carried out by the Florida DEA agents and by one of the OIG's own agents.

From Kent's memo:

As discussed in my (prior) memorandum dated December 13, 2004, several unrelated investigations, including Operation Snowplow, identified corrupt agents within DEA. As further discussed in my memorandum, OPR's handling of the investigations into those allegations has come into question and the OIG investigator who was actively looking into the allegations has been removed from the investigation. As discussed in my email, dated December 17, 2004, I want to speak directly with the (DOJ) Public Integrity Section because I want to ensure that the allegations are fully investigated and acted upon if true.

As promised, I am providing you with further information on the allegations and evidence that is already in files at OPR and OIG. Agents I know were able to vouch for my credibility and several individuals close to the prior investigations that uncovered corruption agreed to speak with me. I had a limited time frame in which to speak with them and ask questions. They were able to provide me with some of the highlights, but certainly not all of the information that is sitting at OPR and OIG. Such a debriefing, based on what I learned in a few hours, would take days.

Having been failed by so many before and facing tremendous risks to their careers and their safety and the safety of their families, they were understandably hesitant to reveal the information I requested, including the names of those directly involved in criminal activity in Bogot� and the United States. They agreed to reveal the names to me on the condition that I not further disseminate these for the time being. They are prepared to provide the Public Integrity Section with those names and everything in the files at OPR and OIG, and then some, if called upon to do so.

Why is an attorney within Justice afraid to reveal the names of the DEA whistleblowers out of fear that it might jeopardize their law enforcement careers and the lives of their families? And why, as Kent contends, is it all being covered up?

What do Glenn Fine, the head of the DOJ's OIG, and Rogelio E. Guevara, who currently oversees the DEA's OPR, know about Kent's charges, which were brought forth in his memo more than a year ago?

A look at the nature of the alleged corruption may give us some clues.

(Remember that all of these allegations come strictly from the Kent memo, though law enforcement sources have corroborated much of this information on condition of anonymity.)

Money Laundering and Paramilitaries

Kent alleges that one of the corrupt agents from Bogot� was caught on a wiretap some time in 2004 discussing criminal activity related to the huge right-wing paramilitary group known as the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC in its Spanish initials). The group is widely recognized to be involved in narco-trafficking and arms dealing at the highest levels. Working closely with various sectors of the Colombian military, it has fielded death squads responsible for murdering thousands of Colombians.

The following is from a 2004 report prepared for Congress by the Congressional Research Service:

The AUC targets real and perceived supporters of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN), as well as political activists, police officials and judges. The group is known for its brutality and has killed more civilians than the leftist insurgencies have killed: in 2001, the AUC killed at least 1,015 civilians, compared to the 197 civilians killed by the FARC. The AUC also committed over 100 massacres in 2001, a tactic it used to displace large portions of the peasant population in order maintain firmer control over the major coca-growing lands.

Kent contends, in the memorandum, that during the wiretap, the corrupt Bogot� DEA agent "discusses his involvement in laundering money for the AUC." But despite being caught on tape admitting to helping the most murderous political force in the hemisphere today to launder the money from their extensive drug trafficking operations, the agent faced no punishment. In fact, says Kent, the agent was essentially promoted: "That call has been documented by the DEA and that agent is now in charge of numerous narcotics and money laundering investigations."

Kent, in the memorandum, also alleges that DOJ officials shut down a money laundering investigation because they discovered that it was linked to the alleged DEA corruption in Bogot�. He claims that the nail in that coffin was driven in by OPR after it discovered that an OIG agent was investigating the Bogot� corruption and related money laundering operation

"In June 2004, OPR and DEA, the two agencies embarrassed by the prior allegations (involving the Bogot� agents) and likely to come under tremendous scrutiny for their own actions in response, demanded that my case agent turn all of the (investigation) information . . . over to OPR," Kent states in the memorandum. "One week after submitting the (information) to OPR, the money laundering investigation was shut down."

Kent details three further cases of extreme corruption in his memo, all involving Bogot� DEA agents persecuting or conspiring to kill Colombian informants who threatened to bring down their activities. Sources told Narco News that these corruption allegations involve cases launched in 1999 or 2000, but which resulted in investigations that carried on for months or years.

(Kent wrote his memo in late 2004 only after he became aware of the alleged corruption and then had exhausted other internal channels within DOJ for addressing the problems.)

Allegation One: Corrupt DEA Agents in Bogot� Conspired to Murder Informants Who Betrayed Them

During the course of an investigation into a Colombian narco-trafficking operation, a group of DEA agents in Florida had zeroed in on several targets, with the help of several Colombian informants. Once the targets were identified as being part of the drug ring, they began to cooperate with the Florida-based agents.

" . . . They made startling revelations concerning DEA agents in Bogot�," Kent writes. "They alleged that they were assisted in their narcotics activities by the [Bogot�] agents. Specifically, they alleged that the agents provided them with information on investigations and other law enforcement activities in Colombia."

The traffickers eventually gave the Florida agents copies of confidential DEA reports, which the Bogot� agents allegedly had handed over to the traffickers. After the Florida agents turned these documents over to the OPR and OIG, one of them was put on "administrative leave" -- the first sign that a cover-up was underway.

While the Florida agent was out on leave, the Bogot� agents set up a meeting with one of the informants.

"As the informant left that meeting, he was murdered," Kent states. "Other informants . . . who also worked with the DEA group in Florida were also murdered. Each murder was preceded by a request for their identity by an agent in Bogot�."

Allegation Two: Bogot� DEA Agents Imprison and Possibly Conspire to Murder Informants to Prevent Their Travel to U.S.

A separate DEA group, also based in Florida, ran into trouble with the same DEA office in Bogot� while investigating another Colombian narco-trafficking operation. Informants tipped off the Florida agents that that this drug ring had developed an ingenious method for smuggling cocaine into the United States, a method that seems to have been lifted right out of the script of the drug-war movie Traffic.

"Specifically, the narcotics traffickers in Colombia were infusing acrylic with cocaine and shaping it into any number of commercial goods," Kent states. "The acrylic was then shipped to the United States and Europe where, during processing, the cocaine was extracted from the acrylic."

Informants working for the Florida agents sent samples of the cocaine-laced acrylic to the DEA, but the agency's chemists couldn't figure out how to extract the cocaine. As a result, the Florida agents decided to have the informants come to the United States with a sample of the acrylic, so they could walk DEA's chemists through the extraction process.

"Agents contacted the Bogot� Country Office to discuss the informants' planned travel and their bringing cocaine out of Colombia infused in acrylic," writes Kent. "They were advised that the best tact was for the informants to carry it out themselves."

But when the informants got to the airport to leave for the U.S., they were arrested. A DEA agent in Bogot�, it turns out, had told Colombian officials to "lock them (the informants) up and throw away the key," according to Kent. The Bogot� agent then claimed that he had no idea the Florida agents had given the informants permission to transport the cocaine.

"His misrepresentations were backed by another agent in Bogot�," Kent states. "The informants were imprisoned for nine months while the accusations flew back and forth. Once it was determined that the agents in Bogot� were lying, the informants were released. One of the informants was kidnapped and murdered in Bogot� where he had gone into hiding."

Allegation Three: Informant Outed by Traffickers with Ties to Bogot� Agents

In yet another case outlined in Kent's memorandum, the second Florida DEA group was working with an informant in Colombia who claimed to have made contact with a FARC guerilla while in prison. Sources told Narco News that the informant is a wealthy Colombian businessman with investments in high-tech firms and ties to narco-trafficking. The FARC (Spanish initials for Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the largest leftist insurgent group in that country's civil war, accused by U.S. officials of drug and arms trafficking) was supposedly interested in buying communications equipment from him.

While this investigation eventually ended up in the hands of the National Security Agency, from the beginning it appeared to be related to drug trafficking and the Florida DEA agents decided to investigate. Agents from the Bogot� office promised to help, one of them assuring the Florida agents that the informant's release from prison could be arranged. But when the Florida agents arrived in Colombia, another Bogot� DEA agent told them that the informant was going to stay in prison.

The Bogot� agents seemed obsessed with stopping the informant from working with the Florida agents, and began doing everything in their power to prevent the investigation from moving forward. "As the two sides argued back and forth, the informant was challenged by the Bogot� agents to prove his allegations," the memorandum states. "He did so by making a videotape of a conversation he then had with a member of the FARC in jail in which they discussed their desire for him to provide them with communications equipment. When confronted with the actual tape that confirmed the informant's story, the agents in Bogot� complained that what the informant and DEA group from Florida had done was illegal and they would be unable to obtain the informant's release (from prison)."

The Florida agents kept trying to revive the investigation, but Bogot� agents continued to thwart it one way or another. Eventually, the informant was released from prison and tried to start working with the Florida agents again, but an agent from the Bogot� office traveled to Washington, D.C., and managed to convince DEA brass to derail the investigation.

When the informant approached the DEA once again with information, writes Kent, "the Bogot� agent that traveled to Washington, D.C., now claimed that the informant was a pedophile. The investigation was halted. The Bogot� agent was called on his claim and could not provide any evidence." The agent then switched tactics, arguing that the DEA could not work with the informant because the FARC might end up with the communications equipment. He also claimed that one of the targets of the FARC-related investigation was not involved in narco-trafficking -- even though the Bogot� office had previously identified that individual as a narco-trafficker.

"The (Bogot�) agent was unable to dissuade those involved in the investigation, and it finally took off with the assistance of the NSA," the memo states. "The investigation continued until the informant was faxed a document that identified him as a DEA informant on the FARC. The document mirrored information the DEA group in Florida provided the corrupt agents in Bogot� previously."

In other words, someone outed the Florida group's informant, making him into a target for many dangerous people including the FARC guerrillas, and the tool used to expose him was proprietary DEA information that appeared to have come out of the Bogot� DEA office. The DEA agents in Florida looked further into the source of that information and followed the trail to several other DEA informants. The Florida agents then set up a wiretap and recorded conversations between their own informants and the other DEA informants who were tied to the leaked DEA information. The recordings revealed that a narco-trafficker had indeed obtained the internal DEA information that was used to expose the Florida group's informant.

"That person (the narco-trafficker) is also a DEA informant," the memorandum states, "and is believed to have been controlled by the Bogot� Country Office. Among other things, it was alleged that the informant (the narco-trafficker) had several agents on his payroll who provided him with classified information. The agents were believed to work in Colombia and Washington, D.C."

The tape recordings that revealed this damning information were turned over to both the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Office of the Inspector General, Kent states in the memorandum. The agents in the Florida DEA office also tried to set up a sting targeting the allegedly corrupt agents from Bogot� and Washington, D.C.

"The meeting (the sting) was called off when it was learned the agents likely knew of the trap," the memorandum states. " . . . The informant who was identified . . . as the narcotics trafficker with several agents on his payroll was eventually brought to Florida to take a polygraph test on the allegations that he was obtaining classified documents from agents in Bogot� and elsewhere."

Kent says that the narco-trafficker passed the lie detector test in Florida, at which he was asked whether agents had passed him classified documents and he claimed that they hadn't. But the OPR mysteriously ordered the polygrapher not to report on the test: "He was instructed (to say) that the test never took place."

The Deluge

The corruption allegations raised in Kent's memorandum are startling, but agents in the Bogot� DEA office are not the first to have been accused of participating in a narco-trafficking conspiracy. Similar tales of corruption involving overseas DEA agents have surfaced in the past. And although the charges raised by Kent in his 2004 memorandum have now passed before many eyes, they have still not been addressed in the light of day. Instead, as in similar past cases, they have been buried in the contorted layers of the Justice Department bureaucracy.

Kent is no longer with the Washington, D.C.-based wiretap unit of NDDS. He has been transferred to Nashville, according to sources familiar with the memorandum. Ironically, the NDDS chief to whom Kent addressed the memorandum, Jodi L. Avergun, is now the chief of staff for DEA.

In addition, Kent's request to send the Bogot� corruption allegations to the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section was denied, and his memorandum deep-sixed -- until now.

A full investigation of his allegations may well prove that the DEA's Bogot� office is clean as a whistle. But if that is indeed the case, then why has Justice chosen to silence and punish the whistleblowers in this case rather than look into their claims?

From Kent's memorandum:

If we are unable to arrange for a sit-down between the reporting agents and those attorneys within the Department of Justice who are tasked with ensuring that corrupted agents and officials are held accountable, then I firmly believe that we will watch from the sidelines as the allegations play out in a courtroom, on the news, and/or on Capital Hill. The reporting agents have placed their trust in me. . . . I have assured them that I will lay the issue before you with a much more detailed accounting of the allegations and how the DEA and OPR, and now seemingly OIG, have failed to fully investigate the allegations and hold those responsible accountable.

If we can put them together with the Public Integrity Section, they assured me that other agents who have to this point remained silent for fear of retaliation will come forward. Those agents have additional evidence not in the files maintained by OPR and OIG. I believe, based on their representations, that that new evidence alone would put the corrupt agents in prison.

Given the pretense that defines the war on drugs, Kent's memorandum (which basically rewrites the script of that war) is not likely to be a hot seller in Washington, D.C., anytime soon�absent pressure from a major media blitz.

And what of the mainstream-media guardians of our liberty? Will they step up to the plate on this story, given their penchant for adhering to the standard drug-war script? The fact that Narco News is breaking this story first may tell us all we need to know on that front.

But the truth, like water, always brings the scum to the surface. And in this case, the dam holding back the truth in the so-called war on drugs may be close to breaking. For how much longer will nations in Latin America and around the world accept U.S. drug warriors' imposing presence in their lands, when those same agents and bureaucrats get neck-deep in the very drug trade they are supposedly trying to wipe out, with complete impunity and protection from their superiors back home?

"The agents who reported the . . . allegations (of corruption) did so to correct wrongs committed by other members of the DEA and OPR," Kent states in the memorandum. "Their attempts to do so led to retaliation. . . . The cracks in the lid DEA and OPR has attempted to place on this problem are getting bigger.

"It is only a matter of time before this thing explodes. . . ."

Click here to read Kent's memorandum for yourself.
Bill Conroy is an investigative reporter and correspondent for Narco News, where this article originally appeared. He can be contacted at

Copyright © 1998-2006 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor

Ex-Gitmo chief takes military 5th on abuse


Thursday, January 12, 2006 · Last updated 2:45 p.m. PT

Ex-Gitmo chief takes military 5th on abuse


WASHINGTON -- The former commander of the Guantanamo
Bay detention center, who has been tied to the
prisoner abuse scandal, is declining to answer
questions in two courts-martial cases involving the
use of dogs during interrogations.

Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller invoked the military's
version of the Fifth Amendment right to not
incriminate himself, a move that was defended Thursday
by the military's top commander.

Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, told Pentagon reporters that while he expects
military leaders to do the right thing, that does not
mean they should lose their constitutional rights.

Pace said officers should "tell the truth as they know
it." He added, "We expect our leaders to lead by
example. But we do not expect them to give up their
individual rights as people."

Miller's lawyer, Michelle Crawford, said Thursday that
her client repeatedly has answered questions about the
matter in various investigations, interviews and
congressional testimony. In May 2004, for example, he
told the Senate Armed Services Committee there "was no
systemic abuse at Guantanamo at any time."

"From our perspective, nothing has changed since he
began answering these questions. In fact, not a single
new question has been posed," Crawford said in an

She added that "Miller's decision to stop answering
these same questions and exercise his Article 31
rights was made wholly independent of any
investigations, inquiries, or other proceedings that
may be pending."

Military investigators proposed disciplining Miller
for failing to oversee the interrogation of a prisoner
who was suspected of being involved in the Sept. 11
attacks. But that recommendation was overruled by a
military commander who concluded Miller didn't violate
any U.S. laws or policies.

The commander referred the matter to the Army's
inspector general, who looked into it and closed the

His decision to invoke his Article 31 rights - which
are similar to the Fifth Amendment right against
self-incrimination - affects two general court-martial
proceedings scheduled for the coming weeks.

Sgt. Michael Smith and Sgt. Santos Cardona are facing
courts-martial in connection with charges they used
their dogs to frighten detainees at the Abu Ghraib
prison in Iraq. The two dog handlers, attached to the
320th Military Police Battalion, were charged with
dereliction of duty and maltreatment of detainees.

Smith told investigators in February 2004 that he and
Cardona used their unmuzzled dogs to help the military
intelligence unit with interrogations.

Miller, who recently requested retirement, took
command of the Guantanamo detention center in Cuba in
late 2002 with a mandate to get more and better
information from prisoners.

In August 2003, the Pentagon sent Miller to inspect
interrogation procedures in Iraq, and he recommended
using the Guantanamo techniques on prisoners in Iraq
to improve intelligence on the growing anti-U.S.
insurgency. He was sent to Iraq in March 2004 to run
detainee operations.

Pentagon Says U.S. Military Not Conducting Attacks in Pakistan

Pentagon Says U.S. Military Not Conducting Attacks in Pakistan

The Pentagon said the U.S. military was not engaged in operations in a Pakistani border area where 18 people, including women and children, were reported killed Jan. 13 in a missile strike.

“There is no reason to believe the U.S. military is conducting operations there,” said Lt. Col. Todd Vician.

Villagers said two helicopters launched missiles and a bomb in the town of Mamund in the Bajur tribal area bordering Pakistan, destroying three houses.

They said the attack left five women, five children and eight men dead.

One of the houses destroyed in the attack belonged to Gul Zaman, a member of an outlawed Islamic extremist group, they said.

Documents Tie Shadowy US Unit to Inmate Abuse Case

Documents Tie Shadowy US Unit to Inmate Abuse Case
By Will Dunham

Friday 13 January 2006

Washington - Newly released military documents show US Army investigators closed a probe into allegations an Iraqi detainee had been abused by a shadowy military task force after its members used fake names and asserted that key computer files had been lost.

The documents shed light on Task Force 6-26, a special operations unit, and confirmed the existence of a secret military "Special Access Program" associated with it, ACLU lawyer Amrit Singh said on Thursday.

The documents were released by the Army to the American Civil Liberties Union under court order through the Freedom of Information Act. They were the latest files to provide details of the numerous investigations carried out by the Army into allegations of detainee abuse in Iraq.

A June 2005 document by the US Army Criminal Investigation Command in Iraq described its investigation into suspected abuse of a detainee captured in January 2004 by Task Force 6-26 in Tikrit, deposed President Saddam Hussein's hometown. His name was redacted, but he was mentioned as the son of a Saddam bodyguard.

The man was taken to Baghdad international airport, documents stated. The United States maintains a prison there for "high-value" detainees.

He told Army investigators that US personnel forced him one night to remove his clothes, walk into walls with a box over his head connected to a rope around his neck, punched him in the spinal area until he fainted, placed him in front of an air conditioner while cold water was poured on him, and kicked him in the stomach until he vomited, the documents stated.

'Fake Names'

Investigators could not find the personnel involved or the man's medical files, and the case was closed, the files stated. A memo listed the suspected offenses as "aggravated assault, cruelty and maltreatment."

"The only names identified by this investigation were determined to be fake names utilized by the capturing soldiers," the memo stated. "6-26 also had a major computer malfunction which resulted in them losing 70 percent of their files; therefore they can't find the cases we need to review."

The memo said the investigation should not be reopened. "Hell, even if we reopened it we wouldn't get anymore information than we already have," the memo stated.

Singh said previous documents indicated Task Force 6-26 was linked to other instances of detainee abuse in Iraq.

"This document suggests that Task Force 6-26 was part of a larger, clandestine program that we think may have links with high-ranking officials, because obviously someone high up had the authority to put this program in place," Singh said in a telephone interview.

Army spokesman Paul Boyce said the Army had taken allegations of detainee abuse "extremely seriously."

"The Army has gone to great extent in travel, interviews, documentation and concern to make sure that each and every allegation was thoroughly reviewed, thoroughly examined and, when appropriate, acted upon either through non-judicial or judicial punishment," Boyce said.

A document stated Army investigators were not able to fully investigate suspects and witnesses because they were involved in the Special Access Program and due to the classified nature of their work.

The task force is stationed out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the document said. The base houses the Army Special Operations Command.

Venezuela, Iran agreement go into effect

Venezuela, Iran agreement go into effect

JAN. 12 7:10 P.M. ET Venezuelan lawmakers approved a bill Thursday that will allow preliminary cooperation agreements signed by the South American country and Iran to go into effect.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has signed numerous preliminary agreements with Iranian officials, including an accord to jointly build oil tankers, over the last two years. Pro-Chavez lawmakers dominate Venezuela's legislature.

Diplomatic relations between the two oil-producing countries have tightened as left-leaning Chavez has sought to build international alliances to counter what he sees as U.S. economic and political dominance in Latin America.
Venezuela. The two nations also have plans to jointly survey and certify heavy crude deposits in Venezuela's oil-rich Orinoco river belt.

Venezuela and Iran are both members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and have consistently backed efforts to bolster prices by controlling production volumes.

Pentagon Limits Cell Phone Use on Military Installations

Pentagon Limits Cell Phone Use on Military Installations

Pentagon Limits Cell Phone Use on Military Installations

by JOSN Austin Rice
Journal staff writer

The Defense Department changed regulations Dec. 1 and now requires anyone driving on a military installation to use a hands-free cell phone device.

Military police will cite drivers with a $50 ticket for an infraction. The Pentagon changed its regulations to increase motor vehicle safety on its installations.

"I don't think anyone should be allowed to use a cell phone while driving period, whether it's hands-free or not," said HM2 Daniel Quick, a National Naval Medical Center dental technician. "Talking while driving diverts your attention away from the road where it should be."

A University of Utah study, titled "Inattention Blindness," helped the Defense Department conclude the new regulations are necessary. The 2001 study found a driver talking on a cell phone has a slower reaction time and is more likely to have an accident.

Researchers also found that talking on a cell phone while driving impairs a driver's ability to process visual information. Drivers, even when looking straight ahead, may not see objects because their attention is diverted.

"What really needs to be clarified is that using a cell phone with a hands free device is still acceptable on post," said Rich Wooters, a Bethesda Safety Office occupational and health specialist. "However, anytime your distracting yourself while driving, it's a danger."

The new cell phone regulations, however, don't affect the Navy's uniform instructions concerning cell phones. The Navy's regulation, released in September, said using a cell phone while in uniform is acceptable as long as it doesn't interfere with rendering proper military courtesies and honors. Sailors may also clip a cell phone to their belt, as long as it's not viewable from the front and does not cause clothing to bunch or sag.

People's Daily Online -- China cherishes friendly ties with Africa

People's Daily Online -- China cherishes friendly ties with Africa

China cherishes friendly ties with Africa
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The Chinese Government issued the African Policy Paper in Beijing yesterday in a bid to promote steady growth of China-Africa relations in the long term and bring the mutually-beneficial co-operation to a new stage.

The Chinese Government wishes to present to the world the objectives of China's policy towards Africa, the measures to achieve them, and its proposals for co-operation in various fields in the coming years, according to the paper.

This is the first time that the Chinese Government has issued a paper elaborating its policy towards Africa.

The paper, composed of more than 3,000 English words, is divided into six parts, including Africa's position and role, China's relations with Africa, China's African policy, Enhancing all-round co-operation between China and Africa, Forum on China-Africa Co-operation and its follow-up actions, China's relations with African regional organizations.

The paper points out that African countries play an increasingly important role in international affairs as they have actively participated in the South-South co-operation and worked for the North-South dialogue.

It said Africa has a long history, vast expanse of land, rich natural resources and huge potential for development. After many years of struggle, the African people freed themselves from colonial rule, wiped out apartheid, won independence and emancipation, thus making significant contribution to the progress of civilization.

Following their independence, it said, countries in Africa have been conscientiously exploring a road to development suited to their national conditions and seeking peace, stability and development by joint efforts.

Thanks to the concerted efforts of African countries, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the African Union (AU), the political situation in Africa has been stable on the whole, regional conflicts are being gradually resolved and economy has been growing for years.

The New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD) has drawn up an encouraging picture of African rejuvenation and development.

It said Africa still faces many challenges on its road of development. However, with the persistent efforts of African countries and the continuous support of the international community, Africa will surely surmount difficulties and achieve rejuvenation in the new century.

China's relations with Africa
"The founding of the People's Republic of China and the independence of African countries ushered in a new era in China-Africa relations," the paper stressed.

Sincerity, equality and mutual benefit, solidarity and common development are the principles guiding China-Africa exchange and co-operation.

The paper said China-Africa friendship is embedded in the long history of interchange. Sharing similar historical experience, China and Africa have all along sympathized with and supported each other in the struggle for national liberation and forged a profound friendship.

For over half a century, the two sides have enjoyed close political ties and frequent exchange of high-level visits and people-to-people contacts.

The bilateral trade and economic co-operation have grown rapidly; co-operation in other fields has yielded good results; and consultation and coordination in international affairs have been intensified, the paper said.

China has provided assistance to the best of its ability to African countries, while African countries have also rendered strong support to China on many occasions, it said.

The one-China principle is the political foundation for the establishment and development of China's relations with African countries and regional organizations, according to the Paper.

The Chinese Government appreciates the fact that the overwhelming majority of African countries abide by the one China principle, refuse to have official relations and contacts with Taiwan and support China's great cause of reunification, the paper said.

Among the total 53 countries in Africa, 47 have established diplomatic relations with China.

China stands ready to establish and develop state-to-state relations with countries that have not yet established diplomatic ties with China on the basis of the one China principle.

African policy
As far as the country's African policy is concerned, the paper stipulates that China will develop a new type of strategic partnership with Africa, featuring political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win co-operation and cultural exchange.

The general principles and objectives of China's African policy are as follows:

Sincerity, friendship and equality. China adheres to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, respects African countries' independent choice of the road of development and supports African countries' efforts to grow stronger through unity.

Mutual benefit, reciprocity and common prosperity. China supports African countries' endeavour for economic development and nation building, carries out co-operation in various forms in the economic and social development, and promotes common prosperity of China and Africa.

Mutual support and close coordination. China will strengthen co-operation with Africa in the UN and other multilateral systems by supporting each other's just demand and reasonable propositions and continue to appeal to the international community to give more attention to questions concerning peace and development in Africa.

Learning from each other and seeking common development. China and Africa will learn from and draw upon each other's experience in governance and development, strengthen exchange and co-operation in education, science, culture and health. Supporting African countries' efforts to enhance capacity building, China will work together with Africa in the exploration of the road of sustainable development.

All-round co-operation
The paper announced that China is ready to enhance all-round co-operation with Africa.

On China-Africa political co-operation, the paper said, China will maintain the momentum of mutual visits and dialogues between Chinese and African leaders, with a view to facilitating communication, deepening friendship and promoting mutual understanding and trust.

China favours increased multi-level and multi-channel friendly exchanges on the basis of mutual respect between China's National People's Congress on the one hand and parliaments of African countries and the Pan-African Parliament of the AU on the other.

The paper also hailed party relations between China and African countries on the basis of the principles of independence, equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs.

The paper also urged the two sides to establish and improve mechanisms such as national bilateral committees between China and African countries, political consultation between foreign ministries, joint (mixed) committees on trade and economic co-operation and mixed committees on science and technology, so as to institutionalize dialogue and consultation in a flexible and pragmatic manner.

In addition, the paper said China's central government attaches importance to the exchanges between local governments of China and African countries, vigorously supports twin province/state and twin city relationship aimed at facilitating bilateral exchanges and co-operation in local development and administration.

In the economic field, the paper declares that China is willing to negotiate Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with African countries and African regional organizations when conditions are ripe.

The Chinese Government encourages and supports Chinese enterprises' investment and business in Africa.

African countries are welcome to make investment in China and the two sides should work together to create a favourable environment for investment and co-operation and protect the legitimate rights and interests of investors from both sides, the paper said.

The Chinese Government will step up China-Africa co-operation in transportation, communication, water conservancy, electricity and other infrastructures. It will vigorously encourage Chinese enterprises to participate in the building of infrastructure in African countries, scale up their contracts, and gradually establish multilateral and bilateral mechanisms on contractual projects.

According to the paper, the Chinese Government encourages and supports competent Chinese enterprises to cooperate with African nations in various ways on the basis of the principle of mutual benefit and common development, to develop and exploit rationally their resources, with a view to helping African countries translate their advantages in resources into competitive strength, and realize sustainable development in their own countries and the continent as a whole.

China is ready to continue friendly consultation with some African countries with a view to seeking solution to, or reduction of, the debts they owe to China. It will urge the international community, developed countries in particular, to take more substantial action on the issue of debt reduction and relief for African nations.

China will step up co-operation with other countries and international organizations to support the development of Africa and help realize Millennium Development Goals in Africa.

The Chinese Government will also give full play to the role of its "African Human Resources Development Foundation" in training African personnel, the paper stipulated.

China will expand areas of co-operation and provide more input according to the needs of African countries so as to achieve greater results.

Exchange of students between China and Africa will continue, and China will increase the number of government scholarships, continue to send teachers to help African countries in Chinese language teaching and carry out educational assistance project to help develop Africa's weak disciplines.

China intends to strengthen co-operation in such fields as vocational education and distance learning while encouraging exchanges and co-operation between educational and academic institutions of both sides, the paper said.

China is also ready to promote its co-operation with Africa in the fields of science and technology, culture, medicine, media, civil service system and environmental co-operation, and to increase people-to-people exchange between the two sides.

International arena
In the international arena, the Chinese Government supports African nations' desire to be an equal partner in international affairs, the paper said.

China will continue to strengthen solidarity and co-operation with African countries on the international arena, conduct regular exchange of views, coordinate positions on major international and regional issues and stand for mutual support on major issues concerning state sovereignty, territorial integrity, national dignity and human rights.

"China is devoted, as are African nations, to making the UN play a greater role, defending the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, establishing a new international political and economic order featuring justice, rationality, equality and mutual benefit, promoting more democratic international relationship and rule of law in international affairs and safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries," the paper said.

In regard to conflict settlement and peacekeeping operations, China supports the positive efforts by the African Union and other African regional organizations to settle regional conflicts and will provide assistance within its own capacity, the paper said.

China is prepared to promote exchange and co-operation between Chinese and African judicial and law enforcement departments, it said.

Besides, China will cooperate closely with immigration departments of African countries in tackling the problem of illegal migration, it said.

In non-traditional security areas, China will explore more effective ways for closer co-operation with Africa in combating terrorism, small arms smuggling, drug trafficking and transnational economic crimes.

China-Africa forum
In the paper, the Chinese Government hailed the positive role of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation, saying that the forum has become an effective mechanism for collective dialogue and multilateral co-operation between China and Africa.

The paper said China stands ready to work with African countries to conscientiously implement the Beijing Declaration of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation, the Program for China-Africa Co-operation in Economic and Social Development and the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation-Addis Ababa Action Plan (2004-06) and its follow-up action plans.

"China will work with African countries within the framework of the Forum to explore new ways to enhance mutual political trust, promote the comprehensive development of pragmatic co-operation, further improve the mechanism of the forum, and try to find the best way for furthering co-operation between the Forum and the New Partnership for Africa's Development," the paper said.

Source: China Daily

Bush could seize absolute control

Bush could seize absolute control of U.S. government
Publisher, Capitol Hill Blue
Jan 13, 2006, 07:42

President George W. Bush has signed executive orders giving him sole authority to
impose martial law, suspend habeas corpus and ignore the Posse Comitatus Act that
prohibits deployment of U.S. troops on American streets. This would give him
absolute dictatorial power over the government with no checks and balances.

Bush discussed imposing martial law on American streets in the aftermath of the 9/11
terrorist attacks by activating “national security initiatives” put in place by
Ronald Reagan during the 1980s.

These “national security initiatives," hatched in 1982 by controversial Marine
Colonel Oliver North, later one of the key players in the Iran-Contra Scandal,
charged the Federal Emergency Management Agency with administering executive orders
that allowed suspension of the Constitution, implementation of martial law,
establishment of internment camps, and the turning the government over to the

John Brinkerhoff, deputy director of FEMA, developed the martial law implementation
plan, following a template originally developed by former FEMA director Louis
Guiffrida to battle a “national uprising of black militants.” Gifuffrida’s
implementation of martial law called for jailing at least 21 million African
Americans in “relocation camps.” Brinkerhoff later admitted in an interview with
the Miami Herald that President Reagan signed off on the initiatives and they
remained in place, dormant, until George W. Bush took office.

Brinkerhoff moved on the Anser Institute for Homeland Security and, following the
9/11 terrorist attacks, provided the Bush White House and the Pentagon with talking
points supporting revised “national security initiatives” that would could allow
imposition of martial law and suspension of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1978, the law
that is supposed to forbid use of troops for domestic law enforcement.

Brinkerhoff wrote that intentions of Posse Comitatus are “misunderstood and
misapplied” and that the U.S. has in times of national emergency the “full and
absolute authority” to send troops into American streets to “enforce order and
maintain the peace.”

Bush used parts of the plan to send troops into the streets of New Orleans following
Hurricane Katrina. In addition, FEMA hired former special forces personnel from the
mercenary firm Blackwater USA to “enforce security.”

Blackwater USA, in its promotional materials, describes itself as “the most
comprehensive professional military, law enforcement, security, peacekeeping, and
stability operations company in the world,” adding that “we have established a
global presence and provide training and operational solutions for the 21st century
in support of security and peace, and freedom and democracy everywhere.”

Blackwater is also a major U.S. contractor in Iraq and has a contract with the Bush
White House to provide additional security work “on an as-needed basis.”

The Department of Homeland Security established the “Northern Command for National
Defense,” a wide-ranging program that includes FEMA, the Pentagon, the FBI and the
National Security Agency. Executive orders already signed by Bush allow the
Northern Command to send troops into American streets, seize control of radio and
television stations and networks and impose martial law “in times of national

The authority to declare what is or is not a national emergency rests entirely with
Bush who does not have to either consult or seek the approval of Congress for
permission to assume absolute control over the government of the United States.

The White House press office would neither confirm nor deny existence of Bush’s
executive orders or the existence of the Northern Command for National Defense.
Neither would the Department of Homeland Security.

But my sources within the White House and DHS tell me the plans are in place, ready
for implementation when the command comes from the man who keeps telling the
American public that he is a “war time president” who will “do anything in my power”
to impose his will on the people of the United States.

And he has made sure that power will be absolute when he chooses to use it.

U.S. Seeks to Avoid Detainee Ruling

U.S. Seeks to Avoid Detainee Ruling

By Dan Eggen and Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, January 13, 2006; A07

The Bush administration took the unusual step yesterday of asking the Supreme Court to call off a landmark confrontation over the legality of military trials for terrorism suspects, arguing that a law enacted last month eliminates the court's ability to consider the issue.

In a 23-page brief, U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement said the justices should throw out an appeal by Yemeni national Salim Hamdan, an alleged driver and bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, because a new statute governing the treatment of U.S. detainees "removes the court's jurisdiction to hear this action."

The brief represents the latest escalation in the showdown between the Bush administration and critics of the government over the legal rights of military detainees captured overseas. Hamdan's case is one of several high-stakes legal battles working their way through the courts, and the Supreme Court's November decision to consider his appeal was a blow to the government.

Hamdan is among approximately 500 inmates held at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; nine are scheduled to be tried by "military commissions" created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Hamdan's lawyers and many civil liberties groups have decried the commissions as unconstitutional and unfairly stacked against defendants.

Separately, the administration is trying to eliminate habeas corpus lawsuits filed on behalf of nearly every detainee, saying they have clogged federal courts with frivolous actions. The Supreme Court gave Guantanamo Bay detainees access to federal courts in a 2004 ruling.

The Detainee Treatment Act, principally written by Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) and signed into law Dec. 30, is intended to prevent detainees from having access to U.S. courts except in specific circumstances. It outlines a limited system for legal challenges by inmates, allowing them only to appeal the determination that they are enemy combatants to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and then, potentially, to the Supreme Court. It also allows anyone convicted in a military commission to appeal that decision.

The two lawmakers and their colleagues have disagreed sharply in recent days over whether the legislation is meant to apply to cases such as Hamdan's that were filed before Bush signed the legislation into law.

Clement's brief argues that the statute must be given "immediate effect" -- meaning that previous legal challenges should be dismissed, and that Hamdan and other inmates should proceed under the new rules.

"Congress made clear that the federal courts no longer have jurisdiction over actions filed on behalf of Guantanamo detainees," Clement wrote.

Levin, in a statement issued yesterday, said that "the Justice Department is in error. Far from deciding that the relevant statutory language applies to pending cases, Congress specifically considered and rejected language that would have stripped the courts of jurisdiction in cases that they had before them."

Neal Katyal, a Georgetown University law professor who represents Hamdan, declined to comment on the government's filing.

Burt Neuborne, a New York University law professor who wrote a friend-of-the-court brief in the Hamdan case, said the government's brief ignores the fact that if Hamdan's case is dismissed, he and other detainees will have no avenue to challenge the legality of Bush's power to detain enemy combatants and create military trials.

"The government's basic argument is: You can't hear it now, but you can hear it later," Neuborne said. "What they don't say is that the other route doesn't let Hamdan raise the question of the president's authority in these cases. . . . They're not telling the Supreme Court the real consequences of their motion."

Justice Department officials believe cases filed on behalf of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay should now be pulled from all U.S. courts. They filed notice within days of the law's passage asking for the dismissal of cases in the U.S. District Court and the appeals court in the District of Columbia. The cases range from legal challenges of the military commissions process to complaints about treatment at the facility in Cuba.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton denied yesterday all motions in 15 pending detainee cases before him and indefinitely stayed the cases, noting that the new law "raises serious questions concerning whether this Court retains jurisdiction" to hear them. Walton wrote that he will wait for the appeals court to resolve the jurisdictional issues before removing the stays.

Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, who represents a Guantanamo Bay detainee named Jumah Dossari, said yesterday that the stay in his case leaves his client with few options for improving his conditions at the prison. Dossari has tried to kill himself at least 10 times, according to his lawyers, who have been asking the court for independent mental health experts and better living conditions.

"He may have been placed in a legal limbo that may last months or years," Colangelo-Bryan said. "This means that he is utterly and entirely at the mercy of the military, which chose to place him in isolation despite knowing that he was suicidal. Our hands are tied in terms of seeking relief."

George Bush Is My Friend

col_kurtz1961 *********

George Bush can do no wrong. He's My President, and if he does it, it
must be OK. Two Thumbs Up, George. They took my neighbor away in the
middle of the night yesterday. He must have done something Wrong. Who
would have suspected he was Al-Qeida? I know he was a soldier in
WWII, and raised three kids, and worked his whole life and paid taxes
and he and his wife always kept their home nice. These nasty Al-
Qeida, they sure can infiltrate our Homeland. I'm so glad My
President is on watch. He's doing his job. He keeps us Safe. Why do
these people criticize him? Just because he has secret black torture
prisons in third world countries and arrests people without charges
and spies on all of us, these un-American people want to hurt our
troops by being critical of Mr. Bush.

Why, the way they talk you'd think he was some kind of Dictator, a
Tyrant who Is the law. Didn't they hear him when he told us all he's
defending Our Democracy, and he needs to do all those things to keep
our nation Free. I believe him, 'cause he's My President and I love
him. And he gets such good advice from his handlers and ministers.
They all love America too. That's why they make so much money from
their friends, like Jack Abermoff and Haliburton and the Carlye
Group. They're Real Patriots. Not like these disloyal Communists who
just want to tear down America, just because we go around the world
and kill people who don't agree with us. If those people would just
look at all the good we do, they'd love us too. Too bad we have to
kill them to make them see. Oh Why don't they just understand that
we're there to help them. We help them get all their natural
resources out of the ground, or burn down their huts. Plus we help
them get loans from the World Bank, so they can replace their
outmoded old cultures with our culture. Then they can watch Madonna.
I love her. She's such a good singer.

Just because those 3 million illegal aliens came in the country last
year doesn't mean he's not protecting us. And just because none of
them has done any terrorist stuff is no reason to think that the War
On Terror is a big fake. And just because we now have a state policy
of invading anyone we want to on the flimsiest of provocation is no
reason to think the Bushes have turned America into an aggressor
state. And that darned Osama! No one can find him. He's such a good
hider. He makes such a good enemy for us all to hate and fear. I'm
sure glad My President is on the lookout for him.

And just because that Osama Bin Laden was a business partner of the
Bush family, and so was Saddam Hussein, and so was Manuel Noriega,
and so was Adolf Hitler, it's no reason to think
that the Bushes are criminals who back stab everyone they ever deal

And just because he and all his friends are making a killing on Wall
Street with their new factories in China and their maids and
gardeners from Costa Rica and all the American workers don't have
jobs, it' no reason to blame Our President. He loves us and takes
care of us. Why, I have nothing to hide, so I'm glad he taps my
phone. I don't want any Al-Qeidas to get in there. Plus he's keeping
the Gays from getting married to us. And he's a real Christian who
loves Christian Values, and keeps us safe from all those Muslims who
worship the devil.

Why I bet that sneaky Al-Qeida is planning something Bad right now.
If only George Bush could listen in on their plans and stop 'em then
everything would be all right. If only we had a huge spy
establishment with hundreds of billions of dollars and exciting high-
tech spy stuff then maybe we could have stopped 9/11 from happening.
Maybe we should of had fighter planes to shoot down the highjacked
airliners before they could crash into our buildings. Too bad we
didn't give George Bush the tools he needed to do his job back then.
Why do all these people worry so much about freedom and the rule of
law and the Constitution and tyranny? Don't they know there's a War
They need to listen to what Our President is telling them. He's just
like a friendly, protective older sibling who makes sure no bullies
get you on the way to school. That's why I love him so.

US pilot who tried to stop the My Lai massacre of civilians in the Vietnam War

by Michael Bilton

Wednesday January 11, 2006 : A Guardian Report

Hugh Thompson, who has died aged 64, was the helicopter pilot who
tried to halt the My Lai massacre of more than 500 villagers by
American troops during the Vietnam war. At one point, he rescued 15
defenceless civilians while training his machine guns on US
infantrymen commanded by the infamous Lieutenant William Calley,
threatening to shoot if they did not stop the slaughter.

By the time he arrived in Vietnam in late December 1967, Thompson was
a 25-year-old chief warrant officer reconnaissance pilot with the
123rd Aviation Battalion. On March 16 1968, he was flying his H-23
scout helicopter, with its three-man crew, over a part of Quang Ngai
province known as Pinkville, supporting a three company
search-and-destroy assault on several villages, which faulty
intelligence had indicated were heavily defended by Vietcong troops.
The US 1/20th Infantry Battalion attack was led by Charlie Company,
commanded by Captain Ernest Medina, who sent in the 1st platoon, led
by Calley, to clear out My Lai and several neighbouring hamlets.

Charlie Company was bent on revenge; days earlier several of its
members had been killed by Vietcong mines and booby traps. Without a
shot being fired against them, Calley's men began slaughtering anyone
they could find - old men, women and children. Groups of villagers, 20
and 30 at a time, were lined up and mown down. In the four-hour
assault, the men of the 2nd and 3rd platoons joined in.

Early on, Thompson spotted a young woman injured in a field. He
dropped a smoke cannister to indicate she needed medical help; he
claimed in a court martial later that Medina went over and shot her.
During the massacre, Thompson discovered the bodies of 170 executed
villagers in a drainage ditch. One of his crew rescued a child and
flew it to hospital at Quang Ngai.

In another incident, he challenged Calley to help a group of civilians
hiding in a bunker rather than attack them. When Calley refused,
Thompson ordered his helicopter gunners to open fire on the 1st
platoon if they advanced any closer. He then called down gunships to
rescue the civilians.

On returning to Chu Lai military base, Thompson reported everything to
his commanding officer. But a local inquiry whitewashed his
complaints, claiming the civilian deaths had been caused by artillery
fire. An elaborate cover-up ensued and Thompson was awarded the
Distinguished Flying Cross for saving the lives of Vietnamese
civilians "in the face of hostile enemy fire" - he threw the medal
away, believing his commanders wanted to buy his silence.

A year later, the Pentagon learned the truth and a high-level inquiry
was conducted by Lieutenant General William Peers. Thompson later
appeared as a witness at the courts martial of several men involved in
the massacre or the cover-up, though the only person convicted was
Calley, who served a few months in jail before having his life
sentence reduced and being given parole.

During his time in Vietnam, Thompson was shot down five times, finally
breaking his backbone. He received a commission, but back in America
some colleagues regarded him as a turncoat. When evidence of the
atrocity was finally made public in late 1969, he was castigated by
pro-Vietnam war politicians in Washington.

It was only 30 years later that Thompson was recognised as a genuine
American hero by the Pentagon, after a nine-year letter-writing
campaign. The US army had initially wanted his Soldier's Medal, the
military's highest award for bravery in peacetime, to be presented
quietly, preferring to keep what happened at My Lai in the background.
But Thompson resisted. He wanted a ceremony at the Vietnam memorial in
Washington, DC, and the bravery of his fellow crew members recognised
as well. In March 1998, he finally got his wish.

Thompson was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to strict Episcopalian parents,
and moved to nearby Stone Mountain when he was three years old. His
father served with both the US army and navy during the second world
war and spent 30 years with the naval reserve. His paternal
grandfather was a full-blooded Cherokee Native American, forced off
tribal land in North Carolina in the 1850s and resettled in Georgia.
Thompson joined the US navy in 1961, and spent three years with a
Seebees construction unit. After a brief return to civilian life in
1964, during which he became a funeral director, he re-enlisted in the
army, as it was becoming engaged in Vietnam.

The My Lai experience affected him badly. He grappled with alcohol and
had several failed marriages. After service in Korea, he returned to
the US, dropping the name Hugh and calling himself Buck as a way of
distancing himself from past events. He left the army briefly and then
re-enlisted, flying with medical evacuation units and instructing
trainee pilots. He retired from the army in November 1983 and worked
as a helicopter pilot for oil companies in the Gulf of Mexico. Later
he was involved with the Louisiana department of veteran affairs for
six years, giving lectures to students and schoolchildren and speaking
about ethics to military academies.

After his role in trying to stop the massacre was recognised in the
US, Thompson and his surviving crew member, Larry Colburn, were taken
back to My Lai, where they were introduced to three women who had
survived the massacre. On a second visit three years later, he met an
electrician from Ho Chi Minh City who, aged nine, had been one of the
children Thompson had rescued from the bunker.

Thompson is survived by three sons and his partner Mona Gossen.

· Hugh Clowers Thompson Jr, pilot and whistleblower, born April 15
1943; died January 6 2006

Courtesy : The Guardian