Archive for the ‘Parapolitics’ Category
NICOLE WINFIELD and VICTOR L. SIMPSON - Dec 11, 2010
VATICAN CITY (AP) — This is no ordinary bank: The ATMs are in Latin. Priests use a private entrance. A life-size portrait of Pope Benedict XVI hangs on the wall.
Nevertheless, the Institute for Religious Works is a bank, and it’s under harsh new scrutiny in a case involving money-laundering allegations that led police to seize euro23 million ($30 million) in Vatican assets in September. Critics say the case shows that the “Vatican Bank” has never shed its penchant for secrecy and scandal.
The Vatican calls the seizure of assets a “misunderstanding” and expresses optimism it will be quickly cleared up. But court documents show that prosecutors say the Vatican Bank deliberately flouted anti-laundering laws “with the aim of hiding the ownership, destination and origin of the capital.” The documents also reveal investigators’ suspicions that clergy may have acted as fronts for corrupt businessmen and Mafia.
Thirtyseven - Dec 02, 2010
The curse of doing research out here in Weirdoland is that the really fascinating people are nearly impossible to do research on. For instance, when you’re covertly running the world’s largest LSD manufacturing and smuggling operation for the CIA, you’re not going to be doing interviews in Newsweek or publishing an autobiography. That’s precisely the problem with Ronald Hadley Stark, who is one of the most insane characters in the history of LSD — and that’s really saying something, don’t you think?
This article has been updated considerably since I first published it. Stark’s life story is beyond belief, so I think it’s important to be meticulous. There are, no doubt, still hundreds of errors here.
For anyone unfamiliar with the tangle of political, scientific, cultural and covert forces behind spread of LSD, this article could get confusing. Ronald Stark is a central figure in David Black’s book ACID: A New Secret History of LSD, but the best overall introduction to this material would be Acid Dreams, by Lee & Shlain. It’s short and very readable, laying out the overall history in clear terms. For more serious seekers, I highly recommend HP Albarelli’s masterpiece, A Terrible Mistake, which is meticulously documented and considerably broader than mere LSD history.
Andrew Graham-Yooll - 8 November 2010
Emilio Eduardo Massera, former Argentine admiral, was the most complex character of the three commanders who ruled Argentina in the 1970s in the most savage and cruel dictatorship in twentieth century Latin America. He was also the most perverse, a conspirator, blackmailer and murderer of his political captives at clandestine detention centres. He was nobody’s friend, he even sent members of his government to their death.
Marguerite Feitlowitz, a US academic who wrote A Lexicon of Terror (OUP 1998), described Massera as “the grand orator of the dictatorship… master of the majestic rhythm, learned tone, and utterly confounding, but captivating, message.” As a young man he had studied philology, and language was a life-long obsession. In one of his speeches as a member of government on “the infidelity of words to their meanings” in ideological warfare, he announced that, “the only safe words are our words,” which may sound surreal, but appeared to set the tone of his absolute intolerance of opponents.
Massera came from immigrant stock and entered the elite naval academy in 1942 to be catapulted into an upper class of Argentine business and landowners. These had always seen in the navy an ally against Peronism, ever since Juan Perón founded the party in 1945. In 1956, as a young officer, aged 31, a year after the overthrow of Perón, Massera was appointed to a lectureship at the naval college, where he returned to teach in 1971. However, his early anti-Peronism was to suffer some editing.
The dozens of affairs which connect him to the Sicilian Mafia are a constant source of irritation for his opponents, but not for Berlusconi himself as he has never been in serious trouble on that score and is widely believed to have pulled his judicial system strings to scare judges off or have them moved to other assignments.
The same is true for his legendary ‘business flair’, which, again, has been largely left unchallenged because of his connections. Conflicts of interest, the introduction of legislation specifically designed to keep the justice system and its allegations and court cases related to alleged financial misdealing and monopolistic practices at bay, his false testimony in the P2 Masonic lodge membership scandal involving prominent business, military, political and secret service personalities, wiretapping – you name it, his name crops up in it.
But the crowning glory of his web of influence – and perhaps the most important – is his almost total control over the country’s most powerful media interests. This stranglehold on the country’s media is so effective that he has been accused by many press freedom organizations of being responsible for the fact that Italy has now been officially classified as a country with limited freedom of expression – the only case of its kind in the West. He is widely believed to control 90% of Italy’s national media and has stifled all legislative efforts to loosen his grip.
Jason Leopold and Jeffrey Kaye - 10/14/2010
Editor’s Note: When President George W. Bush authorized waterboarding and other forms of torture on “war on terror” detainees, the patterns of abusive treatment and the gauging of physiological responses always had an experimental feel, as if the interrogators were testing how best to break a person’s resistance.
Now, after a seven-month investigation, Jason Leopold and Jeffrey Kaye report that some technical revisions in US government policies on human experimentation created apparent loopholes that allowed the detainees to be used as human guinea pigs for studies in behaviorial modification.
In 2002, as the Bush administration was turning to torture and other brutal techniques for interrogating “war on terror” detainees, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz loosened rules against human experimentation, an apparent recognition of legal problems regarding the novel strategies for extracting and evaluating information from the prisoners.
Wolfowitz issued a little-known directive on March 25, 2002, about a month after President George W. Bush stripped the detainees of traditional prisoner-of-war protections under the Geneva Conventions. Bush labeled them “unlawful enemy combatants” and authorized the CIA and the Department of Defense (DoD) to undertake brutal interrogations.
Shaun Walker - 20 September 2010
The 11 September attacks in New York were an inside job; the South Korean warship torpedoed in March was not sunk by North Korea, but probably by Japan or the US; and the world is run by the secretive Bilderberg Group, who pursue a “New World Order”. Not the lonely ravings of a conspiracy-minded blogger, but all opinions aired recently on a satellite channel beamed into millions of American homes.
With its slick graphics, smiling young news-anchors, and round-the-clock coverage, RT is like any other news channel. But there is one major difference, aside from the content: RT, which stands for Russia Today, is paid for by the Kremlin. The channel launched in 2005, broadcasting news mainly about Russia on various satellite packages around the world.
You might remember a provocative ad campaign across London last year, with posters showing pictures of Barack Obama and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and asking, “Who poses the bigger nuclear threat?”
In the US, ads were run on screens inside New York taxis, and the channel even broadcast live on big screens in Times Square. This year, RT went even further in its attempts to infiltrate the US, when a new arm of the channel, RT America, began broadcasting from Washington DC several hours a day, exclusively for a US audience. The focus is not Russia, but America itself, and the radical opinions of some of its guests have been raising eyebrows.
Last month, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a well-respected US organisation that tracks hate groups and extremists in the United States, published a report about Russia Today. The group did not label the channel itself extremist, but said it gives undue airtime to conspiracy theorists and extremists. “Its slickly packaged stories suggest that a legitimate debate is under way in the United States about who perpetrated the 11 September terrorist attacks, for instance, and about President Obama’s eligibility for high office.”
Stephanie Dearing - Sep 17, 2010
Documents reveal that Blackwater has been busy expanding its corporate reach by providing intelligence services for agencies such as the Canadian Military, Netherlands Police and corporations like Monsanto.
Blackwater is a private, mercenary army. They’ve been called the ’shadow army,’ and most notoriously worked for the United States in Iraq, where the company courted controversy. Journalist Jeremy Scahill, who wrote a book about Blackwater, wrote an exclusive for The Nation, revealing general details of the extent of the Blackwater business operations. Scahill managed to obtain documents that, according to Scahill, show
“… entities closely linked to the private security firm Blackwater have provided intelligence, training and security services to US and foreign governments as well as several multinational corporations, including Monsanto, Chevron, the Walt Disney Company, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and banking giants Deutsche Bank and Barclays, according to documents obtained by The Nation. Blackwater’s work for corporations and government agencies was contracted using two companies owned by Blackwater’s owner and founder, Erik Prince: Total Intelligence Solutions and the Terrorism Research Center (TRC). Prince is listed as the chairman of both companies in internal company documents, which show how the web of companies functions as a highly coordinated operation.”
Jeremy Scahill - September 15, 2010
Over the past several years, entities closely linked to the private security firm Blackwater have provided intelligence, training and security services to US and foreign governments as well as several multinational corporations, including Monsanto, Chevron, the Walt Disney Company, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and banking giants Deutsche Bank and Barclays, according to documents obtained by The Nation. Blackwater’s work for corporations and government agencies was contracted using two companies owned by Blackwater’s owner and founder, Erik Prince: Total Intelligence Solutions and the Terrorism Research Center (TRC). Prince is listed as the chairman of both companies in internal company documents, which show how the web of companies functions as a highly coordinated operation. Officials from Total Intelligence, TRC and Blackwater (which now calls itself Xe Services) did not respond to numerous requests for comment for this article.
One of the most incendiary details in the documents is that Blackwater, through Total Intelligence, sought to become the “intel arm” of Monsanto, offering to provide operatives to infiltrate activist groups organizing against the multinational biotech firm.
Governmental recipients of intelligence services and counterterrorism training from Prince’s companies include the Kingdom of Jordan, the Canadian military and the Netherlands police, as well as several US military bases, including Fort Bragg, home of the elite Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), and Fort Huachuca, where military interrogators are trained, according to the documents. In addition, Blackwater worked through the companies for the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the US European Command.
Stephen Lendman - Sep 15, 2010
In his book, “NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe,” Daniele Ganser described their clandestine Cold War operations, run by European secret services, collaborating with NATO, the CIA and Britain’s MI6 and Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) against a possible Soviet invasion, internal communist takeovers, or others on the political left gaining power.
The network included France, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Greece, Luxemburg, as well as politically neutral European countries - Austria, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.
Named “Gladio” (Latin for double-edged sword), NATO’s armies remained secret until August 1990, when then Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti confirmed Italy’s participation in testimony before a Senate subcommittee investigating terrorism, General Vito Miceli, former Italian military secret service director, saying in protest:
“I have gone to prison because I did not want to reveal the existence of this super secret organization. And now Andreotti….tells….parliament!”
According to a 1959 Italian military secret service document, “these armies had a two-fold strategic purpose: firstly, to operate as a so-called ’stay-behind’ group in the case of a Soviet invasion and to carry out a guerrilla war in occupied territories; secondly, to carry out domestic operations in case of ‘emergency situations.’ ”
Andrew Gavin Marshall - September 5, 2010
As the 9th anniversary of 9/11 nears, and the war on terror continues to be waged and grows in ferocity and geography, it seems all the more imperative to return to the events of that fateful September morning and re-examine the reasons for war and the nature of the stated culprit, Al-Qaeda.
The events of 9/11 pervade the American and indeed the world imagination as an historical myth. The events of that day and those leading up to it remain largely unknown and little understood by the general public, apart from the disturbing images repeated ad nauseam in the media. The facts and troubled truths of that day are lost in the folklore of the 9/11 myth: that the largest attack carried out on American ground was orchestrated by 19 Muslims armed with box cutters and urged on by religious fundamentalism, all under the direction of Osama bin Laden, the leader of a global terrorist network called al-Qaeda, based out of a cave in Afghanistan.
The myth sweeps aside the facts and complex nature of terror, al-Qaeda, the American empire and literally defies the laws of physics. As John F. Kennedy once said, “The greatest enemy of the truth is not the lie – deliberate, contrived, and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, pervasive, and unrealistic.”
This three-part series on “The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda” examines the geopolitical historical origins and nature of what we today know as al-Qaeda, which is in fact an Anglo-American intelligence network of terrorist assets used to advance American and NATO imperial objectives in various regions around the world.
Part 1 examines the origins of the intelligence network known as the Safari Club, which financed and organized an international conglomerate of terrorists, the CIA’s role in the global drug trade, the emergence of the Taliban and the origins of al-Qaeda.
More: Parts 2 and 3. On the Safari Club and the Khan network, see the articles of the Collins brothers: Why the Ghost of A.Q. Khan Still Walks the Earth and Blackmailed by the Bomb: Nuclear Anxiety and the Cult of the Superweapon.
This notorious private contractor is spreading its tentacles in Pakistan for undercover activities on behalf of the US agencies
Shahid R. Siddiqi - August 30, 2010
Not too long ago, a wave of concern had swept through Pakistan when the local media began screaming about Blackwater’s growing infiltration in the country and its dubious activities. The mounting pressure to expel this infamous US defense contractor put the Zardari government in a corner. It could neither ignore public pressure nor displease its benefactors in Washington. In the end, it chose to vehemently deny these stories. Pakistan’s interior minister, Rehman Malik, said publicly he would resign if Blackwater is found operating anywhere in Pakistan, as if his resignation would be a great loss for the people.
These stories were also denounced as false propaganda by US officials. Responding to accusations that the US Embassy was sponsoring Blackwater, the US Ambassador, Anne Patterson, insisted that “Blackwater is not operating in Pakistan.” She claimed that Pakistani journalists were “wildly incorrect,” and blamed them for compromising the security of US personnel in Pakistan. Secretary Clinton, during her visit shortly thereafter, also dodged questions on the subject.
The information that has now emerged proves the fear of the Pakistanis to be correct. Not only has Blackwater been working in Pakistan, but it grows stronger by the day.
Secret Recording of Erik Prince Reveals Previously Undisclosed Blackwater Ops 1 of 2
Secret Recording of Erik Prince Reveals Previously Undisclosed Blackwater Ops 2 of 2
Jeremy Scahill, May 3, 2010
Erik Prince, the reclusive owner of the Blackwater empire, rarely gives public speeches and when he does he attempts to ban journalists from attending and forbids recording or videotaping of his remarks. On May 5, that is exactly what Prince is trying to do when he speaks at DeVos Fieldhouse as the keynote speaker for the “Tulip Time Festival” in his hometown of Holland, Michigan. He told the event’s organizers no news reporting could be done on his speech and they consented to the ban. Journalists and media associations in Michigan are protesting this attempt to bar reporting on his remarks.
Despite Prince’s attempts to shield his speeches from public scrutiny, The Nation magazine has obtained an audio recording of a recent, private speech delivered by Prince to a friendly audience. The speech, which Prince attempted to keep from public consumption, provides a stunning glimpse into his views and future plans and reveals details of previously undisclosed activities of Blackwater. The people of the United States have a right to media coverage of events featuring the owner of a company that generates 90% of its revenue from the United States government.
Peter Dale Scott, April 15, 2010
Alfred McCoy’s important new article (TomDispatch, posted on Global Research, April 5, 2010) deserves to mobilize Congress for a serious revaluation of America’s ill-considered military venture in Afghanistan. The answer to the question he poses in his title – “Can Anyone Pacify the World’s Number One Narco-State? – is amply shown by his impressive essay to be a resounding “No!” . . . not until there is fundamental change in the goals and strategies both of Washington and of Kabul.
He amply documents that
- the Afghan state of Hamid Karzai is a corrupt narco-state, to which Afghans are forced to pay bribes each year $2.5 billion, a quarter of the nation’s economy;
- the Afghan economy is a narco-economy: in 2007 Afghanistan produced 8,200 tons of opium, a remarkable 53% of the country’s GDP and 93% of global heroin supply.
Rick Rozoff - April 7, 2010
Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was deposed five years after and in the same manner as he came to power, in a bloody uprising.
Elected president two months after the so-called Tulip Revolution of 2005 he helped engineer, he was since then head of state of the main transit nation for the U.S. and NATO war in Afghanistan.
The Pentagon secured the Manas Air Base (as of last year known as the Transit Center at Manas) in Kyrgyzstan shortly after its invasion of Afghanistan in October of 2001 and in the interim, according to a U.S. armed forces publication last June, “More than 170,000 coalition personnel passed through the base on their way in or out of Afghanistan, and Manas was the transit point for 5,000 tons of cargo, including spare parts and equipment, uniforms and various items to support personnel and mission needs.
“Currently, around 1,000 U.S. troops, along with a few hundred from Spain and France, are assigned to the base.” 
The White House’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke paid his first visit in his current position to Kyrgyzstan – and the three other former Soviet Central Asian republics which border it, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – in February and said “35,000 US troops were transiting each month on their way in and out of Afghanistan.”  At the rate he mentioned, 420,000 troops annually.