Monday, December 31, 2007

Malev Airlines Crew has been "Sabotaging Aircraft"

Russian-owned Malev Hungarian Airlines Cancels Cork to Budapest Route
From: Mathaba

Flights on the Cork-Budapest route, which were fully booked over Christmas and the New Year, will cease from January 14, as Malev airlines downsizes its operation in Western Europe in anticipation of possible sanctions by European authorities over safety concerns due to heavy cost-cutting and past sabotage or non-EU ownership.

Malev Hungarian Airlines has been taken over by a Russian consortium of tycoon Boris Abramovich, which plans to downsize and cut its Hungarian workforce which has lead to an all-time low of morale among its staff. This came after the unpopular Hungarian government, widely accused of corruption and incompetence, allowed the sale of the national asset in spite of Malev staff having formed their own consortium to run the airline and keep it in Hungarian hands.

As a result of the unpopularity of the new management, especially due to the history of Russia and Hungary during the recent communist era, maintenance staff were found during an investigation to have been sabotaging aircraft. Combined with the efforts of Abramovich to make the airline profitable in a short time period, and corruption and crime rates in the airport and Hungary at large due to the difficult economic conditions faced by people, the risks of flying Malev have increased.

The airline also recently closed its Budapest to New York and Toronto routes, and has decided instead to focus in expanding its east Europe network, where corruption and security standards are not overseen by European Union agencies.

Cork Airport marketing manager Kevin Cullinane said the airport regretted the decision of Malev, and Irish passengers will be affected by a Russian company's very sudden decision to end flights to Budapest.

Passengers to and from Hungary through Budapest airport already do so at their own risk and must suffer the consequences of theft or other complaints at the airport without recourse. Hungarian police do not respond to victims who open police cases and the airport has no apparent complaints procedure.

The European Commission contacted Hungarian authorities regarding the control and ownership of Malev Airlines after it was sold to Russian tycoon Boris Abramovich. Several mysterious replacements of top management have taken place in recent months. Budapest airport has exchanged hands several times in recent years, and is currently owned by German company HochTief.

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Lawyer: Police Prevented Bhutto Autopsy

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Rawalpindi's police chief stopped doctors at the hospital where Benazir Bhutto died from conducting an autopsy, according to a lawyer on the hospital's board.

It was a violation of Pakistani criminal law and prevented a medical conclusion about what killed the former prime minister, said Athar Minallah, who serves on the board that manages Rawalpindi General Hospital.

However, the police chief involved, Aziz Saud, told CNN that he suggested an autopsy be done, but that Bhutto's husband objected.

The revelation came on Monday after dramatic new videotape of Bhutto's assassination emerged, showing her slumping just after gunshots rang out.

The tape provided the clearest view yet of the attack and appeared to show that Bhutto was shot. That would contradict the Pakistan government's account.
Read Bhutto's full medical report

A previously released videotape showed a man at the right of her vehicle raising a gun, pointing it toward Bhutto, who was standing in her car with her upper body through the sunroof. He fired three shots, then there was an explosion.

In the video that emerged on Sunday, Bhutto was standing, and her hair and scarf appeared to move, perhaps from the bullet. Bhutto fell into the car, then came the blast. Watch new tape showing apparent gunman »

These images seem to support the theory that Bhutto died at the hands of a shooter before a bomb was detonated, killing another 23 people.

Don't Miss
Benazir Bhutto's medical report
Bhutto aide suggests cover-up
In depth: Benazir Bhutto
Doctors at Rawalpindi General hospital declared the 54-year-old dead hours after Thursday's attack, but the cause of her death has been widely debated.

Pakistan's Interior Ministry announced on Friday that Bhutto died from a skull fracture suffered when she fell or ducked into the car as a result of the shots or the explosion and crashed her head onto a sunroof latch. See the likely sequence of events »

Bhutto's family and political party maintain that the government is lying, and insist she died from gunshot wounds.

Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema said the government's conclusion was based on "absolute facts, nothing but the facts" and "it was corroborated by the doctor's report."

But Minallah issued an open letter on Monday and released the doctors' clinical notes to distance them from the government statement, and he also talked to CNN.

In the letter, Minallah said the doctors "suggested to the officials to perform an autopsy," but that Saud "did not agree." He noted that under the law, police investigators have "exclusive responsibility" in deciding to have an autopsy.

Minallah told CNN that he was speaking out because the doctors at the hospital were "threatened."

"They are government servants who cannot speak -- I am not," he said. He did not elaborate on the threats against the doctors.

He said the lack of an autopsy has created "a perception that there is some kind of cover-up, though I might not believe in that theory."

"There is a state within the state, and that state within the state does not want itself to be held accountable," Minallah said.

Cheema said the government had no objection to Bhutto's body being exhumed for an autopsy if the family requested it.

Her widower, Asif Ali Zardari, has said the family was against exhumation because it did not trust the government.

Minallah said the family could not have prevented an autopsy at the hospital without getting an order from a judge.

The three-page medical report -- which was signed by seven doctors -- described Bhutto's head wound, but it did not conclude what caused it. It noted that X-ray images were made after she was declared dead.

The wound was described as an irregular oval of about 5-by-3 centimeters above her left ear.

"Sharp bones edges were felt in the wound," it read. "No foreign body was felt in the wound."

CIA's IN-Q-TEL Opens Boston Office, Backs Start-Up of Vertica Systems, Inc.

In-Q-Tel Opens Boston Office, Plans to In-q-bate New Technology for the Intelligence Community
By Wade Roush
December 4, 2007

If you’re a budding Boston entrepreneur working on a technology such as deeper data mining, longer-lasting batteries, or faster microfluidic DNA screening, you might get a surprise phone call one day soon from the U.S. intelligence community—or at least, from its strategic investing arm. That’s because In-Q-Tel, an Arlington, VA-based private, non-profit group that funds early-stage technology ventures on behalf of the Central Intelligence Agency and other U.S. intelligence organizations, has come to town. It’s just turned on the lights at its new Waltham office, and it’s on the lookout for Boston-area startups with technologies that could help the nation’s spies and intelligence analysts do their jobs better.

It’s not that Boston has eluded the intelligence agencies in the past—the region is already home to 13 out of the 120 companies In-Q-Tel has funded since its creation in 1999, including Basis Technology, BBN Technologies, Ember, Endeca, Metacarta, Polychromix, Sionex, Spotfire, and Traction Software. But Ben Levitan, a new partner brought on by In-Q-Tel this April to help open the Boston outpost, says “that percentage is about to go up a lot.”

Levitan agreed to meet me for coffee in a snowy Harvard Square yesterday afternoon. With him was Donald Tighe, In-Q-Tel’s vice president of external affairs, who was visiting from Virginia. I’d first met Levitan in an unusual setting—a dinner discussion about virtual items and virtual economies hosted back in October by David Beisel of Cambridge venture firm Venrock—and he’d hinted to me then that In-Q-Tel would have some news in the next few weeks. Over cappuccinos at Legal Sea Foods, Levitan and Tighe told me that the organization has been cultivating local contacts behind the scenes for some time, and that they’re now finally ready to start spreading the word more widely about In-Q-Tel’s presence here. ...
Re VERTICA SYSTEMS, INC.: " ... In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the Central Intelligence Agency, is also among the company's backers ... "
Software pioneer is 'Johnny Appleseed' of start-ups
By Scott Kirsner, Globe Correspondent | December 23, 2007

Lanky and laconic, Michael Stonebraker is sprawled across a conference room chair at the Andover headquarters of Vertica Systems Inc., a company he helped found.

Stonebraker is one of the pioneers of modern database software, and he's musing in his professorial manner - he also supervises database research at MIT - about his next big idea. The musing makes Vertica chief executive Ralph Breslauer a little uncomfortable, since it's still unclear whether Stonebraker's new concept will fit inside Vertica's business or wind up as the germ of a new company.

Stonebraker is the tech world's equivalent of Tom Brady: an idea guy it seems silly to bet against. His first three companies, all started in the 1980s and 1990s while he was teaching computer science at Berkeley, were acquired by high-tech biggies Computer Associates, Informix, and PeopleSoft for as much as $400 million.

But lately, Stonebraker has been a bit of a bumblebee, flitting from one company to another. In 2003, he started a company called StreamBase Systems Inc., now based in Lexington. Two years later, while still serving as StreamBase's chief technologist, he cofounded Vertica. Both database companies attracted funding from the same two local venture capital firms, Bessemer Venture Partners and Highland Capital Partners. With 2007 almost done, the timing could be right for another start-up.

"It is unusual," says Paul Maeder of Highland Capital of Stonebraker's Johnny Appleseed approach to company creation, "but he's just a very prolific guy."

And few techies have Stonebraker's sway with senior information technology executives. When Vertica organized a dinner in Manhattan last month, two dozen of Wall Street's chief information officers trooped over to the Yale Club to hear him speak.

StreamBase helps companies analyze data as it flows in, rather than after they've stashed it into a database. Marketing vice president Bill Hobbib likens it to "counting salmon as they go up the stream." Several hedge funds rely on StreamBase's software to gain insight into stock market twitches as they're happening and trade on them. In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the Central Intelligence Agency, is also among the company's backers, and StreamBase chief executive Chris Risley suggests that the software may be in use by several government agencies trying to foil terrorist plots - though he can't be explicit. The company has raised $31 million so far.

Risley doesn't seem miffed that Stonebraker is now devoting most of his time to Vertica, the younger company. "Engineering is a slower process than the speed of thought for Stonebraker," he says. "It can take months for us to digest just a couple of ideas from him." Risley says one of Stonebraker's legendary remarks about a new feature is, "It's only ten lines of code," meaning a programmer ought to be able to enact it in just an afternoon. "Stonebraker works best a fair distance from the enterprise."

Vertica takes a novel approach to storing data (placing it in columns, instead of rows) that enables it to use just 10 percent of the disk space it would ordinarily require; the unique format also allows data to be read more quickly, which means faster answers when users ask a question - even if a database is enormous. The company has raised $23.5 million so far, some of it from the well-regarded Silicon Valley firm Kleiner Perkins. In February, Vertica named Jerry Held, a former top executive at Oracle Corp., as its chairman; Vertica is hoping to nibble at the edges of Oracle's vast collection of customers.

"Vertica is in an established market," Stonebraker says. "We go to CIOs and ask them, 'Do you have a data warehouse, and are you in pain?' StreamBase is more of a missionary in a new market, competing against the custom code that companies write themselves." Sometimes, the two companies wind up selling to the same customer, using StreamBase's technology to analyze streaming data and then relying on Vertica to store the data. Risley says that the two companies closed a joint sale last week, where Vertica had recommended StreamBase.

Despite Stonebraker's star power, selling database software to large companies won't be a cakewalk. They're inherently skeptical of buying important software packages from start-ups, and established vendors like Oracle and IBM have vast sales forces that will gladly stoke doubts about the reliability of Vertica and StreamBase's products.

"It's an uphill battle, to be sure," says Paul Barth of NewVantage Partners, an Arlington consultancy that works with chief information officers. Barth says his firm's clients tell him they're trying to whittle down the list of tech vendors they buy from - not add to it. "One CIO we work with has a policy: If you're going to bring in a new vendor, show me the one I should kick out."

The challenge for both Stonebraker companies will be to build sales teams that can make progress against those headwinds, and engineering groups that can pay close attention to what customers will want in future editions of the products.

And also prepare for Stonebraker's eventual exit. One investor I spoke with expects him to move on from Vertica after the company raises a third round of funding - likely happen in 2008.

Maeder says Stonebraker's next database idea, which still is under wraps, will probably stay within Vertica - though he doesn't entirely dismiss the possibility it could be a separate company.

"It's a huge investment to create a new company with its own sales force," he says. "But sometimes you just can't keep the boy on the farm."

Theresa Duncan "Suicide" - Nancy Jo Sales vs. Melinda Hunt

What we have here are blaring contradictions, more "funny" business in the handling if information re the death of Theresa Duncan. If she wasn't a target of political murder - like Gary Caradori and the many odd deaths and "suicides" that connect to the Omaha child abuse scandal, including Theresa at the time of her highly-publicized demise - why is there so much deliberate distortion in press reports (including the now discredited testimony of Beck and the oily machinations of Ann Coulter's friend Kate Coe in the LA Weekly) on her "suicide?"

AC's first rule of investigative reporting: THE COVER-UP PROVES THE CRIME.

- AC

Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2007 14:07:43 EST
Subject: Your recent post on Blake and Duncan...

...has several errors and omissions. For starters, the writer, Melinda Hunt, is a former girlfriend of Frank Morales. They broke up right before Duncan died. According to cop sources, Melinda Hunt was not present at the scene of Blake and Duncan's death, as she claims.

At Jeremy Blake's memorial service in Washington, in front of several witnesses, Ms. Hunt accosted me and demanded to talk to me about Morales, for whom she seemed to harbor a lot of sore feelings. I told her to go away. I never contacted her about my article in Vanity Fair. A close friend of Theresa Duncan's informed me that Duncan was not crazy about Hunt, and believed (wrongly, I assume) that she was a member of the Church of Scientology; it was Hunt's connection with Morales, one source said, that put a chill in Theresa and Jeremy's relationship with Frank.

As for my marriage to Frank, it's true, we did have a spiritual marriage, in a ceremony in New York, attended by about 100 people, in 2004.

Unfortunately, we were unable to obtain a divorce from Frank's estranged wife in time for our scheduled ceremony. We continued to try and get the divorce, hoping to become married some time after our wedding. In my early drafts of the piece, I wrote that Frank and I had had a "relationship"; but since it had been reported in the press that we were married, my editor and I thought it would be less confusing to simply say that we were married—which in some circles we were (are gay people who have "spiritual ceremonies" married? It's up to you to decide). Our feeling was that we wanted to fully inform the reader of the extent of our connection. As to whether my having had a relationship with Frank altered my reporting of the piece, of course it didn't. He was a source like any other.

As with any source, everything he said was checked against other sources, through my own reporting and through fact-checkers. He was one of many, many sources interviewed for this piece. I am also not the first reporter in history, I believe, to interview a friend, spouse, or family member. Frank did not seek out access to me, as Hunt claims, but quite the contrary. It took a long time to convince him to talk about his friends. He was very close to Blake and Duncan in their final days, and at the scene of Theresa's suicide, so of course he had special insight into their lives and the end of their lives, which is part of what makes the portrait we were able to draw of them more intimate than others.

Finally, Frank did not "arrange interviews" with Blake and Duncan's family for me, as Hunt claims. I never spoke to Duncan's family, who refused to talk to the press. I had many exchanges with Blake's mother before she would agree to answer a few questions. p.s. According to a close friend of Duncan's, Hunt insisted on coming to Duncan's memorial service in December, to which she was not formally invited. As to the why of that, and the why of her post to you, I leave it up to you to speculate.

Nancy Jo Sales

Melinda Hunt said...

I was with Frank Morales when he went up into the St. Mark's Rectory on July 10. He was not invited up for a drink. He had invited me to go out for dinner. I was concerned about the police and the ambulance that were trying to get into the rectory on the 11th Street entrance where the stairway was removed for repairs. When we went up using the church yard entrance, the NYPD turned us away saying it was a "crime scene." At that time we did not know that Theresa Duncan had committed suicide.

I asked a police officer outside the rectory when the medical examiner would arrive. He said not for a while. At that point I knew that Theresa was dead because we had briefly seen Jeremy from the top of the rectory staircase.

Realizing the Theresa was a Catholic, I suggested to Rev. Morales that he try to perform last rites so that her family could have a Catholic burial. He went back up and gained access to the apartment and to stay with Jeremy.

In my mind, it is totally unethical for him to have relayed false statements to Ms. Sales following the event or even to have spoken about the details of her death to anyone in the press. Additionally, both Ms. Sales and Rev. Morales were never legally married. Morales is still married to writer Lisa Walker. He was reprimanded by Episcopal Bishop Mark Sisk for representing that he had a "spiritual marriage" to Ms. Sales. The whole Vanity Fair article represents serious comflicts of interest.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


by Alex Constantine

While a fugitive in Pakistan, Ramzi Yousef was instrumental in several bombings and a previous plot to kill Benazir Bhutto, then prime minister. Mrs. Bhutto chaired the Pakistan People's Party, founded in 1967 by her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. In July 1977, Mr. Bhutto was unseated as prime minister himself in a CIA-planned coup led by General Mohammed Zia Al-Haq.

Benazir has long experience with the political intrigues of the Pakistani contras:

"As a moderate, progressive, democratically-elected woman prime minister of Pakistan," Mrs. Bhutto said in a 2001 interview, "I was a threat to the
fundamentalist zealots on multiple levels and targeted by them." The
zealots, of course, had a distinct advantage: "The support of sympathetic
elements within Pakistan's security apparatus and the financial support of
people like Osama Bin Laden."

Bhutto had shut down an al Qaeda-affiliated university in Peshawar, and that
brought retaliation - "My government was destabilized," she says; Ramzi
Yousef had been caught, extradited and "money was pilfered and laundered
from state banks to fund the campaigns of opposition parties."

The interrogation of Yousef revealed "two separate assassination attempts in
1993. Osama bin Laden personally spent over $10 million in late 1989 in
support of a motion of no confidence to topple my government. And
ultimately, with the active support of elements of the Pakistani military,
my two democratically elected governments were sacked and elections rigged to ensure that my party would not return to power. Beware the power of zealots who are well-funded, well-armed and supported by elements of your own government!"1

Yousef was arrested at the Su-Casa Guest House in Islamabad on February 7, 1995 by Pakistani police, agents of the FBI and U.S. Diplomatic Security

In November, Bhutto was dismissed as "paranoid" by clerical opponents when she condemned the intrusion of religion into politics, and spoke in favor of a liberal democratic state. She also denounced the irrelevant, bomb-throwing fundamentalists agitating for her removal as "western agents" financed "by the CIA."2

Bhutto takes a dim view of the current administration under Pervez
Musharraf. In a recent Guardian editorial, she saw that in Bush's war or
terror, Musharraf "gets to play good cop and earn Washington's pleasure to
continue his dictatorship." Unfortunately, "eyebrows are raised as to why
leading al Qaeda militants found it necessary to hide" - and continue to
operate, like Yousef and Murad and Atta - "in a land run by Washington's
key ally' in the war against terror."3

Islamabad, Oct 6, 2003, IRNA - ... US Deputy Secretary of State
Richard Armitage has praised Pakistan's cooperation with the United States
American news outlets have been all too willing to distort the Islamic
threat and report dubious federal pronouncements without question. At the
same time, U.S. involvement in terrorism, particularly the "conservative"
variety, is downplayed.

The bonds between the CIA, according to Australian reporter Ben Vidgen,
"anti-Communist elements of the Vatican and Hitler's men are not slim. Since the final days of World War II, the totalitarian seekers have made use of people's hatred by establishing a clandestine fascist network." The said
network would, of course, include "government-endorsed death squads"
prowling the countryside like the Black Reichswehr of proto-Nazi Germany ... or the Nicaraguan contras.

Pakistan's faith-based death squads "possess the financial, logistical and
political support of agents whose influence equals or betters the ruling
system's power. The above is a premise wholeheartedly agreed with by the
US-based right-wing Center for International Affairs (a favourite stomping
ground of Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski). The Center for
International Affairs (and its close cousin, the Center for Strategic and
International Studies) utilised this hypothesis to promote the perception
that the Soviet Union lay behind all incidents of international terrorism.
Their prestige and influence was so great that when the CIA's own analysts
could not find verifiable proof of a Soviet terrorist conspiracy, the CIA
director, William Casey, chose to rely on the information of journalist
Claire Sterling in her book, The Terror Network. Read Claire Sterling's
book and forget this mush. I paid $13.95 for this and it told me more than
you bastards whom I pay $50,000 a year,' responded Casey in fury. The irony was that Claire Sterling's book had used material that was in fact part of a CIA propaganda scheme."4

In November 2001, members of a militant group calling itself Mohammed's Army hijacked a bus in Pakistan after the driver ignored a demand to turn off the muzak. Police caught up with them and seized firearms, grenades, a variety of arms ... and weapons permits issued by Pakistan's Inter-Services
Intelligence (ISI) Agency.5

"Since its founding in 1948," the Baltimore Sun reports, "the ISI has grown
into a giant intelligence and covert operations network with an estimated
10,000 employees - an invisible government,' some say - that wields
considerable influence over Pakistani foreign policy and sometimes meddles
in domestic politics."6

It is well-known that the ISI was a CIA cut-out in the arming of Afghan
guerillas, and that BCCI laundered opium profits for the war. (Dozens of al
Qaeda histories and timelines on the Internet weave the Byzantine maze of
Bush administration, CIA and bin Laden connections to BCCI, so the banking
network won't be discussed in this account unless necessary.)

There are critical, even shocking gaps in the files among those kept between
1982 through 1992. Not all is known about the CIA-BCCI scandal or some of
principal contacts in the Middle East, including BCCI shareholder Kamal
Adham and a favored client, Adnan Khashoggi. However, as The New Yorker
reported on March 17, 2003, when Khashoggi embargoed missiles to Iran on
behalf of North's NSC, he "borrowed much of the money for the weapons from the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, whose collapse, in 1991, defrauded thousands of depositors and led to years of inquiry and

Investigations of Adnan Khashoggi have cost American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars - and they always come up dry due to backstage

But there is a substantial record of Bush ties to the ISI and bin Laden. The
bin Ladens and their Saudi business partners owned Texas property banks,
airlines. Intensive lobbying efforts, Wayne Madsen reports, "carried out
with the help of Texans like Houston socialite and TV personality Joanne
Herring, Baron and Baroness di Portanova, and Vice President George H. W.
Bush, in concert with Richard Perle, former New Hampshire Senator Gordon
Humphrey, the Congressional Jewish Caucus, and the ever-enigmatic shady
operator Richard Armitage, radicals like bin Laden and his associates, Dr.
Ayman al Zawahiri and Professor Abdul Rasul Sayyaf (the founder of a
Saudi-financed and ISI-organized Terrorist University' which spawned the
Philippine terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group'), were able to cobble together an
impressive jihadist army armed with stockpiles of Soviet-made weapons from Egypt, captured Soviet weapons from Israel, and tons of cash from
billionaire Saudi benefactors. George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush's
Florida election fixer' and newly-named Bush debate coach James Baker III
have both been honored guests, according to The Wall Street Journal, at the
bin Laden family's palatial headquarters in Jeddah. With the active support
of Pakistan's military dictator Mohammed Zia Ul-Haq (who was killed along
with the U.S. ambassador, Pakistan's ISI chief Akhtar Abdul Rahman, and
others in a mysterious 1988 plane crash determined by an unpublished
Pakistani court of inquiry report to have been caused by the pilot being
knocked out by gas in the cockpit), the Afghan mujaheddin became
increasingly radicalized in the Wahhabi traditions."7

Saudi Royals furnished the madrasas, and Pakistan's ISI whipped them into
fundamentalist soldiers for Allah.

1) "A Former Pakistani Prime Minister Weighs In:
Benazir Bhutto,", Sept. 21, 2001.

2) "Bhutto's paranoid accusations," Independent Center for Strategic Studies
and Analysis.

3) Benazir Bhutto, "Dictatorship and religious extremism are fuelled by
gross inequality," Guardian, August 9, 2004.,2763,1279225,00.html

4) Ben C. Vidgen, "A State of Terror: How many 'terrorist' groups has your
government established, sponsored or networked lately?" Nexus,
February-March 1996.

5) Frank Langfitt, "Pakistani spies long linked to militants - Agency gave
backing to Taliban, Kashmir fighters, mujahedeen," Baltimore Sun, November
25, 2001.

6) Ibid.

7) Wayne Madsen, "Osama bin Laden: a Texas-style Republican in Muslim
clothing," Online Journal, September 12, 2004.
Without a war on poverty, we will never defeat terror
Dictatorship and religious extremism are fuelled by gross inequality

Monday August 9, 2004
The Guardian

While the world focuses on the war against terror, the war against poverty slides on to the backburner. Since the bombing of the World Trade Centre in 2001, three developments have become decisive on a global scale. The first is the fight to root out militants, the second is the political rise of those on the religious margins and the third is the growing gap between the rich and the poor.

Pakistan is a frontline state in the war against terrorism. Most of the leading terrorists have been arrested in Pakistan. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, once described as the CEO of al-Qaida, was arrested in Rawalpindi. Other important leaders continue to be caught in dribs and drabs every six months, including Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian, who was arrested in the Pakistani city of Gujrat last month.

This is good and bad news for Islamabad's military ruler. The positive part is that General Pervez Musharraf gets to play good cop and earn Washington's pleasure to continue his dictatorship. The bad part is that eyebrows are raised as to why leading al-Qaida militants found it necessary to hide in a land run by Washington's "key ally" in the war against terror.

Unfortunately for Pakistan, assassinations and suicide bombings have also been increasing domestically. Scores of Pakistanis and many foreigners have been killed. Many political leaders have been gunned down in the streets - from Rawalpindi in the north to Karachi in the south.

None of the assassins has been arrested. Instead, public attention has been focused on five apparent assassination attempts against high-profile targets that have taken place since last December: two attacks on Gen Musharraf, and one each on the Karachi corps commander, the prime minister-designate, Shaukat Aziz, and the Baluchistan chief minister.

While the regime insists these were genuine assassination attempts, their pattern suggests something different. At most, they seem to have been attempts to frighten the targets. At worst, if the cynics are to be believed, the attacks were stage-managed for external consumption.

For example, in each case, the bombers used low intensity explosives. None of the people hurt or killed was of political value - though they were, of course, of personal and national value. These included innocent people escorting the apparent targets. The main targets escaped without a scratch. While it is welcome that they survived, the larger issue needs resolving.

The drivers in the corps commander's and prime minister-designate's cars were killed, but the other passengers escaped unscathed. It is difficult to believe that bombers would repeatedly use low-intensity explosives so that only one occupant of the car being attacked - or a person outside the car - would die. A public commission into these attacks is needed.

The second crucial development since September 11 2001 has been the rise of religious extremists. There appear to be groups in both the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds who believe that a clash of civilisations is needed for religious reasons. The Christian fundamentalists believe that Christ will be resurrected once the people of the Jewish faith are resettled on the banks of the Euphrates. The Muslim extremists believe that the Mahdi will arrive when the battle between Muslims and non-Muslims intensifies.

This political scenario is threatening to undo the entire global social fabric built since the end of the second world war - one based on the tolerance between different faiths, races, genders and cultures. A clash of civilisations can lead to Armageddon, where there will be no winners on earth. But perhaps the religious extremists are not searching for winners on earth.

The challenge for the world community is to emphasise values of tolerance, moderation and inter-faith understanding, on which rest the pillars of a less violent world. However, the bombing of the World Trade Centre and the events in Iraq have made that more difficult. The former led to suspicion against Muslims and a loss of civil liberties; the latter to a counter-suspicion from Muslims as to the real purposes of the war. The inability to find weapons of mass destruction and the Abu Ghraib abuses undermined the reasons given for the Iraq war.

While global attention is focused on terrorism, the crisis of poverty is effectively disregarded. Today, big business seems to be in the driving seat. One recent report found that while 20 years ago CEOs made an average of 40 times more than factory workers, last year it was 400 times more, and is now climbing to a multiple of 500.

This staggering rise in the fortunes of those on top, while those below suffer, is a festering sore that has the potential to erupt. The recent Indian elections showed that a stock-market economy alone could not make India shine. The Indian electorate went against all predictions, as peasants, labourers and the middle classes voted for change. Similarly, in Pakistan the talk of stock market rises and foreign exchange increases hides a more troubling picture. This is one of increasing poverty, hunger, misery and frustration. The numbers of young people killing themselves because of hunger was 1,200 in six months. These are the officially recorded figures - the real figures are believed to be much higher.

In Pakistan, the average income has been shrinking. The cost of living is rising sharply. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the ordinary citizen to pay fat utility bills and buy the basic necessities of life. The Pakistan Economic Survey admits that poverty has increased since democracy was derailed in 1996. The gap between the rich and the poor is growing at an alarming rate. The war against terrorism is primarily perceived as a war based on the use of force. However, economics has its own force, as does the desperation of families who cannot feed themselves. A more stable world depends on the ability to use force when necessary - and to seek political solutions when possible. After all, force is the prelude to achieving a more favourable negotiating position in a political settlement.

Militancy and greed cannot become the defining images of a new century that began with much hope. As the body count rises in Iraq, as a leading NGO pulls out of Afghanistan and as a suicide attack takes place against Pakistan's prime minister designate, the time has come to rethink. By returning to the values of democracy, the will of the people, broad-based government and building institutions that can respond to the people, the social malaise can be addressed.

The neglect of rising poverty against the background of religious extremism can only complicate an already difficult world situation.

· Benazir Bhutto is chairperson of the Pakistan People's party and a former prime minister of Pakistan

Comment: The Bush administration failed Benazir Bhutto

" ... it is [a] time for sombre reflection on the utterly failed and fully dysfunctional foreign policies of the Bush-Cheney administration. ... "
The Bush administration failed Benazir Bhutto
December 30, 2007
The Age/John Nichols

Minutes before she was assassinated in Pakistan, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto told a rally in Rawalpindi that "I put my life in danger and came here because I feel this country is in danger. People are worried. We will bring the country out of this crisis."

The daughter of an executed former prime minister and the first woman to lead a Muslim state, Bhutto lived with danger even when she was in exile. She symbolized secular, modern, Western-oriented and democratic instincts that were at odds with the values both of Islamic fundamentalists and military dictators in the Muslim world. Al Qaeda had attempted, at least twice, to kill her.

When she returned to Pakistan on Oct. 18, Bhutto accepted the danger, saying that "if you fight for a cause you believe in, you have to be ready to pay the price." Bhutto believed it was the only way to address the crisis that Pakistan has become under the crudely cynical rule of the dictator Pervez Musharraf.

The severity of the threat became immediately clear.

Bhutto was the subject of an assassination attempt that killed 140 people on the day of her arrival. That attempt had yet to be adequately investigated by security forces controlled by Musharraf.

She had been placed under house arrest by Musharraf's government, which declared a sweeping state of emergency that was lifted in time for the election campaign in which Bhutto was engaged at the time of her killing.

Could anything have been done to prevent the assassination? Of course. Bhutto and her aides had repeatedly appealed for greater physical protection. Those appeals were directed to both Musharraf and his primary benefactor, U.S. President George W. Bush. But there was never an adequate response.

Bush and his aides may have recognized that Bhutto was an essential ally for the U.S., particularly as an enthusiastic supporter of global efforts to confront Islamic militancy. But they never sent a clear signal to Musharraf regarding the need to investigate the October assassination attempt, to confront threats to Bhutto and other opposition leaders, or to provide basic security.

Just as the dictator was allowed to neglect the task of tracking down Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda operatives within his country, just as he was given a pass when Pakistani officials shared nuclear secrets and technologies with rogue states, just as he was allowed to thwart democratic initiatives in his country and the region, Musharraf never faced a serious demand from the Bush administration to protect Bhutto.

And in the absence of that demand from the government that props him up as what Bush once referred to as "our guy," Musharraf – who has survived so many assassination attempts himself – failed to take the steps necessary to save Bhutto or to foster democratic processes.

The Bush administration failed Benazir Bhutto and now she is dead.

With her died the prospects of stability and democracy that she embodied. It was allegedly the kind of stability and democracy that the president, Vice-President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice claim as the goals of their so-called "war on terror." Her death is one of the clearest examples of their inadequacy.

This is a time for mourning. But it is, as well, a time for sombre reflection on the utterly failed and fully dysfunctional foreign policies of the Bush-Cheney administration.

The world is a more dangerous place today.

The failure of Bush and those around him to premise their relationship with Musharraf on the absolute demand that Bhutto be kept safe and alive made it so.

Now, the question is: Will Congress – Republicans and Democrats – step forward to say that the relationship that Bush has established and maintained with Musharraf is no longer morally or practically tenable?

John Nichols is the Washington correspondent for The Nation magazine.

Heritage Foundation Propagandizes for Domestic "Public Diplomacy"

More authoritarian moonshine from the gold-plated Heritage still:

Heritage Foundation Analyzes Restriction on Public Diplomacy
By AC Writer
Published Dec 05, 2007

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C., has published a new backgrounder by Dr. Juliana G. Pilon [SEE BIO BELOW]. The backgrounder, titled "Obsolete Restrictions on Public Diplomacy Hurt U.S. Outreach and Strategy," is available on The Heritage Foundation's web site.

According to Dr. Pilon, Section 501 of the U.S. Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948, which prohibits the release of information designed for other nations within the United States, hinders the ability of the United States in its effort to spread messages around the world. The restriction is designed to prevent the spread of propaganda in America, although the backgrounder says that the restriction is now hard to enforce as a result of advances in technology. The result, Heritage says, is an ineffective diplomatic effort by the United States.

In the memo, Dr. Pilon writes that Section 501 contributes to a misunderstanding on the part of the American public about the efforts the U.S. government is undertaking in the international arena. Heritage says that the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty have Internet sites that allow American citizens to conduct research, but information on neither is disseminated within the United States. Worst of all, the backgrounder reports, is that Section 501 is hindering America's global war on terrorism by restricting our strategic communication capability.

As for why the provision of Section 501 is still in effect, the backgrounder says that a simple explanation is the fear of both Democrats and Republicans that they will be accused of supporting domestic propaganda. But the primary reason for the provision's continued existence may be that the public just doesn't understand is involved in public diplomacy, Dr. Pilon writes.

n detailing what actions the United States should take, Heritage says that Congress should undertake immediate steps to get rid of Section 501 and that all U.S. agencies with a role in public diplomacy should be required to detail their efforts to the National Security Adviser. Additionally, the memo says, Congress should require training for all public employees participating in public diplomacy and should make available the funds for that training. Finally, Dr. Pilon argues, recipients of government grants and contracts should be required to tell the public about their diplomacy efforts in accordance with security requirements.

In closing, the memo says that the battle of ideas is critical in the contemporary environment and the United States should take the steps necessary to make its information message abroad as effective as possible.

Source: Heritage Foundation Backgrounder Nu
Juliana G. Pilon, Visiting Assistant Professor
St. Mary's College, Department of Political Science

A native of Romania who speaks French, Romanian and Hungarian, Dr. Pilon came to the U.S. after a seventeen-year attempt to emigrate. She studied philosophy at Princeton University and the University of Chicago where she received her Ph.D. in 1974. She has taught at Emory University, American University, George Washington University, the Institute of World Politics, and Johns Hopkins University. She was Executive Director and then Vice President of the National Forum Foundation (now part of Freedom House), Vice President for Programs at the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) for nearly twelve years, and a Senior Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation. Dr. Pilon is the author of the autobiographical "Notes From the Other Side of Night," "The Bloody Flag: Post-Communist Nationalism in East-Central Europe," and over two hundred articles on various international issues including the United Nations, Soviet active measures, terrorism, East-West trade, as well as literary and cultural topics. Her anthology on civic education, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, entitled "Ironic Points of Light," was published in Estonian and Russian in 1998. She has also written and edited a textbook on civic education which is being used throughout Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, endorsed by the Departments of Education in these countries. While at IFES, Dr. Pilon has organized election assistance programs -- including election administration, election monitoring, voter education, poll worker training, and electoral systems analysis -- in Asia, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and the Americas. Upon her departure from IFES on Sept. 10, 2002, the Board of Directors passed a resolution in gratitude “for her many years of distinguished service and her tremendous contributions to [IFES’] cause,” commending her “for her efforts in demonstrating that freedom and democratic ideals matter and that they are the primary tools needed to achieve a more peaceful and democratic world.” Her daughter Danielle graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from St. Mary's College in 2001. Her son Alex is a passionate mountainbiker and trumpeter.

Noteworthy Contributions

Juliana G Pilon: As a Vice President for Programs at the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), Dr. Pilon has organized election assistance programs -- including election administration, election monitoring, voter education, poll worker training, civic education, and electoral systems analysis -- in Asia, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and the Americas. Upon her departure from IFES on Sept. 10, 2002, the Board of Directors passed a resolution in gratitude “for her many years of distinguished service and her tremendous contributions to [IFES’] cause,” commending her “for her efforts in demonstrating that freedom and democratic ideals matter and that they are the primary tools needed to achieve a more peaceful and democratic world.”

UK: Nuke Test Victims Twist in the Wind

Nuke scandal brought home

Gordon Brown doesn't have to rely on reports from campaigners to understand the scandal over the British nuclear test veterans. He can ask his wife Sarah.

The man she grew up calling "grandpa" - her grandfather by her mother's second marriage - died from a rare form of cancer after witnessing a test in the South Pacific.

Squadron Leader Stephen Pooley flew through the mushroom cloud to collect fallout samples. Yet when he died in 1996 from myelodysplastic syndrome, the Ministry of Defence lied to his inquest and said there was "no proof" that he had been anywhere near the explosion.

UK: Nuke Test Victims Twist in the Wind

Such a shocking story will come as little surprise to anyone who has followed the scandal of the nuclear test vets, though that does not diminish the outrage at each new case.

But Squadron Leader Pooley's story brings the shameful treatment of thousands of servicemen right to the door of the current prime minister.

It is time for Mr Brown to immediately order decent treatment for the dwindling number of veterans who remain alive - and the relatives of those who have died.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bhutto's Party Rejects Al-Qaeda Claim

Bhutto's Party Rejects Al-Qaeda Claim as Riots Spread (Update4)
By Khalid Qayum

Dec. 29 (Bloomberg) -- The Pakistan Peoples Party rejected government claims that a Taliban commander linked to al-Qaeda was behind the assassination of its leader Benazir Bhutto, as the death toll from rioting rose to 38.

Baitullah Mehsud, a Pakistani Taliban commander linked to al-Qaeda, is suspected of plotting the Dec. 27 suicide attack that killed Bhutto, the Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema told reporters yesterday. Mehsud denied the claim, Agence France-Presse reported, citing a spokesman.

The government "is trying to divert the investigations into Bhutto's killing,'' Farhatullah Babar, her spokesman, said in a phone interview today.

"Mehsud had already denied he planned to assassinate Bhutto.''

The former prime minister's assassination has deepened the turmoil in Pakistan, a key ally U.S. in the war on terrorism, less than two weeks before elections, which the government still intends to hold on Jan. 8. Rioting spread overnight as Bhutto supporters took to the streets, burning offices, shops and buses.

Cheema cited a taped conversation of the Taliban leader, in which he congratulates a friend for Bhutto's death. "Very brave boys'' took part in the assault, Mehsud said, according to a government transcript of the tape.

"We had no involvement in this attack,'' AFP reported, citing Maulana Omar, a spokesman for Mehsud. "We express our deep grief and shock over her death.''

The party will name Bhutto's successor tomorrow and may also decide on whether to participate in the elections or call for postponement, AAJ television channel reported, citing Bhutto's husband Asif Ali Zardari. Bhutto has named a successor in her will, Zardari said.

Leader Buried

Mehsud was also behind the Oct. 19 assassination attempt on Bhutto when she held a public rally in Karachi after arriving in Pakistan from exile, Cheema said. The assassination attempt left 136 other people dead.

"If the government had accepted our demand of holding an independent inquiry by overseas experts into the Oct. 19 bombing on Bhutto, this would not have happened,'' Babar said.

Bhutto was buried yesterday in the family mausoleum in Garhi Khuda Baksh, in the southern province of Sindh, about 480 kilometers (298 miles) north of the commercial capital, Karachi, as troops were sent to quell riots across Pakistan.

Nawaz Sharif, another former prime minister and Bhutto's political rival, arrived today at Bhutto's house outside Larkana city to condole with Zardari and their three children, according to AAJ television channel. The broadcaster showed footage of Sharif's arrival as hundreds of Bhutto supporters welcomed him. ...


The 54-year-old opposition leader was standing in the open sunroof of her blast-proof, bullet-proof car as she came out of the venue after addressing a public rally in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad. She ducked into the car, possibly to escape gunshots that preceded the bomb blast or because she was thrown off balance by the explosion.

Bhutto's head hit the sunroof's lever, causing a fatal skull fracture, Cheema said. She wasn't hit by a bullet, nor by shrapnel, he said.

"The doctors told us that Bhutto died of two bullet wounds,'' Bhutto's spokesman Babar said. Another spokeswoman, Sherry Rehman, said she was with Bhutto when the attack happened and saw the bullet wounds when she bathed the body before burial, according to AFP.

No autopsy was performed on her body beyond an external examination by doctors, Cheema said yesterday.

Other political leaders, including former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, are also at risk and must heed the government's security advice, Cheema said in the capital, Islamabad.

Poll Participation

Pakistan's election arrangements have been ``adversely affected'' by riots that erupted after the assassination, according to the Election Commission, the agency in charge of supervising the Jan. 8 national ballot.

"The law and order situation in the country has deteriorated,'' according to a statement released today by the agency in capital Islamabad. The agency, whose offices in the Sindh province were set on fire, will meet on Dec. 31 to review the security situation.

Elections will be held as scheduled, Interim Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro yesterday said. ``Any decision on a possible postponement'' will be discussed with political parties, he told reporters in Islamabad.


Musharraf allowed Bhutto to return to Pakistan to participate in the elections. She had lived in Dubai and London since 1999 after being charged in Pakistan with taking kickbacks on state contracts. She wasn't convicted on the charges.

Former Prime Minister Sharif said his opposition party will boycott next month's national elections, and called on Musharraf to quit as the nation's leader.

"Under the present circumstances and under Musharraf, neither is campaigning possible nor is a free election,'' Sharif said on Dec. 27.
President George W. Bush asked Pakistanis ``to honor Benazir Bhutto's memory by continuing with the democratic process for which she so bravely gave her life.''

Friday, December 28, 2007

Claim: Bhutto's Death Work of Al-Qaida

" ... The Homeland Security official said the claim was 'an unconfirmed open source claim of responsibility.' ... "

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 A U.S. Department of Homeland Security official said a bulletin was issued citing al-Qaida's alleged claim of responsibility for Benazir Bhutto's death.

The official said the bulletin -- issued Thursday by his department and the FBI -- cited Italian news agency Adnkronos International's report that al-Qaida Afghanistan commander and spokesman Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid claims the former Pakistani prime minister's assassination was planned and executed by al-Qaida, CNN reported Friday.

"We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat (the) mujahedin," Al-Yazid told the news agency.

He said al-Qaida's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, began plotting the official's assassination in October.

However, the claim hasn't been repeated on radical Islamist Web sites that often post claims of responsibility for attacks from al-Qaida and other groups.

The Homeland Security official said the claim was "an unconfirmed open source claim of responsibility." He said the bulletin was sent Thursday to state and local law enforcement agencies.

Ross Feinstein, spokesman for U.S. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, said the U.S. intelligence community is working to discover who was behind the attack.

"We are not in a position to confirm who may be responsible," Feinstein said.

Copyright 2007 by UPI

Pope Declares War on Satanism with an Exorcist in Every Parish

28th December 2007

Satanism on the rise: Pope Benedict has unveiled plans to set up specialist exorcism squads

Pope Benedict XVI plans to tackle the rise of Satanism by setting up specialist exorcism squads, it has emerged.

Father Gabriele Amorth, 82, the Vatican 'Exorcist-in-Chief' revealed the plans in an interview with online Catholic website called Petrus.

The Vatican recognised website, focuses entirely on Pope Benedict, has the backing of senior cardinals and has more than 500,000 hits a day.

Church chiefs are concerned at the growing rise in Satanism and the occult and have also introduced courses for priests to fight what it calls the most extreme form of "Godlessness."

According to the plans being considered, each Bishop in his diocese would have a specially trained number of priests trained to fight the occult and demonic possession.

In his interview Father Amorth said: "Thanks be to God that we have a Pope who has decided to fight the Devil head on.

"Now Bishops are to be obliged to have a number of established exorcists for their diocese.

"Too many Bishops are not taking this seriously and are not delegating their priests in the fight against the Devil - you have to hunt high and low for a proper trained exorcist.

"Thankfully Pope Benedict XVI believes in the existence and danger of evil - from the time he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith."

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the oldest Vatican department and deals with matters of faith and promoting Catholicism.

It was headed by Pope Benedict when he was Cardinal Ratzinger between 1982 until he became leader of the Catholic Church in 2005.

Father Amorth said that during his time at the department Pope Benedict had not lost the chance to warn humanity of the risks it faces from the Devil.

He added: "I also remember a particularly emotional meeting we exorcists had with the Holy Father last year in which he implored us to dutifully follow our mission as exorcists.

"That expression of support was a powerful injection of faith for all of us."

Father Amorth also explained that since Pope Benedict XVI wanted to resume the prayer said to St Michael the Archangel, believed to be the prime protector against evil.

He said: "This is another very good idea  it is useful not only for priests but for lay people and helps fight demons.

"For example if a lay person knows someone who is possessed and there is no exorcist available they can intervene by saying this prayer, commanding the demon to leave that person.

"Christ himself once said:'In my name cast out demons.' So all of us in the name of Christ can cast out the Devil."

The prayer to St Michael the Archangel was abolished in the 1960's by Pope John XXIII during the Second Vatican Council and was traditionally recited at the end of Mass.

Father Paolo Scarafoni, another exorcism expert, who lectures on the Vatican's course, said interest in Satanism and the occult had grown as people lost faith with the Church.

He added: "People suffer and think that turning to the Devil can help solve their problems.

"We are being bombarded by requests for exorcisms."

The Vatican is particularly concerned that young people are being exposed to the influence of Satanic sects through the media, rock music and the internet.

Three signs that experts look out for are an ability to speak in tongues, the presence of superhuman strength and an awareness of hidden or distant objects.

In theory, under the Catholic Church's Canon Law 1172 all priests can perform exorcisms but, in reality, only a select few are assigned the task.

Under the law priests who are given the power must have "piety, knowledge, prudence, and integrity of life."

The rite of exorcism involves a series of gestures and prayers to invoke the power of God and stop the 'demon' influencing its possessed victim.

Today night no-one at the Vatican was available for comment.

Even Silence can Kill: The Need for Mass Mobilization Against Fascism

On 28th November 1977 a young comrade, Benedetto Petrone, was killed in Bari by a fascist squad. The city reacted with a popular campaign against fascism and reintroduced the best values of the Resistance on a mass level: anti-fascist struggles as anti-capitalist struggles, against the exploitation of one by another, for a society without classes.

That movement came up with the best and most militant response to the vicious murder of comrade Petrone (only two months after the murder of Walter Rossi in Rome) through mass mobilization and direct action.

This mass response was of enormous value, as it pointed out clearly:

the need to beat fascism with mass mobilization; that anti-fascist action must not be delegated to the State and its representative organs; not only because fascism and the State go hand in hand; not only because the fascists (in Bari and elsewhere) have no problem in finding protection, but above all because workers, students, women and the unemployed could not, and even today cannot, separate the struggle against fascism from the struggle against unemployment, against isolation, against off-the-books jobs, against price rises, against repression and against freedom-killing laws.

All attempts at criminalizing the movement by means of press terrorism are as ridiculous today as they were in the past.

The action of the movement, which the press and the institutional parties tried to portray as the action of vandals, was directed at the fascists' organizational network: its targets were their organizations' offices, their hang-outs, and shops run by well-known squadristi and criminals.

Even in those years it was clear that fascism could not be defeated only by hitting their organizational network: it was also necessary for neighbourhoods to organize themselves, to set up permanent anti-fascist action networks that could continue the work of continually reminding people what fascism is, of counter-information, of vigilance, of removing all political platforms for fascists, ensuring they cannot use the streets or public places for rallies or other organizational purposes.

Only in this way will Benedetto's death not be in vain. Only this way will his memory live, not only among his comrades who fought alongside him in the struggles but among every exploited person who struggles and who will in the future struggle for freedom from exploitation and oppression.

Mobilization today is still of vital importance if we are to achieve our goal of closing down every fascist den, of preventing them being active in schools and in our neighbourhoods, sowing panic among young people and immigrants, of contributing to the development of everyone's political growth and increasing direct participation. Anti-fascism must not be delegated. Its strength lies in the determination and the abilities of the movement of immigrants, students, workers, women and the unemployed to build and develop a process of radical transformation in society, a process to build a society without classes, a self-managed, egalitarian society.

30 years on, anarchist communists are still firm in their intention to encourage the creation and development of anti-fascist grassroots neighbourhood organizations that are able to mobilize in the struggle against racism, sexism, patriarchal society, chauvinism and bullying that all go towards arming neo-fascism, in the service of the bosses.

Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Theresa Duncan "Suicide" - NEWSWEEK Blamed the Internet, Takes the Most Inventive Cover-Up of the Year Award

Bloggers scoffed immediately:

"AUG 31: Today's Newsweek article's claim that Theresa and Jeremy were driven crazy by technology and killed themselves because they were "mesmerized" by the Internet is so mindboggglingly stupid it's (almost) beyond commentary. ... "

Truly, Madly, Deeply
By Tony Dokoupil
Sept. 14, 2007

Theresa Duncan created acclaimed videogames. Jeremy Blake was a digital-art pioneer. They were talented, successful and in love. And then they committed suicide. How the technology that infused their work helped destroy them. ...

" ... For some, technology and mental illness have long been thought to exist in a kind of dark symbiosis. Blake and Duncan’s case follows a long history that began when the electric age upended daily life with baffling, complex innovations. The first victim is believed to have been James Tilley Matthews, an 18th-century British merchant who thought France planned to take over England with a mind-controlling magnetic machine using technology developed by Frank Mesmer—from whom the word 'mesmerized' is derived. More recently, the introduction of television inflamed the minds of patients who believed that their TVs were watching them or broadcasting secrets about their lives. In this regard, the Web is especially powerful. 'The condition of being super-social and super-isolated at the same time is an Internet-era kind of thing,' says Fred Turner, a media historian at Stanford University, who speculates that as Blake and Duncan withdrew from friends, 'their only reality check left was the wisps of information on their computer screens. And unfortunately, that isn’t a very powerful check. ... '”
Case closed. Theresa was suffering from internet psychosis. Fred Turner said so. Happens every day.

She even had toxic technology INSIDE OF HER:

" .... Duncan was bracingly smart, bright-skinned and blond, with so much energy it often seemed as if she were fueled by some inner reactor. ... "

BTW, Newsweek used statements made by Beck, whose testimony has been inconsistent and even false in some instances, to reinforce the image of Theresa as a mewling, puking "paranoiac."

" ... In a disjointed 2006 e-mail to an art-world friend, Duncan claimed that BECK, a second-generation Scientologist, had told her about his plans to leave the church. This knowledge, she wrote, would make her “priority No. 1 for their paranoid and dangerous security wing.” (A spokesperson for Beck denied to NEWSWEEK that the exchange ever occurred, and a spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology called Duncan’s allegations “absurd.”)

- Alex Constantine

Who is JFK Conspiracy "Skeptic" John McAdams?

By Alex Constantine

The highly-visible (on the net) John McAdams is convinced that Oswald shot Kennedy - there is no evidence on earth or the wide universe that can dissuade him ... it must be Oswald ... only Oswald ... Oswald alone ... Oswald, Oswald, Oswald ...

JFK / The Kennedy Assassination Home Page - "Run by Peter Fokes and John McAdams is the place to go — whether you are a .... Take a look at John McAdams' picks of the best resources on other Kennedy ... "
From Covert Action Information Bulletin (I have no date on it): "CIA-funded research, whether overt or covert, is under way in North American universities in epidemic proportions....With the financial support of the Agency, the Fund for International Social and Economic Education, headed by Harvard's assistant dean of the graduate school of arts and sciences, underwrote a series of labor- and union-related projects geared toward developing nations. CIA research monies have surfaced at Cornell's [Blakey's alma mater] School of Industrial Labor Relations, in Stanford's engineering department, at Harvard in prodigious amounts and at Michigan's Institute for Social Research."
Letter from Lisa Pease:

" ... Remember that McAdams was a representative of ICPSR - a sub-institute under the Univ. of Mich. ISR. Also - John McAdams' dean was the one running that program. McA got his Ph.D. not at the KSG, but at the
graduate school of arts and sciences.

"Ever meet William Kline, McA?

"Quoting some more:

"'As recently as 1987, Harvard University agreed to take on a $1.2 million
study in conjunction with the Agency to study probelms in intelligence
assessment and foreign policy, using the Phillippines as a model. The CIA
analysts in charge of that study was William Kline.

"'The CIA and academia have an almost fully cooperative relationship:
trading information and resources and supporting each other in the face
of hostility.

"'Very rarely do university adminstrators and professors resist working
with government agencies like the CIA, and when they do the Agency takes
great offense.

"'The Agency vehemently objects to any attempt to block its efforts to 'tap
the wisdom of academia.' If restrictions are placed on its activities, the CIA finds some way to work around them.

"Although Harvard and a few other universities have expressed some resistance to the academic arm of the Agency (Harvard is still one of the
CIA's most loyal and active academic supporters), most university
administrators have no problems with the CIA. ...

"The struggle against the Central Intelligence Agency and university
militarism in general will not be carried out by those who run our
universities. It will be carried out by the students, faculty and
community members who are not entrenched in CIA business and who do care about the truth and about acting on it."

Lisa Pease

Examining Warren Buffett's Portfolio: ConocoPhillips (COP)
Dec 27th 2007

... Financial magnate Warren Buffet owns over 17,500,000 shares of COP, valued at over $1.5 billion, or about 2.34% of his vast portfolio. COP has been a steady gainer over the last 12 months, with oil prices hitting near-record levels in late-November and again in December. If you think that the company won't fall by too much in the coming months, then now could be a good time to look at a bullish hedged trade on COP.

After hitting a one-year low of $61.59 in January, the stock hit a one-year high of $90.84 in July. COP opened this morning at $88.92. So far today the stock has hit a low of $88.71 and a high of $89.23. As of 11:15, COP is trading at $88.80, down $0.16 (-0.2%). The chart for COP looks bullish and steady, while S&P gives the stock a positive 4 STARS (out of 5) buy rating.

For a bullish hedged play on this stock, I would consider a February bull-put credit spread below the $75 range. A bull-put credit spread is an options position that combines the purchase and sale of put options to hedge risk in case the stock doesn't do what you think but still leverage nice returns. For this particular trade, we will make a 4.8% return in just 7 weeks as long as COP is above $75 at February expiration. ConocoPhillips would have to fall by more than 15% before we would start to lose money. Learn more about this type of trade here.

COP hasn't been below $75 since May and has shown support around $82 recently. This trade could be risky if the price of oil drops off in the coming months, but even if that happens, this position could be protected by the support the stock might find just above $75, where it has bounced three times in the past six months.

Brent Archer is an options analyst and writer at Investors Observer. DISCLOSURE: Mr. Archer owns and/or controls diversified portfolios of long and short stock and option positions that may include holdings in companies he writes about. At publication time, Brent neither owns nor controls positions in COP.

Omaha State official: Shooter Placed in Mental Health Facility 5 Years Ago

LINCOLN, Nebraska (CNN) -- The troubled teen who killed eight people and himself at an Omaha, Nebraska, mall was placed in a mental health treatment center five years ago after making homicidal threats toward his stepmother, a state official said Thursday.

Todd Landry, director of the Nebraska Division of Family and Children's Services, described for reporters the laundry list of residential treatment centers and group and foster homes where Robert Hawkins spent much of his teen years, because of his behavioral and psychiatric problems.

At one point during that period Hawkins also filed a report with police alleging he was molested by a roommate at one of the facilities. The case was resolved internally, according to the report.

Asked about the allegation, Landry responded, "I can't confirm or deny that that may have happened."

Hawkins was sent to Piney Ridge Center in Waynesville, Missouri, on May 18, 2002 -- a day after his 14th birthday. The center specializes in mental health and substance abuse services, according to its Web site.

Landry, reading from a juvenile court petition filed by Sarpy County, Nebraska, said Hawkins was placed at the center because of "homicidal threats to his stepmother."

"He also had two psychiatric hospitalizations, and has been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, mood disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and parent-child relationship problems," Landry said.

He offered no details about the problems with the stepmother.

When the teen went to live with friends of the family one and a half years ago, "issues with the stepmother" were the reason, said Debora Maruca-Kovac, into whose house he moved.

Theresa Duncan "Suicide" - Behind the Scenes at Vanity Fair/Scientology's Government Ties

I don't necessarily hold that Scientlology had anything to do with the death of Theresa Duncan - but she and Blake were highly agitated about the sect. This letter has a place in the repository because it sheds light on doings at Vanity Fair, behind the story that appeared under the byline of Nancy Jo Sales, and points up an intersection between Scientology and the State Department. Rupert Murdoch and other minions of the Failed Estate know more about all of this and are working it to their propagandistic advantage against "conspiracy theorists" in blogland.


A former intimate friend of Theresa Duncan's notes that she was not prone to fits of depression:

" ... I have more than a passing interest in the deaths of Theresa and Jeremy. I dated Theresa for about a year (before she met Jeremy), and in fact, I just learned from my sister that Jeremy Blake is the same Jeremy that was her best friend when they were both at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Knowing these two as we both did then, it makes little sense that this happened. Though it was so many years ago, the worst I could say about Theresa is that she was ungrounded, and unfocused; BUT CERTAINLY NOT DEPRESSED. She had far too much creative energy and a never ending quest to get to the truth of the world around her. I think in meeting Jeremy she indeed found her grounding and her focus and her place in the bigger picture. So then what was it that pushed her over the edge/ Did she find a 'truth' she could reconcile with her own being?" ... - Michael Ryan

- AC


Keep at this story because there is so much more to know that is not being told.

I still don't feel the Vanity Fair piece did justice by Morales' ex wife, Nancy Jo Sales, involved and her story left me wondering if she intentionally tried to make it seem as if Morales' left wing views had something to do with their 'paranoia'. Still, this recent comment from the SOMA blog helps put some of it in perspective:

"Blake on December 9, 2007 06:01 PM EST writes:

I was friends with Theresa and Jeremy for 13 years. A male reporter from Vanity Fair called me in September and we spoke a few times. In October I got a call from Nancy Jo Sales and learned the first reporter was no longer on the piece. I wasn't told why, but from my conversations with that first reporter it was clear he was trying to write a sensational tabloid-y piece. I say this because he didn't seem interested in talking about their art, projects, relationship. By stark contrast Nancy Jo was interested in hearing about them as people. Which is why I felt comfortable speaking to her, even about some of the more controversial things.

Also, I suggested the first reporter look into the Beck thing, but he seemed reluctant to go up against the COS. MAJOR kudos to Nancy Jo for going after that part of the story. It seems pretty important, and requires great bravery. "

Now, I know of and trust this guy, Blake Robin aka BARON VON LUXXURY
( )

I'm glad he says this about Sales going after the CoS because it confirmes what her REAL friends knew was going on.

What you might not know is that the Church of Scientology is considered by many to be actively infiltrating goverment and media organizations because that is part of their plan to take over the world. This is why German is trying to ban it from their country.

Among many documents, articles and writings available to back this up, there is also what Journalist Richard Leiby wrote about this back in 1979

What was done to Clearwater, FL Mayor Gabe Cazares was a part of that plan

The Church's Office of Special Affairs staff includes Sylvia Stanard also works for her husband John D Stanard [see bio below]. 'John has had a varied technology career as both a software developer and executive in the commercial and government IT sectors.'

Look at his clientele:

It's scary to think that these companies are just a fraction of Scientology members involved with sensitive government information.

Scientology's World Institute of Scientology Enterprises W.I.S.E.

Keep digging. Thanks
Mary McConnell
formerlyfooled at yahoo dot com
John D. Stanard III

Chief Finance Officer

John has had a varied technology career as both a software developer and executive in the commercial and government IT sectors. Through his first Internet company, Webworld Technologies, Inc. (link), he developed Web content management solutions and provided custom programming services and technology solutions to such organizations as (link), the U.S. Navy (link), the Federal Aviation Administration (link), Goodwill Industries International (link) and the U.S. Dept. of State (link). A published technology author, his credits include two books Reality ColdFusion: Intranets and Content Management, Peachpit (2002) and Spectra e-Business Construction Kit, QUE (2000).

Mr. Stanard has twice been a finalist for the Arlington County, Virginia, E-Council Tech-E Technology Executive of the Year award (2002 and 2004).

Suspects in the Bhutto Assassination/The Elections, ISI and Martial Law

Also see:

Musharraf and Drugs, CIA, Terrorist Ties

In the wake of Benazir Bhutto's assassination, Mark Tran looks at the background to the crisis in Pakistan

Thursday December 27, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

Who are the suspects?

... After the October assassination attempt, Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, who is in Dubai where the couple had been living in exile, accused members of the Pakistani security services, the ISI. "I blame government for these blasts," he said. "It is the work of the intelligence agencies."

Elements of the ISI sympathise with the Taliban and it was a possibility that "rogue elements" in the intelligence services were involved in the two attacks. The ISI became one of Pakistan's most powerful institutions under General Zia-ul-Haq, the man who launched an Islamisation campaign and who overthrew Bhutto's father and had him hung. After Gen Zia's death in a mysterious plane crash in 1988, the ISI actively campaigned against Bhutto when she entered politics.

Has there been other violence?

Hours before Bhutto's death, four people were killed and three wounded in a clash just outside Islamabad between pro-government supporters and backers of the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Last week, more than 50 people were killed when a suicide attacker detonated a bomb at a crowded mosque near the home of Pakistan's former interior minister on one of Islam's major holidays. Aftab Khan Sherpao, once a supporter of Bhutto, took a strong anti-militant line in office.,,2232496,00.html

New Revelations in Kennedy Assassination

AC Note: The murder of John Kennedy was planned and overseen by Charles Willoughby/Weidenbach, who laid a maze of false trails leading to Dallas by manipulating individuals and groups like pieces on a Parker Brothers game board, each performing self-implicating acts or making suspicious statements that linked them to the assassination. The strategy involved look-alikes. After the assassination, anyone investigating the self-implicating acts would find himself either pursuing a false trail (riding a bus to Mexico), or utterly lost in the maze of seemingly unresolvable cover stories (Mafia, Castro, Soviets ... there were false trails laid down for each).

The American people have been herded into the second category. ...


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Overhyped Scandal of the CIA Torture Tapes

Someone may ultimately get convicted of something in connection with the destruction of CIA videos showing the torture of two terrorism suspects, but if so it will be along the lines of lying to Congress or criminal contempt, not anything having to do with torture.

That’s because the Military Commissions Act of 2006 amended the War Crimes Act of 1996 to immunize U.S. government employees against prosecution for doing the things the videos are supposed to have documented. They couldn’t be used as evidence in a prosecution for war crimes, at least not in this country, because for now, at least, no one can be prosecuted for war crimes. Accordingly their destruction couldn’t be considered obstruction of justice, since that’s a crime that requires the possibility of justice in the first event.

Congress could repeal or amend the Military Commissions Act to remove the immunity provision, but that would require an effort by the Democratic majority of a sort that they’re apparently constitutionally (the temperament, not the document) unequipped to undertake.

It appears that no one in the CIA or the White House ordered that the videos be preserved. It’s possible that Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington, encouraged their destruction, just as other administration lawyers apparently encouraged, but didn’t order, their preservation. But unless someone can show that Addington did so with the purpose of foiling an investigation, of which there weren’t any at the time, or of defying a court order compelling the Justice Department to produce materials that might have included the videos, so what? At least four members of Congress—the Gang of Four, consisting of the chairs and ranking minority members of the House and Senate intelligence committees—knew about the videos and did nothing to preserve them either. If Addington is guilty of something, so are they.

Congress has made torture effectively legal. That should be a much larger scandal than the question of who was or wasn’t involved in destroying the evidence of an unprosecutable crime. In the end, investigations into the videos will result in nothing other than very large legal bills for a number of people; enough to ruin the small fry while leaving others unscarred. And meanwhile, Congress continues to enable the administration’s adventures in illegal war, surveillance and who knows what else. Their time would be far better spent on rectifying those oversights (yes, pun intended) than on pursuing what will prove to be a pointless excercise in chest-beating.

9/11 Airport Security Pariah Tries a Comeback

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 12/23/07

He was the perfect villain. That's the way Frank A. Argenbright Jr. — starched, coiffed and rich – saw it then, and it's the way he sees it now.

Firefighters were digging through the rubble of Ground Zero and a terrorized nation was demanding an accounting when the focus turned to Argenbright Security, the gigantic airport company the Atlanta businessman founded.

Frank Argenbright at a banquet this month: Many blamed the airport security company Argenbright had founded and sold because some of the screeners let two of the hijacking crews through the gates on Sept. 11, 2001. 'You get beat down but you want to come back to show people you can,' he said.

An Argenbright security employee wands a passenger at a checkpoint in Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in 2002. The professional-looking dress of the screeners hid the fact that they were high-turnover, minimum-wage employees, said a former competitor.

Six years ago, Argenbright was a pariah. Two of the four hijacking teams passed through screening stations manned by Argenbright Security. U.S. Attorney Gen. John Ashcroft later called a press conference to condemn the company for "an astonishing pattern of crimes that could have directly jeopardized public safety."

The company was an easy answer to the big How? It let the terrorists and their box cutters through. Or at least that was the clear implication. Argenbright Security became a symbol of pre-9/11 complacency and failure.

"There's a certain perception of a rich person: Bad guy," said Argenbright. "There's no sympathy if you're said to be worth $300 million."

That smooth and unflappable veneer shields the interior of an intensely proud, sensitive man who agonized over every slight. He remembers one e-mail that summed up a common opinion: "You should burn in hell."

The following months saw Argenbright facing bankruptcy and even pondering suicide. It would be a way — falling out of a boat — his family would believe was an accident.

Sitting recently in his Buckhead office overlooking Lenox Mall, Argenbright is in a far different place than he was during those traumatic days of late 2001, early 2002.

With a few strokes of a pen last week, the 59-year-old Argenbright completed a business deal that repaid several friends who rescued a man teetering on ruin. Repaying those who buoyed him was a key moment in his relentless struggle to reclaim a devastated reputation.

About the time he was at his lowest, in 2002, Argenbright started digging out from the rubble of his own life. He sold his palatial Atlanta home, sold his lake house and rented out his Sea Island mansion to tourists. He borrowed about $7 million from several business friends and started two new companies — Air Serv, an aviation outsourcing firm, and SecurAmerica, a security company, growing them, respectively, to nearly 6,000 employees and 1,500.

The two fields, security and air travel, almost ruined him. But, he said, that's what he knows. That's what he's good at. Once again, he's aiming high.

"I want to be the biggest commercial security company in the U.S.," Argenbright said. "You get beat down but you want to come back to show people you can."

The purpose of his 18-hour work days is to build these new companies. But there is something much more going on.

"Forget the money. I've made a lot of money over the years," he said, pausing. "People will say, 'Argenbright. There's something bad about that name. Something bad.' "

Stephen Franklin, a finance expert and former business professor, said Argenbright's aim is simple: "He wants to prove he can do it again. Maybe to the naysayers, but more to himself."

Several people, both friends and foes, said Argenbright was unfairly tarred from the start. His company was part of a ferociously competitive system of contractors bidding for business from increasingly tight-fisted airlines. Argenbright, a workaholic and dynamic salesman, flourished in that environment and his company was the biggest in the field, performing 40 percent of the nation's airport security.

Argenbright Security was as good or better than most, observers said, and they point out he no longer owned the company on Sept. 11. He had sold it to a British firm nine months earlier and was being kept on as a management consultant.

"He was made the face of all that went wrong that day. ... They needed a scapegoat," said Don Migliori, an attorney who is representing families of victims killed in the attacks. The suit includes two airlines and two security companies, including Argenbright Security. "That was the design. There had to be a face on it. We as a culture need that."

Classic entrepreneur

Argenbright's journey to scapegoat, financial ruin and his current rebound has been a long, circuitous road for the one-time learning disabled kid, who in 1979 started a polygraph business with $500 in a cramped office in a hotel near Hartsfield International Airport.

He was ambitious and flew by the seat of his pants. He heard Delta Airlines needed bus drivers, so he bid on the contract. Then they needed guards. Then they needed screeners. Argenbright kept promising and delivering.

In the early 1980s, his business model was so opportunistic and optimistic that Franklin, then a business professor at Emory University, brought the entrepreneur into his class as a walking textbook example.

"It was a classical American entrepreneurial startup: Borrow money, start at the ground with a dream and a 7/24 work ethic," Franklin said. "He always had big, big goals and contagious enthusiasm. ... He's an incredible marketeer, an incredible salesman. He could make the sale before he had an idea how he could get it done."

Argenbright's umbrella company, AHL Services, expanded to a wide range of businesses outside of his core of security and airline support. Those businesses included a European staffing operation and a marketing firm that erected signs for retailers.

The security company was tenacious in pulling in business.

Charlie LeBlanc, who worked for a competitor, was shocked in the early 1990s when his team bidding for contracts at the new Denver International Airport got beat out by Argenbright.

"They had a good reputation in an industry going gangbusters," said LeBlanc. "If you create a perception you're up to the job, you'll get offers and you'll grow. They kept saying 'Yes' when the airlines asked, 'Can you do ...?' "

By July, 1998, Argenbright was heading a conglomerate with 52,000 employees. His stake surpassed $330 million.

The screeners at many of the companies looked professional in their blazers and dress slacks, but LeBlanc said there was a fundamental problem — airport security companies were low bidders with small profit margins and employees who were low paid and transient.

"They were minimum wage. They were constantly looking for other jobs. McDonald's would give them 5 cents an hour more and they'd be gone," said LeBlanc, who is now the president of ASI, a travel security consulting firm. "There were a lot of different ways to point fingers, but you couldn't get around the fact that the first line of defense [the screeners] was a really weak point."

Argenbright argues his screeners were frequently subjected to tests, with investigators trying to sneak items through the kiosks. Screeners were rewarded when they found test items.

But in 2000, its parent company, AHL, pleaded guilty to allowing untrained employees, some with criminal backgrounds, to operate checkpoints at Philadelphia International Airport from 1995 to 1998. It paid a $1.2 million fine.

By 2000, AHL was an unwieldy public company made up of many disparate parts and that stock — once at $42 a share — had free fallen into single digits. In December, 2000, Argenbright Security was purchased by a British company, Securicor. Argenbright was kept on as an executive.

Argenbright Security's past came to haunt the company after 9/11. Ashcroft and other government officials repeatedly brought up the Philadelphia case as part of a successful move to federalize screeners and create the Transportation Security Administration, which now performs screening at American airports.

Argenbright called the illegal hiring of people with criminal backgrounds the actions of a rogue manager. LeBlanc said he was not surprised by the Philadelphia manager's actions. He said airport security managers throughout the industry were spurred by the unending pressure of needing new workers.

How the 9/11 hijackers got weapons onto the airlines was never answered. It is not known if the weapons were placed on the planes beforehand by others, were sneaked through the checkpoints or were carried in open view because small knife blades were allowed.

Only one checkpoint entered by hijackers had a videotape — the one at Dulles International in Washington, D.C., operated by Argenbright. Two hijackers set off the metal detectors and were hand wanded. The federal 9/11 commission report called the screener's efforts "marginal at best" because he did not properly "resolve" what set off the beeper.

After 9/11, Argenbright said he was told by the new owners to remain quiet, even though it was his name that was continually being battered. He said speaking would have violated the terms of the agreement he negotiated when selling Argenbright Security. It also would have cost his remaining company, AHL, and its investors millions of dollars, he said.

Holding his tongue was wrenching.

"If the attorney general says you're bad, you must be bad," he said.

The following year, he started to do the only thing he knows to regain his good name — build companies.

At the time, Argenbright said he was "virtually bankrupt" and needed the help of some deep-pocketed friends to help him bounce back.

One of those benefactors was Joe Rogers Jr., CEO and chairman of Waffle House. Rogers said Argenbright's business this time is more focused and streamlined.

"Last time, he put all these different companies, and their cultures, in one company," Rogers said. "When a business gets too big, it's hard to keep an entrepreneurial spirit. I think Frank's style works best in a medium-sized company. His presence needs to be felt."

Backing Argenbright was a no-brainer, Rogers added.

"This was a second chance to catch him on the way up," Rogers said. "You bet on talent. We were betting that he'd do it again."
Frank Argenbright is a real life Forrest Gump. Born in tiny Madison, Florida to a schoolteacher and seed salesman, Argenbright overcame learning disabilities to build an aviation security fortune. Then came 9/11. A desperate government wanted to divert blame for the 9/11 failures. It needed a convenient scapegoat. Instantly, it found people who could not defend themselves. It found thousands of poor, largely immigrant workers Argenbright had forged into the nation’s largest aviation security firm. The media, encouraged by a government ready to place blame, destroyed Argenbright. The fact that he had sold the company almost a year earlier got lost in the chaos. A pariah, Argenbright lost his $400 million personal fortune and became buried $20 million in debt.
Frank A. Argenbright, Jr.

Air Serv Corporation

Frank A. Argenbright, Jr. was born on March 20, 1948, and raised in Madison, Florida. He earned a B.S. in criminal justice with a minor in art from Florida State University; he also studied art and art history in Florence, Italy. He was previously in the Army Reserves, earning the rank of Captain. He graduated in 1991 from the Owner/President Management Program at Harvard Business School, and has attended management courses at Georgia State University.

In 1979, Argenbright invested $500 to start what eventually became AHL Services, Inc., a multinational company, providing outsourced business services for Fortune 500 clients. The business operated from 113 offices across the United States and 117 offices in Europe. AHL combined management, technology, labor and processes to provide high quality services, including marketing program executional services, aviation passenger services, facility services and operational support services. In 2000, AHL sold its security company, Argenbright Security, to Securicor out of London and in 2003 Securicor was taken private.

In 2001, Argenbright founded Air Serv Corporation to provide outsourced business services to aviation clients, building on strong existing relationships with aviation clients in areas of service not competitive with AHL. Air Serv was founded on the premise that "it is our goal to go back to the old way of doing business by giving the best service possible at the most affordable cost" - Frank's basis for successful growth throughout his entire career.

An active participant in various civic and professional organizations, Frank received the Entrepreneur of the Year award for business services by Ernst & Young in 1997.

Frank has been married for 25 years to the former Kathleen Blythe. They have a son, Hunter, age 21 and a daughter, Blythe, age 18. The family resides in Atlanta, Georgia.