Saturday, February 28, 2009

Chavez says Obama same as Bush on Drug War

" ... 'The Obama administration has again attacked Venezuela. He said that Venezuela and I, even citing my name, do not cooperate in the fight against drug trafficking. The country that most supports drug trafficking on this planet is the United States.' ... "

CARACAS (AFP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Saturday condemned a US report on global counternarcotics, saying President Barack Obama is continuing the policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush.

"Is there a new government in the United States or is it Bush still in power? Obama seems to be a continuation of the Bush era. But it doesn't matter to me. Regardless of US imperialism, this revolution will continue its course," Chavez said in a speech.

"The Obama administration has again attacked Venezuela. He said that Venezuela and I, even citing my name, do not cooperate in the fight against drug trafficking. The country that most supports drug trafficking on this planet is the United States.

"The United States is the world's leading consumer of drugs. Why can't they stop drugs from coming into their country? Obama, you take care of your business and I'll take care of mine. Don't mess with me, Mr Obama," he added.

The US Department of State noted in its global counternarcotics report on Friday that Venezuela continues to be a major transit point for drug trafficking in the region and refuses to cooperate with US drug interdiction programs.

"Geography, corruption, a weak judicial system, incompetent and in some cases complicit security forces, and lack of international counternarcotics cooperation make (Venezuela) vulnerable to illicit drug transshipments," the report said.

But Chavez shot back, saying his government "has beaten back the drug trade like never before. The DEA (US Drug Enforcement Agency) supported drug trafficking and overthrowing the government."

Venezuela suspended a bilateral counternarcotics agreement with the United States in 2005, accusing DEA agents of acting as spies.

The US has since refuse to provide Venezuela with an annual certification granted to countries that cooperate in the fight against drugs.

Abuse of Mental Patients Widespread in Georgia Hospitals

" ... The article catalogued widespread problems including 136 suspicious deaths ... "

by David Gutierrez, staff writer
February 27, 2009

(NaturalNews) The state of Georgia has agreed to a settlement in a federal lawsuit aimed at curbing widespread abuse of mental patients in state facilities.

The scandal over the treatment of mental patients in Georgia first broke with an investigative report, published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in early 2007. The article catalogued widespread problems including 136 suspicious deaths, overuse of medication as a sedative rather than a treatment, abuse of patients by hospital staff, and regular dumping of discharged patients at homeless shelters or even on street corners. In addition, the article concluded that the state agency in charge of overseeing mental facilities failed to properly investigate complaints or allegations of misconduct.

In response to the article, the U.S. Department of Justice launched a thorough investigation, which ultimately concluded that critical systemic problems did indeed lead to unnecessary illness, injury and death among Georgia mental patients.

To take just one example, the Justice Department found widespread misconduct at Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital in Rome. Abuses involved the widespread use of antipsychotic medication as a sedative and the failure to report or adequately address patient-on-patient assaults, many of which led to serious injury.

"We found a troubling number of incidents in which [the hospital] failed to recognize signs of suicide risk and failed to take appropriate action," the department also said, in a letter to Governor Sonny Perdue.

Without admitting any wrongdoing, the state of Georgia has agreed to "undertake its best efforts" to address the most serious problems in its mental health system over the next year - namely, increasing efforts to prevent suicides, patient-on-patient assaults, and choking deaths. The state has also agreed to show significant improvements in its care and discharge policies within the next four years, including bringing restraint or seclusion of patients down to a minimum. The federal government will regularly inspect the hospitals in question to monitor their progress.

Sources for this story include:

San Francisco: Hugues de la Plaza "Suicide" Update

Also see: "YouTube Video: Hugues de la Plaza 'Suicide' Coverage," and "Breaking News: French Authorities Conclude De La Plaza Death '100 percent homicide.' S.F. Police Refuse to Read Report"

French findings in mysterious S.F. death
Jaxon Van Derbeken
SF Chronicle
February 27, 2009

(02-26) 17:38 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- An unusual French investigation into the death of a French national in San Francisco concluded that the man was stabbed in a surprise attack outside his apartment and could not have committed suicide, as local authorities once suggested, the man's father said Thursday.

Hugues de la Plaza, 36, was discovered dead inside his locked Hayes Valley apartment June 2, 2007, after neighbors found blood outside and called police.

The initial police investigation was inconclusive and the medical examiner - who makes the official determination - was unable to decide whether someone killed de la Plaza or he killed himself. The stab wounds could have been self-inflicted, an autopsy report said.

De la Plaza's family and friends have rejected any possibility that he committed suicide, pointing out that no bloody knife was found in the apartment. They also said de la Plaza, a sound engineer planning to move to Argentina, never indicated he intended to kill himself.

They began what became an international campaign to prove he had been slain. As part of it, they persuaded the French government to probe the death of de la Plaza, who held dual French and U.S. citizenship.

De la Plaza's father, Francois de la Plaza, speaking through a translator, said at a press conference Thursday on the steps of San Francisco City Hall that French forensic experts had concluded that the stabbing must have happened outside the apartment on Linden Street.

He said that was based on the amount of blood found at the scene. San Francisco police have said security cameras located near the building did not record an attack, but that the cameras also did not provide full, constant coverage.

The French investigators, whose report has not been made public, determined that de la Plaza could not have stabbed himself based on "the way the knife entered," his father said. He was stabbed three times, once in the abdomen, once in the chest and once in the neck.

"Based on the angle of entrance, he could not have done it himself," the father said of the abdominal wound. "No knife was ever found. For them, it was rather obvious."

Francois de la Plaza said the forensic experts told him that a bruise on his son's forearm was suffered as he tried to ward off his killer.

After being fatally stabbed, the father said, de la Plaza closed the door behind his attacker and locked it. He said the French probe concluded that the stab wounds would have brought on shock and then an almost immediate coma, which would explain why his son did not call 911.

He said San Francisco police had told him soon after his son died that they were split on whether it was a homicide or suicide.

Inspector Antonio Casillas told him something "very surprising," he said. "He said, 'Until I see the person who confesses to this crime, I will rule this is a suicide.' "

But, he said, he and French officials met with police Wednesday, and they assured him that they are pushing forward with the case as a homicide. He credited international media attention with pressuring police and said, "We trust the San Francisco Police Department will do its job."

He said he found it "appalling" that it had taken French action for police in "one of the richest countries in the world, and one of the riches cities in that country," to investigate the case properly.

The family is offering a $100,000 reward in the case, to be paid out of de la Plaza's life insurance money.

"We have decided we will find the murderers. And we will find them," the father said.

After Wednesday's meeting, the Police Department released a statement noting that the department "never declares deaths as homicides or suicides, and has never ruled (de la Plaza's) death as 'suspicious.' ... It is the medical examiner's office, not the Police Department, that determines a death as homicide, suicide or death by natural causes."

It added that Casillas and the other investigator on the case, Tom Walsh, "have been unable to respond to the French findings because we as yet have not been afforded the opportunity to review those findings."

On Thursday, police insisted there had been no change in their handling of the case from the beginning.

"This is still an undetermined death," said Lt. Mike Stasko, head of the homicide detail. "It is being investigated as if it were a homicide."

He added, "As soon as we get the (French) report, we are going to sit down with everybody involved. We are going to balance it with everything they have and see if there is something we don't have."

E-mail Jaxon Van Derbeken at

Whatever Happened to Former FBI Director Louis Freeh?

Former FBI Chief Louis Freeh Sells his Services to Corporate Elite
By Laurie Bennett
May 26, 2008

What’s Louis Freeh been up to since leaving the FBI and writing about his already-public feud with Bill Clinton in a best-selling memoir? He’s been networking in corporate, government and political circles, making money all the while.

Freeh is a director of Fannie Mae and Bristol Myers, positions that pay a combined $335,000 annually. He’s also an adviser to duPont. Last year President Bush appointed him to the Homeland Security Advisory Council.

Until Rudy Giuliani dropped out of the presidential race, Freeh was his senior homeland security adviser and head of campaign operations in Delaware, his home state. More recently, he has contributed to the McCain campaign.

Freeh’s primary focus, though, is Freeh Group International, a consulting firm that keeps a low profile and doesn’t publicize its client list. The Freeh Group isn’t registered as a lobbyist or as a government contractor. Its services, such as homeland and global security and “strategic management of complex and sensitive queries,” are aimed at corporations operating in the global marketplace.

The management team also includes William Esposito, former deputy director of the FBI; Stanley Sporkin, former enforcement director of the Securities and Exchange commission and general counsel to the CIA; and former federal judge Eugene Sullivan.

The firm’s British operations are headed by former High Court Judge Stephen Mitchell. Liliana Ferraro, former Italian National Supreme Court justice, manages the business in Italy.

The company emphasizes its expertise in fighting organized crime. As noted on its web site, Ferraro presided over several high-profile Mafia trials. Esposito’s primary expertise is in white-collar and organized crime.

As an assistant U.S. attorney, Freeh headed the New York office’s organized-crime unit. Indeed, he gave top billing to the mob when he titled his 2005 memoir, My FBI: Bringing Down the Mafia, Investigating Bill Clinton, and Fighting the War on Terror.

Readers who had expected new insights into the global battle against terrorism were disappointed. Bryan Burrough, reviewing the book for The New York Times, called it “My FBI for Dummies.”

Freeh was this year’s commencement speaker at Hillsdale College, where his brother John is an English professor.

“Your integrity and your honor are what’s most important at the end of the day,” he told the graduates. “… Don’t be afraid to take action and don’t be afraid to put yourself at risk.”

Louis Freeh
AKA Louis Joseph Freeh

Born: 6-Jan-1950
Birthplace: Jersey City, NJ

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Government
Party Affiliation: Republican

Executive summary: FBI Director, 1993-2001

Father: William Freeh, Sr.
Mother: Bernice Chinchiola
Brother: William Jr.
Wife: Marilyn A. Coyle (six sons)
Son: Justin
Son: Brendan
Son: Sean
Son: Conner

High School: St. Joseph of the Palisades High School, West New York, NJ (1967)
University: BA History, Rutgers University (1971)
Law School: JD, Rutgers University School of Law (1974)
Law School: LLM, New York University School of Law (1984)

FBI Director (1993-2001)
FBI employee Washington, DC (1980-81)
FBI employee New York City (1975-80)
MBNA Vice Chairman, MBNA America (2001-06)
MBNA General Counsel
Member of the Board of Bristol-Myers Squibb (2005-)
Homeland Security Advisory Council
America's Foundation
Biden for President
Bush-Cheney '04
Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Distinguished Advisor
John Carroll Society Honorary Member
John McCain 2008
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Board of Directors
National Italian American Foundation General Counsel
National Republican Congressional Committee
Opus Dei
Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee
Phi Beta Kappa Society
Italian Ancestry

Obama Administration Obstructs Justice to Protect Bush's Illegal Wiretap Program

Related: "NSA Whistleblower: Warrantless Wiretaps Targeted Journalists"

Feds defy judge's order in Islamic group case
Bob Egelko
SF Chronicle
February 28, 2009

A federal appeals court rejected the Obama administration's attempt Friday to stop a judge in San Francisco from reviewing a challenge to the wiretapping program ordered by former President George W. Bush. Hours later, President Obama's Justice Department filed papers that appeared to defy the judge's order to allow lawyers for an Islamic organization to see a classified surveillance document at the heart of the case. The department said the judge had no power to enforce such an order.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker had given the department until Friday to explain how it would comply with his order last month that would let attorneys for Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation review the document after obtaining security clearances.

The document reportedly showed that the organization had been wiretapped, evidence the group needs to establish its right to challenge the legality of the surveillance. A government agency inadvertently sent the papers in 2004 to Al-Haramain during an investigation that resulted in its classification as a terrorist organization.

Bush acknowledged in 2005 that he had ordered the National Security Agency to intercept phone calls and e-mails between Americans and suspected foreign terrorists without seeking approval from Congress and the courts. Other suits challenging the surveillance program have been dismissed because plaintiffs were unable to show they were targets.

Al-Haramain returned the classified document to the government and has been barred from relying on it to prove its right to sue. But in a Jan. 5 ruling denying the Bush administration's request to dismiss the group's suit, Walker said Al-Haramain had shown through officials' statements that it had probably been wiretapped.

The Justice Department responded by withholding security clearances from two Al-Haramain lawyers and by filing an emergency request to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to suspend the case. The department echoed Bush administration arguments that the suit could expose secret information that would harm national security.

But a three-judge appeals court panel, in a brief order Friday, said it agreed with Walker that the government isn't entitled to appeal his ruling, which granted Al-Haramain's lawyers access to the classified document.

The Justice Department then told Walker he had no authority for his order.

Noting that the National Security Agency had concluded that Al-Haramain's attorneys had no legitimate need for the document, the Justice Department said the judge lacked the power "to order the government to grant counsel access to the classified information."

Jon Eisenberg, Al-Haramain's lead attorney, said he was happy with the appeals court ruling but astonished by the Justice Department's response.

"The government's temerity in this case has never ceased to amaze me," he said. "What's amazing is that this is the Obama administration now."

Friday, February 27, 2009

Obama Announces More Key DoD Appointments

Submitted by

WASHINGTON –( Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals for key posts at the Department of Defense: Jim Miller, Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Policy, and Lt. Gen. Wallace "Chip" Gregson, Jr. (USMC, Ret), Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs.

The White House today also announced that the following individuals will remain serving in their current posts at the Department of Defense: Mike Donley, Secretary of the Air Force; Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper (USAF, Ret), Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; and Michael G. Vickers, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict and Interdependent Capabilities (SO/LIC&IC). ...

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the follow individuals today:

Jim Miller, Nominee for Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Policy, Department of Defense

Miller is Senior Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Previous positions include serving as Senior Vice President at Hicks and Associates, Inc. (2000-2007); Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Requirements, Plans, and Counterproliferation Policy (1997-2000); assistant professor at Duke University (1992-1997); and senior professional staff member for the House Armed Services Committee (1988-1992). He is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the Combating WMD Panel of DoD’s Threat Reduction Advisory Committee. He has served as an advisor to the Defense Science Board, as senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and as senior associate member at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. In 2000 he received the Department of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. Dr. Miller received a B.A. degree with honors in economics from Stanford University, and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Lt. Gen. Wallace "Chip" Gregson, Jr. (USMC, Ret), Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs

[See Global Technologies, Inc. - not mentioned in the resumé released by the Obama administration]

Since 2006, Lt. Gen. Gregson (USMC, Ret) has been a foreign policy and military affairs consultant for WCG & Associates International. Previously he served as Chief Operating Officer for the United States Olympic Committee. From 2003 to 2005 he was Commanding General of the Marine Forces Central Command in the Pacific, where he led and managed over 70,000 Marines and Sailors in the Middle East, Afghanistan, East Africa, Asia and the United States. From 2001 to 2003 he was Commanding General of all Marine Corps bases in Japan, where he was awarded the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun, the Gold and Silver Star, and the Korean Order of National Security Merit Gukseon Medal. Prior to his time in Japan he was Director of Asia-Pacific Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 1998 to 2000. He has served in the Marine Corps since his graduation from the Naval Academy and the US Naval War College.

The White House also announced that the following individuals will remain serving in their current posts at the Department of Defense:

Mike Donley, Secretary of the Air Force

Donley is currently the Secretary of the Air Force, where he is responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of its more than 300,000 men and women on active duty, 180,000 members of the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve, 160,000 civilians, and their families. He also oversees the Air Force's annual budget of approximately $110 billion. Prior to assuming his current position, Donley served as the Director of Administration and Management in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. From 1996 to 2005, Donley was a Senior Vice President at Hicks and Associates, Inc., a subsidiary of Science Applications International Corporation, and a consultant to DOD and the State Department on national security matters. From 1993 to 1996, he was Senior Fellow at the Institute for Defense Analyses. Prior to this position, he served as the Acting Secretary of the Air Force for seven months, and from 1989 to 1993 he was the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Financial Management and Comptroller). Donley supported two Presidents and five National Security Advisers during his service at the National Security Council from 1984 to 1989. As Deputy Executive Secretary he oversaw the White House Situation Room and chaired interagency committees on crisis management procedures and continuity of government. Donley served in the U.S. Army from 1972 to 1975 with the XVIIIth Airborne Corps and 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), attending the Army's Intelligence and Airborne Schools and the Defense Language Institute. Donley earned both Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in international relations from the University of Southern California. He also attended the Senior Executives in National Security program at Harvard University.

Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper (USAF, Ret), Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence

Clapper is currently the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, where he is the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense regarding intelligence, counterintelligence and security matters. He also serves as the Director of Defense Intelligence and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence as his principal advisor regarding defense intelligence matters. Clapper previously served as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency director from September 2001 to June 2006; he was the first civilian director of the NGA. He retired as a lieutenant general from the U.S. Air Force in 1995, after a 32-year career. He earned a bachelor's degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland, a master's degree in political science from St. Mary's University, San Antonio, Texas, and an honorary doctorate in strategic intelligence from the Joint Military Intelligence College.

Michael G. Vickers, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict and Interdependent Capabilities (SO/LIC&IC)

Vickers is currently the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict & Interdependent Capabilities), where he is the senior civilian advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense on the operational employment and capabilities of special operations forces, strategic forces, and conventional forces. He is also the senior civilian advisor on counterterrorism strategy, irregular warfare, and force transformation. Prior to his appointment as ASD (SO/LIC&IC), Vickers served as Senior Vice President, Strategic Studies, at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). He was a senior advisor to the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, and Executive Director of the QDR "Red Team," which provided an assessment of the QDR for the Deputy Secretary and Vice Chairman. In late 2005, Vickers conducted an independent assessment of special operations forces ("The Downing Report") for the Secretary of Defense. From 1973 to 1986, Vickers served as an Army Special Forces Non-Commissioned Officer, Special Forces Officer, and CIA Operations Officer. During this period, Vickers had operational and combat experience in Central America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Central and South Asia. During the mid-1980s, Vickers was the principal strategist for the largest covert action program in the CIA’s history: the paramilitary operation that drove the Soviet army out of Afghanistan. Vickers received his B.A., with honors, from the University of Alabama. He also holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

UN Report: Foreign Agents Broke Rights Laws

Feb. 27, 2009

BERLIN - A U.N. special investigator has concluded in a report scheduled for release today that foreign intelligence agents sent to question U.S.-held terrorism suspects in Guantanamo Bay had violated international human-rights laws.

According to an advance copy of the report, Martin Scheinin, a Finnish diplomat and the U.N. special investigator for human rights, said foreign agents visiting Guantanamo or secret U.S. jails overseas committed "an internationally wrongful act" even if they merely observed interrogations.

"They were acting in breach of their legal obligations in regard to the prohibition on torture and arbitrary detention," Scheinin, who is also a law professor at the European University Institute in Florence, said.

The U.S. military has allowed agents from at least 18 countries to interrogate Guantanamo inmates, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights, a New York-based group that provides legal representation to many Guantanamo prisoners.

- Washington Post

Blackwater Changes its Name to Xe

Xe (pronounced /ˈzi/, formerly Blackwater Worldwide & Blackwater USA), is a private military company founded in 1997 by Erik Prince and Al Clark. In October 2007, Blackwater USA renamed itself Blackwater Worldwide, and was colloquially referred to simply as "Blackwater".

Robert Farley, a conservative opinion-shaper at American Prospect, laments: "I WANTED BLACKWATER, BUT ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY XE." (I know, I know: conservative "humor" is strained and cliché-ridden.) Blackwater, the propaganda sheet notes, changed its name to "Xe" in "an apparent effort to escape the bad publicity associated with the Blackwater brand."

Brand of what?? Politico-corporate murder? ...

In retrospect, opines this Prospect wit, "Xe may have erred by developing too public a profile." You don't want everyone knowing how you murdered innocent pedestrians in cold blood - bad for the corporate image. "One component of success," that is, getting away with mass murder, "I'm guessing, is the ability to fly just below the radar, such that the relevant customers know of your existence but the media and public really don't." Sage advice from a publication much respected by American conservatives who dwell in a world of lucrative delusions and thus are capable of any and all atrocities.

- AC

The CIA: Beyond Redemption and Should Be Terminated

" [The CIA] represents 60 years of failure and fascism utterly at odds with the spirit of a democracy and needs to be closed, permanently. ... If you think this is a “radical” idea, think again. What is “radical” is to empower a mob of covert operatives to roam the planet, wreaking havoc as they go with not a care for morality or, for that matter, the tenets of mercy implicit in any of the great faiths. The idea of not prosecuting CIA interrogators (i.e., torturers), as President Obama has hinted, is chilling. ... "

By Sherwood Ross February 2009

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has confirmed the worst fears of its creator President Harry Truman that it might degenerate into “an American Gestapo.” It has been just that for so long it is beyond redemption. It represents 60 years of failure and fascism utterly at odds with the spirit of a democracy and needs to be closed, permanently.

Over the years, [the CIA] has given U.S. presidents so much wrong information on so many critical issues, broken so many laws, subverted so many elections, overthrown so many governments, funded so many dictators, and killed and tortured so many innocent human beings that the pages of its official history could be written in blood, not ink. People the world over regard it as infamous, and that evaluation, sadly for the reputation of America, is largely accurate. Besides, since President Obama has half a dozen other major intelligence agencies to rely on for guidance, why does he need the CIA? In one swoop he could lop an estimated 27,000 employees off the Federal payroll, save taxpayers umpteen billions, and wipe the CIA stain from the American flag.

If you think this is a “radical” idea, think again. What is “radical” is to empower a mob of covert operatives to roam the planet, wreaking havoc as they go with not a care for morality or, for that matter, the tenets of mercy implicit in any of the great faiths. The idea of not prosecuting CIA interrogators (i.e., torturers), as President Obama has hinted, is chilling. These crimes have to be stopped somewhere, sometime, or they will occur again.

“The CIA had run secret interrogation centers before---beginning in 1950, in Germany, Japan, and Panama,” writes New York Times reporter Tim Weiner in his book “Legacy of Ashes, The History of The CIA”(Random House). Weiner has won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the intelligence community. “It had participated in the torture of captured enemy combatants before---beginning in 1967, under the Phoenix program in Vietnam. It had kidnapped suspected terrorists and assassins before…”

In Iran in 1953, for example, a CIA-directed coup restored the Shah (king) to absolute power, initiating what journalist William Blum in “Rogue State” (Common Courage Press) called “a period of 25 years of repression and torture; while the oil industry was restored to foreign ownership, with the US and Britain each getting 40 percent.” About the same time in Guatemala, Blum adds, a CIA-organized coup “overthrew the democratically-elected and progressive government of Jacobo Arbenz, initiating 40 years of military government death squads, torture, disappearances, mass executions, and unimaginable cruelty, totaling more than 200,000 victims---indisputably one of the most inhuman chapters of the 20th century.” The massive slaughter compares, at least in terms of sheer numbers, with Hitler’s massacre of Romanian and Ukranian Jews during the holocaust. Yet few Americans know of it.

Blum provides yet other examples of CIA criminality. In Indonesia, it attempted in 1957-58 to overthrow neutralist president Sukarno. It plotted Sukarno’s assassination, tried to blackmail him with a phony sex film, and joined forces with dissident military officers to wage a full-scale war against the government, including bombing runs by American pilots, Blum reported This particular attempt, like one in Costa Rica about the same time, failed. So did the CIA attempt in Iraq in 1960 to assassinate President Abdul Kassem. Other ventures proved more “successful”.

In Laos, the CIA was involved in coup attempts in 1958, 1959, and 1960, creating a clandestine army of 30,000 to overthrow the government. In Ecuador, the CIA ousted President Jose Velasco for recognizing the new Cuban government of Fidel Castro The CIA also arranged the murder of elected Congo Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba in 1961 and installation of Mobutu Seko who ruled “with a level of corruption and cruelty that shocked even his CIA handlers,” Blum recalls.

In Ghana, in 1966, the CIA sponsored a military coup against leader Kwame Nkrumah in 1966; in Chile, it financed the overthrow of elected President Salvador Allende in 1973 and brought to power the murderous regime of General Augusto Pinochet who executed 3,000 political opponents and tortured thousands more. In Greece in 1967, the CIA helped subvert the elections and backed a military coup that killed 8,000 Greeks in its first month of operation. “Torture, inflicted in the most gruesome of ways, often with equipment supplied by the United States, became routine,” Blum writes.

In South Africa, the CIA gave the apartheid government information that led to the arrest of African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, who subsequently spent years in prison. In Bolivia, in 1964, the CIA overthrew President Victor Paz; in Australia from 1972-75, the CIA slipped millions of dollars to political opponents of the Labor Party; ditto, Brazil in 1962; in Laos in 1960, the CIA stuffed ballot boxes to help a strongman into power; in Portugal in the Seventies the candidates it financed triumphed over a pro-labor government; in the Philippines, the CIA backed governments in the 1970-90 period that employed torture and summary execution against its own people; in El Salvador, the CIA in the Nineties backed the wealthy in a civil war in which 75,000 civilians were killed; and the list goes on and on.

Of course, the hatred that the CIA engenders for the American people and American business interests is enormous. Because the Agency operates largely in secret, most Americans are unaware of the crimes it perpetrates in their names. As Chalmers Johnson writes in “Blowback”(Henry Holt), former long-time CIA director Robert Gates, now Obama’s defense secretary, admitted U.S. intelligence services began to aid the mujahideen guerrillas in Afghanistan six months before the Soviet invasion in December, 1979.

As has often been the case, the CIA responded to a criminal order from one of the succession of imperial presidents that have occupied the White House, in this instance one dated July 3, 1979, from President Jimmy Carter. The Agency was ordered to aid the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul---aid that might sucker the Kremlin into invading. “The CIA supported Osama bin Laden, like so many other extreme fundamentalists among the mujahideen in Afghanistan, from at least 1984 on,” Johnson writes, helping bin Laden train many of the 35,000 Arab Afghans.

Thus Carter, like his successors in the George H.W. Bush government --- Gates, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, and Colin Powell, “all bear some responsibility for the 1.8 million Afghan casualties, 2.6 million refugees, and 10 million unexploded land mines that followed from their decisions, as well as the ‘collateral damage’ that befell New York City in September 2001 from an organization they helped create during the years of anti-Soviet Afghan resistance,” Johnson added. Worse, the Bush-Cheney regime after 9/11 “set no limits on what the agency could do. It was the foundation for a system of secret prisons where CIA officer and contractors used techniques that included torture,” Weiner has written. By some estimates, the CIA in 2006 held 14,000 souls in 11 secret prisons, a vast crime against humanity.

That the CIA has zero interest in justice and engages in gratuitous cruelty may be seen from the indiscriminate dragnet arrests it has perpetrated: “CIA officers snatched and grabbed more than three thousand people in more than one hundred countries in the year after 9/11,” Weiner writes, adding that only 14 men of all those seized “were high-ranking authority figures within al Qaeda and its affiliates. Along with them, the agency jailed hundreds of nobodies…(who) became ghost prisoners in the war on terror.”

As for providing the White House with accurate intelligence, the record of the CIA has been a fiasco. The Agency was telling President Carter the Shah of Iran was beloved by his people and was firmly entrenched in power in 1979 when any reader of Harper’s magazine, available on newsstands for a buck, could read that his overthrow was imminent---and it was. Over the years, the Agency has been wrong far more often than it has been right.

According to an Associated Press report, when confirmed by the Senate as the new CIA director, Leon Panetta said the Obama administration would not prosecute CIA officers that “participated in harsh interrogations even if they constituted torture as long as they did not go beyond their instructions.” This will allow interrogators to evade prosecution for following the clearly criminal orders they would have been justified to disobey.

“Panetta also said that the Obama administration would continue to transfer foreign detainees to other countries for questioning but only if U.S. officials are confident that the prisoners will not be tortured,” the AP story continued. If past is prologue, how confident can Panetta be the CIA’s fellow goons in Egypt and Morocco will stop torturing prisoners? Why did the CIA kidnap men off the streets of Milan and New York and fly them to those countries in the first place if not for torture? They certainly weren’t treating them to a Mediterranean vacation. By its long and nearly perfect record of reckless disregard for international law, the CIA has deprived itself of the right to exist.

It will be worse than unfortunate if President Obama continues the inhumane (and illegal) CIA renditions that President Bill Clinton began and President Bush vastly expanded. If the White House thinks its operatives can roam the world and arrest and torture any person it chooses without a court order, without due process, and without answering for their crimes, this signifies Americans believe themselves to be a Master Race better than others and above international law. That’s not much different from the philosophy that motivated Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich. It would be the supreme irony if the American electorate that repudiated racism last November has voted into its highest office a constitutional lawyer who reaffirms his predecessor’s illegal views on this activity. Renditions must be stopped. The CIA must be abolished.

Two Boeing Workers Killed in Amsterdam Crash, One Injured

" ... All four worked for Boeing's defense division on the Turkish 'Peace Eagle' program, the company said. ... "

Two Boeing employees were among nine people who died in the crash of a Turkish Airlines jetliner near Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and a third was hospitalized, the aerospace company said late Thursday.

By Seattle Times staff and The Associated Press

Investigators examine the wreckage of the Turkish Airlines Boeing 737-800 that crashed near Amsterdam on Wednesday morning. The crash killed nine; at least two of the dead were Boeing employees, four of whom were aboard.

Two Boeing employees were among nine people who died in the crash of a Turkish Airlines jetliner near Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and a third was hospitalized, the aerospace company said late Thursday.

The company is waiting for notification from the State Department about the condition of a fourth Boeing employee, the company says on its Web site.

Boeing spokesman Jim Proulx on Wednesday identified the four Boeing employees as Michael Hemmer, Ronald Richey, John Salman and Ricky Wilson. The company on Thursday declined to say which two of the four were killed or who was injured, citing the families' wishes.

The four men were aboard Turkish Airlines Flight 1951 that slammed into a muddy field Wednesday morning, two miles from the runway at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. Authorities in the Netherlands said nine — five Turks and four Americans — of the 135 people aboard the Boeing 737-800 died.

"This is a very sad day for our company," Jim McNerney, Boeing chief executive officer, said on the company Web site. "Our thoughts and prayers are with our colleagues' families, friends and co-workers and with the families of everyone who was on the flight."

Peace Eagle Decal

All the Boeing employees on the plane were based in the Puget Sound area and were traveling on Boeing business. All four worked for Boeing's defense division on the Turkish "Peace Eagle" program, the company said.

A woman who identified herself as a family friend answered the phone at the Hemmer residence in Federal Way earlier Thursday. While she was unsure of Hemmer's status, she said the family assumes he survived the crash. Hemmer's wife and brother were on the way to Amsterdam, said the woman, who declined to give her name.

She said she and another family friend are caring for the Hemmers' children.

There was no answer at the homes of Salman, Richey or Wilson.

In Amsterdam, meanwhile, the head of the agency investigating the accident said engine trouble may have caused the crash.

Chief investigator Pieter van Vollenhoven said, in remarks quoted by Dutch state television NOS, that the Boeing 737-800 had fallen almost directly from the sky, which pointed toward the plane's engines having stopped. He said a reason for that had not been established.

Spokeswoman Sandra Groenendal of the Dutch Safety Authority added that engine failure was still only "one of the possible scenarios" for the crash.

Van Vollenhoven said a preliminary finding would not be made until an analysis of the plane's flight-data recorders in Paris could be completed.

Survivors said engine noise seemed to stop suddenly; the plane shuddered and then fell out of the sky tail-first. Witnesses on the ground said the plane dropped from about 300 feet.

Haarlemmermeer Mayor Theo Weterings said the names of the victims would not be released until the bodies had been formally identified.

At the crash site Thursday, investigators took detailed photos, trying to piece together why the plane lost speed and crashed.

One survivor, Henk Heijloo, said the last message he heard from the captain was for the flight crew to take their seats. He said it took him time to realize the landing had gone wrong.

"We were coming in at an odd angle, and I felt the pilot give the plane more gas," he said. He said he thought the pilot might have been trying to abort the landing, because the nose came up.

He then realized the landing was too rough to be normal, and he felt an enormous crash a moment later.

He walked away apparently uninjured, but his body began aching Thursday, he said.

Turkish Airlines chief Temel Kotil said the captain, Hasan Tahsin Arisan, was an experienced former air force pilot.

Turkish officials said the plane was built in 2002.

Turkish Airlines officials issued a statement Thursday denying reports that the plane had had technical problems in the days before the accident.

It confirmed that the plane had undergone routine maintenance Feb. 19 and that it had to delay a flight Monday to replace a faulty caution light.

A retired pilot who listened to a radio exchange between air traffic controllers and the crew shortly before the crash said he didn't hear anything unusual.

"Everything appeared normal," said Joe Mazzone, a former Delta Air Lines captain. "They were given clearance to descend to 7,000 feet."

The recording was posted by the Web site

"Turkish 1951 descending from level 7-0," one of the pilots said as they neared the airport, referring to the plane's altitude of 7,000 feet.

The controller cleared the plane to descend to 4,000 feet, where it would intercept an electronic beam guiding the plane to the runway.

The controller then read out the proper radio frequency for requesting clearance to land. "Turkish 1951 contact the tower 11827, bye bye," he said

"Thank you, sir," the pilot said. There was no indication of trouble in his voice.

Weather at the airport at the time was cloudy with a slight drizzle.

Boeing's 737, built at the company's plant in Renton, is the world's best-selling commercial jet, with more than 6,000 orders since the model was launched in 1965.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Schaeffler Auto Parts Founder Had Nazi Ties, Cicero Reports

Also see: "German car company 'used hair from Jews murdered at Auschwitz'"

By Chris Reiter

Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Wilhelm Schaeffler, one of the founders of Schaeffler Group, was a member of the Nazi party and employed forced labor to produce weapons for the German military during World War II, Cicero magazine reported.

Schaeffler’s company, called Davistan AG at the time, was purchased in 1940 from creditors after being abandoned by its Jewish owner in 1933, according to Gregor Schoellgen, a historian commissioned by the Schaeffler family to research their past, the magazine said in its March issue. Wilhelm Schaeffler joined the Nazis in 1941 yet didn’t play an active role in the party, the report said.

Schaeffler, who died in 1981, was the brother-in-law of Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler, who now owns Schaeffler Group with her son Georg. The manufacturer, strained by 11 billion euros ($14 billion) of debt from the purchase of Continental AG, makes transmission parts and ball bearings for cars, planes and fishing reels.

In 1942, Wilhelm Schaeffler converted some of the company’s textile production to the manufacture of bombs, armored vehicles and canons. He “acted as did most German industrialists of this time,” Schoellgen, a professor at the University of Erlangen, said in the report.

“Those who wanted to keep their companies above water entered the defense business and contributed to the German war and annihilation machine, whether they wanted to or not,” said Schoellgen.

Imprisoned Until 1951

Slave labor was used by the company from 1943 as military call-ups led to labor shortages, the magazine reported. Wilhelm Schaeffler was arrested in 1946 and imprisoned until 1951 for misappropriating Polish property.
The report rejects claims that the company used human hair from the Auschwitz concentration camp to produce textiles.

“All evidence today contradicts these suspicions,” said the report, adding: “None of the systematic searches of German archives in connection with Schaeffler found even a hint of links to Auschwitz, let alone the delivery of hair,” said the report.

Detlef Sieverdingbeck, spokesman for Herzogenaurach, Germany-based Schaeffler, said in an e-mail yesterday that Schoellgen was engaged several years ago to investigate business activities prior to Schaeffler Group’s founding in 1946 on the family’s own initiative.

“Because of false reports and allegations that have surfaced recently on the Internet, Professor Schoellgen published, for clarification, the most essential results of his research in Cicero,” he said.
" ... Schaeffler's Internet site sets the start of its history in 1946 ... "

Auto parts family Schaeffler worked with Nazis

The German industrialist family Schaeffler, creator of the eponymous auto parts group, collaborated with the World War II Nazi regime in Poland, according to a report in Cicero magazine.

The company initially specialised in textiles but converted to work in the arms industry and employed forced workers which included French, Poles, and Russians, historian Gregor Schöllgen wrote in the magazine's latest edition published on Thursday.

Schoellgen, who is based at the university in Erlangen, southern Germany, was mandated by heirs to the group's founders, including the current boss Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler, to explore the family's archives, a company spokesman told AFP.

The research was completed two years ago but has not been published before.

It was released this week owing to "false allegations on the Internet" that the historian sought to clarify, the spokesman said.

According to the report, Schaeffler grew out of Davistan AG, a company owned by a Jewish family that fled Germany following calls for a boycott of Jewish firms by the Nazis, Schoellgen explained. The company was taken over by a consortium of banks that sold it in 1940 to Wilhelm Schaeffler, the researcher said.

Schaeffler began to produce military equipment and became a member of the Nazi Party, while his brother Georg also invested in the new company. In 1946, Wilhelm Schaeffler was arrested by US forces and turned over to Polish authorities.

He was convicted of "liquidating" assets that belonged to the Polish state and citizens, and Jews, "on behalf of the Third Reich," in 1949 and imprisoned in Poland until 1951, Schoellgen said.

Schaeffler's Internet site sets the start of its history in 1946, with the launch of a group to produce industrial parts such as needle rollers, a kind of specialised ball bearing, by Georg and Wilhelm Schaeffler.

Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler is Georg's widow.

The report in Cicero appeared after Schaeffler asked for public aid to avoid bankruptcy while expanding rapidly in recent years.

The company has been hit by the global slowdown in auto markets, and by the purchase last year of its much bigger German rival Continental, which has turned into a heavy weight on Schaeffler's finances.

Berlin Defector: Right-Wing Party wants Fourth Reich

Feb. 26, 2009

BERLIN, Feb 26, 2009 (UPI via COMTEX) -- A former board member of the German National Democratic Party said the group is a neo-Nazi organization that hopes to set up a "Fourth Reich."

Uwe Luthardt told the British newspaper The Telegraph that he joined because he wanted to do something for Germany but found that the NDP was more interested in "Greater Germany." He found that other party members were interested in seizing Silesia from Poland.

Many of the members are more interested in drinking and fighting than politics, he said.

"Many have an IQ close to my shoe size. Most of them are simply failures: failed pupils, people who dropped out of school or their apprenticeships, alcoholics that can't find a foothold anywhere else, thugs," he said. "But every local organization has three to five men who don't have criminal records. They're the ones sent to face the press or man information stands."

He said the organization provides guidance on how to behave in public, avoiding open references to the Nazis. Two major sources of funds are gifts from old Nazis still living in South America and income from skinhead concerts.

Video: The Military's "Personality Disorder" Discharge


Teterboro Crash Update: Luxury Jet Company Officials Criminally Charged

For details of the crash, and information on central CIA-linked culprits involved, ties to 9/11, Gitmo torture, political assassination, etc., see: "The Lexington Comair Crash - Part 2: The Teterboro Incident" (continued through part five of the Lexington crash series, posted in 2006; part one features essential, related political and intelligence connections, including ties to Mohammed Atta, Wally Hilliard and a slue of CIA-Mafia crimes).

I was on to the parapolitical aspects of this crash three years ago. Some researchers are just now waking up to it. Anyone who claims an "exclusive" or "scoop" on coverage of CIA ties to the Teterboro crash - a few years too late - is talking through his hat. "I told you so" is my mantra - the "news of the future" is found right here.

- Alex Constantine

Sign of the Times: Luxury Jet Company Officials Criminally Charged
23 Corporate Crime Reporter 6
February 4, 2009

Last week, Wall Street executives were rhetorically whipped for spending taxpayer money on luxury corporate jets.

This week, it’s the luxury corporate jet executives’ turn. Five company officials and a pilot associated with a luxury charter jet company that operated a flight from Teterboro, New Jersey Airport which crashed on takeoff in 2005 were named in a 23-count indictment charging a series of crimes, including endangering the safety of aircraft.

The indicted was unsealed and the defendants were arrested this morning.

Charged in the indictment were the following individuals associated with the now defunct Platinum Jet Management of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.:

• Michael Brassington, 35, the President, CEO, chief pilot and co-founder of Platinum Jet;

• his brother, Paul Brassington, 29, a Vice President and co-founder of Platinum Jet;

• Andre Budhan, 42, a managing member and co-founder of Platinum Jet;

• Joseph Singh, 37, the director of charters for the company; and

• Brien McKenzie, 42, Platinum Jet’s Director of Maintenance; and Francis Vieira, 59, a Platinum Jet pilot.

Michael and Paul Brassington, Budhan and McKenzie were arrested this morning in Ft. Lauderdale. Arrest warrants have been issued for Vieira and Singh and they are being sought.

Federal officials in New Jersey allege a conspiracy to commit continuous willful violations of regulatory requirements for the operation of commercial charter aircraft. The indictment accuses the defendants of routinely undertaking and concealing dangerous fueling and weight distribution practices which existed on the Platinum-operated jet that failed to lift off at Teterboro on February 2, 2005.

The jet left the end of the runway, crossed Route 46, hitting cars along the way, and slammed through the side of a clothing warehouse. The Teterboro flight that crashed on Feb. 2, 2005, was over-fueled in a manner that caused the plane’s center of gravity to exceed its forward weight limit for takeoff, contributing to the crash. The fueling practice was commonly used, according to the indictment, to increase profits for Platinum Jet.

“The fuel loading was the primary contributing factor in the crash,” said U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra said. “It is astounding – and criminal – that owners and operators of jet aircraft would repeatedly engage in such a dangerous game with passengers and airplanes loaded to the brim with jet fuel. What this indictment alleges is an anything-goes attitude by the defendants to get their planes in the air and maximize profits without regard to passenger safety or compliance with basic regulations.”

Michael Brassington was charged with endangering the safety of aircraft and alleges that all of the defendants joined a conspiracy to defraud charter flight customers, jet charter brokers and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through interstate wire communications, and to defraud the United States by impeding and obstructing the FAA’s regulation of commercial aircraft in the United States.

The defendants operated Platinum Jet as an on-demand commercial jet charter company without having a “Part 135 certificate,” which is required by federal aviation regulations for charter operations and is granted only after a rigorous application process, which required operators, among other things, to develop comprehensive operating, training and maintenance manuals that would govern their charter operations.

During this period, the conspirators lied in contractual documents faxed from state to state to charter brokers about Platinum Jet’s illegal regulatory and safety status.

The defendants operated more than 85 commercial flights during this period in violation of federal safety regulations for more than $1 million in compensation.

Federal officials alleged that in November 2003, the defendants started sharing a Part 135 certificate, or “piggybacking,” with a Part 135 certificate holder based in Alabama, and that after they did so, they continued to violate FAA rules by dispatching unqualified pilots and pilots without the FAA-required amount of rest to fly chartered flights.

To conceal this illegality, the indictment alleges, Michael Brassington, Vieira and other Platinum Jet pilots signed FAA mandated flight logs for more than 30 charter-brokered flights falsely indicating that those charters were private, non-profit flights, which are subject to less onerous regulation than commercial flights.

This alleged conduct lasted from November 2003 until shortly after the crash at Teterboro Airport in February 2005.

During this period, Michael and Paul Brassington, Budhan and Singh continued to claim in interstate contracts with the brokers that Platinum Jet was in compliance with federal safety regulations.

The indictment alleges a dangerous and fraudulent “tankering” scheme, where the defendants – in order to cut costs and take advantage of less expensive fuel contracts at locations including Teterboro – would over-fuel aircraft to an extent where those aircrafts’ centers-of-gravity were too far forward for safe takeoff.

The defendants would then falsify FAA-required weight-and-balance graphs to conceal the tankering and dangerous weight configuration.

Federal officials alleged that Michael Brassington and Vieira doctored numerous weight-and-balance graphs to conceal excess front-loaded weight before takeoff and instructed other pilots to do the same. Also, McKenzie is alleged to have lied to a Platinum Jet pilot about the weight of one of the aircraft in order to keep the scheme going.

Platinum Jet flew more than 25 commercial charter flights on two separate aircraft with centers of gravity that exceeded the aircrafts’ forward limits, and lied about it in FAA-required documents.

It was this dangerous tankering that was the primary contributing factor in the Teterboro crash.

In November 2004, Michael Brassington told a first officer with Platinum Jet that one of the aircraft, Jet N370V, weighed considerably less than the weight reflected on FAA-required weight-and-balance graphs located on that aircraft.

In reliance on this representation from Michael Brassington, the first officer over-fueled Jet N370V on the day of the crash and caused its center-of-gravity to exceed its forward limit for takeoff and endangered the aircraft.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bankrupt Delphi Told It Can Cancel Retiree Benefits

" ... He acknowledged the ruling would affect some retirees 'in very dire ways,' ... "

U.S. judge gives permission for health-care and life-insurance coverage to be dropped for those who were salaried employees.

Stephen Taub, | US
February 24, 2009

Delphi Corp received bankruptcy court permission to cancel benefits for 15,000 retirees, which would enable the bankrupt auto parts maker to save more than $70 million annually.

As a result, according to a report on the court proceedings in the Detroit News, on April 1 Delphi could cancel salaried retiree health care and life insurance benefits.

"Every dollar counts," U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain said in his ruling, adding that the move represents "good business judgment." Judge Drain stressed that health and life insurance are not vested benefits, but he acknowledged the ruling would affect some retirees "in very dire ways," according to the report.

The judge, however, did appoint a temporary committee to review whether some retirees — including those who retired on disability — have special rights to continued health insurance. ...

Story continues at

Profiles of America's Beloved TV Celebrities (42): Was John Belushi Murdered?

Mae Brussell – World Watchers International radio broadcast, March 21, 1982. Transcribed and edited by Alex Constantine

When John Belushi died, there was much confusion in Los Angeles for the first week or so from the coroner's office and police officials concerning the cause of death. A week later, the headlines delivered a fait accompli – that he was always drunk, a slob, took drugs all the time. He had this expensive drug habit.

I didn't know John Belushi, but he was very successful, just as many rock musicians died at the peak of their success, at the crest when they were about to do better things. This death follows the same pattern.

Louis Malle

He was about to make, with partners, two very important and highly political movies. One was to be called Blue Moon Over Miami, and it was to be directed by Louis Malle, the fellow who directed Atlantic City, nominated for an Academy Award – and also My Dinner with André; it's been suggested this was the best picture of the year. Malle is a serious director. The script was written by highly-successful and well-known writer, John Guare.

So one of the movies that Belushi was about to make was a comedy about the FBI and drug smuggling from Colombia to Miami. And he would play the role of the drug dealer, an informer for the FBI, and then the FBI agent becomes the drug dealer. That is, you must admit, a very controversial movie because the state of Florida depends upon the drug market. It is probably the biggest going industry in Florida, and also the United States.

And these people don't appreciate comedy.

And the network of assassination teams and drug dealers selling poison drugs comes from headquarters in Hollywood and Miami.

Belushi was also in Hollywood to make a movie called Noble Rot, and he was to be with his good friend Don Novello, Father Sarducci. Now, Father Sarducci and John Belushi were making a movie about the wineries in California, dominated by the mob. They are trying to establish social acceptance, and this was to be a comedy about the Italian Mafia. Noble Rot, you can imagine what that is by the title alone.
So if you think that Belushi was not overly-political, forget it. In the past, he made fun of the Establishment. And to make fun of the Establishment is lethal.

Incidentally, Belushi had bought a $400,000 home up at Martha's Vineyard – he had 2,000 feet of ocean-front land and eight-and-a-half acres. He bought it in 1979 from former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. When you read that a man had $2-million in life insurance, and has a $400,000 home that belonged to Robert McNamara, he wasn't just drugging and goofing off, his lazy, sloppy, sleazy image. After he was dead, the articles came out, the mess he lived in, the dirt. To get into productions, you have a commitment to be on time. Millions of dollars are invested in you. You have a schedule you keep, and while it looks like fun and games on the screen, and I'm sure there is plenty of goofing off, there were also a lot of brilliant laughs – and plans and commitments to schedules and sense of timing. The image given after he was dead was the big slob who almost deserved to die in his own vomit. But that wasn't John Belushi. His success, what he earned and what he was saying speak loud and clear. All the rest is garbage. You don't have to believe the cover stories once the fellow is dead.

Three nights before he died he was on LaCienega Blvd. near Wilshire., just bordering Beverly Hills. He was with a cab driver who gave an interview. It was late at night. They were sitting at a counter at a sandwich shop, and there was a newspaper there. They both were looking at it, and he asked Belushi, "Which part do you want, 'Sports,' 'Entertainment," or 'El Salvador'" And Belushi said: "I want El Salvador." He went on to say that he hated what he read in the news, that he hated Hollywood, that they're a "bunch of pricks. I want to get back to New York City." And he said that he wanted to stay there.

They went to Belushi's car, where he had a lot of cocaine in the glove compartment. But the driver said Belushi was unhappy, fearful of his environment, that he wanted to get back [to New York]. I think that about describes it. There was another article published about him, that he didn't want to stay in Hollywood. The last night before he died, Belushi said to somebody, "I'm going home to Judy tomorrow" – that's his wife in New York – "I want to get out of here."

I'm sure that he sensed some danger, just as Elvis Presley was poisoned until he died. Or John Lennon was kept secluded and isolated in an apartment, and the minute he emerged, he died.

Belushi, when he was in Hollywood, was bounced around the drug scenes and a lot of hard people, a very sleazy element that could entrap him later. He expressed the idea that he would leave the next day, evidently drop the movie and go back to New York. But that next day never came.

He'd hired bodyguards. The studios wanted to keep him from using cocaine. If he did indeed have it, they wanted to keep him clean.

Well, Nelson Rockefeller, vice president of the United States, had bodyguards who weren't around when he died. Robert Kennedy had a bodyguard, Thane Cesar from Lockheed, who was behind him when the fatal bullets were delivered to the back of his head. Bodyguards often let people through the door who shouldn't be there. It's a question of the agencies that employ them.

Who was looking after Belushi? Two nights before, someone came to his home - Evelyn Smith – the same woman who would be with him when he died. She was kicked out.

She reappears ... and she's one of the major suppliers of drugs to the Hollywood stars. Her behavior at the death scene was questionable – not only was supplying narcotics a crime, but not calling 9/11 or the police or the hotel desk is irresponsible; she was there when he died, went away for a couple of hours, returned. Smith didn't call anyone. She let the bodyguard, who appeared at 12:30 p.m., find the body, even though Belushi was dead when she walked out.

So, again, who were the security guards?

Another article in the paper: "John Belushi Felt Tragically Alone." He was paranoid that he was being used. It's probable that ever since he appeared on Saturday Night Live and did impersonations of famous people, he was placed on an enemies list. He was that political. The last performance of Saturday Night's original group was [so radical], a friend asked me how they got away with it. The next day, the whole group was fired, and it was reported that they were "too political." The whole group was broken up.

Sure, he was followed and used by people. I'm sure that he was prepared by this milieu around him to be done in if he continued to be political. And the two movies that he was going to make were so highly political that it would be imperative to see that he didn't gather any further fame and notoriety.

Noble Rot means the "noble" priest, Sarducci, and the rottenness of the winery people. You can imagine how popular he was with the wine people behind the Hollywood studios and the drug scene.

And, again, the movie Blue Moon Over Miami. I must repeat, these are not popular subjects to make movies about.

The papers reported that John Belushi died alone in bed, nude, in a fetal position. Lieutenant Dan Cook of the LAPD said, "it appears to be natural causes. There were dark blotches on his arms caused when blood starts to settle, and not by needles." That was the first report. Then the police said it appeared he choked on his tongue.

John Belushi died on Friday. On Saturday there were more articles about food, choking, natural causes. Heart attack was a possibility. No sign of drug usage. The hotel clerk said his heart evidently failed him. The room was neat, the actor in bed, his clothes neatly folded as though he had gone to sleep for the night. There was nothing out of order, "no reason to suspect foul play."

He was in good health the night before, according to witnesses.

By Sunday, Los Angeles coroner Thomas Naguchi - the controversial Naguchi who was fired after this case – was telling reporters, "the cause of death has not yet been determined."

"Discounting his lifestyle, he seems to have choked on food." – that was the San Francisco Examiner (March 7). He was at the Roxy nightclub the night before he died, and the owner of the club said that he hadn't taken any drugs.

On Monday, the newspapers reported: "More Tests Needed to Determine Cause of Death."

The Houston Post reported that Belushi was under examination, they were inspecting his heart.
The Chateau Marmont

They said he ordered breakfast: "whole wheat toast, jelly, a pot of coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice." He had breakfast on the terrace. Now, Evelyn Smith ordered the breakfast, and at 10:30, when Belushi was nice and dead, she went out for breakfast, she said. But it's obvious that from 6:30 to 8:00, when it was ordered, he was not in any condition to eat.

On Monday the cause of death was still undetermined. Slides of tissue had to be taken, more pathology of the body. Dr. John Holloway – a doctor who worked on the autopsy of Senator Robert Kennedy – entered the case and insisted that parts of the body would have to be removed and internal organs examined to determine if the cause of death was a heart attack.

Now, if Belushi overdosed on narcotics, and there was a mess of needles, cocaine and heroin littering the place as reported 10 days later – the first five days it was reported that there were "no drugs" involved – then the search for a heart attack was superfluous. The doctor from the Robert Kennedy autopsy said that the evidence "may not be so visible," so the tissue "must be tested, and full anatomic evidence presented."

"It may be myocardial infarction, or a coronary attack," Dr. Holloway said.

So they weren't so sure.

Tuesday: No comment on Belushi, a second round of tests for toxic substances and evidence of disease on samples of tissue taken.

On the sixth day, March 10, they still didn't know what killed him. There were interviews. The police said there was a powder resembling cocaine on the nightstand, his body had needle marks likely to be from intravenous injection of cocaine.

Seven days after his death, it was an "overdose of drugs." Chief of Police Gates in Los Angeles said he didn't know about an overdose; he had been informed that the musician-actor died of "natural causes." On this day, "Signs of Drug Usage on Belushi's Body" were reported. He had been stuck with "a needle." One report stated that there were numerous needle marks, another reported only one – and yet another said the dark spots were from blood clots.

And then the official autopsy report came out – and that was the shocker, because it contained very little information related to questions that should have been asked.

The L.A. Examiner: "Official Report on Belushi Death" – "At 1:00 am, he went to a private bar. He stayed there and was driven back to his room, where he vomited, and was pale and sweaty."

Bungalow Three at the Chateau Marmont

He was immediately sick – and then indulged in wine and cocaine. There was no evidence of sickness when the police first entered the room. They thought he had a heart attack.

At 3:00 till 3:30 am, friends arrived, people came, according to the report. We don't know how many, and they are not named. We don't know how many there were. They arrived at the hotel and stayed about 30 minutes.

That would be the time when he was injected with the "cocaine or heroin."

By 6:30, he was having hot and cold flashes, took a shower.

At 8:00 a.m., he fell asleep shaking and wheezing. Evelyn Smith entered the hotel room, and at 9:30 she heard him struggling for breath.

He was terrified and very sick.

She hears a terrible noise, and he pleads: "please don't leave me."

At 10:15, he falls asleep, so she walks out, leaves him "to get something to eat."

He knew that he was dying, but she walks out.

At 12:30, Belushi's physical therapist come in, the body was still warm. He was pronounced dead.

Belushi had "congestion of the lungs, liver and spleen, swelling of the brain and heart, arteriosclerosis, distended bladder," and they threw in "obesity"; he weighed 220 pounds. All of this should have showed up in the first autopsy. It doesn't take 7-10 days to find all of this, and the enlarged brain (the weight was given in the autopsy report) would have been tremendously painful.

He was writhing in pain. When Ms. Smith left the hotel room, he was covered with a blanket and there was foam coming out of his mouth. He swallowed his tongue. And the eyes rolling – in fact, a friend who entered the room said, "I closed his eyes, because I couldn't stand to see them open."

So she would have seen easily that he was dying, the terrible set of symptoms. And she walks out and leaves. Then she comes back, the police hand-cuffed and took her away. Then they released her, and she becomes a super-star, goes to New York City for an interview at ABC, does an article for Rolling Stone.

Cathy Evelyn Smith was not charged with any role in Belushi's death. There was no mention of collusion, but the unidentified guests who arrived at 3:00-3:30 were a clue that something was amiss.

The first reports that he was taking drugs – the police chief and coroner didn't mention it – came from the ABC network. A lawyer for ABC is Gregson E. Bautzer, one of the attorneys retained by Howard Hughes (at the time that HE was drugged, silenced and possibly murdered. Greg Bautzer is the law partner of Frank Rothman at MGM, the domain of Kirk Kerkorian and Fred Benninger, chairman of MGM Mirage.)

ABC had "inside information" and worked closely with teams involved in other mysterious, drug-related deaths. The coroner came along after the ABC reports and stated that Belushi overdosed by "intravenous injections of heroin and cocaine." The report stated that Cathy Evelyn Smith was with him when he died.
The coroner's van at the back gate, Marmont Lane

Is she responsible for his death if she sees him writhing in pain, obviously dying, foaming at the mouth, choking? She didn't call 9/11, didn't run to the front desk.

The article in the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner reported: "Belushi may have died before the woman left him."

Where does murder begin and leave off?

What was her responsibility?

Who were the people in the room?

This was a very political, highly successful person offed in Hollywood. Smith left him to die. There were fresh multiple injection marks on both arms. There was no evidence of scarred veins in either arm. He'd been only recently injected. The body was still warm.

She ordered breakfast at 8:00, went out for breakfast again at 10:30. He turns up dead. She doesn't call anyone, lets him be found.

Tom Gerald flies her to the Essex Hotel in New York City with her attorney, and puts her on ABC-TV's 20/20. The "Mystery Woman" is described as a known "drug dealer" in Hollywood, supplies big celebrities with narcotics. When they die, shouldn't she be

John Belushi didn't trust her. His bodyguard kicked her out two nights before he died.

"I don't believe the story," Belushi's wife said.

The night after he kicked Smith out, Belushi told friends he wanted to get out of town because he didn't feel safe.

He felt he was in danger.

She suddenly appeared at the "unnamed club" above Roxy's in the autopsy report. Belushi is visited by unnamed people. There are anonymous sources of drugs. The LAPD only made a cursory search for the source and announced that no charges would be filed.

An unnamed rock star was with him shortly before he died – not mentioned in the autopsy report – and said: "there wasn't a needle present anywhere."

His doctor said there were no needle marks on him prior to the fatal injection. (Belushi had recently been to the doctor for treatment of ear, nose and throat problems.)

There were no "multiple" needle punctures, no scarring of the veins, no proof that he had been a junkie. He may have taken cocaine and marijuana – they are all over Hollywood – but certain segments of society are dying.

His wife said immediately, in article printed by the Chicago Sun-Times: "Something weird happened. That woman was thrown out two days ago. John told Bill to throw her out. John wasn't a junkie."

Evelyn Smith was with Gordon Lightfoot for a short while in Toronto. She moved to L.A. in 1978 for the drug scene. And Judith Jaqueline Belushi wanted to know "where she came from, who is this woman, what was she doing there, and how does she appear the night that she dies?"

Smith was with Belushi until he was dead – and, of course, the obvious move was to not call the police. (When Nelson Rockefeller died, Megan Marshack, his staff assistant, was present and didn't call the guard or chauffeur outside the door, or 9/11 or the hospital – she called Poncitta Pierce, who lives down the street, and she comes over, and the two of them talk it over and decide to call police ... when he's good and dead.)

The newspapers reported later that police were searching for the source of the drugs – how far did they have to go. All they had to do was ask the "Mystery Woman."

He begged her not to leave. She left Belushi ... who was supposedly so heavily into drugs that they there all over the place.

But the police didn't find drugs and powder and needle marks at that time.

She reappeared two hours later and brought the drugs with her – then she could spread the cover story that she took them with her when she left. And she did confess, "I didn't want to leave [a drug stash behind] because the maid might find it."

If a woman is a drug dealer, and the police are coming because a man is dead, the last thing she would do is incriminate herself by walking in with a stash of cocaine and drug paraphenalia.

Why did she bring it all back and lay it in front of them – unless she knew that she wouldn't be held for the murder? Was she so mindless (after fearing the maid might find the drugs) that she returned to the death scene with cocaine on her for police to

Then the stories came along: "John Belushi's Reckless Race to the Grave," the "drug-soaked sex orgies," a one-way ticket to Hell. But it would be awfully hard, as I say, to make a multi-million dollar movie with a "$25,000 a month cocaine habit," or work with the finest directors and writers going in Hollywood. I am sure that he was not the crazy, reckless pig that he was made out to be after he was dead.

Kate Braverman

The worst article came from Kate Braverman, staff reporter at the Los Angeles Times: "A harsh final look at Belushi, the patron saint of pigs." So he "hits Los Angeles and goes berserk... What else in Los Angeles good for? It's the last frontier for desperate men, rock stars, exiled tyrants. Los Angeles is a Disneyland for the decadent, a top ticket all the way, the best ride to Hell." Belushi was "the belly of this century," with "an endless appetite for novelty and the rot that began with manifest destiny." She tears him apart, a twentieth-century "nightmare."

"Much Ado About Nothing," opined the San Francisco Chronicle. "Saturday Night Live was designed to attract the sleepy and the sloppy." John Belushi will be "totally forgotten in a few years."

But he will be remembered for the programs he did with Lampoon and Saturday Night Live. His particular brand of political humor was genius – and that was his fatal mistake.