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Octafish

Octafish's Journal
Octafish's Journal
March 1, 2012

This information makes live tours of an 19th-century sausage factory seem fit for pre-schoolers.

New WikiLeaks stash: a frightening view of government intelligence

By Rachel Marsden
March 1, 2012

As promised in December, WikiLeaks has begun to release a stash of documents related to the modus operandi of the "private intelligence" sector, using Texas-based Stratfor as a case study. Claiming to have hacked Stratfor's system to obtain millions of private emails, WikiLeaks has just released the first batch -- and what it suggests about the American intelligence community makes me feel as secure as day-old pizza in a frat house.

SNIP...

Apparently the entities charged with keeping us safe now require full-blown lessons from the private sector in how to do their jobs. According to leaked email written by Stratfor's CEO, George Friedman: "We have also been asked to help the United States Marine Corps and other government intelligence organizations to teach them how Stratfor does what it does, and train them in becoming government Stratfors. We are beginning this project by preparing a three-year forecast for the Commandant of the Corps. This is a double honor for us."

Double honor for you; double horror for us! The fact that the commandant of the Marine Corps "and other government intelligence organizations" might require your expertise in learning how to do what they've historically been entrusted by the public to do does nothing for my sense of security.

Do you know how a lot of these outfits in the thriving private intelligence sector operate? The company CEO, usually a former agency employee who has maintained UMBRA or "Top Secret" clearance, meets with a private or state client to pitch his outfit's services, then passes off the analysis work to some book-smart/sidewalk-stupid naif who has just been dragged kicking and screaming into the real-world workforce after frittering away a good decade or so ringing up a party tour of Ivy League schools on mommy and daddy's AmEx black card. Kids work cheap -- especially trust-funders. With few exceptions, that's who's really doing the work in protecting America's interests.

CONTINUED...

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bal-new-wikileaks-stash-a-frightening-view-of-government-intelligence-20120229,0,68318.story

Hey, jannyk! Remember the character Joe Pesci played in The Good Shepherd?
March 1, 2012

Know your BFEE: WikiLeaks Stratfor Dump Exposes Continued Secret Government Warmongering

War is big business. It's an insider's game. It's why we have so much secret government.

The last remaining enormous wads of cash in the Treasury are to be had for purchasing today's modern military industrial intel complex.



There's more than a trillion to be grabbed -- just for the Lockheed-Martin F-35.

Now keeping tabs on us -- people interested in using some of the nation's treasure for more peaceful purposes -- are for-hire spies. How do I know this? Julian Assange and Anonymous:



WikiLeaks' Stratfor Dump Lifts Lid on Intelligence-Industrial Complex

WikiLeaks' latest release, of hacked emails from Stratfor, shines light on the murky world of private intelligence-gathering


by Pratap Chatterjee
Published on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 by The Guardian/UK

What price bad intelligence? Some 5m internal emails from Stratfor, an Austin, Texas-based company that brands itself as a "global intelligence" provider, were recently obtained by Anonymous, the hacker collective, and are being released in batches by WikiLeaks, the whistleblowing website, starting Monday.

The most striking revelation from the latest disclosure is not simply the military-industrial complex that conspires to spy on citizens, activists and trouble-causers, but the extremely low quality of the information available to the highest bidder. Clients of the company include Dow Chemical, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, as well as US government agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Marines.

SNIP...

Assange notes that Stratfor is also seeking to profit directly from this information by partnering in an apparent hedge-fund venture with Shea Morenz, a former Goldman Sachs managing director. He points to an August 2011 document, marked "DO NOT SHARE OR DISCUSS", from Stratfor CEO George Friedman, which says:

"What StratCap will do is use our Stratfor's intelligence and analysis to trade in a range of geopolitical instruments, particularly government bonds, currencies and the like."


CONTINUED...

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/02/28-10?print



If it weren't for Anonymous and WikiLeaks, we probably wouldn't know about any of that.

It's no joke. It's no unimportant story. It's no boring history. Run by insiders, the secret government is key to making the system run on behalf of the few -- the 1-percent of 1-percent. Central to that is intelligence -- economically, politically and military useful information.

Which brings up the nation's purported free press, the only business mentioned by name in the entire United States Constitution, and how the organizations therein have miserably failed to feature prominently the sundry and myriad ways the insiders on Wall Street and their toadies in Washington do the work for Them.

The problem is systemic. The corruption is systemic.

Because it involves oversight of secret organizations -- the Pentagon, Homeland Security, CIA, etc -- Congress and the Administration often have no clue, let alone oversight, to what is happening because the corruption is marked "Top Secret."

Secret government also means We the People can't do our job as citizens, which is to hold them accountable and find the ones responsible in order to vote the crooks out and, it is hoped, the honest ones in.

With no citizen oversight, anything goes. And it doesn't stop.

Remember this fine fellow, US Navy fighter ace Randy "Duke" Cunningham?

Later a member of the United States Congress, he used his position to feather his nest, Big Time.



In his political career, Cunningham was a member of the Appropriations and Intelligence committees, and chaired the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Human Intelligence Analysis and Counterintelligence during the 109th Congress. He was considered a leading Republican expert on national security issues.

Currently, he's in USP Tuscon or another fine facility where he gets three squares, medical and dental.
He's due for release in a year or so. He'll be able to pick up his pension.

"The Duke Cunningham Act, also known as the Federal Pension Forfeiture Act, was introduced by U.S. Senator John F. Kerry in 2006. The bill would have denied pension benefits to any members of Congress convicted of bribery, conspiracy or perjury. The bill died in committee. (Source: The Press Enterprise)


Duke wasn't alone. He really was just one snake in a long line of snakes. Remember Dusty Foggo, Number 3 at CIA and close associate of CIA Director and former Congressman Porter Goss? Swells sitting atop the peak of political and military secrecy and power.

Unfortunately, when it comes to modern governance, no oversight means means the insiders are getting away with murder, and warmongering and treason and all the power that they bring. Appointed pretzeldent George W Bush on Valentine's Day 2007 put it in words: "Money trumps peace."



Secret government warmongering and war profiteering are systemic. Secret government is rotten to the core. What's more, in a democracy that once really was land of the free and home of the brave, secret government poses the greatest threat to true national security.
February 27, 2012

Remember Robert B. Boettcher...

Former CIA director-cum-president 41 George Herbert Walker Bush and his patron, Rev Sun Myung Moon, benefited from the premature death of one outstanding Congressional staff director, researcher, author and American – Robert B. Boettcher.

Know your BFEE: 1984 Death of Outstanding Congressional Staffer Buried Bush-Moon Relationship

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x3645322

February 21, 2012

The 50-State Foreclosure Settlement -- Why Hasnít Anyone Gone to Jail?



Important analysis that deserves to be shared.



The 50-State Foreclosure Settlement

Why Hasn’t Anyone Gone to Jail?


by MIKE WHITNEY
CounterPunch, Feb. 21, 2012

Under the terms of the 50-state mortgage foreclosure settlement, US taxpayers could end up paying billions in penalties that were supposed to be paid by the banks. That’s the gist of a front-page story which appeared in the Financial Times on Thursday, February 17. The widely-cited article by Shahien Nasiripour notes that the 5 banks that will be effected by the settlement — Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial – will be able to use Obama’s mortgage modification program (HAMP) to reduce loan balances and “receive cash payments of up to 63 cents on the dollar for every dollar of loan principal forgiven.”

And that’s not all. If borrowers stay current on their payments after their loans are restructured, the banks could qualify for additional government funds which (according to the FT) “could then turn a profit for the banks according to people familiar with the settlement terms.”

How do you like them apples? Leave it to the bank-friendly Obama administration to turn a penalty into a windfall. In effect, the settlement will help the banks avoid losses on mortgages that are vastly overpriced on their books and which were probably headed into foreclosure anyway.

Taxpayers will stump up the money for the principle writedowns that will allow the banks to extract even more tribute from underwater homeowners. What kind of penalty is that?

CONTINUED...

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/02/21/why-hasnt-anyone-gone-to-jail/



Not to be DUplicitous or anything, but shouldn't it be the crooks who pay for the crime?
February 19, 2012

Why Obama's the Least Socialistic President in Modern History (And That's a Shame)



I'll side with the Pink Lady over Tricky Dick, any time.



Why Obama's the Least Socialistic President in Modern History (And That's a Shame)

By Richard (RJ) Eskow
AlterNet, February 18, 2012

The Republican presidential candidates keep calling Barack Obama a socialist. If they're trying to invoke the Red Menace like Republicans of past campaigns, they're a generation too late. Americans between the ages of 19 and 29 have no memory of the Cold War. Today they have a more positive impression of socialism than they do of capitalism.

SNIP...

The Republicans who call Obama a socialist are using a GOP tactic that reached its zenith in Richard Nixon's 1950 Senate victory against Helen Gahagan Douglas. Nixon supporters handed out thousands of “Pink Sheet” flyers that year comparing his opponent's voting record to that of socialist-leaning New York City Representative Vito Marcantonio. Marcantonio ran on the American Labor Party ticket and belonged to several groups that were regarded as “red.”

Douglas considered Nixon's actions thuggery, as did a number of other Americans in both parties. She called him as “a young man in a dark shirt,” which was an indirect allusion to the fascists the US had been fighting five years before. (Upon hearing her remark, Nixon displayed an odd unfamiliarity with human anatomy. “Why, I'll castrate her!” the future president said. He also described Douglas as “pink right down to her underwear.”)

SNIP...

In fact, one of the reasons Republicans really won in 2010 was because they ran a series of very effective ads around a so-called “Seniors' Bill of Rights” whose key proviso was a direct attack on “socialist” Obama's repeated attempts to negotiate entitlement cuts: “No cuts to Medicare to pay for another program,” the Republicans declared. “Zero.”

CONTINUED...

http://www.alternet.org/election2012/154175/why_obama%27s_the_least_socialistic_president_in_modern_history_%28and_that%27s_a_shame%29/?page=entire



My take, regarding Socialism: I prefer we move from the capitalist-winner-take-all-the-gold-and-all-the-losers-get-the-shaft model to a form of democratic socialism in which all people can enjoy private property, including ownership of corporations and businesses, homes and land. However, the ownership class -- the one-percent of one-percent -- would share in their take through taxes that fund social programs and cultural progress. Thus, it would behoove the United States to nationalize the banking, energy, health care and defense industries. Under President Obama, I doubt that will happen, which is too bad for the country and the People.
February 14, 2012

A Truthful Valentine Card from War Inc.

"Money trumps peace." -- George Walker Bush, 43rd pretzeldent of the United States, Feb. 14, 2007.
He said it, then Bush laughed.





Q: A lot of our allies in Europe do a lot of business with Iran. So I wonder what your thoughts are about how you further tighten the financial pressure on Iran, in particular, if it also means economic pain for a lot of our allies.

BUSH: It's an interesting question. One of the problems, not specifically on this issue, just in general, that - let's put it this way: Money trumps peace, sometimes.

In other words, commercial interests are very powerful interests throughout the world. And part of the issue in convincing people to put sanctions on a specific country is to convince them that it's in the world's interest that they forego their own financial interest.

And that's why sometimes it's tough to get tough economic sanctions on countries, and I'm not making any comment about any particular country, but you touched on a very interesting point.

You know - so, therefore, we're constantly working with nations to convince them that what really matters in the long run is to have the environment so peace can flourish.

In the Iranian case, I firmly believe that, if they were to have a weapon, it would make it difficult for peace to flourish, and therefore I am working with people to make sure that that concern trumps whatever commercial interests may be preventing governments from acting.

I make no specific accusation with that statement. It's a broad statement. But it's an accurate assessment of what sometimes can halt multilateral diplomacy from working.

SOURCE for transcript: The Guardian (UK)



From the 99-Percent's perspective, wouldn't policies based on peace be more Democratic?

I know from the 1-Percent's perspective, it'd be a heckuva lot easier to have a dictator, with the emphasis in the above case being on the "Dick."
February 10, 2012

The Political Intelligence Industry

This wonderful phrase sheds light on the cockroaches who brought you the Military-Industrial Complex.



A bit of background on how the well-connected turn a buck with a secret:



House Passes Bill Banning Insider Trading by Members of Congress

By ROBERT PEAR
The New York Times
Published: February 9, 2012

EXCERPT...

“We need to stop the insidious practice of insider trading, giving members of this body an unfair advantage over Americans who sent us here to represent them,” said Representative Kathy Hochul, Democrat of New York. “Let us begin the long process of restoring the faith of the American people in this institution.”

Representative Louise M. Slaughter, Democrat of New York, who has been pushing ethics legislation since 2006, said, “It appears that the House Republican leadership could not stomach pressure from the political intelligence community, which is unregulated and unseen and operates in the dark.”

SNIP...

Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who wrote the proposed disclosure requirement, denounced “the chutzpah” of House Republican leaders, who he said had “wiped out any chance of meaningful transparency for the political intelligence industry.” He said he would fight to restore the requirement.

SNIP...

The chamber’s Democratic leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, said the House-passed bill had “serious omissions” and was “much diminished” from the Senate version. She supported it as a way to advance the legislation, but said, “I don’t want anyone to interpret the strong vote for it to be a seal of approval.”

CONTINUED...

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/us/politics/house-passes-bill-banning-insider-trading-by-members-of-congress.html



The rest of the story shows how our esteemed Congress, led by John Boehner and Eric Cantor, took out the parts in the bill that made it illegal for them and their fellow Congressmen and Congresswomen to share "insider information" with Wall Street.

For the 1-Percent and their Toadies in government, Political Intelligence Industry "sums" it up perfectly.
February 8, 2012

Know your BFEE: John Roberts earned his Sgt. Pepper stripes as an Iran-Contra cover-up artiste.



The smarmy “Justice” John Roberts wasn’t around for the 5-4 decision that installed pretzeldent Junior George W Bush 43 into the Oval Office. The vote-suppressor supreme “Justice” William Rehnquist was at the top of that legal heap back in 2001.

But, if it wasn’t for young John Roberts workin’ his legal magic ‘n’ all back in 1986, it’s quite possible there never would have been a President Poppy George Herbert Walker Bush 41 in the first place.

The reason: John Roberts helped keep Pruneface Ronald Reagan from being impeached and the secret government arms-for-hostages Boland Amendment runaround ringleader Poppy Bush out of prison during Iran-Contra.



JR lawyered iran contra

The Smoking Gun: John Roberts "Lawyered" the Iran-Contra Scandal

Bob Fertik
Democrats.com
August 25, 2005

EXCERPT...

One file withheld, regarding the Iran-contra affair, was a draft memo from Roberts to his bosses with the heading "re: establishment of NHAO" -- referring to the Nicaraguan Humanitarian Assistance Office.

The office was one of the ways the Reagan administration got around what were known as the Boland amendments, which prohibited U.S. intelligence agencies from spending money to overthrow the Sandinistas. The office was a way the administration could get funds to the contras for nonmilitary purposes, but once there the money was used for all sorts of things.

In other words, John Roberts "lawyered" the Iran-Contra Scandal - one of the worst scandals in American history.

Now we know why Karl Rove is scrubbing Roberts' files!!!

CONTINUED…

http://www.democrats.com/roberts-iran-contra



Why does that matter? Well, Iran-Contra was treason of the highest order. Not only did the Executive circumvent Congress in carrying out its various warmongering treasons in the name of fighting godless communism, they were trading arms with the terrorists who had killed 240 United States Marines, 18 Navy and 3 Army personnel at the Beirut airport in 1983.



Firewall: Inside the Iran-Contra Cover-up

By Robert Parry
1995

EXCERPT…

Those combined interests likely will lead to very few favorable reviews of a new book by a man who put himself in the way of that cover-up -- Iran-contra independent counsel Lawrence Walsh. In a remarkable new book, Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-up, Walsh details his six-year battle to break through the "firewall" that White House officials built around President Reagan and Vice President Bush after the Iran-contra scandal exploded in November 1986.

For Walsh, a lifelong Republican who shared the foreign policy views of the Reagan administration, the Iran-contra experience was a life-changing one, as his investigation penetrated one wall of lies only to be confronted with another and another -- and not just lies from Oliver North and his cohorts but lies from nearly every senior administration official who spoke with investigators.

According to Firewall, the cover-up conspiracy took formal shape at a meeting of Reagan and his top advisers in the Situation Room at the White House on Nov. 24, 1986. The meeting's principal point of concern was how to handle the troublesome fact that Reagan had approved illegal arms sales to Iran in fall 1985, before any covert-action finding had been signed. The act was a clear felony -- a violation of the Arms Export Control Act -- and possibly an impeachable offense.

SNIP…

&quot White House chief of staff Don) Regan, who had heard McFarlane inform the president and who had heard the president admit to Shultz that he knew of the shipment of Hawk (anti-aircraft) missiles, said nothing. Shultz and (Defense Secretary Caspar) Weinberger, who had protested the shipment before it took place, said nothing. (Vice President George) Bush, who had been told of the shipment in advance by McFarlane, said nothing. Casey, who (had) requested that the president sign the retroactive finding to authorize the CIA-facilitated delivery, said nothing. (NSC adviser John) Poindexter, who had torn up the finding, said nothing. Meese asked whether anyone knew anything else that hadn't been revealed. No one spoke."

CONTINUED…

http://www.consortiumnews.com/archive/story34.html



These are no mere gangsters. They are mass murderers dealing with mass murderers to advance their aims. And John Roberts let them get away with their corruptions and treasons.



Roberts & the 'Apex of Presidential Power'

By Nat Parry
September 6, 2005

EXCERPT...

In the 1980s, Roberts also provided legal advice to the Reagan administration on how to pick its way around the legal obstacles erected by Congress to limit military and other assistance to the Nicaraguan contra rebels who were fighting to overthrow Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government.

SNIP…

Conflict of Interest

Regarding the Hamdan case, Roberts also saw no impropriety in his simultaneous interviewing with senior administration officials for a life-time job on the Supreme Court and his judging of a case in which Bush was a defendant.

On April 1, Roberts was interviewed by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who had formulated many of the arguments for the “apex of presidential power,” including Bush’s right to override anti-torture laws.

Other interviews with Roberts were conducted by Vice President Dick Cheney; White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card; White House legal counsel Harriet Miers; Bush’s chief political strategist Karl Rove; and Cheney’s chief of staff Lewis Libby.

CONTINUED…

http://www.consortiumnews.com/2005/090605.html



Oh yeah. "No Poppy" means no one to appoint Associate Just-Us Tony the Fixer Scalia to the court in 1986. And everybody knows, Fangu Tony was da brains behind the 5-4 fiasco...uh ah uh, assisted by the lawyerly John Roberts, of course.



Roberts Gave GOP Advice in 2000 Recount

John G. Roberts, President Bush's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, played a role in the chaotic, 36-day period following the disputed 2000 presidential election.

by Gary Fineout and Mary Ellen Klas
Published on Thursday, July 21, 2005 by the Miami Herald

TALLAHASSEE -- U.S. Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts provided legal advice to Gov. Jeb Bush in the weeks following the November 2000 election as part of the effort to make sure the governor's brother won the disputed presidential vote.

Roberts, at the time a private attorney in Washington, D.C., came to Tallahassee to advise the state's Republican administration as it was trying to prevent a Democratic end-run that the GOP feared might give the election to Al Gore, sources told The Herald.

SNIP...

U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, a Boca Raton Democrat, seized on Roberts' participation in the 2000 recount and suggested it should be grounds for rejecting his nomination. Wexler suggested the nomination ``threw salt on the wounds of the thousands of Floridians whose voting rights were disenfranchised during the 2000 election.

''Judge Roberts worked to ensure that George Bush would become president -- regardless of what the courts might decide,'' Wexler said, relying on news accounts that suggested Roberts gave the governor advice on how the state Legislature could name Bush the winner. ``And now he is being rewarded for that partisan service by being appointed to the nation's highest court.''

CONTINUED...

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0721-07.htm



Small world. And very, very bad.



The Lost Opportunity of Iran-Contra

Special Report: A quarter century ago with the breaking of the Iran-Contra scandal, the United States had a chance to step back from its march toward Empire and to demand accountability for White House crimes. But instead a powerful cover-up prevailed, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry
ConsortiumNews
December 1, 2011

EXCERPT...

Walsh finally relented and agreed to shut down his investigation, meaning that one of the key lessons derived from Iran-Contra was that a determined cover-up of a national security scandal, backed by a powerful media apparatus and aggressive political allies, can work.

In the early 1990s when I interviewed the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s longtime Democratic chief counsel Spencer Oliver, he put Iran-Contra in exactly that historical place, as the polar opposite of Watergate when Richard Nixon’s abuses of power had real consequences, including Nixon’s forced resignation and prison terms for many of his subordinates.

“What [the Republicans] learned from Watergate,” Oliver said, “was not ‘don’t do it,’ but ‘cover it up more effectively.’ They have learned that they have to frustrate congressional oversight and press scrutiny in a way that will avoid another major scandal.”

The consequences of the failed Iran-Contra investigations have been long-lasting and profound. Not only did George H.W. Bush manage to get elected president in 1988 under the false claim that he had been “out of the loop” on the scandal, but the failure to hold him accountable in 1993 opened the door to the White House eight years later for his son, George W. Bush.

George W. Bush’s imperial presidency (and its costly “war on terror”) would have been virtually unthinkable if the full truth had been known about George H.W. Bush regarding Iran-Contra. Nor would it have been likely that the Republicans could have succeeded in elevating Ronald Reagan to his present iconic status.

CONTINUED...

http://consortiumnews.com/2011/12/01/the-lost-opportunity-of-iran-contra/



For all that, dealing with terrorists and going around the Congressional ban on dealing death on innocent people in Nicaragua, they all belong in the slammer for life.

Instead, John Roberts gets to head the nation’s highest court in the land for life.
February 4, 2012

LEMNITZER and DULLES knew Bay of Pigs Operation was COMPROMISED, yet gave it their blessings...

...to proceed, right to JFK's face. It's on the record, and too much public scrutiny may significantly decrease the treasonous bastards getting away with it.

The Cubans knew the time and place of invasion. And the United States knew they knew. Yet, JCS Chairman LEMNITZER and CIA Director DULLES knew Bay of Pigs Op was COMPROMISED, yet told President Kennedy their plan -- developed under Eisenhower and presumably for the Nixon madministration to come -- would work without the United States having to intervene militarily.

So, Castro knew the time and place for the attack. Knowing the plan was the compromised, let alone stupid from a military and political point of view, they failed to inform the President. How is that not treason?



Three MO' bits on JFK and the Bay of Pigs Thing...

Know your BFEE: At every turn, JFK was opposed by War Party

"Wasn't that, like, the Bay of Pigs Thing?"

JFK Would NEVER Have Fallen for Phony INTEL!

If it wasn't for JFK saying, "No," to the warmongering anticommunist paranoid greedheads, it's very possible none of us would be here now.

February 1, 2012

You are most welcome, TSJ. Please check out Mr. Morrow's contribution at Spartacus Schoolnet...

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?s=b508b3d0ef69b7bac12c6e7ff252fa1b&showtopic=10724&st=60

EXCERPT...

"At a Georgetown dinner party recently, the wife of a leading senator sat next to Gen. Curtis LeMay, chief of staff of the Air Force. He told her a nuclear war was inevitable. It would begin in December and be all over by the first of the year. In that interval, every major American city -- Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles -- would be reduced to rubble. Similarly, the principal cities of the Soviet Union would be destroyed. The lady, as she tells it, asked if there were any place where she could take her children and grandchildren to safety; the general would, of course, at the first alert be inside the top-secret underground hideout near Washington from which the retaliatory strike would be directed. He told her that certain unpopulated areas in the far west would be safest." --Marquis Childs, nationally syndicated columnist, Washington Post, 19 July 1961

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