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FTR #702 Miscellaneous Articles and Updates

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MP3 Side 1 [1] | Side 2 [2]

After con­trast­ing the diplo­mat­ic, eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal land­scape inher­it­ed by George W. Bush from the Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion [3] with those bequeathed to Oba­ma by Dubya, the pro­gram high­lights the media decon­struc­tion of the Tiger Woods’ image fol­low­ing dis­clo­sure of extra­mar­i­tal affairs. Like Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, Woods is an African Amer­i­can with a high degree of accep­tance by whites. And, like Oba­ma, he was a pioneer–Woods dom­i­nat­ed the large­ly white sport of golf, as Oba­ma became the first African Amer­i­can pres­i­dent.

With the GOP rhetor­i­cal­ly ref­er­enc­ing Elin Woods [4], the pro­gram asks if the intent may be to estab­lish a neg­a­tive psy­cho­log­i­cal asso­ci­a­tion between Woods and Oba­ma. In that con­text, we note that Wood­s’s moth­er-in-law (for­mer Swedish immi­gra­tion min­is­ter) [5] has been accused of shel­ter­ing war crim­i­nals. Swedish pow­er struc­ture has pro­found his­tor­i­cal links to fas­cism, with many of Swe­den’s most promi­nent indus­tri­al and finan­cial fig­ures hav­ing been sup­port­ive of the Axis. (Unlike the axis nations, Swe­den did not under­go even a super­fi­cial purge of fas­cist ele­ments after the war, with its pro-fas­cist lumi­nar­ies remain­ing untouched.) Are Under­ground Reich ele­ments exploit­ing the Tiger Woods sit­u­a­tion? Might they have played a role in gen­er­at­ing the imbroglio in the first place?

In a Van­i­ty Fair arti­cle, Christo­pher Hitchens won­ders if Swe­den’s pow­er­ful right wing may have mur­dered writer Stieg Lars­son [6], whose nov­els exposed real his­tor­i­cal events and were crit­i­cal of that Scan­di­na­vian nation’s fas­cist cadre.

Chron­i­cling the re-emer­gence of the mili­tia move­ment [7], the broad­cast notes that the para­mil­i­tary right has remained dor­mant since the last Demo­c­ra­t­ic admin­is­tra­tion [8], despite the fact that run­ning enor­mous deficits, infring­ing on civ­il lib­er­ties and eco­nom­ic dis­tress were alto­geth­er chrac­ter­is­tic of both George W. Bush admin­is­tra­tions. (It is against the back­ground of GOP bel­li­cos­i­ty that the Tiger Woods/Obama dis­cus­sion must be seen.)

Ultra-right-wing talk show host Hal Turn­er [9] turns out to have been an FBI infor­mant.

After revis­it­ing the sub­ject of human-gen­er­at­ed earth­quakes [10] and seis­mic activ­i­ty, the broad­cast notes that a law­suit is pro­ceed­ing against Bay­er Crop­Science [11], mak­er of a genet­i­cal­ly-mod­i­fied brand of rice that has con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed much of U.S. rice-grow­ing land. Anoth­er of Bay­er’s for­mer fel­low com­pa­nies of the I.G. Far­ben combine–chemical firm BASF–has been pur­chas­ing oil siphoned off from Mex­i­can gov­ern­ment facil­i­ties [12] by that coun­try’s pow­er­ful drug car­tels.

Aid­ing the world’s pow­er­ful drug car­tels is the fact that the glob­al finan­cial sys­tem is in ruins. A UN ana­lyst reports that laun­dered drug prof­its [13] kept the world from a finan­cial col­lapse when Wall Street tanked in 2008.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Iran-Con­tra weapons deal­er Adnan Khashog­gi’s famil­ial rela­tion­ship [14] to Dodi al-Fayed (Princess Diana’s beau); review of the devel­op­ment of earth­quakes as weapons of mass destruc­tion; a Mon­tana town’s attempts [15] at estab­lish­ing legal and civic excep­tion­al­ism from U.S. law; the John Birch Soci­ety’s recent host­ing [16] of the meet­ing of the Con­ser­v­a­tive Polit­i­cal Action Com­mit­tee; Ger­man cor­po­ra­tion Siemens’ assis­tance to Iran’s nuclear pro­gram [17].

1. Begin­ning with an op-ed piece that con­trasts the cur­rent state of the Unit­ed States with that at the begin­ning of the decade, the pro­gram exam­ines the dam­age that the Bush admin­is­tra­tion did to this coun­try.

“. . . The con­trast with 2001 could not be greater. Then, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush inher­it­ed bud­get sur­plus­es, near full-employ­ment and a dol­lar whose reserve sta­tus was unques­tioned. Fol­low­ing the attacks on New York, they were also greet­ed by a world that was pre­pared to go to the breach for an Amer­i­ca that was viewed as the leader of the ‘free world’–a phrase now dropped almost entire­ly from the lex­i­con. . . .”

“Pres­i­dent Is Forced to Walk a Long and Lone­ly Road” by Edward Luce; Finan­cial Times; 12/3/2009; p. 2.

2. Although there is MUCH more inves­ti­gat­ing to be done, it is inter­est­ing to view the “decon­struc­tion” of Tiger Woods’ pub­lic per­sona in light of the O.J. Simp­son case [18]. (Simp­son’s fol­lies in con­nec­tion with his Las Vegas con­vic­tion notwith­stand­ing, there is a mon­u­men­tal amount of excul­pa­to­ry evi­dence that received lit­tle or no pub­lic­i­ty. That evi­dence proves beyond a doubt that Simp­son was framed.) With Tiger Woods achiev­ing wide­spread fame and suc­cess in a field that had pre­vi­ous­ly been a province dom­i­nat­ed by whites, will his decline reflect on the pub­lic’s regard for Barack Oba­ma, who has also excelled in an area pre­vi­ous­ly dom­i­nat­ed by whites?

Of sig­nif­i­cance here is the obses­sive cov­er­age of Tiger Woods scan­dals by the Nation­al Enquir­er, whose pub­lish­er (the late Gen­eroso Pope) was a CIA psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare offi­cer.

Woods moth­er-in-law, Bar­bro Holm­berg, has served as Swe­den’s Immi­gra­tion Min­is­ter. With that coun­try hav­ing suc­cess­ful­ly served as a haven for Baltic Nazi war crim­i­nals, the pos­si­bil­i­ty that Holm­berg may have links with the Under­ground Reich is one to be con­sid­ered.

War crim­i­nals and human rights vio­la­tors from Afghanistan, Africa, the Mid­dle East and the Balka­ns find refuge in Swe­den where they are pro­tect­ed from repa­tri­a­tion and nev­er pros­e­cut­ed, offi­cials and activists say. A respect­ed voice on human rights which is quick to denounce abus­es abroad, Swe­den was one of the most vocal Euro­pean Union mem­bers demand­ing in March that Croa­t­ia find war crime sus­pect Ante Gotov­ina before start­ing nego­ti­a­tions to join the EU.

But Swe­den itself has only one police­man inves­ti­gat­ing human rights abusers who have found refuge on its own soil. He reck­ons as many as 1,000 live here, pro­tect­ed from depor­ta­tion by a UN con­ven­tion and with lit­tle risk of being brought to jus­tice.

“If some­one sits down and goes through the immi­gra­tion files he or she will eas­i­ly find sev­er­al hun­dred or maybe a thou­sand poten­tial war crim­i­nals,” detec­tive super­in­ten­dent Hans Olve­bro, the Swedish police’s one-man war crimes unit, told Reuters.

Human rights groups say the sit­u­a­tion under­mines Sweden’s inter­na­tion­al rep­u­ta­tion as a pio­neer in asy­lum law and has led to cas­es where vic­tims of tor­ture who have found refuge here have bumped into their tor­men­tors on the streets of Stock­holm.

It con­trasts with the government’s recent refusal to stop the depor­ta­tion of about 150 child asy­lum-seek­ers suf­fer­ing from trau­ma and depres­sion. It argued that bend­ing the rules would only encour­age more such cas­es.

Fri­da Blom of human rights group Swedish Peace called it “real­ly hol­low” for Swe­den to tout itself as a cham­pi­on of the per­se­cut­ed but have one per­son inves­ti­gat­ing war crimes where­as Den­mark has a Spe­cial Inter­na­tion­al Crimes Office with 17 staff. . . . Swe­den has nev­er in mod­ern times put any­one on tri­al for war crimes. It angered Jew­ish Nazi hunters at the Simon Wiesen­thal Cen­tre by refus­ing to inves­ti­gate 100–200 sus­pect­ed Baltic Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors who fled here after World War II.

The coun­try was bound by a 25-year statute of lim­i­ta­tions on all crimes — which it plans to drop soon under a 1998 Rome treaty scrap­ping such lim­i­ta­tions for crimes against human­i­ty.

The Gene­va Con­ven­tion for­bids giv­ing any­one sus­pect­ed of war crimes or crimes against human­i­ty asy­lum, but at the same time Swe­den is a sig­na­to­ry of a UN tor­ture con­ven­tion which out­laws repa­tri­at­ing any­one like­ly to be tor­tured in their home­land.

Like oth­er states, Swe­den gives such peo­ple per­mits to stay, but rights groups say it falls short of EU require­ments that the police and immi­gra­tion depart­ments be equipped to pros­e­cute any war crim­i­nals dis­cov­ered on Euro­pean soil.

Amnesty International’s Carl Soder­bergh said there was a “legal lim­bo” in Swe­den for fugi­tive war crim­i­nals.

Immi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Bar­bro Holm­berg said Olvebro’s esti­mate was “an exag­ger­a­tion” but there was a “small num­ber” of war crim­i­nals in Swe­den “kept under sur­veil­lance all the time”. . .

“War Crim­i­nals Shel­ter in Swe­den’s ‘Legal Lim­bo’ ” by Stephen Brown; The Dawn [Pak­istan]; 4/16/2005. [5]

3. Dis­cussing the Tiger Woods imbroglio, we engaged in spec­u­la­tion that psy­cho­log­i­cal asso­ci­a­tion between Woods and Obama–what research psy­chol­o­gists call “stim­u­lus generalization”–may have under­lain that case.

Recent­ly, Gov­er­nor Tim Paw­len­ty [R., Minnesota]–viewed as a pos­si­ble 2012 GOP pres­i­den­tial candidate–directly ref­er­enced that asso­ci­a­tion.

” . . . On Fri­day Paw­len­ty also offered this advice to his fel­low Repub­li­cans: ‘I think we should take a page out of her play­book and take a nine iron and smash a win­dow out of big gov­ern­ment in this coun­try,’ said Paw­len­ty, refer­ring to Tiger Wood­s’s wife. . . .”

CPAC 2010 Updates: Lat­est News, Video from Con­ser­v­a­tive Polit­i­cal Action Con­fer­ence”; Sam Stein, Ryan Grim, Michael Fal­cone and Arthur Delaney; Huff­in­g­ton Post; 2/18/2010. [4]

4. Inci­den­tal­ly, the CPAC con­fer­ence was spon­sored by the John Birch Soci­ety [19].

. . . It’s CPAC time again—the Con­ser­v­a­tive Polit­i­cal Action Committee’s annu­al Wash­ing­ton cat­tle call. This year, they’ve attract­ed an all-star line­up in a bid for renewed respectabil­i­ty: a half-dozen GOP pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls (Mitt Rom­ney, Tim Paw­len­ty, Rick San­to­rum, Newt Gin­grich, etc.), con­ser­v­a­tive con­gres­sion­al dar­lings, a keynote address by Glenn Beck. And co-spon­sor­ship by the John Birch Soci­ety. . . .”

“Return of the Fright Wing” by John Avlon; The Dai­ly Beast; 2/16/2010. [16]

5. In exam­in­ing the polit­i­cal career of Tiger Woods’ moth­er-in-law (for­mer Swedish Immi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Bar­bro Holm­berg, accused of shel­ter­ing war crim­i­nals), we dis­cussed Swe­den’s his­tor­i­cal con­nec­tions to fas­cism.

In addi­tion to pow­er­ful indus­tri­al allies of Hitler, Swedish fas­cist Per Eng­dahl helped to main­tain the con­ti­nu­ity of the post­war fas­cist inter­nati­nal. (This is dis­cussed in Mis­cel­la­neous Archive Show M61. [20])

In the Decem­ber [2009] issue of Van­i­ty Fair, Christo­pher Hitchens asks whether some of those con­nec­tions may have man­i­fest­ed them­selves in the death of not­ed Swedish author Stieg Lars­son.

. . . Yet it is from this soci­ety, of reas­sur­ing brand names and womb-to-tomb nation­al health care, that Stieg Lars­son con­jured a detec­tive dou­ble act so incon­gru­ous that it makes Holmes and Wat­son seem like sib­lings. I say “con­jured” because Mr. Lars­son also drew upon the bloody, haunt­ed old Swe­den of trolls and elves and ogres, and I put it in the past tense because, just as the first book in his “Mil­len­ni­um” tril­o­gy, The Girl with the Drag­on Tat­too, was about to make his for­tune, he very sud­den­ly became a dead per­son. In the Lars­son uni­verse the nasty trolls and hulk­ing ogres are bent Swedish cap­i­tal­ists, cold-faced Baltic sex traf­fick­ers, blue-eyed Viking Aryan Nazis, and oth­er Nordic riffraff who might have had their rea­sons to whack him. But if he now dwells in that Val­hal­la of the hack writer who posthu­mous­ly beat all the odds, it’s sure­ly because of his elf. Pic­ture a fer­al waif. All right, pic­ture a four-foot-eleven-inch “doll” with Asperger’s syn­drome and gen­er­ous breast implants. This is not Pip­pi Long­stock­ing (to whom a few ges­tures are made in the nar­ra­tive). This is Miss Goth, inter­mit­tent­ly dis­guised as la gamine.

For­get Miss Smilla’s sense of the snow and check out Lis­beth Salander’s taste in pussy rings, tat­toos, girls, boys, motor­cy­cles, and, above all, com­put­er key­boards. (Once you accept that George Mac­Don­ald Fraser’s Flash­man can pick up any known lan­guage in a few days, you have sus­pend­ed enough dis­be­lief to set­tle down and enjoy his adven­tures.) Miss Salan­der is so well accou­tred with spe­cial fea­tures that she’s almost over-equipped. She is award­ed a pho­to­graph­ic mem­o­ry, a chess mind to rival Bob­by Fischer’s, a math­e­mat­i­cal capac­i­ty that toys with Fermat’s last the­o­rem as a cat bats a mouse, and the abil­i­ty to “hack”—I apol­o­gize for the rep­e­ti­tion of that word—into the deep intesti­nal com­put­ers of all banks and police depart­ments. At the end of The Girl Who Played with Fire, she is for good mea­sure grant­ed the abil­i­ty to return from the grave.

With all these super­heroine advan­tages, one won­ders why she and her on-and-off side­kick, the lum­ber­ing but unstop­pable reporter Mikael Blomkvist, don’t defeat the forces of Swedish Fas­cism and impe­ri­al­ism more effort­less­ly. But the oth­er rea­son that Lis­beth Salan­der is such a source of fas­ci­na­tion is this: the pint-size minx­oid with the drag­on tat­too is also a trau­ma­tized vic­tim and doesn’t work or play well with oth­ers. She has been raped and tor­tured and oth­er­wise abused ever since she could think, and her pri­vate phrase for her com­ing-of-age is “All the Evil”: words that go unelu­ci­dat­ed until near the end of The Girl Who Played with Fire. The actress Noo­mi Rapace has already played Salan­der in a Swedish film of the first nov­el, which enjoyed a world­wide release. (When Hol­ly­wood gets to the cast­ing stage, I sup­pose Philip Sey­mour Hoff­man will be offered the ursine Blomkvist role, and though the col­or­ing is wrong I keep think­ing of Winona Ryder for Lis­beth.) Accord­ing to Larsson’s father, the sym­pa­thy with which “the girl” is evoked is derived part­ly from the author’s own beloved niece, Therese, who is tat­tooed and has suf­fered from anorex­ia and dyslex­ia but can fix your com­put­er prob­lems.

In life, Stieg Lars­son described him­self as, among oth­er things, “a fem­i­nist,” and his char­ac­ter sur­ro­gate, Mikael Blomkvist, takes an osten­ta­tious­ly severe line against the male dom­i­na­tion of soci­ety and indeed of his own pro­fes­sion. (The orig­i­nal grim and Swedish title of The Girl with the Drag­on Tat­too is Men Who Hate Women, while the trilogy’s third book bore the more fairy-tale-like name The Cas­tle in the Air That Blew Up: the clever rebrand­ing of the series with the word “girl” on every cov­er was obvi­ous­ly crit­i­cal.) Blomkvist’s moral right­eous­ness comes in very use­ful for the action of the nov­els, because it allows the depic­tion of a great deal of cru­el­ty to women, smug­gled through cus­toms under the dis­guise of a strong dis­ap­proval. Swe­den used to be noto­ri­ous, in the late 1960s, as the home­land of the film I Am Curi­ous (Yel­low), which went all the way to the Supreme Court when dis­trib­uted in the Unit­ed States and gave Swe­den a world rep­u­ta­tion as a place of smil­ing nudi­ty and guilt-free sex. What a world of nurs­ery inno­cence that was, com­pared with the child slav­ery and exploita­tion that are evoked with per­haps slight­ly too much rel­ish by the cru­sad­ing Blomkvist.

His best excuse for his own pruri­ence is that these ser­i­al killers and tor­ture fanciers are prac­tic­ing a form of cap­i­tal­ism and that their rack­et is pro­tect­ed by a porno­graph­ic alliance with a form of Fas­cism, its low­er ranks made up of hideous bik­ers and meth run­ners. This is not just sex or crime—it’s pol­i­tics! Most of the time, Lars­son hauls him­self along with writ­ing such as this:

The mur­der inves­ti­ga­tion was like a bro­ken mosa­ic in which he could make out some pieces while oth­ers were sim­ply miss­ing. Some­where there was a pat­tern. He could sense it, but he could not fig­ure it out. Too many pieces were miss­ing.

No doubt they were, or there would be no book. (The plot of the first sto­ry is so heav­i­ly con­vo­lut­ed that it requires a page repro­duc­ing the Vanger dynasty’s fam­i­ly tree—the first time I can remem­ber encoun­ter­ing such a drama­tis per­son­ae since I read War and Peace.) But when he comes to the vil­lain of The Girl with the Drag­on Tat­too, a many-ten­ta­cled tycoon named Wen­ner­ström, Larsson’s prose is sud­den­ly much more spir­it­ed. Wen­ner­ström had con­se­crat­ed him­self to “fraud that was so exten­sive it was no longer mere­ly criminal—it was busi­ness.” That’s actu­al­ly one of the best-turned lines in the whole thou­sand pages. If it sounds a bit like Bertolt Brecht on an aver­age day, it’s because Larsson’s own views were old-shoe Com­mu­nist.

His back­ground involved the unique bond­ing that comes from tough Red fam­i­lies and sol­id class loy­al­ties. The hard-labor and fac­to­ry and min­ing sec­tor of Swe­den is in the far and ardu­ous North—this is also the home ter­ri­to­ry of most of the country’s storytellers—and Grand­pa was a pro­le­tar­i­an Com­mu­nist up toward the Arc­tic. This dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, when quite a few Swedes were vol­un­teer­ing to serve Hitler’s New Order and join the SS. In a note the 23-year-old Lars­son wrote before set­ting out for Africa, he bequeathed every­thing to the Com­mu­nist par­ty of his home­town, Umeå. The own­er­ship of the immense lat­er for­tune that he nev­er saw went by law to his father and broth­er, leav­ing his part­ner of 30 years, Eva Gabriels­son, with no legal claim, only a moral one that asserts she alone is fit to man­age Larsson’s very lucra­tive lega­cy. And this is not the only murk that hangs around his death, at the age of 50, in 2004.

To be exact, Stieg Lars­son died on Novem­ber 9, 2004, which I can’t help notic­ing was the anniver­sary of Kristall­nacht. Is it plau­si­ble that Sweden’s most pub­lic anti-Nazi just chanced to expire from nat­ur­al caus­es on such a date? Larsson’s mag­a­zine, Expo, which has a fair­ly clear fic­tion­al cous­in­hood with “Mil­len­ni­um,” was an unceas­ing annoy­ance to the extreme right. He him­self was the pub­lic fig­ure most iden­ti­fied with the unmask­ing of white-suprema­cist and neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tions, many of them with a hard-earned rep­u­ta­tion for homi­ci­dal vio­lence. The Swedes are not the pacif­ic her­bi­vores that many peo­ple imag­ine: in the foot­notes to his sec­ond nov­el Lars­son reminds us that Prime Min­is­ter Olof Palme was gunned down in the street in 1986 and that the for­eign min­is­ter Anna Lindh was stabbed to death (in a Stock­holm depart­ment store) in 2003. The first crime is still unsolved, and the ver­dict in the sec­ond case has by no means sat­is­fied every­body.

A report in the main­stream news­pa­per Afton­bladet describes the find­ings of anoth­er anti-Nazi researcher, named Bosse Schön, who unrav­eled a plot to mur­der Stieg Lars­son that includ­ed a Swedish SS vet­er­an. Anoth­er scheme mis­fired because on the night in ques­tion, 20 years ago, he saw skin­heads with bats wait­ing out­side his office and left by the rear exit. Web sites are devot­ed to fur­ther spec­u­la­tion: one blog is pre­oc­cu­pied with the the­o­ry that Prime Min­is­ter Palme’s uncaught assas­sin was behind the death of Lars­son too. Larsson’s name and oth­er details were found when the Swedish police searched the apart­ment of a Fas­cist arrest­ed for a polit­i­cal mur­der. Larsson’s address, tele­phone num­ber, and pho­to­graph, along with threats to peo­ple iden­ti­fied as “ene­mies of the white race,” were pub­lished in a neo-Nazi mag­a­zine: the author­i­ties took it seri­ous­ly enough to pros­e­cute the edi­tor.

But Lars­son died of an appar­ent coro­nary throm­bo­sis, not from any may­hem. So he would have had to be poi­soned, say, or some­how med­ical­ly mur­dered. Such a hypoth­e­sis would point to some involve­ment “high up,” and any­one who has read the nov­els will know that in Larsson’s world the forces of law and order in Swe­den are fetid­ly com­plic­it with orga­nized crime. So did he wind up, in effect, a char­ac­ter in one of his own tales? The peo­ple who might have the most inter­est in keep­ing the spec­u­la­tion alive—his pub­lish­ers and publicists—choose not to believe it. “Six­ty cig­a­rettes a day, plus tremen­dous amounts of junk food and cof­fee and an enor­mous work­load,” said Christo­pher MacLe­hose, Larsson’s lit­er­ary dis­cov­er­er in Eng­lish and by a nice coin­ci­dence a pub­lish­er of Flash­man, “would be the cul­prit. I gath­er he’d even had a warn­ing heart mur­mur. Still, I have attend­ed demon­stra­tions by these Swedish right-wing thugs, and they are tru­ly fright­en­ing. I also know some­one with excel­lent con­tacts in the Swedish police and secu­ri­ty world who assures me that every­thing described in the ‘Mil­len­ni­um’ nov­els actu­al­ly took place. And, appar­ent­ly, Lars­son planned to write as many as 10 in all. So you can see how peo­ple could think that he might not have died but been ‘stopped.’ . . .

“The Author Who Played with Fire” by Christo­pher Hitchens; Van­i­ty Fair; 12/2009. [6]

6. The right’s attacks on Oba­ma are aid­ing in the resur­fac­ing of the mili­tia move­ment [21].

. . . If the words sound famil­iar, there is good rea­son. It is rhetoric that was typ­i­cal of the so-called patri­ot move­ment of the 1990s, amid sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances: A Demo­c­rat, Bill Clin­ton, was in office. There was height­ened inter­est in gun con­trol leg­is­la­tion. Vet­er­ans were return­ing from the first Gulf War. Elab­o­rate con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries were spread­ing.

Today’s trou­bled econ­o­my and the per­cep­tion that oth­er coun­tries are ris­ing in influ­ence might also be fuel­ing activ­i­ty among white suprema­cist and mili­tia groups, accord­ing to an intel­li­gence assess­ment by the fed­er­al Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty.

A sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence this time, accord­ing to the April analy­sis, is that the nation has its first black pres­i­dent. “Right-wing extrem­ists,” the report says, “are har­ness­ing this his­tor­i­cal elec­tion as a recruit­ment tool.”

There is a vio­lent edge to this move­ment. Lone wolves and small groups who are “embrac­ing vio­lent right-wing extrem­ist ide­ol­o­gy are the most dan­ger­ous domes­tic ter­ror­ism threat,” accord­ing to the report. It cit­ed an April shoot­ing in Pitts­burgh that left three police offi­cers dead at the hands of a gun­man report­ed­ly influ­enced by racist ide­ol­o­gy and fears that a gun ban was immi­nent with Barack Oba­ma in charge. . . .

“Mili­tia Mov­ment Resur­faces Across U.S.” by Rachel D’Oro [AP]; msnbc.com; 11/20/2009. [7]

7. Man­i­fest­ing the resur­gence of mili­tia-style activ­i­ty [22], a Mon­tana group is demand­ing legal and civic excep­tion­al­ism in a num­ber of areas.

A group of near­ly 200 “extreme­ly con­cerned cit­i­zens” in a small Mon­tana coun­ty are demand­ing that local lead­ers fill out a “ques­tion­naire” pledg­ing to form a local mili­tia, pro­hib­it manda­to­ry vac­ci­na­tions, boot the EPA out of town, allow cit­i­zens to bear any type of gun, and require fed­er­al gov­ern­ment employ­ees to get writ­ten approval before approach­ing “any Cit­i­zen.”

Orga­nized in part by a group called Cel­e­brat­ing Con­ser­vatism, which is lead by a woman who quit the state GOP after com­plain­ing of “fake” Repub­li­cans, the ques­tion­naire was pre­sent­ed this week to the coun­ty com­mis­sion­ers and sher­iff of Raval­li Coun­ty, accord­ing to the local Repub­lic news­pa­per.

Cel­e­brat­ing Con­ser­vatism’s world­view appears to be root­ed in the mili­tia move­ment. Last year it host­ed Jack McLamb, head of the Ida­ho-based Police and Mil­i­tary Against the New World Order, which agi­tates against “world gov­ern­ment rule.” . . .

“MT Group Demands Local Lead­ers Boot Feds, Form Mili­tia, Pro­tect Guns” by Justin Elliott; TPM­Muck­rak­er; 1/22/2010. [15]

8. One major mouth­piece for the racist right turns out to have been a paid informer for the FBI.

. . . For more than five years, Hal Turn­er of North Bergen lived a dou­ble life.

The pub­lic knew him as an ultra-right-wing radio talk show host and Inter­net blog­ger with an audi­ence of neo-Nazis and white suprema­cists attract­ed to his scorched-earth racism and bare-knuck­les bash­ing of pub­lic fig­ures. But to the FBI, and its expand­ing domes­tic counter-ter­ror intel­li­gence oper­a­tions in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, Turn­er was “Val­hal­la” — his code name as an infor­mant who spied on his own con­tro­ver­sial fol­low­ers. . .

“Records Show Feds Used Ultra-Right Radio Host for Years” by Mike Kel­ly and Peter J. Samp­son; The Record; 11/29/2009. [9]

9. For years, we have exam­ined the devel­op­ment of seis­mic weaponry–the manip­u­la­tion of earth­quakes as poten­tial weapons of mass destruc­tion. Those remain­ing scep­ti­cal that such things are pos­si­ble should note the recent indict­ment of a geol­o­gist in Switzer­land for hav­ing trig­gered quakes.

A geol­o­gist on tri­al for caus­ing earth­quakes while drilling for hot rocks to pro­duce clean ener­gy has said he was sur­prised by the strength of the most pow­er­ful tem­blor.

Markus Haer­ing, who designed the geot­her­mal project, reject­ed charges that he delib­er­ate­ly dam­aged prop­er­ties and said locals knew the risks.

The deep drilling under­ground caused a series of earth­quakes in 2006, includ­ing one of 3.4 mag­ni­tude, rat­tling res­i­dents of the north­west city of Basel. Project leader Geopow­er Basel has already paid $9 mil­lion in com­pen­sa­tion for cracked walls and oth­er dam­age on prop­er­ties near the exper­i­ment.

The project was sus­pend­ed at the time and shut down last week after a risk analy­sis con­clud­ed that more quakes could fol­low if the drilling con­tin­ued. The exper­i­ment aimed to be the world’s first to gen­er­ate pow­er com­mer­cial­ly by boil­ing water on nat­u­ral­ly occur­ring rocks 5km under­ground.

Haer­ing said, at the Swiss site, “we had very lit­tle knowl­edge of seis­mic­i­ty” before start­ing to drill. He called the resul­tant quakes “a learn­ing process for every­one involved.” But project lead­ers had drawn up an emer­gency plan, Haer­ing told the court.

On paper, the Basel project looked fair­ly straight­for­ward: Drill down, shoot cold water into the shaft and bring it up again. The super­heat­ed water would be capa­ble of gen­er­at­ing enough pow­er through a steam tur­bine to meet the elec­tric­i­ty needs of 10,000 house­holds and heat 2,700 homes.

But locat­ed on top of a fault line and in the mid­dle of a city, it proved too dan­ger­ous to con­tin­ue, offi­cials said. Haer­ing could face up to five years in prison if a judge rules that he inten­tion­al­ly dam­aged Basel prop­er­ties.

“Swiss Geol­o­gist in Dock for trig­ger­ing Quakes” [AP]; Times of India; 12/17/2009. [10]

10. Updat­ing a sto­ry about a Bay­er biotech sub­sidiary’s genet­i­cal­ly mod­i­fied rice and its dele­te­ri­ous effect on Amer­i­can rice farm­ers, the broad­cast notes that the case has reached the courts. Rough­ly 30 per­cent of U.S. rice grow­ing lands have been con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed by Bay­er’s mod­i­fied seed, seri­ous­ly dam­ag­ing their abil­i­ty to sell their crop abroad.

Bay­er Crop­Science AG is respon­si­ble for finan­cial dam­age sus­tained by Mis­souri farm­ers when their rice crops were con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed by genet­i­cal­ly mod­i­fied seeds, the grow­ers’ lawyer told a fed­er­al court jury in St. Louis.

Their tri­al is the first of a series the Bay­er AG unit is defend­ing against farm­ers from five states mak­ing sim­i­lar claims. More than 1,200 such cas­es have been filed.

“Bay­er was sup­posed to be care­ful,” attor­ney Don Down­ing told the jury of four men and five women dur­ing his open­ing state­ment yes­ter­day. “Bay­er was not care­ful and that rice did escape into our com­mer­cial rice sup­plies.”

The farm­ers, who grow rice in south­east­ern Mis­souri, claim the export mar­ket for their crops was cur­tailed when the U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture in 2006 announced that trace amounts of the genet­i­cal­ly mod­i­fied rice, designed by Bay­er to be her­bi­cide resis­tant, were found in U.S. long-grain stocks.

Bay­er and Louisiana State Uni­ver­si­ty had been test­ing the rice, which hadn’t been approved for human con­sump­tion, for resis­tance to the company’s Lib­er­ty her­bi­cide.

Bayer’s genet­i­cal­ly mod­i­fied strains “con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed” more than 30 per­cent of U.S. rice­lands, Down­ing told jurors. . . .

“Bay­er Blamed at Tri­al for Crops ‘Con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed’ by Mod­i­fied Rice” by Andrew M. Har­ris; bloomberg.com; 11/4/2009. [11]

11. Anoth­er for­mer mem­ber of the I.G. con­glom­er­ate (along with Bay­er) has been in the news. Chem­i­cal giant BASF has been pur­chas­ing oil ille­gal­ly pur­loined in Mex­i­co by that coun­try’s pow­er­ful and dead­ly drug car­tels.

Drug traf­fick­ers employ­ing high-tech drills, miles of rub­ber hose and a fleet of stolen tanker trucks have siphoned more than $1 bil­lion worth of oil from Mex­i­co’s pipelines over the past two years, in a vast and auda­cious con­spir­a­cy that is bleed­ing the nation­al trea­sury, accord­ing to U.S. and Mex­i­can law enforce­ment offi­cials and the state-run oil com­pa­ny.

Using sophis­ti­cat­ed smug­gling net­works, the traf­fick­ers have trans­port­ed a por­tion of the pil­fered petro­le­um across the bor­der to sell to U.S. com­pa­nies, some of which knew that it was stolen, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments and inter­views with Amer­i­can offi­cials involved in an expand­ing inves­ti­ga­tion of oil ser­vices firms in Texas.

The wide­spread theft of Mex­i­co’s most vital nation­al resource by crim­i­nal orga­ni­za­tions rep­re­sents a cost­ly new front in Pres­i­dent Felipe Calderón’s war against the drug car­tels, and it shows how the traf­fick­ers are rapid­ly evolv­ing from tra­di­tion­al nar­cotics smug­gling to activ­i­ties as diverse as oil theft, trans­port and sales.

Oil theft has been a per­sis­tent prob­lem for the state-run Petroleos Mex­i­canos, or Pemex, but the rob­bery increased sharply after Calderón launched his war against the car­tels short­ly after tak­ing office in Decem­ber 2006. The drug war has claimed more than 16,000 lives and has led the car­tels, which rely on drug traf­fick­ing for most of their rev­enue, to branch out into oth­er ille­gal activ­i­ties.

Author­i­ties said they have traced much of the oil rustling to the Zetas, a crim­i­nal orga­ni­za­tion found­ed by for­mer mil­i­tary com­man­dos. Although the Zetas ini­tial­ly served as a pro­tec­tion arm of the pow­er­ful Gulf car­tel, they now call their own shots and dom­i­nate crim­i­nal enter­prise in the oil-rich states of Ver­acruz and Tamauli­pas.

“The Zetas are a par­al­lel gov­ern­ment,” said Eduar­do Men­doza Arel­lano, a fed­er­al law­mak­er who heads a nation­al com­mit­tee on ener­gy. “They prac­ti­cal­ly own vast stretch­es of the pipelines, from the high­way to the very door of the oil com­pa­nies.”

The Zetas earn mil­lions of dol­lars by “tax­ing” the oil pipelines — orga­niz­ing the theft them­selves or tak­ing a cut from any­one who does the steal­ing, accord­ing to Mex­i­can author­i­ties. The U.S. Trea­sury Depart­ment this sum­mer des­ig­nat­ed two Zeta com­man­ders as nar­cotics “king­pins,” which allows author­i­ties to seize assets.

The Zetas often work with for­mer Pemex employ­ees, accord­ing to Ramón Pequeño Gar­cía, chief of anti-drug oper­a­tions at Mex­i­co’s Pub­lic Secu­ri­ty Min­istry. The for­mer employ­ees “are high­ly skilled peo­ple who have the tech­ni­cal knowl­edge to extract oil from the pipelines. They are now under the con­trol of the Zetas,” Pequeño said....

Asked by U.S. Dis­trict Judge Ewing Wer­lein Jr. how the con­den­sate had been stolen from Pemex, Mal­don­a­do replied: “I have no idea on that, sir.”

Don­ald Schroed­er, a for­mer pres­i­dent of Hous­ton-based Tram­mo Petro­le­um, plead­ed guilty in May to buy­ing $2 mil­lion worth of stolen Mex­i­can con­den­sate, accord­ing to a tran­script of the hear­ing. Schroed­er re-sold the con­den­sate to anoth­er com­pa­ny, BASF, for a $150,000 prof­it, pros­e­cu­tors told the court.

A spokesman for BASF, which has not been impli­cat­ed in the case, said the com­pa­ny was unaware that the mate­r­i­al was stolen and is coop­er­at­ing with the inves­ti­ga­tion....

“Mex­i­co’s Drug Car­tels Siphon Liq­uid Gold” by Steve Fainaru and William Booth; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 12/13/2009. [12]

12. Anoth­er of the Ger­man “core cor­po­ra­tions” (con­trolled by the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work) [23] is aid­ing Iran’s nuclear effort. Siemens has appar­ent­ly been giv­ing the Ira­ni­ans com­pres­sors that aid in the enrich­ment of ura­ni­um.

Ger­man cus­toms offi­cials inter­cept­ed a Siemens ship­ment of com­pres­sors on its way to Iran, Der Spiegel report­ed Sat­ur­day.

Accord­ing to the Ger­man mag­a­zine, the com­pres­sors sent by Siemens are worth an esti­mat­ed 16 mil­lion Euros and were appar­ent­ly meant to be used as part of Iran’s nuclear pro­gram.

The Ger­man gov­ern­ment is now weigh­ing its next moves vis-à-vis Siemens, which has appar­ent­ly vio­lat­ed inter­na­tion­al com­merce reg­u­la­tions. How­ev­er, a Trea­sury spokes­woman said she can­not con­firm the report at this time.

The com­pres­sors, which were sent from Swe­den, were nabbed by cus­toms offi­cials in Ham­burg en route to Iran, Der Spiegel said. Accord­ing to the report, the ship­ment in ques­tion was part of a larg­er trans­ac­tion between the Ger­man giant and Iran, worth rough­ly 80 mil­lion Euros.

Siemens offi­cials declined to direct­ly address the report, but denied alle­ga­tions that the com­pa­ny vio­lat­ed the law in any way. A spokesman on behalf of the cor­po­ra­tion said its busi­ness activ­i­ties only serve civil­ian aims and are under­tak­en in line with inter­na­tion­al reg­u­la­tions.

Accord­ing to reports that sur­faced sev­er­al months ago, Siemens and Finnish com­pa­ny Nokia sold tech­nol­o­gy for mon­i­tor­ing phone calls and e‑mail mes­sages to Tehran, against the back­drop of oppo­si­tion protests and in the wake of the con­tro­ver­sial pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in Iran.

“Ger­man Mag­a­zine Reports Cus­toms Offi­cials Seize Goods Meant for Iran’s Nuclear Pro­gram” by Sarah Strick­er; ynetnews.com; 12/12/2009. [17]

13. Turn­ing to dis­cus­sion of the recent finan­cial col­lapse, a UN study has con­clud­ed that drug mon­ey kept the inter­na­tion­al finan­cial sys­tem liq­uid.

Drugs mon­ey worth bil­lions of dol­lars kept the finan­cial sys­tem afloat at the height of the glob­al cri­sis, the Unit­ed Nations’ drugs and crime tsar has told the Observ­er.

Anto­nio Maria Cos­ta, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said he has seen evi­dence that the pro­ceeds of organ­ised crime were “the only liq­uid invest­ment cap­i­tal” avail­able to some banks on the brink of col­lapse last year. He said that a major­i­ty of the $352bn (£216bn) of drugs prof­its was absorbed into the eco­nom­ic sys­tem as a result.

This will raise ques­tions about crime’s influ­ence on the eco­nom­ic sys­tem at times of cri­sis. It will also prompt fur­ther exam­i­na­tion of the bank­ing sec­tor as world lead­ers, includ­ing Barack Oba­ma and Gor­don Brown, call for new Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund reg­u­la­tions. Speak­ing from his office in Vien­na, Cos­ta said evi­dence that ille­gal mon­ey was being absorbed into the finan­cial sys­tem was first drawn to his atten­tion by intel­li­gence agen­cies and pros­e­cu­tors around 18 months ago. “In many instances, the mon­ey from drugs was the only liq­uid invest­ment cap­i­tal. In the sec­ond half of 2008, liq­uid­i­ty was the bank­ing sys­tem’s main prob­lem and hence liq­uid cap­i­tal became an impor­tant fac­tor,” he said. . . .

“Drug Mon­ey Saved Banks in Glob­al Cri­sis, Claims UN Advi­sor” by Rajeev Syal [The Observ­er]; guardian.co.uk; 12/13/2009. [13]

14. Con­clud­ing with dis­cus­sion of Adnan Khashog­gi, the Sau­di arms deal­er deeply involved in the Iran-Con­tra affair, the broad­cast notes that his nephew was Dodi al-Fayed, the lover and alleged fiance of Princess Diana.

. . . Mr. Khashog­gi has been linked to — but nev­er con­vict­ed in — almost every major scan­dal of the late 20th cen­tu­ry: Wedtech, B.C.C.I., the indict­ment of the Mar­coses in the Philip­pines, as well as Iran-Con­tra. He is a favorite of con­spir­a­cy buffs, who have con­nect­ed him to such things as the death of Princess Diana (her boyfriend at the time, Dodi al-Fayed, was his nephew) and to vot­ing irreg­u­lar­i­ties in Flori­da in the 2000 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion (a for­mer employ­ee was a local elec­tion offi­cial). . . .

“An Arms Deal­er Returns, Now Sell­ing an Image” by Michael Slack­man; The New York Times; 11/14/2009. [14]