Daily Archives: May 24, 2007

The Kremlin Killings: Investigative report on ‘Putin’s gangster state’

Daily Mail | May 20, 2007

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“I am moving on with a more profound understanding that, in Putin’s Russia, the criminals and the authorities have become one and the same.”

After a series of brutal murders of dissident journalists in Russia, Craig Murray, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, went to investigate. His disturbing report reveals how deeply the cancer of criminality has infected Putin’s society

EXCERPTS

In the West, the cases of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, shot dead in her apartment block, and ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, poisoned by polonium in London last year, hit the headlines.

But in Russia, there was nothing exceptional about those killings. It’s long been understood that if you publish material that embarrasses or annoys those in power, you’re likely to come to a sticky end.

I know a bit about the way they do politics in this part of the world. I was the British Ambassador to the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan from 2002 until 2004, when I was sacked for revealing the Uzbek regime was involved in systematic torture and gave information that they gained in this way to MI6 via the CIA.

The current Russian regime under Vladimir Putin is just as savage. I travelled there to investigate the most recent spate of killings and meet those journalists who continue to risk their lives to expose corruption and crime.

***

Academic studies estimate that between 40 and 70 per cent of the Russian economy is controlled by criminals.

This situation dates back to the chaos of the original privatisation process, in which assets such as the oil industry were sold off for a tiny fraction of their value, often knowingly to criminals, who had been running a black private sector throughout the communist era.

Those in charge of Russia’s privatisation process believed the Leninist teaching with which they had been indoctrinated – that the early stages of capitalism are always criminal.

They therefore perversely accepted criminal involvement as a necessary part of the process. In the new millennium, President Putin did not confront the criminal oligarchs, many of whom he had built up a close relationship with while heading the KGB. Instead, as long as they supported him unquestioningly, he continued the process of their legitimisation while promoting loyal KGB men to senior positions.

Russia is now run by a strongly interlinked KGB and mafia elite. Both elements are equally vicious and ruthless. Eduard tried to use his position to reduce corruption and was promptly fired.

***

I am moving on with a more profound understanding that, in Putin’s Russia, the criminals and the authorities have become one and the same.

Back in Moscow, I visit the Centre for Journalism in Extreme Situations, which is fighting a losing battle to defend journalists against violence.

Analyst Mikhail Melnikov draws a pyramid and explains: ‘There are many killings but they are only the apex of the system of intimidation of journalists. This starts with threats and intimidation, moving on through sackings to severe beatings.’

Combined with Putin’s relentless concentration of the media into government hands, the resulting self-censorship means that investigative journalism has almost died out in a country where it is desperately needed.

In 2001 Russia’s only independent national TV station, NTV, was forcibly taken over by state energy company Gazprom on the direct instruction of Putin.

***

In all, five journalists have been murdered in Tagliatti, and a sixth died in a suspicious car crash. At the newspaper’s offices, they have developed a neat line in gallows humour. Deputy editor Rimma Mikhareva says cheerily: ‘I edit the copy, choose the photos, make the coffee and organise the funerals.’

Alexei Mironov believes that Putin gave the signal that led to the murders of his two predecessors. ‘When Putin closed down NTV, local authorities took it as a signal that the time of independent media in Russia was over and they could act against them,’ he says.

I am introduced to chief reporter Sergei Davidov, who has just won the Artem Borovik Prize for investigative journalism. Previous winners include Valeri Ivanov and Anna Politkovskaya, who was murdered before she could accept the award.

Sergei doesn’t look scared and the paper isn’t backing down. The journalists have just forced the resignation of a judge after a series of articles on corrupt judgments in land allocation cases.

They acknowledge that the judge has already pocketed enough money for a very comfortable retirement. Still, small victories are rare and must be savoured.

As we smile and drink tea, I am painfully aware that I am looking at one of the last fading embers of freedom in Putin’s gangster state.

Bush grants presidency extraordinary powers

WorldNet Daily | May 23, 2007

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Royal family reunion. What’s wrong with this picture? Hint: It’s not “Hook ’em Horns”
 
Directive for emergencies apparently gives authority without congressional oversight

President Bush has signed a directive granting extraordinary powers to the office of the president in the event of a declared national emergency, apparently without congressional approval or oversight.

The “National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive” was signed May 9, notes Jerome R. Corsi in a WND column.

It was issued with the dual designation of NSPD-51, as a National Security Presidential Directive, and HSPD-20, as a Homeland Security Presidential Directive.

The directive establishes under the office of the president a new national continuity coordinator whose job is to make plans for “National Essential Functions” of all federal, state, local, territorial and tribal governments, as well as private sector organizations to continue functioning under the president’s directives in the event of a national emergency.

“Catastrophic emergency” is loosely defined as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions.”

Corsi says the president can assume the power to direct any and all government and business activities until the emergency is declared over.

The directive says the assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, currently Frances Fragos Townsend, would be designated as the national continuity coordinator.

Corsi says the directive makes no attempt to reconcile the powers created for the national continuity coordinator with the National Emergency Act, which requires that such proclamation “shall immediately be transmitted to the Congress and published in the Federal Register.”

A Congressional Research Service study notes the National Emergency Act sets up Congress as a balance empowered to “modify, rescind, or render dormant” such emergency authority if Congress believes the president has acted inappropriately.

But the new directive appears to supersede the National Emergency Act by creating the new position of national continuity coordinator without any specific act of Congress authorizing the position, Corsi says.

The directive also makes no reference to Congress and its language appears to negate any requirement that the president submit to Congress a determination that a national emergency exists.

It suggests instead that the powers of the directive can be implemented without any congressional approval or oversight.

Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke affirmed to Corsi the Homeland Security Department would implement the requirements of the order under Townsend’s direction.

The White House declined to comment on the directive.

UK Govt covered up HIV contamination scandal

The Observer | May 20, 2007

Hundreds of relevant documents shredded

Inquiry finds the truth on shredding was withheld after infected transfusions killed 1,700 patients

An independent public inquiry into how thousands of haemophiliacs contracted HIV or hepatitis C from contaminated blood discovered last night that Downing Street is withholding crucial information about how hundreds of relevant documents were shredded.

More than 1,700 patients died and many more are now terminally ill as a result of one of the biggest medical disasters of recent times, when haemophiliacs were given infected blood clotting products during the late Seventies and early Eighties. The products came from American prisoners who were allowed to sell their blood even though there were fears about the risks of contamination.

But it has since emerged that many of the files detailing the scandal were shredded by civil servants in the Nineties. This week, the second hearing of the contaminated blood inquiry, chaired by the former Solicitor-General, Lord Archer of Sandwell, will ask why the results of an internal inquiry into the destruction of crucial files are being withheld.

Jenny Willott, Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, has discovered that Downing Street is holding back the report, carried out by the Department of Health in 2000, when Alan Milburn was Health Secretary. Some of the destroyed documents detailed meetings between the blood transfusion service, health boards, government officials and consultants during the Seventies and Eighties. The records also contained information on when precisely the government became aware of the risks from imported blood and what measures were taken to warn patients.

The Haemophilia Society said last night that Downing Street’s decision was ‘incomprehensible, given the public interest’. In 1989, the society brought legal action on behalf of thousands of patients who had become infected with HIV after being given the clotting product Factor 8. Haemophilia is a rare hereditary condition in which the blood does not clot properly. British doctors used the American products despite some senior scientists knowing that there was a risk. Compensation was then agreed with the Tory government in 1990 and thousands of patients received one-off payments of between £21,000 and £80,000.

However, it then transpired that hundreds of documents relating to the case were shredded, allegedly by accident, by junior civil servants. It is now known that there were two separate instances of documents being destroyed, or mislaid, at some point between 1990 and 1998. Some copies of documents had been made by a solicitor’s firm, and these were returned to the government, but others are thought to have been lost forever. The total number of destroyed documents is not known. In 2000, the Department of Health held the audit but it was never published.

An email from the Department of Health passed to The Observer revealed that an official has confirmed that the audit has been withheld at the request of no 10. Yesterday, it remained unclear why Downing Street had blocked moves to put it into the public domain. The Observer was still awaiting a reply last night from No 10 officials about the reasons for the lack of disclosure.

Willott said: ‘We discovered that this internal audit had happened through the Freedom of Information Act, and asked to see a copy of it. We now find that No 10 have withheld it. That raises the very big question about whether there is incriminating evidence in there.

‘We were always told that the documents were shredded by mistake by a junior civil servant. It is very important that we know because it’s hard to hold an inquiry when you are not getting the full picture. There are thousands of people living with the results of this terrible disaster who deserve to know the truth.’

One of them is Gareth Lewis, chairman of the campaign group Tainted Blood, and a trustee of the society, who became infected with HIV and Hepatitis C in 1984.

‘I’m 48 years old, and I’ve lived with this nightmare for more than two decades,’ he said. ‘I find it very hard to understand why a government minister would not want to know the whole truth about this, and not want us to know. I have been to 98 funerals of haemophiliacs who have died as a result of receiving contaminated blood. We really owe it to them to be open and honest about what went wrong.’

9/11 Debunkers Hide From Slam Dunk Evidence Of Controlled Demolition

Prison Planet | May 22, 2007

Electron microscope analysis of steel spheres from WTC site proves thermate, proves collapse of twin towers was an act of deliberate arson

Professor Steven Jones presented brand new and compelling evidence for the controlled demolition of the twin towers and WTC 7 recently, but the 9/11 debunkers and the corporate media are loathe to tackle it because it represents a slam dunk on proving the collapse of the buildings was a deliberate act of arson.

During a talk at the Rebuilding America’s Senses event at the University of Texas last month, Jones laid out facts about steel samples recovered from the WTC site that Popular Mechanics dare not even attempt to debate. Debunkers are scared to even get near this information because the science behind it fundamentally contradicts the official story of what happened on 9/11.

Jones detailed his lab experiments in which he attempted to replicate NIST’s conclusion that the lava like orange material flowing out of the south tower is aluminum from Flight 175, the plane that hit the building. Jones clearly documents the fact that liquid aluminum is silver and not orange as is seen in the video of the south tower, therefore the material cannot be aluminum. Jones then explains that the material is in fact a compound that can cut through steel like a hot knife through butter, thermite with sulphur added to make thermate.

The crux of the fresh evidence revolves around newly uncovered globules or spheres that were discovered at the WTC site that Professor Jones was able to obtain and run a electron microscope analysis on.

The spheres contained iron and aluminum, which would be expected in any steel sample, but also sulphur which is a by-product of a thermate reaction.

Prison Planet.tv members can watch this groundbreaking presentation right now. Subscribe here to get access to this and hundreds of other special video reports.

So having moved from a hypothesis that thermate was used to bring down the towers from using video footage and debunking the aluminum explanation of NIST, Jones now has empirical scientific proof, undertaken under laboratory conditions, that thermate was indeed used as an artificial explosive at the World Trade Center.

It has now been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the collapse of the twin towers and WTC 7 was an act of deliberate arson and not as a result of fires from crashing planes.

Jones’ evidence offers no other conclusion that insiders planted thermite devices within the buildings to literally pulverize the supporting columns and cause the collapse of the towers and also WTC 7. Debunkers have uniformly failed to address the existence of thermite and also molten metal at the ground zero site because they cannot dismiss the scientific proof, and are forced to resort to ad hominem insults and smears.

We are issuing a challenge to Popular Mechanics to rebut Professor Jones’ analysis of the sphere samples and the clear evidence of thermate at the World Trade Center. Address the focused scientific proof without resorting to ad hominem attacks or straying off topic.

We don’t expect the progenitors of yellow journalism to have any answers for what constitutes the smoking gun of controlled demolition.