Monthly Archives: April 2012

MI6 spy missing for a week before boss raised alarm

Associated Press | Apr 25, 2012

By DAVID STRINGER

LONDON (AP) — The boss of a British spy whose naked and decomposing body was found locked in a sports bag waited for a week before raising the alarm after his colleague went missing, an inquest into the codebreaker’s mysterious death was told Wednesday.

Cryptology expert Gareth Williams, 31, worked for Britain’s secret eavesdropping service GCHQ, but was attached to the country’s MI6 overseas spy agency when he was discovered dead in August 2010 under bizarre circumstances at his central London apartment.

Police have made no arrests in the case and are still not certain how exactly Williams died. The spy’s family rejects British authorities’ claim that his death was unconnected to his intelligence work.

An inquest charged with deducing how and when Williams died heard anonymous evidence Wednesday from three British spies who acknowledged it took seven days after the codebreaker first failed to show up for work before his MI6 boss contacted his family.

The codebreaker’s direct manager, a witness identified only as “G,” said Williams shared a small office with three other people and had carried out some operational work on behalf of the spy agency in addition to his technical work.

Williams was a “quiet intellectual” who was almost always punctual and had never been absent from work through illness, his manager said.

“He was clearly very clever but there were those that say he was shy, an introvert and a very quiet person,” the manager told the inquest.

UK intelligence officer: No cover-up in ‘spy in the bag’ case

Shortly before his death, Williams had visited Las Vegas as part of his duties but had been due at work in London on August 16. When he didn’t arrive, the manager said he and other colleagues assumed William was having transport problems.

A day later, with still no signs of the spy, the manager said he called Williams but received no response from his phone. By August 20, the manager visited the apartment where William lived but failed to raise any response.

Coroner Fiona Wilcox told the manager she was “really struggling to understand why you took no action at this point.”

The witness told the inquest hearing that he had a “gut feeling that he was away doing something that I was not made aware of.”

Only on August 23 did the spy’s manager raise the alarm with senior bosses and the spy’s family. His body was found later that day.

“In hindsight, knowing what I know now, should I have taken action? Absolutely,” the manager acknowledged, giving his testimony from behind a screen to protect his identity.

A lawyer for the spy’s family said previously that relatives suspect an “unknown third party” may have tampered with the scene after Williams died, or interfered with other evidence that could help explain how he died.

Kilwinning Abbey: Home to the Knights Templar and birthplace of the Freemasons


Kilwinning Abbey in Scotland, Masonic HQ also Templars’ HQ.  Image: Wikimedia Commons

Freemasonry’s mysterious symbols and rituals were developed in secret in Kilwinning, nearly 200 years before the movement was officially founded.

Sun | Apr 25, 2012

by Michael Schofield –

Glasgow – HUNKY historian Ashley Cowie has been taking Scottish Sun readers on an Indiana Jones-style adventure all this week.

The TV star — whose worldwide hit telly show Legend Quest hit Britain this week on the satellite channel SyFy — has been unravelling the biggest Scottish mysteries of all time.

Today, in part four of our exclusive series, Ashley goes on a search of Biblical proportions . . .

LOOKING through my binoculars I scanned the countryside for clues to the location of one of the most sacred mountains mentioned in the Bible.

No, I wasn’t in Jerusalem — but the quaint Ayrshire town of Kilwinning.

Now before you think I should be searching for my lost marbles instead of lost treasures, I can explain…

The story begins at the end of the 12th century when the infamous Knights Templar, a highly-trained military order who fought in the Holy Land during the Crusades, returned to Europe.

With their military presence no longer required they remained powerful as bankers and money lenders and many of Europe’s dynasties were indebted to them.

To wipe out his debts to the Templars, King Phillip of France hatched a plot to destroy them.

Backed by the Pope, on the evening of Friday 13th of October, 1307, Templars were arrested all over France and charged with heresy. That earned Friday the 13th its place in superstition for being unlucky — it certainly was if you were being burned at the stake!

But when the Templars’ vaults in Paris were raided, they were found to be completely empty.

The order had been tipped off and moved their gold, silver, gems and sacred relics to a safe place.

Many Templars fled to Portugal and Spain but legend claims they shipped the bulk of their treasures to Scotland where they found safety with their kilted brother Knights led by Robert the Bruce.

But in his brilliant book Born in Blood, American historian John J. Robinson found evidence that the Knights Templar sought refuge with the monks of Kilwinning who lived in the Abbey.

By the late 13th century there were around 600 Templar properties throughout Scotland.

But by far the greatest concentration of them was in Ayrshire around Stevenson, Irvine and Kilwinning.

Kilwinning, with its domineering 12th century Abbey and tower, has a rich history with several valuable relics taken there for safe keeping.

Recently, historian Jamie Morton, from Ayrshire, presented new evidence that made Kilwinning a focus of Grail Seekers by claiming the legendary artefact used by Christ at The Last Supper is hidden in a chamber beneath Kilwinning.

While the old Mercat Cross in the Main Street is said to contain part of the cross on which Jesus was crucified. But there are also clues that Kilwinning is the location of Heredom — the sacred Biblical mountain.

The meaning of the word Heredom is greatly argued upon in Masonic circles, while it also appears in the Bible as the name of a mystical holy mountain.

But it can also mean ‘New Temple’.

That’s why I believe Heredom may not actually be a mountain but a secret Knights Templar HQ.

In 1747 French naval officer Chevalier de Berage wrote about the origins of Freemasonry: “Their Metropolitan Lodge is situated on the Mountain of Heredom where the first Lodge was held in Europe.

“The General Council is still held there and it is the seal of the Sovereign Grand Master in office.

“This mountain is situated between the West and North of Scotland at 60 miles from Edinburgh.” Well, guess what? When I measured the distance between Edinburgh and Kilwinning on my ordnance survey map, the distance was EXACTLY 60 miles.

What’s more, not only was Kilwinning, home to Scottish Templars, but it was the womb of another shadowy secret society which has become the focus of many conspiracy theories around the world — the Freemasons.

Masonic records confirm that Kilwinning Lodge is known as Mother Lodge No 0.

This means Freemasonry’s mysterious symbols and rituals were developed in secret in Kilwinning, nearly 200 years before the movement was officially founded in London by Grand Lodge England in 1717. But this is only scratching the surface of Kilwinning’s mysteries. Another secretive movement within Freemasonry is called the Royal Order of Scotland.

Masonic traditions tell that King Robert the Bruce established the Chief Seat of the Royal Order of Scotland at Kilwinning, reserving the office of Grand Master to himself and his successors.

Entry is restricted to Freemasons and candidates must undergo two highly secretive rites of initiation named ‘Heredom of Kilwinning’ and ‘Knight Of The Rosy Cross’.

It has always intrigued me that for centuries the unsuspecting little town of Kilwinning was and is STILL the heart and brain of such a powerful secret society.

But having relentlessly searched the landscapes around the Ayrshire town there is no mountain which the legends could refer to. So it must relate to this secret Templars HQ. But if so, where is it? Well all over Europe and the Holy Land the Knights Templar built tunnel networks connecting their holy buildings with their castles and farms, and they are believed to have dug extensive tunnels beneath Kilwinning Abbey.

Locals talk of a tunnel leading from Kilwinning Abbey for about two miles which terminates at Eglington Castle near Irvine.

And there’s even a living eye witness. In 2009, Kilwinning pensioner, Tommy Lauchlan told how he was once shown a secret tunnel near the Abbey.

He said: “I was just a wee boy but there were tenement houses on the site of the Abbey and Mrs Longmuir’s kitchen kept a secret.

“Behind her dresser was a door and this led to a tunnel, I just had a look down, but her boys were convinced it led to Eglinton Castle.”

Having inspected the Abbey grounds, I recently walked the landscape following the tunnel’s alleged route.

I found several straight depressions running through fields which could indicate the presence of a subterranean tunnel created by the Templars.

I would call on the authorities to give me permission to perform a proper archaeological dig.

Maybe, lying inside these ancient passageways for the last 700 years are the lost Templar treasures, taken from vaults in Paris in 1307.

See Also:

Kilwinning Abbey

Oldest Masonic Lodge

Shakespeare’s All’s Well that Ends Well may have been co-written by Thomas Middleton


William Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well may have been co-written by Thomas Middleton

Daily Mail | Apr 25, 2012

Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well might have been co-authored with a fellow playwright, Oxford University academics have found.

Thomas Middleton, writer of The Changeling, was the most likely co-author of the comedy in the First Folio of 1623, according to analysis of the text, spelling, speech prefixes and narrative phrasing.

Professor Laurie Maguire and Emma Smith, both of Oxford University’s English faculty, said writers have their own distinctive literary fingerprints and anomalies within the play show ‘markers’ strongly linked to Middleton.

Dr Smith said: ‘We are not saying that Middleton and Shakespeare definitely worked together on All’s Well but Middleton’s involvement would certainly explain many of the comedy’s stylistic, textual and narrative quirks.

‘The narrative stage directions, especially ‘Parolles and Lafew stay behind, commenting on this wedding’, look as though it is the point at which one author handed over to another.’

Londoner Thomas Middleton lived between 1580 and 1627 and became a celebrated writer, remembered for works such as Women Beware Women.

An analysis of the textual composition of All’s Well supports Middleton’s involvement, with whom Shakespeare also collaborated on Timon Of Athens at the same time, the academics said.

‘The proportion of the play written in rhyme is much higher than usual for Jacobean Shakespeare: 19 per cent of the lines are in rhyme, which fits Middleton’s norm of 20 per cent,’ added Professor Maguire.

‘Shakespeare tends to use ‘Omnes’ as a speech prefix and ‘All’, preferred by Middleton, only occurs twice in the Folio: both times in All’s Well.’

The research suggests act 4, scene 3 was written by Middleton, Professor Maguire said.

‘This scene sees Parolles describing Bertram as ‘ruttish’, a word whose only other occurrence as an adjective is in Middleton’s The Phoenix,’ he said.

‘It also sees an unusual number of Middleton’s known spelling preferences.’

The word ‘ruttish’ means lustful – and its only other use at that time is in a work by Middleton.

More of his ‘modern’ grammar can be found in the text and its phrasing and spelling is closer to Middleton’s style than Shakespeare’s.

It is believed that if Middleton and Shakespeare did collaborate on All’s Well, it could provide an interesting insight into the way Shakespeare worked.

Dr Smith explained: ‘Where we know Shakespeare worked with other playwrights, it tended to be in a master-apprentice relationship, with Shakespeare as the apprentice in the early years and as the senior writer in his later years.

‘But if, as we suspect, All’s Well and Timon Of Athens were written in 1606-7 while Shakespeare was in the middle of his career and working with a dynamic, up-and-coming playwright like Middleton, the relationship seems not unlike an established musician working with the current big thing and is about more than just professional training.’

Research leader Professor Laurie Maguire said many plays of the time were written in partnership, but it was thought Shakespeare always penned pieces by himself.

He was thought to not want to share the glory with contempories due to his inconic status.

Prof Maguire said: ‘The picture that’s emerging is of much more collaboration. We need to think of it more as a film studio with teams of writers.

‘We are confident there is a second hand in the authorship of the play and that hand belongs to Thomas Middleton.’

DARPA creates “virtual humans, programmed to appear empathetic” for soldiers with PTSD

telepresenceoptions.com | Apr 26, 2012

by Katie Drummond

The Pentagon hasn’t made much progress in solving the PTSD crisis plaguing this generation of soldiers. Now it’s adding new staff members to the therapy teams tasked with spotting the signs of emotional pain and providing therapy to the beleaguered. Only this isn’t a typical hiring boost. The new therapists, Danger Room has learned, will be computer-generated “virtual humans,” used to offer diagnostics, and programmed to appear empathetic.

It’s the latest in a long series of efforts to assuage soaring rates of depression, anxiety and PTSD that afflict today’s troops. Military brass have become increasingly willing to try just about anything, from yoga and reiki to memory-adjustment pills, that holds an iota of promise. They’ve even funded computerized therapy before: In 2010, for example, the military launched an effort to create an online health portal that’d include video chats with therapists.

But this project, funded by Darpa, the Pentagon’s far-out research arm, is way more ambitious. Darpa’s research teams are hoping to combine 3-D rendered simulated therapists — think Sims characters mixed with ELIZA — with sensitive analysis software that can actually detect psychological symptoms “by analyzing facial expressions, body gestures and speech,” Dr. Albert Rizzo, who is leading the project alongside Dr. Louis-Philippe Morency, tells Danger Room. The therapists won’t treat patients, but they will help flesh-and-blood counselors by offering a general diagnosis of what ails soldiers, and how serious the problem is.

I’m not that powerful, Rupert Murdoch tells judge


News Corp Chief Rupert Murdoch (L) and his wife Wendi Deng (R) drive away from the High Court in central London on April 25, 2012 after Rupert Murdoch gave evidence at the Leveson Inquiry. Rupert Murdoch tried to downplay his political influence in landmark testimony to the inquiry into press ethics on April 25, even as evidence from his media empire prompted a government aide to resign. The 81-year-old mogul, speaking on oath during his first appearance at the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics, hit out at ‘sinister inferences’ about his ties to British leaders over the past four decades. Getty Images

Associated Press | Apr 25, 2012

By RAPHAEL SATTER

LONDON (AP) — News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch said Wednesday that his globe-spanning TV and newspaper empire doesn’t carry as much political sway as is often believed, telling a British inquiry into media ethics that he wasn’t the power behind the throne often depicted by his enemies.

Speaking softly, deliberately and with dry humor, Murdoch sought to deflate what he described as myths about his business, his agenda and his friendships with those at the pinnacle of British politics.

“If these lies are repeated again and again they catch on,” he said. “But they just aren’t true.”

The 81-year-old media baron denied ever calling in favors from British leaders and dismissed the oft-repeated claim that his top-selling daily, The Sun, could swing elections.

“We don’t have that sort of power,” he testified.

Murdoch was being quizzed under oath before an inquiry run by Lord Justice Brian Leveson, who is examining the relationship between British politicians and the press, a key question raised by the phone hacking scandal that brought down Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid in July.

Revelations of widespread illegal behavior at the top-selling Sunday publication rocked Britain’s establishment with evidence of media misdeeds, police corruption and too-cozy links between the press and politicians. Murdoch’s News International — the tabloid’s publisher — has been hit with over 100 lawsuits over phone hacking and dozens of reporters and media executives have been arrested.

Showing little equivocation, Murdoch batted away challenges to his ethics by inquiry lawyer Robert Jay.

Asked whether he set the political agenda for his U.K. editors, he denied it.

Asked whether he’d ever used his media influence to boost his business, he denied it.

Asked whether standards at his papers declined when he took them over, he denied it — and threw in a quip about his rivals.

“The Sun has never been a better paper than it is today,” Murdoch said. “I won’t say the same of my competitors.”

The inquiry was set up by Prime Minister David Cameron following the scandal’s resurgence in July. Murdoch’s testimony was among the most heavily anticipated — not least because of his close links to generations of British politicians, both from Cameron’s Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party.

Murdoch made few concessions to his inquisitor.

He denied that former Prime Minister Tony Blair of the Labour Party had consulted with him on how to discredit French leader Jacques Chirac in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He denied strategizing with Blair’s successor, Gordon Brown, on whether to call a snap election. And he denied lobbying Cameron on issues including broadcasting regulations, the ins-and-outs of which have since helped feed the scandal.

He did reveal a tense telephone exchange with Brown in September 2009, after the tycoon had decided to throw The Sun’s support behind rival Cameron.

“Well, your company has declared war on my government and we have no alternative but to make war on your company,” Murdoch quoted Brown as saying, adding he did not think that the prime minister “was in a very balanced state of mind.”

Brown released a statement Wednesday characterizing Murdoch’s version as false.

“I hope Mr. Murdoch will have the good grace to correct his account,” Brown said.

Murdoch also owned up to having made a colorful joke first reported by Blair: “If our flirtation is ever consummated, Tony, then I suspect we will end up making love like porcupines, very very carefully.”

But he denied that his personal friendship with Blair had led to any favors, thumping the table to punctuate his sentence.

“I never. Asked. Mr. Blair. For anything,” he said.

Media-watchers have speculated that Murdoch would seek to inflict political pain on the Cameron’s Conservatives, rumors which gained force when his son James gave damning testimony about British Olympics czar Jeremy Hunt on Tuesday. The younger Murdoch released documents that suggested that Hunt, a Cameron ally, had secretly smoothed the way for News Corp.’s bid for full control of the British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC, a lucrative satellite broadcaster.

The bid was contested by Murdoch’s competitors, who feared that if News Corp. increased its stake in BSkyB, it would reinforce his dominance of the British media landscape. Hunt had told lawmakers he would be impartial, but the documents showed his department giving News Corp. behind-the-scenes advice and intelligence.

Hunt’s political aide Adam Smith resigned Wednesday, saying he was responsible for the perception that News Corp. had “too close a relationship” with Hunt’s office. Smith said he had acted without Hunt’s authorization, but it was not clear how a special adviser could have acted so independently.

Although Murdoch was cooperative with the inquiry on Wednesday, he evoked a healthy helping of the phrase “I don’t remember,” particularly when confronted with potentially embarrassing anecdotes about his alleged remarks.

At one point, Jay quizzed Murdoch about a gleeful comment in which Murdoch took credit for smearing his left-wing opponents.

“If I said that, I’m afraid it was the influence of alcohol,” Murdoch replied.

Throughout the hearing, Murdoch attacked the idea that he traded on his political influence, calling it a “complete myth. One I want to put to bed once and for all.”

So determined was he that Murdoch appeared to claim he was totally blind to business considerations when deciding which politicians to back.

“You’re completely oblivious to the commercial benefits to your company of a particular party winning an election. Is that really the position?” asked a skeptical-sounding Jay.

“Yes,” Murdoch said. “Absolutely.”

His testimony resumes on Thursday.

“We don’t have that sort of power,” Murdoch tells inquiry


LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 25: Rupert Murdoch leaves The Royal Courts of Justice with his wife Wendi Deng Murdoch after giving evidence to The leveson Inquiry on April 25, 2012 in London, England. This phase of the inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the press in the United Kingdom is looking at the owners of various media groups. The inquiry, which may take a year or more to complete, comes in the wake of the phone hacking scandal that saw the closure of The News of The World newspaper in 2011. Getty Images

Reuters | Apr 25, 2012

By Estelle Shirbon and Georgina Prodhan

LONDON (Reuters) – Rupert Murdoch is used to slipping into Downing Street by the back door for discreet meetings with prime ministers, but there was no such privacy on Wednesday when he faced a grilling about his political influence in the full glare of the world’s media.

It was one of the most extraordinary days in a career spanning six decades that has seen the owner of a provincial Australian newspaper morph into a global media magnate credited with the power to make or break governments.

Questioned under oath at a judicial inquiry prompted by revelations of endemic phone-hacking at his News of the World tabloid, which he shut down last July, Murdoch gave a confident performance in which he amiably played down the power he holds.

If his enemies had hoped to see him squirm under the forensic questioning of the inquiry’s top prosecutor, especially after a memorably unimpressive performance before British lawmakers last July with his son James, they were disappointed. Last time, a protester threw a foam “pie” at the elder Murdoch and was hit by his formidable wife, Wendi Deng.

Under questioning last July, Murdoch had looked old and tired, and said it was the humblest day of his life, as the extent of public outrage at the way the News of the World had treated ordinary people as well as celebrities sank in.

But at Wednesday’s hearing at London’s Royal Courts of Justice, one of the few times Murdoch has been hauled into any court, he appeared in command of the proceedings and quickly won over lawyers, journalists and the public alike. He smiled, was sometimes stern and left onlookers wondering how good, or bad, his memory of recent British political events really was.

Lest anybody underestimate him in his ninth decade, Murdoch jogged back to his seat after one of the breaks in proceedings, and showed he was as sharp as ever when it came to the quick put-down.

Had he thought British Prime Minister David Cameron was “lightweight” when he first met him? “No, not then.”

What did he think of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown threatening to wage war on News Corp, his company? “I did not think he was in a very balanced state of mind.”

SUN WOT WON IT

Murdoch’s many detractors say he uses his vast multi-media empire to promote his right-wing views, further his commercial interests and gain covert influence among the rich and powerful for himself and his children.

The media mogul conceded that politicians often courted him, but shrugged at the suggestion that his papers could swing British elections.

“We don’t have that sort of power,” he said, disowning the famous “It’s The Sun Wot Won It” front page run by his favorite tabloid on the morning after the Conservatives unexpectedly won the 1992 election.

Responding calmly and politely to questions, pausing to ponder his answers and cracking a few jokes along the way, the 81-year-old projected himself as a shrewd and sensible businessman with no secret agenda or delusions of grandeur – a far cry from the bogeyman portrayed by his numerous enemies.

It was only natural in a democracy that politicians should seek the support of the media, and there was nothing unusual about his own political contacts, he said.

“He was that version of Rupert Murdoch that is approachable, engaging, really anything you want him to be,” said Neil Chenoweth, a Australian investigative journalist who has been writing about Murdoch for more than two decades.

“I think it must be very reassuring for investors to see him on top of his material, a little conciliatory but not a lot,” said Chenoweth, the author of two books on Murdoch.

But Murdoch’s efforts to downplay his own importance were undermined by events in Westminster, a short distance away from the courtroom where Judge Brian Leveson’s inquiry was in progress.

AT THE HEART OF POWER

With excruciating timing, Cameron was in parliament for a weekly question time that was dominated by attacks on him and his government for being too close to the Murdoch empire, a theme that has dogged Cameron since revelations started pouring out in the hacking scandal.

While Cameron was jeered in a rowdy House of Commons, Murdoch was gently ducking difficult questions at the Leveson Inquiry with smiles, one-liners and pregnant pauses as he appeared to rack his brain for long-lost memories.

A crucial lunch with former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to gain her backing for his 1981 takeover of the Times and the Sunday Times? He had no memory of it. Allegations of interference in editorial matters by former Times editor Harold Evans? He hadn’t read the book.

Nevertheless, for a self-styled outsider who likes to portray himself as a scourge of the establishment, Murdoch’s testimony offered tantalizing glimpses of a career that has in fact unfolded at the very heart of power.

He was probed on his relationship with Thatcher and grudgingly admitted that they were “on the same page” politically.

That is putting it mildly, according to many students of Murdoch’s career who say that under Thatcher’s government in the 1980s he and his papers shared her libertarian and individualist agenda and offered her support she could only have dreamed of.

“They were engaged in a joint crusade to regenerate Britain, its culture, its people, its place in the world,” said James Curran, co-author of “Power without Responsibility”, an authoritative textbook on the history of the British press.

“MAKING LOVE LIKE PORCUPINES”

But Wednesday’s grilling showed Murdoch’s political malleability, which analysts say has been one of the hallmarks of his success.

With the Thatcher era over and her Conservative successor John Major bogged down in party infighting, Murdoch switched allegiance to left-of-centre Tony Blair of New Labor, who flew to Australia as opposition leader to pay homage to Murdoch.

“This was a pragmatic, calculated relationship with an Atlanticist pro-markets social democrat he could do business with. It wasn’t a joint crusade, it was a carefully calibrated mutually advantageous relationship,” said Curran.

The Blair-Murdoch relationship was described in cruder terms at Leveson. Murdoch was asked if it was true that he had once told Blair that “if our flirtation was ever consummated, Tony, then I suspect we will end up making love like porcupines: very, very carefully.” The response: “I might have.”

The performance showed that the ageing Murdoch has lost none of his fighting spirit after a tumultuous year that saw him sacrifice the profitable News of the World, abandon a cherished bid to take over a satellite TV business and reluctantly let his son James and his favorite, Rebekah Brooks, resign from their posts at the British arm of his News Corp conglomerate.

SEX SCANDALS AND BARE-BREASTED GIRLS

These events have transfixed the British media and profoundly embarrassed the government, but Murdoch’s Leveson appearance served as a reminder of the many controversies he has overcome during his long and inexorable rise.

After expanding the family business he inherited in Australia and New Zealand, Murdoch burst onto the British scene in the late 1960s with the purchase of the News of the World and the Sun.

In his first decade as owner of the two papers, they were transformed into sensationalist scoop machines, serving up a diet of sex scandals and bare-breasted girls. Circulation soared to record levels.

When he set his sights on the venerable but struggling Times and Sunday Times in 1980, his takeover bid prompted cries of outrage from many critics who said the vulgar style of his tabloids disqualified him from running respectable papers.

Murdoch prevailed and owned the four newspapers until he had to close the News of the World amid scandal last year. He replaced it with a Sunday edition of the Sun and has a staggering 40 percent share in Britain’s daily newspaper market.

In 1986 came the battle of Wapping, when Murdoch moved his operations overnight to new facilities with their own printing press in a direct challenge to powerful unions who opposed the move because it would lead to massive job losses. After months of strikes and violent standoffs, Murdoch won.

Asked at Leveson whether one of the reasons why Thatcher, also a ruthless union-buster, had backed his bid for the Times group was that she expected him to crush the press unions, Murdoch was evasive.

“I don’t think she knew there would be trouble with the unions … I didn’t have the will to crush the unions. I might have had the desire, but that took years,” he chuckled.

Another way to kill US farmers: Seize their bank accounts on phony charges

Food Freedom News | Apr 23, 2012

By Rady Ananda

Monsanto’s Food and Drug Administration can’t close down small dairies and private food clubs fast enough, bursting on the scene with guns drawn as if the criminalized right to contract for natural foods we’ve consumed for millennia deserves SWAT attention.

Now, Obama has the Dept. of Justice going after small farmers under the post-911 “Bank Secrecy Act” which makes it a crime to deposit less than $10,000 when you earned more than that.

“The level we deposited was what it was and it was about the same every week,” Randy Sowers told Frederick News. The Sowers own and run South Mountain Creamery in Middletown, Maryland.

Admittedly, when the Sowers earned over $10,000 in February, and learned they’d have to fill out paperwork at the bank for such large deposits, they simply rolled the deposits over to keep them below the none-of-your-fucking-business amount, rather than waste time on bureaucratic red tape aimed at flagging terrorism or other illegal activities.

“Structuring,” explains Overlawyered.com, “is the federal criminal offense of splitting up bank deposits so as to keep them under a threshold such as $10,000 above which banks have to report transactions to the government.”

While being questioned, the Sowers were finally presented with a seizure order and advised that the feds had already emptied their bank account of $70,000.  The Dept. of Justice has since sued to keep $63,000 of the Sowers’ money, though they committed no crime other than maintaining their privacy.

Without funds, they will be unable to make purchases for the spring planting.

When a similar action was taken against Taylor’s Produce Stand last year, the feds seized $90,000, dropped the charges, and kept $45,000 of Taylor’s money.

Knowing that most farms operate on a very thin margin, such abuse of power wipes out a family’s income, and for a bonus, the feds enhance the monopoly power of Monsanto, Big Dairy and their supply chain.

You can just smell attorney Michael Taylor behind all this, Obama’s dairy dog.  Who you’ll find, instead, is US district attorney Stefan Cassella. He’s the first to head the DOJ’s Asset Forfeiture & Money Laundering Section, created in 2009, having wrote the books on it. He cut his teeth on seizing $1.2 billion from real money launderer, BCCI.  Guess his focus has changed since then.

The Maryland Dept. of Agriculture had no trouble hitting up the Sowers for a recipe in its Buy-Local cookbook; but Cassella must’ve missed that public service, or it’s what drew his attention – “Ah! A small dairy! Let’s rob them of their cash, those evil Big Dairy competitors. They probably sell raw milk under the table. Even if we find no evidence of wrongdoing, we’ll keep their money anyway.” (Cue Curly’s, “yuh, yuh, yuh.”)

City Paper reports that in 2011, “Maryland brought 14 of the nation’s 99 structuring cases, making it the top state for such prosecutions.  Nationally, the numbers have been rising; the 2011 figures are up 8.8 percent from the year before and up 57.1 percent from five years ago.”

Funny, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and other criminal banksters are still in operation, despite committing millions of acts of fraud during mortgage reassignations. But the DOJ prioritizes squashing family farmers since it’s easier to pick the low-hanging fruit than do battle with well-financed criminals who’ve illegally seized the homes of millions of US citizens.

Former Maryland assistant U.S. attorney Steven Levin told the paper, “The emphasis is on basically seizing money, whether it is legally or illegally earned. It can lead to financial ruin for business owners, and there’s a potential for abuse here by the government.”

Ya think?

The Bank Secrecy Act was modified* after 9/11, another in a long line of Constitutionally-abhorrent laws enacted by officials who cannot prove they were elected to office (given those elections were held on electronic voting systems that can be hacked without leaving evidence of the crime).

With the current Administration’s Agenda 21 focus on destroying the natural food and herb industry, is it not unsurprising to see unconstitutional terrorist legislation used on innocent, law abiding citizens?