May 312012
 
Published on May 29, 2012 by ae911truth

This is the major press conference that AE911Truth held at the occasion of the World Premiere of their powerful myth-shattering documentary “9/11: Explosive Evidence — Experts Speak Out” on May 22, 2012 in Beverly Hills, CA. Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth founder, Richard Gage, AIA and AE911Truth supporter and actor, Ed Asner, teamed up to lay into the media in an effort to hold them accountable for their 10-year silence on the subject of the abundant scientific evidence and eyewitness testimony that pulls the rug from under the official story of the destruction of the three World Trade Center towers on 9/11. This new documentary, introduced by Gage, following the press conference hosts 43 technical and building professionals who cite the evidence and call for a new investigation. It also includes 8 psychology professionals who are well versed in the difficult issues that viewers of this film may face when confronting the evidence.

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May 312012
 
Global Research
Tom Burghardt

Brig. Gen. Roberto Dawe González

Earlier this month, the Mexican government arrested three high-ranking Army generals “including a former second in command at the Defense Ministry,” The New York Times reported.

According to multiple press reports, Tomás Ángeles Dauahare, who retired in 2008, was an under secretary at the Defense Ministry during the first two years of President Felipe Calderón’s “war” against some narcotrafficking cartels and had even been mentioned as a “possible choice for the top job.”

The Times disclosed that in the early 1990s Ángeles “served as the defense attaché at the Mexican Embassy in Washington,” a plum position with plenty of perks awarded to someone thought by his Pentagon brethren to have impeccable credentials; that is, if smoothing the way the for drugs to flow can be viewed as a bright spot on one’s résumé.

The other top military men detained in Mexico City were “Brig. Gen. Roberto Dawe González, assigned to a base in Colima State, and Gen. Ricardo Escorcia Vargas, who is retired.”

Reuters reported that “Dawe headed an army division in the Pacific state of Colima, which lies on a key smuggling route for drugs heading to the United States, and had also served in the violent border state of Chihuahua.”

When queried at a May 18 press conference in Washington, “whether and to what extent” these officers participated in the $1.6 billion taxpayer-financed boondoggle known as the Mérida Initiative or had received American training, Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Robert L. Ditchey II tersely told reporters, “We are not going to get into those specifics.”

Inquiring minds can’t help but wonder what does the Pentagon, or certain three-lettered secret state agencies, have to hide?

CIA-Pentagon Death Squads

Although little explored by corporate media, the CIA and Defense Department’s role in escalating violence across Mexico is part of a long-standing strategy by American policy planners to deploy what the late Col. L. Fletcher Prouty called The Secret Team, “skilled professionals under the direct control of someone higher up.” According to Prouty, “Team members are like lawyers and agents, they work for someone. They generally do not plan their work. They do what their client tells them to do.”

In the context of the misbegotten “War on Drugs,” that “client” is the U.S. government and the nexus of bent banks, crooked cops, shady airplane brokers, chemical manufacturers, and spooky defense and surveillance firms who all profit from the chaos they help sustain.

As Narco News disclosed last summer, “A small but growing proxy war is underway in Mexico pitting US-assisted assassin teams composed of elite Mexican special operations soldiers against the leadership of an emerging cadre of independent drug organizations that are far more ruthless than the old-guard Mexican ‘cartels’ that gave birth to them.”

“These Mexican assassin teams now in the field for at least half a year, sources tell Narco News, are supported by a sophisticated US intelligence network composed of CIA and civilian US military operatives as well as covert special-forces soldiers under Pentagon command–which are helping to identify targets for the Mexican hit teams.”

“So it should be no surprise,” Bill Conroy wrote, “that information is now surfacing from reliable sources indicating that the US government is once again employing a long-running counter-insurgency strategy that has been pulled off the shelf and deployed in conflicts dating back to Vietnam in the 1960s, in Latin America in the 1980s and 1990s, and beyond, and in more recent conflicts, such as in Iraq.”

That strategy, as numerous journalists and researchers have reported, provides specialized training and heavy-weapons to neocolonial clients that the imperial Godfather believes will do their bidding. More often than not however, there are serious consequences for doing so.

As The Brownsville Herald revealed nearly a decade ago, the Zetas were the former enforcement arm of Juan García Ábrego’s Gulf Cartel; then Mexico’s richest and most powerful drug trafficking organization.

During the 1980s, the Gulf group negotiated an alliance with Colombia’s Cali Cartel, amongst the CIA’s staunchest drug-trafficking allies during the Iran-Contra period. By the 1990s, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office estimated that the organization handled as much as “one-third of all cocaine shipments” into the United States from their suppliers and were worth an estimated $10 billion.

But as the Herald disclosed, the Zetas, now considered by the U.S. government to be the “most technologically advanced, sophisticated, and dangerous cartel operating in Mexico” were “once part of an elite division of the Mexican Army, the Special Air Mobile Force Group. At least one-third of this battalion’s deserters was trained at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Ga., according to documents from the Mexican secretary of defense.”

By 2010, the Zetas had broken with their former Gulf partners to become one of the most formidable, and brutal, DTOs in the area. According to published reports, the organization’s core operatives include corrupt former federal, state and local police officers, renegade soldiers and ex-Kabiles, the CIA and Pentagon-trained Special Forces of the Guatemalan military, responsible for horrendous atrocities during that country’s U.S.-sponsored “scorched earth” campaign against leftist guerrillas; a war which killed an estimated 250,000 people, largely at the hands of the military and right-wing death squads.

Perhaps this is one reason why the Pentagon “won’t get into” the “specifics” behind the generals’ recent arrests, nor will the Justice Department come clean about the “quid-pro-quo immunity deal with the US government in which they [the Sinaloa Cartel] were guaranteed protection from prosecution in exchange for providing US law enforcers and intelligence agencies with information that could be used to compromise rival Mexican cartels and their operations,” as Narco News reported.

While the implications of these policies may be scandalous to the average citizen, they’re part of a recurring pattern, one might even say a modus operandi reproduced ad nauseam.

More than three decades ago we learned from Danish journalist Henrik Krüger in The Great Heroin Coup, that the CIA was at the center of the “remarkable shift from Marseilles (Corsican) to Southeast Asian and Mexican (Mafia) heroin in the United States,” and that the legendary take-down of the “French Connection” actually represented “a deliberate move to reconstruct and redirect the heroin trade… not to eliminate it.” (emphasis added)

A similar process is underway in Mexico today as drug distribution networks battle it out for control over the multibillion dollar market flooding Europe and North America with processed cocaine from South America’s fabled Crystal Triangle. In fact, the illicit trade would be nigh impossible without official complicity and corruption, on both sides of the border, and at the highest levels of what sociologist C. Wright Mills called the Power Elite.

Without batting an eye however, the Times told us that the arrest of Mexico’s top “drug fighting” generals “is sure to rattle American law enforcement and military officers, who in the best of times often work warily with their Mexican counterparts, typically subjecting them to screening for any criminal ties.”

Really?

Not if a U.S. Army Special Operations Forces Field Manual (FM 3-05.130), titled Unconventional Warfare, serves as a guide for the Pentagon’s current strategic thinking on the conflict in Mexico. Published in 2008 by WikiLeaks, the anonymous authors informed us that:

Irregulars, or irregular forces, are individuals or groups of individuals who are not members of a regular armed force, police, or other internal security force. They are usually nonstate-sponsored and unconstrained by sovereign nation legalities and boundaries. These forces may include, but are not limited to, specific paramilitary forces, contractors, individuals, businesses, foreign political organizations, resistance or insurgent organizations, expatriates, transnational terrorism adversaries, disillusioned transnational terrorism members, black marketers, and other social or political “undesirables.” (Unconventional Warfare, p. 1-3)

From this perspective such “irregular forces” sound suspiciously like today’s army of professional contract killers or sicarios, who act as mercenaries for the cartels and as political enforcers for local elites.

According to carefully-crafted media fairy tales, we’re to believe that unlike corrupt Federal and local police, the Army, which has deployed nearly 50,000 troops across Mexico are somehow magically immune to the global tide of corruption associated with an illicit trade worth hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

However, ubiquitous facts on the ground tell a different tale. Like their U.S. counterparts in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Mexican Army stands accused of serious human rights violations. And, like marauding U.S. imperial invaders, Mexico’s Army regularly carry out illegal detentions, extortion, extrajudicial killings, torture along with the “disappearance” of indigenous and left-wing activists.

Indeed, like their American and NATO counterparts in Afghanistan today, some elements within the Mexican Army have forged highly-profitable alliances with drug traffickers, especially among organized crime groups afforded “cover” by the CIA. But unlike the global godfathers in Washington however, Mexican authorities have brought criminal charges against corrupt officials.

In the Times’ report we’re informed that “a retired general, Juan Manuel Barragán Espinosa, was detained in February, accused of having leaked information to a drug gang. Another general, Manuel Moreno Avina, and several soldiers he commanded are on charges of murder, torture and drug trafficking in a border town in northern Mexico.”

The Houston Chronicle disclosed that the “investigation of the generals reportedly was spurred by informants’ testimony linked to the August 2010 arrest of Edgar Valdez Villarreal, the Laredo native known as La Barbie who served as the Beltran Leyva’s top enforcer.”

According to the Chronicle, “accusations of political motivation–by the generals’ wives, lawyers and others–have been raised because of prosecutors’ nearly two-year delay in acting on the informant’s testimony and because the arrests come less than six weeks ahead of Mexico’s presidential elections.”

In fact, just days before being taken into custody, Ángeles “participated in a national security conference organized by supporters of presidential front-runner Enrique Peña Nieto, candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.”

But Ángeles’ inconvenient arrest just weeks before contentious national elections isn’t the only problem that PRI front-runner Peña Nieto has to worry about.

The Associated Press reported that Peña Nieto’s one-time ally, the former governor of the violence-plagued state of Tamaulipas, Tomás Yarrington Ruvalcaba, has been accused in a civil action filed by federal prosecutors in Texas that he “‘acquired millions of dollars in payments’ while in public office from drug cartels ‘and from various extortion or bribery schemes’.”

“Yarrington,” AP disclosed, “then used various front men and businesses ‘to become a major real estate investor through various money laundering mechanisms,’ according to documents filed in Corpus Christi.”

The former governor “was also named earlier this year in the federal indictment of Antonio Peña Arguelles, who was also charged with money laundering in San Antonio. That indictment alleged that leaders of the Gulf and Zetas cartels paid millions to Institutional Revolutionary Party members, including Yarrington,” AP reported.

Curiously enough however, that AP report failed to mention Yarrington’s close political ties to politicians on this side of the border. Indeed, according to Digital Journal writer Lynn Herrmann, “Yarrington was at Texas Governor Rick Perry’s swearing into office for his first full term in 2003. Prior to that, the Tamaulipas governor was a recipient of a Texas Senate resolution honoring him.”

“Even closer was the relationship between Yarrington and President George W. Bush,” Herrmann wrote, “a relationship apparently developed when junior was governor of Texas. In 2000, the Los Angeles Times quoted Bush as saying, ‘Tomás is terrific, worked with him a lot’.”

Now why wouldn’t the AP report that?!

While one cannot dismiss that political motivations may lie behind the arrests, salient facts coloring these latest examples of drug war shenanigans again betray that this phony war is being waged not to stamp-out the grim trade but over who controls it.

Another Day, Another Bent General

The arrests were hardly precedent setting if truth be told. Indeed, the best known case of collaboration between the Army and the Cartels was that of Gen. José de Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo.

After having risen in the ranks to become a Three-Star Divisional Commander in the 1990s, Gutiérrez was appointed by the Attorney General of Mexico during the reign of President Ernesto Zedillo, currently a director of the drug-tainted financial black hole Citigroup, accused of laundering tens of millions of dollars in drug money for Raúl Salinas de Gortari, the brother of Carlos Salinas, the former president of Mexico. With powerful connections, the general became that country’s top-ranking drug interdiction officer as head of the Instituto Nacional para el Combate a las Drogas (INCD).

From his perch, Gutiérrez had access to intelligence provided to the government by Mexican and U.S. secret state agencies. The treasure trove of data available to the general and his patrons included files on antidrug investigations, wiretaps on cartel leaders and informant identities.

There was just one small problem.

After receiving a tip that Gutiérrez had moved into an upscale Mexico City neighborhood in an apartment “whose rent could not be paid for with the wage received by a public servant,” the Attorney General’s Office opened an investigation.

It turned out that Gutiérrez had moved into palatial digs owned by a confederate of Amado Carrillo Fuentes, the legendary head of the Juárez Cartel and “Lord of the Heavens.” The drug lord earned that moniker because he moved vast quantities of cocaine into the U.S. aboard a fleet of airplanes purchased from bent brokers on the American side of the border. This too is a recurring pattern, as Daniel Hopsicker revealed during his investigation into the secret history of a fleet of fifty drug planes bought with hot money laundered through U.S. banks.

During the course of their investigation, Mexican authorities obtained a recording of Gutiérrez and Carrillo Fuentes which discussed payments to the General; remuneration for his role in leaving the Juárez Cartel alone, then Mexico’s largest drug corporation.

In a 1997 interview with The Boston Globe, Francisco Molina, the former head of the anti-narcotics unit, said that during the change of command, “he personally handed over to Gutiérrez all of Mexico’s ‘most delicate’ drug-fighting information.”

“The files included thousands of documents on open investigations,” the Globe reported, “pending operations, wire taps and voluminous material on Amado Carrillo Fuentes, the trafficker to whom Gutiérrez was linked.”

That information, Molina said, “places many people at risk, and it throws into the garbage the huge amount of resources, money, and time that were spent” on operations. “It’s like letting the enemy in to dig around in the files.”

And with the U.S. State Department poised to expand the Mexican secret state’s access to the latest in communications’ intercept technologies as Antifascist Calling recently reported, the Cartels may soon have even more information at their disposal and the wherewithal to strike their adversaries with ruthless efficiency.

‘Dirty Warrior’ and ‘Lord of the Heavens’ United in the Great Beyond

It remains to be seen whether the accused military men will suffer the fate of another narco-linked Army commander, retired Gen. Mario Acosta Chaparro.

The Latin American Herald Tribune reported last month that Acosta, “who was convicted of drug-gang ties a decade ago but subsequently exonerated, has died of wounds suffered in a gunshot attack, sources with the capital’s district attorney’s office said.”

According to McClatchy’s “Mexico Unmasked” blog, the general was killed “as he descended from his chauffeured vehicle to pick up his Mercedes Benz (how many generals can afford to buy MBs?) in a suburban area of Mexico City. A guy in a motorcycle fired 3 rounds from a 9mm handgun into Acosta’s head.”

As Antifascist Calling reported in 2010, this was the same general who was shot and wounded in Mexico City during an alleged “robbery attempt.” At the time, El Universal reported that police claimed a thief wanted to “steal the general’s watch” and shot him several times in the abdomen when he resisted.

It must have been a nice watch.

But with last month’s murder it appears that Acosta’s past caught up with him. “In 2007,” Antifascist Calling reported, “after a six-year imprisonment on charges of providing protection to late drug trafficking kingpin Amado Carrillo Fuentes … Acosta Chaparro was released from custody after his conviction was overturned on appeal.”

Freed on technicalities despite testimony by witnesses under the protection of the Mexican government, documents published by WikiLeaks revealed that the Swiss Bank Julius Baer’s Cayman Islands unit hid “several million dollars” of funds controlled by Acosta and his wife, Silvia, through a firm known as Symac Investments.

WikiLeaks wondered whether Mexican authorities would “want to know whether the several millions of USD had anything to do with the allegations that Mr Chaparro, a former police chief from the Mexican state of Guerrero, stopped chasing his local drug dealers and joined them in business.”

The secret-spilling web site averred: “With the assistance of Julius Baer, Mr Chaparro was able to invest several millions of USD in Symac with all the secrecy which the Caymans allowed and to draw out some $12,000 a month until he suddenly stopped it in July 1998. The following year, a particularly notorious colleague from the Mexican police became an FBI informer and offered new evidence against him.”

During his 2002 trial on drug trafficking and corruption charges one of the witnesses, Gustavo Tarín Chávez testified that Acosta answered a phone call and a voice on the other end of the line said: “Son! How are you? Son!” Tarín Chávez told the court that the only person who called the general “son” was none other then Amado Carrillo Fuentes.

During that call, the late drug lord told Acosta that he had spoken with Rubén Figueroa Alcocer, the former governor of Guerrero, and that “everything was settled.”

Multiple reports in the Mexican press subsequently revealed that the general had been given orders to pick up fifty AK-47 assault rifles, thirty semiautomatic pistols, twenty two-way radios and a SUV from Carrillo Fuentes and deliver them to the governor.

Talk about a high-priced errand boy!

Tarín Chávez also testified that Acosta did all the technical planning for the Juárez group and made arrangements for the arrival of Colombian aircraft loaded with cocaine and that this logistics work involved the delivery of vehicles, cash and communications’ equipment to other military officers who worked for the drug lord.

Though his case was tossed out by the Mexican Supreme Court due to a “lack of evidence” (perhaps one or all of those witnesses lost their “protection” and “vanished,” into an unmarked grave perhaps?), like other close U.S. allies in the “War on Drugs,” Acosta had been linked to Mexico’s “dirty war” against the left during the 1970s under the administration of President Luis Echeverría.

Echeverría was Interior Minister during President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz’s corrupt, repressive regime. Díaz, with much encouragement from the Pentagon, State Department and the CIA, ordered the murders of hundreds of student protesters in the now-infamous Tlatelolco Plaza massacre a few days before the start of the 1968 Summer Olympics.

In 2006, investigative journalist Jefferson Morley and The National Security Archive obtained previously classified documents which revealed “CIA recruitment of agents within the upper echelons of the Mexican government between 1956 and 1969. The informants used in this secret program included President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz and future President Luis Echeverría.”

Those documents detailed “the relationships cultivated between senior CIA officers, such as chief of station Winston Scott, and Mexican government officials through a secret spy network code-named ‘LITEMPO.’ Operating out of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, Scott used the LITEMPO project to provide ‘an unofficial channel for the exchange of selected sensitive political information which each government wanted the other to receive but not through public protocol exchanges’.”

Scott, a strident anticommunist who saw Moscow’s “hidden hand” everywhere, suspected that student protests were “a communist controlled rebellion,” and argued that the movement represented “a classic example of the Communists’ ability to divert a peaceful demonstration into a major riot.” Never mind that radical students despised the Stalinist Communist Party of Mexico and viewed them as conservative sell-outs; for Scott and his CIA masters, the fable of an International Communist Conspiracy directed by the Kremlin had to be maintained at all costs.

“As the student protests grew larger,” Morley wrote, “Scott’s information from the LITEMPO agents informed Ambassador Freeman’s increasingly dire cables to Washington, which noted that Díaz Ordaz and the people around him were talking tougher. The government ‘implicitly accepts consequence that this will produce casualties,’ the ambassador wrote. ‘Leaders of student agitation have been and are being taken into custody….In other words, the [government] offensive against student disorder has opened on physical and psychological fronts’.”

The rest, as they say, is history. Army units stationed around the perimeter of Tlatelolco Plaza and in the windows of adjoining buildings began to open fire on the protesters; hundreds were killed and more than fifteen hundred people were arrested, many of whom were subsequently tortured and then “disappeared.”

Heroin Coups and Iran-Contra Connections

Díaz and Echeverría did more than just ignore crimes perpetrated by the drug and CIA-linked intelligence agency, the Direcciòn Federal de Seguridad, or DFS; in the wake of the massacre, they handed DFS and the Army a blank check to carry out an anti-leftist purge which claimed thousands of lives.

Analyzing the CIA’s role in global drug trafficking networks, researcher Peter Dale Scott wrote: “One of the most crime-ridden CIA assets we know of is the Mexican DFS, which the US helped to create. From its foundation in the 1940s, the DFS, like other similar kryptocracies in Latin America, was deeply involved with international drug-traffickers. By the 1980s possession of a DFS card was recognized by DEA agents as a ‘license to traffic’.”

According to Scott, “DFS agents rode security for drug truck convoys, and used their police radios to check of signs of American police surveillance. Eventually the DFS became so identified with the criminal drug-trafficking organizations it managed and protected, that in the 1980s the DFS was (at least officially) closed down.”

Though 90 at the time of this writing, Echeverría, until recently, was considered the éminence grise of Mexican politics. He continued to wield considerable power long after his presidential term ended, mostly through his influence over the “old guard” of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, or PRI, the special police and army forces stood up under his watch, along with his alleged ties to the drug cartels.

As Scott and Jonathan Marshall disclosed in Cocaine Politics, the “failure” of various anti-trafficking programs such as Operation Condor “were inevitable given the records of the two Mexican presidents” who oversaw the operation.

“Luis Echeverría, under whom the program began,” Scott and Marshall wrote, “appears to have been linked to [drug trafficker and CIA asset Alberto] Sicilia Falcón through his wife, whose family members had suspected ties to the European heroin trade.” And when José López Portillo “took charge in 1976,” Scott and Marshall averred, he “reportedly amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in criminal profits and bought large estates in Spain with the proceeds.”

As Henrik Krüger related in The Great Heroin Coup, when he was arrested in 1975, Sicilia Falcón “claimed to be an agent of the CIA, and that his drug ring had been set up on orders and with the support of the agency.”

“Part of his profits,” Krüger wrote, “were to go towards the purchase of weapons and ammunition for distribution throughout Central America for the destabilization of ‘undesirable’ governments. If true, U.S. heroin addicts were again footing the bill for clandestine paramilitary operations and anti-Communist terror campaigns.”

But the former president’s shady connections didn’t stop there. Indeed, Echeverría’s brother-in-law, Rubén Zuno Arce, was convicted in U.S. Federal District Court in California in 1992 and sentenced to life in prison for his role as a top-tier leader of Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo’s Guadalajara drug cartel and for the torture-murder of U.S. DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985.

Camarena had amassed evidence that the CIA and U.S. State Department considered Gallardo “untouchable” because of the “special relationship” forged by the Agency amongst drug traffickers and the Nicaraguan Contras. Scott and Marshall disclosed that “Mexico’s biggest smuggler, Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, responsible for moving four tons of cocaine a month into the United States, was also ‘a big supporter’ of the Contras, according to his pilot Werner Lotz. Lotz told the DEA that his boss advanced him more than $150,000 to pass on to the Contras.”

In an 1996 PBS interview with former DEA deep-cover specialist turned whistleblower, Michael Levine, the co-host of The Expert Witness Radio Show, Levine related that “Camarena was a DEA agent working on high level drug investigations. He was stationed in Guadalajara, Mexico and his investigations were taking him right into the Contra resupply lines, that is, the Contras trafficking in drugs with the support of the Hondurans, the Mexicans, and everybody else and Enrique was down there working this case with an informer and suddenly he’s arrested in broad daylight by Mexican police. He’s taken to a ranch of a top Mexican criminal and slowly tortured to death over a 24 hour period.”

“And later what is… what’s found is Enrique was investigating [Honduran drug lord Juan Ramón] Matta-Ballesteros and Matta-Ballesteros’ partner Gallardo and Matta-Ballesteros, by the way, was on the State Department payroll… in spite of being a documented heavy drug trafficker. His airline that we knew was used to traffic drugs, was used on the US government payroll to fly these Contra resupply mission. So here’s this murderer who was later convicted of murdering… or conspiring to murder Kiki Camarena and he was on the US government payroll in spite of the fact that the DEA called him a drug trafficker, in spite of the fact that Kiki Camarena was investigating him. Now here’s Kiki Camarena investigating the Oliver North supply line and he’s tortured to death.”

As investigative journalist Robert Parry revealed two years later on the Consortium News web site, Matta-Ballesteros’ airline, SETCO, “emerged as the principal company for ferrying supplies to the contras in Honduras.”

“During congressional Iran-contra hearings, FDN political leader Adolfo Calero testified that SETCO was paid from bank accounts controlled by Oliver North. SETCO also received $185,924 from the State Department for ferrying supplies to the contras in 1986.”

Let’s get this straight: Ollie North, a convicted felon who turned a blind eye to drug trafficking Contra networks he helped stand up runs for the U.S. Senate, hosts a “national defense” program on Fox News and earns millions of dollars. “Kiki” Camarena, who’s investigating North’s criminal assets is brutally murdered by those same “resistance” fighters.

Curiously enough, when Sinaloa Cartel head Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán escaped in 2001 from a maximum-security prison during the “reform” administration of Vicente Fox, then the leader of the neoliberal Partido Acción Nacional, or PAN, and whose Federal Police chief was recommended by Luis Echeverría, it emerged that Guzmán once worked for Matta-Ballesteros, Gallardo and Zuno Acre’s Guadalajara Cartel.

Small world.

But then again, with the CIA suppressing evidence that they negotiated a quid-pro-quo with the Sinaloa Cartel and can’t talk about it because of “national security,” or that an FBI drug-trafficking informant was at the center of the Justice Department’s gun-walking “Fast and Furious” fiasco and can’t be prosecuted, perhaps controlled chaos is just what the Global Godfather wants.

A bent general or two is the least of our problems.

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly and Global Research, he is a Contributing Editor with Cyrano’s Journal Today. His articles can be read on Dissident Voice, Pacific Free Press, Uncommon Thought Journal, and the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press and has contributed to the new book from Global Research, The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century.

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May 312012
 
EHN Editor’s Note: Canada is dismantling the nation’s entire ocean contaminants program as part of massive layoffs at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Among the scientists terminated are ones who have conducted landmark research about global pollutants for decades: Peter Ross, who is among the world’s leading experts on marine mammals and contaminants, Gary Stern, a mercury expert whose work focuses on the Arctic, Michel Lebeuf, who studies the highly contaminated St. Lawrence belugas and Michael Ikonomou, who researches flame retardants and other endocrine-disrupting contaminants in salmon and other ocean life. Ross told EHN that his main concern is the “wholesale axing of pollution research” that will leave Canada, and much of the world, without the scientific knowledge to protect whales, seals, fish and other marine life — as well as the indigenous peoples who rely on them for their traditional foods. Many scientists say the purpose of the move by the Canadian government is not just cost-cutting but to eliminate environmental rules and protect the oil and gas industry. The following is an essay that Ross wrote Thursday for EHN. — Marla Cone, Editor in Chief 
Environmental Health News
Peter Ross
Since being hired 13 years ago as a Research Scientist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), I have been fortunate to conduct research on such magnificent creatures as killer whales, beluga whales, harbour seals and sea otters. I have visited some of the wildest parts of coastal British Columbia, Arctic Canada and further afield. I have been humbled by the power of Mother Nature as we deployed teams to explore and better understand the lives of creatures beneath the surface of the ocean. I have marveled at the evolutionary adaptations of marine mammals to an existence at the interface of land, sea and atmosphere. And as a scientist, I have come to learn that I possess but rudimentary powers of observation when it comes to the mystery and beauty of a vast ocean. For all of this, I remain eternally grateful.

A blend of challenging field work and cutting-edge laboratories has helped me to look into the lives of fish and marine mammals, and the ways in which some of the 25,000 contaminants on the domestic market affect their health. Our research has drawn on the combined expertise of dedicated technicians, biologists, vessel operators and aboriginal colleagues, ultimately leading to scientific publications now available around the world. This is knowledge that informs policies, regulations, and practices that enable us to protect the ocean and its resources, both for today’s users, and for future generations.

I am thankful for the rich array of opportunities aboard Canadian Coast Guard ships and small craft, alongside Fisheries Officers, chemists, habitat biologists and managers, together with colleagues, technicians, students and members of aboriginal communities. I have enjoyed weaving stories of wonder on such issues as the health of killer whales, effects of flame retardants on beluga whales, hydrocarbons in sea otter habitat, trends in priority pollutants in harbour seals, impacts of current use of pesticides on the health of salmon, the identification of emerging contaminants in endangered species and risk-benefit evaluation of traditional sea foods of First Nations and Inuit peoples. 
Past scientific discoveries such as high levels of PCBs in Inuit foods, dioxins in pulp and paper mill effluent, and DDT-associated eggshell thinning in seabirds formed the basis for national regulations and an international treaty (the Stockholm Convention) that have led to cleaner oceans and safer aquatic foods for fish, wildlife and humans. Canada was a world leader in spearheading this profoundly important treaty, drawing on ground-breaking scientific research in tandem with the knowledge of aboriginal communities.

I am thankful to my friends, family, supporters and colleagues, who have always been there to converse, share, learn and teach – in the laboratory, in the field, in the cafeteria, in the hallway. These people have made it all worthwhile.
Orcas swim past an oil refinery.
It is with deep regret that I relay news of my termination of employment at Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the loss of my dream job. It is with even greater sadness that I learn of the demise of DFO’s entire contaminants research program – regionally and nationally. It is with apprehension that I ponder a Canada without any research or monitoring capacity for pollution in our three oceans, or any ability to manage its impacts on commercial fish stocks, traditional foods for over 300,000 aboriginal people and marine wildlife.
Canada’s silence on these issues will be deafening this summer and beyond.

For more information about Ross’ work:

Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic, by Marla Cone, published by Grove/Atlantic

http://www.groveatlantic.com/?title=Silent+Snow
http://articles.latimes.com/2001/feb/16/news/mn-26134
http://articles.latimes.com/1996-05-12/news/mn-3403_1_immune-system
http://articles.latimes.com/2003/jun/19/local/me-polarbears19
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/contaminated-killer-whales
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2012/perus-dolphin-die-off
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/archives.jsp?sm=&tn=2title%2Clede%2Cdescription&tv=Peter+Ross&ss=1

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May 312012
 
Will a penalty be called for Keith Briffa’s excessively curved hockey stick?

National Review Online
Andrew Montford
Harold Ambler

Steve McIntyre
Climategate, the 2009 exposure of misconduct at the University of East Anglia, was a terrible blow to the reputation of climatology, and indeed to that of British and American science. Although that story hasn’t been in the news in recent months, new evidence of similar scientific wrongdoing continues to emerge, with a new scandal hitting the climate blogosphere just a few days ago.

And central to the newest story is one of the Climategate scientists: Keith Briffa, an expert in reconstructing historical temperature records from tree rings. More particularly, the recent scandal involves a tree-ring record Briffa prepared for a remote area of northern Russia called Yamal.

For many years, scientists have used tree-ring data to try to measure temperatures from the distant past, but the idea is problematic in and of itself. Why? Because tree-ring data reflect many variables besides temperature. Russian tree growth, like that of trees around the world, also reflects changes in humidity, precipitation, soil nutrients, competition for resources from other trees and plants, animal behavior, erosion, cloudiness, and on and on. But let’s pretend, if only for the sake of argument, that we can reliably determine the mean temperature 1,000 years ago or more using tree cores from a remote part of Russia. The central issue that emerges is: How do you choose the trees?

It was the way Briffa picked the trees to include in his analysis that piqued the interest of Steve McIntyre, a maverick amateur climatologist from Canada. The Climategate e-mails make it clear that McIntyre earned the public scorn of the most powerful U.N. climatologists, including James Hansen, Michael Mann, and Phil Jones, while simultaneously earning their fear and respect in private.

McIntyre noticed a few problems with the way Briffa chose the sampling of Russian trees, and he wrote to Briffa requesting the data Briffa used in a published tree-ring paper. Briffa declined. And so began a four-year saga involving multiple peer-reviewed journals, behind-the-scenes maneuvering by Briffa and his closest confidants, and a Freedom of Information Act request on the part of McIntyre that appears to be on the verge of being granted. Even without the final set of data, however, McIntyre has shown beyond the shadow of doubt that Briffa may have committed one of the worst sins, if not the worst, in climatology — that of cherry-picking data — when he assembled his data sample, which his clique of like-minded and very powerful peers have also used in paper after paper.


 It was already known that the Yamal series contained a preposterously small amount of data. This by itself raised many questions: Why did Briffa include only half the number of cores covering the balmy interval known as the Medieval Warm Period that another scientist, one with whom he was acquainted, had reported for Yamal? And why were there so few cores in Briffa’s 20th century? By 1988, there were only twelve cores used in a year, an amazingly small number from the period that should have provided the easiest data. By 1990, the count was only ten, and it dropped to just five in 1995. Without an explanation of how the strange sampling of the available data had been performed, the suspicion of cherry-picking became overwhelming, particularly since the sharp 20th-century uptick in the series was almost entirely due to a single tree.

The intrigue deepened when one of the Climategate e-mails revealed that, as far back as 2006, Briffa had prepared a much more broadly based, and therefore more reliable, tree-ring record of the Yamal area. But strangely, he had decided to set this aside in favor of the much narrower record he eventually used.

The question of Yamal had rightly come up when Briffa was questioned by Climategate investigators. He told them that he had never considered including a wider sample than the one he went with in the end, and hadn’t had enough time to include a wider one. However, the specific issue of the suppressed record appears to have largely been passed over by the panel, and Briffa’s explanation, like so many others given to the Climategate inquiries, appears to have been accepted without question.

But the ruse has now been shot to pieces, by the recent decision from the U.K.’s information commissioner that Briffa can no longer withhold the list of sites he used in his suppressed regional record for the Yamal area. The disclosure of these sites has allowed McIntyre to calculate what the broad series would have looked like if Briffa had chosen to publish it. He has shown that it has no hint of the hockey-stick shape that Briffa’s cherry-picked data indicated. Briffa’s decision to publish an alarming but unreliable version of the Yamal series — instead of a more reliable and thoroughly unremarkable one — has been the talk of the climate blogosphere, with many prominent commentators openly speaking of dishonesty.

Two and a half years after the initial revelation of the Climategate e-mails, new controversies, on the part of the scientists and the investigators involved, continue to emerge. Many of the players involved are desperate to sweep the scandal under the rug. However, their machinations have only succeeded in bringing renewed attention to their questionable science and ugly behind-the-scenes shenanigans, reigniting hope that more complete and more independent investigations — on both sides of the Atlantic — will yet be performed.

Andrew Montford is the author of The Hockey Stick Illusion and the proprietor of the Bishop Hill blog. Harold Ambler is the author of Don’t Sell Your Coat and the operator of the blog talkingabouttheweather.com.

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May 302012
 
Editor’s Note:  The Paul camp is the only one to blame for rumors of an early exit.  Paul’s email indicating his plans for the remaining 11 states was probably the dumbest, costliest move in this campaign.

The Examiner

The New York Times, Politico, CNN, and most other big media outlets are reporting this morning that Governor Romney has secured the requisite number of delegates needed to gain the Republican nomination for President. There is only one problem with their reports. They are wrong. The GOP nominee will be chosen at the Republican National Convention in Tampa Florida in August.

Mainstream press outlets like to keep their stories simple because apparently their readers do not want to sift through a lot of complexity. Unfortunately, the real delegate selection process in the Republican Party is complicated. Candidates are not chosen at the popular vote beauty contests.

Some delegates are selected at primaries and caucuses and are ‘bound’ to a particular candidate depending on the party rules in particular states. However, the majority of delegates are selected at state conventions, and those delegates are free to vote for the candidate of their choosing at the national convention as long as one candidate does not receive a plurality on the first ballot. Even this last point in subject to debate as some experts believe that even the so-called bound delegates are free to vote for the candidate of their choosing on the first ballot. This interpretation of federal law is not well publicized by the party insiders that control American elections because it disputes the legitimacy of ‘binding’ voters to particular candidates.

It is highly unlikely that Governor Romney will have enough delegate votes to be nominated on the first ballot, so this race for the nomination is not over. Congressman Paul continues to rack up delegates even as GOP insiders attempt to adjust their own rules to keep that from happening.

Furthermore, as I reported yesterday, the Paul forces are still considering legal challenges to what they perceive as electioneering shenanigans committed by Romney forces and the Establishment GOP. Paul’s supporters may go ahead with the legal challenges even if the Paul campaign is not on board. One such effort is below:

A new group known as Tools for Justice has formed to document voting rights violations and election abuses that may have occurred during the 2012 GOP primaries. This is from their website:

Tools For Justice is working in partnership with WatchtheVote2012.com, RonPaulVoteCount.org, and WTPNetwork.com acting as a private, secure, centralized clearinghouse to support all concerned citizens to enforce our voting rights and restore integrity to the election process by gathering evidence through our members in our private forum.

Therefore, rumors of Congressman Paul’s exit from the race were incorrect and rumors of Governor Romney’s Coronation are greatly exaggerated.

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May 292012
 
Daily Bell

A judge threw a 17-year-old 11th grade honor student from Willis High School in jail after she missed school again … Diane Tran, a 17-year-old honor student in Texas, was forced to spend the night in jail last week after missing too many classes, KHOU-11′s Sherry Williams reports. The Willis High School junior, who helps support two siblings, has both a full time and part-time job. She said that she’s often too tired to go to school. “She goes from job to job from school,” Devin Hill, one of Tran’s classmates, told KHOU-11. “She stays up until 7:00 in the morning doing her homework.” In an interview with KHOU-11, Tran said she takes AP Spanish, college level algebra and dual credit English and history courses. Her parents divorced and no longer live near her, so she lives with the family that owns the wedding venue where she works on weekends. – Huffington Post

Dominant Social Theme: That’ll teach ‘er.

Free-Market Analysis: This is a sad story (see above), and one that has given rise to a petition and a good deal of outrage. Why a Judge threw a hard-working young woman into jail is clear enough, but the application of US law in this instance has finally resonated.

The US Justice System, in fact, carries the seeds of its own destruction. The more didactic, dishonest and corrupt it gets, the more it gives rise to this sort of “justice.”

And such outcomes inevitably spark outrage.

Here at DB, we haven’t been shy about calling for the return of private justice. A justice system in which the state makes the laws, enforces them, prosecutes them, hires the prosecutors, licenses the defense attorneys, pays the judges, builds the jails (and contracts them out to private entities), pays the wardens and the guards and eventually the parole officers … is not a unbiased system.

The result (in the US): some six million behind bars at any one time and one-out-of-three individuals having some sort of interaction with the criminal justice system by the time they are 25.

US citizens like to think of themselves as “free” but monopoly justice does not contribute to freedom. And Diane Tran is just one more evidence of that.

As what we call the Internet Reformation begins to affect the fundamental social fabric we anticipate that there will gradually be a return to what we call private justice. It won’t be as a result of policy but simply via an evolution as the current system breaks down.

That can’t happen too fast! Public justice is arbitrary, unreasonable and carries within it the seeds of encroaching totalitarianism. Private justice, with its emphasis on the wronged individual seeking justice as he or she can get it, is an efficient mechanism for pruning the abuses of public justice.

Human beings for the most part utilized private justice for 50,000 or so. In the Neolithic, elaborate methodologies of enforcing private justice sprang up including vendettas, dueling, etc. The threat of family-on-family violence concentrated the mind while the emphasis on monetary compensation avoided the costs of prisons and the destructive break-up of families.

This sort of approach, of course, is absolutely foreign to the modern legal profession which has created an industry out of justice. Redress has turned into commerce.

And now poor Ms. Tran has a record.

Watch the video. The Judge’s enunciated perspective is worth the price of admission.

If you are moved, you can go to a website that has set up a petition drive to reverse Ms. Tran’s unjust jail time. Here’s the address: http://www.change.org/petitions/honor-student-jailed-for-missing-school-ask-the-judge-to-cancel-her-fine-and-sentencing

There are already 35,000 signatures.

Here’s a video that includes an interview with the Judge in which he explains his reasoning …

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May 292012
 
Salon
Glenn Goldman

To avoid counting civilian deaths, Obama re-defined “militant” to mean “all military-age males in a strike zone”

Virtually every time the U.S. fires a missile from a drone and ends the lives of Muslims, American media outlets dutifully trumpet in headlines that the dead were ”militants” – even though those media outlets literally do not have the slightest idea of who was actually killed. They simply cite always-unnamed “officials” claiming that the dead were “militants.” It’s the most obvious and inexcusable form of rank propaganda: media outlets continuously propagating a vital claim without having the slightest idea if it’s true.

This practice continues even though key Obama officials have been caught lying, a term used advisedly, about how many civilians they’re killing. I’ve written and said many times before that in American media discourse, the definition of “militant” is any human being whose life is extinguished when an American missile or bomb detonates (that term was even used when Anwar Awlaki’s 16-year-old American son, Abdulrahman, was killed by a U.S. drone in Yemen two weeks after a drone killed his father, even though nobody claims the teenager was anything but completely innocent: “Another U.S. Drone Strike Kills Militants in Yemen”).

This morning, the New York Times has a very lengthy and detailed article about President Obama’s counter-Terrorism policies based on interviews with “three dozen of his current and former advisers.” I’m writing separately about the numerous revelations contained in that article, but want specifically to highlight this one vital passage about how the Obama administration determines who is a “militant.” The article explains that Obama’s rhetorical emphasis on avoiding civilian deaths “did not significantly change” the drone program, because Obama himself simply expanded the definition of a “militant” to ensure that it includes virtually everyone killed by his drone strikes. Just read this remarkable passage:

Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.

Counterterrorism officials insist this approach is one of simple logic: people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good. “Al Qaeda is an insular, paranoid organization — innocent neighbors don’t hitchhike rides in the back of trucks headed for the border with guns and bombs,” said one official, who requested anonymity to speak about what is still a classified program.

This counting method may partly explain the official claims of extraordinarily low collateral deaths. In a speech last year Mr. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s trusted adviser, said that not a single noncombatant had been killed in a year of strikes. And in a recent interview, a senior administration official said that the number of civilians killed in drone strikes in Pakistan under Mr. Obama was in the “single digits” — and that independent counts of scores or hundreds of civilian deaths unwittingly draw on false propaganda claims by militants.

But in interviews, three former senior intelligence officials expressed disbelief that the number could be so low. The C.I.A. accounting has so troubled some administration officials outside the agency that they have brought their concerns to the White House. One called it “guilt by association” that has led to “deceptive” estimates of civilian casualties.


“It bothers me when they say there were seven guys, so they must all be militants,” the official said. “They count the corpses and they’re not really sure who they are.”

For the moment, leave the ethical issues to the side that arise from viewing “all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants”; that’s nothing less than sociopathic, a term I use advisedly, but I discuss that in the separate, longer piece I’ve written. For now, consider what this means for American media outlets. Any of them which use the term “militants” to describe those killed by U.S. strikes are knowingly disseminating a false and misleading term of propaganda. By “militant,” the Obama administration literally means nothing more than: any military-age male whom we kill, even when we know nothing else about them. They have no idea whether the person killed is really a militant: if they’re male and of a certain age they just call them one in order to whitewash their behavior and propagandize the citizenry (unless conclusive evidence somehow later emerges proving their innocence).

What kind of self-respecting media outlet would be party to this practice? Here’s the New York Times documenting that this is what the term “militant” means when used by government officials. Any media outlet that continues using it while knowing this is explicitly choosing to be an instrument for state propaganda — not that that’s anything new, but this makes this clearer than it’s ever been.



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May 282012
 
12160

James Φοίνιξ



Some ten thousand protesters on foot, bicycle, skateboard or rollerblades, crossed Montreal late Saturday to the deafening din of pots, fog horns and whistles. 

MONTREAL – Perhaps it was the summer-like weather, or the prospect of a new set of negotiations between the government and student groups on the horizon.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Student+protests+weekend+peaceful+defiance/6687923/story.html

Perhaps it had more to do with the festive atmosphere created by the clinking and clanging of thousands of pots and pans that rang out through the city each night, or maybe Montrealers decided they had simply had enough of a handful of violent hooligans besmirching their city’s reputation.

Whatever the reason, the peaceful demonstrations that wound their way through streets across Montreal Island and beyond this weekend were a far cry from the violence and destruction witnessed in recent weeks. Tens of thousands of residents – people of every age, background and political stripe – took to the streets Friday and Saturday to protest both rising tuition fees and the controversial Bill 78 without a single major confrontation with police. Sunday night’s event ended the same way, with police reporting only a single arrest for mischief.


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May 282012
 
The Telegraph

The BBC is facing criticism after it accidentally used a picture taken in Iraq in 2003 to illustrate the senseless massacre of children in Syria.

Photographer Marco di Lauro said he nearly “fell off his chair” when he saw the image being used, and said he was “astonished” at the failure of the corporation to check their sources.

The picture, which was actually taken on March 27, 2003, shows a young Iraqi child jumping over dozens of white body bags containing skeletons found in a desert south of Baghdad.
It was posted on the BBC news website today under the heading “Syria massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows”.
The caption states the photograph was provided by an activist and cannot be independently verified, but says it is “believed to show the bodies of children in Houla awaiting burial”.
A BBC spokesman said the image has now been taken down.

Mr di Lauro, who works for Getty Images picture agency and has been published by newspapers across the US and Europe, said: “I went home at 3am and I opened the BBC page which had a front page story about what happened in Syria and I almost felt off from my chair.

“One of my pictures from Iraq was used by the BBC web site as a front page illustration claiming that those were the bodies of yesterday’s massacre in Syria and that the picture was sent by an activist.

“Instead the picture was taken by me and it’s on my web site, on the feature section regarding a story I did In Iraq during the war called Iraq, the aftermath of Saddam.
“What I am really astonished by is that a news organization like the BBC doesn’t check the sources and it’s willing to publish any picture sent it by anyone: activist, citizen journalist or whatever. That’s all.

He added he was less concerned about an apology or the use of image without consent, adding: “What is amazing it’s that a news organization has a picture proving a massacre that happened yesterday in Syria and instead it’s a picture that was taken in 2003 of a totally different massacre.

“Someone is using someone else’s picture for propaganda on purpose.”

A spokesman for the BBC said: “We were aware of this image being widely circulated on the internet in the early hours of this morning following the most recent atrocities in Syria.
“We used it with a clear disclaimer saying it could not be independently verified.

“Efforts were made overnight to track down the original source of the image and when it was established the picture was inaccurate we removed it immediately.”

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May 272012
 
Business Insider
Eloise Lee

After a posting a story today about Camille Chidiac — the man who just admitted he was behind the mysterious websites attacking two USA Today reporters — one of his spokespeople contacted me to talk about his side of the story.

The spokesperson said that Chidiac is embarrassed. 

But he’s ready to take all the blame.

He was formerly the co-owner of successful Pentagon contractor Leonie Industries, which specializes in “strategic communications” and Information Operations — known to the public as military propaganda programs.

Earlier this year he registered websites and forums that claimed to be “unofficial fan sites” for two reporters, Tom Vanden Brook and his editor Ray locker, who had written critically about U.S. military information campaigns in the Middle East with which Leonie Industries was involved.

But the websites ended up hosting online discussions slamming the two journalists. Chidiac denies that this was his intention.

“Due to the un-moderated nature of the forums, some of these discussions quickly degenerated from legitimate criticism to immature and irrelevant rhetoric by unknown users,” wrote Chidiac.
 
USA Today claimed the online activity was a smear campaign against its journalists.

His spokesperson pointed out that Chidiac did not publish false content; he just re-posted articles written by Vanden Brook to the “fan site” he created.

The thing is, it didn’t seem to be much of a fan site.

One of the prominently featured articles was a story by Vanden Brook that contained inaccuracies — suggesting that the public should be wary of the USA Today reporter’s credibility.

I asked Chidiac’s spokesperson why his client labeled the anonymous websites as “fan sites” — that pretense has people wondering about Chidiac’s motivation.

The spokesperson acknowledged they don’t know Chidiac’s motivation for doing that.
According to Chidiac, the sites were always “intended to create open dialogue in an open forum related to the reporters’ past articles.”

“I take full responsibility for having some of the discussion forums opened and reproducing their previously published USA Today articles on them.  Even though the USA Today articles written about my family included unfair personal attacks and false statements by the reporters, it did not motivate me to post anything personally nor did I encourage anyone to post anything that was untrue or defamatory in any way,” he wrote in a statement.

He currently has a team of professionals representing him, from a defamation lawyer to media management.

The spokesperson asked not to be named, iterating that the story’s not about him.



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