Friday, October 31, 2008

Neo-Nazis Charged over Obama 'Assassination Plot'

Daniel Cowart was one of two men who allegedly planned to shoot Barack Obama

By Hannah Strange
Times (UK)
October 28, 2008

Two white supremacist skinheads have been charged over a bizarre plot to kill 88 African Americans including presidential candidate Barack Obama on a state-to-state killing spree.

Described by the authorities as neo-Nazis, Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman allegedly planned a deadly rampage through southern states, beheading 14 of their victims in a brutal homage to skinhead culture before ultimately gunning down the man who hopes to become America’s first black president.

The pair planned to drive as fast as they could at the Democratic nominee while wearing white tuxedos and top hats, blasting shotguns at him from the windows, court documents showed.

Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tennessee, and Schlesselman 18, of West Helena, Arkansas, were charged with making threats against a presidential candidate, illegal possession of a sawn-off shotgun and conspiracy to rob a gun dealer. Appearing in a Memphis court yesterday, the pair were refused bail and remanded in custody until a further hearing on Thursday.

The plot – the second against the Illinois senator to be uncovered - did not appear to be very advanced or sophisticated, court documents showed.

“We’re unsure of their ability or if they have the wherewithal to carry out any of their threats,” a source close to the investigation said.

The pair allegedly met on the internet one month ago, said an affidavit filed by Brian Weaks, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

After finding common ground in their shared “white power” and “skinhead” philosophy, they “began discussing a “killing spree”” the papers said.

“They further stated that their final act of violence would be to attempt to kill/assassinate presidential candidate Barack Obama,” Mr Weaks said. The young men said they expected to die in the attack, he added.

Cowart and Schlesselman had stolen guns from family members and planned to travel from state to state robbing and killing 88 people, 14 of whom would be decapitated. An unnamed high school with predominantly African-American students was to be the first target, agents said.

The two men had planned their first robbery for last Wednesday but left without breaking in and instead went shopping for ski masks, food and rope to use in later attempts. They were arrested later that day in Crockett County, western Tennessee. On the exterior of Cowart’s car were racially motivated words and symbols, including, on its hood, a swastika and the numbers “14” and “88”

Both numbers are symbolic in skinhead culture. The number 88 stands for “Heil Hitler” as H is the eighth letter of the alphabet, special agent in charge James Cavanaugh said. 14 is a reference to a 14-word phrase attributed to an imprisoned white supremacist: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."

Agents seized a rifle, a sawn-off shotgun and three pistols from the men when they were arrested and said the two men were preparing to break into a gun shop to steal more.

The pair, who detailed the plot in interviews following their arrest, also told investigators that on the day of the aborted robbery they had shot at a glass window at Beech Grove Church of Christ, a congregation of about 60 black members in Brownsville, Tennessee.

Nelson Bond, the church secretary and treasurer, said no one was at the church when the shot was fired. Members found the bullet had shattered the glass in the church’s front door when they arrived for evening Bible study.

“We have been on this site for about 120 years, and we have never had a problem like this before,” said Mr Bond, 53 and a church member for 45 years.

Mr Cavanaugh said authorities took the assassination threats very seriously. “They seemed determined to do it,” he said. “Even if they were just to try it, it would be a trail of tears around the South.”

Mr Obama’s campaign had no immediate comment on the alleged plot. The 47-year-old Democrat would become the first black president in US history if he defeats Republican John McCain in the November 4 election, some four decades since the end of segregation in the south.

Concerns about Mr Obama’s safety led the secret service to provide round-the-clock protection from early in his campaign. During the Democratic convention in Denver, three men were arrested in connection with a possible assassination plot and are currently awaiting trial on drugs and weapons charges, suggesting that the scheme was not particularly developed.

In Bells today, residents were shocked by the arrest of Cowart, who neighbours said seemed like a normal boy.

“If we had any skinheads in this county I wasn’t aware of it. We hardly know what they are,” said Sam Lewis, who lives across the street from Cowart's mother. Cowart, he said, grew up in the comfortable, well-maintained neighborhood and was not known as a troublemaker.

“His mother is a real sweet, nice girl, and this comes asa shock and a surprise,” Mr Lewis said.

No one answered the door at Cowart’s mother’s house, and no lights were on inside. Jasper Taylor, the City Attorney, said that Cowart had most recently been living with his grandparents in a southern, rural part of the county.

But In Helena-West Helena, on the Mississippi River in east Arkansas’ Delta, Schlesselman was described as a “troubled child" by a woman who works with his adoptive father, Mark Schlesselman.

Marty Riddell said she tried to offer Paul Schlesselman a pet lizard she couldn’t care for, but was warned by his family that “he would hurt it.

“They might have done that man a favour picking that kid up,” Ms Riddell said. “He was a troubled child already.”

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Guatemala: Portillo Extradited

" ... Portillo became president for the Guatemalan Republican Front, the movement of former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. ... In the 2007 elections, Ríos Montt, 82, won a seat for a four-year term in Congress, giving himself immunity and derailing a mounting case against him for genocide committed during his government. ... "

Former president faces corruption charges at home.

Former President Alfonso Portillo (2000-2004) was extradited from Mexico to his native Guatemala on Oct. 7 to face embezzlement charges.

Portillo complained upon his arrival that he was denied due process and that his case was turned into “nonsense.” He told a Guatemalan judge that he should not be tried for embezzlement because presidents “never make payments” and that is one of the requirements to be charged with the crime.

The Attorney General´s Office sought Portillo´s extradition in 2005 for allegedly illegally transferring US$16 million to the now defunct Presidential Guard. A year later, a Mexican judge ordered his extradition. The process took two years because of several injunctions sought by Portillo. Mexico´s Supreme Court knocked down Portillo's final attempt and again ordered his extradition to Guatemala.

Embezzlement in Guatemala carries a prison sentence of three to 10 years.

Judge Julio Xitumul freed Portillo on $130,000 bail after he declared the former president not to be a flight risk.

Portillo became president for the Guatemalan Republican Front, the movement of former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt (1982-83), who unsuccessfully ran for president several times.

In the 2007 elections, Ríos Montt, 82, won a seat for a four-year term in Congress, giving himself immunity and derailing a mounting case against him for genocide committed during his government.

Portillo is the second former president in Latin America to be extradited in just over a year to face charges in his home country. On Sept. 22, 2007, former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was extradited from Chile and is currently on trial for murder and corruption charges. — Latinamerica Press.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


from Tal Levesque's Research Services
June 11, 2007

‘Creating a mythos’ to control people. Program of psychological warfare (PSYOP) or ‘Mind War’. ...

A Course in Miracles (also referred to as ACIM or "the Course"), [originally published in 1975] is a book considered by its students to be their "spiritual path".

According to Dr. Helen Schucman and the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP), Dr. Helen Schucman and Dr. William Thetford "scribed" the book by means of a process coming from a divine source through a form of channeling which Schucman referred to as "inner dictation". Schucman described the divine source of her channeling as none other than the person of Jesus Christ.

Well.... Dr. William Thetford, headed the CIA's "Mind Control" MK-ULTRA SubProject 130: Personality Theory, while at Columbia University between 1971-1978.

Dr. Thetford’s Professional Bio, also available on the A Course in Miracles web site, makes reference to his involvement in a Personality Theory Research Project while Professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia University, but the information does not specifically cite this as a CIA MK- ULTRA SubProject.

There is a connection between Unity Church, "A Course In Miracles", MK-ULTRA Artichoke Subproject 130 ; Scientology ; the UFO Myth and the Stanford Research Institute.

"A Course in Miracles" was a CIA manipulation device.

It was an experiment orchestrated by the CIA/US government.

Many were DAMAGED by it.

It was implemented Bill Thetford (an agent of the CIA) at Columbia University.

Search for info on Thetford and MKUltra (the government's well-documented mind-control program) to find more.

The agenda, according to those interested in this sphere of investigation, is to inflitrate and dilute the American left with New Age ideas and inward-focussed, anti-rational religious movements.
The Making of 'A Course in Miracles'

Excerpt from :

William Thetford, also a Columbia professor, was a mysterious character, and "probably the most sinister person I ever met," the priest recalled. Only after he retired from teaching did Thetford's Columbia colleagues (who knew him best as a rare-books expert) discover that all during the years they worked with him, the man had been employed as an agent of the CIA--one who was, among other things, present at the first fission experiment conducted by physicists assigned to the Manhattan Project. Thetford also was "the most religious atheist I have ever known," Groeschel recalled, and conceived a great enthusiasm for A Course in Miracles, personally arranging for its publication. Schucman was embarrassed, Groeschel remembered, and confided to the priest her fear that the book would create a cult, which of course it did.

Groeschel initially read the Course as "religious poetry," but grew steadily more negative in his assessment of it as the years passed and sales of the three volumes passed into the millions of copies. From his point of view, A Course in Miracles served to undermine authentic Christianity more effectively than just about any other work he could recall, and while he was inclined to reject the position of St. John of the Cross that "these things are diabolical unless proven otherwise," doubts had crept in over the years. Most troubling to him by far was the "black hole of rage and depression that Schucman fell into during the last two years of her life," the priest explained. She had become frightening to be with, Groeschel recalled, spewing psychotic hatred not only for A Course in Miracles but "for all things spiritual." When he sat at Schucman's bedside as she lay dying, "she cursed, in the coarsest barroom language you could imagine, `that book, that goddamn book.' She said it was the worst thing that ever happened to her. I mean, she raised the hair on the back of my neck. It was truly terrible to witness."

William Thetford

William N. Thetford, Ph.D. (April 23, 1923–July 4, 1988) was trained as a psychologist, and remained professionally active in this field throughout his life. Thetford worked in a collaborative venture with Dr. Helen Schucman in writing A Course In Miracles (ACIM), and also with its initial edits. [1] He died in 1988, aged 65, in Tiburon, California, after having made his involvement with the ACIM material and its study the most central focus of his life.

Early childhood

Thetford was born on April 23, 1923 in Chicago, Illinois to John R. and Mabel K. Thetford as the youngest of three children. At the time of his birth and early childhood, his parents were both regular members of the Christian Science Church. At the age of seven, the untimely death of his older sister caused his parents to disavow their affiliation with the Church of Christian Science. Afterwards, for the next few years, Thetford sampled various other Protestant denominations.

At the age of nine he contracted a severe case of scarlet fever, which led to rheumatic fever and a debilitating heart condition. These resulting health problems forced him to spend the next three years at home recuperating. During his forced recuperation period he took advantage of the many free hours, using the time to satisfy his voracious appetite for reading. Despite his absence from the classroom, he entered high school at the age of twelve.
[edit]University education

Following graduation from high school, he was awarded a four-year scholarship to DePauw University in Indiana where he graduated with majors in psychology and pre-medicine in 1944. During the course of his university studies, Thetford eventually settled on the idea of specializing in psychology, and in 1949 he received his Ph.D. in this field from the University of Chicago.

While he was a student during the early 1940s he served for a time as an administrative assistant for the Manhattan Project, the World War II atom bomb development project.[citation needed] The Metallurgical Laboratory where the first atomic reactor was assembled was located under Stagg Field at the University of Chicago during those years. In his graduate studies he was fortunate to be one of the first students of the renowned psychologist, Carl Rogers.

Career and hiring of Dr. Helen Schucman

For the next five years after his graduation in 1949, Thetford worked as a research psychologist in both Chicago, and later in Washington, DC. According to Dr Colin Ross, from 1951 to 1953 Thetford worked on Project BLUEBIRD, an early CIA mind control program [2]. He spent 1954 and 1955 as the director of clinical psychology at the Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut. From 1955 to 1957 he was an assistant professor of psychology at Cornell University's CIA-funded[3] Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology[4].

In 1958 he accepted an assistant professorship, which later developed into a full professorship, at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. During a portion of this same period he also served as the director of clinical psychology at the Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital. It was here that he would stay for the next 20 years, and it was here that he first met and hired Dr. Helen Schucman, hiring her as a research psychologist and assistant.

Thetford's "Invitation" for ACIM

The working relationship between Thetford and Schucman was apparently often somewhat strained, yet throughout these difficulties they would always maintain a certain level of professional courtesy and respect for one another. The story is often retold that it was into this environment of inter-relational strain between Thetford and Schucman that the ACIM material was in a sense first “invited” into this world. This “invitation” came in the form of an exclamation by Thetford one day, in the midst of one of their periodic difficulties, in which Thetford exclaimed, “There must be another way!” This exclamation was followed by a certain speech he made to Schucman describing how he believed that it was time for them to try to refocus their energies on constructive and helpful agendas, rather than being forever hyper critical and hyper competitive with one another. Expecting a typically condescending response from Schucman, the studied silence that followed his speech was then followed by a most surprising concurrence from Schucman, fully supporting his new proposal. This speech was given in June of 1965.[5][6]

The next four months were filled with a number of unusually vivid dream sequences and even some unusual waking experiences for Schucman.

Amongst her vivid dream sequences, she began to become familiar with a certain internal character who spoke to her as Jesus in her dreams. Little did she know that the voice of this dream character would soon come to dominate the rest of her life. Many of her unusual experiences during these four months are recorded in the biographical work, ‘Absence from Felicity’, by Kenneth Wapnick.[7] Schucman appears to have confided her experiences with Thetford, who acted as a sort of a calming, encouraging and stabilizing influence for Schucman during this period.

The years of ACIM transcription

Finally in October of that year, the transcriptions of what is now known as ACIM first began. According to both Thetford and Schucman, due to Schucman’s intensely divided feelings about the work of the transcription, Schucman would at times require a great deal of reassurance from Thetford in order to complete the process that eventually resulted in the first typewritten copy of ACIM, (which later became known as the Urtext).

According to Thetford, Schucman was sitting at home on the night of October 21st, 1965, when she heard an internal "voice" say to her, "This is a course in miracles. Please take notes." When she first heard this internal voice, she thought she recognized it as the same voice of the dream-sequence character that in her recent dream sequences had represented the person of Jesus to her. Schucman then wrote down about a page of notes before she realized that this request was going to be of much greater significance, and would require a far greater commitment in time than it had ever asked of her before. In a panic, she phoned Thetford to ask for his advice. Thetford encouraged Schucman to do what the voice asked, and to take the notes. He offered to meet with her the next morning before work, to review her notes, to discuss them further with her, and then to determine what she should do with this "Voice".[8]

On the following morning, after Thetford's review of the notes, he was so impressed with what she read to him that he encouraged Schucman to continue with the note taking. Schucman was initially taken aback by Thetford's reaction, but then apparently after giving herself enough time to recover from her initial jitters to honestly review the notes herself, she agreed. Soon they recognized that the notes, which eventually became ACIM (referred to as The Course by ACIM students), was their answer, the "other way" that they had agreed to find together four months earlier.

Classifying this transcription process as one of Schucman’s unusual waking experiences is an understatement at best. During the process Schucman claimed to have the mental equivalent of a tape recorder in her thoughts, which she described as being able to turn on and off at will, at her convenience, so that she might be able to transcribe into shorthand notes, what she was internally hearing. This voice identified itself as none other than the historical Jesus.

During the beginning of this process, one of Thetford’s gentle complaints was, “In the beginning I spent most of my time while typing these notes with one hand on the typewriter and the other on Helen’s shoulder”. After some months of experiencing an initial struggle in this process, eventually they both began to experience less subconscious resistance to the process, and the initial transcription began to move along more smoothly.

From 1965 through 1972 Thetford directly assisted Schucman with the transcription of the first three sections of the work, which was in fact the great bulk of the material. Then in 1972, somewhat to both of their reliefs (yet on some levels to their dismay) it appeared that the writing was complete, which for the most part it was.

In 1972 Thetford and Schucman were first introduced to Dr. Kenneth Wapnick whom they later invited to assist them with the voluminous amount of editing that was required to render the rough draft of the ACIM manuscript into a publishable format. Wapnick readily accepted this invitation, and was eventually instrumental in assisting them in accomplishing this task. Thetford, Wapnick and Schucman, the three principle transcriber-editors of ACIM were to remain friends for the rest of their lives, throughout the arduous process of seeing this manuscript through to first successful publication, and beyond to witness the initial spreading of its teachings.

After the completion of the bulk of the initial scribing/ transcribing process, for brief periods during 1973, 1975, and 1977 the short transcriptions of Psychotherapy,[9] of Clarification of Terms, and of the Song of Prayer,[9] which are the remainder of the standard material of ACIM, were transcribed in similar fashion.

From 1971 to 1978 Thetford, along with David Saunders, headed the CIA mind control Project MKULTRA Subproject 130: Personality Theory. [10] [11]

Move to California

In 1978 Thetford resigned from his positions at both Columbia University and at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. In 1980 he packed up his household, and at the apparent invitation of Judith Skutch Whitson, moved to Tiburon California, where Whitson was by now employed full time in the publication and distribution of ACIM.

Now at age 57, in Tiburon Thetford transitioned into a sort of semi-retirement, no longer accepting any demanding positions of heavy responsibility in either his professional life, or in his involvement with the ever growing readership of ACIM. In California Thetford took on two part time professional positions; one as a psychology consultant at Travis Air Force Base and the other as one of the directors of the ACIM related Center for Attitudinal Healing in Tiburon, as offered to him by his friend and fellow student of ACIM, Dr. Gerald Jampolsky.

Here in California, Thetford spent the final eight years of his life, regularly attending meetings of fellow ACIM students where ACIM principles would be discussed, but only rarely engaging in these discussions in any kind of an authoritative manner. Instead, during this final period of his life, he appears to have been primarily concerned with his own personal study of the ACIM material, and with enriching his own grasp of its message. Still, some of his interchanges with his associates during this period are somewhat illuminating.

Anecdotal accounts of Thetford's California life

During one such interchange with his friend Judith Skutch Whitson[12], Whitson describes calling Thetford during a moment of extremely high tension in her relationship with Jampolsky. In the phone conversation Whitson went on at length, describing what she perceived to be Jampolski’s many faults. Thetford listened intently until Whitson finally ran out of breath. He then quietly said, "Judy, the Course (ACIM) can be summed up in the question, 'Are you willing to see your brother sinless?' "
"No!" Whitson screamed.

"Well, dear," Thetford replied, "when you are, you will feel much better." And then he hung up!

On July 4th, 1988, at age 65 Thetford died of a massive heart attack. In this instance another illuminating account, related to this, is told by Whitson. According to Whitson, just prior to Thetford’s heart attack, she and Thetford had been having an interesting conversation. Thetford explained to Whitson that he was feeling particularly good on this July 4th, because for some reason he felt especially ‘independent and liberated’ on this day. He then went out for a ‘short’ walk, but never returned.


• The Scribing of A Course in Miracles. Foundation for Inner Peace. Retrieved on 2007-04-29.
• Ross, Colin (2000). Bluebird: Deliberate Creation of Multiple Personalities by Psychiatrists. Manitou Communications.
• Marks, John (1991). The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN-10: 0393307948; ISBN-13: 978-0393307948.Available online [1]
• Price, David H. (June 2007). "Buying a piece of anthropology - Part 1: Human Ecology and unwitting anthropological research for the CIA". . Anthropology Today, Vol 23 No 3, June 2007 Available online [2].
• Wapnick, Kenneth (1991). Absence from Felicity, pp. 93 ff
• Foundation for Inner Peace, The Scribing of A Course in Miracles
• pp. 97-131
• ibid., p. 199
• a b (1996) Supplements to A Course in Miracles: 1. Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice 2. The Song of Prayer. Viking Adult. ISBN 0-670-86994-5.
• RA: MKULTRA de-classified documents
• Dr. Willian N, Thetford Vita
• Jessuph, Joe Miracle_Studies


Wapnick, Kenneth (1999). Absence from Felicity: The Story of Helen Schucman and Her Scribing of A Course in Miracles, 2nd Ed., New York:

Foundation for A Course in Miracles. ISBN 0-933291-08-6.

Miller, D. Patrick (Aug 1997). Complete Story of the Course. Fearless Books. ISBN 0-9656809-0-8.

Skutch, Robert (1996). Journey Without Distance: The Story Behind A Course in Miracles. Mill Valley: Foundation for Inner Peace. ISBN 1-883360-02-1.

Colombian Army is Accused of Killing Poor Civilians and Labeling them Insurgents

" ...human rights groups were examining a steady increase in the reports of civilian killings since 2002, when commanders intensified a counterinsurgency financed in no small part by more than $500 million a year in U.S. aid. But more than 100 claims of civilian deaths at the hands of the security forces have emerged in recent weeks alone ..."

By Simon Romero
October 29, 2008

SOACHA, Colombia: Julian Oviedo, a 19-year-old construction worker in this gritty patchwork of slums, told his mother on March 2 that he was going to talk to a man about a job offer. A day later, Oviedo was shot and killed by army troops about 560 kilometers to the north. He was classified as a subversive and registered as a combat kill.

Colombia's government, the Bush administration's top ally in Latin America, has been buffeted by the disappearance of Oviedo and dozens of other young, impoverished men and women whose cases have come to light. Some were vagrants, some were street vendors or manual laborers. But their fates were often the same: They were catalogued as insurgents or criminal gang members and killed by the armed forces.

Prosecutors and human rights researchers are investigating hundreds of such deaths and disappearances, contending that the Colombian security forces are murdering civilians and making it look as if they were killed in combat, often by planting weapons on or near their bodies or dressing the corpses in guerrilla fatigues.

With soldiers under intense pressure in recent years to register combat kills to earn promotions and benefits like time off and extra pay, reports of civilian killings are climbing, prosecutors and researchers said, pointing to a grisly facet of this country's long internal war against leftist insurgencies.

The deaths have called into question the depth of Colombia's recent strides against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and have begun to haunt the military hierarchy.

On Wednesday, President Álvaro Uribe's government announced that it had fired 25 officers and soldiers - including three generals and four colonels - in connection with the deaths of Oviedo and 10 other young men from Soacha, whose bodies were discovered in unmarked graves in a distant combat zone. The purge came after an initial shakeup last Friday, when the army command relieved three colonels.

At a news conference Wednesday, Uribe said that an internal military investigation appeared to have uncovered "crimes that in some regions had the goal of killing innocents, to make it seem as if criminals were being confronted."

The wave of killings has heightened focus on the U.S. Embassy here, which is responsible for vetting Colombian military units for human rights abuses before they can receive aid. A study of civilian killings by the Fellowship of Reconciliation and Amnesty International, two rights groups, found that 47 percent of the cases reported in 2007 involved Colombian units financed by the United States.

"If the responsibility of the army is to protect us from harm, how could they have killed my son this way?" Blanca Monroy, 49, Oviedo's mother, asked in an interview in her cinderblock home here. "The official explanation is absurd, if he was here just a day earlier living a normal life," she said. "The irony of it all is that my son dreamed of being a soldier" for the government.

Even before the most recent disappearances and killings, prosecutors and human rights groups were examining a steady increase in the reports of civilian killings since 2002, when commanders intensified a counterinsurgency financed in no small part by more than $500 million a year in U.S. aid.

But more than 100 claims of civilian deaths at the hands of the security forces have emerged in recent weeks alone, from nine different parts of Colombia. Cases have included the killing of a homeless man, a young man who suffered epileptic seizures and a veteran who had left the army after his left arm was amputated.

In some cases, victims' families spoke of middlemen who recruited poor men and women with vague promises of jobs elsewhere, only to deliver them hours or days later to war zones where they were killed by soldiers.

"We are witnessing a method of social cleansing in which rogue military units operate beyond the law," said Monica Sánchez, a lawyer at the Judicial Freedom Corporation, a human rights group in Medellín. The group says it has documented more than 60 cases of "false positives" - a subset of the civilian killings in which individuals were killed and then presented as guerrillas in the province of Antioquia.

Researchers also have obtained thorough descriptions of some killings in the small number of cases - less than 50 - that have resulted in convictions this decade.

One April morning in 2004, for instance, soldiers approached the home of Juan de Jesús Rendón, a 33-year-old peasant farmer in Antioquia, and shot him in front of his son, Juan Estéban, who was 10 at the time. The soldiers placed a two-way radio and a gun near Rendón's body, court records show, and told his son that his siblings would suffer the same fate unless he said his father had fired at the soldiers.

"I still fear this can happen again," Vilma Garcia, 35, Rendón's wife, said in an interview in Medellín, where she and her children fled after her husband was killed. The five soldiers involved were recently convicted on charges of homicide and torture, in connection with the threats to her son. "The soldiers think we are poor and worthless," she said, "so nobody will care how we are killed."

The civilian killings have opened the United States to increased criticism because it is required to make sure Colombian military units have not engaged in human rights violations before supplying them with aid.

"If we are receiving aid and vetting from a government in Washington that validates torture, then what kind of results can one expect?" asked Liliana Uribe, a human rights lawyer in Medellín who represents victims' families.

A senior official at the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá said the reports of civilian killings, both in past years and in recent months, were a matter of concern. "If the facts in some cases do show that parts of the armed forces were taking part in murder, then there should be mechanisms to prevent this from happening and mechanisms to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice," said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

The official said the units involved in the most recent killings - the 11 men from Soacha - had not received aid because they had been deemed not credible to receive it.

But the official did not confirm or deny the contention that almost half of the reports of civilian killings in 2007 involved units that had received U.S. aid, explaining that a case-by-case review of the episodes had not been carried out by two American contractors hired by the State Department to help vet Colombian military units for human rights abuses.

Reports of civilian killings rose to 287 for the 12-month period from mid-2006 to mid-2007. That is an increase over the 267 reported in same period from 2005 to 2006 and the 218 reported from 2004 to 2005, according to the Colombian Commission of Jurists, a human rights group in Bogotá.

Altogether, the attorney general's office in Bogotá said it was investigating the killings of 1,015 civilians by security forces in 558 episodes unrelated to combat. Prosecutors said the number of new cases under investigation climbed to 245 in 2007 from 122 a year earlier.

The increase in reports of civilian killings spurred the Defense Ministry to issue a directive last year explicitly prioritizing the capture of rebels above combat kills.

In an interview, General Freddy Padilla, the commander of Colombia's armed forces, said the policy shift, while largely intended to prevent human rights abuses, also had strategic objectives.

"A terrorist captured alive is a treasure, while a dead terrorist is just one-day news," Padilla said, citing the example of Nelly Ávila, a FARC commander who surrendered this year and began collaborating with her captors. "A terrorist converted into an informant is useful as long as he or she lives."

Until the latest wave of killings, it appeared that the new policy was starting to work. The Center for Research and Popular Education, a Jesuit-led group in Bogotá that maintains a database on human rights violations, documented 87 reports of false positives in the second half of 2007, a 34 percent drop from the first six months of that year.

But the cases in Soacha and elsewhere suggest that the problem may be more systemic than once thought.

Some human rights researchers contend that the killings are tolerated by some senior officers in the army who chafe at greater scrutiny at a time when security forces have made significant gains against guerrillas, including the killing or capture of several top FARC commanders this year.

Jenny Carolina González contributed reporting from Bogotá.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Attempted Glorification of Nazis is a Crime says Russia
October 26, 2008

Russia has condemned the attempts to glorify Nazis and their sidekicks and urged the United Nations to cut short the efforts to re-write the history of the Second World War. This came in a statement during a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly Committee on Special Political Issues by Russia’s representative Ruslan Bakhtin.

Voice of Russia reports that Moscow has repeatedly voiced criticism at the policy pursued by the authorities of Estonia, Latvia and Ukraine where those who collaborated with the Nazis are seen as national heroes today. This is all the more inadmissible in the light of two memorable dates that the world community will officially mark next year, namely 70 years since the Second World War broke out and 65 years since the opening of the Second Front by the Allies.

In this context pro-Nazi sentiment can be seen as a challenge to and desecration of the memory of those who gave their lives to liberate the world of the Nazi plague. President Victor Yushchenko has conferred posthumously the title of Hero of Ukraine on Roman Shukhevich, one of the chieftains of Ukraine’s Rebels’ Army, which fought along with the Third Reich, and has signed a decree on celebrating the day of the Rebels’ Army formation. Latvia annually holds processions by the former members of the Latvian Waffen SS Legion, involved in mass-scale execution of Jews. Today Kiev and Riga chose to us up the fact in what proves a crime against history, says political analyst Yevgeny Satanovsky and elaborates.

It is no secret, Yevgeny Satanovsky says, that the extermination of both the Jews and hundreds of thousands of Gypsies and Poles in Ukraine and Lithuania with diabolical cruelty has been all-forgotten. Today’s Poland, part of the new Europe which deliberately shocks the world community lays any kind of claims to Russia, while carefully avoiding any official mention of the Nazi victims, — the Poles killed in Ukraine. The hands of such people as Bandera or Roman Shukhevich are deep in the blood of tens of thousands of people.

Meanwhile the officials in Ukraine and the Baltic countries do not see the honouring of the former SS legionnaires as the revision of history. Kiev and Riga point out that they only pay what tribute they owe to the people who fought for their countries’ independence. They don’t bother to think that if Nazi Germany had won the war, Ukraine or Latvia could have simply forgotten about their much-sought independence. In accordance with Germany’s Plan OST, the territories of the two countries were to have been Germanized, while Ukrainians and Latvians were to have been moved to concentration camps.

Source: Voice of Russia

McCain Must do More to Distance Himself from Extremists

October 14th 2008

During the raucous 1964 Republican National Convention in San Francisco, Barry Goldwater's conservative defenders rained boos on moderate New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and cheered wildly when Goldwater declared that, "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." Back then, the far-right John Birch Society plagued the conservative movement, and reporters and ordinary Americans alike questioned whether conservative leaders were pragmatic, racially tolerant and forward-looking.

Leaders from William F. Buckley to Ronald Reagan struggled to bring the movement into the American mainstream. The task wasn't easy.

First in the pages of National Review, and later on the stump while campaigning for governor of California, Buckley and Reagan led others in denouncing and distancing themselves from Birch Society President Robert Welch, who argued that Dwight Eisenhower was "a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy" and believed that Communists were on the verge of toppling the United States government. They also drummed out of their ranks the likes of racist leader Gerald L. K. Smith and race-baiters in the Ku Klux Klan.

Conspiracy theorists and hate-mongers found themselves with few if any allies in the mainstream of conservatism - an essential first step to leading the right-wing out of the political wilderness and into the most dominant political force of the past four decades.

As we speak, this is all at risk. Nearly a half-century after Goldwater's 1964 implosion, the McCain campaign has launched an increasingly shrill attack on Barack Obama. Sarah Palin has been especially adept at whipping crowds into fits of anger at Obama.

As numerous media reports have revealed, the mood at the rallies has descended into a kind of chaos and ugliness otherwise uncommon at events for major political figures. While some of these stories might have taken on a life of their own, it seems fair to say that the conservative movement has increasingly flirted with political extremism in the past two weeks.

According to the reports, McCain-Palin supporters hurled racist epithets at an African-American soundman, jeered and sneered at reporters, and screamed "treason" and "kill him" (perhaps about Obama, perhaps about Ayers) in response to Palin's assertions that Obama has been "palling around with terrorists" like former Weather Underground radical Bill Ayers.

Just last week, two different speakers (one was in his police uniform) warmed up crowds for Palin by asking, how would you feel if "Barack Hussein Obama" was actually elected president? A video taken by an Obama supporter outside another rally in Ohio shows somebody flashing an "Obama-Osama" sign and several rally-goers denouncing Obama as a "terrorist."

If we could have expected any Republican to look unkindly on these kinds of smears, it's John McCain.

Earlier this year, McCain actually denounced the use of Obama's middle name. And lest we forget, in 2000 he gave a major speech denouncing then-rival George W. Bush's alliances with people he deemed "agents of intolerance."

Yes, it's true - McCain made a first stab at tamping down the 2008 rage at a Minnesota rally on Friday. But it's a far cry from a concerted effort.

The anger and misinformation are still swirling, and the destructive rumors, innuendo and smears continue to flourish on the Internet and in some corners of the conservative media. Time magazine reports that the Virginia GOP chair Jeffrey Frederick told Virginia McCain volunteers that Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden "both have friends that bombed the Pentagon."

Why won't McCain and Palin go further to distance themselves from such smears?

To be sure, conservatism has long struggled with the issue of how to handle extremists in its ranks, and the McCain-Palin ticket isn't the only one to slime opponents as somehow alien, foreign-sounding and unpatriotic.

Reagan defended the concept of "states' rights" at a 1980 rally in Mississippi in a town where three civil rights workers had been murdered. President George H. W. Bush's campaign attacked Michael Dukakis by, among other things, touring an American flag factory. Bill Clinton got tagged as a '60s radical and worse. Some of President George W. Bush's supporters complained that Sen. John Kerry lied about his war record and sounded French.

But the anti-Obama rhetoric has a different cast. Infused with the incendiary issues of race, religion, terrorism and conspiratorial thinking, it is reminiscent of the kind of far-right hyperventilating that movement leaders such as Buckley once sought to quell in order to make conservatives more viable politically.

If conservatism's elder statesmen - or perhaps its rising stars - don't see the danger and turn the ship back toward the mainstream, the damage to the movement could be profound.

To their credit, several smart conservative commentators are beginning to recognize that they have a problem within their own ranks. Former Bush speechwriter David Frum argued in The National Review online: "Those who press this Ayers line of attack are whipping Republicans and conservatives into a fury that is going to be very hard to calm after November. Is it really wise to send conservatives into opposition in a mood of disdain and fury for a man who may well be the next president of the United States, incidentally the first African-American President?"

The struggle for the future of conservatism and the Republican Party has begun. It pits the ghosts of Reagan and Buckley against the more extremist language and political attacks of conservatism's newest standard-bearer, Sarah Palin.

If Palin triumphs, the conservative movement could again find itself heading back into the wilderness of American politics.

Dallek, a former speechwriter for Richard Gephardt, teaches at the University of California Washington Program and writes a monthly column on history and politics for Politico.

Pinochet's Free-Market Fascism Mixed Economic Reform with Brutal Repression

BOOK OF THE DAY: Maurice Earls reviews The Dictator's Shadow: A Political Memoir, By Heraldo Muñoz, Basic Books, pp345, €22.05
October 24, 2008

AUGUSTO PINOCHET broke many eggs when making his often-admired Chilean omelette. Thousands were tortured to death. People were thrown from planes and women horribly violated. For the most part those who look kindly on the regime do not overtly approve its excesses, except in relation to economic matters where Pinochet is said to have "done things right". The underlying idea is that economic success in Chile was born of necessary pain.

Heraldo Muñoz, now Chilean ambassador to the UN, was a supporter of Salvadore Allende, and participated in the anti-Pinochet movement from the time of the coup. Questions surrounding economic development are a significant theme in his account of the dictatorship and its aftermath. He distances himself from the no-pain, no-gain viewpoint, arguing that Chile's prosperity did not require Pinochet's excesses.

Muñoz has moved a considerable distance from Allende's economics of state ownership. He notes, approvingly, that a pro-enterprise culture developed during the Pinochet years. He is proud of Chile's open economy successes and of its privatisation programme in areas such as social welfare.

Given the current world market crisis, and the emerging recognition of the state's protective role, Chilean pensioners may soon regret that they surrendered their prospects of comfort to market forces. Heraldo Muñoz, like many another, may moderate his views in the light of current ominous events in the unregulated market.

The US, of course, waged a silent war against the Allende government and more or less ordered the coup. Nixon and Kissinger didn't want anywhere turning red on their watch: "I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people," argued Kissinger. Nixon put up $10 million to get the work done, demanding the "best men we have" to do the job.

Fear of communism, however, was not the main reason for the persistent strain of admiration the junta evoked.

Margaret Thatcher, whose government lifted its arms embargo on Pinochet's regime and who served tea to the dictator in London, was delighted by Pinochet, not because of his anti-communism, but because he turned the Chilean economy over to the "Chicago Boys", Chilean disciples of Milton Friedman.

These economists turned up a few days after the coup with a fully worked out plan for the Chilean economy to be run without regulation on pure market principles.

Pinochet decided to go with it; he was not going to be an old-fashioned statist fascist but the world's first free-market fascist. Naturally he had his fans.

Friedman, while not endorsing human rights violations, praised Pinochet as one who "has supported a fully free-market economy as a matter of principle". The Wall Street Journal heaped praise on Pinochet and Jonah Goldberg declared in the Los Angeles Times: "Iraq needs a Pinochet".

The problem is that a close look at the figures suggests that Pinochet's economic miracle may not have been much of a miracle at all. Muñoz, who sees real growth coming only in the democratic era, would agree. The praise Pinochet received then may derive from nothing more than being ideologically correct in the eyes of recent economic orthodoxy. Muñoz is surely right that radical economic change can occur without the type of inhumanity Pinochet orchestrated. It happened here in the late 1950s. Bitterness is one sure legacy of inhumanity, and at the time of his death in 2006 Pinochet was facing 300 charges. It will take many more years for the scars of the dictatorship to heal. Perhaps the lesson is that the more eggs you break the less likely you are to get a successful omelette.

Maurice Earls is joint editor of the Dublin Review of Books

© 2008 The Irish Times

Alleged Plot to Kill Obama Stuns Suspects' Towns

This undated photo obtained from a MySpace webpage shows Daniel Cowart, 20 of Bells, Tenn. holding a weapon. Federal agents have broken up a plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. and shoot or decapitate 102 black people in a Tennessee murder spree, the ATF said Monday Oct. 27, 2008. In court records unsealed Monday, federal agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target a predominantly African-American high school by two neo-Nazi skinheads. The men, Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman 18, of West Helena, Ark., are being held without bond. (AP Photo)


BELLS, Tenn. (AP) — In a rural Tennessee county where you can't buy alcohol or even find a Wal-Mart, residents of tiny Bells stopped each other to ask if anyone knew the pale-skinned young local accused of plotting to kill dozens of black people, including Barack Obama.

It was a jolt to find out on Monday that a 20-year-old who grew up among them was one of two white supremacists accused of plotting a national killing spree that would ultimately target Obama, the Democratic candidate for president.

The town surrounded by fertile cotton fields is safe and certainly not known for breeding neo-Nazis, they agreed.

"If we had any skinheads in this county I wasn't aware of it. We hardly know what they are," said Sam Lewis, who lives across the street from the mother of suspect Daniel Cowart. Cowart, he said, grew up in the comfortable, well-maintained neighborhood and wasn't known as a troublemaker.

"His mother is a real sweet, nice girl, and this comes as a shock and a surprise," Lewis said.

Cowart is charged along with Paul Schlesselman, 18, of Helena-West Helena, Ark., with planning a killing spree to shoot and decapitate black people and top it all off by attacking Obama. The charges were made public Monday, and the Obama campaign has not commented about the allegations.

Despite making sure the plot was stopped, authorities did not believe Cowart and Schlesselman had the means to carry out their threat to assassinate Obama, said a federal law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case publicly.

Cowart and Schlesselman are charged by federal authorities with possessing an unregistered firearm, conspiring to steal firearms from a federally licensed gun dealer and threatening a candidate for president. They were being held without bond.

Authorities describe the two as neo-Nazi skinheads, and an affidavit from a federal agent says they devised a plot to kill 88 people — beheading 14 of them.

The numbers 14 and 88 are symbols in skinhead culture, authorities said, referring to a 14-word phrase attributed to an imprisoned white supremacist: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children" and to the eighth letter of the alphabet, H. Two "8"s or "H"s stand for "Heil Hitler."

The two were taken into custody the night of Oct. 22, said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives Agent Brian Weeks. Authorities pulled them over because they had shot out the window of a church and used sidewalk chalk to draw racially motivated words, the numbers 14 and 88 and a swastika on Cowart's car, he said.

The killing spree was initially to target a predominantly black school, which was not identified in court documents. It was to end, authorities said, with the two suspects — dressed in white tuxedos and top hats — blasting guns from the windows of a speeding vehicle aimed at Obama.

The reported threat of attacking a school filled with black students worried Police Chief Fred Fielder. Helena-West Helena, with a population of 12,200, is 66 percent black. "Predominantly black school, take your pick," he said.

The young men said they expected to die in the attack, the affidavit said.

In Helena-West Helena, on the Mississippi River in east Arkansas' Delta, Schlesselman was described as a "troubled child" by a woman who works with his adoptive father, Mark Schlesselman.

The father works as a parts manager at Riddell Flying Service, said Marty Riddell, a co-owner of the company located in one of the nation's poorest regions, trailing even parts of Appalachia in its standard of living.

Riddell said she tried to offer Paul Schlesselman a pet lizard she couldn't care for, but was warned by his family that "he would hurt it."

"They might have done that man a favor picking that kid up," Riddell said. "He was a troubled child already."

Schlesselman's father did not return a phone call to the flying service.

A former high school classmate of Cowart's in Bells said he was quiet but friendly. But it took Lacy Doss a minute to recognize the young man in the news photo brandishing a large rifle.

"I was shocked to think I was sitting in class with this guy and now he's being charged with some crazy stuff," said Doss, 18. "He was a nice person, to me anyway. He was quiet. He really didn't talk much."

Joe Byrd, a lawyer representing Cowart, said he was reviewing the charges against his client "as well as the facts and circumstances of his arrest" and was not yet prepared to comment.

No one answered the door at Cowart's mother's house, and no lights were on inside.

Matt Hawkins, 21, the clerk at a filling station-convenience store in the center of the town of 2,300 residents about 70 miles northeast of Memphis, said customers asked each other about Cowart, looking for people who might know him.

"One friend of mine said he knew who he is, but that's about it," Hawkins said. "We're a small town. Nothing much goes on around here, no shootings or nothing."

City Attorney Jasper Taylor said Cowart most recently lived with his grandparents in a southern, rural part of the county. He moved away, possibly to Arkansas or Texas, then returned over the summer, Taylor said.

Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville, Tenn., field office for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, said authorities took the threats seriously.

"Even if they were just to try it, it would be a trail of tears around the South," Cavanaugh said.

Associated Press writers Erik Schelzig in Nashville, Tenn., Jon Gambrell in Little Rock, Ark., and Eileen Sullivan and Lara Jakes Jordan in Washington contributed to this report.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Skinhead Plot to Kill Obama Uncovered, Feds Say


WASHINGTON (Oct. 27) - Two white supremacists allegedly plotted to go on a national killing spree, shooting and decapitating black people and ultimately targeting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, federal authorities said Monday.

In all, the two men whom officials described as neo-Nazi skinheads planned to kill 88 people — 14 by beheading, according to documents unsealed in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Tenn. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.

Federal officials said Monday they had disrupted a plot by two neo-Nazi skinheads to assassinate Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. The two suspects also planned to shoot or decapitate 88 black people in a murder spree that was to start in Tennessee, authorities said.

The spree, which initially targeted an unidentified predominantly African-American school, was to end with the two men driving toward Obama, "shooting at him from the windows," the documents show.

"Both individuals stated they would dress in all-white tuxedos and wear top hats during the assassination attempt," the court complaint states. "Both individuals further stated they knew they would and were willing to die during this attempt."

An Obama spokeswoman traveling with the senator in Pennsylvania had no immediate comment.

Sheriffs' deputies in Crockett County, Tenn., arrested the two suspects — Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman 18, of Helena-West Helena, Ark. — Oct. 22 on unspecified charges. "Once we arrested the defendants and suspected they had violated federal law, we immediately contacted federal authorities," said Crockett County Sheriff Troy Klyce.

The two were charged by federal authorities Monday with possessing an unregistered firearm, conspiring to steal firearms from a federally licensed gun dealer, and threatening a candidate for president.

Cowart and Schlesselman were being held without bond. Agents seized a rifle, a sawed-off shotgun and three pistols from the men when they were arrested. Authorities alleged the two men were preparing to break into a gun shop to steal more.

McCain and Pinochet: Palling Around with Dictators


John McCain, who has harshly criticized the idea of sitting down with dictators without pre-conditions, appears to have done just that. In 1985, McCain traveled to Chile for a friendly meeting with Chile's military ruler, General Augusto Pinochet, one of the world's most notorious violators of human rights credited with killing more than 3,000 civilians and jailing tens of thousands of others.

The private meeting between McCain and dictator Pinochet has gone previously un-reported anywhere.

According to a declassified U.S. Embassy cable, McCain described the meeting with Pinochet "as friendly and at times warm, but noted that Pinochet does seem obsessed with the threat of communism." McCain, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee at the time, made no public or private statements critical of the dictatorship, nor did he meet with members of the democratic opposition in Chile, as far as could be determined from a thorough check of U.S. and Chilean newspaper records and interviews with top opposition leaders.

At the time of the meeting, in the late afternoon of December 30, the U.S. Justice Department was seeking the extradition of two close Pinochet associates for an act of terrorism in Washington DC, the 1976 assassination of former ambassador to the U.S. and former Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier. The car bombing on Sheridan Circle in the U.S. capital was widely described at the time as the most egregious act of international terrorism perpetrated on U.S. soil by a foreign power.

At the time of McCain's meeting with Pinochet, Chile's democratic opposition was desperately seeking support from democratic leaders around the world in an attempt to pressure Pinochet to allow a return to democracy and force a peaceful end to the dictatorship, already in its 12th year. Other U.S. congressional leaders who visited Chile made public statements against the dictatorship and in support of a return to democracy, at times becoming the target of violent pro-Pinochet demonstrations.

Senator Edward Kennedy arrived only 12 days after McCain in a highly public show of support for democracy. Demonstrators pelted his entourage with eggs and blocked the road from the airport, so that the Senator had to be transported by helicopter to the city, where he met with Catholic church and human rights leaders and large groups of opposition activists.

Mark Schneider, a foreign policy aide and former State Department human rights official who organized Kennedy's trip, said he had no idea McCain had been there only days before. "It would be very surprising and disappointing if Senator McCain went to Chile to meet with a dictator and did not forcefully demand a return to democracy and then to publicly call for a return to democracy," Schneider said.

McCain's visit with Pinochet took place at a moment when the Chilean strongman held virtually unrestricted dictatorial power and those involved in public, democratic opposition were exposed to great risk.

McCain's presence in Chile was apparently kept as quiet as possible. He and his wife Cindy arrived December 27 and traveled immediately to the scenic Puyehue area of southern Chile to spend several days as the guest of a prominent Pinochet backer, Marco Cariola, who later was elected senator for the conservative UDI party.

The trip was arranged by Chile's ambassador to the United States, Hernan Felipe Errazuriz. According to a contemporary government document obtained from Chile, Errazuriz arranged for a special government liaison to help McCain while in Chile for the "strictly private" visit, and described him as "one of the conservative congressmen who is closest to our embassy."

Errazuriz also arranged the invitation for the McCains to stay at the farm of his wealthy friend, Marco Cariola, according to Cariola, who did not know McCain previously. The McCains spent the three and a half days fishing for salmon and trout and riding horses. The area is one of Chile's most beautiful tourist attractions, with dozens of crystal clear lakes and rivers surrounded by luxurious estates such as the Cariola farm where the McCains were staying.

On December 30, McCain traveled back to Santiago for a 5 pm meeting with dictator Pinochet, followed by a meeting with Admiral Jose Toribio Merino, a member of the country's ruling military junta.

McCain's meeting with Pinochet in 1985 are described in a U.S. embassy cable, based on McCain's debriefing with embassy officials:

"Most of his 30-minute meeting with the president, at which foreign minister [Jaime] Del Valle and a ministry staff member were present, was spent in discussing the dangers of communism, a subject about which the president seems obsessed. The President described Chile's recent history in the fight against communism and displayed considerable pride in the fact that the communist menace had been defeated in Chile. The President stressed that Chile had stood alone in this battle, and complained that United States Foreign Policy had left them stranded. The congressman added that talking to Pinochet was somewhat similar to talking with the head of the John Birch Society."

Other than to describe the warmth of the encounter, the cable does not contain any account of what McCain said to Pinochet. There is no indication that the subject of human rights or return to democracy was raised with Pinochet. At this time in history, Pinochet was overtly ostracized by most world democratic leaders because of his refusal to move toward a restoration of democratic, civilian rule.

A second declassified U.S. diplomatic cable refers to a letter from then-U.S. Ambassador Harry Barnes giving further detail of McCain's meeting with Pinochet.

From his meeting with junta member Merino, however, McCain passed on an tidbit of political intelligence that the embassy found useful. "The most interesting part of the conversation, according to the congressman, was Merino's statement that he and other members of the Junta had recently told Pinochet that he should not expect any support from the junta if he should decide to be a candidate for president in 1989."

In fact, three years later Pinochet was defeated in a plebiscite in which he was the only candidate, and free elections a year later restored democratic government. A healthy list of U.S. congressmen traveled to Chile in support of the transition to democracy, including Republican Senator Richard Lugar. McCain, by then a first term senator, did not return to Chile.

In addition to the Chilean document and the U.S. cable cited above, at least four other declassified documents refer to McCain's meeting with Pinochet and his interest in Chile.

McCain campaign press office said no one was available to comment on the story.

Former ambassador Errazuriz, reached by phone, said repeatedly "it is not true" that McCain met with Pinochet, that he would have known about it if it had, and that the state Department cable was possibly a fabrication.

On September 11, 1973, Army General Pinochet led a bloody coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of President Salvador Allende. The four-man military junta that seized power bombed the presidential palace, padlocked the congress, outlawed all political activity and actively persecuted its opponents. Pinochet remained in power until 1990 and in 2006 he was charged with 36 counts of kidnapping, 23 counts of torture and one count of murder. He was spared a trial for health reasons and died at age 91 in December 2006.

John Dinges is the author of Assassination on Embassy Row (with Saul Landau) and The Condor Years: How Pinochet and His Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents.

Rove Appointee Called Off FBI Investigation into Obama Murder Plot

March 26, 2007: U.S. Attorney Troy Eid (left), who is accused of having called the FBI off of an alleged Obama assassination plot, seated next to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales during a discussion of Project Safe Childhood, sponsored by the Dept. of Justice in Denver.

posted by JJThinking 09/07/2008 01:04:56 AM EST
"KUSA - 9Wants to Know has learned three men in Denver planned to assassinate U.S. Senator Barack Obama during the Democratic National Convention in Denver by sneaking into one of his events and shooting him with a gun hidden inside of a camera, according to federal court records. Nathan Johnson's girlfriend, whom 9NEWS is not naming because she's a juvenile, said it would have to be a suicide mission."
... The FBI released a statement the next day claiming that there was no evidence of an imminent threat against Obama.

But according to [one] news story ... the FBI did want to pursue charges, but the investigation was called off by Attorney General Troy Eid, an appointee of Karl Rove.

There are several recent blogs on this info, but only one story on Google's news page:
KUSA - 9Wants to Know has learned three men in Denver discussed assassinating U.S. Sen. Barack Obama during the Democratic National Convention in Denver by sneaking into one of his events and shooting him with a gun hidden inside of a camera.

Nathan Johnson's girlfriend, whom 9NEWS is not naming because she's a juvenile, said "it would have to be a suicide mission," according to federal court records. The plot is similar to that in the 1992 movie "The Bodyguard" starring actors Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. In the movie, Costner stops an assassination attempt against Houston by spotting a weapon hidden inside a gutted-out TV camera.

Johnson, Shawn Adolf and Tharin Gartrell all thought that Obama had a suite in the third floor of the Hyatt hotel, where they were staying. In fact, Obama was staying in another Denver hotel.

The men were doing methamphetamine inside the hotel with two women on Aug. 23 discussing the plot to kill Obama, according to federal records.

Adolf said, "It would not matter if he killed Senator Obama because police would simply add a murder charge to his pending charges," according to the records.

There were seven outstanding warrants for Adolf's arrest.

The underage woman told law enforcement that Adolf also talked about using "a high-powered rifle 22-250 from a high vantage point" to shoot Obama during his acceptance speech at INVESCO Field at Mile High.

One of the other women in the room, Kay Neb, told police she believes Adolf is affiliated with the Sons of Silence white supremacist group. Neb also told police that Adolf, Johnson and Gartrell are all racists because they made racially disparaging comments about Obama.

The Sons of Silence is a motorcycle group with chapters across the country.

"We don't know these people, we are not associated with them in any way and we don't want people like this in our group," said a spokesman for Sons of Silence.

The group also says it has no ties to white supremacists.

When police searched the hotel rooms and cars the men were using, they confiscated meth, needles, laptops, cell phones, a black mask, books indicating check fraud and forgery, bags of new clothes, tactical pants and bar coupons.

Based on the evidence, FBI special agent Robert Sawyer first believed there was probable cause to believe the men were conspiring to kill Obama.

However, U.S. Attorney Troy Eid last week said that further investigation revealed insufficient evidence to indicate a "true threat," plot or conspiracy against the senator.

The men were charged with various weapons and/or drug charges.

Aurora Police found two rifles, ammunition, bulletproof vests, walkie-talkies, wigs and fake identifications in the pickup truck that Gartrell was driving when they pulled him over Aug. 24. One of the weapons was stolen from Kansas.

Police also found a Wizzinator inside the pickup truck, which is a device made of a prosthetic penis and synthetic urine to cheat on drug tests.

(Copyright KUSA*TV, All Right Reserved)
Eid is denying any lax work on his part, but I think the whole situation still sounds suspicious. Why would you NOT press charges against people who make a threat on a public official? Who is he to determine (above the inquiries of the FBI) that such a threat would definitely not be pulled off?

Here's one of several blogs about the story:

Saturday, October 25, 2008


A Weekly Human Rights Newsletter on Antisemitism, Xenophobia, and Religious Persecution in the Former Communist World and Western Europe

NEO-NAZIS killed a 16-year-old girl in Irkutsk, Russia because they thought she was a member of an anti-fascist group, according to an October 17 report by the web site. Three neo-Nazis beat Olga Rukosyla to death after noticing that she had red laces in her shoes--a sign of membership in an anti-fascist group. Sources assert that she wore the laces as a fashion statement rather than as a sign of a political affiliation.

Report from Tennessee's Annual White Christian Heritage Festival
October 20, 2008

Four kids from our White Pride Home School co-op in Harrison, Arkansas

The 22nd annual White Christian Heritage Festival was another great success with friend coming from many different states. We had many visitors at the festival. Local towns people along with tourists stooped by our many booths, bought a hot dog or a piece of pie from the refreshment stand or just sat a listened to Heritage Connection sing songs from their CD's.

Folks getting ready for the Walk for White Pride

Aryan Warrior continues to be the most requested.

We had a great Walk for White Pride after which I spoke to the assembled crowd. In the evening a few of our friend met for a small gathering at a local conference room and further enjoyed fellowship. Rachel Pendergraft gave an inspiring message based on the concept of Mud and Guts which examined the dedication of the American Revolutionary War soldier and how God brought the victory when all else seemed hopeless. Heritage Connection a few more songs and then I spoke on a subject titled Due Season and how all things are planned and fulfilled in due season included the eventual victory of our people. ...


Fort Worth: Alleged Aryan Brotherhood Member Arrested in Killing


Guy Evan Graves, 35, left, and Johnny Preston Reed, 37, are wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of a 24-year-old Weatherford man.

FORT WORTH -- Police have located a truck sought in connection with the fatal shooting of a 24-year-old Weatherford man this week by a man believed to be a member of the Aryan Brotherhood.

The truck, a 1995 Chevrolet extended cab, was found abandoned on West Lake Drive in Weatherford, according to a statement from the Weatherford Police Department.

A 37-year-old man alleged to be a member of the Aryan Brotherhood and wanted in connection with the fatal shooting was arrested early this morning in Kaufman County, officials said.

Johnny Preston Reed was arrested about 1 a.m. by the Kaufman County Sheriff’s office, Weatherford police said in news release issued this morning.

Authorities are still searching for 35-year-old Guy Evan Graves, also a suspected member of the Aryan Brotherhood. Police had said they believed Graves might have been driving the pickup found today in Weatherford.

The men are accused of murder in connection with the death of Jeremy Ryan Sisk, 24. Officers responding to a shooting in the 200 block of West Bridge Street about 11:34 a.m. Tuesday found Sisk dead with a single gunshot wound to the face.

Anyone with information about Graves' whereabouts is asked to call Weatherford police at 817-598-4300.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Opiate for the Mrs.: Cindy McCain's Prescription Drug Addiction

"You're U.S. Senator John McCain, and you've got a big problem. Your wife, Cindy, was addicted to prescription painkillers. She stole pills from a medical-aid charity she heads and she used the names of unsuspecting employees to get prescriptions. The public is about to find out about it ... "

Huge New Biodefense Lab Is Dedicated at Fort Detrick

By Nelson Hernandez
Washington Post
October 23, 2008; B01

The Department of Homeland Security dedicated a massive biodefense laboratory in Frederick yesterday, moving toward the facility's opening despite questions raised about the risks of deadly pathogens to be studied there.

When the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center at Fort Detrick is fully operational in March, about 150 scientists in the lab will be tasked with protecting the country from a bioterrorist attack through prevention or containment. Another goal is to allow investigators to fingerprint biological agents such as viruses and bacteria, quickly tracing their source and catching the offender.

But critics cite the case of Bruce E. Ivins, a researcher at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, also at Fort Detrick, as evidence that such installations might help bioterrorists get access to lethal agents. FBI investigators think Ivins, who committed suicide in July, was responsible for the 2001 anthrax attacks.

Construction began in June 2006 on the $143 million, 160,000-square-foot facility inside the fort, the Army's sprawling medical research post in Frederick. The ship-shaped building will be divided between the lab's major divisions: a forensic testing center, which aims to identify the culprits in biological attacks; and the Biothreat Characterization Center, which seeks to predict what such attacks will look like and guide the development of countermeasures.

Scientists affiliated with the lab have been working in leased space at Fort Detrick, but officials who spoke at the dedication yesterday said they were anxious to move into the new center.

"This is a great day. Many of us have been waiting for this day for a long time," said Jamie Johnson, director of the Office of National Laboratories of the Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security. "I feel very passionately about this facility, and I feel even more passionately about its mission. This is state-of-the-art, cutting-edge bio-forensics."

Barry Kissin, a Frederick lawyer who has strongly opposed the lab's construction, said he fears the facility would be used to create biological weapons even though the government said its mission is defensive.

"It's not only a huge threat to local public health and safety, it is in the forefront of the instigation of a brand-new arms race in the realm of bioweapons," he said. "Here we are, expanding by about 20 times the size of the program that we're now being told generated the only bioattack in our history."

Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-Md.), who has a PhD in human physiology, said the closure of the U.S. bioweapons program in 1969 had perhaps placed the country a step behind other nations that continued to operate secret programs.

"As a scientist, I knew how important it was to be at the cutting edge," Bartlett said. "I don't have complete confidence that our intelligence community will be able to tell us what's going on at the cutting edge." The scientists at the new Detrick lab, he said, are "going to have to divine what's happening." But he said he has "great confidence that this organization will indeed be able to protect us."

Democrat Jennifer Dougherty, a former Frederick mayor who faces Bartlett in the 6th District race, said relations between the city and Fort Detrick have gradually improved.

"I think it's essential that we make sure there's a level of transparency and a level of trust between residents, the city and the post," Dougherty said.

The directors of the campus were eager to demonstrate the facility's security, leading guests and reporters through a tour of the lab. Construction required everyone to wear hard hats and protective glasses.

The facility was clean and bright, with large windows allowing most scientists in sealed labs a view of the outdoors. About 40,000 square feet will be taken up by Biosafety Level 3 labs, which handle agents such as anthrax. In addition, 10,000 will be dedicated to the Level 4 labs, which handle agents such as the Ebola virus.

Next to the windows, digital monitors displayed air pressure, ensuring that air would flow from the outside into the lab. The air is constantly filtered, and three large pressure cookers sterilize contaminated waste. To get into the Level 4 labs, workers must pass through a chemical shower that cleanses their suits.

The thick, reinforced concrete walls were painted white. The rooms were empty of the testing equipment, animals and biological supplies that the scientists will use for their work. Exposed wires and pipes were in evidence, and sheeting was taped to parts of the floor.

Catholics Seek Support For Probe Of Fort Benning School

October 2, 2008

ATLANTA—Ten years after a Catholic archbishop in Guatemala was beaten to death for his work on human rights, four Atlanta priests, two sisters, and seven local members of the Catholic peace group Pax Christi are calling on Congress to deepen its investigation of the controversial Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation which one of his killers attended.

The activists believe the Department of Defense-funded military school based at Fort Benning in Columbus, formerly known as the School of the Americas, is linked to human right violators in Latin America who target the poor and clergy who speak up for them.

They want Congress to enact a law that would suspend the military school until a commission reports on what tactics former students were taught that violated international law or United States law and hold accountable those who drafted and approved those teaching manuals.

Eileen Perkins of Marietta, a longtime peace activist, said the school should cause concern for taxpayers and Catholics alike.

The school is teaching Latin American military leaders the wrong things with American tax dollars, like torture, said Perkins, who gathered the signatures.

Declassified government documents released in the mid-1990s revealed the manuals from 1982 to 1991 showed how torture, blackmail and other coercive measures could be used against insurgents.

Catholics need to press for a change at the school because the issues of peace and the dignity of people are a cornerstone of the church, Perkins said.

“That’s kind of who we are as Catholics,” said Perkins, 65, who brings Communion to the homebound from her church, St. Joseph in Marietta.

Father John Adamski, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Atlanta, said the military school is working with a “new PR image,” but problems remain. The School of the Americas was legally closed in 2001 and reopened as WHISEC.

He signed the letter because it is a sign of how people can be involved in peacemaking.

“Any effort toward trying to work for peace and lifting up the practice of peace is an important thing,” he said.

Catholics should be “agents of God’s kingdom” and working for peace is a way to do that, he said.

Every November, thousands of people, many of them students from Catholic colleges, arrive in Columbus to protest the school. Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois started the protest along with the watchdog School of the Americas (SOA) Watch in 1990.

Catholic leaders in Central America who speak out on behalf of the poor have been assassinated, including six Jesuit priests killed in El Salvador in their rectory’s garden in November 1989 and Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador shot and killed in 1980 as he celebrated Mass. His cause is being studied for sainthood. Three American missionary nuns and a Maryknoll laywoman were also murdered there in 1980.

Some military officials linked to the killings attended the military school. And opponents of the school believe it should be shut down. Defenders of the program have said the school does not teach abuse and the curriculum includes a focus on human rights as part of every class.

In April 1998, Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi, coordinator of the Human Rights Office of the archbishop of Guatemala, was killed two days after his organization issued a major report documenting that the Guatemalan army was responsible for about 90 percent of the violent massacres and other human rights violations that occurred during its 36-year civil war. Four men were convicted for the murder, including two military officers—retired Col. Byron Disrael Lima Estrada, who had studied at the SOA, and his son, Capt. Byron Lima Oliva—and a priest. However, Catholic Church leaders in Guatemala continue to press for a wider inquiry into who ordered the bishop’s murder.

Supporters are calling on Georgia congressmen to endorse legislation to suspend the school’s operation called the “Latin America Military Training Review Act of 2007.”

Some 124 members of Congress support the bill, which is House Resolution 1707. The bill is sponsored by U.S. Rep. James McGovern of Massachusetts. Only two representatives from Georgia, U.S. Reps. John Lewis (5th District) and Hank Johnson (4th District), both Democrats, have backed the legislation. The proposal was sent to the House Committee on Armed Services for review in March 2007.

According to the Congressional Research Service, the bill would establish an eight-person joint congressional task force to assess the school’s training to evaluate how well Latin American military personnel follow democratic principles and respect human rights. It also establishes a commission to look into the U.S. Army School of the Americas and its successor institution.

The school would be suspended while the two committees examined the school.

“We call on all Catholics in Georgia who are upholders of human rights to ask their congresspersons to co-sponsor this bill (HR 1707) so that a formal determination can be made as to whether training at the school contributes to the violation of human rights in Latin America,” states the letter.

The letter quotes “The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.”

It states: “Mutual forgiveness must not eliminate the need for justice and still less does it block the path that leads to truth. On the contrary, justice and truth represent the concrete requisites for reconciliation.”

The Atlanta priests signing the letter are Father Adamski; Msgr. Henry Gracz, pastor of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception; Father Steve Yander, chaplain at Saint Joseph’s Hospital; and Father T.J. Meehan, pastor of Sacred Heart Church, Atlanta. The sisters who signed the letter are Sister Margaret McAnoy, chaplain at Saint Joseph’s Hospital and member of the Immaculate Heart of Mary congregation, and Sister Sally White, of the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, who serves in pastoral care at Saint Joseph’s Hospital. A priest from the Diocese of Savannah, Father Bob Cushing, also signed the letter.

Other signers were Stuart Cashin, a member of Pax Christi, Immaculate Conception Shrine, Atlanta; Lil Corrigan, Pax Christi, Transfiguration Church, Marietta; Cathy Crosby, Pax Christi, Atlanta; Debbie Freel, Pax Christi, Transfiguration; Joe Goode, Pax Christi, St. Jude Church, Atlanta; Elizabeth M. Griffis, parish administrator, St. Joseph Church, Marietta; Juliana Illara, Georgia for Democracy, Marietta; Larry and Eileen Karrer Perkins, Pax Christi, St. Joseph; Judy Kugler, Pax Christi, Transfiguration; and Thomas W. Reichert, pastoral minister, St. Joseph Church.