Posts Tagged ‘raison d’etat’

The crimes of Mena

June 13, 2011

This article was allegedly supposed to appear in the Washington Post some years ago but was suppressed at the last minute. Regardless of the alleged crimes that may have taken place, what this piece of investigative journalism uncovers is the one directive the state (any state) lives by: that is the “Raison d’Etat“. The state is an entity and as such, it is devoted its own perpetuation and expansion. Enshrined in the perceived logic of the state, the end does absolutely justify the means. This is essentially the driver of aberrant policy such as the adoption of a debt based fiat monetary system.

http://whatreallyhappened.com/RANCHO/POLITICS/MENA/crimes_of_mena.html

The Suppressed Article


This is the article which had been scheduled to appear in the Washington Post. After having cleared the legal department for all possible questions of inaccurate statements, the article was scheduled for publication when just as the presses were set to roll, Washington Post Managing Editor Bob Kaiser (Like George Bush, a member of the infamous “Skull & Bones Fraternity), killed the article without explanation. According to the sidebar which appeared with the Penthouse Magazine version of this story, Bob Kaiser refused to even meet with Sally Denton and Roger Morris, hiding in his office while his secretary made excuses.


This is the story that couldn’t be suppressed. An investigative report into a scandal that haunts the reputations of three presidents – Reagan, Bush, and Clinton.


THE CRIMES OF MENA

By Sally Denton and Roger Morris


Barry Seal – gunrunner, drug trafficker, and covert C.I.A. operative extraordinaire – is hardly a familiar name in American politics. But nine years after he was murdered in a hail of bullets by Medellin cartel hit men outside a Salvation Army shelter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he has come back to haunt the reputations of three American presidents.

Seal’s legacy includes more than 2,000 newly discovered documents that now verify and quantify much of what previously had been only suspicion, conjecture, and legend. The documents confirm that from 1981 to his brutal death in 1986, Barry Seal carried on one of the most lucrative, extensive, and brazen operations in the history of the international drug trade, and that he did it with the evident complicity, if not collusion, of elements of the United States government, apparently with the acquiescence of Ronald Reagan’s administration, impunity from any subsequent exposure by George Bush’s administration, and under the usually acute political nose of then Arkansas governor Bill Clinton.

The newly unearthed papers show the real Seal as far more impressive and well-connected than the character played by Dennis Hopper in a made-for-TV movie some years ago, loosely based on the smuggler’s life. The film portrayed the pudgy pilot as a hapless victim, caught in a cross fire between bungling but benign government agencies and Latin drug lords. The truth sprinkled through the documents is a richer – and altogether more sinister – matter of national and individual corruption. It is a tale of massive, socially devastating crime, of what seems to have been an official cover-up to match, and, not least, of the strange reluctance of so-called mainstream American journalism to come to grips with the phenomenon and its ominous implications – even when the documentary evidence had appeared.

The trail winds back to another slightly bruited but obscure name – a small place in western Arkansas called Mena.

Of the many stories emerging from the Arkansas of the 1980s that was crucible to the Clinton presidency, none has been more elusive than the charges surrounding Mena. Nestled in the dense pine and hardwood forests of the Oachita Mountains, some 160 miles west of Little Rock, once thought a refuge for nineteenth-century border outlaws and even a hotbed of Depression-era anarchists, the tiny town has been the locale for persistent reports of drug smuggling, gunrunning, and money laundering tracing to the early eighties, when Seal based his aircraft at Mena’s Intermountain Regional Airport.

From first accounts circulating locally in Arkansas, the story surfaced nationally as early as 1989 in a *Penthouse* article called “Snowbound,” written by the investigative reporter John Cummings, and in a Jack Anderson column, but was never advanced at the time by other media. Few reporters covering Clinton in the 1992 campaign missed hearing at least something about Mena. But it was obviously a serious and demanding subject – the specter of vast drug smuggling with C.l.A. involvement – and none of the major media pursued it seriously During 1992, the story was kept alive by Sarah McClendon, *The Nation*, and *The Village Voice*.

Then, after Clinton became president, Mena began to reappear. Over the past year, CBS News and *The Wall Street Journal* have reported the original, unquieted charges surrounding Mena, including the shadow of some C.l.A. (or “national security”) involvement in the gun and drug traffic, and the apparent failure of then governor Clinton to pursue evidence of such international crime so close to home.

“Seal was smuggling drugs and kept his planes at Mena,” *The Wall Street Journal* reported in 1994. “He also acted as an agent for the D.E.A. In one of these missions, he flew the plane that produced photographs of Sandinistas loading drugs in Nicaragua. He was killed by a drug gang [Medellin cartel hit men] in Baton Rouge. The cargo plane he flew was the same one later flown by Eugene Hasenfus when he was shot down over Nicaragua with a load of contra supplies.

In a mix of wild rumor and random fact, Mena has also been a topic of ubiquitous anti-Clinton diatribes circulated by right-wing extremists – an irony in that the Mena operation was the apparent brainchild of the two previous and Republican administrations.

Still, most of the larger American media have continued to ignore, if not ridicule, the Mena accusations. Finding no conspiracy in the Oachitas last July, a *Washington Post* reporter typically scoffed at the “alleged dark deeds,” contrasting Mena with an image as “Clandestination, Arkansas … Cloak and Dagger Capital of America.” Noting that *The New York Times* had “mentioned Mena primarily as the headquarters of the American Rock Garden Society,” the *Columbia Journalism Review* in a recent issue dismissed “the conspiracy theories” as of “dubious relevance.”

A former Little Rock businessman, Terry Reed, has coauthored with John Cummings a highly controversial book, Compromised: Clinton, Bush, and the C.lA., which describes a number of covert activities around Mena, including a C.l.A. operation to train pilots and troops for the Nicaraguan Contras, and the collusion of local officials. Both the book and its authors were greeted with derision.

Now, however, a new mass of documentary evidence has come to light regarding just such “dark deeds” – previously private and secret records that substantiate as never before some of the worst and most portentous suspicions about what went on at Mena, Arkansas, a decade ago.

Given the scope and implications of the Mena story, it may be easy to understand the media’s initial skepticism and reluctance. But it was never so easy to dismiss the testimony arid suspicions of some of those close to the matter: Internal Revenue Service Agent Bill Duncan, Arkansas State Police investigator Russell Welch, Arkansas Attorney General J. Winston Bryant, Congressman Bill Alexander, and various other local law-enforcement officials and citizens.

All of these people were convinced by the late eighties that there existed what Bryant termed “credible evidence” of the most serious criminal activity involving Mena between 1981 and 1986. They also believed that the crimes were committed with the acquiescence, if not the complicity, of elements of the U.S. government. But they couldn’t seem to get the national media to pay attention.

During the 1992 campaign, outside advisers and aides urged former California governor Jerry Brown to raise the Mena issue against Clinton – at least to ask why the Arkansas governor had not done more about such serious international crime so close to home. But Brown, too, backed away from the subject. I’ll raise it if the major media break it first,” he told aides. “The media will do it, Governor,” one of them replied in frustration, “if only you’ll raise it.”

Mena’s obscure airport was thought by the l.R.S., the F.B.I., U.S. Customs, and the Arkansas State Police to be a base for Adler Berriman “Barry” Seal, a self-confessed, convicted smuggler whose operations had been linked to the intelligence community. Duncan and Welch both spent years building cases against Seal and others for drug smuggling and money laundering around Mena, only to see their own law-enforcement careers damaged in the process.

What evidence they gathered, they have said in testimony and other public statements, was not sufficiently pursued by the then U.S. attorney for the region, J. Michael Fitzhugh, or by the l.R.S., Arkansas State Police, and other agencies. Duncan, testifying before the joint investigation by the Arkansas state attorney general’s office and the United States Congress in June 1991, said that 29 federal indictments drafted in a Mena-based money-laundering scheme had gone unexplored. Fitzhugh, responding at the time to Duncan’s charges, said, “This office has not slowed up any investigation … [and] has never been under any pressure in any investigation.”

By 1992, to Duncan’s and Welch’s mounting dismay, several other official inquiries into the alleged Mena connection were similarly ineffectual or were stifled altogether, furthering their suspicions of government collusion and cover-up. In his testimony before Congress, Duncan said the l.R.S. “withdrew support for the operations” and further directed him to “withhold information from Congress and perjure myself.”

Duncan later testified that he had never before experienced “anything remotely akin to this type of interference…. Alarms were going off,” he continued, “and as soon as Mr. Fitzhugh got involved, he was more aggressive in not allowing the subpoenas and in interfering in the investigative process.”

State policeman Russell Welch felt he was “probably the most knowledgeable person” regarding the activities at Mena, yet he was not initially subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury. Welch testified later that the only reason he was ultimately subpoenaed at all was because one of the grand jurors was from Mena and “told the others that if they wanted to know something about the Mena airport, they ought to ask that guy [Welch] out there in the hall.”

State Attorney General Bryant, in a 1991 letter to the office of Lawrence Walsh, the independent counsel in the Iran-Contra investigation, wondered “why no one was prosecuted in Arkansas despite a mountain of evidence that Seal was using Arkansas as his principle staging area during the years 1982 through 1985.”

What actually went on in the woods of western Arkansas? The question is still relevant for what it may reveal about certain government operations during the time that Reagan and Bush were in the White House and Clinton was governor of Arkansas.

In a mass of startling new documentation – the more than 2,000 papers gathered by the authors from private and law-enforcement sources in a year-long nationwide search – answers are found and serious questions are posed.

These newly unearthed documents – the veritable private papers of Barry Seal – substantiate at least part of what went on at Mena.

What might be called the Seal archive dates back to 1981, when Seal began his operations at the Intermountain Regional Airport in Mena. The archive, all of it now in our possession, continues beyond February 1986, when Seal was murdered by Colombian assassins after he had testified in federal court in Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami for the U.S. government against leaders of the Medellin drug cartel.

The papers include such seemingly innocuous material as Seal’s bank and telephone records; negotiable instruments, promissory notes, and invoices; personal correspondence address and appointment books; bills of sale for aircraft and boats; aircraft registration, and modification work orders.

In addition, the archive also contains personal diaries; handwritten to-do lists and other private notes; secretly tape-recorded conversations; and cryptographic keys and legends for codes used in the Seal operation.

Finally, there are extensive official records: federal investigative and surveillance reports, accounting assessments by the l.R.S. and the D.E.A., and court proceedings not previously reported in the press – testimony as well as confidential pre-sentencing memoranda in federal narcotics-trafficking trials in Florida and Nevada – numerous depositions, and other sworn statements.

The archive paints a vivid portrait not only of a major criminal conspiracy around Mena, but also of the unmistakable shadow of government complicity. Among the new revelations:

Mena, from 1981 to 1985, was indeed one of the centers for international smuggling traffic. According to official l.R.S. and D.E.A. calculations, sworn court testimony, and other corroborative records, the traffic amounted to thousands of kilos of cocaine and heroin and literally hundreds of millions of dollars in drug profits. According to a 1986 letter from the Louisiana attorney general to then U.S. attorney general Edwin Meese, Seal “smuggled between $3 billion and $5 billion of drugs into the U.S.”

Seal himself spent considerable sums to land, base, maintain, and specially equip or refit his aircraft for smuggling. According to personal and business records, he had extensive associations at Mena and in Little Rock, and was in nearly constant telephone contact with Mena when he was not there himself. Phone records indicate Seal made repeated calls to Mena the day before his murder. This was long after Seal, according to his own testimony, was working as an $800,000-a-year informant for the federal government.

A former member of the Army Special Forces, Seal had ties to the Central Intelligence Agency dating to the early 1970s. He had confided to relatives and others, according to their sworn statements, that he was a C.l.A. operative before and during the period when he established his operations at Mena. In one statement to Louisiana State Police, a Seal relative said, “Barry was into gunrunning and drug smuggling in Central and South America … and he had done some time in El Salvadore [sic].” Another then added, “lt was true, but at the time Barry was working for the C.l.A.”

In a posthumous jeopardy-assessment case against Seal – also documented in the archive – the l.R.S. determined that money earned by Seal between 1984 and 1986 was not illegal because of his “C.l.A.-D.E.A. employment.” The only public official acknowledgment of Seal’s relationship to the C.l.A. has been in court and congressional testimony, and in various published accounts describing the C.l.A.’s installation of cameras in Seal’s C-123K transport plane, used in a highly celebrated 1984 sting operation against the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.

Robert Joura, the assistant special agent in charge of the D.E.A.’s Houston office and the agent who coordinated Seal’s undercover work, told *The Washington Post* last year that Seal was enlisted by the C.l.A. for one sensitive mission – providing photographic evidence that the Sandinistas were letting cocaine from Colombia move through Nicaragua. A spokesman for then Senate candidate Oliver North told *The Post* that North had been kept aware of Seal’s work through “intelligence sources.”

Federal Aviation Administration registration records contained in the archive confirm that aircraft identified by federal and state narcotics agents as in the Seal smuggling operation were previously owned by Air America, Inc., widely reported to have been a C.l.A. proprietary company. Emile Camp, one of Seal’s pilots and a witness to some of his most significant dealings, was killed on a mountainside near Mena in 1985 in the unexplained crash of one of those planes that had once belonged to Air America.

According to still other Seal records, at least some of the aircraft in his smuggling fleet, which included a Lear jet, helicopters, and former U.S. military transports, were also outfitted with avionics and other equipment by yet another company in turn linked to Air America.

Among the aircraft flown in and out of Mena was Seal’s C-123K cargo plane, christened Fat Lady. The records show that Fat Lady, serial number 54-0679, was sold by Seal months before his death. According to other files, the plane soon found its way to a phantom company of what became known in the Iran-Contra scandal as “the Enterprise,” the C.l.A.-related secret entity managed by Oliver North and others to smuggle illegal weapons to the Nicaraguan Contra rebels. According to former D.E.A. agent Celerino Castillo and others, the aircraft was allegedly involved in a return traffic in cocaine, profits from which were then used to finance more clandestine gunrunning.

F.A.A. records show that in October 1986, the same Fat Lady was shot down over Nicaragua with a load of arms destined for the Contras. Documents found on board the aircraft and seized by the Sandinistas included logs linking the plane with Area 51 – the nation’s top-secret nuclear-weapons facility at the Nevada Test Site. The doomed aircraft was co-piloted by Wallace Blaine “Buzz” Sawyer, a native of western Arkansas, who died in the crash. The admissions of the surviving crew member, Eugene Hasenfus, began a public unraveling of the Iran-Contra episode.

An Arkansas gun manufacturer testified in 1993 in federal court in Fayetteville that the C.l.A. contracted with him to build 250 automatic pistols for the Mena operation. William Holmes testified that he had been introduced to Seal in Mena by a C.l.A. operative, and that he then sold weapons to Seal. Even though he was given a Department of Defense purchase order for guns fitted with silencers, Holmes testified that he was never paid the $140,000 the government owed him. “After the Hasenfus plane was shot down,” Holmes said, “you couldn’t find a soul around Mena.”

Meanwhile, there was still more evidence that Seal’s massive smuggling operation based in Arkansas had been part of a C.l.A. operation, and that the crimes were continuing well after Seal’s murder. In 1991 sworn testimony to both Congressman Alexander and Attorney General Bryant, state police investigator Welch recorded that in 1987 he had documented “new activity at the [Mena] airport with the appearance of … an Australian business [a company linked with the C.l.A.], and C-130s had appeared….”

At the same time, according to Welch, two F.B.I. agents officially informed him that the C.l.A. “had something going on at the Mena Airport involving Southern Air Transport [another company linked with the C.l.A.] … and they didn’t want us [the Arkansas State Police] to screw it up like we had the last one.”

The hundreds of millions in profits generated by the Seal trafficking via Mena and other outposts resulted in extraordinary banking and business practices in apparent efforts to launder or disperse the vast amounts of illicit money in Arkansas and elsewhere. Seal’s financial records show from the early eighties, for example, instances of daily deposits of $50,000 or more, and extensive use of an offshore foreign bank in the Caribbean, as well as financial institutions in Arkansas and Florida.

According to l.R.S. criminal investigator Duncan, secretaries at the Mena Airport told him that when Seal flew into Mena, I’there would be stacks of cash to be taken to the bank and laundered.” One secretary told him that she was ordered to obtain numerous cashier’s checks, each in an amount just under $10,000, at various banks in Mena and surrounding communities, to avoid filing the federal Currency Transaction Reports required for all bank transactions that exceed that limit.

Bank tellers testified before a federal grand jury that in November 1982, a Mena airport employee carried a suitcase containing more than $70,000 into a bank. “The bank officer went down the teller lines handing out the stacks of $1,000 bills and got the cashier’s checks.”

Law-enforcement sources confirmed that hundreds of thousands of dollars were laundered from 1981 to 1983 just in a few small banks near Mena, and that millions more from Seal’s operation were laundered elsewhere in Arkansas and the nation.

Spanish-language documents in Seal’s possession at the time of his murder also indicate that he had accounts throughout Central America and was planning to set up his own bank in the Caribbean.

Additionally, Seal’s files suggest a grandiose scheme for building an empire. Papers in his office at the time of his death include references to dozens of companiesQall of which had names that began with Royale. Among them: Royale Sports, Royale Television Network, Royale Liquors, Royale Casino, S.A., Royale Pharmaceuticals, Royale Arabians, Royale Seafood, Royale Security, Royale Resorts … and on and on.

Seal was scarcely alone in his extensive smuggling operation based in Mena from 1981 to 1986, commonly described in both federal and state law-enforcement files as one of the largest drug-trafficking operations in the United States at the time, if not in the history of the drug trade. Documents show Seal confiding on one occasion that he was “only the transport,” pointing to an extensive network of narcotics distribution and finance in Arkansas and other states. After drugs were smuggled across the border, the duffel bags of cocaine would be retrieved by helicopters and dropped onto flatbed trucks destined for various American cities.

In recognition of Seal’s significance in the drug trade, government prosecutors made him their chief witness in various cases, including a 1985 Miami trial in absentia of Medellln drug lords; in another 1985 trial of what federal officials regarded as the largest narcotics-trafficking case to date in Las Vegas; and in still a third prosecution of corrupt officials in the Turks and Caicos Islands. At the same time, court records and other documents reveal a studied indifference by government prosecutors to Seal’s earlier and ongoing operations at Mena.

In the end, the Seal documents are vindication for dedicated officials in Arkansas like agents Duncan and Welch and local citizens’ groups like the Arkansas Committee, whose own evidence and charges take on new gravity – and also for *The Nation*, *The Village Voice*, the Association of National Security Alumni, the venerable Washington journalists Sarah McClendon and Jack Anderson, Arkansas. reporters Rodney Bowers and Mara Leveritt, and others who kept an all-too-authentic story alive amid wider indifference.

But now the larger implications of the newly exposed evidence seem as disturbing as the criminal enormity it silhouettes. Like his modern freebooter’s life, Seal’s documents leave the political and legal landscape littered with stark questions.

What, for example, happened to some nine different official investigations into Mena after 1987, from allegedly compromised federal grand juries to congressional inquiries suppressed by the National Security Council in 1988 under Ronald Reagan to still later Justice Department inaction under George Bush?

Officials repeatedly invoked national security to quash most of the investigations. Court documents do show clearly that the C.l.A. and the D.E.A. employed Seal during 1984 and 1985 for the Reagan administration’s celebrated sting attempt to implicate the Nicaraguan Sandinista regime in cocaine trafficking.

According to a December 1988 Senate Foreign Relations Committee report, “cases were dropped. The apparent reason was that the prosecution might have revealed national-security information, even though all of the crimes which were the focus of the investigation occurred before Seal became a federal informant.”

Tax records show that, having assessed Seal posthumously for some $86 million in back taxes on his earnings from Mena and elsewhere between 1981 and 1983, even the l.R.S. forgave the taxes on hundreds of millions in known drug and gun profits over the ensuing two-year period when Seal was officially admitted to be employed by the government.

To follow the l.R.S. Iogic, what of the years, crimes, and profits at Mena in the early eighties, before Barry Seal became an acknowledged federal operative, as well as the subsequently reported drug-trafficking activities at Mena even after his murder – crimes far removed from his admitted cooperation as government informant and witness?

“Joe [name deleted] works for Seal and cannot be touched because Seal works for the C.l.A.,” a Customs official said in an Arkansas investigation into drug trafficking during the early eighties. “A C.l.A. or D.E.A. operation is taking place at the Mena airport,” an F.B.I. telex advised the Arkansas State Police in August 1987, 18 months after Seal’s murder. Welch later testified that a Customs agent told him, “Look, we’ve been told not to touch anything that has Barry Seal’s name on it, just to let it go.”

*The London Sunday Telegraph* recently reported new evidence, including a secret code number, that Seal was also working as an operative of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the period of the gunrunning and drug smuggling.

Perhaps most telling is what is so visibly missing from the voluminous files. In thousands of pages reflecting a man of meticulous organization and plan- ning, Barry Seal seems to have felt singularly and utterly secure – if not somehow invulnerable – at least in the ceaseless air transport and delivery into the United States of tons of cocaine for more than five years. In a 1986 letter to the D.E.A., the commander and deputy commander of narcotics for the Louisiana State Police say that Seal “was being given apparent free rein to import drugs in conjunction with D.E.A. investigations with so little restraint and control on his actions as to allow him the opportunity to import drugs for himself should he have been so disposed.”

Seal’s personal videotapes, in the authors’ possession, show one scene in which he used U.S. Army paratroop equipment, as well as militarylike precision, in his drug-transporting operation. Then, in the middle of the afternoon after a number of dry runs, one of his airplanes dropped a load of several duffel bags attached to a parachute. Within seconds, the cargo sitting on the remote grass landing strip was retrieved by Seal and loaded onto a helicopter that had followed the low-flying aircraft. “This is the first daylight cocaine drop in the history of the state of Louisiana,” Seal narrates on the tape. If the duffel bags seen in the smuggler’s home movies were filled with cocaine – as Seal himself states on tape – that single load would have been worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Perhaps the videos were not of an actual cocaine drop, but merely the drug trafficker’s training video for his smuggling organization, or even a test maneuver. Regardless, the films show a remarkable, fearless invincibility. Barry Seal was not expecting apprehension.

His most personal papers show him all but unconcerned about the very flights and drops that would indeed have been protected or “fixed,” according to law-enforcement sources, by the collusion of U.S. intelligence.

In an interview with agent Duncan, Seal brazenly “admitted that he had been a drug smuggler.”

If the Seal documents show anything, an attentive reader might conclude, it is that ominous implication of some official sanction. Over the entire episode looms the unmistakable shape of government collaboration in vast drug trafficking and gunrunning, and in a decade-long cover-up of criminality.

Government investigators apparently had no doubt about the magnitude of those crimes. According to Customs sources, Seal’s operations at Mena and other bases were involved in the export of guns to Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, and Brazil, as well as to the Contras, and the importation of cocaine from Colombia to be sold in New York, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, and other cities, as well as in Arkansas itself.

Duncan and his colleagues knew that Seal’s modus operandi included dumping most of the drugs in other southern states, so that what Arkansas agents witnessed in Mena was but a tiny fragment of an operation staggering in its magnitude. Yet none of the putative inquiries seems to have made a serious effort to gather even a fraction of the available Seal documents now assembled and studied by the authors.

Finally, of course, there are somber questions about then governor Clinton’s own role vis-a-vis the crimes of Mena.

Clinton has acknowledged learning officially about Mena only in April 1988, though a state police investigation had been in progress for several years. As the state’s chief executive, Clinton often claimed to be fully abreast of such inquiries. In his one public statement on the matter as governor, in September 1991 he spoke of that investigation finding “linkages to the federal government,” and “all kinds of questions about whether he [Seal] had any links to the C.l.A…. and if that backed into the Iran-Contra deal.”

But then Clinton did not offer further support for any inquiry, “despite the fact,” as Bill Plante and Michael Singer of CBS News have written, “that a Republican administration was apparently sponsoring a Contra-aid operation in his state and protecting a smuggling ring that flew tons of cocaine through Arkansas.”

As recently as March 1995, Arkansas state trooper Larry Patterson testified under oath, according to *The London Sunday Telegraph*, that he and other officers “discussed repeatedly in Clinton’s presence” the “large quantities of drugs being flown into the Mena airport, large quantities of money, large quantities of guns,” indicating that Clinton may have known much more about Seal’s activities than he has admitted.

Moreover, what of the hundreds of millions generated by Seal’s Mena contraband? The Seal records reveal his dealings with at least one major Little Rock bank. How much drug money from him or his associates made its way into criminal laundering in Arkansas’s notoriously freewheeling financial institutions and bond houses, some of which are reportedly under investigation by the Whitewater special prosecutor for just such large, unaccountable infusions of cash and unexplained transactions?

“The state offers an enticing climate for traffickers,” I.R.S. agents had concluded by the end of the eighties, documenting a “major increase” in the amount of large cash and bank transactions in Arkansas after 1985, despite a struggling local economy.

Meanwhile, prominent backers of Clinton’s over the same years – including bond broker and convicted drug dealer Dan Lasater and chicken tycoon Don Tyson – have themselves been subjects of extensive investigative and surveillance files by the D.E.A. or the F.B.I. similar to those relating to Seal, including allegations of illegal drug activity that Tyson has recently acknowledged publicly and denounced as “totally false.” “This may be the first president in history with such close buddies who have NADDIS numbers,” says one concerned law-enforcement official, referring to the Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Intelligence System numbers assigned those under protracted investigation for possible drug crimes.

The Seal documents are still more proof that for Clinton, the Arkansas of the eighties and the company he kept there will not soon disappear as a political or even constitutional liability.

“I’ve always felt we never got the whole story there,” Clinton said in 1991.

Indeed. But as president of the United States, he need no longer wonder – and neither should the nation. On the basis of the Seal documents (copies of which are being given to the Whitewater special prosecutor in any case), the president should ask immediately for a full report on the matter from the C.l.A., the D.E.A., the F.B.I., the Justice Department, and other relevant agencies of his own administration – including the long-buried evidence gathered by l.R.S. agent Duncan and Arkansas state police investigator Welch. President Clinton should also offer full executive-branch cooperation with a reopened congressional inquiry, and expose the subject fully for what it says of both the American past and future.

Seal saw himself as a patriot to the end. He had dictated his own epitaph for his grave in Baton Rouge: “A rebel adventurer the likes of whom in previous days made America great.” In a sense his documents may now render that claim less ironic than it seems.

The tons of drugs that Seal and his associates brought into the country, officials agree, affected tens of thousands of lives at the least, and exacted an incalculable toll on American society. And for the three presidents, the enduring questions of political scandal are once again apt: What did they know about Mena? When did they know it? Why didn’t they do anything to stop it?

The crimes of Mena were real. That much is now documented beyond doubt. The only remaining issues are how far they extended, and who was responsible.


From the July 1995 issue of *Penthouse*

Here’s something interesting (Osama Bin Ladin)

January 16, 2011

Poster “Mozel” on one of my favorite forums points out this seeming incongruity.

http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/wanted_terrorists/usama-bin-laden

That’s Osama Bin Ladin’s FBI most wanted page.

In reading what Osama is wanted for, one charge is conspicuous by its absence. Can you spot it?

Spoiler at page bottom:

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The 9/11 terrorist attack on the twin towers….

Apparently, when asked why there is no mention of 9/11 on Bin Laden’s Most Wanted web page (30), [Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity for the FBI] said, “The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Usama Bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.”

 

Where exactly do you think this trend is taking us?

December 26, 2010

Both houses of the US Congress unanimously passed a bill authorizing $725 billion for next year’s Defense Department budget.”

Largest military budget since WWII

http://www.infowars.com/pentagons-christmas-present-largest-military-budget-since-world-war-ii-2/

Carl Conetta, co-director of the Project on Defense Alternatives, earlier this year estimated the 2010 U.S. defense budget to constitute 47 percent of total worldwide military expenditures and to amount to 19 percent of all American federal spending. […]

the 2011 Pentagon budget will mark a milestone in that “the inflation-adjusted rise in spending since 1998 will probably exceed 100% in real terms by the end of the fiscal year.

“Taking the 2011 budget into account, the Defense Department has been given about $7.2 trillion since 1998, when the post-Cold War decline in defense spending ended. Approximately $2.5 trillion of this total is due to spending above the annual level set in 1998. This added amount constitutes the post-1998 spending surge.”

Based on constant 2010 dollars, Conetta further details that the Ronald Reagan administration spent $4.1 trillion on the Defense Department, the Georgia W. Bush administration spent $4.65 trillion and “Barack Obama plans to spend more than $5 trillion.”

Still harboring doubts are you?

The 2010 budget is a full 50% higher than in 2009… 50% higher….

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/04/washington/04military.html

 

And just as a reminder:

 

Durable Goods Shipments

 

Criminalizing everyone

December 23, 2010

An old press article that I had already posted at the time that shows how things progress. This ties in with just about anything you care to think of from the Patriot Act to Codex Alimentarius to travel restrictions to a general hardening of security law and the concomitant expansion of what is considered a crime and/or treason.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/oct/05/criminalizing-everyone/?page=1

Full text emphasis added:

“You don’t need to know. You can’t know.” That’s what Kathy Norris, a 60-year-old grandmother of eight, was told when she tried to ask court officials why, the day before, federal agents had subjected her home to a furious search.

The agents who spent half a day ransacking Mrs. Norris’ longtime home in Spring, Texas, answered no questions while they emptied file cabinets, pulled books off shelves, rifled through drawers and closets, and threw the contents on the floor.

The six agents, wearing SWAT gear and carrying weapons, were with – get this – the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Kathy and George Norris lived under the specter of a covert government investigation for almost six months before the government unsealed a secret indictment and revealed why the Fish and Wildlife Service had treated their family home as if it were a training base for suspected terrorists. Orchids.

That’s right. Orchids.

By March 2004, federal prosecutors were well on their way to turning 66-year-old retiree George Norris into an inmate in a federal penitentiary – based on his home-based business of cultivating, importing and selling orchids.

Mrs. Norris testified before the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime this summer. The hearing’s topic: the rapid and dangerous expansion of federal criminal law, an expansion that is often unprincipled and highly partisan.

Chairman Robert C. Scott, Virginia Democrat, and ranking member Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican, conducted a truly bipartisan hearing (a D.C. rarity this year).

These two leaders have begun giving voice to the increasing number of experts who worry about “overcriminalization.” Astronomical numbers of federal criminal laws lack specifics, can apply to almost anyone and fail to protect innocents by requiring substantial proof that an accused person acted with actual criminal intent.

Mr. Norris ended up spending almost two years in prison because he didn’t have the proper paperwork for some of the many orchids he imported. The orchids were all legal – but Mr. Norris and the overseas shippers who had packaged the flowers had failed to properly navigate the many, often irrational, paperwork requirements the U.S. imposed when it implemented an arcane international treaty’s new restrictions on trade in flowers and other flora.

The judge who sentenced Mr. Norris had some advice for him and his wife: “Life sometimes presents us with lemons.” Their job was, yes, to “turn lemons into lemonade.”

The judge apparently failed to appreciate how difficult it is to run a successful lemonade stand when you’re an elderly diabetic with coronary complications, arthritis and Parkinson’s disease serving time in a federal penitentiary. If only Mr. Norris had been a Libyan terrorist, maybe some European official at least would have weighed in on his behalf to secure a health-based mercy release.

Krister Evertson, another victim of overcriminalization, told Congress, “What I have experienced in these past years is something that should scare you and all Americans.” He’s right. Evertson, a small-time entrepreneur and inventor, faced two separate federal prosecutions stemming from his work trying to develop clean-energy fuel cells.

The feds prosecuted Mr. Evertson the first time for failing to put a federally mandated sticker on an otherwise lawful UPS package in which he shipped some of his supplies. A jury acquitted him, so the feds brought new charges. This time they claimed he technically had “abandoned” his fuel-cell materials – something he had no intention of doing – while defending himself against the first charges. Mr. Evertson, too, spent almost two years in federal prison.

As George Washington University law professor Stephen Saltzburg testified at the House hearing, cases like these “illustrate about as well as you can illustrate the overreach of federal criminal law.” The Cato Institute’s Timothy Lynch, an expert on overcriminalization, called for “a clean line between lawful conduct and unlawful conduct.” A person should not be deemed a criminal unless that person “crossed over that line knowing what he or she was doing.” Seems like common sense, but apparently it isn’t to some federal officials.

Former U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh’s testimony captured the essence of the problems that worry so many criminal-law experts. “Those of us concerned about this subject,” he testified, “share a common goal – to have criminal statutes that punish actual criminal acts and [that] do not seek to criminalize conduct that is better dealt with by the seeking of regulatory and civil remedies.” Only when the conduct is sufficiently wrongful and severe, Mr. Thornburgh said, does it warrant the “stigma, public condemnation and potential deprivation of liberty that go along with [the criminal] sanction.”

The Norrises’ nightmare began with the search in October 2003. It didn’t end until Mr. Norris was released from federal supervision in December 2008. His wife testified, however, that even after he came home, the man she had married was still gone. He was by then 71 years old. Unsurprisingly, serving two years as a federal convict – in addition to the years it took to defend unsuccessfully against the charges – had taken a severe toll on him mentally, emotionally and physically.

These are repressive consequences for an elderly man who made mistakes in a small business. The feds should be ashamed, and Mr. Evertson is right that everyone else should be scared. Far too many federal laws are far too broad.

Mr. Scott and Mr. Gohmert have set the stage for more hearings on why this places far too many Americans at risk of unjust punishment. Members of both parties in Congress should follow their lead.

Brian W. Walsh is senior legal research fellow in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation.

End quote

Without wishing to be trite, it is absurd to commit this amount of material and human resources to investigating and criminally prosecuting what are obvious and clear cases that fall under civil law. These are as clear examples as can be made of the inevitable consequence of the end of a monetary system that is predicated on inflation that results inevitably in the expansion of government till government becomes the largest actor in the economy and, from that point onwards, must ensure its own survival and perpetuation – a beautiful argument for the sanctity of the raison d’etat.

The truth shall set you free (Spencer Bachus)

December 22, 2010

http://blog.al.com/sweethome/2010/12/spencer_bachus_finally_gets_hi.html

Excerpts:

House Republicans on Wednes­day promoted Bachus to chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, which has wide juris­diction over banks, capital markets, housing, consumer credit and the overall health of the American fi­nancial system. […]  Bachus, in an interview Wednesday night, said he brings a “main street” perspective to the committee, as opposed to Wall Street. “In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks,” he said. He later clarified his comment to say that regulators should set the parameters in which banks operate but not micromanage them.

The above requires no comment or, at least, it shouldn’t.

It needs to be repeated

December 17, 2010

Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws. (Mayer Amschel Rothschild)

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage. (This quote is generally attributed to one Alexander Tytler but evidence is scarce and inconclusive)

There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved. ( Ludwig Von Mises)

“Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create deposits, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again.”
(Sir Josiah Stamp) [1880-1941] former Director, Bank of England

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and thus clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
H.L. Mencken

“Facts must be distorted, relevant circumstances concealed, and a picture presented which by its crude coloring will persuade the ignorant people that their Government is blameless, their cause is righteous, and that the indisputable wickedness of the enemy is beyond question.
A moment’s reflection would tell any reasonable person that such obvious bias cannot possibly represent the truth. But the moment’s reflection is not allowed; lies are circulated with great rapidity. The unthinking mass accept them and by their excitement sway the rest.
The amount of rubbish and humbug that pass under the name of patriotism in wartime in all countries is sufficient to make decent people blush when they are subsequently disillusioned.”
Arthur Ponsonby, Falsehood in Wartime, 1928

“It only stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.”
Ayn Rand

“the individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.”
J. Edgar Hoover, 1956, speaking of communism

“The State is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.” Frederic Bastiat

“It is also important for the State to inculcate in its subjects an aversion to any “conspiracy theory of history;” for a search for “conspiracies” means a search for motives and an attribution of responsibility for historical misdeeds. If, however, any tyranny imposed by the State, or venality, or aggressive war, was caused not by the State rulers but by mysterious and arcane “social forces,” or by the imperfect state of the world or, if in some way, everyone was responsible (“We Are All Murderers,” proclaims one slogan), then there is no point to the people becoming indignant or rising up against such misdeeds. Furthermore, an attack on “conspiracy theories” means that the subjects will become more gullible in believing the “general welfare” reasons that are always put forth by the State for engaging in any of its despotic actions. A “conspiracy theory” can unsettle the system by causing the public to doubt the State’s ideological propaganda.”
Murray N. Rothbard, in The Anatomy of the State

“The terrible thing about the quest for truth is that you find it.”
Remy de Gourmont

Ignorance may be bliss only if you are aware of being so. Unawareness of one’s own ignorance is the truest definition of arrogance

(Moi)

NATO must prepare to launch military operations outside its border after Afghanistan!??…

November 19, 2010

Must???

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/defence/8144154/Nato-must-continue-operations-beyond-our-borders.html

Full article with interspersed comments below:

Anders Fogh Rasmussen said alliance members must be willing and able to exercise military power “beyond our borders” to combat threats such as terrorism and missile attacks.

Mr Rasmussen spoke to The Daily Telegraph as Nato members prepared to gather today in Lisbon to plan the future role of the alliance.

Guido here: “to plan the future role of the alliance” – meaning, we’ve gotta find ourselves some wars boys.

After almost a decade of military operations in Afghanistan, some European Nato members have suggested that the alliance should focus on defending its home territory.

By contrast, Britain and the US believe that to remain relevant, Nato must be prepared to tackle potential security threats beyond its members’ borders.

Guido here: If you have a flourishing and expanding armament industry, at some point little backwater inventory wars no longer suffice to absorb your production. So whatchagonna do. Furthermore, since we are at the point where monetary policy is pushing its own mathematical limits, a war is just what the doctor ordered.

Durable Goods Shipments

Mr Rasmussen supported that view, urging alliance members to accept that new security threats may have to be met.

“Our core function will remain territorial defence of our populations,” he said. “But we must realise that in the modern world we have to go beyond our borders to actually protect and defend our borders.”

Guido here: There it is! We must go beyond our borders to protect ourselves. This assertion of course omits to point out that in the particular case of the USA, the UK and France we already are beyond our borders in Africa, the Middle East and throughout Asia and South America.

Afghanistan could serve a template for future threats and Nato’s response to them.

Guido here: Let’s hope not. If Afghanistan is a template of effectiveness, we’re plain fucked! The math says that on a Dolllar per result basis, these presumed troglodites on donky’s back are kicking the shit out of our modern military machine that costs hundreds of Billions to maintain without mentioning the long term medical costs and without mentioning the demoralizing effect on the troops these cave dwellers are having. Some template!

“After the Cold War, we have seen a number of new threats emerge,” he said. “Terrorism is one of them.”

The Lisbon summit will adopt a “strategic concept” or mission statement in a post-Afghanistan world.

“The purpose of the new strategic concept is to prepare the alliance to address the new security challenges – missile attacks, cyber attacks, terrorist attacks,” Mr Rasmussen said.

Guido here: the purpose of the new strategic concept is to find ways to deflect responsibility from our own failed economic and social policies that have brought us to economic gridlock with little chance to come out of it unscathed. A foreign sacrificial lamb will be found and excuses will be built-up to look good.

He also promised that a reform of Nato’s command structures will make alliance forces “more flexible”.

As well as the mission statement, the summit will also consider a European missile defence shield. The shield, based on US interceptor missiles, will rely on British radar stations to detect attacks.

The missile shield is being developed primarily because of fears of Iranian missile programmes, but Mr Rasmussen said other countries could also pose a threat.

“More than 30 countries have missile technology or are aspiring to get missile technology,” he said.

“Some of them can also hit the Euro-Atlantic area.”

Alliance leaders will later confirm a timetable for starting the “transition” of security responsibility from Nato forces to the Afghan government, starting next year and concluding at the end of 2014.

Mr Rasmussen said he was confident that Afghan forces will be ready for that responsibility in time, but accepted that the timetable could slip.

He said: “If conditions are not met fully by the end of 2014, then we will have to continue the combat mission.”

Keynes misunderstood… (inflation as a deliberate tool of the state)

July 5, 2010

Hat tip to Zero Hedge

How a reasonable economic theory was subverted and strumentalised to justify excess spending and galactic budget deficits. The rationale for doing that? World hegemony one can only presume.

Inflation Seen as Nation’s Salvation

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/inflation-seen-nations-salvation-redux-how-keynes-grew-hate-keynesianism-and-love-monetary-b

Includes a letter from Keynes to Roosevelt

Cameras; the new guns?… (fascism on the march)

June 18, 2010

http://www.thefreemanonline.org/headline/are-cameras-the-new-guns/

Par for the course. As inflation looses traction on the economy government must concentrate power in order to apply remedies that otherwise would be disputed via traditional democratic methods.

The final act

May 31, 2010

As the final act of the fiat monetary logic plays out, society, and politicians first amongst all, become preoccupied with assigning blame to everyone and everything else but themselves.

These days I only quickly scan press articles not because I have no time but because what politicians, officials and pundits have to say is a foregone conclusion. One of the more popular commentators I monitor is Ambrose Evans Pritchard of the Daily Telegraph and one of his latest comments illustrates perfectly the foregone conclusion character of what he has to say. But more interestingly, what is more of a foregone conclusion is the hand wringing and the bewildered response of the commentators to the article.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/7772565/Europe-facing-strikes-over-austerity-packages.html

Of course, if you grasp the logic enshrined in the fiat monetary logic, you also realize what, in fact, is the ultimate cause of any crisis. So that despite the fact that deliberately aberrant government policies are the root cause of crisis, society is not entirely free of blame.

It is true that government deliberately, unilaterally and arbitrarily imposes the monetary system thus providing well defined boundaries for the socio/economic/cultural development of society. It is also true that in order for the arbitrary choice of a fiat monetary system to have the desired effect on the development of society, government must ensure that the system is not questioned. Thus, ultimately, government is at the very least responsible for encouraging a type of education that omits studying the system. So, yes, government is the ultimate cause of crisis.

That being said, Western society as represented by individuals like you and me, must at the very least share the responsibility for the proximate causes of crisis. That is, society must share the responsibility for letting itself fall into the trap that “democracy” inherently sets.

Let me explain. Allow me to simplify the concept of democracy as the concept whereby each individual citizen has a say in shaping socio/economic policy. Society expresses its desires through representatives it elects to carry its message; these are the politicians. If follows that in order for politicians to acquire power they must promise desirable outcomes to ever larger segments of the population. That is the principle of democracy; i.e. the desire of the many will have the upper hand over the desires of the few. Thus successful politicians must secure large voting bases. Ergo, the democratic political process is a system of quid pro quo – I promise to give you benefits if you give me your vote.

From the above, it is clear that the democratic political process is predicated on perpetually increasing spending. That’s because no politician can ever hope to be elected to office by advocating cutting programs that are already established. So that by maintaining previously established expenditure and needing to promise new programs still, expenditure can never decrease.

And that’s where the utility of fiat money comes into play. Unlike value based money, in a fiat monetary system there are no temporal or capital constraints to expanding the monetary base so that state spending can be virtually instant and apparently infinite…. apparently, but not actually.

Fiat money appears to have no intrinsic cost thus it is thought to be free by politicians of all stripes. Of course, just like there are no free lunches, fiat money too has a cost. But, the cost of fiat money is a value that is accumulated and pushed forward in time. This cost is known as “inflation”.

If you follow this blog you will know that inflation is a dynamic that is exponential in character thus it is limited mathematically.

Hence the limit of the fiat monetary system.

Hence the necessity by government to maintain inflation on a positive trajectory come hell or high water.

Hence the reason government has a vested interest in at first tolerating but gradually encouraging and finally colluding if not perpetrating illegal practices.

Hence the reason government gradually becomes the largest actor in the economy.

Hence the reason that as the inflationary dynamic reaches its logical conclusion, nominal profits gradually concentrate in the finance industry.

Hence the reason that as the inflationary dynamic reaches its logical conclusion, the finance industry generates prodigious amounts of exotic instruments.

But lets take a break.

Assuming all I am saying is correct, what, you may ask, is the solution to the mess we find ourselves in?

There are multiple facets to this answer.

In the first place, we should not be where we are. Fiat money is actually a brilliant construct if only politicians could let the system follow its natural rhythm instead of constantly and artificially short circuiting the system’s natural inbuilt circuit breakers. But, then again, in a political system characterized by democratic features, a fiat monetary system will not and cannot be allowed to reset spontaneously. That’s because politics is inherently expedient thus as soon as the system threatens to reset (corporate bankruptcies) politicians will step-in offering assistance in a bid to garner votes (bailout and/or subsidies). Hence, fiat money in a democratic environment guarantees that inflation will run far in excess of underlying economic development forever… or, at least, for as long as inflation has a modicum of traction on the economy.

But as shown by this graph, our monetary system has lost traction.

So, we are where we are. Great. What now.

At least in theory, if both society and politicians could swallow their pride and admit to wrong doing, then we should be all right. We’d take our lumps for a few years but we’d be ok.

But other than in Iceland, nobody in the West is going to admit any wrong doing…

So the people will strike and rise up in anger and the politicians will be busy looking (creating) scape goats…

When enough people will rise up and things become messy and as the politicians begin feel power slip through their fingers, we’ll have us an appropriately evil enemy ready to focus the attention of the plebs… at that point, we’ll be ready to march on another military adventure… a military adventure this one that will employ large swathes of our unemployed…

Tic-toc, tic-toc… 2013/2015