October 31, 2009

Made in China

Tesla Roadster : 313 Miles on Single Charge (501 KM)

Nine U.S. banks seized in largest one-day haul

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – U.S. authorities seized nine failed banks on Friday, the most in a single day since the financial crisis began and the latest stark sign that substantial parts of the nation's banking industry are being crippled by bad loans.

The move brought the total number of failed banks in 2009 to 115 -- their highest annual level since 1992 -- with analysts expecting more to come. Among the lenders seized Friday was Los Angeles-based California National Bank, in what was the fourth-largest U.S. bank failure this year.

The largest institution to fail in the current financial crisis was Washington Mutual, which boasted $307 billion in assets when it was shuttered in September 2008.

U.S. Bancorp on Friday acquired the nine banks that had been held by FBOP Corp, picking up $18.4 billion in assets and $15.4 billion of deposits.

Visibly worried employees lined up to file into Cal National's head offices in the heart of a deserted downtown Los Angeles on a chilly Friday evening, where they had their employers' fate explained to them, regulators said.

"We're getting ready to turn everything over to U.S. Bank," said Roberta Valdez, a spokeswoman for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, which helped supervise the transfer of FBOP's assets. "They will continue to operate as normal in the interim," she added, referring to lenders acquired from FBOP.

U.S. Bancorp -- which has been buying up distressed assets this year -- is picking up the lenders once owned by FBOP, a private Illinois group with over $18 billion in assets that owned banks in Texas, Illinois, Arizona and California.

Cal National is FBOP's largest bank by branches. Others that will now go under the U.S. Bancorp umbrella included BankUSA, Citizens National Bank, Madisonville State Bank, North Houston Bank, Pacific National Bank, Park National Bank, San Diego National Bank, and the Community Bank of Lemont.

"This transaction is consistent with the growth strategy that we have outlined many times in the past, which includes enhancing our existing franchise through low-risk, in-market acquisitions," said Rick Hartnack, vice chairman of consumer banking for U.S. Bancorp.

"This transaction adds scale to our current California, Illinois and Arizona footprints."


In the "near future," all nine lenders' branches will be re-branded U.S. Bank, which is the California-focused unit of U.S. Bancorp's that operates a network of more than 770 branches across Illinois, Arizona and California.

U.S. Bancorp did not specify what would happen to the new employees it inherits.

Cal National operates 68 branches across Southern California with more than $7 billion in assets. As of June 30, the lender maintained five times as much foreclosed property on its books and twice as many non-current loans as it had a year earlier, according to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported news of its evening takeover on Friday.

Cal National lost about $500 million on heavy investments in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac preferred shares, the newspaper added, referring to securities rendered nearly worthless by the government takeover of the mortgage firms last year.

According to FDIC data, Cal National was the fourth biggest bank failure this year in terms of assets, just edging out Corus Bank, seized Sept 11 with a flat $7 billion of assets.

A bank official who answered the main number at Cal National's headquarters said they could not talk at the time.

Banks are still cleaning up their balance sheets from the recent credit boom that fueled banks' appetite to extend loans, many with poor underwriting and triggers that caused borrowers' payments to spike to unaffordable levels.

More lenders are expected to go under this year as the industry tries to get a handle on commercial real estate loans that will continue to worsen, as more strip malls go vacant and residential developments stall.

Banks held about $1.7 trillion in commercial real estate loans at the end of September, according to Federal Reserve data, or about 15 percent of their total assets. But to the extent these loans weaken, small banks are likely to be hit the hardest because larger banks were better diversified.

Banks that analysts say could risk big losses include Salt Lake City's Zions Bancorp, Columbus, Georgia's Synovus Financial Corp and Dallas-based Comerica Inc.

Before FBOP, U.S. Bancorp bought Downey Savings of Newport Beach and PFF Bank & Trust of Pomona when those thrifts failed last November, the newspaper said. Just this month, U.S. Bancorp bought 20 Nevada branches from BB&T Corp, which had acquired them as part of its deal to buy Colonial BancGroup Inc, it added.

(Additional reporting by Mary Milliken; Editing by Bernard Orr and Dean Yates)

Afghanistan: Karzai's drug-dealing bro has been on CIA payroll for 8 years, says NYT

Xeni Jardin
karzai.jpg Thug life, Kabul-style, courtesy of American tax dollars. The New York Times reports that "Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country's booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, and has for much of the past eight years, according to current and former American officials."

A related story out in tomorrow's paper covers the push for more US troops in Afghanistan's cities and agricultural areas, where the poppies that support the Taliban are cash crop numero uno.

The Carbon Police Are Coming For You by Michael Gold

The Carbon Police Are Coming For You!
copyright 2007 Michael Gold.

October 25, 2009

American Blackout Trailer

American Blackout chronicles the recurring patterns of disenfranchisement witnessed from 2000 to 2004 while following the story of Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who not only took an active role in investigating these election debacles but also found herself in the middle of one after publicly questioning the Bush Administration about the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Some call Cynthia McKinney a civil rights leader among the ranks of Shirley Chisholm and Malcolm X. Others call her a conspiracy theorist and a 'looney.' American Blackout gains unprecedented access to one of the most controversial and dangerous politicians in America and examines the contemporary tactics used to control our democratic process and silence political dissent

Is Mayor Daley Looking To Lease Water System?

Roseanne Tellez

If the parking meter deal put a bad taste in your mouth, try swallowing this:
Chicago is considering leasing its water system to help fix the budget.

The new boss could charge whatever they want for water, CBS 2's Roseanne Tellez reports.

Could it happen here in Chicago? It already has nearby. Homer Glen in Will County relies on Lake Michigan water, but the supply comes from a German-owned firm. Locals say there's a lot more than water going down the drain.

It's a vital resource you can't live without. But in Homer Glen, the question is can you afford water. Residents say rates are breaking the bank.

Homer Glen resident Lillie Gajda said her family has tried to cut back to offset high rates.

"Oh, we do everything -- we've changed out toilets, we've changed our showerheads, we've changed faucets, we've changed dishwashers," she said.

Mayor Jim Daley says residents pay about three times more than those in neighboring communities. He said Illinois-American Water Co. offers the same explanation.

"They simply say that they have infrastructure improvements they need to make, that they can show their costs," he said. "What we're saying: It's absolutely absurd."

But Could Chicago be next? A trade publication says the city's Department of Water Management is "considering a lease of its water and wastewater system."

Alderman Scott Waguespack has heard similar rumblings.

"We've already heard inklings that they're thinking about it," he said. "They've had discussions. Why is the public not at the table?"

Waguespack was one of the few holdouts on the City Council when the parking meter deal went through. Under that controversial plan, the cash-strapped city agreed to lease its parking spaces for 75 years to a private firm that would collect higher parking rates. It netted the city more than $1 billion in cash.

"Why are we having a fire sale on everything in the city?" Waguespack said.

Jon Keesecker, with Food and Water Watch, says there's simply no public accountability.

"The financial situation is dire, but handing off an asset that is essential to life and that absolutely all residents in the city need is probably not the best solution," he said.

CBS 2 made repeated calls to Illinois-American Water, with no luck. Mayor Daley didn't want to talk, either. And Water Commissioner John Spatz did not return calls.

According to the mayor's 2010 budget, the city expects to bring in $453 million from water sales next year. That's a drop in the bucket compared to what a private firm would get.


Cramer Systems

Cramers System Group Ltd.
Type Private (subsidiary of Amdocs)
Genre OSS systems for telecom providers
Founded England, 1996
Founder(s) Jon Craton, Don Gibson
Headquarters Bath, (Technology Centre), England
Industry telecommunications
Products OSS systems
Services software development and consultancy
Owner(s) Amdocs
Website Amdocs Cramer

Cramer Systems, founded in 1996 by Jon Craton and Don Gibson develop operating support systems OSS systems for the telecommunication industry (telco's like Vodafone, KPN Telecom, BT. In August 2006 Amdocs announced the completion of the acquisition of the company[1]. The products developed by Cramer are now an integral part of the Amdocs product suite. The potential customer base of their products is relative small: only the larger communication providers with large networks (cables and equipment) will consider implementing a system such as Cramer Systems have developed. The latest product, now also known as Amdocs OSS suite 6, Cramer 6, is a suite of applications built around the core application: the Resource Manager. Further development will probably only be extensions of this version and not a complete redesign of the core. The steps made from version 4 to 6 are huge as the latest mentioned version is completely written from scratch in Java. With the Resource Manager telco's can administer all their assets related to their network. This includes equipment like switches, routers, SDH and PDH nodes, CPEs etc, but also cables, buildings, rooms, cabinets etc.

Depending on the setup of the product (and requirements and wishes of the operator) the registration of the 'resources' can be detailed, very detailed or extremely detailed - depending on what the operator wishes to do with their suite. Originally the system was developed to administer telecom systems as SDH and PDH networks (circuit based networks). Via the resource manager operators could make a complete representation of their complete network up to the individual interfaces on the cards/modules in cabinets - located in rooms in buildings etc. It is a very large operation to get all that information of an existing network in a (database) system as Resource Manager. And as the requirements of each customer are different and the number of possible equipment and related assets are very large each installation of the system has to be different. The key feature of the product is that the applications are 'service aware': they do not only administer what equipment is installed, the system knows what each system, module, card, interface or cable can do, which circuits or connections are configured on the network and which services use these connections.

In the earlier versions only circuit based networks could be administered, but more recent versions can also handle connection-less networks as ATM and IP-based networks.

Options of the suite include applications as Route Finder: the user points out the endpoints and requirements of a connection and the system will find out how the connection can be created through the network based on its knowledge of all available equipment, their capacity and current (and planned) usage. Although complex, this functionality is quite straightforward in hierarchical network structures - but far more difficult in connectionless networks such as IP based networks. Network operators using this software need to make strict guidelines to prevent mismatches between the information in the inventory system and the live network. Interfaces between the Cramer software and the (other) network management tools in use and create working processes where the system with the most complete information about all networks is always leading. If data integrity is guaranteed systems like Cramer and comparable applications can streamline all processes and make efficient use of resources possible, but realizing that goal takes a lot of time, effort and money.

As said: the Cramer suite is built around the Resource Manager, which is really a set of databases and specialized user interface specialized for storing, retrieving and displaying information about networks. In most cases the RM uses a (often dedicated) Oracle database: not only the 'resources' are stored in databases (such as the equipment, modules, cards, interfaces, cables, cpe's etc) but also the data describing the features of equipment, data specifying business processes, rules to calculate capacity and usage, hierarchical dependencies between cables, equipment, circuits/connections and services and service data such as: what type of connection is needed for a specific service, if and what sort of protection is required to overcome problems in networks (eg. for a leased line configuring two routes through the network using different cables via different routes that is fully reserved for that one leased line, or leased lines with a -separately routed- back up route that might be used by others unless this leased line needs it when the main route is broken).

The latest two versions of the OSS suite uses Java as middleware plafform for the GUI and some interfaces or adapters between the suite and external systems.

Although Cramer has been acquired by Amdocs in August 2006 the development of their products continues and is still based at their technology center in Bath, England. They continue to exist, but now as the OSS department of the much larger BSS developer Amdocs

James Bamford on Democracy Now! - 10-14-2008

James Bamford describes the NSA's subcontracting to Israeli firms for mass surveillance of U.S.-based electronic communications. Further information, and how this relates to 9/11 at 911blogger.com; http://www.911blogger.com/node/18981

Amdocs: Fox News Series On Israeli Spying In America

Note- This stunning series ran on Fox News
some months ago. It is well worth reading.
Fox News Special Report
Part One
BRIT HUME, HOST: It has been more than 16 years since a civilian working for the Navy was charged with passing secrets to Israel. Jonathan Pollard pled guilty to conspiracy to commit espionage and is serving a life sentence. At first, Israeli leaders claimed Pollard was part of a rogue operation, but later took responsibility for his work.
Now Fox News has learned some U.S. investigators believe that there are Israelis again very much engaged in spying in and on the U.S., who may have known things they didn't tell us before Sept. 11. Fox News correspondent Carl Cameron has details in the first of a four-part series.
CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Since Sept. 11, more than 60 Israelis have been arrested or detained, either under the new patriot anti-terrorism law, or for immigration violations. A handful of active Israeli military were among those detained, according to investigators, who say some of the detainees also failed polygraph questions when asked about alleged surveillance activities against and in the United States.
There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9/11 attacks, but investigators suspect that they Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are "tie-ins." But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying, "evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It's classified information."
Fox News has learned that one group of Israelis, spotted in North Carolina recently, is suspected of keeping an apartment in California to spy on a group of Arabs who the United States is also investigating for links to terrorism. Numerous classified documents obtained by Fox News indicate that even prior to Sept. 11, as many as 140 other Israelis had been detained or arrested in a secretive and sprawling investigation into suspected espionage by Israelis in the United States.
Investigators from numerous government agencies are part of a working group that's been compiling evidence since the mid '90s. These documents detail hundreds of incidents in cities and towns across the country that investigators say, "may well be an organized intelligence gathering activity."
The first part of the investigation focuses on Israelis who say they are art students from the University of Jerusalem and Bazala Academy. They repeatedly made contact with U.S. government personnel, the report says, by saying they wanted to sell cheap art or handiwork.
Documents say they, "targeted and penetrated military bases." The DEA, FBI and dozens of government facilities, and even secret offices and unlisted private homes of law enforcement and intelligence personnel. The majority of those questioned, "stated they served in military intelligence, electronic surveillance intercept and or explosive ordinance units."
Another part of the investigation has resulted in the detention and arrests of dozens of Israelis at American mall kiosks, where they've been selling toys called Puzzle Car and Zoom Copter. Investigators suspect a front.
Shortly after The New York Times and Washington Post reported the Israeli detentions last months, the carts began vanishing. Zoom Copter's Web page says, "We are aware of the situation caused by thousands of mall carts being closed at the last minute. This in no way reflects the quality of the toy or its salability. The problem lies in the operators' business policies."
Why would Israelis spy in and on the U.S.? A general accounting office investigation referred to Israel as country A and said, "According to a U.S. intelligence agency, the government of country A conducts the most aggressive espionage operations against the U.S. of any U.S. ally."
A defense intelligence report said Israel has a voracious appetite for information and said, "the Israelis are motivated by strong survival instincts which dictate every possible facet of their political and economical policies. It aggressively collects military and industrial technology and the U.S. is a high priority target."
The document concludes: "Israel possesses the resources and technical capability to achieve its collection objectives."
A spokesman for the Israeli embassy here in Washington issued a denial saying that any suggestion that Israelis are spying in or on the U.S. is "simply not true." There are other things to consider. And in the days ahead, we'll take a look at the U.S. phone system and law enforcement's methods for wiretaps. And an investigation that both have been compromised by our friends overseas.
HUME: Carl, what about this question of advanced knowledge of what was going to happen on 9/11? How clear are investigators that some Israeli agents may have known something?
CAMERON: It's very explosive information, obviously, and there's a great deal of evidence that they say they have collected - none of it necessarily conclusive. It's more when they put it all together. A bigger question, they say, is how could they not have know? Almost a direct quote.
HUME: Going into the fact that they were spying on some Arabs, right?
CAMERON: Correct.
HUME: All right, Carl, thanks very much.
Content and Programming Copyright 2001 Fox News Network, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2001 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, Inc.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.
Part 2
BRIT HUME, HOST: Last time we reported on the approximately 60 Israelis who had been detained in connection with the Sept. 11 terrorism investigation. Carl Cameron reported that U.S. investigators suspect that some of these Israelis were spying on Arabs in this country, and may have turned up information on the planned terrorist attacks back in September that was not passed on.
Tonight, in the second of four reports on spying by Israelis in the U.S., we learn about an Israeli-based private communications company, for whom a half-dozen of those 60 detained suspects worked. American investigators fear information generated by this firm may have fallen into the wrong hands and had the effect of impeded the Sept. 11 terror inquiry. Here's Carl Cameron's second report.
CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fox News has learned that some American terrorist investigators fear certain suspects in the Sept. 11 attacks may have managed to stay ahead of them, by knowing who and when investigators are calling on the telephone. How?
By obtaining and analyzing data that's generated every time someone in the U.S. makes a call.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What city and state, please?
CAMERON: Here's how the system works. Most directory assistance calls, and virtually all call records and billing in the U.S. are done for the phone companies by Amdocs Ltd., an Israeli-based private elecommunications company.
Amdocs has contracts with the 25 biggest phone companies in America, and more worldwide. The White House and other secure government phone lines are protected, but it is virtually impossible to make a call on normal phones without generating an Amdocs record of it.
In recent years, the FBI and other government agencies have investigated Amdocs more than once. The firm has repeatedly and adamantly denied any security breaches or wrongdoing. But sources tell Fox News that in 1999, the super secret national security agency, headquartered in northern Maryland, issued what's called a Top Secret sensitive compartmentalized information report, TS/SCI, warning that records of calls in the United States were getting into foreign hands - in Israel, in particular.
Investigators don't believe calls are being listened to, but the data about who is calling whom and when is plenty valuable in itself. An internal Amdocs memo to senior company executives suggests just how Amdocs generated call records could be used. "Widespread data mining techniques and algorithms.... combining both the properties of the customer (e.g., credit rating) and properties of the specific 'behavior.'" Specific behavior, such as who the customers are calling.
The Amdocs memo says the system should be used to prevent phone fraud. But U.S. counterintelligence analysts say it could also be used to spy through the phone system. Fox News has learned that the N.S.A has held numerous classified conferences to warn the F.B.I. and C.I.A. how Amdocs records could be used. At one NSA briefing, a diagram by the Argon national lab was used to show that if the phone records are not secure, major security breaches are possible.
Another briefing document said, "It has become increasingly apparent that systems and networks are vulnerable.Such crimes always involve unauthorized persons, or persons who exceed their authorization...citing on exploitable vulnerabilities."
Those vulnerabilities are growing, because according to another briefing, the U.S. relies too much on foreign companies like Amdocs for high-tech equipment and software. "Many factors have led to increased dependence on code developed overseas.... We buy rather than train or develop solutions."
U.S. intelligence does not believe the Israeli government is involved in a misuse of information, and Amdocs insists that its data is secure. What U.S. government officials are worried about, however, is the possibility that Amdocs data could get into the wrong hands, particularly organized crime. And that would not be the first thing that such a thing has happened. Fox News has documents of a 1997 drug trafficking case in Los Angeles, in which telephone information, the type that Amdocs collects, was used to "completely compromise the communications of the FBI, the Secret Service, the DEO and the LAPD."
We'll have that and a lot more in the days ahead - Brit.
HUME: Carl, I want to take you back to your report last night on those 60 Israelis who were detained in the anti-terror investigation, and the suspicion that some investigators have that they may have picked up information on the 9/11 attacks ahead of time and not passed it on.
There was a report, you'll recall, that the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, did indeed send representatives to the U.S. to warn, just before 9/11, that a major terrorist attack was imminent. How does that leave room for the lack of a warning?
CAMERON: I remember the report, Brit. We did it first internationally right here on your show on the 14th. What investigators are saying is that that warning from the Mossad was nonspecific and general, and they believe that it may have had something to do with the desire to protect what are called sources and methods in the intelligence community. The suspicion being, perhaps those sources and methods were taking place right here in the United States.
The question came up in select intelligence committee on Capitol Hill today. They intend to look into what we reported last night, and specifically that possibility - Brit.
HUME: So in other words, the problem wasn't lack of a warning, the problem was lack of useful details?
CAMERON: Quantity of information.
HUME: All right, Carl, thank you very much.
Part 3
BRIT HUME, HOST: Last time we reported on an Israeli-based company called Amdocs Ltd. that generates the computerized records and billing data for nearly every phone call made in America. As Carl Cameron reported, U.S. investigators digging into the 9/11 terrorist attacks fear that suspects may have been tipped off to what they were doing by information leaking out of Amdocs.
In tonight's report, we learn that the concern about phone security extends to another company, founded in Israel, that provides the technology that the U.S. government uses for electronic eavesdropping. Here is Carl Cameron's third report.
CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The company is Comverse Infosys, a subsidiary of an Israeli-run private telecommunications firm, with offices throughout the U.S. It provides wiretapping equipment for law enforcement. Here's how wiretapping works in the U.S.
Every time you make a call, it passes through the nation's elaborate network of switchers and routers run by the phone companies. Custom computers and software, made by companies like Comverse, are tied into that network to intercept, record and store the wiretapped calls, and at the same time transmit them to investigators.
The manufacturers have continuing access to the computers so they can service them and keep them free of glitches. This process was authorized by the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA. Senior government officials have now told Fox News that while CALEA made wiretapping easier, it has led to a system that is seriously vulnerable to compromise, and may have undermined the whole wiretapping system.
Indeed, Fox News has learned that Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller were both warned Oct. 18 in a hand-delivered letter from 15 local, state and federal law enforcement officials, who complained that "law enforcement's current electronic surveillance capabilities are less effective today than they were at the time CALEA was enacted."
Congress insists the equipment it installs is secure. But the complaint about this system is that the wiretap computer programs made by Comverse have, in effect, a back door through which wiretaps themselves can be intercepted by unauthorized parties.
Adding to the suspicions is the fact that in Israel, Comverse works closely with the Israeli government, and under special programs, gets reimbursed for up to 50 percent of its research and development costs by the Israeli Ministry of Industry and Trade. But investigators within the DEA, INS and FBI have all told Fox News that to pursue or even suggest Israeli spying through Comverse is considered career suicide.
And sources say that while various F.B.I. inquiries into Comverse have been conducted over the years, they've been halted before the actual equipment has ever been thoroughly tested for leaks. A 1999 F.C.C. document indicates several government agencies expressed deep concerns that too many unauthorized non-law enforcement personnel can access the wiretap system. And the FBI's own nondescript office in Chantilly, Virginia that actually oversees the CALEA wiretapping program, is among the most agitated about the threat.
But there is a bitter turf war internally at F.B.I. It is the FBI's office in Quantico, Virginia, that has jurisdiction over awarding contracts and buying intercept equipment. And for years, they've thrown much of the business to Comverse. A handful of former U.S. law enforcement officials involved in awarding Comverse government contracts over the years now work for the company.
Numerous sources say some of those individuals were asked to leave government service under what knowledgeable sources call "troublesome circumstances" that remain under administrative review within the Justice Department.
And what troubles investigators most, particularly in New York, in the counter terrorism investigation of the World Trade Center attack, is that on a number of cases, suspects that they had sought to wiretap and survey immediately changed their telecommunications processes. They started acting much differently as soon as those supposedly secret wiretaps went into place - Brit.
HUME: Carl, is there any reason to suspect in this instance that the Israeli government is involved?
CAMERON: No, there's not. But there are growing instincts in an awful lot of law enforcement officials in a variety of agencies who suspect that it had begun compiling evidence, and a highly classified investigation into that possibility - Brit.
HUME: All right, Carl. Thanks very much.
Part 4
This week, senior correspondent Carl Cameron has reported on a longstanding government espionage investigation. Federal officials this year have arrested or detained nearly 200 Israeli citizens suspected of belonging to an "organized intelligence-gathering operation." The Bush administration has deported most of those arrested after Sept. 11, although some are in custody under the new anti-terrorism law.
Cameron also investigates the possibility that an Israeli firm generated billing data that could be used for intelligence purpose, and describes concerns that the federal government's own wiretapping system may be vulnerable. Tonight, in part four of the series, we'll learn about the probable roots of the probe: a drug case that went bad four years ago in L.A.
CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Los Angeles, 1997, a major local, state and federal drug investigating sours. The suspects: Israeli organized crime with operations in New York, Miami, Las Vegas, Canada, Israel and Egypt. The allegations: cocaine and ecstasy trafficking, and sophisticated white-collar credit card and computer fraud.
The problem: according to classified law enforcement documents obtained by Fox News, the bad guys had the cops' beepers, cell phones, even home phones under surveillance. Some who did get caught admitted to having hundreds of numbers and using them to avoid arrest.
"This compromised law enforcement communications between LAPD detectives and other assigned law enforcement officers working various aspects of the case. The organization discovered communications between organized crime intelligence division detectives, the FBI and the Secret Service."
Shock spread from the DEA to the FBI in Washington, and then the CIA. An investigation of the problem, according to law enforcement documents, concluded, "The organization has apparent extensive access to database systems to identify pertinent personal and biographical information."
When investigators tried to find out where the information might have come from, they looked at Amdocs, a publicly traded firm based in Israel. Amdocs generates billing data for virtually every call in America, and they do credit checks. The company denies any leaks, but investigators still fear that the firm's data is getting into the wrong hands.
When investigators checked their own wiretapping system for leaks, they grew concerned about potential vulnerabilities in the computers that intercept, record and store the wiretapped calls. A main contractor is Comverse Infosys, which works closely with the Israeli government, and under a special grant program, is reimbursed for up to 50 percent of its research and development costs by Israel's Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Asked this week about another sprawling investigation and the detention of 60 Israeli since Sept. 11, the Bush administration treated the questions like hot potatoes.
ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I would just refer you to the Department of Justice with that. I'm not familiar with the report.
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm aware that some Israeli citizens have been detained. With respect to why they're being detained and the other aspects of your question - whether it's because they're in intelligence services, or what they were doing - I will defer to the Department of Justice and the FBI to answer that.
CAMERON: Beyond the 60 apprehended or detained, and many deported since Sept. 11, another group of 140 Israeli individuals have been arrested and detained in this year in what government documents describe as "an organized intelligence gathering operation," designed to "penetrate government facilities." Most of those individuals said they had served in the Israeli military, which is compulsory there.
But they also had, most of them, intelligence expertise, and either worked for Amdocs or other companies in Israel that specialize in wiretapping. Earlier this week, the Israeli embassy in Washington denied any spying against or in the United States - Tony.
SNOW: Carl, we've heard the comments from Ari Fleischer and Colin Powell. What are officials saying behind the scenes?
CAMERON: Well, there's real pandemonium described at the FBI, the DEA and the INS. A lot of these problems have been well known to some investigators, many of who have contributed to the reporting on this story. And what they say is happening is supervisors and management are now going back and collecting much of the information, because there's tremendous pressure from the top levels of all of those agencies to find out exactly what's going on.
At the DEA and the FBI already a variety of administration reviews are under way, in addition to the investigation of the phenomenon. They want to find out how it is all this has come out, as well as be very careful because of the explosive nature and very political ramifications of the story itself - Tony.
SNOW: All right, Carl, thanks.

Asian nations look to 'lead world'


(From right) ASEAN secretary general Surin Pitsuwan, Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen, Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak are seen during the 15th ASEAN Summit in the southern Thai resort town of Cha-am. Asian leaders discussed plans to "lead the world" by boosting economic and political cooperation and possibly forming an EU-style community.

Asian nations discussed plans at a major summit Saturday to "lead the world" by boosting economic and political cooperation and possibly forming an EU-style community.

The prime ministers of regional giants China and India also looked to foster unity on the sidelines of the summit in Thailand after months of trading barbs over long-standing territorial issues.

But nuclear-armed North Korea and military-ruled Myanmar were also set to top the agenda in the royal beach resort of Hua Hin, underscoring the challenges still facing the region.

The summit groups the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with regional partners China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Japan's new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said a proposed East Asian community involving all 16 countries should aspire to take a leading role as the region makes an early rebound from the global economic crisis.

"It would be meaningful for us to have the aspiration that East Asia is going to lead the world and with the various countries with different regimes cooperating with each other towards that perspective," Hatoyama, who took office last month, told the Bangkok Post newspaper.

He described Japan's alliance with the United States as the cornerstone of its foreign policy, but said the region should "try to reduce as much as possible the gaps, the disparities that exist amongst the Asian countries".

China would "doubtless" grow further, particularly economically, "but I do not necessarily regard that as a threat," Hatoyama said.

Officials said separately that East Asian nations would carry out a feasibility study for a huge free trade zone covering ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea and a larger group involving India, Australia and New Zealand.

Increased integration has been a recurring theme of the meetings in Thailand, as the rapidly changing region seeks to capitalise on the fact that it has recovered more quickly from the recession than the West.

ASEAN leaders have been discussing plans to create their own political and economic community by 2015.

But cross-border spats have continued to dog the summit, with host nation Thailand dragged into a war of words with Cambodia and India and China seeking to resolve their differences.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh held "productive" talks on the sidelines of the summit Saturday but did not discuss their spat over territorial issues, officials said.

"We have reached important consensus on promoting bilateral ties," Wen was quoted as saying by the Chinese state news agency Xinhua as the talks opened.

Beijing has voiced its opposition to a recent visit by Singh to Arunachal Pradesh, an Indian border state at the core of the dispute, and to a planned visit there next month by the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

Arunachal Pradesh and the Dalai Lama were not discussed at Saturday's meeting, an Indian delegation official said. The two nations fought a border war in 1962.

Human rights issues have also marred the summit. A widely criticised rights body officially launched by ASEAN on Friday was due to have its first ever meeting on Saturday.

The bloc was caught up in a row on Friday when leaders barred several activists from meeting them as previously arranged.

Meanwhile Thailand and Cambodia remained at loggerheads over the fate of fugitive former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen bizarrely offered him a job as his economic adviser.

Around 18,000 troops and dozens of armoured vehicles have been deployed in Hua Hin after it was twice postponed by anti-government protests, with another 18,000 on standby or on duty in Bangkok.

The leaders are expected to sign a host of agreements this weekend on economic and other issues including climate change, disaster management, communications and food security in the rapidly changing region.


October 24, 2009

They Live - Obey, Consume, This is your God

Fall Of The Republic documents how an offshore corporate cartel is bankrupting the US economy by design. Leaders are now declaring that world government has arrived and that the dollar will be replaced by a new global currency.

President Obama has brazenly violated Article 1 Section 9 of the US Constitution by seating himself at the head of United Nations' Security Council, thus becoming the first US president to chair the world body.

A scientific dictatorship is in its final stages of completion, and laws protecting basic human rights are being abolished worldwide; an iron curtain of high-tech tyranny is now descending over the planet.

A worldwide regime controlled by an unelected corporate elite is implementing a planetary carbon tax system that will dominate all human activity and establish a system of neo-feudal slavery.

The image makers have carefully packaged Obama as the world's savior; he is the Trojan Horse manufactured to pacify the people just long enough for the globalists to complete their master plan.

This film reveals the architecture of the New World Order and what the power elite have in store for humanity. More importantly it communicates how We The People can retake control of our government, turn the criminal tide and bring the tyrants to justice.

Fall Of The Republic - The Presidency Of Barack H Obama - The Full Movie HQ

Fall Of The Republic documents how an offshore corporate cartel is bankrupting the US economy by design. Leaders are now declaring that world government has arrived and that the dollar will be replaced by a new global currency.

President Obama has brazenly violated Article 1 Section 9 of the US Constitution by seating himself at the head of United Nations' Security Council, thus becoming the first US president to chair the world body.

A scientific dictatorship is in its final stages of completion, and laws protecting basic human rights are being abolished worldwide; an iron curtain of high-tech tyranny is now descending over the planet.

A worldwide regime controlled by an unelected corporate elite is implementing a planetary carbon tax system that will dominate all human activity and establish a system of neo-feudal slavery.

The image makers have carefully packaged Obama as the world's savior; he is the Trojan Horse manufactured to pacify the people just long enough for the globalists to complete their master plan.

This film reveals the architecture of the New World Order and what the power elite have in store for humanity. More importantly it communicates how We The People can retake control of our government, turn the criminal tide and bring the tyrants to justice.

October 4, 2009

What's wrong with this picture?


Changed times: The moon rises above New York last night, as the Empire State Building is lit in red and yellow in honor of communist China's anniversary


Marching to world domination: Why the West should be worried about China

China today celebrated its wealth and rising might with a show of goose-stepping troops, gaudy floats and nuclear-capable missiles in Beijing, 60 years after Mao Zedong proclaimed its embrace of communism.

Tiananmen Square became a hi-tech stage to celebrate the birth of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949, with President Hu Jintao, wearing a slate grey 'Mao' suit, and the Communist Party leadership watching the meticulously disciplined show from the Gate of Heavenly Peace over the Square. Here DOMINIC SANDBROOK explains why the West should be so wary of the new superpower.

By Dominic Sandbrook
Last updated at 2:29 AM on 02nd October 2009

The bunting is out, the streets have been cleared, the troops are making their final preparations, and even the massive portrait of Mao on the Tiananmen Gate seems to wear a more self-satisfied expression than usual.

Today, China will celebrate the 60th anniversary of Communist Party rule with flowers, fireworks, performances and a huge military parade which will celebrate the country's new-found military might.

The regime has come an enormously long way in six decades, from a society of peasant collective farms, hidden from the world behind a veil of secrecy, to the world's fastest-growing economy, an industrial and military superpower-in-waiting.

The first tank phalanx receives inspection in a parade of the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, on Chang'an Street in central Beijing

But beneath today's orgy of celebrations that marks the anniversary lurks a disturbing reality. Mao's successors may have embraced cut-throat capitalism to a degree that makes even Western economists blanch. But the arrangements for the parade are a reminder that China remains a deeply authoritarian society.

Kites have been banned from the centre of Beijing, pigeons have been culled and soldiers with machineguns are on every street corner. Scientists are even seeding the sky with chemicals to prevent inclement weather spoiling the celebrations.


Tibet has also been closed off to foreigners for the duration - a reminder of China's expansionist ambitions, and of the threat it could pose to world peace in years to come.

Since Chinese history is rarely taught in our schools and universities, it is not surprising that most Britons have only the foggiest notion of what goes on in the world's most populous nation.

Yet when historians look back, it is a safe bet they will see China's rise to power as one of the defining stories of the last century, perhaps eclipsing even the Cold War.

A mass parade including 200,000 performers and representatives of each wing of the armed forces showing off its latest weaponry passes through Tiananmen Square

When the Communists seized control in 1949, China was a poverty-stricken basket case, ravaged by famine, ethnic tension and feuding between rival warlords.

And in the years that followed, Mao's policies of forced industrialisation and collective farming, as well as his murderous purges of the middle classes, accounted for millions of deaths.

One scholarly estimate suggests that in 40 years, almost 80 million Chinese were slaughtered or died as a result of government policy - making the regime the biggest killer in history.

But now, of course, all that is conveniently forgotten. And British politicians are more likely to pay tribute to China's economic renaissance than to draw attention to the undemocratic brutality of its Communist regime.

There is no doubt that the facts and figures are extraordinary.

Thanks to the regime's embrace of capitalism, China's poverty rate has fallen from 53 per cent to just 8 per cent over the past 20 years.

China's President Hu Jintao stands on a limousine to inspect the military parade near Tiananmen Gate. A giant portrait of Mao can be seen behind

China's President Hu Jintao, fifth from left, flanked by former president Jiang Zemin, fifth from right, top legislator Wu Bangguo, fourth from left, Premier Wen Jiabao, fourth from right, and other leaders, applauds as they watch the celebrations

And thanks to its low labour costs, it has become the world's third-largest trading power - which is why when you turn over so many manufactured goods, the words 'MADE IN CHINA' stare up at you.

Once a peasant society, it has the largest number of mobile phone users in the world and the largest number of broadband consumers. It has some of the world's biggest and fastest-growing cities - vast metropolises such as Tianjin, Wuhan and Guangzhou, which are almost unknown in the West but boast populations of more than four million each.

And almost unnoticed, it has become the world's biggest acquirer of foreign public debt.

With some $800 billion of U.S Treasury securities, China now has a hold over the American economy that would have seemed unthinkable a few decades ago.

At one level, of course, all this is cause for celebration. For centuries, China led the world economically, culturally and technologically.

It was the Middle Kingdom, the world's most cohesive and enduring society, which pioneered not just the compass, gunpowder and printing, but porcelain, paperback books and a medieval postal service that would put today's Royal Mail to shame.

Chinese People's Liberation Army air force jets and helicopters fly in formation over Beijing's central business district

None of us, in other words, should begrudge an industrious and innovative people their return to the top table.

Yet there is a dark side to China's revival - a disturbing instinct for sabre-rattling and neo-imperialism that arguably poses the biggest threat to world peace since the Cold War.

What we often forget about China is that it is not an ordinary nation-state like any other. It is a rigid, highly militarised and intensely nationalistic empire, in which 1.2 billion Han Chinese dominate dozens of other ethnic groups, by force if necessary.

The mountain kingdom of Tibet, for example, was seized at gunpoint in 1950, and its brutal occupation remains a black stain on China's record. And in the remote far western region of Xinjiang - once known as Chinese Turkestan - ethnic tensions have surfaced in bloody fashion in the past few months.

Sixty  years ago, Xinjiang was home to the Turkic Uyghur people, most of them Muslim peasants, craftsmen and silk weavers. But since the Communist Revolution, millions of Han Chinese settlers have poured into the region, responding to government economic incentives.

As a result, traditional Uyghur shops, mosques and bazaars have been torn down and replaced with bland Han-owned malls and offices. And when tension spilled over into ethnic violence earlier this summer, the authorities were quick to blame Uyghur 'terrorists' - even though their own ruthless colonialism clearly lay at the heart of the trouble.

People watch Chinese People's Liberation Army helicopters fly in formation over Beijing's railway station during today's parade

What terrifies China's neighbours is the thought that they might be in for the same treatment as Tibet and Xinjiang. And the most obvious target for Chinese expansion is the island of Taiwan, the self-styled 'Republic of China' that was established after the American-backed Kuomintang lost the civil war against Mao in 1949 and fled across the narrow Taiwan Strait.

Even though Taiwan now stands as a highly successful state in its own right, the Chinese Communists have never abandoned their ambition to incorporate it into their empire.

And what is more, any government wanting diplomatic relations with China has to forgo relations with Taiwan and formally accept the 'One China' policy - a kind of blackmail to which Britain and the United States. have shamefully acceded.

But China's horizons extend well beyond the Taiwan Strait. Although Chinese spokesmen insist that it has no imperialistic ambitions, the list of border disputes that might provide a pretext for war - the Sudetenlands of the future, perhaps - is disturbingly long.

China currently has territorial disputes with Japan, both Koreas, Bhutan, the Philippines and Vietnam, as well as one of the world's most enduring and most dangerous border disputes with India, which could easily bring two nuclear powers to the brink of war.

Female soldiers march past Tiananmen Square during the military parade

Women members of the militia, a civilian reserve force under China's military, salute as they march past Tiananmen Square


Participants hold heart-shaped balloons during the parade

Perhaps most worrying, however, is the evidence of Chinese expansionism and interference in Africa.

In 1873 the Victorian explorer Sir Francis Galton suggested that one way to modernise the so-called Dark Continent was to fill it with ' industrious, order-loving Chinese', with Africa becoming a 'semi-detached dependency of China'. Such was the outcry that Galton soon dropped the idea. But more than a century later, he seems to have been ahead of his time.

For in the past decade, more than 750,000 Chinese have settled in Africa, and the red flag now flutters over jungles and prairies alike.

In the ports of East Africa, Chinese cargo ships are loaded every day with oil, timber and diamonds.

Vast Chinese-owned mines pay African labourers less than £1 a day to scratch out copper for the gigantic smoke-belching cities of East Asia. And deep in the heart of Africa, acres of forest are ripped down every day as timber for China's industrial revolution.

But there is another side to this new Scramble for Africa. For in return, the Chinese are selling African leaders the assault rifles, warplanes and mortars they need for their bloody wars of conquest and ethnic cleansing.

Only last year, Zimbabwe's despotic Robert Mugabe received a cool £200m in Chinese military aid.

And even the brutal slaughter in southern Sudan, in which hundreds of thousands of non-Muslim peasants were murdered by government militias, was carried out with £55m-worth of Chinese weapons, sold to the Sudanese in defiance of a UN arms embargo.

Performers participate in the parade. It showed everything from airplanes for in-flight refuelling to intercontinental missiles as well as tens of thousands of children in brightly coloured costumes

Meanwhile, China itself is well on the way to becoming one of the world's dominant military powers. Already, its standing army alone has more than 2.25 million men.

And for the past 20 years, the Chinese have been modernising at a staggering rate - ploughing the fruits of their industrial revolution not into welfare programmes, health care or the environmental protection their people so badly need, but into guns, guns and more guns.

It is no accident that the centrepiece of the 60th anniversary celebrations in Beijing is a massive military parade.

Like so many aggressively modernising regimes before them - Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union spring to mind - the Chinese leadership clearly equate economic progress with military spending. Only this week, their Defence Minister Liang Guanglie bragged that the parade would ' display the image of a military force, a civilised force, a victorious force'.

With its new J-10 fighter jets, naval destroyers and Cruise missiles, the Chinese army, he said, was a match for any in the Western world. 'This is an extraordinary achievement,' he boasted, 'that speaks of our military's modernisation and the huge change in our technological strength.

' Whenever Western observers voice disquiet about this terrifying military buildup, the Chinese insist that they have no hostile ambitions, or merely put the complaints down to racist scaremongering. But then they would say that.

Mobile missile defence systems were part of the giant military parade.

And the evidence of their actions - their callous repression in Tibet and Xinjiang, their ruthless suppression-of dissent and free speech at home, even the violence of their bullying 'minders' during the shambolic Olympic torch relay through London last year - tells a very different story.

Of course, China's long march to world domination is by no means inevitable. As academic experts point out, their current economic miracle is built on distinctly shaky political and environmental foundations.

History suggests that any society modernising at such breakneck pace, with millions of peasants flooding from the countryside to the cities, often into low-paid jobs and jerry-built apartments, is bound to suffer enormous social and economic tensions.


Early-warning aircraft from the Chinese People's Liberation Army air force fly in front of a fighter bomber

At some stage, the Communist Party is likely to come under intense pressure from China's growing middle classes to grant political and environmental reforms. And if the economic miracle turns sour, then the consequences for the regime could be very serious indeed.

But would this be such good news for the West? In an era of globalisation, we have become more dependent on Chinese economic success than most of us realise.

By 2010, the Government predicts, trade between Britain and China will be worth more than £35 billion to the UK. And with many British firms dependent on exports to China, families in Birmingham could suffer just as much as those in Beijing if it all goes wrong.

Changed times: The moon rises above New York last night, as the Empire State Building is lit in red and yellow in honor of communist China's anniversary

The truth is that we need a buoyant, successful, self- confident China. But we do not need the secretive, repressive, expansionist dragon that many experts see stirring in the Far East.

We have, after all, been here before. Seventy years after the outbreak of the bloodiest conflict in human history, we should all know the dangers of appeasing territorial ambitions, of turning a blind eye to domestic repression, of naively swallowing the propaganda of an authoritarian regime.

The year 1939 is now etched in our collective consciousness.

But unless we play our cards right - unless we use the next few years to coax China towards democracy, to push for human rights reform, and to roll back their new colonialism - then another date might loom larger in our descendants' imagination.

Within ten years, China's rulers plan to have a fully mechanised and computerised army. And within 20, the world's biggest military force could be capable of standing toe to toe with its American counterpart - especially if the U.S. economy continues to stutter and slide.

Imagine a scenario, 30 years from now, where the Western powers' resistance has been sapped by years of economic turmoil, environmental collapse and a bitter struggle for resources.

Imagine that China's Communist leadership, buoyed by decades of military spending, decide to celebrate their 90th anniversary by reabsorbing Taiwan and 'settling' their border disputes once and for all.

It is all too easy to close our eyes and wish for the best. But unless we are careful, what happens in 2039 could make 1939 look like a children's tea party.

We cannot say that we have not been warned.