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Octafish's Journal
Octafish's Journal
December 31, 2012

You mean, apart from the part where the FBI ignored threats to assassinate OWS leaders?

US Intelligence Machine Instead Plotted with Bankers to Attack Protest Movement

FBI Ignored Deadly Threat to Occupiers

CounterPunch DECEMBER 28-30, 2012

New documents obtained from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security by the Partnership for Civil Justice and released this past week show that the FBI and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies began a campaign of monitoring, spying and disrupting the Occupy Movement at least two months before the first occupation actions began in late September 2011.

As early as August, while acknowledging that the incipient Occupy Movement was “peaceful” in nature, federal, state and local officials from the FBI, the DHS and the many Fusion Centers and Joint Terrorism Task Force centers around the country were meeting with local financial institutions and their private security organizations to plot out a strategy for countering the Occupy Movement’s campaign.

Interestingly, one document obtained by PCJ from the Houston FBI office refers to what appears to have been a plan by some group, the name of which is blacked out in the released document, to determine who the leaders were of the Occupy Movement in Houston, and then to assassinate them with “suppressed” sniper rifles, meaning sniper rifles equipped with silencers.

The chilling document in question reads as follows:

“One identified BLANK as of October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protesters in Houston, Texas if deemed necessary. An identified BLANK had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. BLANK planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest group and obtain photographs, then formulate a plan to kill the leadership by suppressed sniper rifles.”

The wording does not sound like it’s some crank Tea Party faction they’re talking about — especially the words “deemed necessary” and the reference to “gathering intelligence against the leaders of the protest group.” Fortunately, in any case, no such assassination campaign materialized in Houston or anywhere else during the wave of Occupy actions across the country, but at the same time, there were never any arrests of whatever organization or individuals that the FBI clearly knew to be planning such a terrorist action against the Occupy activists.



I don't know why some people don't seem to understand why Secret Government is un-democratic.
December 29, 2012

George W. Bush, Harken Energy and Jackson Stephens

George W. Bush, Harken Energy and Jackson Stephens
c. 1979-90, 5th Version


Toward a Diagram of Mark Lombardi

by Frances Richard

Who is James R. Bath?

A nodal point in Mark Lombardi's drawing George W. Bush, Harken Energy and Jackson Stephens c. 1979-90, 5th Version, 1999, James R. Bath appears in the upper lefthand corner of the 16 1/2" x 41" piece of paper. The spatial syntax of Lombardi's drawings—which map in elegantly visual terms the secret deals and suspect associations of financiers, politicians, corporations, and governments—dictates that the more densely lines ray out from a given node, the more deeply that figure is embroiled in the tale Lombardi tells. Thirteen lines originate with or point to James R. Bath, more than any other name presented. Among those linked to this obscure yet central character are George W. Bush, Jr., George H.W. Bush, Sr., Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas, Governor John B. Connally of Texas, Sheik Salim bin Laden of Saudi Arabia, and Sheik Salim's younger brother, Osama bin Laden.

The drawing is done on pale beige paper, in pencil. It follows a time-line, with dates arrayed across three horizontal tiers. These in turn support arcs denoting personal and corporate alliances, the whole comprising a skeletal resume of George W. Bush's career in the oil business. In other words, the drawing, like all Lombardi's work, is a post-Conceptual reinvention of history painting, a document of factually verifiable yet extremely pared-down relationships limned in a double light of international fame and cryptic realpolitik. Or rather, the light is triple. For, though he possessed the instincts of a private eye and the acumen of a systems-analyst, Lombardi was of course an artist, and from the raw material of wire-service reports and books by political correspondents, he drew not only chronicles of covert, high-stakes trade, but technically pristine and sensually compelling visual forms. His project's sources are profoundly art-historical, even as they are obviously journalistic, and the creative tension between abstracted, self-propelling image and direct verbal communication propels his work. Delicately balanced and gracefully enlaced, these lines and circles read from across the room as purely retinal explorations of two-dimensional space. Their stylized complexity, however, lures the eye in, to a point where language registers as legible and referentiality asserts itself through the scrim of form. A narrative emerges. Looking shifts toward reading, and Lombardi's one-two punch lands.

James R. Bath, it turns out, is a Texas businessman, a sometime aeronautics broker whose firm, Skyway Aircraft Leasing, LTD., was a Cayman Islands front amassing money for use by Oliver North in the Iran-Contra affair. Bath also served as an agent minding American interests for a quartet of Saudi Arabian billionaires, one of whom was Sheik Salim bin Laden, the oldest son and heir of Sheik Mohammed bin Laden, father of fifty-four children including Osama. According to reports by the Houston Chronicle, the Wall Street Journal, Time, and others, Bath did business in his own name but with the Saudis' money; tax records indicate that he collected a fee of 5% on their multimillion dollar American investments. In 1979, Bath contributed $50,000 to Arbusto Energy, a limited-partnership controlled by George W. Bush. As Bath had little capital of his own, oil insiders trace the funds to his silent partners, specifically Salim bin Laden. Such cash infusions from Bath's client sheiks and George H.W. Bush's cartel cronies could not, however, prop Arbusto up. The venture collapsed in 1981 and merged into the Spectrum 7 Energy Corporation. Spectrum—still with W. at the helm—evolved through more near-failures and mergers into Harken Energy, which, in 1990, embarked upon a sweetheart deal to drill oil wells in Bahrain—this regardless of the fact that Harken had never drilled an overseas well, nor a marine well of any kind. Oil industry cognoscenti again assume that the Bahrain contract was orchestrated as a favor from the Saudis to the American chief executive and his family. The favor paid. On June 20, 1990, George W. Bush sold two-thirds of his Harken stock at $4 per share. Eight days later, Harken finished the second quarter with losses of $23 million; the stock promptly lost 75% of its value, finishing at just over $1 per share. Two months later, Iraq invaded Kuwait, and the Gulf War began. All these events are cited in Lombardi's drawing.

Meanwhile, another Bath associate, Sheik Khalid bin Mafouz, was involved in the collapse (in July, 1991) of the Bank of Credit and Commerce, International, better known as BCCI. Among the sins of the Pakistani-owned BCCI were money-laundering on behalf of Colombian druglords, arms brokering, bribery, and aid to terrorists; when this cabal came unglued, millions of investors in seventy-three countries lost their life-savings. Although Bath was not personally implicated in the BCCI fiasco, an estranged business partner claims that that he, Bath, had been recruited to the CIA in 1976-77 by George Bush, Sr., after serving in the Texas Air National Guard as the buddy of George Bush, Jr. (in 1972, the two young men narrowly escaped arrest for cocaine possession). Bath's putative CIA connections, the Agency's operations in the Middle East, and the adventures of BCCI thus compose a kind of symmetry. The byzantine saga of BCCI's demise is plotted in the drawing that is perhaps Lombardi's masterwork, BCCI-ICIC-FAB, c. 1972-1991, (4th Version), 1996-2000. Unveiled in the landmark P.S. 1 exhibition "Greater New York" in 2000, this piece signaled Lombardi's arrival at the cusp of art world fame; it is now in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum. A wall-size panel schematizing twenty years of suspect alliances amongst scores of players, BCCI-ICIC-FAB… was the last major work the artist made before his death.

For those who followed the BCCI scandal—or the Harken Energy/insider trading scandal, or the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro scandal, or the Lincoln Savings & Loan scandal, or any of Lombardi's pet juggernauts—these diagrams summarize rather than amend available knowledge. He was always careful to explain that he did not conduct primary investigations, but culled his information exclusively from the public record; a basic Internet search yields multiple references to the Bath/Bush/bin Laden connection. However, ferreting out and adding up in one's own head the myriad fragments scattered across the infotainment megascape is a very different experience from standing before Lombardi's rhythmic plots. In the strangely contemplative and yet galvanizing presence of these images, the graphic equilibrium with which he invests his subjects is transformative. To track these events in the context of the drawings is to experience their import freshly, to undergo a shock of mixed recognition and surprise.



Infinite thanks to you, Rex. I am honored to return your salute, Sir. I am privileged to stand with you.
December 27, 2012

How about a link to back up your smear, zappaman? Here's who I'd like to see interviewed...

George Herbert Walker Bush. He was in Dallas that day, according to what he told the FBI. Something else to remember, Poppy Bush was nearby when Nixon, Ford and Reagan were -- or almost were -- impeached or otherwise removed from office.

Here's a transcript of the text:




At 1:45 p.m. Mr. GEORGE H. W. BUSH, President of the Zapata Off-Shore Drilling Company, Houston, Texas, residence 5525 Briar, Houston, telephonically furnished the following information to writer by long distance telephone call from Tyler, Texas.

BUSH stated that he wanted to be kept confidential but wanted to furnish hearsay that he recalled hearing in recent weeks, the day and source unknown. He stated that one JAMES PARROTT has been talking of killing the President when he comes to Houston.

BUSH stated that PARROTT is possibly a student at the University of Houston and is active in political matters in this area. He stated that he felt Mrs. FAWLEY, telephone number SU 2-5239, or ARLINE SMITH, telephone number JA 9-9194 of the Harris County Republican Party Headquarters would be able to furnish additional information regarding the identity of PARROTT.

BUSH stated that he was proceeding to Dallas, Texas, would remain in the Sheraton-Dallas Hotel and return to his residence on 11-23-63. His office telephone number is CA 2-0395.

Which, of course, makes me wonder about this memo, from a week later:

Here's a transcript of the above:

Date: November 29, 1963

To: Director
Bureau of Intelligence and Research
Department of State

From: John Edgar Hoover, Director

NOVEMBER 22, 1963

Our Miami, Florida, Office on November 23, 1963, advised that the Office of Coordinator of Cuban Affairs in Miami advised that the Department of State feels some misguided anti-Castro group might capitalize on the present situation and undertake an unauthorized raid against Cuba, believing that the assassination of President John F. Kennedy might herald a change in U. S. policy, which is not true.

Our sources and informants familiar with Cuban matters in the Miami area advise that the general feeling in the anti-Castro Cuban community is one of stunned disbelief and, even among those who did not entirely agree with the President's policy concerning Cuba, the feeling is that the President's death represents a great loss not only to the U. S. but to all of Latin America. These sources know of no plans for unauthorized action against Cuba.

An informant who has furnished reliable information in the past and who is close to a small pro-Castro group in Miami has advised that these individuals are afraid that the assassination of the President may result in strong repressive measures being taken against them and, although pro-Castro in their feelings, regret the assassination.

The substance of the foregoing information was orally furnished to Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency and Captain William Edwards of the Defense Intelligence Agency on November 23, 1963, by Mr. W. T. Forsyth of this Bureau.

# # #

So, yes, I've wondered about who was responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy. While I don't know who was responsible, I do know there are people still living who have information about the crime and its perpetrators. Unlike you, zappaman, I've noted such for a long time.
December 26, 2012

Know your BFEE: Siegelman Judge is a big-time War Profiteer

U.S. Judge Mark E. Fuller, the guy who helped railroad Gov. Don Siegelman.

Fuller just happens to be the owner of a company that's made a huge fortune off the Pentagon and War Inc via no-bid crony War on Terror largesse.

The Pork Barrel World of Judge Mark Fuller

By Scott Horton
Harper's August 6, 2007, 5:14 pm

For the last week, we’ve been examining the role played by Judge Mark Everett Fuller in the trial, conviction, and sentencing of former Alabama Governor Don E. Siegelman. Today, we examine a post-trial motion, filed in April 2007, asking Fuller to recuse himself based on his extensive private business interests, which turn very heavily on contracts with the United States Government, including the Department of Justice.

The recusal motion rested upon details about Fuller’s personal business interests. On February 22, 2007, defense attorneys obtained information that Judge Fuller held a controlling 43.75% interest in government contractor Doss Aviation, Inc. After investigating these claims for over a month, the attorneys filed a motion for Fuller’s recusal on April 18, 2007. The motion stated that Fuller’s total stake in Doss Aviation was worth between $1-5 million, and that Fuller’s income from his stock for 2004 was between $100,001 and $1 million dollars.

In other words, Judge Fuller likely made more from his business income, derived from U.S. Government contracts, than as a judge. Fuller is shown on one filing as President of the principal business, Doss Aviation, and his address is shown as One Church Street, Montgomery, Alabama, the address of the Frank M. Johnson Federal Courthouse, in which his chambers are located.


Doss Aviation and its subsidiaries also held contracts with the FBI. This is problematic when one considers that FBI agents were present at Siegelman’s trial, and that Fuller took the extraordinary step of inviting them to sit at counsel’s table throughout trial. Moreover, while the case was pending, Doss Aviation received a $178 million contract from the federal government.



There's a special place for Judge Fuller, and it's not on the bench.
December 24, 2012


Joseph E. Stiglitz's Blog

December 6, 2012

US needs a financial system that tackles inequality | Joseph Stiglitz

The system's focus must shift from speculative and proprietary trading to lending and job creation

After a hard-fought election campaign, costing well in excess of $2bn, it seems to many observers that not much has changed in American politics: Barack Obama is still president, the Republicans still control the House of Representatives, and the Democrats still have a majority in the Senate.

With America facing a "fiscal cliff" – automatic tax increases and spending cuts at the start of 2013 that will most likely drive the economy into recession unless bipartisan agreement on an alternative fiscal path is reached – could there be anything worse than continued political gridlock?

In fact, the election had several salutary effects – beyond showing that unbridled corporate spending could not buy an election, and that demographic changes in the US may doom Republican extremism. The Republicans' explicit campaign of disenfranchisement in some states – such as Pennsylvania, where they tried to make it more difficult for African-Americans and Latinos to register to vote – backfired: those whose rights were threatened were motivated to turn out and exercise them. In Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor and tireless warrior for reforms to protect ordinary citizens from banks' abusive practices, won a seat in the Senate.

Some of Mitt Romney's advisers seemed taken aback by Obama's victory: wasn't the election supposed to be about economics? They were confident that Americans would forget how the Republicans' deregulatory zeal had brought the economy to the brink of ruin, and that voters had not noticed how their intransigence in Congress had prevented more effective policies from being pursued in the wake of the 2008 crisis. Voters, they assumed, would focus only on the current economic malaise.

The Republicans should not have been caught off-guard by Americans' interest in issues such as disenfranchisement and gender equality. While these issues strike at the core of a country's values – of what we mean by democracy and limits on government intrusion into individuals' lives – they are also economic issues. As I explain in my book The Price of Inequality, much of the rise in US economic inequality is attributable to a government in which the rich have disproportionate influence – and use that influence to entrench themselves. Obviously, issues such as reproductive rights and gay marriage have large economic consequences as well.



December 24, 2012

Socialism has come to America.

The worst parts...

"Conspiracy Theories" vs. the Real World of Financial Crime: Bankers Face Prosecution for Conspiracy

Danny Schechter


Former NY State Governor Eliot Spitzer, and a former prosecutor who went after Wall Street commented on a refusal to go after the HSBC Bank on these charges, “”The decision to not prosecute in this instance belies everything that the government has ever done with regard to drug prosecutions everywhere.

“I mean, when you think about the way they behave toward ordinary people who get caught up in drug cases, where they seize all your property and they use absolutely the maximum sentences they can possibly avail themselves of, and in this case they catch a bank that launders billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels … for years on end, and they can’t find something to charge these people with?”

“If the law doesn’t apply equally to everybody, then you don’t really have a system of law.


•As Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz noted years ago:

“The system is set so that even if you’re caught, the penalty is just a small number relative to what you walk home with. The fine is just a cost of doing business. It’s like a parking fine. Sometimes you make a decision to park knowing that you might get a fine because going around the corner to the parking lot takes you too much time.”


Much of this tracks back to the financial crimes that are just officially being acknowledged. It’s important to remember the warnings of Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter who, years ago,  referred to the criminal practices of big bankers, when he said: “Never have so few done so much to so many.”



We the People are asked to socialize the risk on Wall Street.

The ultrarich are asked to privatize the profit.

That's the deal. Any questions, they aren't taking any.
December 23, 2012

Bernanke free to print all the money Wall Street Banksters need in 2013...

2013 Is Bernanke's Year: Unlimited QE And Total Control Of The Fed

Agustino Fontevecchia
Forbes 12/20/12

Barack Obama‘s decisive victory over Mitt Romney in the presidential elections has cemented the future path of monetary policy under Ben Bernanke.  After unveiling a fourth round of long-term asset purchases, or quantitative easing, and a new threshold-based guidance, the Federal Reserve has put itself on a path of unlimited purchases of Treasuries and residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) until the unemployment rate falls.  The FOMC’s natural rotation will only strengthen the Chairman’s control of the committee, while an Obama Presidency and a Democratic Senate guarantee a continuation of current policies, either under Bernanke or Vice Chair Janet Yellen.

Thus, interest rates will remain repressed through 2013, the U.S. dollar should depreciate moderately, and stock markets will continue to receive masses of liquidity.
Bernanke and several of his central bank colleagues around the world have unleashed a new era of monetary policy, marked by zero-bound nominal interest rates coupled with unprecedented and massive balance sheet expansion.  In this post-financial crisis world, the Fed has taken a Keynesian edict and turned it on its head: instead of the government stepping in after a crisis to make up for the loss of aggregate demand from the private sector, it has fallen to central banks.

Through that process, the Federal Reserve has become the most important market participant, flooding markets with liquidity and owning more than a third of the Treasury market by the end of next year, according to Barclays’ economics team.  The latest iteration of their asset purchases, or QE4, consists of $40 billion a month in RMBS purchases and $45 billion in unsterilized Treasury purchases, meaning the Fed’s balance sheet will grow at a rate of $85 billion until the Fed sees a substantial improvement in labor markets.

The Fed is set to turn even more bullish in 2013, as its natural rotation sees two centrists and Jeffery Lacker, head of the Richmond Fed and a lone dissenter in the FOMC, replaced.  In their place will come Esther George of the Kansas City Fed (a moderate hawk, which means she’s mildly opposed to more accommodation) and James Bullard of the St. Louis Fed (who has the potential to be a dissenter, according to Barclays), along with ultra-doves Charles Evans and Eric Rosengren.  Furthermore, Minneapolis Fed chief Narayana Kocherlakota, a former dissenter, has quietly moved to a more dovish stance, adding further support for the Chairman.



Talk about deep doo-doo.
December 22, 2012

William K. Black marks the 'Failure of the July 2011 Great Betrayal.'

Let's Celebrate the Failure of the July 2011 Great Betrayal

William K. Black | Dec 20, 2012 10:57 AM EST

In July 2011, President Obama and Speaker Boehner reached an agreement in principle on a deal crafted to inflict $4 trillion in austerity by raising taxes modestly, slashing social spending, and beginning to unravel the safety net. The deal would have been a disaster for America. Unemployment was 9.1 percent. The deal would have thrown us back into a recession and caused unemployment to surge. Recessions and increased unemployment cause tax revenues to fall and increase demand for social services (e.g., for unemployment compensation) - they produce large deficits. Austerity kills jobs and frequently increases deficits. The Eurozone is the latest demonstration of this fact.

We should, therefore, all be celebrating the failure of the July 2011 austerity deal. We almost committed an act of economic self-mutilation of tragic proportions. Instead, because of the failure to adopt austerity in July 2011 we followed an economic policy based on modest stimulus. As predicted by most economists (including my UMKC colleagues) that policy produced modest growth and modest reductions in unemployment. The recovery produced the sharpest reduction in budgetary deficits in modern U.S. history. The Eurozone's leaders' austerity policies forced many nations back into recession. Austerity was most draconian in the periphery where it produced Great Depression levels of unemployment, particularly for young adults. The dominant media meme about the "fiscal cliff" is that it is an insane austerity program that would force the U.S. back into a gratuitous recession and cause large increases in unemployment. Logically, that should cause the media to recognize that the far more severe austerity blows that Obama and Boehner sought to inflict on the U.S. in July 2011 at a time when our economic recovery was much weaker than it is today would have been disastrous and that we should be overjoyed that the deal fell apart.

The media, however, constantly warns us of the need not to repeat the "failure" to reach the July 2011 deal. They show no sign of recognizing the logical incoherence in simultaneously warning that the fiscal cliff's austerity must be avoided lest it force the nation back into recession and that it is urgent that we adopt austerity. Media reports virtually never explain that if the July 2011 austerity deal had been finalized the results would have been catastrophic.

The media is similarly incoherent when discussing (more precisely, ignoring) another key aspect of the fiscal cliff - its origins. The "fiscal cliff" is not really a cliff, but it is definitely an economically illiterate and self-destructive austerity program. That is the first key analytical aspect of the origins of the fiscal cliff - it was known to be an economically illiterate and self-destructive austerity program when it was adopted. The obvious question, which the general media studiously ignores, is why the parties agreed to the "fiscal cliff" deal when it was obvious that it would cause catastrophic damage to our economy and people. The "fiscal cliff" (austerity) deal is the deal that did not fail - it was the bipartisan deal that became law in August 2011.



December 22, 2012

HSBC 2011 PROFIT = $22 Billion; MONEY LAUNDERING fine = $2 Billion

From Greenwald, connected dots missed by the Sunday morning talking heads:


These are worse than gangster times. The rich are above the law, one of the benefits of owning the government and its three branches.

December 22, 2012

Austerity is a Lie.

A Web of Convenient Fictions

Democrats, Social Security and the Fiscal Cliff

Dec. 21, 2012

With democrats ecstatic that political dysfunction has postponed their cutting the social insurance programs that Americans have paid for and count on for a few weeks, discussion of the intricacies of ‘chained CPI’ (Consumer Price Index) versus other measures of inflation used to adjust Social Security can now apparently wait for the New Year. Still, this probably isn’t a bad time to ask: why? Why cut Social Security? The program is currently solvent, is expected to remain solvent for decades to come, and projected shortfalls in the future could be better addressed by raising the incomes of the people who pay into the program, not by cutting payments to those who depend on them. What is to be gained by ‘solving’ a problem that isn’t?


Ultimately the entire ‘debate’ is nonsense—the U.S. doesn’t fund spending directly from taxes. As the Federal Reserve is in the process of demonstrating with its QE (Quantitative Easing) programs, it can buy an unlimited quantity of government debt with money it ‘creates’ –the ‘debt limit’ is an arbitrary misdirection. This isn’t to argue that there is no relationship between economic production and money creation, but it is to point out that the ‘Federal budget’ is a convenient fiction. So, given his repeated analogy of the Federal budget to a family budget, is Mr. Obama ignorant of government finances or does he understand them and is purposely using the misleading analogy to further unstated goals?

The ‘Fix the Debt’ committee of politicians, corporate executives and connected financiers claiming to be concerned about the Federal deficit isn’t discussing eliminating the ‘carried interest’ deduction that benefits billionaire hedge fund managers, raising effective corporate tax rates that are currently the lowest in modern history, materially cutting end-of-empire levels of military spending and raising personal income tax rates on the titans of finance who would be begging for change in the street were it not for Federal government largesse in the (ongoing) bank bailouts. But they are deeply concerned about the Federal deficit, as are Mr. Obama and congressional democrats.


The ‘Fix the Debt’ committee of politicians, corporate executives and connected financiers claiming to be concerned about the Federal deficit isn’t discussing eliminating the ‘carried interest’ deduction that benefits billionaire hedge fund managers, raising effective corporate tax rates that are currently the lowest in modern history, materially cutting end-of-empire levels of military spending and raising personal income tax rates on the titans of finance who would be begging for change in the street were it not for Federal government largesse in the (ongoing) bank bailouts. But they are deeply concerned about the Federal deficit, as are Mr. Obama and congressional democrats.


Effective corporate tax rates are the lowest in modern history and job creation, even before the economic calamity began in 2008, is the weakest since the 1930s. As global warming caused by largely private production and the predatory, dysfunctional private sector demonstrate on a daily basis, the ‘efficiencies’ of private production come from cost shifting, not by levels of human motivation intrinsic to capitalism. As QE is demonstrating, the Federal Reserve can control both short and long term interests rates—the ‘bond vigilantes’ are only in control when they provide cover for private interests. And Barack Obama didn’t choose the ‘least bad’ option with his healthcare ‘reform,’ he chose the private option to which he is ideologically committed.



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