$6 Billion Goes Missing at State Department

The State Department has no idea what happened to $6 billion used to pay its contractors.  In a special “management alert” made public Thursday, the State Department’s Inspector General Steve Linick warned “significant financial risk and a lack of internal control at the department has led to billions of unaccounted dollars over the last six years.  The alert was just the latest example of the federal government’s continued struggle with oversight over its outside contractors.  The lack of oversight “exposes the department to significant financial risk,” the auditor said. “It creates conditions conducive to fraud, as corrupt individuals may attempt to conceal evidence of illicit behavior by omitting key documents from the contract file. It impairs the ability of the Department to take effective and timely action to protect its interests, and, in tum, those of taxpayers.”  In the memo, the IG detailed “repeated examples of poor contract file administration.” For instance, a recent investigation of the closeout process for contracts supporting the mission in Iraq, showed that auditors couldn’t find 33 of the 115 contract files totaling about $2.1 billion. Of the remaining 82 files, auditors said 48 contained insufficient documents required by federal law.

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The 9/11 Joint Congressional Inquiry and the 28 Missing Pages

The leaders of the 9/11 Joint Congressional Inquiry were Congressman Porter Goss and Senator Bob Graham, who headed-up the House and Senate intelligence committees at the time. Due to Goss and Graham’s activities before 9/11 and on that day, as well as their representation of the state of Florida, their leadership of the Inquiry presented a remarkable number of questions.

For example, Goss and Graham were meeting with Pakistani ISI General Mahmud Ahmed just as the first plane struck the World Trade Center. The Ahmed meeting is interesting due to the Pakistani ISI’s history with the CIA in arming the “Afghan Arabs” from which al Qaeda evolved. The ISI had also been intimately linked with the terrorist network previously run by the CIA’s partner—the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). Added to these coincidences was the fact that Goss and Graham had just returned from a trip to Pakistan in which they had specifically discussed Osama bin Laden, who was a topic of discussion at their 9/11 breakfast meeting as well.

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The first congressman to battle the NSA is dead. No-one noticed, no-one cares

Last month, former Congressman Otis Pike died, and no one seemed to notice or care. That’s scary, because Pike led the House’s most intensive and threatening hearings into US intelligence community abuses, far more radical and revealing than the better-known Church Committee’s Senate hearings that took place at the same time. That Pike could die today in total obscurity, during the peak of the Snowden NSA scandal, is, as they say, a “teachable moment” —one probably not lost on today’s already spineless political class.

In mid-1975, Rep. Pike was picked to take over the House select committee investigating the US intelligence community after the first committee chairman, a Michigan Democrat named Nedzi, was overthrown by more radical liberal Democrats fired up by Watergate after they learned that Nedzi had suppressed information about the CIA’s illegal domestic spying program, MH-CHAOS, exposed by Seymour Hersh in late 1974. It was Hersh’s exposés on the CIA domestic spying program targeting American dissidents and antiwar activists that led to the creation of the Church Committee and what became known as the Pike Committee, after Nedzi was tossed overboard.

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Feds Stop North Korean Meth ‘Floodgate’ Into New York

Is Walter White working out of North Korea?  According to federal authorities, five men were arrested in New York this week for attempting to bring over 200 pounds of methamphetamine from the dictatorial regime into the Empire State. (Mirroring the quality of “Blue Magic” meth produced in Breaking Bad, the illegal drugs seized “had a purity of over 99%,” according to the indictment.)  The five men–whose nationalities include the United Kingdom, China and the Philippines–were arrested in Thailand in September and were extradited to the United States yesterday evening, where they were arrested by U.S. authorities.  “Methamphetamine is a dangerous, potentially deadly drug, whatever its origin. If it ends up in our neighborhoods, the threat it poses to public health is grave whether it is produced in New York, elsewhere in the U.S., or in North Korea,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara declared in a statement today announcing the arrests.

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How the global spy game is changing

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright recalls a French diplomat once querying her at the United Nations in New York about her position on an issue. It wasn’t just the usual hallway chitchat. He wanted to know why she had a particular point of view that, as it turned out, she had only communicated to a very few other US officials.  “I said, ‘Excuse me?’ ” Secretary Albright told a Washington audience recently amid a burgeoning transatlantic uproar over revelations of extensive American spying on Europeans and their leaders. “They had an intercept of something,” added Albright, who was US ambassador to the UN and secretary of State under President Clinton, “so it isn’t exactly as if this is new.”  As National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward Snowden continues to dribble out documents detailing the scope of American intelligence gathering, some analysts sigh and remind the world that if spying is the second-oldest profession, then spying on friends is at least as old as the Bible.

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Forty Years Later: Soviet/Arab Secrets of Yom Kippur War Revealed

Forty years ago today, a Egyptian/Syrian invasion surprised and almost destroyed Israel. The attack was the culmination of a complex Soviet/Arab disinformation plot and secret military build-up. We know this because of Russian dissident-historian Pavel Stroilov, and from professional Arabists who over the years have paid attention to the Arab press and the antics of Middle Eastern regimes.  In the Russian archives, Stroilov uncovered the secret diaries of Anatoly Chernyaev, deputy chief of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union International Department (a successor to the Comintern). On July 15, 1972, Chernyaev’s diary reports:

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FSB: Vladimir Putin’s immensely powerful modern-day KGB

The FSB is much more than just an ordinary security service. Combining the functions of an elite police force with those of a spy agency, and wielding immense power, it has come a long way since the early 1990s, when it was on the brink of imploding.  Today’s agency draws a direct line of inheritance from the Cheka, set up by Vladimir Lenin in the months after the Bolshevik revolution, to the NKVD, notorious for the purges of the 1930s in which hundreds of thousands were executed, and then the KGB. As the Soviet Union disbanded, the KGB was dismembered into separate agencies, and humiliated. The security services were forced into a new era of openness and researchers were allowed into the archives for the first time to investigate the crimes of the Stalin period.

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NSA vs. Google: Who Gets to Spy on You

Recently, the media spotlight has been on the PRISM furore of spying by government agencies such as the NSA. However in all of the hype surrounding this issue, it is overlooked that the private sector has also been culpable in these kinds of privacy transgressions.  Comprehensive surveillance by the state is a serious matter, yet the colossal network of monitoring undertaken by the private sector in targeted digital advertising is just as potentially dangerous, if not more so, in the event this information is abused. Dozens of companies exist solely to profile users and in turn build digital profiles detailing almost all of an individual’s online activities: websites visited, visit duration, and the location of the website, which theoretically tracks the type of people they are contacting (e.g. an Iranian website).

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Exclusive: Dozens of CIA operatives on the ground during Benghazi attack

CNN has uncovered exclusive new information about what is allegedly happening at the CIA, in the wake of the deadly Benghazi terror attack.  Four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in the assault by armed militants last September 11 in eastern Libya.  Sources now tell CNN dozens of people working for the CIA were on the ground that night, and that the agency is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret.  CNN has learned the CIA is involved in what one source calls an unprecedented attempt to keep the spy agency’s Benghazi secrets from ever leaking out.

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Smoking Gun? IRS Union Prez Visited Obama On 3/31/10

What if it could be proven that the president of the anti-tea party National Treasury Employees Union visited Barack Obama, the anti-tea party President of the United States in the White House on March 31, 2010 –  the day before  the IRS, (with the union involved in its decision-making) set up its “Sensitive Case Report on the Tea Party”?  Does that seem a little incriminating?  Jeffrey Lord of The American Spectator has the scoop:

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The Bilderberg Group to meet in The Grove Hotel in Watford

A secretive meeting involving some of the most influential figures in Western Europe and North America will take place in Watford next month, the Watford Observer can reveal.  The Bilderberg Group will be meeting in The Grove Hotel between June 6 and June 8.  Around 100 invited dignitaries from around the world will descend on the town for a three-day conference and the entire 220-room hotel is booked out for the event.  The guestlist for the “small, flexible, informal and off-the-record international forum” is a closely guarded secret but previous participants are believed to include Prime Minister David Cameron, his predecessors Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher and Gordon Brown as well as Chancellor George Osborne, Henry Kissinger and first in line to the throne Prince Charles.

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Margaret Thatcher’s Unlikely Meetings with an Indian Mystic

n the wake of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s death at 87 on Monday, the world has weighed in on her contentious legacy. While the debate rages over her no-nonsense approach to politics, a few have turned their attention in a more peculiar direction, dredging up a fascinating incident she preferred to keep under wraps: her clandestine meetings in 1975 with Indian mystic Sri Chandraswamy.

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European ‘shadow state’ faces growing resistance

Amid the EU’s lack of a strong central government to enforce common fiscal policy, a “shadow state” has emerged – a patchwork of agencies that is facing growing criticism as undemocratic and illegitimate.  Which cruel ruler is continually forcing new rounds of austerity measures on the Greeks? And which dark power managed to break the resistance of Cypriots in just a few days? The answer is not Germany. It is the eurozone’s shadow state.

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Algeria: A giant afraid of its shadow

Algerian intellectuals like to spin a narrative in the smokey cafés of the graciously rotting capital. In hushed tones, they tell of the bright, ambitious elites who left the coastal cities for the densely forested mountains to fight against the French occupiers in the 1950s. But the commanders rebuffed the clever young men, dispatching them instead to Paris, Lyon or Lille to finish their studies and prepare for the day when the French would head home and they would run the country.

In Europe, they were recruited into one of several secretive Algerian exile groups that connived against each other and fought bloody internecine wars. Once the French left, the young men returned home trained not to run the country but to build the sophisticated security networks that run Algeria’s foreign and domestic affairs and, critics say, prevent it from making progress.

“In Algeria, power likes to hide,” says a political scientist in Algiers. “The military and security forces have come to the conviction that they have to work in a hidden way, that they have to practise power but never in the light, and they try to resolve all domestic and international problems using secret services rather than going through public institutions.”

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