Monday, December 13, 2010
From Veterans Today:
Digging Deeper in Years into Wikileaks' Treasure Chest- Part I
A Fairly Short List of Goodies for Wikileaks Santa
I have been waiting. I have been searching and reading. I have been waiting impatiently while searching and reading the initial pile of recently released Wikileaks' documents, specifically those pertaining to Turkey. I have received many e-mails asking me impatiently to comment and provide my analyses on this latest international exposé. I am being impatiently patient in doing so, and here is a brief explanation as to why:
There's so much I don't know. I don't know how real this entire deal actually is. If truly 'real,' I don't know how far and deep the involved documents actually go. Many of my trusted friends tell me it is indeed real. A few trusted friends and advisors are ringing cautionary bells. I am truly pro transparency, and considering the abusive nature and use of secrecy and classification, I am mostly pro leak when the information in question involves criminal deeds and intentions.
During the previous release (Afghan Files), in my gut I was a bit bothered by the direction of some of these released documents – pointing towards Iran – which was generously milked by the US mainstream media. But then again, that was only based on some gut feeling, and I didn't want to pour out analyses and opinion solely based on 'some gut feeling.' So far, some of the first cache of the recently released documents is strongly pointing towards Iran, and that too is bothering the heck out of me. But again, in my gut, and that alone is not sufficient to make me sit and analyze and interpret. So this is why I've been impatiently patient, waiting for more. Meanwhile, while I am restraining myself and being uncharacteristically patient, I am going to go on record and tell you what I expect to see if this whole deal proves to be completely genuine, and if the obtained files go as far as they say they go.
I prepared a long list of items (documented diplomatic correspondence) I know to be included in diplomatic communications which took place between the mid 90s and early 2000s. I know I have a fairly large credit due with Santa since I've never made a wish list for him; ever. He owes me. He knows it and I know it. While that justifies my very long list (now you know I am old!!) I am going to exercise a little bit of fairness and present my list in manageable quantities and intervals. I hope my Wikileaks Santa has 'word/phrase search' technology at his disposal, because that would make his task of sorting and finding my requested items a far easier task. Okay, here it goes Wikileaks Santa, my first list for you, may your immensely large goodies bag contain these items highly beneficial for not only me but many others here and abroad:
1- 1994-1996: Communication pertaining to joint US-Turkey operations against former Azerbaijani president Heydar Aliyev, including at least one 'mock' assassination attempt in Azerbaijan.
2- 1994-1997: Communication between the US State Department, US Embassy in Ankara, and Turkish Prime Minister's office pertaining to using the Azerbaijan president's family members' (including his son Ilham Aliyev) casino debts accumulated in Turkey as means to blackmail on the Pipeline project and Russia's pending proposal.
3- 1994-1995: Communication pertaining to US-Turkey coordination on transferring several groups of Mujahideen from Pakistan-Afghanistan-Saudi Arabia to Bosnia via Turkey using Turkish special military planes into Turkey, and after granting Mujahideen Turkish passports, via NATO planes from Turkey to several Balkan countries, including Romania.
4- 1994-1997: Communication pertaining to US involvement in Turkish casino expansions in Azerbaijan and free-ownership (partnership) being granted to key Azeri political figures and their family members for future 'leverage'.
Read the rest here at Boiling Frogs Post
Things are not so sweet for the U.S. sugar beet market. A federal judge's ruling may prevent farmers from planting genetically modified sugar beets.
The controversy stems from a case in which the Center for Food Safety, Organic Seed Alliance, High Mowing Organic Seeds and the Sierra Club challenged the U.S. Department of Agriculture for allowing farmers to plant GM sugar beets before enough research had been conducted to determine their possible environmental impact. A judge ruled in favor of the environmental groups in August, but by September, the USDA had issued four "non-flowering" permits to growers in Oregon and Arizona -- where most sugar beet seedlings are grown. The action prompted environmentalists to challenge the government in court yet again.
On Friday, Judge Jeffrey White of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California will hear more arguments in the case. His ruling could have a significant impact on the industry. Nearly 95 percent of the U.S. sugar beet production is grown from GMO seeds -- a speedy and considerable change from 2005 when the GMO seeds were first approved. Over half of all U.S. sugar production comes from sugar beets; the rest is derived from sugar cane.
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China May Have 2.5 Million-Ton Sugar Shortage, Researcher Says
China may have a refined sugar shortage of 2.5 million metric tons in the 2010-2011 marketing year that needs to be met by imports or selling reserves, the China Merchandise Reserve Management Centre said.
The country's demand is projected to be 14.5 million tons, Xie Liangjun, a researcher at the country's sugar reserve manager wrote in a report posted today on the agency's website. Sugar output may be 12 million tons based on a projection concluded in an industry meeting in Guilin on Nov. 1, Xie wrote.
Output may fall below the projection of 12 million tons and it is "reasonable to be concerned," Xie wrote. Production in the last two years was on average 1.4 million tons less than predictions at the beginning of the season, he wrote.
Guangxi, the region with the biggest output, usually gets frost from late December to mid-January, supporting a "bull market" and prices may climb to previous highs, Xie wrote in the report without elaborating.
Sugar futures traded on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange surged 41 percent in the 2009-2010 marketing year between Nov. 1 and Oct. 31. On Nov. 10, the commodity surged to a record 7,518 yuan a ton on increased demand and investments in agriculture. It has since plunged 14 percent after the government introduced measures to curb speculation and cool inflation.
"The North blamed the South for starting the exchange; the South acknowledged firing test shots in the area but denied that any had fallen in the North's territory.[...]
The official North Korean news agency said in a brief statement on Tuesday night that the South "recklessly fired into our sea area."
The South Korean deputy minister of defense, Lee Yong-geul, said artillery units had been firing from a battery on the South Korean island of Baeknyeongdo, close to the North Korean coast.
Yeonpyeong Island sits just two miles from the Northern Limit Line, the disputed sea border which the North does not recognize, and only eight miles from the North Korean coast. The island houses a garrison of about 1,000 South Korean marines, and the navy has deployed its newest class of "patrol killer" guided-missile ships in the Western Sea, as the Yellow Sea is also known."
According to The Daily Bail:
Jamie Dimon thinks about the culture of fraud he's built at Chase.
Bid-rigging always seems like such an easy game. At least until someone at Bank of America gets scared and starts talking to the Feds. Uh-oh...
We started coverage of this story yesterday...
More color is leaking, and it appears other large banks have been implicated in the fraud. Imagine that.
Source - Bloomberg
Bank of America Corp.'s agreement to pay $137 million in restitution for taking part in a nationwide bid-rigging conspiracy for municipal-investment contracts may soon be followed by more settlements to repay the scheme's victims, the Justice Department's Antitrust Division head said.
"Stay tuned to this channel -- I think you will see a lot more activity in the coming weeks and months," Christine Varney, the antitrust chief, told reporters yesterday. "We are committed to getting restitution, full restitution, to all the municipalities that were victims of this scheme."
Bank of America, which has assisted the government probe of the $2.8 trillion municipal-bond market since at least 2007 in return for leniency, has provided documents, e-mails and recordings of phone calls, according to court records of civil suits. In September, Douglas Lee Campbell, formerly employed by the bank's municipal derivatives group, pleaded guilty to taking part in a conspiracy to pay state and local governments below- market rates on investments purchased with bond proceeds.
Bank of America's settlement is "likely the tip of the iceberg,"Andrew Gavil, a law professor at Howard University in Washington, D.C., said in an e-mail. He said other conspirators may pay much higher penalties.
The government has identified more than a dozen firms, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., UBS AG, and Societe Generale as unindicted co-conspirators in a criminal case brought by the Justice Department against a Los Angeles investment broker.
JPMorgan, UBS, a unit of General Electric Co. and a former subsidiary of Belgian bank Dexia SA have also reported in regulatory filings that they face civil suits by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The companies say they are cooperating with the government.
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By Daniel Tencer, Raw Story
Oilfield services company Halliburton is in negotiations with the Nigerian government to keep its former CEO, Dick Cheney, out of prison, according to a news report.
Sources inside Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission told GlobalPost this week that a settlement keeping the charges against Cheney out of court could cost as much as $500 million.
Nigeria filed charges against Cheney this week in an investigation of alleged bribery estimated at $180 million. Prosecutors named both Halliburton and KBR in the charges, as well as three European oil and engineering companies -- Technip SA, EniSpa, and Saipem Construction.
The charges allege that engineering contractor KBR, until 2007 a subsidiary of Halliburton, was among companies that paid bribes to secure a $6 billion contract for a natural gas plant. KBR pleaded guilty to the same bribes in a US court in 2009, and agreed to pay a $382 million fine. The Nigerian charges appear to stem from the US case -- though, in that trial, Cheney was never directly charged.
It's not clear from the GlobalPost report if the $500 million figure refers to the amount Halliburton will have to pay, or whether that amount would cover all the companies that have been charged.
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If Julian Assange can be silenced, so can every one of us. Stand up, speak up: for him, for yourself, for all of us. Before it's too late."
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