Nazi site Stormfront’s 100 hate-crime murders


This video is called The Rise of the Modern Nazis, White Power USA Part 1.

And this is Part 2.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Almost 100 hate-crime murders linked to single website, report finds

Southern Poverty Law Center singles out Stormfront.org

• Report says users disproportionately linked to major killings

Amanda Holpuch in New York

Friday 18 April 2014 13.16 BST

People charged with the murders of almost 100 people can be linked to a single far-right website, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

The White Nationalist web forum Stormfront.org says it promotes values of “the embattled white minority,” and its users include Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in a 2011 massacre in Norway, and Wade Michael Page, who shot and killed six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012.

After a two-year investigation, the SPLC said (pdf) that since Stormfront became one of the first hate sites on the internet in 1995, its registered users have been disproportionately responsible for major killings. The report was released a month early after white supremacist Frazier Glenn Miller, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, was accused of killing three people at a Jewish center in Kansas City on Sunday.

“We know that the people who are going to commit the kinds of crimes, like the kinds of crimes Miller committed last weekend, this is where they live,” said Heidi Beirich, report author and a director at the SPLC’s Intelligence Project. The report, released on Thursday, calls Stormfront the “largest hate site in the world” and “a magnet and breeding ground for the deadly and deranged.”

Of the site’s more than 286,000 users, only a small sliver are highly active, the report found, with fewer than 1,800 people logging in each day. While the SPLC only identified 10 murderers out of this large user base, researchers think the murderers’ connection to the site is important because it shows how the website offers a community for people who commit these crimes.

“It’s pretty clear that websites like Stormfront are breeding grounds for people who are just enraged at their situation, it’s there that people find the reasons their lives aren’t as they had hoped and Stormfront helps them find the enemy that is standing in their way – whether it be Jews, African Americans, immigrants and so on,” said Beirich. “Unfortunately it’s not very surprising that people who live in this kind of stew of violent racism eventually pick up a gun and do something about it at some point.”

Stormfront proudly declares that “every month is white history month” at the top of its site and forum discussions concern things such as the latest news stories, ideology, poetry and creative writing.

“The fact of the matter is that more people have been killed domestically by radical right extremists than Islamic extremists since 9/11 and where you find a lot of these people is on these sites,” said Beirich.

SPLC also identified 10 characteristics shared by killers who were active online including unemployment, posting on more than one hate website, and sustained activity on these sites.

Stormfront founder Don Black, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, criticized Miller for giving users of his site a bad reputation. “We have enough of a problem with how we are portrayed without some homicidal whack job coming along and reinforcing that,” Black told the Daily Beast. After he was banned from Stormfront, the SLPC said Miller posted more than 12,000 times on a similar forum, Vanguard News Network, whose slogan is “No Jews, Just Right.”

The SPLC’s report said hate killings skyrocketed after Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009.

“We have seen and documented at the SPLC an enormous growth of groups on the radical right, particularly in the last five years,” said Mark Potok, the report’s editor and a senior fellow on the Intelligence Project. “That growth quite clearly seems to be driven by the appearance of Barack Obama on the political scene in the fall of 2008 and of course his subsequent election.”

Potok noted that these hate sites are protected by first amendment rights because they don’t contain concrete plots to commit crimes. He said that law enforcement official unquestionably pay attention to these sites, but criticized how much analysis is done on users by federal authorities.

“We feel pretty strongly that the Department of Homeland Security, which is the lead agency in this country for developing intelligence about these groups and individuals, has more or less taken its eye of the ball in the sense that since 2009 the department seems more focused on Jihadists terrorism,” Potok said.

See also here.

It’s been decades since the Ku Klux Klan held mainstream status, but a recent deadly rampage at a Jewish community center and living community near Kansas City served as a reminder that the nation’s best-known white-supremacy organization has not completely disappeared: here.

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Malta migratory bird massacre, filmed by Chris Packham


This video is called Illegal finch trapping, spring 2014, Malta.

From Wildlife Extra:

Wildlife presenter Chris Packham to film the indiscriminate shooting of migrating birds on Malta

April 2014: Heading a self-funded camera crew, wildlife presenter Chris Packham will be filing nightly reports on YouTube of the events in Malta, as thousands of illegal hunters kill all manner of migrating birds as they pass over the island on their way from Africa to their European breeding grounds. These films, which Packham says on his website (www.chrispackham.co.uk) will not make comfortable viewing, will be shown from Easter Monday until Saturday, 26 April.

The annual spring slaughter on Malta, which last year involved at least 24 protected species, accounts for the deaths of honey buzzards, golden orioles, ospreys, cuckoos, night herons and black storks, among many others, and jeopardises future populations of these birds, which are either officially endangered or in severe decline here and in other parts of Europe.

In addition, many smaller species of birds such as finches, are trapped in nets, which also often account for the deaths of other animals accidentally caught in them.

On his website, Packham says of his team: “Our mission is to generate a wider awareness of this heinous practice with frank and factual reports from the frontline where our much loved migrant birds are being shot in huge numbers. It will not be pretty, the species killed include many UK favourites and rarities and the hunters are infamous for being confrontational and violent. I don’t care, this is not a holiday, it’s an attempt to bring this forgotten issue to a wider public attention and then to offer a couple of ways the viewers can actually do something to effect positive change.

“Please try to watch our broadcasts and please publicise them as widely as possible. I believe that people will be truly horrified when they see what happens on Malta to ‘our birds’, I believe they care and they will do something to change it.”

Existing Maltese laws that cover the hunting season, which is between 12 and 30 April, allow strictly regulated hunting of turtle doves and quail only, but these are openly flouted by local hunters. Following its entry into the EU in 2004, Malta was expected to curtail the spring hunting of turtle doves and quail, in line with the EU Birds Directive that prohibits the killing of such wild birds during the breeding or spring migration season. When this was not enforced by 2007, the European Courts of Justice ordered the country’s government not to open the spring hunting season in 2008. However, to date this has not happened. The illegal hunting of other birds, such as raptors, is not prosecuted in the country as there are limited resources to police it, and there is a strong pro-hunting lobby.

Birdlife Malta organises a Spring Watch camp, supported by ordinary people from all over Europe, to monitor bird migration on Malta and Gozo during the spring hunting season and prevent illegal hunting and trapping. Members of the camp have often been targeted by hunters with aggressive abuse and criminal damage.

For more information visit www.birdlifemalta.org.

To see Chris Packham’s films visit YouTube at 9.00pm UK time between 21 and 26 April.

See also here.

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Nazi murders in Kansas, USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

14 April 2014

Frazier Glenn Cross, the man charged with gunning down three people at Jewish centers in Overland Park, Kan., gave an interview in 2010 as he was making a bid for U.S. Senate. The former Ku Klux Klan member discusses a series of provocative ads his campaign was running over Missouri airwaves.

By Thomas Gaist in the USA:

Killer at Kansas Jewish centers a prominent right-wing extremist

15 April 2014

Sunday saw the brutal killing of three people at a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement home in the suburb of Overland Park, near Kansas City, on the eve of the Jewish Passover holiday.

The shooter, 73-year-old Frazier Glenn Miller aka Frazier Glenn Cross of Aurora, Missouri, was arrested and taken into the Johnson County jail Sunday on suspicion of first-degree murder. Miller had been out drinking at a casino in Missouri the previous night, according to reports.

Witnesses said Miller shouted “Heil Hitler” at bystanders after the shooting, and had asked people what their religious views were before opening fire. Reat Griffin Underwood, 14, together with his grandfather, William Lewis Corporon, 69, were shot dead by Miller as they pulled into the parking lot. The third victim was 53-year-old Teresa Lamanno. Miller fired at two others but they escaped unharmed.

Miller has had a long career in white supremacist and neo-Nazi circles. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Miller began reading a racist newspaper called the Thunderbolt back in the 1970s. He soon entered into right-wing politics by joining the National States’ Rights Party and the National Socialist Party of America.

A former US Army special forces soldier who was deployed twice during the Vietnam War, he was discharged from the Army after being caught distributing racist political material. According to the Raleigh, North Carolina News Observer, “Miller was present at one of the most notorious incidents in modern North Carolina history, the 1979 ‘Death to the Klan’ rally in Greensboro in which five members of the Communist Workers Party died in a shootout with Klan supporters. But he wasn’t charged in relation to that case, and the Klansmen and Nazis who were charged won acquittal.”

Miller eventually founded the White Patriot Party (WPP), a KKK group and white supremacist paramilitary party operating in North Carolina, and was “grand dragon” of the Carolina Ku Klux Klan (KKK). The WPP evolved from the Carolina Knights of the KKK, and later became the Confederate Knights of the KKK before taking the name WPP in 1985.

Miller propagated the familiar ideologies of the extreme right, referring to the US federal government as the “Zionist Occupation Government,” for instance. When Miller ran in elections for Missouri seats for the US House of Representatives in 2006 and US Senate in 2010, he paid for ads that urged Americans to “take the country back” from Jews and “mud people.” Miller has regularly posted articles on right-wing sites such as Stormfront.org.

In 1984, Miller ran in the Democratic primary for governor of North Carolina. In 1986, he ran in the Republican primary for North Carolina seat in the US Senate. In a letter dated April 6, 1987, Miller wrote, “Dear White Patriots, I warned those SOBs. Since December 20, 1980 when I formed the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, I have pleaded with the federal dogs to leave me alone and to allow me to work peacefully and legally within the system for my Race … I always said that once we had 1,000 White men in uniform marching in the streets on a regular basis, that the masses of our People would flood into our ranks and join with us. The federal dogs and their Jew masters knew this too and refused to allow it.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center sued Miller in 1984 for carrying out illegal paramilitary operations and intimidations against blacks, leading to Miller’s imprisonment during the late 1980s. During its investigation, the SPLC accessed WPP computer systems and found evidence that Miller’s organization was plotting an attack on SPLC co-founder Morris Dees. Dees had previously won a lawsuit against KKK Grand Wizard Robert Shelton’s United Klans of America over the 1981 killing of 19-year-old black teenager Michael Donald by Klan members in Mobile, Alabama. The lawsuit had a crushing impact on the Klan, causing Dees to become a hated figure among right-wing, supremacist circles.

Miller violated a subsequent court injunction forbidding the WPP from engaging in paramilitary training. When he was arrested in 1987, he was hiding in a mobile home in the Ozarks filled with automatic weapons and large stores of ammo.

Miller joined the witness protection program and testified against other white supremacist during a 1988 sedition trial. Miller testified that the WPP had working relations with another right-wing extremist group, called the Order or Silent Brotherhood, which helped to finance his party. The Brotherhood, a “white nationalist revolutionary organization,” gained notoriety for its involvement in the 1984 murder of Alan Berg, a Denver liberal talk show host who was Jewish.

In a radio interview from 2010, Miller expressed his support for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Texas Republican congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul, and for Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. “Hitler would have created a paradise on Earth, particularly for white people. But he would have been fair to other people as well,” Miller said, when asked what a Nazi victory in World War II would have produced.

Speaking to Missouri State University students in 2012, Miller expressed hope that a “young Hitler” was among the students. When challenged by a Jewish student, Miller said, “You should be one of the first to go.”

The Oklahoma City-based Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism’s Knowledge Base’s entry on Miller, states that “WPP was extremely racist: they supported apartheid, and set up hotlines featuring telephone recordings of a black man being lynched. WPP won considerable support in North Carolina by blaming the bad economic climate for farmers on international Jewish bankers.”

Miller’s goal, as quoted in the Terrorism Knowledge Base, was “southern independence. The creation of an all-white nation within the one million square miles of mother Dixie. We have no hope for Jew York City or San Fran-sissy-co and other areas that are dominated by Jews, perverts, and communists and non-white minorities and rectum-loving queers.”

Law enforcement representatives said on Monday that Miller will be charged with hate crimes.

However, Miller’s long public career as a right-wing extremist and the fact that he had been an informant in the government’s Federal Witness Protection Program for an extended period raises the question of how closely his activities were being monitored by the FBI and other federal, state and local agencies. The US government expends unlimited resources in spying on and infiltrating anti-war and other protest organizations, and has repeatedly used informants and provocateurs to entrap Muslim immigrants in so-called terrorist cases. Right-wing extremists, however, have been able to operate with virtual immunity.

Maddow Asks: ‘Why Do We Overlook Right-Wing Violence and Refuse to Call it Terrorism?’ Answer: Because They’re White: here.

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Snowden’s spying revelations win Pulitzer Prize


This video from the USA is called Journalists Awarded Pulitzer for Snowden Reports.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Pulitzer Prize awarded for Snowden exposures of NSA spying

15 April 2014

Columbia University has given the most prestigious award in journalism, the Pulitzer Prize gold medal for public service, to the newspapers that published articles based on documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The Washington Post won for articles written by Barton Gellman and filmmaker Laura Poitras, while the British Guardian won for articles written by Glenn Greenwald, Ewan MacAskill and Poitras. All four journalists made extensive use of the material provided by Snowden, and Greenwald, Poitras and MacAskill met with Snowden in Hong Kong to begin the process of exposing illegal and unconstitutional spying by the NSA.

The citation from Columbia is a political slap in the face to the Obama administration and the US and British intelligence apparatuses. The US government is seeking to extradite Snowden for trial, imprisonment and possible execution as a traitor. Both it and the British government have harassed and sought to intimidate the journalists honored by the awards.

The public service medal is awarded “for a distinguished example of meritorious public service by a newspaper or news site.” It went to the Washington Post “for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security,” and to the Guardian US “for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.”

A similar gold medal was awarded to the New York Times in 1972 for its publication of the Pentagon Papers, leaked by another whistleblower from within the national security apparatus, former Pentagon official Daniel Ellsberg.

Edward Snowden issued a statement Monday, through the Freedom of the Press Foundation, congratulating the two newspapers and calling the award a “vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government.”

He continued: “We owe it to the efforts of the brave reporters and their colleagues who kept working in the face of extraordinary intimidation, including the forced destruction of journalistic materials, the inappropriate use of terrorism laws, and so many other means of pressure to get them to stop what the world now recognizes was work of vital public importance.

“This decision reminds us that what no individual conscience can change, a free press can. My efforts would have been meaningless without the dedication, passion, and skill of these newspapers, and they have my gratitude and respect for their extraordinary service to our society. Their work has given us a better future and a more accountable democracy.”

The same four journalists received the George Polk Award for national security reporting, awarded last Friday at a Manhattan hotel. Greenwald and Poitras, both US citizens, returned to the United States to receive the Polk Award, their first visit home since they co-authored the reports on NSA spying and surveillance. Greenwald now lives in Brazil and Poitras in Berlin, to avoid US government interference in their journalistic work.

Both said they had not been stopped entering the country, and both spoke at the Polk Award ceremonies paying tribute to Snowden. “This award is really for Edward Snowden,” said Poitras. Greenwald added that “what he did, coming forward, was absolutely the right thing to do and merits gratitude and not indictments and decades of imprisonment.”

In his Polk acceptance speech, MacAskill pointed out that the Guardian has faced much harsher government attack in Britain than the Guardian US or Post have yet faced in the United States. At one point, British intelligence agents visited the Guardian offices to supervise the destruction of computer hard drives in a heavy-handed effort at intimidation.

Greenwald has not yet made a public comment on the Pulitzer prize, but Poitras said of the award, “I think this is amazing news. It’s a testament to Snowden’s courage, a vindication of his courage and his desire to let the public know what the government is doing.”

Poitras and Snowden also received the Ridenhour prize, named after the Vietnam veteran who worked with Seymour Hersh to expose the My Lai massacre.

Editors of the two newspapers issued statements praising both the journalists and Edward Snowden.

Alan Rusbridger, the editor-in-chief of the Guardian, said, “We are particularly grateful for our colleagues across the world who supported the Guardian in circumstances which threatened to stifle our reporting. And we share this honor, not only with our colleagues at the Washington Post, but also with Edward Snowden, who risked so much in the cause of the public service which has today been acknowledged by the award of this prestigious prize.”

Janine Gibson, the editor of Guardian US, said winning in the public service category was important. Referring to the Columbia citation, she added, “I think those words say something about what Edward Snowden did, and what the reporters and editors did, in the face of a lot of rhetoric and opposition.”

Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron said the reporting exposed a national policy “with profound implications for American citizens’ constitutional rights” and the rights of individuals around the world. “Disclosing the massive expansion of the NSA’s surveillance network absolutely was a public service,” he said. “In constructing a surveillance system of breathtaking scope and intrusiveness, our government also sharply eroded individual privacy. All of this was done in secret, without public debate, and with clear weaknesses in oversight.”

He added that without Snowden’s disclosures, “we never would have known how far this country had shifted away from the rights of the individual in favor of state power.”

See also here.

The parties in the German coalition government, the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD), are attempting to prevent a German parliamentary committee from looking into NSA spying by questioning US whistleblower Edward Snowden: here.

Documents revealed by Edward Snowden and analyzed by the daily Le Monde reveal the role of French Telecom/Orange in the collection of data by the French intelligence services over a period of decades. France’s General Directorate of the External Security (DGSE) freely obtains the data of all Orange’s customers, apparently in a totally illegal manner: here.

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Graffiti artist Banksy against spying on citizens


This video from England says about itself:

14 April 2014

Banksy linked to new street artwork in Cheltenham

Mysterious street artist Banksy appears to have unveiled his latest creation – targeting the issue of government surveillance. The artwork shows three 1950s-style agents, wearing brown trench coats and trilby hats, using devices to tap into conversations at a telephone box. It appeared overnight on a street in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, just a few miles from GCHQ, where the UK’s surveillance network is based.

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Torture in United Arab Emirates


This video is called CIA is destroying evidence of their torture tape recordings.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Brother of Dubai police torture victim calls for his release

Tuesday 15th April 2014

Hasnain Ali beaten and threatened with rape after arrest for ‘trumped-up’ drugs charges

The brother of a British man tortured at gunpoint and threatened with rape by Dubai police spoke out for the first time yesterday about the case.

Hasnain Ali, a former bodyguard to members of the Abu Dhabi royal family, will be sentenced today on allegedly trumped-up charges of possessing and selling drugs.

He was on holiday in Dubai in May 2013 when he was arrested, beaten and threatened with Tasers, firearms and rape by police.

Following the ordeal he was made to sign a “confession” in Arabic, which he did not understand, relating to the charges.

This “confession” is being used against him at trial.

“There has been no proper investigation into his torture and we have felt that the authorities have shown more interest in saving face than ensuring that any kind of justice is done,” his brother Jed said.

Legal charity Reprieve is fighting for Hasnain to be acquitted and returned home to Britain to his family.

Breaking news from Reprieve:

A British man arrested and tortured by Dubai police has today been acquitted.

Hasnain Ali (32), from London, was on holiday in Dubai in May 2013 when he was arrested and held for three days without access to a lawyer or his family. While detained he was beaten and threatened with tasers, firearms, and the prospect of sexual assault. Following his torture he was forced to sign a ‘confession’ in Arabic, a language he doesn’t understand, and charged with drugs offences for which he could have been given a death sentence.

See also here.

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United States nazi murders Jews and ‘Jews’


This video from the USA is called Kansas Jewish Center Shooting Suspect Appears to Yell ‘Heil Hitler‘.

By Jade Walker in the USA:

Kansas Shooting Suspect Appears To Shout ‘Heil Hitler!’ While In Custody (VIDEO) [UPDATE]

04/14/2014 8:59 am EDT

Frazier Glenn Cross, the man suspected of killing three people in two separate shootings at Jewish centers in Overland Park, Kan., on Sunday was captured on camera making pro-Nazi comments.

The video, which was taken by Kansas City news station KMBC, shows the suspected gunman after he was taken into custody in the parking lot of an elementary school near the scene of the attacks at the Jewish Community Center and the Village Shalom assisted living center.

From the back of the police cruiser, Cross shouted what sounded like “Heil Hitler!”

Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass said he could not clarify what the suspect was shouting, and stressed that it was “too early” to label the shootings a hate crime.

“We’re investigating it as a hate crime, we’re investigating it as a criminal act, we haven’t ruled out anything,” Douglass said.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE.

This story was updated with the full name of the suspect.

See also here.

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CIA Libyan torture scandal on Diego Garcia island


This video says about itself:

New website reveals extent of secret CIA flight network

29 May 2013

A team of academics have launched the world’s largest interactive database detailing suspected CIA rendition flights, many of which may have transported detainees to Guantanamo Bay.

Scotland is the only country so far which has raised any questions on the alleged rendition activity on home soil.

The Rendition Project is a product of a collaborative research between Dr. Ruth Blakely from the University of Kent and Dr. Sam Raphael from Kingston University, London.

Now anyone with an internet connection can understand, view, and track over 11,000 CIA flights detainees who may have been aboard between 2001 and 2006 under the US rendition program, a murky operation of secret detention and torture.

“Our purpose is to shed as much light as possible on this system,” Blakely told RT.

Blakely’s team has compiled a unique database sourced from freedom of information requests, testimonies from detainees, Red Cross reports, courtroom evidence, flight records, and invoices.

The data is categorized into four subcategories- flights which definitely had a detainee on board, those which are suspected of having suspected terrorists on board, and ‘dummy’ or test flights, and other circuit flights, all on 122 different US-registered civilian aircraft.

“Our main aim was to try and map the global rendition system to try and provide a comprehensive a picture as possible how rendition took place, which countries were involved,” Blakely told RT.

Most information was already in the public domain, but Blakely hopes by making it web-accessible, the project will assist human rights investigators and lawyers to defend the rights of detainees who have been victims to unfair torture or questionable tactics.

The site will help reveal “how the CIA managed to hide individuals in this system as it transported them around the world to hold them in prisons where they could be tortured and interrogated,” said Blakely.

By Rory MacKinnon in Britain:

CIA ‘held Gadaffi torture victim on British soil’

Monday 14th April 2014

Kidnapped Libyan politician Abdelhakim Belhadj held briefly in overseas territory Diego Garcia

Fresh evidence emerged yesterday that the CIA held a Libyan opposition leader on British soil before delivering him to Gadaffi torturers.

Kidnapped Libyan politician Abdelhakim Belhadj alleged that he was told by Gadaffi’s own spy chief that the plane which delivered him to Libya had stopped at the British overseas territory of Diego Garcia.

Mr Belhadj, who was kidnapped along with his pregnant wife as they boarded a flight in Malaysia in 2004, made the claim through his lawyers, provided by human rights charity Reprieve.

He said: “The first time I heard that I had gone through a place called Diego Garcia was when I was told by the head of the Libyan intelligence, Moussa Kousa, during my first interrogation session in a prison outside Tripoli.

“He was running the interrogation, and was angry that it had taken a long time for me to arrive in Libya.

“I told him that the plane had stopped somewhere on the way from Bangkok.
“He told me that he knew, and that the plane had landed on an island in the Indian Ocean called Diego Garcia.”

The claim is supported by a CIA flight plan discovered in 2011 at the offices of Gadaffi’s head of intelligence Moussa Kousa showing the joint CIA-MI6 operation had been scheduled to stop at Diego Garcia.

Reprieve deputy director Polly Rossdale said the revelations pile pressure on Tory Foreign Secretary William Hague to answer the allegations.

“The government must come clean about the UK’s role in this dirty affair,” she said.

Carl Bernstein – article about the CIA’s interaction with journalists since WW2: here.

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Berlusconi-mafia contact man arrested in Lebanon


This video from Italy says about itself:

Berlusconi calls “hero” the Mafia member Vittorio Mangano [English subtitles]

27 March 2009

Once upon a time, Berlusconi hired a man to work as broom at his villa: his name was Vittorio Mangano and, incidentally, he was also a Mafia member,who will be sentenced to imprisonment for murder and similar nice stuff.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Silvio Berlusconi associate to appear in Beirut court over Lebanon arrest

Marcello Dell’Utri, suspected of escaping justice, awaits ruling over appeal against sentence for colluding with Sicilian mafia

John Hooper in Rome

Sunday 13 April 2014 16.02 BST

Silvio Berlusconi‘s longstanding associate with whom he co-founded Italy‘s main rightwing party is expected to appear before a magistrate in Beirut on Monday at a hearing for a decision on the legality of his arrest.

Marcello Dell’Utri, who allegedly acted as a mediator between the Cosa Nostra and Berlusconiwas detained at a five-star hotel in the Lebanese capital at the end of last week. This has come before a final ruling by the Italian supreme court, due on Tuesday, on his appeal against a seven-year sentence for colluding with the Sicilian mafia. The 72-year-old senator’s lawyer said it was illogical to think his client was seeking to escape justice, since he had used his own name and credit card to book into the hotel.

Berlusconi was quoted on Sunday as having said it was he who had sent Dell’Utri to Lebanon. The daily La Repubblica said the former prime minister told a delegation from his Forza Italia (“Come on Italy”) party that he was responding to a request from Vladimir Putin. The Russian president had asked him to do what he could to help the leader of Lebanon’s Kataeb party, Amine Gemayel, to regain the presidency.

The warrant for Dell’Utri’s arrest cited a bugged discussion between the senator’s brother and a friend which the judges said showed there was a “serious and concrete danger” of Dell’Utri’s trying to establish himself abroad before the supreme court ruling. Some Italian newspapers on Sunday published extracts from the transcripts of the recordings.

Speaking on 8 November 2013, Alberto Dell’Utri, the senator’s twin, said: “Ten days ago, Marcello dined in Rome with … an important politician from the Lebanon who has been president and is putting himself up in the forthcoming elections and on 14 November he is planning to go to Beirut to see.”

However, the two men, whose conversation was taped as part of a separate investigation, also discussed the possibility of the senator might in future shuttle between Lebanon and west Africa on a diplomatic passport issued by the authorities in Guinea-Bissau as part of a scheme to exploit the country’s mineral riches. The transcripts indicated that Alberto Dell’Utri was proposing his brother should make a big donation to the country through an NGO set up by Berlusconi for building hospitals in Africa. Alberto Dell’Utri’s friend suggested a figure of €5m (£4.1m) might be appropriate.

“All that Marcello needs to do is go to Silvio and tell him: ‘Silvio, I’m going to Guinea-Bissau’: explain everything to him … ‘I’m founding a soccer school for the kids,’” Alberto Dell’Utri commented.

Marcello Dell’Utri – then the head of the advertising arm of Berlusconi’s vast business empire – created Forza Italia! from scratch in 1993, appointing his own executives to be its earliest officials. His conviction for collaboration with Cosa Nostra refers only to a period ending the previous year.

Lawyers expressed conflicting opinions on the difficulties of extraditing Dell’Utri from Lebanon if the supreme court upholds his conviction on Tuesday.

Super-rich septuagenarian Silvio Berlusconi will have to spend four hours a week serving the elderly to repay Italian society for tax fraud: here.

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