Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Jobs vs. Milken

Despite the current hagiography of Steve Jobs and the demonization of Mike Milken, Milken’s revolution of corporate finance is far more important for the US economy than Job’s cool designs for Apple. See my Milken excerpt (From my Money Demons.)

Sunday, October 02, 2011

The Money Demons

It is not for everyone, include the happy horde of well-intentioned protesters who have encamped themselves today in lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge to “Occupy Wall Street.” But their protest, and its coverage, indicates the extent to which American pop culture prefers to lay the blame for the economic malaise on the greedy money demons of Wall Street. After all, after the 2008 crunch, many people can no longer borrow money to live beyond their means, So some guilty demon must be found, and one obvious candidate is Goldman Sachs, which made billions in profits by trading pieces of paper called derivatives while others suffered losses. Of course, Goldman did not act alone. It was part of a complex global system used by the Fed and other central banks to manipulate interest rates, print money, stimulate economic activities, and fund government debt. The financial alchemy called securitization through which debt is transformed into salable securities, an integral part of this system, produced, among other illusions of wealth, the sub-prime bubble. So the central banks must also be deemed part of the demonic equation.

Despite its popularity in the media and among politicians, not everyone buys into this organized flight from reality. For those who don’t. I offer my new book, The Money Demons: True Fables of Wall Street. It includes essays on such (unpopular) subjects as the Ahabian hunt for the Giant Vampire Squid (Goldman), Mike Milken, The Central Bankers’ Club in Basle, the Yale Endowment Fund, and the criminalization of high finance in Hollywood movies.

(For further details, see http://amzn.to/oBmUKz).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

James Jesus Angleton Reconsidered

In his newly published memoir, Dick Cheney provides such an intriguing coda to his service on the House Intelligence Committee that it could been the opening of a Le Carre novel. He writes that in May 1987 James Jesus Angleton, the former head of CIA counterintelligence, requested an urgent meeting with him to reveal to him something of “vital importance.” He immediately scheduled it but, just days before it was to take place, Angleton died, taking the unconveyed message to the grave with him. At the time, the general consensus in the intelligence community was that Angleton was paranoid about the KGB. His hunt for a mole, which had partly paralyzed the CIA had failed, and when he was fired from the CIA in 1975, CIA director William Colby called his obsession that the CIA could be penetrated by the KGB “sick think.” His idea that the KGB could plant and then sustain a mole in the CIA or FBI had not been substantiated by any evidence in 1975, and his idea that the CIA could be manipulated into cooperating in its own deception seemed totally out of touch with reality,

Yet, as it turned out after his death, he was not as far out of touch with reality as his critics inside the CIA.

First, the discovery of KGB moles Aldrich Ames, Harold Nicholson, and Robert Hanssen showed that the KGB had the capability to penetrate both the CIA and FBI.

Second, the fact that, despite lie detector tests, surveillance, and other counterespionage measures, Ames and Hanssen went undetected for more than a decade– Hanssen worked for the KGB over a period of 22 years– showed that the KGB had the ability to protect and advance their moles. ( Ames headed the CIA's Soviet Russia Division’s counterintelligence unit, Hanssen worked in the FBI’s anti- KGB operations.)

Third, the CIA Inspector General’s finding in 1995 found that in the 1980s and early 1990s the KGB had dispatched at least a half-dozen double agents who provided the CIA with disinformation cooked up in Moscow and that for eight years this disinformation had been passed in blue-striped reports signed personally by the CIA director to three Presidents even thought “senior CIA officers responsible for these reports had known that some of their sources were controlled by Russian intelligence” showed that the CIA would not necessarily expose KGB deception. So Angleton was right on all three scores.

My new book provides the details: James Jesus Angleton: Was He Right?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tabloid America: Crimes of the Press

My short new book Tabloid America: Crimes of the Press subject is tabloidization of mainstream media from Lindbergh to O.J Simpson


Friday, August 05, 2011

Killing Castro

The CIA’s super-secret Report On Plots To Assassinate Fidel Castro was completed in April 1967. All but one copy was destroyed on May 23, 1967. See my new ebook Killing Castro http://amzn.to/olFvcW

Friday, July 29, 2011

My new ebook experiment

E-BOOKS on Kindle, Nook, Ipad, Smashword


















Friday, May 13, 2011

The Myth of Bin Laden Lair

The Lair of Bin Laden is a fictoid that originated in the highly-enterprising British press on November 27th, 2001. The chronology is as follows. On November 26th, the New York Times carried a story based on the account of an a ex-Russian soldier, Viktor Kutsenko, who had served in Afghanistan in the nineteen-eighties in which he claimed that there had seen an elaborate cave complex in Zhawar with "iron doors" that contained " a bakery, a hotel with overstuffed furniture, a hospital with an ultrasound machine, a library, a mosque, weapons of every imaginable stripe; a service bay with a World War II-era Soviet tank inside, in perfect running order." The historic story then added "Mr. bin Laden is reported to have upgraded both it and a nearby camp in the 1990's."

On November 27th, the London-based Independent came up with its own fairly similar troglodyte story, except that it had moved the underground fortress from Zhawar to Tora Bora, where the manhunt for bin Laden was about to begin, and advanced it in time from the nineteen-eighties to the present.
The Independent headlined: "Al-Qa'ida almost 'immune to attack' inside its hi-tech underground lair." In the story, its correspondent Richard Lloyd Parry, in Jalalabad, described a vast redoubt burrowed deep under a mountain, with labyrinthian tunnels sealed by with iron doors. "It has its own ventilation system and its own power, created by a hydro-electric generator. Its walls and floors in the rooms are smooth and finished and it extends 350 yards beneath a solid mountain." It was therefore tunneled almost as deep as the World Trade Center was high. It was also " so well defended and concealed that – short of poison gas or a tactical nuclear weapon – it is immune to outside attack. And it is filled with heavily armed followers of Osama bin Laden, with a suicidal commitment to their cause and with nothing left to lose."
It further claimed that fortress was built " reportedly employing expertise from Mr bin Laden's Saudi construction businesses" and housed "as many as 2,000 Arab and foreign fighters." The story's putative unidentified witness— the lone deep throat— explained, "It's like a hotel, with doors on the left and the right."
The idea that Osama and his followers had entombed themselves in an unassailable fortress under a mountain immediately embedded itself into the imagination of the American press. The Associated Press put The Independent story on its services, which went to hundreds of major newspapers and broadcasting stations. ABC News re-headlined the story "Bin Laden Hide-out Resembles Hotel: Witness," depicting "The cave complex ... filled with bin Laden's fanatical followers." Yahoo noted in its Internet service "Bin Laden has reputedly built a fortress 1,150 feet (350 meters) beneath the mountains, equipped with water, electricity and ventilation and guarded by hundreds or thousands of fighters ready to die for their leader." CBS, expanding the story, reported that an Afghan "commander thinks bin Laden is in a cave fortress known as Tora Bora. The massive hideout was built by the U.S. to house forces fighting the Soviet Army in the 1980s. The complex - nicknamed "bin Laden's ant farm," is burrowed deep into Gree Khil peak -- soaring 13,000 feet above the village of Tora Bora. It is virtually impregnable -- a latticework of tunnels, storage rooms for arms and munitions, and accommodations for up to a thousand fighters. Ventilation shafts bring fresh air 1,200 feet inside the mountain. A nearby river provides hydroelectric power to the complex... at least 2,000 of bin Laden's al-Qaida fighters are believed to be hiding there," In the Los Angeles Times Professor Mark C. Taylor added to his essay on an ancient troglodyte Hittite city in Turkey that "This city and others like it provide the prototype for the underground fortresses where Bin Laden and his followers are presumed to be hiding;" The Atlanta Journal-Constitution put the underground city in context, saying "The bitter and brutal end game between Osama bin Laden and U.S.-led forces is being played out in a mountain fortress the CIA helped build... equipped with ventilation and hydroelectric power." This bunker-fortress, the story continued, "provides bin Laden with significant advantages... it is considered invulnerable even to bunker-busting bombs and impregnable to conventional military attack." The Times of London meanwhile illustrated its story with an artist's rendering of the underground fortress, which dwarfed even Hitler's infamous "eagle's nest" fortress.

The story probably reached its high point on NBC's Meet The Press on December 2nd when Tim Russert, the host of the program, provided Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld with the artist's rendering of bin Laden's fortress. The interview proceeded:
Russert: The Times of London did a graphic, which I want to put on the screen for you and our viewers. This is it. This is a fortress. This is a very much a complex, multi-tiered, bedrooms and offices on the top, as you can see, secret exits on the side and on the bottom, cut deep to avoid thermal detection so when our planes fly to try to determine if any human beings are in there, it's built so deeply down and embedded in the mountain and the rock it's hard to detect. And over here, valleys guarded, as you can see, by some Taliban soldiers. A ventilation system to allow people to breathe and to carry on. An arms and ammunition depot. And you can see here the exits leading into it and the entrances large enough to drive trucks and cars and even tanks. And it's own hydroelectric power to help keep lights on, even computer systems and telephone systems. It's a very sophisticated operation.
Rumsfeld: Oh, you bet. This is serious business. And there's not one of those. There are many of those. And they have been used very effectively. And I might add, Afghanistan is not the only country that has gone underground. Any number of countries have gone underground. The tunneling equipment that exists today is very powerful. It's dual use. It's available across the globe. And people have recognized the advantages of using underground protection for themselves.
A few weeks after the "Meet the Press" interview, US special forces and their Afghan allies occupied Tora Bora. They painstakingly searched Gree Khil mountain and the surrounding area. They found no underground fortress, no hydro-electric power plant, no 2000-room hotel, no ant farm, no iron doors, no ventilating shafts. The troglodyte Lair of Bin Laden turned out to be mythic.
Post script:  Bin Laden, along with a number of his wives and children had been living in an above-the-ground home in in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 1, 2011, when he was killed by US Navy Seals in a "targeted operation."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Who Runs Libya: A Profusion of Names

Does anyone know who is the head of the so-called Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya– or even if the first letter of his surname name is A, E, G, K, or Q?

According to the New York Times, he is “Muammar el-Qaddafi,” to the Wall Street Journal he is “Moammar Gadhafi,” to the L.A. Time he is “Moammar Kadafi,” to Washington Post, he is

Moammar Gaddafi, to Reuters, he is “Muammar Gaddafi,” to Bloomberg, he is “Muammar Qaddafi,” the AFP, he is “Moamer Kadhafi,”, to the English edition of the Xinhua News Agency. he is "Muammar Khaddafi," to the US State Department, he is “Mu'ammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi,” to the CIA, he is “Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi,” to the US Ambassador in Libya, according to Wikileak, he is “Qadhafi Incorporated.” and to his official site he is “Muammar Al Gathafi".

Can this be a single person, or some kind of transliteration junta? And what is his–or their– job in the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (which means “masses” in Arabic)? CNN calls him “President,” the Boston Globe calls him “strongman,” the Sun (London) call him “dictator,” the Daily Mirror calls him “Mad Dog,” while the CIA factbook, somewhat understatedly, says that he “holds no official title, but is de facto chief of state.” Can Any (other than his voluptuous Ukranian nurse) clarify this issue?