CHILDREN OF DARKNESS

04/30/2012

OLDDOGS INTRODUCTION

Coming from a man who has, and continues to read the works of thousands of authors per year, most of whose feet I am not worthy of washing, this man is so far above the average linguistic wordsmith, he is in a separate and unique category. You are about to read an exquisite elixir for the Christian mind.

 Praying HANDS have to be joined with Active FEET.


“In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

George Orwell

By Sheriff Jim R. Schwiesow, Ret. (46 Years of Law Enforcement)

jimr@orangecitycomm.net

 I doubt that many understand that this nation stands solely by the will and grace of the Sovereign God, each day is a gift and the seconds, minutes, and hours of every day come by His divine determination. We have not earned His grace, and neither are we intrinsically entitled to His blessings for a continued existence.

The truth is that the population of this nation is entirely bereft of any semblance of an obeisant relationship with Almighty God. A near total lack of an ethical spiritual persuasion that enables one to discern or distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong, or between socially righteous and execrably putrid personal conduct.

Our society has descended into the stygian depths of demonic doctrine. This disconnect from the God of creation has delivered the people unto a beastly nature; they are devoid of the constituents of human sensibility and rife with the stinking elements of a hellish nature. It is not difficult to discern that a sizeable majority of the people who inhabit the far-flung environs of this nation are children of darkness and possessed of the mind of Satan, the god of this world.

The stink of this nation has reached the heavens and God is about to pull a curtain of blackness over this land that will release the elements of destruction that are harbored in the immoral minds of a near totally perverted people.

Presently we are witnessing rapidly developing hostilities between ethnic groups divided on the basis of racial group or skin color. The present Faustian despot who now rules and reigns over the destiny of the peoples of this commonwealth is using the powers of the office of president to set aflame the smoldering prejudice of malleable anarchists in order to ignite roiling race wars that will collapse social order and bring this nation to its knees. This is his goal; to destroy national sovereignty and re-make the nation as a totalitarian socialist element of a centrally controlled one-world homogeny; in other words a modern version of the Tower of Babel.

The established and unarguable fact is that both Barack Obama and his wife hate the United States and have never made a secret of their disdain of its history, its valor, or its constitutional values. They have stated their antipathy for the nation and all that it stands for on a number of occasions in a number of venues. The astonishing aspect of this is that the majority of the people of this nation voted for such a perverse foreign born nit having full knowledge of his contempt for their land and its historical values. This fact highlights two things; the sheer stupidity of the American electorate and the in your face audacity of the Obama clan.

NO CHANGE FORESEEN

This nation has been stood on its head for so long in regard to its system of principles and beliefs that the people have not the foggiest notion of the Biblical standards that the Almighty has set forth to establish human behavior. Gods laws are not taught in the churches or in the homes, and the nations systems of laws are predicated upon the myriad whims and caprices of unjust and unholy men rather than upon the divine and binding absolutes of the Holy God.

Righteous acts are punished and criminal behaves are justified and rewarded, the innocent are imprisoned while the guilty are exonerated and set free to continue their plundering and murderous ways. Millions of guiltless human babies are butchered in the name of personal choice and their remains are either cast off as garbage or mined for experimentation by a depraved scientific and ethically challenged biological community. I suspect that if one knew the extent of the experimentation with the bits and pieces of these poor little creatures it would turn the stomach.

Iniquitous acts and perversions are excused and socially instituted by a nationally embraced exculpation known as political correctness.  It has become the tool used to sanction prurient practices and lifestyles and to remove the stigma from Biblically identified abominable perversions.

Just recently the progressive community has attempted to sanitize the filthy practice of sodomy by intimating that those in opposition to this aberrational and pestilential behavior are in fact closet sodomites who use their opposition as a form of concealment. It is an inauthentic psychological stretch by these imbeciles, and the real psychology is the reverse of their progressive mythology.

Since sodomites are so inwardly ashamed of their perversion and have no adequate way to justify or vindicate their filthy behavior they must resort to a conjuration of the delusionary and fictional twaddle that others are as nasty as they. To make it simple they must attempt to smear healthy heterosexuals with their own excrement in order to assuage their feelings of guilt and self-loathing. You want psychology; there it is – the real truth!

A CORRUPT MILITARY

George Patton is one of my hero’s he was an iconic politically incorrect, courageous, loquacious, outspoken, and perceptive son of a gun, and the most effective U.S. military commander to ever come down the pike. I respect him above most other historical figures and think of him as the Old Hickory of modern times; he and Andrew Jackson were much alike in deed and in spirit. This country would never have come to its former glory without men such as these.

There is not a single military high commander today (NONE) who could come close to Patton in principle or true integrity, they are all politically correct, butt kissing pukes who couldn’t stand in Patton’s shadow. He was a manâs man and one can imagine that he must be turning in his grave given queers in the military, women in combat, and the sundry other politically correct crap that the ignorant politico and dimwitted military brass have instituted into the armed services…one wonders why anyone would volunteer for any branch of the armed services in the current degraded environment.

POLITICAL BUFFOONERY

I can’t imagine that anyone could be as sick and disgusted as I am with the current totally ignorant political scene and the seeming interminable political blather that assails the ears and eyes of a captive people every minute of every day. I can only liken it to an ache from a festering tooth; it will be a wonderful relief when it is over.

The arrogant Republicans who control the party apparatus have dictatorially secured the nomination for semi progressive George Romney. He will be the nominee as these arrogant political kingmakers have structured the process to eliminate all others despite their popularity or constitutional expertise.

I hear the establishment Republicans complain that Ron Paul supporters are combative, rude and unsportsmanlike in regard to Romney’s candidacy; I believe that most do not really care about Romney one way or another. He harbors a non-scrupulous core and is a capital investor who places money above principle. To make it worse he supports failed inherited political patterns over a retrieval of constitutional ensures. Scripture has a name for such; they are called moneychangers.

That he is a moneychanger cannot be denied, as he rolls in 27 million dollars each day from investments alone. He is of inherited wealth and in all probability hasn’t done an earnest days work in his entire life. His past political services have established him as a milk toast and a lickspittle who exhibits not one whit of a believable fighting spirit. He kisses progressive behinds in the name of compromise, and willingly barters away the essential non-negotiable constituents of constitutional governance.

In November these Republican dimwits and the media that aided them (I am thinking of Fox) are going to be stunned when Obama wins handily due to the huge number of voters who will spurn these Republican moguls, and their hand-picked candidate, and write in Ron Paul or others on their ballot. By their highhanded tactics these nitwits have pissed into the wind the margin needed for a win.

This is no big deal as the country is treading the margins of collapse and destruction, and might as well go down with the present interloping idiot that the ignorant masses have clutched to their bosom.

One last thing in regard to George Romney before I move along to other issues, he recently opined that God employed evolution to create mankind. By doing so he ignored Gods inspired word of Genesis 1:1-2:3 and thereby called God a liar. There is no room for evolutionists in my camp – this was again another cowardly double-sided attempt to appease believers while ingratiating himself with the secular evolutionists.

I AM NOT A JEREMIAH

“Do not I hate them, O LORD that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?” (Psalm 139:21)

Periodically I receive letters suggesting that I must grieve in regard to the onrushing wrath of the Holy One upon the people of this nation. The cold hard fact is that unlike Jeremiah I do not weep when the iniquitous receive a just due. I have never shed a tear when a murderer is executed, I never agonize when a terrorist of any stripe, domestic or otherwise, is dropped in his tracks by a well placed bullet, and I never wring my hands when evil people reap the just results of their crimes.

Like Elijah, who shed no tears over the slain four hundred fifty false prophets of Baal, I am angered by those who deny, ridicule, slander, and blaspheme the Lord Jesus Christ.

In such an ungodly society as we presently live, my compassion is reserved for the unfortunate victims of the conscious less, and of the world’s oppressors and the criminally malfeasant.

I am a believer in Christ and a servant of the Most High Holy God. I am not in love with this country, nor do I worship or esteem any earthly entity whose governing authority has demonstrated that it is a proxy of the evil one. My home is not of this world…

This nation and this world is a temporary dwelling place. By all indications we are presently in the time of the terminal generation; those who love Christ will not be saddened, but overjoyed by such news. But, those who love this fallen world above the Lord will be irritated, offended, and possibly even outraged by my words; just as they are – in these critical days – offended by the Messiah and His ministry.

© 2012 Jim R. Schwiesow – All Rights Reserved

Those of you who recognize a real Christian American may find more of his articles here. http://www.newswithviews.com/Schwiesow/jimA.htm


The 9/11 Attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC): Unspoken Financial Bonanza

04/28/2012

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=30554

Author’s note

This article was first published by Global Research on 12 March 2004 under the title “Financial Bonanza behind the 9/11 Tragedy: Who are the Financial Actors behind the WTC?”

The original URL was  http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO403B.html.

The article focussed on “verifiable facts” without further analysis. The Article presented a timeline of major financial transactions pertaining to the WTC implemented in the months preceding the September 11, 2001 attacks.


Michel Chossudovsky, April 26, 2011


On October 17, 2000, eleven months before 9/11,

Blackstone Real Estate Advisors, of The Blackstone Group, L.P, purchased, from Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association, the participating mortgage secured by World Trade Center, Building Seven.1

April 26, 2001

The Port Authority leased the WTC for 99 years to Silverstein Properties and Westfield America Inc,

The transaction was authorised by Port Authority Chairman Lewis M. Eisenberg.

This transfer from the New York and New Jersey Port Authority was tantamount to the privatisation of the WTC Complex. The official press release described it as “the richest real estate prize in New York City history”. The retail space underneath the complex was leased to Westfield America Inc.2

On 24 July 2001, 6 weeks prior to 9/11

Silverstein took control of the lease of the WTC following the Port Authority decision on April 26.

Silverstein and Frank Lowy, CEO of Westefield Inc. took control of the 10.6 million-square-foot WTC complex. “Lowy leased the shopping concourse called the Mall at the WTC, which comprised about 427,000 square feet of retail space.”3

Explicitly included in the agreement was that Silverstein and Westfield “were given the right to rebuild the structures if they were destroyed”. 4

In this transaction, Silverstein signed a rental contract for the WTC over 99 years amounting to 3,2 billion dollars in installments to be made to the Port Authority: 800 million covered fees including a down payment of the order of 100 million dollars. Of this amount, Silverstein put in 14 million dollars of his own money. The annual payment on the lease was of the order of 115 million dollars.5

In the wake of the WTC attacks, Silverstein [was] suing for some $7.1 billion in insurance money, more than double the amount of the value of the 99 year lease.6


Silverstein Properties Inc. is a Manhattan-based real estate development and investment firm that owns, manages, and has developed more than 20 million square feet of office, residential and retail space.

Westfield America, Inc. is controlled by the Australian based Lowy family with major interests in shopping centres. The CEO of Westfield is Australian businessman Frank Lowy.

The Blackstone Group, a private investment bank with offices in New York and London, was founded in 1985 by its Chairman, Peter G. Peterson, and its President and CEO, Stephen A. Schwarzman.

In addition to its Real Estate activities, the Blackstone Group’s core businesses include Mergers and Acquisitions Advisory, Restructuring and Reorganization Advisory, Private Equity Investing, Private Mezzanine Investing, and Liquid Alternative Asset Investing.7

Blackstone chairman Peter G. Petersen is also Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Chairman of the board of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). His partner Stephen A. Schwarzman is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Peter G. Petersen is also named in widow Ellen Mariani’s widow civil RICO suit filed against. George W. Bush, et al.

Kissinger McLarty Associates, which is Henry Kissinger’s consulting firm has a “strategic alliance” with the Blackstone Group “which is designed to help provide financial advisory services to corporations seeking high-level strategic advice.” (www.blackstone.com) .

For details on the insurance claims pertaining to the WTC, see Centre for Research on Globalization, The WTC Towers Collapse: an Enormous Insurance Scam (selected articles), http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/WTC312A.html, 19 December 2003

The WTC Towers Collapse: an Enormous Insurance Scam

http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/WTC312A.html

Alberta Independent Media Centre,

 

On the 23rd July, 2001, just seven weeks previous to the World Trade Center demolitions, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey signed a deal with a consortium (Larry Silverstein, Westfield America Inc and Lloyd Goldman) led by Larry Silverstein for a 99 year lease of the World Trade Center complex. The leased buildings included WTCs One, Two, Four, Five and 400,000 square feet of retail space. The Marriott Hotel (WTC 3), U.S. Customs building (WTC 6) and Silverstein’s own 47-story office building (WTC 7) were already under lease. Silverstein is seeking $7.2 billion from insurers for the destruction of the center. Here are few articles concerning the World Trade Center deal and consequent legal wrangle.

 

Insurers Debate: One Accident or Two?

Bloomberg News

NEW YORK – Larry Silverstein, who acquired the lease to operate the World Trade Center in July, is seeking $7.2 billion from insurers for the destruction of the center – twice the amount insurers say he can claim.

The two hijacked airliners that struck the 110-story twin towers Sept. 11 were separate “occurrences” for insurance purposes, entitling him to collect twice on $3.6 billion of policies, a spokesman for Mr. Silverstein said.

Companies that insured the building, including Chubb Corp., Swiss Reinsurance Co., Allianz AG, Ace Ltd. and XL Capital Ltd., said that because the attack was coordinated it counts as only a single occurrence.

“This is something that’s going to be debated for a very long time,” said Julie Rochman of the American Insurance Association, a trade group representing Chubb and the other insurers.

Mr. Silverstein, who has vowed to rebuild the complex, is liable for more than $100 million a year in lease payments to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the 16-acre (6.5-hectare) site, the spokesman for the property company said.

About 13.4 million squre feet (1.2 million square meters) of office space was destroyed in the attacks and an additional 15 million square feet in nearby buildings was damaged, according to Insignia/ESG, the largest New York real-estate brokerage firm. The collapse of the towers caused the destruction of buildings 4, 5, 6 and 7 at the World Trade Center. The office complex was the largest in the United States.

As an industry, insurers have decided to treat the attacks as a single occurrence, said Keith Buckley of ratings group Fitch Inc., an organization that grades the financial health of insurers.

Nicholas Jones, a spokesman for Willis Group Holdings, which brokered the insurance on the trade center, said, “We are of course aware of Silverstein Properties’ position in this matter, and we are working with Silverstein and the insurers and underwriters to bring this matter to an amicable solution as quickly as possible.”

Executives of the insurance market Lloyd’s of London, Swiss Re and other insurers of the buildings either declined to comment or were not available. “We don’t talk about individual situations,” said Glenn Montgomery, a spokesman for Chubb, based in Warren, New Jersey.

This article appeared in the International Herald Tribune, 2001-10-10, page 16.


Link to article.

Twin Tower Insurers Win Discovery Fight

Mark Hamblett

New York Law Journal 06-20-2002

The attorney-client privilege does not shield conversations between the insurance broker for World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein and Silverstein’s lawyers, a federal judge in the Southern District of New York has ruled.

In a victory for insurance companies in their multibillion-dollar fight against Silverstein’s claim that the Sept. 11 attacks amounted to two occurrences for insurance purposes, U.S. District Judge John S. Martin ordered brokers from Willis of New York Inc. to answer questions in a deposition about their understanding of the scope of coverage following the terrorist assault.

The conversations were between the brokers and Silverstein attorneys Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Insurance company attorneys claim the conversations will include evidence that Willis employees considered the destruction of the twin towers a single event. Silverstein has argued from the outset that the attacks were two occurrences, a claim that, if successful, would double the amount of insurance payments he receives, to $7.1 billion.

The ruling in SR International Business Insurance Co. Ltd. v. World Trade Center Properties andWorld Trade Center Properties v. Allianze Insurance Co., 01 Civ. 929, also marks the second setback to the Silverstein team this month. On June 3, Martin refused to grant Silverstein summary judgment on whether the attacks amounted to two occurrences, ruling that extrinsic evidence must be considered before deciding how much Silverstein should be compensated for the destruction.

The motion to compel discovery of the conversations between Willis and Wachtell Lipton lawyers was sought by Travelers Insurance Co., one of several defendant counterclaimant’s in the Allianze case. Travelers’ assertion that it is obligated to pay Silverstein only $210 million, instead of double that amount, has been used as the test case for pretrial motions and discovery in more than 20 suits concerning World Trade Center insurance coverage.

Herbert M. Wachtell’s grounds for resisting the motion were that Willis was acting as an agent for the Silverstein parties and was therefore protected by the privilege, that Willis and the Silverstein parties shared a “common interest privilege,” and that the conversations were protected by the attorney work product privilege.

Harvey Kurzweil and Saul Morgenstern of New York’s Dewey Ballantine, who represent Travelers, are the lawyers seeking to question the Willis employees. Kurzweil and Morgenstern go into depositions armed with already-discovered documents: notes taken by a Willis employee in London during a conversation with another Willis employee who was stranded in Nashville, Tenn., following Sept. 11. The employee in Nashville allegedly implied that the understanding of the parties to the still-unsigned insurance agreement was that the attacks were one occurrence.

AGENCY ISSUE

As to agency, Judge Martin said: “a limited number of cases have held that the corporate attorney-client privilege can extend to communications between the corporation’s attorney and outside agents or consultants to the corporation whose role is the functional equivalent to that of a corporate employee.”

But Martin said the facts in this case are substantially different because the conversations were “between Willis, a multi-national corporation with its own retained counsel, and the lawyers for one of its many clients.”

While competent lawyers need to be fully informed of all the facts of a case for a client, Martin said, “that interest does not extend the attorney-client privilege to all those who may have relevant information. The privilege is much more limited.”

Addressing the common interest privilege, Martin said it is a “limited exception to the general rule that the attorney-client privilege is waived when a protected communication is disclosed to a third party.” He said the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has warned that courts should be cautious about extending the attorney-client privilege through the exception.

But Martin said further that “Sharing a desire to succeed in an action does not create a ‘common interest.'”

“There has been no showing that Willis and the Silverstein Parties have an identical legal interest, as required by the cases,” he said. “Willis is not a party to this litigation, and its legal position will be unaffected by the outcome of this case.”

Finally, Martin found that the conversations were not protected by the attorney work-product privilege.

“It must be remembered that, at least as codified in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the work product doctrine applies only to tangible things — not testimony,” he said. “Clearly, much more can be learned about a lawyer’s strategy and tactics from documents that the lawyer prepares than can be gained from general questioning concerning a witness’s recollection of conversations with an attorney concerning the events about which the witness is expected to testify.”

The judge said that the work product privilege would apply only to the extent that questions are “specifically designed” to discover Wachtell Lipton’s work product.

So the judge allowed insurance company attorneys to question Willis witnesses about conversations that occurred before the sessions at which the witnesses were being prepared for depositions, and during the preparation sessions.

Stuart Green of Epstein, Becker & Green in New York represented Willis.


Link to article.

World Trade Center’s Mortgage Holder Loses Discovery Fight

Tom Perrott

New York Law Journal 07-08-2002

Insurance companies Wednesday won another battle in a multibillion-dollar dispute over the World Trade Center, as a federal judge in the Southern District of New York said he would compel the building’s mortgage holder to testify and disclose an array of documents.

U.S. District Judge John S. Martin ruled that employees of GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corp., which holds the mortgage on the World Trade Center, and its insurance advisors, Harbor Group Ltd., could not use the attorney-client privilege to shield communications made after the Sept. 11 attacks.

SR International Business Insurance Co. Ltd. (Swiss Re) is seeking the communications and testimony from agents in an attempt to bolster their claim that the destruction of the World Trade Center was the result of one terrorist attack rather than two.

Larry Silverstein, the leaseholder of the towers, has argued that the attacks were two separate events, meaning insurance companies would have to reimburse him a total of $7.1 billion rather than half of that amount.

But the insurance companies have said that conversations between Silverstein’s lawyers and insurance brokers would reveal that initially there was an understanding that the attacks constituted one event, not two.

The ruling from Martin comes a few weeks after he came to a similar conclusion on a motion brought by Travelers Insurance Co., one of the defendant counterclaimants in SR International Business Insurance Co. Ltd. v. World Trade Center Properties and World Trade Center Properties v. Allianz Insurance Company, 01 Civ. 9291.

In that ruling, the judge said conversations between Silverstein’s attorneys at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and insurance brokers at Willis of New York Inc. were not subject to the attorney-client privilege.

On Wednesday, the judge applied similar reasoning to a request by Swiss Re to examine documents drafted by employees at GMAC and Harbor Group after Sept. 11 as they attempted to address investor concerns.

Martin ruled that the actions of the employees, supervised by GMAC’s in-house counsel, constituted information gathering in the normal course of business, not in anticipation of litigation.

“No privilege attaches to an attorney’s communications when the attorney is hired to give business or personal advice, or to do the work of a nonlawyer,” Martin wrote.

GMAC had argued that all post Sept. 11 communications were protected by the attorney-client or the work product privilege because of the in-house counsel’s supervision.

Martin did say, however, that any communications involving the in-house counsel that contained or sought legal advice would be privileged.

The judge said that the parties could submit documents to the court for in camera inspection to determine whether they were privileged.

Barry R. Ostrager of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, who represented Swiss Re, said an important aspect of the ruling involves a Sept. 14 meeting at Silverstein’s office between Silverstein, his lawyers, Willis of New York, GMAC, Harbor and other investors.

Martin ruled that documents related to the meeting were not privileged and said employees of GMAC and Harbor can be questioned about what was said.

He also said Swiss Re could review notes taken by Beth Ann Herrmann, a vice president at GMAC, and Peter Lefkowitz, of Harbor, at the meeting. The two had taken notes at the request of GMAC’s in-house counsel, but Martin ruled the notes were not privileged because they “merely set forth the facts that were reported to the attorney.”

Ostrager said the deadline for discovery in the case is Sept. 30.

John C. Ulin of Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe in Los Angeles, who represented GMAC, was not available for comment.

Marc Wolinsky of Wachtell Lipton who was not involved with this motion, said the ruling was “of no real consequence.”

Chet A. Kronenberg of Simpson Thacher’s Los Angeles office also represented Swiss Re.


Link to article.

WTC Insurer Has Right to Appraisal, Federal Judge Rules

Mark Hamblett

New York Law Journal 08-21-2002

One of many insurance companies locked in a dispute with World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein has the right to an independent appraisal of the loss incurred in the Sept. 11 attacks, Southern District of New York Judge John S. Martin has ruled.

Pursuant to its contract with Silverstein, Allianz Insurance Co. had sought to have disinterested appraisers selected by both sides, with any discrepancy to be resolved by an umpire.

Silverstein has opposed the motion, arguing that the appraisal mechanism in the insurance agreements was pre-empted by the Air Transportation and System Stabilization Act, which granted exclusive jurisdiction to the Southern District of New York for claims flowing from the Sept. 11 jet crashes.

But Judge Martin agreed with Allianz, saying that “at the outset it should be noted that to construe the grant of jurisdiction to deny Allianz a contractual right that it has under New York law would raise serious constitutional issues.

“But even if there were no constitutional issue presented, there is no basis for finding that when Congress conferred jurisdiction on this Court for all actions relating to the events of Sept. 11, it meant to deprive parties of their contractual right to appraisal or arbitration,” he said. “Indeed, there is a serious question whether the grant of jurisdiction in the Act applies to this case.”

Meanwhile, at a court hearing Tuesday, Martin expressed skepticism about keeping an upcoming Nov. 4 trial date in the case, because discovery is far from complete. (No decision was made on whether to push back the trial date, but another hearing will be held today.)

In his ruling on the appraisal, Martin said the original purpose of the Air Transportation and System Stabilization Act, passed in the wake of the tragedy last September, was to “limit the liability of the airlines … and to provide an alternative method of compensating the victims of the attacks.”

But there is nothing in the legislative history of the act, nor in the provision vesting exclusive jurisdiction in the Southern District, he said, that indicates Congress intended to affect parties with a property interest in the World Trade Center and their insurance companies.

The decision in Allianz Insurance Co. v. World Trade Center Properties, 02 Civ. 0017, was the latest in a series of rulings in the multibillion-dollar fight over insurance payments for the World Trade Center attacks.

Travelers Indemnity Co. and a host of other insurers contend that New York law requires the two terror attacks on the World Trade Center be considered a single occurrence for insurance purposes. Silverstein argues the attacks were two occurrences, and he is entitled to double the insurance proceeds: roughly $7.1 billion for reconstruction and lost revenues.

Last month, Martin urged the parties to consider settling the case, and asked fellow Southern District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan to oversee settlement talks.

JURY PREFERRED BY SOME

In his opinion on the Allianz motion, Martin noted that some other insurers have indicated they might seek an appraisal, but others have told the court they preferred to have a jury decide the issue.

Silverstein had argued that Allianz was both too late in asserting its appraisal rights, because it had already engaged in litigation, and too early, because both parties are required to first hire experts and evaluate the loss and then engage in good-faith negotiations before invoking the appraisal process.

On the claim that Allianz was too late, Judge Martin said Allianz specifically “reserved its right to demand appraisal in its reply to the Silverstein Parties’ counterclaim” and spent a lot of time trying to negotiate an agreement on the appraisal process before it filed the motion.

On Silverstein’s claim that Allianz sought appraisal too early, Martin said, “It makes no sense to suggest that the parties must bear the expense of hiring experts to evaluate a loss before they retain the services of an ‘impartial appraiser.'”

The judge did express one concern he said “might militate against the full enforcement of the appraisal provision.” With only some insurers seeking appraisal, he said, enforcement of those rights “may unfairly multiply the proceedings in which the Silverstein Parties are forced to litigate the valuation issue.”

One remedy, he said, might be to substitute himself for the neutral umpire if the appraisers cannot agree. But for the time being, the judge said he was reserving decision on whether the parties would choose the umpire.

Silverstein was represented by Herbert M. Wachtell of New York-based Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Allianz was represented by John B. Massopust of Zelle, Hofmann, Voelbel, Mason & Gette.


Link to article.

Trial Date Set for WTC Insurance Issue

Mark Hamblett

New York Law Journal 08-23-2002

Jury selection in the trial to decide the multibillion-dollar question of whether the attacks on the World Trade Center were one or two occurrences for insurance purposes will begin on Nov. 4.

Southern District of New York Judge John S. Martin late Thursday rebuffed an attempt by insurance companies that claimed massive amounts of pretrial discovery and trial preparation made it impossible to conduct the trial efficiently.

But Martin also said the trial would be split into two phases, with the first dealing with issues of contract formation — the parties had only signed insurance binders and not final agreements in the weeks leading up to Sept. 11 — and the occurrence question.

The second phase will concern the amount of damages.

Although most of the 22 insurance companies or syndicates had asked for trial to begin next year (three companies were willing to go to trial sooner if their cases were severed from rest), World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein, the Port Authority, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. had all pressed for an earlier date, arguing that the future of the Trade Center depended on a quick resolution of the insurance conflict.

Silverstein claims that the separate crashing of two planes into the North and South towers on Sept. 11 amounted to two occurrences, and that he is entitled to more than $7 billion in insurance proceeds. Should a jury disagree, the insurance companies would be obligated to pay only half that amount.

From the outset of the case, Silverstein’s lawyer Herbert Wachtell of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, has insisted that time is of the essence, and the future of downtown Manhattan and the economic health of the city require an immediate answer to this question.

“We definitely need to know how much money is going to be needed for rebuilding at the very earliest time,” Wachtell told Judge Martin at a hearing Tuesday. “This is not some phantom, this is the harsh reality of getting New York City rebuilt.”

But Harvey Kurzweil of Dewey Ballantine, the attorney for Travelers Indemnity Co., said Tuesday there was no need to “hustle” to trial in the belief that “more money for Mr. Silverstein means more money for New York.

“The only result to be determined by this trial is who pays,” he said, and he reiterated that argument Thursday to no avail.

Judge Martin, who has been hashing out discovery disputes with the lawyers, has become increasingly skeptical of the need to rush forward and try the case, largely because the planning and design process for the site is proceeding slower than expected.

At this point, submissions for a design competition for a memorial at the site are not due until June 2003. And the first wave of submissions for an overall rebuilding plan that would include a memorial and millions of square feet of retail and commercial space have been criticized by officials and the public as inadequate and uninspiring.

But in the end, Martin set aside his concerns over the uncertainty of the plans for the site and focused on what he said was “one of Parkinson’s Laws — that the work will expand to the time allotted it.”

The Port Authority, which gave a 99-year lease to Silverstein last year — so close to the attacks that some contract issues were still being negotiated when the planes hit the buildings — also wants a quick answer from the court.

“You can’t plan a building without knowing how much money you have to build in the first place,” Port Authority lawyer Timothy Reynolds of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom said Tuesday.

Thursday, Reynolds said the Port Authority and Silverstein “are facing a hole in the ground and the insurance companies are sitting on that money earning interest.”

At a minimum, Reynolds argued, Silverstein should receive, as quickly as the amount can be determined, the actual cash value of property, even before the occurrence issue and the replacement cost of the property can be determined.

“That money is clearly due to us now,” he said.

BIFURCATED TRIAL

During brief arguments Thursday, Wachtell said the insurance companies “had their tongues hanging out” for a bifurcated trial “because they were better off tactically not having a single jury deciding contract issues and valuation.”

As the parties are now faced with racing to complete more than 130 depositions in advance of trial, Martin is scheduled to hear summary judgment motions, and also arguments on whether the binders signed by the parties constituted, in essence, a final agreement, or whether there were critical issues remaining to be negotiated when the attacks occurred.


Link to article.
http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1030343783307

Double Indemnity

Alison Frankel

The American Lawyer 09-03-2002

Barry Ostrager, the Simpson Thacher & Bartlett litigation chief, is a big admirer of Herbert Wachtell. Really, he is. Big, big fan.

Never mind the adjectives he uses to describe the co-founder of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz — “obstreperous, obstructive and unreasonable.” Forget the nasty accusations of witness manipulation that Ostrager has tossed at Wachtell Lipton partners in the World Trade Center insurance coverage litigation. Disregard Ostrager’s amusement at what he calls the “feigned indignation” with which Wachtell has greeted the Simpson Thacher lawyer’s tactics.

Put all that aside, Ostrager says. Focus instead on his great compliment to Herb Wachtell and his partners: But for Wachtell’s ingenuity and persuasiveness, Ostrager says, there would be no World Trade Center insurance litigation. There would be no $3.55 billion dispute over the money owed to Wachtell’s client, New York real estate developer Larry Silverstein, who signed a 99-year lease on the World Trade Center just two months before the attack on the towers. As Ostrager tells it, only a mind as brilliant as Wachtell’s could have crafted a plausible argument that Silverstein is owed $7.1 billion, twice his ostensible policy limit, because the World Trade Center catastrophe constituted two discrete, insurable events, not one.

Of course, Ostrager’s salute to Wachtell is just a tiny bit mitigated by his own role in the litigation. He is counsel to the Swiss Reinsurance Co., the carrier that underwrote about 22 percent — $780 million — of the Trade Center’s insurance coverage. Swiss Re, like the rest of the 21 insurance companies battling Silverstein, is determined to prove that the Trade Center collapse constituted one occurrence under Silverstein’s insurance coverage, not the two Silverstein claims.

The story of the Silverstein insurance program, assembled in the summer of 2001, is so far-fetched that any law professor who dreamed it up as a hypothetical would be laughed out of the classroom. Silverstein hired a well-known broker, Willis Group Holdings Ltd., to find enough coverage to satisfy his lenders. Willis scrambled mightily to place $3.55 billion in insurance, ultimately dealing pieces to 25 carriers. Negotiations were frenetic — so frenetic that when Silverstein took over the lease of the Trade Center on July 24, 2001, he had in hand only temporary contracts from his insurers. Most of those had been executed on the basis of a sample form that Willis had circulated, a form that included a broad definition of what constituted an occurrence for insurance purposes. (The encompassing definition was designed by Willis to favor policyholders; the more damage that could be lumped into one occurrence, the fewer deductibles policyholders would have to pay.)

One key carrier, however, had refused to base negotiations on the Willis form. Travelers Indemnity Co. insisted on using its own form, which did not specifically define “occurrence,” as the foundation of discussions about a final policy. Willis needed Travelers to stay in the deal, so Willis brokers spent August 2001 deep in negotiations with Travelers underwriters about changes proposed to the Travelers form. (These negotiations, interestingly, did not include discussion of the definition of “occurrence.”) As of Sept. 11, Willis had not circulated final policies to any of the 25 carriers. Silverstein and Willis now say that all of the insurance companies should be held to the terms of the Travelers policy, which, in their lawyers’ interpretation of New York state insurance law, leads to the conclusion that the Trade Center collapse constituted two occurrences. The insurers — no surprise here — say that the Willis form prevails.

What’s more, asserts Ostrager, the Willis brokers who now support the Travelers scenario didn’t always. Only after Wachtell Lipton lawyers got involved, Ostrager has said repeatedly in this litigation, did Willis witnesses convert to the story that favors Silverstein. Silverstein himself said as much, Ostrager argues, in a speech he delivered in December 2001 to the “CEO Summit” on Rebuilding Confidence in the U.S. Economy. “I had to find myself the best minds that I could find,” Silverstein said, “to get me two events, to provide $7 billion.” Those minds, in Ostrager’s telling, belong to the Wachtell Lipton lawyers.

Ostrager is a slight 55-year-old with wavy, reddish hair and an insatiable appetite for competition; in his scant spare time he breeds racehorses. He graduated from New York University Law School 18 years after Herb Wachtell, and seems to be fairly frothing for confrontation with him. Ostrager has gone so far as to fling such phrases as “corruption of the discovery process” and “unconscionable interference by Wachtell” into a brief that accuses Wachtell Lipton lawyers of “exerting fantastic pressure” on Willis witnesses and “manipulating” their testimony.

Wachtell, who says that the evidence disproves the very thesis of Ostrager’s accusations, responds to the Simpson Thacher lawyer with characteristic irascibility. When his partner Meyer Koplow calls Ostrager’s attack “laughable,” Wachtell cuts in. “It’s not laughable,” he says.

Wachtell, 70, is not a physically intimidating man. He has long, slicked-back gray hair, a thin, red face and piercing eyes. He wears half-frame glasses low on his nose. Yet somehow he is fearsome. “I don’t like to see my partners accused of suborning perjury,” he fumes. Ostrager, he says, is litigating this case with reckless aggressiveness. “He likes to distort facts,” says Wachtell. “I am mightily pissed.”

So far Ostrager is winning. The insurers have beaten Silverstein on almost every significant pretrial motion in the case, including a summary judgment motion by Wachtell that was denied. That’s all just prelude, however. The judge in the case, John Martin Jr. of Manhattan federal district court, has appointed another federal judge, Lewis Kaplan, to oversee settlement talks this fall. If they fail, Ostrager and Wachtell will meet in court in November to try this case. Barry Ostrager will be looking to topple Wachtell. Herb Wachtell will be trying to put the Simpson Thacher lawyer in his place. And one of their clients will walk away hundreds of millions of dollars richer.

Larry Silverstein is Herb Wachtell’s oldest friend. They met as teen-agers, at New York City’s High School of Music & Art, where they both played piano. At New York University, both played in the band, Silverstein on drums and Wachtell on clarinet. They stayed close enough over the years that Silverstein had dinner at Wachtell’s house the Friday before Sept. 11. Silverstein didn’t use Wachtell Lipton as his regular lawyers — Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Stroock & Stroock & Lavan routinely represented him — but when he split from his business partner (and brother-in-law), Wachtell and his partners negotiated the breakup.

On Sept. 13, two days after the towers fell, Silverstein called Martin Lipton, also a close friend and a fellow NYU trustee, to ask if Lipton thought he’d need legal advice. “Marty said, ‘And how,'” says Wachtell. ” hadn’t thought through the scope of all the legal problems he could be facing. They’d lost four people from a small office. They were all traumatized.” Silverstein arranged to come to Wachtell Lipton’s offices later that afternoon.

Before he arrived, though, Wachtell had to figure out whether the firm could represent Silverstein beyond this emergency counseling session. “This would be a mammoth drain on firm resources,” says Wachtell, who heads a litigation department of 53 lawyers, almost half of whom have become involved in the World Trade Center litigation. “It was a firm issue — could we afford to take this on?” Wachtell Lipton’s midtown Manhattan offices were in turmoil on Sept. 13. Some investment bankers from Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., which had its offices in the World Trade Center, had been at a meeting at Wachtell Lipton when the planes hit the towers; the law firm volunteered to provide the Keefe Bruyette survivors (as well as some other lower Manhattan refugees) with a temporary headquarters. People were walking around carrying computers and phones for the guests. Wachtell Lipton lawyers were still in shock; collectively, they knew dozens of Trade Center victims. Many lawyers weren’t even in the office. Herb Wachtell rounded up all of the partners who were around for an impromptu firm meeting. “We decided to do it for two reasons,” he says. “Larry is my closest and oldest friend. And this was a civic thing — we felt an obligation to be involved in the rebuilding of the city.”

Silverstein, according to Wachtell Lipton partner Eric Roth, didn’t stay long at Wachtell Lipton’s offices on Sept. 13. Wachtell recalls talking briefly with Silverstein about several potential issues, including insurance. As it happened, Wachtell Lipton had argued an insurance coverage case in the New York Court of Appeals a week earlier (Simpson Thacher partner Mary Kay Vyskocil argued against him; Wachtell Lipton eventually won). He told Silverstein that, in his opinion, unless the insurance policy clearly stated otherwise, New York’s laws would define the terrorist attacks as two occurrences, two insurable events.

But at that point, Silverstein’s lawyers didn’t know what the insurance policy said. Silverstein had already been in touch with John Gross, a partner at Proskauer Rose who specializes in insurance coverage. On Saturday the 15th, Gross and the Wachtell Lipton lawyers talked for the first time. “We had no idea what had happened,” says Gross. “We were new counsel, we had not participated in the placement. I suggested we go meet with the Willis people and find out what was going on.” Roth agreed: “We had to go meet with Willis.”

Willis Group Holdings Limited is a giant insurance broker, specializing in coverage for big commercial properties. Even by Willis standards, though, the World Trade Center insurance program was huge. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which finished building the complex in 1972, carried only $1.5 billion (per occurrence) in coverage on all of its buildings, which, in addition to the Trade Center, included the three New York City area airports. Silverstein’s lenders insisted on more coverage, first demanding $2.3 billion, then $3.2 billion, and then, right before the lease deal closed, $3.55 billion. The lead Willis broker on the insurance placement, Timothy Boyd, and his team hustled in June and July to satisfy the lenders, contacting carriers in the United States, Europe and Bermuda to place coverage. Willis distributed to many, but not all, of the carriers underwriting packets that featured not only the risk analysis documentation on the World Trade Center, but also a 37-page sample property insurance policy that Willis had developed, a form called the WilProp 2000. The WilProp form included a specific definition of occurrence, one designed to minimize deductibles for policyholders: “all losses or damage that are attributable directly or indirectly to one cause or to one series of similar causes.”

The goal in multicarrier property insurance deals is to get all of the insurers to agree to issue the same final policy, so that there are no gaps in coverage. Carriers with smaller shares of the coverage frequently defer to the policy demands of bigger insurers, however, so brokers don’t expect to negotiate final policy language with all (or even most) carriers. In the World Trade Center program, for instance, no negotiations took place with the London insurance syndicates, which actually, at the time they agreed to provide coverage, waived the right to sign off on final policy wording. Moreover, insurers typically issue temporary contracts binding them to provide coverage before they finish negotiating final policy language. Usually there’s plenty of time to reconcile policies after the binders come in.

Distilling facts from the frenzied discussions that took place between Willis brokers and insurance company underwriters in July 2001 is no easy task, especially now. Willis broker Boyd testified that he didn’t expect carriers simply to accept the WilProp sample form, but considered it a starting point for negotiations. Swiss Re seems to have regarded it the same way. Underwriter Daniel Bollier agreed on July 9 to carry about 22 percent of all layers of coverage beyond the first $10 million, but he told Willis broker Paul Blackmore that he wanted changes in the sublimit language in the WilProp form. (Bollier was satisfied with the WilProp occurrence definition and did not attempt to negotiate changes to it.) Other carriers also seemed to expect negotiations of final policy language; only two Bermudan insurers, ACE Ltd. and XL Capital Ltd., specifically referred to the WilProp form in their binders.

Before the lease deal closing, Willis issued certificates of insurance to Silverstein, confirming to his lenders and to The Port Authority that he had sufficient coverage. His 99-year lease, for which Silverstein put up only $14 million of his own money, closed on July 24. Willis broker Boyd, however, still had work to do. One carrier, Travelers, had informed Boyd that if Travelers was to participate in the primary layer of coverage, it would have to be on the basis of its form, not the WilProp form. Boyd had tried to find a substitute carrier with as high a rating as Travelers, but the market for World Trade Center insurance was saturated.

So in late July, Boyd began serious discussions with Travelers underwriter James Coyle III about what the final Travelers policy would say.

There is no dispute that Coyle first sent Boyd the Travelers sample policy on July 11. But what did Boyd and the rest of the Willis brokers tell the other carriers about the Travelers form? On this critical question, the accounts of the Willis brokers and insurance company underwriters diverge drastically.

If the case ever goes to trial, one of the key issues will be the exchanges between London broker Blackmore and Swiss Re underwriter Daniel Bollier. Blackmore testified that sometime between July 17 and 23, he told Swiss Re underwriter Bollier that WilProp had been replaced by Travelers; on July 23 his assistant e-mailed the Travelers form to Swiss Re. But Bollier swore he remembered no conversation with Blackmore about the Travelers form. He said he paid little attention to the e-mail attachment, which arrived without a note advising that Travelers was replacing WilProp. Timothy Boyd of Willis testified that he specifically informed underwriters at eight other insurance companies that Travelers would be the primary form; notes in the files of at least three carriers indicate that their underwriters had been told. But most of the carriers deny that anyone from Willis ever told them Travelers was replacing WilProp.

At the end of August, Coyle of Travelers sent Willis’ Boyd a draft policy that included the changes they’d discussed. The Travelers policy did not define occurrence, leaving the interpretation to state law. Boyd, who did negotiate the wording of Travelers’ deductibles clause, never attempted to add Willis’ occurrence definition to the Travelers form. On that point, he deferred to Travelers. Boyd looked over what Coyle had sent him at the end of August, but didn’t respond. Labor Day weekend arrived, and there didn’t seem to be any rush.

Sept. 11 found most of the brokers on the Willis World Trade Center team in Nashville, at a previously scheduled meeting of Willis’ property insurance group. Like the rest of the country, they watched the television in horror. With planes grounded, the brokers were marooned in Nashville, without their paperwork. Inevitably, they began the debate: Was the attack one occurrence or two?

Willis’ counsel, Stuart Gerson of New York’s Epstein Becker & Green, insists that these conversations were informal and purely hypothetical. Nevertheless, when Timothy Boyd, the lead broker on the World Trade Center program, called Willis’ London office as he tried to reassemble the Silverstein documents, he told London staffers, according to the notes of one, “In their opinion this is one occurrence.” (Both Boyd and the London staffer testified that they did not recall the conversation.) Another broker said something similar to Swiss Re’s Daniel Bollier, according to Bollier’s testimony. Silverstein’s own risk manager hurriedly faxed a copy of portions of the WilProp form to a lawyer for The Port Authority with a cover note: “FYI the ‘occurrence’ definition and the insuring agreement and the exclusions in the Willis policy that we are working with.” Several hours later he sent the same materials to one of Silverstein’s lenders.

At the same time, however, Boyd was working with Jim Coyle of Travelers to get a final policy issued. Coyle agreed to send Boyd a policy that reflected the state of their negotiations as of Sept. 10. On Friday, Sept. 14, Travelers faxed a final policy — which included no definition of “occurrence” — to Willis’ temporary headquarters in New Jersey. From there, Willis faxed it to Wachtell’s offices.

“We were told two things,” says Wachtell, “that the Travelers form was the governing form; and that they wanted to disseminate the policy to the marketplace. We said, ‘No! You may not send it out until we can confirm the facts.'” Silverstein’s lawyers pressed the Willis team for interviews with the brokers. Willis senior executives agreed that John Gross of Proskauer and Eric Roth and Marc Wolinsky of Wachtell Lipton could come to New Jersey on Monday, Sept. 17, to talk to the brokers.

Over the weekend, Gross and the Wachtell Lipton lawyers studied the documents Willis had sent them. Gross is as emphatic as Wachtell about the implications of the Travelers policy. Since it didn’t specifically define “occurrence,” the definition was left to state law. And under New York state law, Gross asserts, the attack on the twin towers constituted two occurrences. “I knew it without even going to the books,” he says. But did the Travelers policy govern the World Trade Center insurance coverage? Gross and the Wachtell Lipton lawyers say that they got their answer in their interview with the Willis broker Timothy Boyd on Monday, Sept. 17.

If Barry Ostrager’s theory — that Wachtell concocted the Travelers policy scenario — was correct, the “fantastic pressure” that Wachtell supposedly exerted on the Willis witnesses would have had to have begun during those Sept. 17 meetings, as the lawyers and brokers figured out what to tell the insurance market about the governing policy. Willis is a sophisticated company, so, naturally, its brokers were represented by their own lawyer at these initial interviews with Silverstein’s counsel. Sitting at the head of the table as Roth, Gross and Wolinsky questioned Willis witnesses was a lawyer named Andrew Amer, from the firm that is Willis’ longtime outside counsel: Simpson Thacher. Amer is a partner in the department headed by Barry Ostrager.

Amer, who declined to comment, presumably heard the Willis witnesses tell Silverstein’s lawyers that the Travelers policy governed the World Trade Center coverage. He said as much in a Sept. 20 e-mail to Eric Roth, confirming that Willis believed that coverage was based on the Travelers form. “We await your approval to distribute the policy to the market,” Amer wrote.

So how could Ostrager later assert that Wachtell was pushing to get the Travelers policy out, that Wachtell Lipton lawyers were manipulating Willis witnesses to tell a story that favored Silverstein? Ostrager says he never talked to Amer about those meetings. To protect Willis’ attorney-client privilege, he says, Simpson Thacher — which had informed Willis from the start that it would be representing a carrier in the litigation — erected a wall between Amer and the lawyers representing Swiss Re. When Ostrager wrote the brief accusing Wachtell of “unconscionable interference” and “corruption of the discovery process,” he based his accusation on notes Travelers underwriter Coyle took during a post-Sept. 11 conversation with Willis broker Boyd in which Boyd complained about feeling so much pressure from the lawyers that he was thinking of quitting. The comment later turned out, however, to have been a reference to Willis in-house lawyers, pressing Boyd to produce documents.

Epstein Becker’s Gerson, the lawyer who replaced Amer soon after those initial meetings, also rejects any suggestion that Willis witnesses were coerced, in the Sept. 17 meeting with Wachtell Lipton lawyers or in any meeting after that. “I have been at every single prep session,” Gerson says. “There has been no pressure of any kind put on any Willis witness by anyone at Wachtell. I wouldn’t let that happen. I am not a potted plant.”

Ostrager says he never meant to suggest that Wachtell Lipton lawyers had suborned perjury, merely that in hours of preparing Willis witnesses for deposition, Wachtell Lipton partners had subtly shaped their recollections and perspectives. (Willis, insurance lawyers have noted in court, may be concerned about the possibility of Silverstein suing the brokerage for malpractice.) Immediately after Boyd’s deposition testimony about pressure from lawyers, Ostrager did notify Judge Martin that Boyd had been referring to in-house lawyers, not Wachtell; and he did tell the judge in a letter and in court that he wasn’t accusing Wachtell of impropriety. But he didn’t withdraw his brief. And he doesn’t believe that Wachtell is as indignant about his tactics as Wachtell says he is. In a deposition of Blackmore, Ostrager told Wachtell that he was going to call the judge if Wachtell didn’t stop interrupting his questions. “If you want to be a litigator,” Wachtell retorted, “don’t be so thin-skinned every time you get an objection.” Says Ostrager: “That applies in spades to him. want to be aggressive, but, like any bully, they don’t want to be punched back.”

Ostrager came into the World Trade Center insurance case at around the same time Wachtell did, within two days of the collapse of the towers. Swiss Re wasn’t necessarily expecting litigation, Ostrager says, but retained him “as a matter of prudence.” As Willis circulated the Sept. 14 Travelers policy to the other insurance companies, Swiss Re’s prudence proved justified. Swiss Re, as well as a host of other carriers, notified Willis that they’d bound coverage on the basis of the WilProp form, and had never agreed to substitute the Travelers form at all. The Travelers policy, they said, wasn’t their policy; many said that the Willis notice was the first they’d heard of it.

For a few weeks, Ostrager and his second-in-command, Mary Kay Vyskocil, let Silverstein set the course of the case. The real estate developer badly wanted to begin collecting the business interruption portion of his insurance, so that he could continue making payments to his lenders and his landlord, The Port Authority. Wachtell urged a meeting between Silverstein and the insurers. Willis executives organized a session on Oct. 2 at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Club. “I thought it would be helpful if Larry could talk to them, let them see him in the flesh, show them he was not trying to get a windfall,” Wachtell says. “We told them we understood there was a difference of opinion on occurrence, but we had to get the business interruption insurance going. Larry said, ‘We ought to be sitting down and talking.’ He was met with dead silence.”

Ostrager regarded the meeting as a turning point. “I knew what was going on in that Oct. 2 meeting,” Ostrager says. Silverstein wanted the business interruption cash, Ostrager says, to fund his two-occurrence litigation. “It was transparent and self-evident,” Ostrager says. “I knew to a moral certainty that Silverstein was going to initiate a declaratory judgment action against the insurers.” So Ostrager and Vyskocil grabbed control of the litigation. On Oct. 22 they filed, on behalf of Swiss Re, a complaint for a declaratory judgment against Silverstein, asking the court to hold that the Trade Center disaster was, for insurance purposes, one occurrence. Ostrager admits that not all of the other insurers were happy about his suit. “There was a band of reactions ranging from ‘We would have wanted to participate’ to ‘We would have appreciated it if you had consulted us,'” he says.

The Silverstein side portrays Ostrager as a litigation outlaw, infuriating the other insurers with overly aggressive tactics, starting with that declaratory judgment action. Lawyers for most of the other major insurers declined to comment publicly but insist privately that all of the insurers are working together. “There’s a high level of cooperation,” says Travelers counsel Harvey Kurzweil of New York’s Dewey Ballantine, who, along with his partner Saul Morgenstern, has become a spokesman for the other insurers. “We’ve put on a remarkably cohesive, coordinated .” And a successful one, so far. Though Ostrager has sometimes been alone at the extremes of the case, the insurance lawyers have united on major motions. As Ostrager had predicted, in January, Silverstein did file suit against all of the insurers, seeking a summary judgment against Travelers. Gross and the Wachtell Lipton team asked Judge Martin for a ruling that, as a matter of law, the World Trade Center disaster constituted two occurrences under the Travelers policy. Martin denied Wachtell’s summary judgment motion, and, on another heavily litigated pre-trial issue, granted the insurers’ motion to compel testimony from the Willis witnesses about their meetings with Wachtell.

Judge Martin seems eager for the case to settle, and has appointed federal Judge Lewis Kaplan to oversee talks, the first since a few utterly fruitless sessions late last fall. (Silverstein did settle with the two Bermudan insurance companies that explicitly mentioned the WilProp form in their binders. Those insurers agreed to pay, in cash, their policy limits for one occurrence, a total of about $350 million.) Proskauer’s John Gross is still hoping for a deal; after all, if Silverstein can get anything more than his $3.55 billion one-occurrence limit, he’s won. (Silverstein has stated repeatedly that he intends to use the insurance money to rebuild lower Manhattan.) Harvey Kurzweil says that Travelers and the other insurers would participate in talks; he is one of four insurance lawyers who was scheduled to meet with Wachtell Lipton partner Meyer Koplow in late August. Ostrager was also supposed to participate. One senses his heart wouldn’t be in it, though. There’s only one place Ostrager wants to be on Nov. 4: in Judge Martin’s courtroom, picking a jury of New Yorkers whose votes he and Herb Wachtell can fight for.


South Carolina Moves to Implement Agenda 21 Guidelines

04/27/2012

http://www.activistpost.com/2012/04/south-carolina-moves-to-implement.html

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

In an example of just how deep the roots of Agenda 21 can reach, it is now obvious that the UN-generated guidelines are making their way through state legislatures as well as the federal branch. Not only that, but such legislation has expanded from inside the boundaries of the usual suspects like California and New York, and is now even reaching into southern states like South Carolina, which have traditionally been opposed to such policies.

For those who are unaware, Agenda 21 (short for United Nations Agenda For The 21st Century) is a road map of guidelines and procedures dictated from the United Nations and implemented by the member states. In the case of the United States, the plans are implemented at the state and local level when Federal support is not adequate to meet the demands set forth by the United Nations and its affiliate NGOs. As Democrats Against Agenda 21 state on their website,

In a nutshell, the plan calls for governments to take control of all land use and not leave any of the decision making in the hands of private property owners.  It is assumed that people are not good stewards of their land and the government will do a better job if they are in control.  Individual rights in general are to give way to the needs of communities as determined by the governing body.  Moreover, people should be rounded up off the land and packed into human settlements, or islands of human habitation, close to employment centers and transportation.  Another program, called the Wildlands Project spells out how most of the land is to be set aside for non-humans.

This definition seems to fit a new resolution in the South Carolina State Congress, entitled theCommercial Center Retrofit Act, or. H.3604. Indeed, much of the bill reads as almost a direct translation of the mission of Agenda 21.
The Commercial Center Retrofit Act, now in Congressional subcommittee, has been introduced under the cover of merely encouraging the South Carolina Council of Governments to adopt ordinances and guidelines that will “enable the retrofitting of shopping malls and shopping centers into dense, walkable, mixed-use town centers.”
Now, let me first say that this idea, in and of itself, is not such a bad thing. Allowing andencouraging the retrofitting of buildings so that they use less energy, have less impact on the environment, and blend in with the rest of the community is actually something that should be encouraged. However, the Commercial Center Retrofit Act is not about encouraging such “green” improvements and environmentally-conscious building. This new resolution is solely dedicated to the implementation of Agenda 21.

It also bears noting that the South Carolina Council of Governments is an unelected body made up of regional “local” governments. Each sub-council within the larger council is made up of a grouping of local governments belonging to a specific region of the state. This body is not accountable to the people of South Carolina, yet they are clearly involved in making very important decisions.

With this in mind, it is not surprising that the Commercial Center Retrofit Act contains language right out of the Agenda 21 playbook. For instance, the preamble to the bill reads:

To encourage the South Carolina Council of Governments to adopt ordinances intended to enable the retrofitting of shopping malls and shopping centers into dense, walkable, mixed-use town centers, and to encourage other measures to promote a human habitat that is hospitable and accessible to more South Carolinians while lessening environmental impacts on the state.

Immediately, it is obvious that the scope of the bill extends far beyond simple ordinances for shopping centers. Now the bill includes “other measures,” which are cleverly undefined, that will be used to determine what type of “human habitat” will be allowed in the state. The end goal, at first, appears to be the development of a “human habitat” that lessens the “environmental impact” the future tenants allegedly have.

Yet, compared to the rest of the bill, the preamble is really no big deal.

Of course, to an individual unfamiliar with Agenda 21, theCommercial Center Retrofit Act might not sound so bad. However, when one is able to decipher the language of “sustainable development” and other such terms, the new resolution sounds much more sinister. Indeed, this piece of legislation represents a threat to both businesses and individuals alike, particularly private property owners.

Essentially, this resolution communicates a directive to the South Carolina Council of Governments to begin plans for drafting and administering a society that excludes rural areas, creates centralized and compact “human habitat” areas, and discourages use of vehicles and other equipment that allegedly produce “greenhouse gases.”

For instance, the resolution states that “the State of South Carolina aspires to retrofit its inventory of automobile dependent settlement patterns into compact, walkable, diverse, and transit ready communities that are more socially equitable, consume less petroleum, and generate fewer greenhouse gases.”

The resolution’s bias against automobiles and citizen independence is then justified by the claim that “the public servicing of automobile dependent settlement patterns disproportionately consumes the tax base of South Carolina municipalities.”

This is the blueprint, at first, to evacuate rural areas into the urban districts due to claims of lack of available services, accessibility, and higher taxes. Coercion and force, as evidenced by current actions in Africa, will eventually replace “encouragement” and the gradual approach witnessed at the beginning of plans like the Commercial Center Retrofit Act.

Laughably, the resolution pretends it is responding to social demand when it says that “the Millennial Generation, the second largest group and the most important to the future workforce of South Carolina, has show a preference to urban areas” and that “the Baby Boom Generation, the largest demographic group among South Carolina residents, will not be well served by being able to live only in automobile dependent suburban areas.”

Of course, young people are streaming into cities in droves not necessarily because they like city life, but because American jobs, particularly those once located in South Carolina, have been shipped overseas by design. Young Americans, if they have any desire to hold a job, have little choice but to relocate to larger cities.

As for the Baby Boom Generation, one might ask exactly why they can’t be well-served by living in rural areas? Considering the rate of crime and state of disrepair in most major American cities, one can scarcely see a benefit to living in an urban area at all, particularly for the aged.  Plus, they have been well-served in these areas for many years so one wonders just what kind of services the resolution is referring to?

The resolution continues in regard to rural areas by saying, “the existing investment in automobile dependent settlement patterns must not be allowed to become uncompetitive and thereby lose value.” While sounding overly broad and murky at first reading, the fact that this statement is left open to the imagination is no accident. This is because, when it is read through the interpretive lens of Agenda 21, the picture comes into much clearer focus.

Because hard definitions are not provided, one must ask what “existing investment” actually means in this context.  Also, who does this investment belong to? The taxpayer? The Government? The NGO’s representing the United Nations and Agenda 21? In addition, why must these areas be kept “competitive” in the first place? Why is it necessary for a rural area, which is only a designation based on demographics, to compete at all? If it is necessary for the area to compete, with whom is the area to engage in competition? What are the goals and what are the signs of winning or losing?

Most importantly, however, is the question surrounding just what is to be done regarding these alleged problems. How does the resolution and the plans resulting from it intend to prevent these areas from becoming insolvent investments if they fail to compete? If one is to take a traditional business strategy as a model, then there are only two options for the manager – invest in upgrades or sell off the asset.

For all the talk about sustainability and earth-friendly living, one can easily see that Agenda 21-style legislation such as this resolution is not about protecting the environment. For instance, in its attempt to recreate and retrofit shopping malls into “town centers,” the resolution touts a possible benefit to the change by saying that they “may revitalize the housing subdivisions around them that might otherwise become obsolete.”

This is ironic considering that subdivisions, aside from major apartment complexes, are one of the most environmentally destructive and unnatural living setups in the United States. Ironic, that is, if the environment were really what this resolution is concerned with. Obviously, subdivisions are, if nothing else, excellent ways of forcing humans to live in neat cookie-cutter housing units where they will grouped according to functional status.

As I stated earlier in this article, shopping malls are not the only areas that fall under this resolution; and neither are subdivisions. Indeed, the entire local area – urban and rural alike – falls prey to the locally-introduced Agenda 21-based legislation. This can be seen in the five-point plan which the South Carolina Council of Governments is urged to enact. It is as follows:

  1. Draft policy and corresponding model ordinances intended to enable the retrofitting of shopping malls and shopping centers into dense, walkable, mixed-use town centers;
  2. Establish protocols that encourage the incorporation of the model policy and ordinances into municipal zoning codes and subdivision regulations;
  3.  Incorporate the associated policies into the updates or amendments of local comprehensive plans;
  4. Develop urban complete streets in cooperation with the South Carolina Department of Transportation to serve these centers with a balanced, diverse set of travel modes; and 
  5. Develop a set of legal incentives including, but not limited to, permitting by rights, replacing traffic impact exactions, and other state mandated assessments with a fair mobility fee, creating special state taxing districts for public improvements to sites, and funding for design and construction of the parking and transit infrastructure.

As one can see from the sections in bold, this plan is clearly designed to use the power of government to implement Agenda 21. Thus, the plan manifests itself in the form of local zoning regulations, laws, and taxation, unbeknownst to the victims at the bottom. Even the language of the resolution with terms like “human habitat” and “human settlements” directly reflects the nature and semantics of the United Nations.

Agenda 21 has long been creeping up on the American people by stealth via organizations like theInternational Council on Local Environmental Initiatives. The ICLEI, also known as Local Governments For Sustainability, is an organization that is made up of over a thousand local governments (the majority being from the United States) who have bypassed Federal and State law as well as the Constitution in order to implement Agenda 21 policies.

South Carolina has four major cities on the ICLEI list – Charleston, Columbia, Spartanburg, and Greenville. In addition, Councils of Governments, like the South Carolina Council of Governments, are established worldwide and work with each other through unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats outside of Constitutional process and law.

I urge all South Carolinians to contact their State Senators and Representatives and demand that they oppose this bill. States such as Texas and Tennessee have taken recent action to expose the real meaning of Agenda 21 and preserve their local sovereignty.  South Carolina certainly can do the same.

You can find your legislator by using this helpful search engine provided by the South Carolina State House.

Read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here

You can support this information by voting on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/conspiracy/comments/su1d1/south_carolina_moves_to_implement_agenda_21/
Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Mullins, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of three books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real Conspiracies, and Five Sense Solutions. Turbeville has published over one hundred articles dealing with a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville is available for podcast, radio, and TV interviews. Please contact us at activistpost (at) gmail.com. 


THE PROJECT TO RESTORE AMERICA

04/26/2012

A non-partisan way to restructure America’s governance

By Porter Stansberry

I founded The Project to Restore America as an effort to fix the underlying causes of our national financial problems. The system we have today has delivered us to the doorstep of national bankruptcy. I believe that unless we reform the way we govern our country, we will lose the liberty that is our birthright as Americans.

But… this isn’t a political call to action. In fact, I believe the solutions to our problems aren’t rooted in politics at all. 

What is this all about then?…

To put it plainly, if we continue to see our financial problems as merely a political issue – Democrats versus Republicans – we have no chance at avoiding a complete collapse of our currency and our economy. If you only see these problems through the lens of politics, you won’t ever understand how to solve these problems. This isn’t about who wins the presidency or who controls the House of Representatives; these are economic problems. This is a financial crisis. We must use what we know about finance and economics to solve these problems.

We are spending way beyond our means – both publicly and privately. Worse, much of our government spending has warped the incentives in our economy, resulting in not only debts we can’t afford, but outcomes we don’t seek.

When you get beyond the politics, you can see that not many citizens have real equity in our political process. Far too many government programs provide incentives for undesirable behavior. The result is a democracy that’s lost its foundation.

Here’s an example of bad incentives – unemployment insurance. Most people want to help someone who has lost his job to get back on his feet. That’s a rational social goal. Unfortunately, economic study after economic study shows the longer you extend unemployment benefits, the more chronic unemployment occurs. In fact, before the Great Depression, when the U.S. began government unemployment benefits, there was virtually zero long-term unemployment.

Again, I’m not arguing government spending is the primary cause of any of these problems. But I am saying you’d have to be a fool to believe incentives don’t play a big role in human action.

My question to you is, do you think there’s a way to improve this process so that people are more likely to make better, more rational decisions, when they vote?

 Here’s my suggestion…

 We have to stop giving our citizens improper incentives. We have to increase the “skin” voters have in the game by spreading the burden of government more equally. And we have to ensure the government doesn’t have the power to destroy our currency.
Americans now owe $56 trillion in total debt, much of it held by foreign investors. We must spend $3.5 trillion each year on interest. That is already more than the federal government spends, in total.

We will never be able to repay these debts – already equal to roughly four times our country’s GDP. The largest components of the debts we owe are government debts… and they are growing rapidly and show no signs of stopping.

Do you think it’s more likely we’ll find a way to actually pay down these debts… or simply choose to print more money to pay these debts? That’s what we’re doing right now. So far, the Federal Reserve has printed more than $2 trillion of new money and used it to finance our government’s borrowing binge.

So the question is, what can we do to change the direction in which we are headed?

We have to fundamentally restructure our system. There must be more balance between rights and responsibilities. There must be some fundamental limit on spending and on taxes. And we need sound money to prohibit the government from taxing us silently via inflation and from devaluing our savings.

To accomplish this reform, I believe we need three simple amendments to our Constitution:

First, we should have a balanced budget amendment.

It’s hard to imagine why anyone would object to this, regardless of his politics. Politicians ought not to have the right to burden future Americans with debt. It’s disgusting that we would leave a burden like this for our children and grandchildren.

Next, we need a constitutional amendment that ensures sound money.

If you tell the politicians they’re not allowed to borrow, they’ll inflate instead. There is no reason Americans shouldn’t enjoy the stability and safety of sound money. Every argument you’ll hear against backing our currency with gold comes from bankers and swindlers who need the ability to be bailed out so they can make risky bets with huge amounts of borrowed money. Let’s put a stop to this, once and for all. The American government is the world’s largest holder of gold. Let’s put it to work for us, right away, in the form of sound money.

Finally… we need a logical way to put a stop to the narrowing of the tax base.

Everyone who votes should share in the burdens of government – otherwise the incentive will always exist to vote for more government spending, no matter how high taxes (and debts) rise.

I suggest a constitutional amendment that limits state and federal taxation to 20% of income (from whatever the source) and abolishes all other forms of taxation at the state and local level. Give each household a $24,000 annual exemption. That’s roughly the poverty line for a family of four. Above that, everyone pays. No other deductions. You could do your taxes on a postcard. We could eliminate the IRS. How much did you make? Send the government 20% of it.

And… we should word the constitutional amendment to make clear our intentions: Every U.S. citizen has the right to keep 80% of his income.

Why not abolish income taxes and use some other form of taxation, like the so-called “fair tax,” which is a national sales tax? Because sales taxes don’t accomplish the real goal. They raise revenues, but don’t help share the burden of government more equally, so each citizen has equity in the government’s decisions.

Sooner or later, we have to learn to live within our means. Sooner or later, a preference for sound money will appear because inflation will have destroyed our currency. And sooner or later, the idea that you can live at the expense of your neighbor (through progressive taxation) will lead to a collapse because the government will inevitably grow too large to be financed.

My preference would be to learn these lessons sooner, so the pain of this transition can be minimized.

We are beginning to plan a conference about these ideas. I don’t know where to hold the meeting yet… but I know when – November, 2011. My goal will be to get as many well-known people as I can to endorse these ideas and speak about them in public at the conference. I’ll try to lure my friends in the media (I have a few) to join with us… plus business leaders… plus regular folks across America.

If we want the government to listen to us… we have to start talking with one, unified and loud voice. I’ve got a pretty loud microphone here with my publishing company, but I can’t do it alone. I need your help.
If you’re interested in these ideas and want to keep up with my efforts, click Join Now to sign up for a dedicated e-mail list. I have hired Wendy Bidwell to head this initiative and keep you up-to-date on what’s happening with The Project. Wendy will start sending you daily emails and weekly essays in the middle of June. During these initial stages, please email her at wendy@theprojecttorestoreamerica.com if you have any questions, concerns, or want to be an active supporter. We cannot guarantee a response, but we will read your email and consider your concerns.

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No Way To Fight Back

04/25/2012

Influential Senator Warned in 1975 The National Security Agencys Capability At Any Time Could Be Turned Around On The American People And No American Would Have Any Privacy Left …There Would Be No Place To Hide. [If A Dictator Ever Took Over, The N.S.A.] Could Enable It To Impose Total Tyranny, And There Would Be No Way To Fight Back”

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/04/influential-senator-warned-in-1975-the-national-security-agencys-capability-at-any-time-could-be-turned-around-on-the-american-people-and-no-american-would-have-any-privacy-left.html

by WashingtonsBlog

Senator Church’s Prophetic Warning

Senator Frank Church – who chaired the famous “Church Committee” into the unlawful FBI Cointel program, and who chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – said in 1975:

“Th[e National Security Agency’s]  capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.  [If a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A.] could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.

Now, the NSA is building a $2 billion dollar facility in Utah which will use the world’s most powerful supercomputer to monitor virtually all phone calls, emails, internet usage, purchases and rentals, break all encryption, and then store everyone’s data permanently.

The former head of the program for the NSA recently held his thumb and forefinger close together, andsaid:

We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state

So Senator Church’s warning was prophetic.

Spying Began Before 9/11

While you might assume that the NSA’s spying on Americans is a response to 9/11, the government’s illegal spying on Americans actually began before 9/11.

Bloomberg reported in 2006:

The U.S. National Security Agency asked AT&T Inc. to help it set up a domestic call monitoring site seven months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, lawyers claimed June 23 in court papers filed in New York federal court.

“The Bush Administration asserted this became necessary after 9/11,” plaintiff’s lawyer Carl Mayer said in a telephone interview. “This undermines that assertion.”

“The U.S. Department of Justice has stated that AT&T may neither confirm nor deny AT&T’s participation in the alleged NSA program because doing so would cause `exceptionally grave harm to national security’ and would violate both civil and criminal statutes,” AT&T spokesman Dave Pacholczyk said in an e-mail.

U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Charles Miller and NSA spokesman Don Weber declined to comment.

And see this and this.

In other words, the NSA’s trashing of the constitutional rights of American citizens had nothing to do with 9/11.

NSA Heard the 9/11 Hijackers’ Plans from Their Own Mouths … But Didn’t Stop Them

Indeed, the NSA was listening in on the 9/11 hijackers’ phone calls before 9/11, but didn’t do a whole lot to stop them:

  • The National Security Agency and the FBI were each independently listening in on the phone calls between the supposed mastermind of the attacks and the lead hijacker. Indeed, the FBI built its own antenna in Madagascar specifically to listen in on the  mastermind’s phone calls
  • According to various sources, on the day before 9/11, the mastermind told the lead hijacker “tomorrow is zero hour” and gave final approval for the attacks. The NSA intercepted the message that day and the FBI was likely also monitoring the mastermind’s phone calls
  • According to the Sunday Herald, two days before 9/11, Bin Laden called his stepmother and told her “In two days, you’re going to hear big news and you’re not going to hear from me for a while.” U.S. officials later told CNN that “in recent years they’ve been able to monitor some of Bin Laden’s telephone communications with his [step]mother. Bin Laden at the time was using a satellite telephone, and the signals were intercepted and sometimes recorded.” Indeed, before 9/11, to impress important visitors, NSA analysts would occasionally play audio tapes of bin Laden talking to his stepmother.
  • And according to CBS News, at 9:53 a.m on 9/11, just 15 minutes after the hijacked plane had hit the Pentagon, “the National Security Agency, which monitors communications worldwide, intercepted a phone call from one of Osama bin Laden’s operatives in Afghanistan to a phone number in the former
    Soviet Republic of Georgia”, and secretary of Defense Rumsfeld learned about the intercepted phone call in real-time (if the NSA monitored and transcribed phone calls in real-time on 9/11, that implies that it probably did so in the months leading up to 9/11 as well)

As we reported in 2008, the NSA even monitored the hijackers within the United States:

We’ve previously pointed out that the U.S. government heard the 9/11 plans from the hijackers’ own mouth. Most of what we wrote about involved the NSA and other intelligence services tapping top Al Qaeda operatives’ phone calls outside the U.S.

However, as leading NSA expert James Bamford – the Washington  Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings for almost a decade, winner of a number of journalism awards for coverage national security issues, whose articles have appeared in dozens of publications, including cover stories for the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times Magazine, and the only author to write any books (he wrote 3) on the NSA – reports, the NSA was also tapping the hijackers’ phone calls inside the U.S.

Specifically, hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi lived in San Diego, California, for 2 years before 9/11. Numerous phone calls between al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi in San Diego and a high-level Al Qaeda operations base in Yemen were made in those 2 years.

The NSA had been tapping and eavesdropping on all calls made from that Yemen phone for years. So NSA recorded all of these phone calls.

Indeed, the CIA knew as far back as 1999 that al-Mihdhar was coming to the U.S. Specifically, in 1999, CIA operatives tailing al-Mihdha in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, obtained a copy of his passport. It contained visas for both Malaysia and the U.S., so they knew it was likely he would go from Kuala Lumpur to America.

ABC News reported in 2002:

Shortly before Sept. 11, NSA intercepts detected multiple phone calls from Abu Zubaida, bin Laden’s chief of  operations, to the United States. The intercepts were never passed on.

And Raw Story wrote in 2008:

Author James Bamford looked into the performance of the NSA … and found that it had been closely monitoring the 9/11 hijackers as they moved freely around the United States and communicated with Osama bin Laden’s operations centerin Yemen. The NSA had even tapped bin Laden’s satellite phone, starting in 1996.

“The NSA never alerted any other agency that the terrorists were in the United States and moving across the country towards Washington,”  Bamford told PBS.

PBS also found that “the 9/11 Commission never looked closely into NSA’s role in the broad intelligence breakdown behind the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. If they had, they would have understood the full extent to which the agency had major pieces of the puzzle but never put them together or disclosed their entire body of knowledge to the CIA and the FBI.”

In a review of Bamford’s book, former senator and 9/11 Commission member Bob Kerrey wrote, “As the 9/11 Commission later established, U.S. intelligence officials knew that al-Qaeda had held a  planning meeting in Malaysia, found out the names of two recruits who had been present — Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi — and suspected that one and maybe both of them had flown to Los Angeles. Bamford reveals that the NSA had been eavesdropping for months on their calls to Yemen, yet the agency ‘never made the effort’ to trace where the calls originated. ‘At any time, had the FBI been notified, they could have found Hazmi in a matter of seconds.’”

Former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer told PBS, “None of this information that we’re speaking about this evening’s in the 9/11 Commission report. They simply ignored all of it.”

Spying Unrelated to Keeping Us Safe

As we’ve previously documented, the spying isn’t being done to keep us safe … but to crush dissent …

and to help the too big to fail businesses compete against smaller businesses (and here).

Indeed, the NSA monitoring efforts will not focus on spying on potential terrorists – or even criminal activity – but in recording every phone call, email, internet search or other communication in the country.

Not Just the NSA: Other Agencies and Shady Foreign Groups Spying on Americans As Well

It’s not just the NSA.

As Nat Hentoff writes:

Thirty years after Church’s principled stand, the Washington Post reported that the NSA had already been  enlisting other intelligence
agencies
 to assist its surveillance of “people inside the country suspected of having terrorist connections” (“Bush Authorized Domestic Spying,” Dan Eggen, Dec. 16, 2005).

On what basis? That’s classified.

And Bamford reports that shady companies with ties to Israel are wiretapping Americans for the NSA:

One of the [National Security] agency’s biggest secrets is just how careless it is with that ocean of very private and very personal communications, much of it to and from Americans. Increasingly, obscure and questionable contractors — not government employees — install the taps, run the agency’s eavesdropping infrastructure, and do the listening and analysis.

And with some of the key companies building the U.S.’s surveillance infrastructure for the digital age employing unstable employees, crooked executives, and having troubling ties to foreign intelligence services, it’s not clear that Americans should trust the secretive agency ….

***

Secretive contractors with questionable histories and little oversight were also used to do the actual bugging of the entire U.S. telecommunications network.

According to a former Verizon employee briefed on the program, Verint, owned by Comverse Technology, taps the communication lines at Verizon, which I first reported in my book The Shadow Factory in 2008. Verint did not return a call seeking comment, while Verizon said it does not comment on such matters.

At AT&T the wiretapping rooms are powered by software and hardware from Narus, now owned by Boeing, a discovery made by AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein in 2004. Narus did not return a call seeking comment.

What is especially troubling is that both companies have had extensive ties to Israel, as well as links to that country’s intelligence service, a country with a long and aggressive history of spying on the U.S.

In fact, according to Binney, the advanced analytical and data mining software the NSA had developed for both its worldwide and international eavesdropping operations was secretly passed to Israel by a mid-level employee, apparently with close connections to the country. The employee, a technical director in the Operations Directorate, “who was a very strong supporter of Israel,” said Binney, “gave, unbeknownst to us, he gave the software that we had, doing these fast rates, to the Israelis.”

Because of his position, it was something Binney should have been alerted to, but wasn’t.

“In addition to being the technical director,” he said, “I was the chair of the TAP, it’s the Technical Advisory Panel, the foreign relations council. We’re supposed to know what all these foreign countries, technically what they’re doing…. They didn’t do this that way, it was under the table.” After discovering the secret transfer of the technology, Binney argued that the agency simply pass it to them officially, and in that way get something in return, such as access to communications terminals. “So we gave it to them for switches,” he said.

“For access.”

But Binney now suspects that Israeli intelligence in turn passed the technology on to Israeli companies who operate in countries around the world, including the U.S. In return, the companies could act as extensions of Israeli intelligence and pass critical military, economic and diplomatic information back to them. “And then five years later, four or five years later, you see a Narus device,” he said. “I think there’s a connection there, we don’t know for sure.”

Narus was formed in Israel in November 1997 by six Israelis with much of its money coming from Walden Israel, an Israeli venture capital company. Its founder and
former chairman, Ori Cohen, once told Israel’s 
Fortune Magazine that his partners havedone technology work for Israeli intelligence. And among the five founders was Stanislav Khirman, a husky, bearded Russian who had previously worked for Elta Systems, Inc. A division of Israel Aerospace Industries, Ltd., Elta specializes in developing advanced eavesdropping systems for Israeli defense and intelligence organizations. At Narus, Khirman became the chief technology officer.

A few years ago, Narus boasted that it is “known for its ability to capture and collect data from the largest networks around the world.”

The company says its equipment is capable of “providing unparalleled monitoring and intercept capabilities to service providers and government organizations around the world” and that “Anything that comes through [an Internet protocol network], we can  record. We can reconstruct all of their e-mails, along with attachments, see what Web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their [Voice over Internet Protocol] calls.”

Like Narus, Verint was founded by in Israel by Israelis, including Jacob “Kobi” Alexander, a former Israeli intelligence officer. Some 800 employees work for Verint, including 350 who are based in Israel, primarily working in research and development and operations,according to the Jerusalem Post. Among its products is STAR-GATE, which according to the company’s sales literature, lets “service providers … access communications on virtually any type of network, retain  communication data for as long as required, and query and deliver content and data …” and was  “[d]esigned to manage vast numbers of targets, concurrent sessions, call data records, and communications.”

In a rare and candid admission to Forbes, Retired Brig. Gen. Hanan Gefen, a former commander of the highly secret Unit 8200, Israel’s NSA, noted his former organization’s influence on Comverse, which owns Verint, as well as other Israeli companies that dominate the U.S. eavesdropping and surveillance market. “Take NICE, Comverse and Check Point for example, three of the largest high-tech companies, which were all directly influenced by 8200 technology,” said Gefen. “Check Point was founded by Unit alumni.  Comverse’s main product, the Logger, is based on the Unit’s technology.”

According to a former chief of Unit 8200, both the veterans of the group and much of the high-tech intelligence equipment they developed are now employed in high-tech firms around the world. “Cautious estimates indicate that in the past few years,” he told a reporter for the Israeli newspaper Ha’artez  in 2000, “Unit 8200 veterans have set up some 30 to 40 high-tech companies, including 5 to 10 that were floated on Wall Street.” Referred to only as “Brigadier General B,” he added, “This correlation between serving in the intelligence Unit 8200 and starting successful high-tech companies is not coincidental: Many of the technologies in use around the world and developed in Israel were originally military technologies and were developed and improved by Unit veterans.”

Equally troubling is the issue of corruption. Kobi Alexander, the founder and former chairman of Verint, is now a fugitive, wanted by the FBI on nearly three dozen charges of fraud, theft, lying, bribery, money laundering and other crimes. And two of his top associates at Comverse, Chief Financial Officer David Kreinberg and former General Counsel William F. Sorin, were also indicted in the scheme and later pleaded guilty, with both serving time in prison and paying millions of dollars in fines and penalties.


How Liberty Was Lost

04/24/2012

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2012/04/23/how-liberty-was-lost/

 By Paul Craig Roberts

 When did things begin going wrong in America?

“From the beginning,” answer some. English colonists, themselves under the thumb of a king, exterminated American Indians and stole their lands, as did late 18th and 19th century Americans. Over the course of three centuries the native inhabitants of America were dispossessed, just as Israelis have been driving Palestinians off their lands since 1948.

Demonization always plays a role. The Indians were savages and the Palestinians are terrorists. Any country that can control the explanation can get away with evil.

I agree that there is a lot of evil in every country and civilization. In the struggle between good and evil, religion has at times been on the side of evil. However, the notion of moral progress cannot so easily be thrown out.

Consider, for example, slavery. In the 1800s, slavery still existed in countries that proclaimed equal rights. Even free women did not have equal rights. Today no Western country would openly tolerate the ownership of humans or the transfer of a woman’s property upon her marriage to her husband.

It is true that Western governments have ownership rights in the labor of their citizens through the income tax. This remains as a mitigated form of serfdom. So far, however, no government has claimed the right of ownership over the person himself.

Sometimes I hear from readers that my efforts are pointless, that elites are always dominant and that the only solution is to find one’s way into the small, connected clique of elites either through marriage or service to their interests.

This might sound like cynical advice, but it is not devoid of some truth. Indeed, it is the way Washington and New York work, and increasingly the way the entire country operates.

Washington serves powerful private interests, not the public interest. University faculties in their research increasingly serve private interests and decreasingly serve truth. In the US the media is no longer a voice and protection for the people. It is becoming increasingly impossible in America to get a good job without being connected to the system that serves the elites.

The problem I have with this “give up” attitude is that over the course of my life, and more broadly over the course of the 20th century, many positive changes occurred through reforms. It is impossible to have reforms without good will, so even the elites who accepted reforms that limited their powers were part of the moral progress.

Labor unions became a countervailing power to corporate management and Wall Street.

Working conditions were reformed. Civil rights were extended. People excluded by the system were brought into it. Anyone who grew up in the 20th century can add his own examples.

Progress was slow–unduly so from a reformer’s standpoint–and mistakes were made. Nevertheless, whether done properly or improperly there was a commitment to the expansion of civil liberty.

This commitment ended suddenly on September 11, 2001. In eleven years the Bush/Obama Regime repealed 800 years of human achievements that established law as a shield of the people and, instead, converted law into a weapon in the hands of the government. Today Americans and citizens of other countries can, on the will of the US executive branch alone, be confined to torture dungeons for the duration of their lives with no due process or evidence presented to any court, or they can be shot down in the streets or exterminated by drone missiles.

The power that the US government asserts over its subjects and also over the citizens of other countries is unlimited. Lenin described unlimited power as power “resting directly on force, not limited by anything, not restricted by any laws, nor any absolute rules.”

Washington claims that it is the indispensable government representing the exceptional people and thereby has the right to impose its will and “justice” on the rest of the world and that resistance to Washington constitutes terrorism to be exterminated by any possible means.

Thus, the American neoconservatives speak of nuking Iran for insisting on its independence from American hegemony and exercising its rights to nuclear energy under the non-proliferation treaty to which Iran is a signatory.

In other words, Washington’s will prevails over international treaties that have the force of law, treaties which Washington itself imposed on the world. According to the neoconservatives and Washington, Iran is not protected by the legal contract that Iran made with Washington when Iran signed the non-proliferation treaty.

Iran finds itself as just another 17th or 18th century American Indian tribe to be deprived of its rights and to be exterminated by the forces of evil that dominate Washington, D.C.

The vast majority of “superpower” americans plugged into the Matrix, where they are happy with the disinformation pumped into their brains by Washington and its presstitute media, would demur rather than face my facts.

This raises the question: how does one become unplugged and unplug others from the Matrix? Readers have asked, and I do not have a complete answer.

It seems to happen in a number of ways. Being fired and forced to train your H-1B foreign replacement who works for lower pay, being convicted of a crime that you did not commit, having your children stolen from you by Child Protective Services because bruises from sports activities were alleged to be signs of child abuse, your home stolen from you because a mortgage based on fraud was given the force of law, laid off by “free market capitalism” as your age advanced and the premium of your employer-provided medical insurance increased, being harassed by Homeland Security on your re-entry to the US because you are a non-embedded journalist who reports truthfully on US behavior abroad. There are many instances of Americans being jolted into reality by the “freedom and democracy” scales falling away from their eyes.

It is possible that becoming unplugged from the Matrix is a gradual lifelong experience for the few who pay attention. The longer they live, the more they notice that reality contradicts the government’s and media’s explanations. The few who can remember important stuff after watching reality shows and their favorite sports teams and fantasy movies gradually realize that there is no “new economy” to take the place of the manufacturing economy that was given away to foreign countries. Once unemployed from their “dirty fingernail jobs,” they learn that there is no “new economy” to employ them.

Still seething from the loss of the Vietnam War and anger at war protesters, some flag-waving patriots are slowly realizing the consequences of criminalizing dissent and the exercise of First Amendment rights. “You are with us or against us” is taking on threatening instead of reassuring connotations, implying that anyone who opens his or her mouth in any dissent is thereby transformed into an “enemy of the state.”

More Americans, but far from enough, are coming to the realization that the extermination of the Branch Davidians at Waco in 1993 was a test run to confirm that the public and Congress would accept the murder of civilians who had been demonized with false charges of child abuse and gun-running.

The next test was the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995. Whose explanation would prevail: the government’s or that of experts? Air Force General Partin, a top expert on explosives, proved conclusively in a heavily documented report given to every member of Congress that the Murruh Federal Office Building blew up from the inside out, not from the outside in from the fertilizer car bomb. But General Partin’s facts lost out to the government’s propaganda and to Congress’ avoidance of cognitive dissonance.

Once the “national security” government learned that its pronouncements and those of the presstitute media carried more weight than the facts presented by experts, conspiracies such as Operation Northwoods could be put into play. A 9/11 became possible.

The Pentagon, CIA, and military/security complex were desperate for a new enemy to replace the “Soviet threat,” which had ceased to exist. The military/security complex and its servants in Congress were determined to replace the profits made from the cold war and to preserve and increase the powers accumulated in the Pentagon and CIA. The only possible replacement for the Soviet threat was “Muslim terrorists.” Thus, the creation of the “al Qaeda threat” and the conflation of this new threat with secular Arab governments, such as Iraq’s and Syria’s, which were the real targets of Islamists.

Despite the evidence provided by experts that secular Arab governments, such as Saddam Hussein’s, were allies against Islamic extremism, the US government used propaganda to link the secular Iraq government with Iraq’s enemies among Islamic revolutionaries.

Once Washington confirmed that the American public was both too ignorant and too inattentive to pay any attention to events that would alter their lives and jeopardize their existence, every thing else followed: the PATRIOT Act, the suspension of the Constitution and destruction of civil liberty, Homeland Security which has quickly extended its gestapo reach from airports to train stations, bus terminals and highway road blocks, the criminalization of dissent, the equating of critics of the government with supporters of terrorism, the home invasions of antiwar protesters and their arraignment before a grand jury, the prosecution of whistleblowers who reveal government crimes, the equating of journalism organizations such as WikiLeaks with spies. The list goes on.

The collapse of truth in the US and in its puppet states is a major challenge to my view that truth and good will are powers that can prevail over evil. It is possible that my perception that moral progress has occurred in various periods of Western civilization reflects a progressive unplugging from the Matrix. What I remember as reforms might be events experienced through the rose colored glasses of the Matrix.

But I think not. Reason is an important part of human existence. Some are capable of it. Imagination and creativity can escape chains. Good can withstand evil. The extraordinary film, The Matrix, affirmed that people could be unplugged. I believe that even americans can be unplugged. If I give up this belief, I will cease writing.

About Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.


UPSIDE DOWN LAND

04/23/2012

http://www.findmall.com/read.php?13,1680958,1682035

You know you live in anUpside-downLand if…

A Muslim officer crying “Allah Akbar” while shooting up an army base is considered to have committed “Workplace Violence” while an American citizen boasting a Ron Paul bumper sticker is classified as a “Domestic Terrorist”.

You know you live in an Upside-down Land if….

You can get arrested for expired tags on your car but not for being in the country illegally.

You know you live in an Upside-down Land if…

Your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more of our money.


You know you live in an Upside-down Land if….

A seven year old boy can be thrown out of school for calling his teacher“cute” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable.

You know you live in an Upside-down Land if…..

The Supreme Court of the United States can rule that lower courts cannot display the 10 Commandments in their courtroom, while sitting in front of a display of the 10 Commandments.

You know you live in an Upside-down Land if….

Children are forcibly removed from parents who appropriately discipline them while children of “underprivileged” drug addicts are left to rot in filth infested cesspools.

You know you live in an Upside-down Land if….

Working class Americans pay for their own health care (and the health care of everyone else) while unmarried women are free to have child after child on the “State’s” dime while never being held responsible for their own choices.

You know you live in an Upside-down Land if….

Hard work and success are rewarded with higher taxes and government intrusion, while slothful, lazy behavior is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid and subsidized housing.

You know you live in an Upside-down Land if….

The government’s plan for getting people back to work is to provide 99 weeks of unemployment checks (to not work).

You know you live in an Upside-down Land if….

Being self-sufficient is considered a threat to the government.

You know you live in an Upside-down Land if….

Politicians think that stripping away the amendments to the constitution is really protecting the rights of the people.

You know you live in an Upside-down Land if….

The rights of the Government come before the rights of the individual.

You know you live in an Upside-down Land if….

Parents believe the State is responsible for providing for their children.

You know you live in an Upside-down Land if….

You can write a post like this just by reading the news headlines.


You know you live in an Upside-down Land if….

You pay your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself the newest big screen TV while your neighbor defaults on his mortgage (while buying iphones, TV’s and new cars) and the government forgives his debt and reduces his mortgage (with your tax dollars).

You know you live in an Upside-down Land if….

Your government can add anything they want to your kid’s water (fluoride, chlorine, etc.) but you are not allowed to give them raw milk.

You know you live in an Upside-down Land if….

Being stripped of the ability to defend yourself makes you “safe”.

You know you live in an Upside-down Land if….

You have to have your parents signature to go on a school field trip but not to get an abortion.

You know you live in an Upside-down Land if….

An 80 year old woman can be stripped searched by the TSA but a Muslim woman in a burqa is only subject to having her neck and head searched.

You know you live in an Upside-down Land if….

Using the “N” word is considered “hate speech” but writing and signing songs about raping women and killing cops is considered “art”.

America is on the verge of destruction.

There is no insanity greater than electing a pathological narcissist as president.

 

KEEP YOUR TRUST IN GOD. YOUR GOVERNMENT HAS FAILED YOU MISERABLY.

 

Unfortunately, this list could go on and on. We are in distress. Where do we go from here?

“COWARDICE asks the question – is it Safe?” “EXPEDIENCY asks the question – is it Politically Correct?” “VANITY asks the question – is it Popular?” “But the CONSCIENCE asks the question – is it Right?” “And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither, Safe, nor Politically Correct, nor Popular, but one must take it, because its RIGHT!!” Vote incumbents out! I don’t think the country would be any worse off.

 

“He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.” 

Samuel Adams