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 The many masks of Yoo Byung-eun
International Politics

By Aidan Foster-Carter
Asia Times
May 22, 2014

Who is Yoo Byung-eun? More to the point, where is Yoo Byung-eun? South Korea's most wanted man, known locally as the billionaire without a face, is nothing if not elusive. On May 20, South Korean prosecutors set up a 40-strong team to track him down after he had ignored a second summons to present himself at their offices in Incheon, the port city west of Seoul.

The same day, soon-to-be-ex prime minister Chung Hong-won told the National Assembly that "the government should try and confiscate all his fortune" - and for good measure his family's as well. Yoo's two sons and a daughter have ignored summonses, just like daddy.

Strong words, considering that Yoo has yet to be formally charged with any offense - much less found guilty. But that's South Korean justice for you. The concept of innocent till proven guilty, or even sub judice - that's Latin for STFU, mass media, lest you prejudice any chance of a fair trial - is widely ignored. Day after day in real time, prosecutors shamelessly leak tasty morsels of what is so far only suspicion, to a press which then prints them as if they were fact.

Which indeed they may well turn out to be, once the mills of justice have done their work. It's not that I'm defending the guy or anything. But this is surely no way to run a judicial system.

Yonhap, the semi-official news agency, said on May 20 that Yoo faces "a host of corruption charges, including embezzlement, dereliction of duty, tax evasion and bribery, according to the prosecutors". One more reminder: he hasn't actually been indicted for any of this, yet.

But the net is closing in. So, who is Yoo Byung-eun? A man of many disguises and carefully honed identities, some currently being shed in hopes to thwart those trying to track him down.

First and foremost this means the South Korean government, which has swung into action big-time. A phalanx of authorities - police, prosecutors, tax authorities, financial regulators, customs, you name it - are hard on the trail of the man they believe to be ultimately behind Chonghaejin Marine. That's the company which owned and operated the 6,825 ton Sewol, Korea's largest ferry until it suddenly listed and sank on April 16. As you doubtless know all too well by now, more than 300 people drowned. Most were teenagers from a single year-group in a single school near Seoul, who were heading for an Easter break on the holiday island of Jeju.

More than a month later, this awful tragedy continues to grip the country. On May 19, a tearful President Park Geun-hye apologized, not for the first time. Many questions arise, but these are not directly our subject here. Mine is a simpler quest, or should be. Who is Yoo Byung-eun?

Covering his tracks

I too have been trying to track him down, online. This was easier a month ago than now. Even then, Yoo dissembled. Lately, someone has been trying very hard to hide or erase his tracks.

But they reckoned without In case you don't know it, this amazing site trawls the Web continuously, caching everything it can. You can't guarantee to find every web page that has ever existed, but there's a good chance. This has been a vital resource for Sherlock AFC...

Posted by editor on Saturday, June 07 @ 07:21:35 PDT (2033 reads)
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 Meet the millionaire tied to South Korean ferry sinking probe
International Politics
By Michael Pearson and Kyung Lah, CNN
April 26, 2014 -- Updated 0156 GMT (0956 HKT)

CNN) -- He's known as "the millionaire with no face."

And South Korean officials apparently have questions for him.

Yoo Byung-un -- businessman, self-styled artist, ex-con and religious figure -- does not appear to have a direct financial stake in the Cheonghaejin Marine Co, which runs the ill-fated South Korean ferry Sewol.

But South Korean media have reported that some believe he controls the company through two of his sons, who own stakes in the firm through subsidiaries.

Yoo's allies strongly deny his involvement. A release issued Friday by a public relations agency representing Yoo insists that he doesn't have anything to do with any company tied to the ferry disaster.

Michael Ham, managing director of Ahae Press, said he knows Yoo "has been spending every single day of the past four to five years focusing on his photography work," not directing any firm tied to the sunken ferry.

"I am dismayed at the media reports linking him to the Sewol incident and suggesting that he is directly responsible for this tragedy," Ham said. "These claims cannot be further from the truth."

Authorities searched Yoo's home this week, plus offices of the company that owns the ferry, prosecutors told CNN. The Ahae Press release notes Yoo's sons are among dozens subject to travel bans in light of the ferry incident, calling this "blanket approach ... standard for investigations by Korean regulators."

Investigators have also searched 20 of the ferry owner's affiliates and a religious organization linked to Yoo, according to the semiofficial Yonhap News Agency.

The religious group and a private organization that conducts ship safety investigations are also facing probes in the disaster, Yonhap reported.

Prosecutors are looking for evidence of wrongdoing that might have contributed to the Sewol disaster.

How Yoo fits into that picture remains murky.

Little is officially known about Yoo, who earned his nickname as "the millionaire with no face" by making few public appearances.

He was convicted on fraud charges in the 1990s and spent four years in prison for tax evasion. He also headed a now-defunct ferry company that operated on the Han River.

In 1987, he was the leader of a religious cult caught up in scandal when police found 33 members of the group bound, gagged and dead in an apparent murder-suicide at a factory outside Seoul.

Officials found no evidence tying the deaths to Yoo...

Posted by editor on Friday, April 25 @ 21:05:24 PDT (3826 reads)
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 All Able Sailors Abandoned Passengers on Sinking Ferry
International Politics / Apr. 21, 2014 10:26 KST

A total of 24 crew were aboard the ill-fated ferry that sank off the southeast coast last week, and all 15 able sailors among them escaped with their lives. But only three of the nine crewmembers who were not sailors, such as clerks and cooks, were rescued, with two killed and four missing.

A comparison between the crew roster and a list of survivors on Sunday shows that all able sailors including captain Lee Joon-seok (69) were rescued. The sailors consisted of eight deck staff that steer the ferry and seven engineering crew that operate the engine room.

Lee Joon-seok, the captain of the Sewol, is being arrested on Saturday. Lee Joon-seok, the captain of the Sewol, is being arrested on Saturday.

A transcript of a conversation between the Sewol and the Jindo maritime traffic service published on Sunday shows that the sailors started bailing out at 9:37 a.m., less than 50 minutes after the ferry began rolling over, as did the engineers.

During questioning by the Korea Coast Guard, three engineers, who had been working in the engine room on the first floor testified that they escaped after receiving a phone call from the chief engineer, identified as Park, who was resting in a cabin on the fifth floor, telling them to abandon ship.

A Coast Guard officer said, "They took advantage of their knowledge of the ferry's layout and easier communication to ensure their own survival rather than saving the passengers."

But the service crew were not so lucky. They were helping passengers or still cooking meals on the third or fourth floor. Most of them lost the chance to escape in time because they were helping passengers until the last moment.

Posted by editor on Friday, April 25 @ 21:02:25 PDT (3789 reads)
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 Nevada Standoff a Symptom of Increasing Authoritarianism
International Politics

by Ron Paul
April 21, 2014

The nation’s attention has for the past few weeks been riveted by a standoff in Nevada between armed federal agents and the Bundys, a ranching family who believe the federal government is exceeding its authority by accessing “fees” against ranchers who graze cattle on government lands. Outrage over the government’s use of armed agents to forcibly remove the Bundys’ cattle led many Americans to travel to Nevada to engage in non-violent civil disobedience in support of the family.

The protests seem to have worked, at least for now, as the government appears to have backed off from direct confrontation. Sadly, some elected officials have inflamed the situation by labeling the Bundys and their supporters “domestic terrorists,” thus justifying any future use of force by the government. That means there is always the possibility of another deadly Waco-style raid on the Bundys or a similar group in the future.

In a state like Nevada, where 84 percent of the land is owned by the federal government, these types of conflicts are inevitable. Government ownership of land means that land is in theory owned by everyone, but in practice owned by no one. Thus, those who use the land lack the incentives to preserve it for the long term. As a result, land-use rules are set by politicians and bureaucrats. Oftentimes, the so-called “public” land is used in ways that benefit politically-powerful special interests.

Politicians and bureaucrats can, and will, arbitrarily change the rules governing the land. In the 19th currently, some Americans moved to Nevada because the government promised them that they, and their descendants, would always be able to use the federally-owned land.  The Nevada ranchers believed they had an implied contract with the government allowing them to use the land for grazing. When government bureaucrats decided they needed to restrict grazing to protect the desert tortoise, they used force to drive most ranchers away.

By contrast, if the Nevada land in question was privately owned, the dispute over whether to allow the ranchers to continue to use the land would have likely been resolved without sending in federal armed agents to remove the Bundys’ cattle from the land. This is one more reason why the federal government should rid itself of all federal land holdings. Selling federal lands would also help reduce the federal deficit.

It is unlikely that Congress will divest the federal government’s land holdings, as most in government are more interested in increasing government power then in protecting and restoring private property rights.

A government that continually violates our rights of property and contract can fairly be descried as authoritarian. Of course, the politicians and bureaucrats take offense at this term, but how else do you describe a government that forbids Americans from grazing cattle on land they have used for over a century, from buying health insurance that does not met Obamacare’s standards, from trading with Cuba, or even from drinking raw milk! That so many in DC support the NSA spying and the TSA assaults on our privacy shows the low regard that too many in government have for our rights.

History shows us that authoritarian systems, whether fascist, communist, or Keynesian, will inevitably fail. I believe incidents such as that in Nevada show we may be witnessing the failure of the American authoritarian warfare-welfare state — and that of course would be good. This is why it so important that those of us who understand the freedom philosophy spread the truth about how statism caused our problems and why liberty is the only solution.

Former Congressman Paul’s article first appeared at

Posted by editor on Friday, April 25 @ 20:47:32 PDT (2665 reads)
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 IRS emails indicate Tea Party groups could have faced 'criminal' charges
International Politics
Posted by editor on Friday, April 25 @ 20:44:34 PDT (2060 reads)
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 Planes Hijacked Since Year-2000
International Politics

Planes hijacked since 2000: 

Turkish Airlines Flight 1754, hijacked by a muslim in January 2011.
Alitalia Flight 329, hijacked by a muslim in April 2011.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 702, hijacked by a muslim in Feb 2014. 
Tianjin Airlines Flight 7554, hijacked by a muslim in June 2012.
AeroMéxico Flight 576, hijacked by a non-muslim in 2009.
CanJet Flight 918, hijacked by a non-muslim in 2009.
Sun Air Boeing 737 hijacked by a muslim in 2008. 
Eagle Airways Flight 2279, hijacked by a muslim in 2008.
Atlasjet MD-80, hijacked by muslims in 2007.
Air Mauritanie Boeing 737, hijacked by muslims in 2007.
Air West Boeing 737, hijacked by muslims in 2007. 
Turkish Airlines Flight 1476, hijacked by muslims in 2006. 
American Airlines Flight 11, hijacked by muslims in 2001.
United Airlines Flight 175, hijacked by muslims in 2001.
American Airlines Flight 77, hijacked by muslims in 2001.
United Airlines Flight 93, hijacked by muslims in 2001.
Vnukovo Airlines Tu-154, hijacked by muslims in 2001.
Vnukovo Airlines Tu-154, hijacked by muslims in 2000.
Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight 115, hijacked by muslims in 2000.
VASP Boeing 737-2A1, hijacked by non-muslims in 2000. 
Philippine Airlines Flight 812, hijacked by a non-muslim in 2000. 
Ariana Afghan Airlines Boeing 727, hijacked by muslims in 2000.

Posted by editor on Saturday, March 15 @ 05:38:58 PST (3405 reads)
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 Cruz to get hero's welcome in Iowa and New Hampshire
International Politics

By Alexander Bolton - 02/15/14 06:00 AM EST

Conservatives in Iowa and New Hampshire are preparing a hero’s welcome for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) after he showed up Senate Republican leaders during a crucial vote on the debt limit. 

Cruz infuriated his Senate Republican colleagues this week when he filibustered a clean bill to raise the debt limit. His objection forced Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and 11 other Republicans to vote with Democrats to advance the legislation.

But in Iowa and New Hampshire, two important presidential primary states, conservative activists are cheering Cruz’s stand and buzzing about a possible presidential run in 2016.

Activists in the two states said they plan to show Cruz their appreciation when he visits in March and April.

“A tickertape parade,” said Steve Deace, a conservative radio host based in Iowa when asked what kind of reception Cruz will receive from activists next month.

“At this point with grassroots conservatives around the country it’s a close vote between who they distrust the most, the president, [Speaker] John Boehner [R-Ohio] or Mitch McConnell,” he said.

Ann Ray Trimble, a conservative activist in Iowa, said she and her allies are thrilled that Cruz took on his colleagues.

“It plays very well because the rank-and-file conservative in Iowa is a law-and-order person who believes, as Sen. Cruz stated in his objection, that the rules are the rules, the laws are the laws, and we need to follow them and not break them for political expediency.”

Cruz will speak on March 18 at a homeschooling rally hosted by the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators in Des Moines.

On April 12, he will attend the New Hampshire Freedom Summit, an event sponsored by Americans For Prosperity, a Tea Party-allied group, along with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, two other potential candidates for president in 2016.

Greg Moore, the state director of Americans for Prosperity-New Hampshire, said conservative activists who will gather at the rally applauded Cruz’s action and want to see more transparency in Washington.

“They want to see people take a stand one way or the other. ‘Where do you stand on spending? How serious are you about spending?’ Fiscal issues are huge in New Hampshire,” said Moore.

“Our activists want to see a great deal of accountability,” he added. “They would look at any opportunity bringing accountability as positive for Sen. Cruz.”

Cruz’s Republican colleagues, however, did not appreciate his filibuster. They held a tense and angry meeting Wednesday afternoon at which McConnell proposed waiving the 60-vote threshold normally required to advance legislation, according to sources familiar with the session.

Cruz stood up and declared he would not let his fellow Republicans to escape responsibility for advancing the debt-limit bill. He said he would force at least five Republicans to vote with Democrats to overcome the procedural hurdle.

A Senate Republican aide described the meeting as “very contentious.”



Now, if Ted Cruz can see the light on marijuana decriminalization and major restrictions/deportation on and of illegal immigrants, he will be The Perfect Candidate for the GOP.  Cruz/Paul 2016!  Si!

Posted by editor on Sunday, February 16 @ 00:12:09 PST (2775 reads)
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 Americans who abandoned citizenship jumped 1,402% last quarter
International Politics

by Simon Black

February 10, 2014

Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile


631 people renounced their US citizenship in the 4th quarter of 2013.


This is an entire order of magnitude higher than the 45 people who renounced in 4Q/2012. And in total, 3,000 Americans renounced their citizenship in 2013-- another record high.


The previous record (1,777) was set in 2011, which shattered the previous record before that (1,534) which was set in 2010, which was more than twice the number (742) that renounced in 2009.


You can see the trend here. And it's not hard to figure out why it's happening.


As the United States Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olsen recently told Congress in her scathing report about US tax policy: 


"[T]ax requirements have become so confusing and the compliance burden so great that taxpayers are giving up their U.S. citizenship in record numbers."


In her report, Ms. Olsen specifically points to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which was passed by Congress four years ago. She states that FATCA "has the potential to be burdensome, overly broad, and detrimental to taxpayer rights."


That's putting it politely.


I have written several times before that FATCA is one of the most destructive, insidious pieces of legislation ever passed. And the worst effects are only now -starting- to be felt.


Among other things, the law requires new disclosures for US citizens with foreign accounts. And just to make sure it's absolutely clear how the US government views its tax serfs, they put this little ditty in the instructions:


"The fact that a foreign jurisdiction would impose a civil or criminal penalty on you if you disclose the required information is not reasonable cause [to NOT file this form]."


Basically they're saying, 'Even if disclosing this information would cause you to go to jail in a foreign country due to their confidentiality laws, we don't give a damn. We still expect you to file this form. Otherwise we will throw you in jail in the US.' 


(yes, there are potential criminal penalties for not filing this form...)


This isn't exactly how a free society treats its citizens. It's a constant threat of force with these people. Even the most mundane, bureaucratic tasks are cause for intimidation.


As I have pointed out so many times before, you can't even apply for a passport (i.e. permission to leave the country) in the Land of the Free without being threatened with fines and imprisonment.


All of this has come at tremendous cost. Aside from permanent damaging the US government's reputation and its role in the global banking system, the human cost is nearly incalculable. 


Think about it-- it's not the Obamaphone recipients who are renouncing their citizenship and leaving the country. These are smart, talented, energetic people who could have actually contributed something.


And as this productive class gets out of dodge, they leave behind more people who want something for nothing... and fewer people to pay the bill. 


It's the same situation the Romans were in back in the 5th century.


Undoubtedly there are folks out there who would call the thousands of people who have renounced 'cowards' and 'traitors' (though they are in respected company given that the British considered George Washington a traitor).


But lest we judge 'renunciants' poorly, we should first ask-- is it more honorable to lay down and let yourself be plundered by a bunch of blundering, bungling, deceitful politicians...?


Doubtful. Besides, divorcing yourself from your bankrupt, insolvent government is not the same as divorcing yourself from your culture or values.


You are who you are no matter what color your passport is.


Posted by editor on Monday, February 10 @ 16:24:04 PST (2602 reads)
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 The Selling of Energy Independence
International Politics

 by James Hall – January 29, 2014

Any analysis of domestic fossil fuel production and use must acknowledge that independence for U.S. energy has not been the national goal. Contrary to utopian dreamers and radical environmentalists, oil, natural gas and coal are the backbone of power in any modern economy. This power extends both to the fuels themselves and to the political security that is required for any economy to prosper. Therefore, it seems counterproductive to encourage corporatist to export our own precious resources for the mere motive of higher profits. Unfortunately, their ill-conceived greed is at the core of much of our countries instability.


Often ignored, coal was once the dominate resource in the generation of electricity. The utterly destructive and suicidal EPA regulations and Obama’s determination to bankrupt the coal industry has put into motion an export strategy that threatens the entire utility sector. 


The Motley Fool writes in the article, Can Exports Save U.S. Coal?      


“Although it remains the country’s largest private sector provider of jobs, the U.S. coal industry is hurting. Domestic utilities are turning to lower-priced natural gas. Environmental opponents are working hard to keep the mineral in the ground.


The idea of expanding exports to the world’s biggest customers — currently China, the Netherlands (a large transshipment point), the U.K., South Korea and Brazil — sounds good. And the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports shipments of 6.3 million short tons of steam coal and 7.4 million short tons of metallurgical coal in March set a monthly record. Increased Asian demand contributed to the standout month.”


The absurd notion at clean coal is impossible; drive this train directly to ports that ship our own most prolific natural resource overseas. So much for national security considerations and who in their right mind thinks that advance scrubbers will be used in all the Chinese plants being built.

Natural gas is the new boom fuel, especially because of the questionable hydrofrackingprocess. Leaving aside the risks to our finite water aquifer, extraction from deep field using this fracking method is the primary argument to drill. In the essay, Hydrofracking Boom or Bust, cites Deborah Rogers, points out the most significant economic consequence from hydrofracking.

"Exporting is a last ditch effort to shore up a failing balance sheet. Exportation will drive the price higher in the U.S. There’s no doubt about it. The question is how high will it go. When you are producing a commodity and have produced it to such a high extent, you want to find someone who will buy it, and in this case, it will be the Asians."

The Wall Street Journal reports how this economic model will take place in, U.S. Approves Expanded Gas Exports.

"The decision reflects a turnaround in the U.S. energy trade. Five years ago, many companies built natural-gas import terminals, anticipating greater U.S. demand for imported fuel.

Proponents of greater exports, including the oil and gas industry, say that exporting inexpensive natural gas will help the U.S. trade balance, help advance the adoption of clean-burning fuels around the world and shore up energy-poor U.S. allies."

Let’s be real. The corporatist only care about the margins they can squeeze out of any resource extracted from mother earth. Importing when the price is right or exporting when the world price goes the other way, but never any concern about energy INDEPENDENCE for our own people and country.

Now look at the grand daddy of all, petroleum. The Oil Roustabout Economyexplains the way the oil policy actually plays out. Virtually no real apprehension for domestic oil autonomy is factored into the economic schemes, that drive the economic, political and foreign policies, which keep the global a permanent tinderbox. "Remember that drilling in Anwar is prohibited, while waging war for oil is celebrated."

However, the scale of refining raw crude into a range of utilitarian end user products, lends merit to the resale for export, especially if the original crude comes from an imported source. A valid benefit is achieved by enhancing a natural resource, with value added functionality for exporting. Nonetheless, draining your own oil fields for an immediate infusion of short-term profit, only hastens the day when domestic oilfields run dry.

The Washington Post illustrates the latest insanity coming out of the political class servants of the oil barons. The article, U.S. oil exports have been banned for 40 years. Is it time for that to change?, has a chilling message.

"Some people think so — especially now that the United States is producing more oil than it has in decades. Overturning the ban, in theory, would allow companies to sell even more oil and keep expanding.

On Tuesday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)gave a speech at the Brookings Institution calling on the Obama administration and Congress to loosen restrictions on crude-oil exports in order to boost domestic production. "We need to act," she said, "before the crude export ban raises problems and hurts American jobs." Jack Gerard, the head of the American Petroleum Institute,expressed similar sentiments later in the day."

Ah, that long journey to save jobs cry is most flexible depending where the campaign contributions come from. When was the last time you heard a national debate on the necessity to conserve and the prudent use of our own energy resources, strictly for domestic usage?

Not in this lifetime, instead of exporting our natural gas overseas, what happened to How to Convert the Country to Natural Gas, by T. Boone Pickens. Read the Pickens Plan and ask where are all those converted from diesel to LNG trucks?

Folks, the selling of our coal, gas and oil resources for export are more important to the internationalists that own the corporate businesses, which control the global resources, than true national energy independence. It is that simple. The establishment plutocrats are the designers, perpetuators and exploiters of an American economy that is held hostage to energy extortion. Not until this pattern is broken, will genuine prosperity return.

Posted by editor on Wednesday, January 29 @ 02:06:46 PST (3587 reads)
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 Former North Korean Leader, Associates Fed Alive to Starving Dogs
International Politics

December 24, 2013
Singapore Straits Times

THE execution of Jang Song Thaek, the No. 2 man in North Korea, took Beijing by surprise and will adversely affect bilateral relations.

Beijing's displeasure is expressed through the publication of a detailed account of Jang's brutal execution in Wen Wei Po, its official mouthpiece, in Hong Kong, on Dec 12.

According to the report, unlike previous executions of political prisoners which were carried out by firing squads with machine guns, Jang was stripped naked and thrown into a cage, along with his five closest aides. Then 120 hounds, starved for three days, were allowed to prey on them until they were completely eaten up. This is called "quan jue", or execution by dogs.

The report said the entire process lasted for an hour, with Mr Kim Jong Un, the supreme leader in North Korea, supervising it along with 300 senior officials.

The horrifying report vividly depicted the brutality of the young North Korean leader. The fact that it appeared in a Beijing- controlled newspaper showed that China no longer cares about its relations with the Kim regime.

Two days later, the Global Times, associated with the People's Daily, a Chinese Communist Party organ, followed up with a sternly worded editorial saying that the abrupt political change epitomised the backwardness of the North Korean political system. It warned the Chinese government not to coddle North Korea any longer, saying that the majority of Chinese were extremely disgusted with the Kim regime.

The incendiary story, plus the stern editorial, provided a measure of the extent of Beijing's loathing, which is quite understandable...

Posted by editor on Friday, January 03 @ 10:15:59 PST (3970 reads)
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  ICE director: Illegal immigrant children transport 'appropriate and legal'
International Politics

By Judson Berger

Published December 24, 2013

The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement defended the role of federal agents in transporting illegal immigrant children after a federal judge complained they were hand-delivering smuggled kids to parents in the United States.

“While the court’s comments did not relate specifically to ICE, it is clear that the transportation of unaccompanied children (UAC) by ICE personnel is appropriate and legal,” acting Director John Sandweg wrote in a brief email obtained by

The email was sent Monday and addressed to “all ICE employees.”

Sandweg noted that “recent media reports” on the judge’s order had “prompted discussion about whether ICE personnel may lawfully transport alien minors.”...

Posted by editor on Tuesday, December 24 @ 03:50:10 PST (4122 reads)
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 North Korean Purge Continues Quietly
International Politics / Dec. 23, 2013 09:45 KST

The North Korean regime continues to purge associates of former eminence grise Jang Song-taek, who was executed in early December, but now they are being purged quietly in the provinces while Pyongyang puts on a show of solemn unity marking two years since former leader Kim Jong-il's death.

The celebrations got underway in mid-December, and since then the propaganda tone has shifted from hysterical denunciations of Jang and his clique to trumpeting current leader Kim Jong-un's purported achievements.

◆ Quiet Execution

"Kim Jong-un is quietly sending Jang's cronies to the provinces and executing them there," claimed Ahn Chan-il of the World Institute for North Korea Studies. "Railroad stations in Pyongyang are teeming as the military herds people associated with Jang onto trains to provincial regions" like Hwasong, North Hamgyong Province.

Ahn said the regime is evidently going about the purge more clandestinely after Jang's trial by kangaroo court and brutal execution drew condemnation worldwide and created a climate of fear and uncertainty at home.

He speculated that the regime is trying to finish the purge by April, when the Supreme People's Assembly convenes, replacing Jang's associates in the party, the military and the Cabinet with a new set of officials who are likely to define the Kim Jong-un era.

The purge targets a broad range of people associated with Jang, from anyone who had their picture taken with him to officials who owed him their promotions. Jang's hometown and power base in the Hamgyong provinces is coming in for a particularly thorough sweep.

A source said a senior official in South Hamgyong Province was purged last Thursday because he owed his position to family ties with Jang.

Several administrative chiefs in North Hamgyong Province and in the Rajin-Sonbong special economic zone were summoned to Pyongyang early December and a handful of them have already been purged, some of them reportedly being put through a rigorous course of self-criticism.

Among other crimes the military tribunal accused Jang of was running the zone like his own fiefdom and selling a 50-year concession there "to another country," most likely China.

Jang's cronies in Ryanggang Province and Sinuiju in North Pyongan Province have also been arrested and purged.

Free North Korea Radio quoted a source in Ryanggang Province as saying, "Senior officials in Ryanggang Province were arrested last Wednesday but not told why."

In the border town of Sinuiju, security forces are under orders to report anybody suspected of preparing an escape to China, where Jang's associates are likely to be headed.

North Koreans sit on back of a truck on the banks of Yalu River on Saturday near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong. /Reuters-Newsis North Koreans sit on back of a truck on the banks of Yalu River on Saturday near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong. /Reuters-Newsis

◆ Sole Leadership

Kim Jong-un in a meeting with senior party, government and military officials on June 19 reportedly demanded a "unitary" leadership for party and military.

He highlighted the party's 10 founding principles, which were revised for the first time in 39 years this year to cement the rule of the Kim dynasty, and called for a struggle against factionalism, double-dealing, and treachery, another source said.

Reports say officials loyal to Jang habitually privileged Jang's orders over Kim's, sometimes to the young leader's face. The Yomiuri Shimbun speculated the purge was triggered about a month ago, when two senior officials close to Jang did not follow Kim's order immediately but instead told him they would have to check it with his uncle.

Posted by editor on Monday, December 23 @ 03:18:22 PST (3622 reads)
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 Will Jang Song-taek's Ouster Trigger Mass Defections?
International Politics / Dec. 11, 2013 11:35 KST

The ouster of North Korea's eminence grise Jang Song-taek could lead to a wave of defections from his cronies and other senior officials who had thrown in their lot with him and now see their position under threat.

Jang had been intermittently at the center of power since he married former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's sister Kim Kyong-hui in 1972, amassing a following of some 20,000 loyal officials.

◆ Cronies

One senior official who handled Jang and leader Kim Jong-un's private coffers is already rumored to have fled to China.

A senior government source here on Tuesday said the rumors are "not groundless" but declined to go into details. The source added Jang's ouster "could lead to defections by his confidants."

Sources in China are certainly aware of the rumors. They say South Korea, the U.S. and China have been racing to recruit the official in question.

Another confidant of Jang's is Ri Su-yong, a former ambassador to Switzerland and head of the Workers Party investment committee. Ri worked mainly in Europe from the 1980s. He served as the consul general to Geneva, permanent representative to the UN Secretariat in Geneva, and ambassador to the Netherlands.

Ri handled North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's expenses while he was at boarding school in Switzerland and is believed to have managed the Kim dynasty's secret funds in Swiss banks.

After returning to North Korea in 2010, Ri aided Jang's efforts to attract foreign capital, a position that enabled him to become deeply involved in trade with China.

Diplomatic sources in Beijing say Ri's whereabouts are now unclear. He may have fled to China, but another source said he has already been arrested in North Korea. Ri Su-yong "was the next target" after Jang's closest confidants Ri Yong-ha and Jang Su-kil were executed in public, the source added.

There are also rumors that another North Korean official based in China who handled Jang's funds has fled to South Korea. One source said the mid-ranking official "mainly handled cross-border trade in minerals and seafood" and recently asked to come to Seoul, and South Korea has him "in protective care."

Then there is talk that a North Korean general defected with information about the North's nuclear weapons program.

The government here officially professes ignorance. Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae appeared before the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee Tuesday and denied any knowledge of such high-level defections, and Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tae-young denied there have been requests from North Korean officials to defect.

◆ Mixed Forecasts

But experts believe that many of Jang's cronies who handled North Korean business abroad will choose to defect rather than return to Pyongyang. During a similar purge in 1956, hundreds of North Korean officials based in China and the former Soviet Union chose to defect rather than face an uncertain future back home.

Cho Bong-hyun of the IBK Economic Research Institute said party and military officials sent abroad to manage the North’s money-making business number in their hundreds in China alone, and "most of them probably don’t want to return."

However, Nam Sung-wook at Korea University said, "We may see one or two defections, but most of them have family back in North Korea so there is only a small chance of mass defections."

Posted by editor on Thursday, December 12 @ 14:13:54 PST (3507 reads)
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 World must awaken to North Korea's camps of horror
International Politics

By Joshua Stanton and Sung-Yoon Lee
December 7, 2013 -- Updated 1836 GMT (0236 HKT)

Editor's note: Joshua Stanton, an attorney in Washington, D.C., has advised the House Foreign Affairs Committee on North Korea-related legislation and blogs at OneFreeKorea. Sung-Yoon Lee is Kim Koo-Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies and Assistant Professor at the Fletcher School, Tufts University.

(CNN) -- The deliberate policies of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his late father, Kim Jong Il, may have killed millions of North Koreans, either by starving them to death or sending them to die in a system of political prisoner concentration camps unlike any since the regimes of Hitler and Stalin.

For years, the world has been so fixated on the North's nuclear weapons that it has lost sight of reports of such systematic crimes. Yet they are the very reason we should care that North Korea could develop an effective nuclear arsenal. Indeed one of the very sites of this alleged brutality — Camp 16 -- lies right next to North Korea's nuclear test site.

With the publication of its newest report, Amnesty International confronts us with more evidence of the Kim Jong Un regime's disregard for the lives of its own people and, by extension, our own.

We've long known that these camps were places of horror. Kang Chol Hwan, one of few survivors, published his memoir of Camp 15 more than a dozen years ago. One of us published the first satellite imagery of Camp 16 in 2007, finding what appeared to be its distinctive fence lines and guard posts right where defectors said they would be. But even in 2012, when this detailed imagery analysis of Camp 16 was published, there were still no eyewitness accounts. It was a place prisoners never left, dead or alive.

Still, we have accounts of what went on in the other camps. Witnesses had told about the building in Camp 22 where two parents breathed air into the lungs of their dying children before they perished together in the camp's experimental gas chamber, and about the two children who drowned when a guard kicked them into a waste pond. We have heard of the guest house at Camp 18 where, according to witness accounts, women prisoners were raped before the guards murdered them, and of the former athlete who was killed by a guard at Camp 14 after hunger drove him to eat part of the guard's leather whip. We read how guards at Camp 15 would allegedly make starving prisoners race along the side of a cliff for corn cakes, and laugh each time one fell to his death...

Posted by editor on Saturday, December 07 @ 17:12:17 PST (2089 reads)
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 Egyptian Telecom Halts Investment in N.Korea
International Politics / Dec. 06, 2013 13:34 KST

Egypt's Orascom Telecom, the mobile service provider in North Korea, has invested US$200 million into the project so far but has yet to make a dime, according to website Middle East Online.

Orascom chief Naguib Onsi Sawiris was quoted by the U.K.-based website as saying he would make no more investment in North Korea until the company sees some returns.

Orascom started offering 3G mobile services in North Korea in a joint venture with North Korea's postal service in 2008. The joint venture, Koryo Link, is 75-percent owned by Orascom and 25 percent by the North. It has managed to attract 2 million subscribers.

The Egyptian company invested another $200 million to build the giant Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang and set up a joint venture bank.

But North Korea apparently barred Orascom from sending profits from the mobile phone service back to Egypt. "Koryo Link is making profits, but North Korean authorities seem to have blocked remittance of the money," a source in Beijing said.

Regime obstruction has also led to losses for Chinese companies that invested in North Korean mines. China's Wanxiang Group pumped more than 560 million yuan into a copper mine in North Korea since 2007, but the source said the group decided to stop investing because it has made no profits at all.

Xiyang Group invested 240 million yuan in the North but was forced out of the country without a penny in profit last year.


"Stoopid is, as stoopid does" - Dennis Rodman's mother

Posted by editor on Friday, December 06 @ 19:12:33 PST (1435 reads)
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 Bloody North Korean Purge Targets Kim Jong-un's Uncle
International Politics / Dec. 05, 2013 10:35 KST

It appears that a bloody purge is underway in North Korea to rid state organs of the cronies of eminence grise Jang Song-taek, who has been reportedly stripped of all his posts.

Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae told lawmakers here rumors that Jang’s closest confidants Ri Yong-ha and Jang Su-gil were publicly executed in late November for damaging the Workers Party have been confirmed.

Jang's brother-in-law, North Korean Ambassador to Cuba, Jon Yong-jin, is apparently set to return to Pyongyang via Beijing on Thursday. A diplomatic source in Beijing said Jon appears to have been recalled. Jang's nephew and Ambassador to Malaysia Jang Yong-chol has already been recalled.

This screen capture from the [North] Korean Central TV shows Ri Yong-ha (front left) and Jang Su-gil, behind Ri, talk with Kim Jong-un at a factory near the Taedong River on Sept. 2, 2012. Jang Song-taek is at back right. This screen capture from the [North] Korean Central TV shows Ri Yong-ha (front left) and Jang Su-gil, behind Ri, talk with Kim Jong-un at a factory near the Taedong River on Sept. 2, 2012. Jang Song-taek is at back right.

The Unification Minister said no harm appears to have come to Jang himself, though his whereabouts are a mystery.

In a closed-door meeting later in the day, Ryoo said it should be remembered that Jang survived three purges in the past, only to return to a new position of power.

Meanwhile, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is apparently away from Pyongyang, judging by a sighting of his personal train, a government official here said Wednesda

Posted by editor on Wednesday, December 04 @ 23:38:19 PST (1713 reads)
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 Boehner accused of tilting toward 'amnesty' with new hire
International Politics

Foes of illegal immigration accused House Speaker John Boehner of signaling his willingness to consider an "amnesty" bill after his office hired a longtime policy aide who has advocated legalizing undocumented immigrants. 

The speaker's office announced Tuesday that it had hired Rebecca Tallent as a point person for immigration issues. Tallent previously was director of immigration policy for the Bipartisan Policy Center -- but before that, worked for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and played a role in the drafting of the 2006 and 2007 immigration reform bills, which provided a pathway to legal status for some illegal immigrants. 

The Federation for American Immigration Reform and other groups claimed the hiring was a sign that the House would consider an "amnesty" bill, despite pledges by Boehner that the House and Senate would not try to reconcile the differences between their bills through a process known as "conference." Foes of illegal immigration had been concerned that this process would allow a select group of negotiators to include a pathway to legal status for illegal immigrants even if the House previously opposed it. 

"President Obama and Senate leaders have already said that they do not care what bill serves as the vehicle to get them to their desired objective of amnesty and massive immigration increases, just as long as they get there," FAIR said in an email blast Tuesday. "It is clear, as a result of Tuesday's announcement by Boehner, that the legislative vehicle will be different, but the destination will be the same." 

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel defended the hire, telling The Washington Times that Tallent is a "well-known expert in this field of public policy" and a "great addition to our team and that effort."...

He reiterated that Boehner wants "step-by-step, common-sense immigration reforms."

Posted by editor on Wednesday, December 04 @ 07:28:32 PST (1677 reads)
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 American veteran held in North Korea led top secret force training guerrillas
International Politics

By Reuters Reporter

PUBLISHED: 02:32 GMT, 1 December 2013 | UPDATED: 01:17 GMT, 2 December 2013

In September 1953, a group of anti-communist guerrillas presented U.S. serviceman Merrill Edward Newman with a gold ring.

For Newman, 85, the ring became a proud symbol of the role he played as an adviser to a group of battle-hardened partisans who fought deep behind enemy lines in a war that pitted the China- and Soviet-backed North against the U.S.-backed South.

Now, six decades on, the pensioner, who lives in a retirement community in California, has become one of the last prisoners of that war.

Visiting old friends: Merrill Newman with former Kuwol Guerrilla Unit members, who he was an adviser to in the Korean War. Newman, 85, was arrested last month by the North Koreans for his role in the war

Visiting old friends: Merrill Newman with former Kuwol Guerrilla Unit members, who he was an adviser to in the Korean War. Newman, 85, was arrested last month by the North Koreans for his role in the war


Adviser: Merrill Newman (bottom row, 2nd from left) with the guerrillas he trained during the Korean War, provided by Kim Kwoang-in, son of the captain of the Kuwol Guerrilla Unit

Wartime: Merrill Newman (bottom row, 2nd from left) with the guerrillas he trained during the Korean War, in this picture provided by Kim Kwoang-in, son of the captain of the Kuwol Guerrilla Unit

He returned to North Korea last month as an American tourist and was snatched by authorities from his plane moments before it was due to depart for Beijing.

When he returned to the isolated state, he was taking a risk, said former guerrillas who knew Newman.

Read more:

Posted by editor on Tuesday, December 03 @ 04:51:18 PST (1410 reads)
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 American Held in North Korea Is Korean War Veteran
International Politics / Nov. 22, 2013 09:15 KST

Merrill Newman Merrill Newman

An American who was arrested in North Korea on Oct. 26 has been identified as Merrill Newman, an 85-year-old Korean War veteran from Palo Alto, California.

Newman was about to leave North Korea when he was asked by a North Korean officer to step off the plane.

"He's always wanted to go to North Korea; it's been a lifelong thing," his son, Jeffrey Newman, told the San Jose Mercury News on Wednesday. "My dad got off, walked out with the stewardess, and that's the last he was seen."

Merrill Newman went to the North last month with friend Bob Hamdla for a package tour arranged by a Beijing-based travel agency.

After studying zoology at the University of California at Berkeley, Newman joined the Army in 1950 and served as an infantry officer during the Korean War. He obtained a master's degree in education from Stanford University after the war and worked as an accountant for tech companies.

On retiring in 1984, he moved to Palo Alto with his wife, the paper said.

The day before he was detained, Newman and a local tour guide talked with a North Korean official about his experience of the Korean War.

Calling Newman's detention "a terrible misunderstanding," his travel companion Hamdla said in a statement, "I hope that the North Koreans see this as a humanitarian matter and allow him to return to his family as soon as possible."

"It's also very unusual for the North Koreans not to acknowledge, particularly after holding the person for weeks, that they have the person... with no apparent Korean ties," said Daniel Sneider, a North Korea expert at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center of Stanford University. "That may indicate that they haven't decided what to do with him yet, and therefore they don't want to admit that they've arrested him."

Posted by editor on Thursday, November 21 @ 19:05:19 PST (1515 reads)
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 How Silicon Valley turned on President Obama
International Politics
Posted by editor on Thursday, November 14 @ 13:32:23 PST (1468 reads)
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 Putin Plays Havoc with Diplomatic Protocol
International Politics / Nov. 14, 2013 11:34 KST

Russian President Vladimir Putin behaved erratically during his visit to Seoul on Wednesday, arriving 30 minutes late for a summit with President Park Geun-hye and making several last-minute changes to his itinerary.

Seoul and Moscow agreed on Nov. 1 that Putin would visit Korea this Tuesday and Wednesday, but Russia informed the Korean government on Nov. 4 that Putin wanted a change in schedule, shortening the trip to a single-day visit.

That means the government had to give invited guests for the official luncheon short notice that it had been moved.

The Russians gave no clear reason for the change in schedule. Putin arrived at Incheon Airport at 2:50 a.m. Wednesday from Vietnam and rested in a hotel in Seoul. He met with Korean and Russian business representatives later in the morning and apparently told them his arrival had been delayed by typhoon Haiyan.

But the Korean Embassy in Vietnam said the typhoon already passed on Monday and should not have impacted Putin's schedule. Instead, the embassy said, Putin had a packed schedule during his one-day visit on Tuesday to the Southeast Asian country, where he met Prime Minister Ngyuen Tan Dung and other officials, which could have delayed his scheduled departure.

President Park Geun-hye and her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Seoul on Wednesday /Newsis President Park Geun-hye and her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Seoul on Wednesday /Newsis

Putin then arrived about half an hour late for his meeting with Park at Cheong Wa Dae scheduled for 1:30 p.m., a major diplomatic faux paus. The Russian leader was apparently delayed by a welcome by the Korea Sambo Federation. Sambo is a Russian martial art and Putin, who is prone to displays of manly vigor, is honorary chairman of the International Sambo Federation.

He left the Lotte Hotel in downtown Seoul at around 1:10 p.m., around 10 minutes late already, and then insisted on stopping his motorcade as he passed members of the Korea Sambo Federation who were standing on the sidewalk holding a banner welcoming him. He spent around 15 minutes pressing the flesh and having his photo taken with them.

The Korean presidential security team was surprised by the unscheduled stop. Earlier in the day, Putin also made an appearance at the Korea-Russia Business Dialogue at the Lotte Hotel, which was scheduled at the last minute at his request.

As the summit started late, the joint press conference did not take place until 4:05 p.m., an hour and a half later than planned.

That in turn delayed Putin's scheduled appearances at the Korea-Russia Dialogue Forum with Park and the unveiling of a statue of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin.

In Incheon on his way to the airport, Putin paid his respects at a monument remembering the Russian battleship Varyag that sank off Incheon in the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, and met briefly with Incheon Mayor Song Young-gil before leaving Korea late in the evening.

A Foreign Ministry official said officials here had no choice but to go along with Putin's schedule changes.

Posted by editor on Thursday, November 14 @ 13:16:03 PST (1278 reads)
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 Wisdom’s Maw: The Acid Novel (& How It All Began)
International Politics

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 6.30.16 PM

Editor’s note: With a resurgence of interest in psychedelics for medical and therapeutic use, and a shift in attitudes concerning the “War On [Some] Drugs,” Todd Brendan Fahey’s Wisdom’s Maw: The Acid Novel is now considered an underground classic. The book sheds light on the origins of the US government’s interest in LSD and its key role in the coming counterculture. It “factionalizes” events surrounding the CIA’s LSD experiments of the 1950s/60s, known as Project MK-Ultra, and their influence on the subsequent counterculture. It was released in October, 2013, via Amazon/Kindle.

It was a scary time in my life–when, deep in the bowels of my phone line began emergence of a sonar blip to which I could set my watch and which prompted my then-literary agent [William F. Stankey, whose representation I shared with Hunter S. Thompson] to laugh: “God damn, your phone is fucking lousy! They’ve got you bugged from here to gone!” [And according to persons I trust and who have intimate familiarity with such, yes, "they" did/had; and is why I fled Los Angeles in the middle of the night, back in 1991, and have been discrete with mine address thereafter.]

I had been, since 1989, researching the story of “Captain” Alfred M. Hubbard — the former OSS spook who turned Aldous Huxley and Timothy Leary onto LSD for the first time. How a 24-year old could gain access to such a list of persons is still unknown to me. I’d served as aide to two U.S. military Generals, a U.S. Congressman and the Governor of Arizona … but that didn’t merit me any sort of inclusion into the Acid Club.

Todd Brendan Fahey wrote this article for Toke Signals

Todd Brendan Fahey
wrote this article for Toke Signals

Here’s how it went: I was enrolled in the Master’s degree Program in Professional Writing at University of Southern California (USC), and one of my professors was a man named Paul Gillette. Paul had written Play Misty For Me, which became a Clint Eastwood film, and was a Pulitzer nominee for a later novel. He was a heavy drinker, as was I, and we enjoyed countless nights downstairs at Traditions — the bar at USC. (One night, Dr. Gillette and I watched Nolan Ryan’s seventh no-hitter, live, on the big screen at Traditions, and got drunker than I think I’ve ever been in my life; he winced, at my next class, near unto an apologia, and asked if I’d “made it home OK?”)

Paul Gillette had hosted a CBS television interview program for a couple of years in the 1970s, and among his guests was one Dr. Humphry Osmond — the man who turned Aldous Huxley on to mescaline, inspiring the legendary The Doors of Perception. Gillette knew I was an acid head, and he wanted to help; he also knew that my writing was … very different and apart from anything he’d seen prior.

Dr. Humphry Osmond

Dr. Humphry Osmond
His phone list included Timothy Leary, Myron Stolaroff, Dr. Abram Hoffer, and the wives of both the late Al Hubbard and Aldous Huxley

I was given Dr. Humphry Osmond’s telephone number in Alabama. [Osmond passed from this sphere in 2004, and, when I phoned him, was still Director of Psychiatry at Bryce Hospital, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.] Osmond was told by one of his staff that there was a guy on the line wishing to speak of Al Hubbard. Dr. Osmond interrupted his schedule and proceeded to speak with me for the next two hours.

I continued to phone Osmond — this time, at his home — and each time, he would answer the phone with warm greetings. To-date, I have about six hours of audiotape of my conversations with Humphry Osmond, on the topic of Al Hubbard.

Dr. Osmond then — knowing that I was deeply and sincerely interested in both psychedelics and the life of Al Hubbard — gave to me a mind-bending array of phone numbers, addresses and contacts, of everyone he could think of who might have known Al Hubbard. I count myself as being one of the luckiest sonsofbitches on the planet.

Among those on Dr. Osmond’s phone list were none other than Timothy Leary; Myron Stolaroff [a former Ampex executive-turned-LSD pioneer]; Dr. Abram Hoffer, a Canadian psychiatrist with long and deep ties to “Captain” Al Hubbard, the so-called “Johnny Appleseed of LSD”; and, to my shock, none other than the wives of both the late Al Hubbard and Aldous Huxley, whom Hubbard had first turned on to LSD, in the sessions that became Huxley’s seminal tome Heaven and Hell, the follow-up to The Doors of Perception, which was inspired by mescaline and introduced to Huxley by, indeed, Dr. Humphry Osmond.

Al Hubbard,

Al Hubbard
“The Original Captain Trips”

I was sitting on the Who’s Who of phone numbers for the entire late-1950s/very early-60s contingent of connoisseurs of this strange new drug, which was then being manufactured by Switzerland’s Sandoz Laboratories and disbursed world-wide via Al Hubbard’s mysterious network.

Only one person on Dr. Osmond’s list refused to talk with me in any meaningful detail: Beverly Hills psychiatrist Dr. Oscar Janiger — who is credited for “turning on” actors Jack Nicholson, Cary Grant, David Niven, Stanley Kubrick, novelist Anais Nin and countless others. Upon finally reaching Dr. Janiger at his private practice, and letting him know of the particulars of my interest in the good “Captain,” Janiger responded:

“Nothing of substance has been written of Al Hubbard; and probably nothing ever should” — after which, he hung up the phone.

The others were surprisingly easy to reach and to enlist in the, what would become a 5-page High Times magazine centerfold, titled: “The Original Captain Trips” [November 1991]; and, even later, the novel that has moved me and plagued me for lo these many years.

Laura Huxley dkdkdkd

Laura Huxley
was none too fond of spotting me on her front lawn

Reaching Laura Huxley was a matter of logistics. Despite her fairly advanced age, she led a demanding speaking and salon-type schedule. I phoned her maybe three times over a period of two weeks, at the Hollywood Hills home that she and Aldous had shared before his death of tongue cancer in 1963, and could never seem to find an apt time to sit down together.

One day it worked out, and I found myself scaling Mulholland Drive, and then up an even steeper incline, to the top of a certain roost and so close to the famed “Hollywood” mountainside sign, I could almost reach out and taste it. An old money community, and Mrs. Huxley’s house was probably the oldest (looking) place on the street.

I parked my orange Ford Fiesta rag-top convertible on the street, so as not to obstruct the driveway, and walked up to a three-storey structure, the base of which had not been mowed for at least two months; a 40-year old coat of white paint flaking off like psoriasis onto the unkempt lawn, and up the driveway to a garage literally full of bats, hanging from the rafters and doing their near-sundown twitch.

I was glad that I hadn’t arrived with a headful of acid, or it would have been a quick trip.

Mrs. Huxley took quite awhile in arriving, and so I moseyed around the driveway area and amongst the tall tree-line, trying to envision the place back “in the day,” with the usual suspects meandering through the modest mansion, LSD and related psychedelics still being legal — and without paranoia or [knowing] scrutiny.

Madame Archera-Huxley, skin translucent and in dark shawl and hat, pulled up of her own accord and, exiting the driver’s door of possibly a high-class Buick, was none too fond of spotting me on her front lawn (I wanted to gaze at the home and suck up its vibes; I stayed in the front yard). Of an “if I must,” I was brought inside and was motioned to a cushioned chair at the end of a fine coffee table; having asked, “May I record this conversation, which will ensure accuracy of transcription?” — noting agreements with Leary, Dr. Humphry Osmond, Dr. Abram Hoffer and a man to whom I spoke on the recommendation of Mrs. Al Hubbard — the grand dame adjusted her shawl and came forth of an, “I prefer you didn’t; notes must suffice.”

Aldous and Laura Huxley []

Aldous and Laura Huxley

Such is as friendly as it got, for this writer, in the Huxley residence. There was offered nothing in the way of new information, and only confirmation of the “carbogen tank and Hubbard inhaling its contents in the bathroom”-story: “he came out very rejuvenated and spoke of a vision he had seen of the Virgin Mary,” is her remembrance, coated in amusement and bemusement; she knew well her husband’s appreciation of the man, but the interactions she shared, and in the company of her husband, was always more social than clinical or clandestine. Al Hubbard held different relationships with different persons of varying levels of trust and assistance, and Laura Huxley met Hubbard only a handful of times, mostly on social occasions.

The evening lasted possibly an hour, as she would answer the phone several times; while she did, I took in the high vaulted ceiling of the estate; two storeys and, from its appearance outdoors, possibly with functional attic. The home bore a tasteful placing of carpets, old wood, white paint of new ministration come inside. There was no tour and none anticipated; knowing I was three minutes from being back in my car, she took me out to the balcony and motioned to the H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D sign, and I breathed a vapor that is generated only in the foothills of Los Angeles…

* * *

The published article, “The Original Captain Trips,” gained attention of Hunter S. Thompson’s publicist, William Stankey, who would represent Fahey for nearly five years and to no avail. Nearly every major publisher in New York had read the manuscript of Wisdom’s Maw by end-1995 and all deemed it “subversive, untouchable and potentially libelous,” as major characters — names changed but still living — spanned, among others: Ken Kesey, Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary and Sidney Gottlieb (director of the CIA’s Project MK-Ultra, the LSD and mind control experiments upon which this novel is based).

Wisdom’s Maw: The Acid Novel, nearly two decades hence and having been published independently via Far Gone Books in 1996, was reviewed to 5-star acclaim within The Village Voice, High Times and a host of underground magazines, ‘zines and campus newspapers.

The novel’s “back cover blurb” was penned by Ernest J. Gaines (The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman; A Lesson Before Dying), recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant, Pulitzer Prize nominee and winner of the John Dos Passos Award.

Posted by editor on Wednesday, November 06 @ 05:16:49 PST (1589 reads)
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 Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
International Politics

by Miles Yu
The Washington Times
October 31, 2013

Chinese state-run media revealed for the first time this week that Beijing’s nuclear submarines can attack American cities as a means to counterbalance U.S. nuclear deterrence in the Pacific.

On Monday, leading media outlets including China Central TV, the People’s Daily, the Global Times, the PLA Daily, the China Youth Daily and the Guangmin Daily ran identical, top-headlined reports about the “awesomeness” of the People's Liberation Army navy’s strategic submarine force.

PHOTOS: Take that, China — check out the U.S. Navy's nuclear submarines

“This is the first time in 42 years since the establishment of our navy’s strategic submarine force that we reveal on such a large scale the secrets of our first-generation underwater nuclear force,” the Global Times said in a lengthy article titled “China for the First Time Possesses Effective Underwater Nuclear Deterrence against the United States.”

The article features 30 photos and graphics detailing, among other things, damage projections for Seattle and Los Angeles after being hit by Chinese nuclear warheads and the deadly radiation that would spread all the way to Chicago.

Posted by editor on Saturday, November 02 @ 00:21:40 PST (1038 reads)
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 Soros & Fellow Billionaires for Open Borders Lobby GOP on Amnesty
International Politics

By Mark Krikorian
October 29, 2013 7:22 PM

The Soros-funded National Immigration Forum (NIF) organized today’s “fly-in” of some 600 people to lobby House Republicans to pass the Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill (which Senator Rubio himself has now disavowed). It started with a two-hour teach-in at the U.S Chamber of Commerce, with the usual suspects saying the usual things. (Watch it here.) I couldn’t stomach the whole thing, but there were some amusing bits: Al Cardenas, head of the American Conservative Union, said that we need immigration because our population is declining (in fact, even with zero immigration — zero — our population would continue to increase for generations, beyond which projections are meaningless). Also, Tony Massif, lobbyist for California agribusiness, said that if we we don’t import more stoop labor from abroad, then we’ll have to import more food, meaning our enemies would “control our food supply.” (You know, because all that corn and wheat in the Midwest is being hand-harvested by Guatemalan peasants.) Speakers were also pretending that amnesty and increased immigration were conservative initiatives by claiming that environmentalists and labor unions are responsible for the opposition to the Schumer-Rubio bill when, obviously, they’re among the bill’s chief backers.

Anyway, that’s all boilerplate and hardly worth commenting on, as much as it might irk me. But I got to thinking about the groups hosting this thing and thought it’d be interesting to match up their principals and supporters with the Forbes 400 list. Turns out that “Billionaires for Open Borders” isn’t just a catchy name — it’s the reality. Joining Soros (#19 on the Forbes 400) in backing today’s lobbying effort are a broad collection of his fellow billionaires. One of the co-hosts was Partnership for a New American Economy. Among the group’s co-chairmen: Michael Bloomberg (#10 on the Forbes 400), Steve Ballmer (#21), Rupert Murdoch (#30), Douglas M. Baker Jr. (#161), and Bill Marriott (#296).

Another co-host was, founded by Mark Zuckerberg (#20) and including among its supporters Bill Gates (#1), Eric Schmidt (#49), Reid Hoffman (#103), John Doerr (#184), Stanley Druckenmiller (#184), John Fisher (#193), Barry Diller (#260), Sean Parker (#273), Jim Bryer (#352), Mark Pincus (was #212 in 2011, but fallen off since), Matt Cohler (worth a measly $400 million, but on the Forbes Future 400 list), Fred Wilson (#16 on Forbes Midas List of top tech investors), Ron Conway (#41 on the Midas List), and Richard Kramlich (#73 on the Midas List)...

Posted by editor on Thursday, October 31 @ 04:10:03 PST (1288 reads)
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 North Korea Threatens South Korean Journalists
International Politics / Oct. 29, 2013 11:19 KST

North Korean propaganda site Uriminzokkiri on Monday likened 18 South Korean journalists and North Korea experts to Nazi sympathizers and threatened them with summary justice.

The website said the 18, who work for the Chosun Ilbo, Donga Ilbo and Segye Ilbo as well as broadcasters KBS, MBC and SBS must remember that broadcasters and reporters who supported the Nazis "were the first to stand trial after World War II."

Uriminzokkiri said in an editorial that "wicked rightwing agitators posing as so-called journalists, experts and professors" were spreading "lies and false accusations."

The website said "conservative (South Korean) media hurled false criticism at North Korea," calling it an "isolated nation" and a "failed" system, targeting even the "highest dignity" of the North.

The North Korean regime frequently takes somewhat flailing aim at the South Korean media for failing to accord it the dignity it believes it deserves.

In June of 1997, the North threatened to bomb the Chosun Ilbo over an editorial, and in June of last year it vowed to launch a massive attack against major South Korean media and published the coordinates of their offices.

The South Korean press has also fallen victim to cyber attacks traced to the North, and the shutdown of the Kaesong Industrial Complex in April ostensibly came in defiance of South Korean media reports that Pyongyang cannot afford to lose the cash cow.

Posted by editor on Tuesday, October 29 @ 00:49:31 PST (989 reads)
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