Monthly Archives: December 2008

Regulator wants Telia to unbundle fibre network

Swedish telecoms regulator PTS yesterday announced a proposal to force incumbent telco TeliaSonera to unbundle its fibre-optic broadband access network. PTS wants the former monopoly, which already offers full local loop unbundling (LLU) over its copper PSTN, to offer a full range of wholesale fibre access services to its competitors, including fibre and ducts, which it believes will lead to a greater choice of services for end-users and lower prices. Earlier obligation decisions regulated only access to the copper network. The proposals form part of plans to enforce regulations to functionally separate all Telia’s wholesale and retail fixed network services. The incumbent has already transferred domestic wholesale fixed operations to its Skanova Access unit, launched on 1 January 2008, which forms part of its Broadband Services division. The PTS says it will now seek opinions on the issue of wholesale fibre access from local operators, the Swedish competition authority and the European Commission, with contributions to be accepted until 9 February 2009, before making a final decision in the summer. Sweden had 453,000 direct fibre/LAN broadband access subscribers at the end of June 2008, according to the regulator, including fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) customers. At that date, TeleGeography estimates TeliaSonera had 55,000 direct fibre users on its network, with the rest of the country’s FTTx connections provided by alternative access providers over their own infrastructure. In yesterday’s announcement, PTS also proposes a new price regulation model for bitstream access.

www.telegeography.com

Swedish Regulator Wants to Unbundle Fiber Access

Swedish incumbent TeliaSonera will have to open up its fiber network to competitors, according to a new proposal from local telecommunications regulator PTS (Post och Telestyrelsen).

PTS hopes the proposal to unbundle, or separate ownership of fiber infrastructure and service delivery, will lead to more operators offering services and increased competition, which in turn will lead to lower costs for consumers, according to a statement issued on Thursday.

It will now let operators, the local competition authority and the European Commission make their voices heard, and then make a final decision during the second quarter if all goes according to plan, said David Troëng, director of the competition department at PTS.

Unbundling fiber access could prove to be a mixed blessing for consumers, according to according to Oliver Johnson, CEO at market research company Point Topic.

If the fiber is already in the ground it could lead to greater competition and lower prices — but new rules could also lead to a slower build out of new fiber, if the builder doesn’t get some measure of exclusivity and a chance to get a return on its investment, he said.

In France a number operators have agreed on what seems to be a more pragmatic approach to sharing of fiber networks.

Numericable, Orange and SFR have signed an agreement setting out the conditions for sharing optical fiber cables they have installed in buildings, and also sharing fiber access in areas where they are currently deploying or soon plan to deploy their networks, they announced on Tuesday.

This agreement is open to all other operators who want to become involved, they said.

Residents in areas concerned will be able to choose fiber Internet access services from among the three operators as a result of the deal.

Operators working together would be the ideal solution, but some measures to ensure transparency would still have to be put in place to prevent cartels, according to Johnson.

In Sweden, 566,000 subscribers accessed the Internet using fiber in the third quarter. In France that number was only 65,125 subscribers, according to statistics from Point Topic.

www.pcworld.com

Teo apgaudinėja žmones

Nesusigundykite,teo internetu.

1 Pavyzdys. Perkate pc.ir puse metų gaunate nemokama interneta. Pasirodo uz linija mokestis vistiek yra,taigi 42lt. Po pusės metų jie pavirsta į 75 Lt. Turite lėta interneta ir daug mokate.

2 Be viso to kai jum toks lėtas internetas nereikalingas sugalvojate atsisakyti. Tada suzinote kad jusu sutartis terminuota,o jei norite nutraukti modemas kainuoja-200Lt. uz kurį net 50 neduočiau+pajungimas-180Lt ir dar iki sutarties pabaigos likes laikas apie 500 lt. Tai tokia sumelė susidaro-880Lt.

Tai va žmones bukit budrūs, nes pagaus jus teo ir pigiai nepaleis.

www.skundai.lt

Court Upholds Fine Against Megafon for Illegal Operations in Georgia

The Tbilisi City Court has rejected a legal motion brought by the Russian mobile telephone carrier Megafon seeking the dismissal of a fine imposed on the company by regulatory authorities for illegal unlicensed operations in South Ossetia and other areas of Georgia’s sovereign territory. The court’s decision is the latest in a series of judgments confirming Megafon’s activities in Georgia, which regulators say dates back to 2005.
“Megafon’s ongoing unlicensed presence in Georgia, which is akin to an economic occupation and annexation, is unacceptable and should not be tolerated by its European ownership,” said Giorgi Arveladze, chairman of the Georgia National Communications Commission, in reference to the publicly traded Swedish company Teliasonera, which holds a 43.8% stake in the Russian company. “This illegal seizure of the radiospectrum, which played a significant role in the August invasion of Georgia by the Russian military, poses a serious international legal problem that we are determined to address.”
The case of Megafon’s unlicensed coverage in Georgia has received significant attention in the international media, and was referenced in a recent speech at the Washington DC-based Hudson Institute by former economic adviser to the Kremlin, Andrei Illarionov. In discussing the early preparations made by Russia in the lead-up to the war, Mr. Illarionov established that Megafon is known to have provided secure communications for the Russian military before and during the conflict, and that company owner Leonid Reiman has benefitted from close connections with Moscow.
Previously, Megafon only covered part of the former Autonomous Republic of South Ossetia, namely, Tskhinvali and Java regions. In August of 2008, during the Russian intervention on Georgian territory, the company expanded the coverage area and exceeded the conflict zone to include the regions of Gori and Kareli. A report issued by the GNCC on August 23 details this unauthorized use of radiofrequencies. As a result of these illegal activities, Megafon caused technical problems to Magticom and Geocell, both licensed companies operating in Georgia.
Following the latest court ruling, Megafon is obligated to terminate operations and pay a fine exceeding $350,000.00.
“It is the duty of this Commission to enforce compliance with the law by all telecom operators active within Georgia’s national sovereign territory, and it is clear from our surveys that Megafon has blatantly disregarded regulations and violated the law,” said Mr. Arveladze. “We view it as a positive step that the company has recognized Georgia’s jurisdiction over this matter, and it is our hope that the company’s European ownership will act swiftly correct the situation.”

All documents relating to Megafon’s unauthorized activities, documented since June 2008, have been sent to the Prosecutor General’s office. The Georgian National Communications Commission will exercise its legal rights in order to terminate this infringement.

www.marketwatch.com

Court upholds fine against Russian mobile operator

A court in the nation of Georgia has rejected a motion by Russian mobile carrier Megafon seeking to dismiss a fine for operating in Georgian territory without a license.

The Tbilisi City Court last week upheld a fine of about US$350,000 imposed on Megafon after an August report from the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) found that Megafon was illegally using radio spectrum inside Georgian borders, the GNCC said Tuesday.

Megafon has been operating in disputed territories along the border of Georgia and Russia, including South Ossetia, since 2005, said James Kimer, a U.S.-based spokesman for the GNCC. After the Russian military’s strikes against Georgia in August, Megafon began operating in Georgian territories not under dispute, including the regions of Gori and Kareli, Kimer said.

Megafon officials weren’t immediately available for comment on the court decision. Georgia opened a criminal case against Megafon in October.

Giorgi Arveladze, the GNCC’s chairman, appealed to Swedish company TeliaSonera, which owns nearly 44 percent of Megafon.

“Megafon’s ongoing unlicensed presence in Georgia, which is akin to an economic occupation and annexation, is unacceptable and should not be tolerated by its European ownership,” Arveladze said in a statement. “This illegal seizure of the radio spectrum, which played a significant role in the August invasion of Georgia by the Russian military, poses a serious international legal problem that we are determined to address.”

Megafon could attempt to ignore the court’s decision, but its decision to file the appeal indicates it believes Georgian courts have authority in the case, Kimer said.

Megafon has denied using Georgian spectrum, but said it would not stop customers from using Russian mobile-phone towers in nearby territories. GNCC’s attempts to get the company to pay the fine or vacate the spectrum “have been ignored,” Kimer said. “They have not ceased operations.”

The GNCC has also accused Megafon of providing secure communications to the Russian military during the August attacks on Georgia.

www.thestandard.com

So there is no connection between..

One of the purely insane, and that is in the ‘dear god they have their fingers in their ears and are singing la-la-la, I don’t want to hear this‘ , from the Left and particularly President Elect Obama backers  is not wanting to hear about their own candidate’s past connections with, well, anyone.  Apparently he is now on the path to a purely virgin birth that happened to take place in Hawaii but was conceived with Space Aliens and/or Bigfoot.  Really, Sasquatch seem to have better taste than intermingle with us, and I really don’t see Obama in the Fox Mulder.  After that having a political career where he would, contrary to all other evidence of being a Machine Politician, actually have money magically appear before him and be able to bi-locate for 20 years while at Rev. Wright’s sermons.

Sorry, he appears to be a normal smokin Joe who, apparently smokes and is part of the ‘in crowd’ in Chitown politics.

Luckily he isn’t named ‘Joe’.

The honest Joes, like Joe the Plumber, get a bad rap from politicians.

Depressing beyond all account is that I can stick to my past articles in the archive and pull up the necessary connection almost immediately.

Let’s take Eric Holder, nominee for Attorney General and man implicated in saving the hide of Marc Rich, beyond being a flat out liar about the Justice Department’s views on what was going on with Elian Gonzalez.  Say, remember that?  Lovely pontificating on the part of the Justice Department about how they wouldn’t do anything and then the midnight raid?  Gotta love that, no?  I remember how so many ‘activists’ were up in arms about that… but I digress.

So lets hit Marc Rich.

They guy was a fugitive from justice, for various forms of illegal trading and such inside the US, and he went overseas to start up a firm doing financial deals in ‘hot spots’ around the world, which would end up backing all sorts of people.  He first shows up in my archives in a look at Monzer al-Kassar and the report on corrupt banking in the US done as part of the BCCI investigation by Congress in 1992.  He appears in the Executive Summary at point 16:

16. INVESTIGATIONS OF BCCI TO DATE REMAIN INCOMPLETE, AND MANY LEADS CANNOT BE FOLLOWED UP, AS THE RESULT OF DOCUMENTS BEING WITHHELD FROM US INVESTIGATORS BY THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT, AND DOCUMENTS AND WITNESSES BEING WITHHELD FROM US INVESTIGATORS BY THE GOVERNMENT OF ABU DHABI.

Many of the specific criminal transactions engaged in by BCCI’s customers remain hidden from investigation as the result of bank secrecy laws in many jurisdictions, British national security laws, and the holding of key witnesses and documents by the Government of Abu Dhabi. Documents pertaining to BCCI’s use to finance terrorism, to assist the builders of a Pakistani nuclear bomb, to finance Iranian arms deals, and related matters have been sealed in the United Kingdom by British intelligence and remain unavailable to U.S. investigators. Many other basic matters pertaining to BCCI’s criminality, including any list that may exist of BCCI’s political payoffs and bribes, remain sequestered in Abu Dhabi and unavailable to U.S. investigators.

Many investigative leads remain to be explored, but cannot be answered with devoting substantial additional sources that to date no agency of government has been in a position to provide.

Unanswered questions include, but are not limited to, the relationship between BCCI and the Banco Nazionale del Lavoro; the alleged relationship between the late CIA director William Casey and BCCI; the extent of BCCI’s involvement in Pakistan’s nuclear program; BCCI’s manipulation of commodities and securities markets in Europe and Canada; BCCI’s activities in India, including its relationship with the business empire of the Hinduja family; BCCI’s relationships with convicted Iraqi arms dealer Sarkis Sarkenalian, Syrian drug trafficker, terrorist, and arms trafficker Monzer Al-Kassar, and other major arms dealers; the use of BCCI by central figures in the alleged “October Surprise,” BCCI’s activities with the Central Bank of Syria and with the Foreign Trade Mission of the Soviet Union in London; its involvement with foreign intelligence agencies; the financial dealingst of BCCI directors with Charles Keating and several Keating affiliates and front-companies, including the possibility that BCCI related entities may have laundered funds for Keating to move them outside the United States; BCCI’s financing of commodities and other business dealings of international criminal financier Marc Rich; the nature, extent and meaning of the ownership of other major U.S. financial institutions by Middle Eastern political figures; the nature, extent, and meaning of real estate and financial investments in the United States by major shareholders of BCCI; the sale of BCCI affiliate Banque de Commerce et Placement in Geneva, to the Cukorova Group of Turkey, which owned an entity involved in the BNL Iraqi arms sales, among others.

The withholding of documents and witnesses from U.S. investigators by the Government of Abu Dhabi threatens vital U.S. foreign policy, anti-narcotics and money laundering, and law enforcement interests, and should not be tolerated.

Of course this will bring up bad nightmares for the Left and Right, but to hell with the party favorites – if you don’t like the dirty dealing by one party, then your own gets its fair share when doing the same.  Mind you by then he was already dealing with the Mullahcracy in Iran and helping their oil deals along.

Next up, Marc Rich shows up in my first article on the Red Mafia… you do know he was involved with the Red Mafia before President Clinton pardoned him, right?  This is the article where I make the surprising ‘one person away’ connection between Hillary Clinton and Randy “Duke” Cunningham, and it is tenuous, of course, but just how many folks donating to politicians will have BOTH in their list of who they contribute to?  I point to an article in Pravda, but leave out this little excerpt from it:

When this money returned to Moscow it had to be used and directed for the national good. The KGB and its allies, under Silayev and Kryuchkov, set up a system in which loyal and trusted members of the Komsomol system and friendly businessmen could form their own banks – Russian banks. Men like Khodorkovsky, Aven, Fridman and others were chosen and set up in the money business. They used the banks to channel the returning Mafia money into long-term businesses. With few exceptions, those chosen for this were all Jews. When Western pioneers like Marc Rich, David Reuben, Gerry Lennard or Jerry Cligman agreed to work within this system by creating the ‘tolling business, they were given a kick start of roubles to help pay for the initial costs of the tolling system, They, too, were mainly Jews, albeit foreign Jews.

Marc Rich working with the Red Mafia, nice, no?  Some of the connections in the network of individuals would be gone into via my article looking at connections between then Sen. Obama and other folks in his inner circle of friends.  Here, as I am citing an article that is not for direct quotation and I am honoring that, which was looking into political corruption and banking, will be my own words summarizing that article starting with following up Nadhmi Auchi’s investment in the TotalFinaElf scandal:

He would go on to be convicted of the charges under TotalFinaElf and get 15 months suspended sentence for it. At the 10th International Anti-Corruption Conference Jean-Francois Medard presented a paper on the relationship between Elf, Angola and individuals at the head of the banking concerns involved, like Nadhmi Auchi (and for a not officially published work you can’t quote from, it is excellent). The resultant method used to ensure that funds, arms, oil and company assets would not be easily traced is what is termed ‘a nebula of networks’ and I commonly refer to as person-to-person trust-based networks. As many have heard about jobs ‘it is not what you know, but who you know’ the exact, same thing goes on for illegal transactions of arms, equipment and money laundering. It is a question of who you know and who they trust who can help lead to getting whatever needs to be done, accomplished. This includes not only the direct p2p network, but also trusted organizations and the individuals in them, so that things like Masonic Lodges (quite the societal networking group for European business and mafioso) in which the establishment, itself, represents a node on the p2p network.

It is this network that would include individuals like Pierre Falcone, Etienne Leandri, Charles Pasqua, Marc Rich, Bill & Hillary Clinton, Nadhmi Auchi and organizations like Elf, the corrupt Menatep Bank of Russia (used by the Abromovich organization) and the Bank of New York system compromised by the Berlin couple and Semion Mogilevich. By exchanging Angolan debt and cash from other parts of the system, the entire affair was able to arrange for arms to be shipped illegal to Jonas Savimbi in Angola. That entire deal, involving so many multiple level ‘cut-outs’ in the banking structure (between BNP and the corrupt BoNY system), off-shore banks and money transfers (mostly to paper front companies) plus the high level of individuals and organizations ensured that no one would be able to properly figure the whole thing out. Just to be sure, President Clinton pardoned Marc Rich due to his high level of involvement in that and with the Russian Mafia.

Yes, the individuals mentioned in the article and their connections link up to all of these… mostly they are directly cited.

Now, far be it from me to point out that by now we have Marc Rich involved with BCCI, Red Mafia, and as part of the larger network that then is put together because of the last one and corrupt individuals in multiple banking institutions in the US, Europe, Russia and the Middle East.  That network can also take the ‘one-hop’ method and use Rich’s connections in the Red Mafia to tie him right next to Monzer al-Kassar.  Small world, that one of black financing, guns, drugs, and death dealing.

Another look into the Red Mafia ties of Marc Rich is done by the Dirty Money Digest in 2007, and I cite that in my article looking at Currency and Corruption:

Galmond had ridden the laundering roundabout with his IPOC fund for a number of years, no doubt earning considerable fees in the process, before his scheme hit an obstacle. This was the Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman who decided to challenge his claim to ownership of a stake in a mobile phone company.

Fridman is the majority owner of a company called Alfa Group, which is today known as Altimo. Alfa owns stakes in VimpelCom, in a mobile phone operator in Ukraine and in Russia’s fixed line operator, Golden Telecom. Fridman made one early fortune by selling an interest in his oil business (originally acquired from US commodities trader, Marc Rich) to BP Amoco for $6.75 billion. He is no stranger to controversy. His company faces a lawsuit from the Canadian energy company called Norex, which alleges that Alfa issued invoices for fabricated services that were performed by offshore shell companies. Alfa has also been accused of bribing Ukrainian officials and is black-listed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Alfa Group is assisted by two controversial characters. The first is Pyotr Aven who has allegedly been engaged in various misdeeds, including drug trafficking. The other is Hans Bodmer who allegedly worked with Fridman and Aven to send instructions to IPOC to wire money through banks in New York. Bodmer recently pled guilty to the criminal conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to violate the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in connection with a scheme to bribe foreign leaders.

Fridman is ably abetted by Leonid Rozhetskin a former investment banker who managed the New York listing of mobile phone network operator VimpelCom, part of the Alfa stable of telecoms interests. Rozhetskin is also a colourful character. He is an American-educated lawyer, who appeared on the cover of the Russian edition of Forbes, under the headline ‘The Most Dangerous shark in our waters.’

Rozhetskin’s activities threw a spoke into Galmond’s wheel. According to a suit brought by IPOC vs Leonid Rozhetskin, Mikhail Fridman, Pyotr Aven, Alfa Group Consortium, Alfa Capital Markets Inc, Alfa Telecom (n/k/a Altimo) and Hans Bodmer in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, June 8 2006, Rozhetskin’s company LV Finance was touting around an option to buy a stake in a nascent Russian telecoms company called Sonic Duo. The funds were to be used as seed capital, and Galmond made an initial payment to LV of $15m in early 2001. He put further money into the business over the course of the year, bringing his investment to $40m. The result was the creation of a company called MegaFon which was formed by bringing together IPOC and a communications company called TeliaSonera, a merger of Finnish and Swedish interests.

What, you didn’t know that the Red Mafia had organizations that got into mobile phones, owning banks and doing corrupt dealing on a global basis?

Guess what?

Neither did Eric Holder.

At his post in the Justice Department, he would remain clueless about the Red Mafia, even when one of the toughest Moscow Bosses, by the name of Yponchik, came to the US to murder some folks while being based in the Russian emigre community in Brooklyn.  Eric Holder, apparently, couldn’t be too interested in the fraud and dirty dealings surrounding that entire escapade and would only have that driven home when the Berlin couple in the Bank of New York would be working illegal trades that would mask the movement of billions of dollars in the most complex network of transactions ever seen in the financial community.  As one FBI Agent in the late 1990’s said, ‘this is bigger than BCCI’.

Still is, actually, as no one has tried to puzzle out how one man can direct two hundred people to run 300 front companies, institutions and such in Nations with lax banking oversight.

Now we go to add in the next scandal under Eric Holder’s time in the Justice Dept. involving Marc Rich *before* the pardon.  This I go into exquisite detail in A taste of Oil For Food and its chefs.  In that I find the treasure trove of information on Mr. Rich from various sources including Kenneth R. Timmerman book The French Betrayal of America, published 2004 and here I quote from the book:

Marc Rich resurfaced in October in Paul Volcker’s investigation of the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program. The report said Rich & Co. covertly financed at least $932,630 in oil purchases from Saddam Hussein by using a front company, Masefield, of Zugin, Switzerland.

Reading the Volcker report leads to the conclusion that big payments were made to the son of a French member of parliament and an Indian Cabinet member, who created “shell companies” to enrich Saddam.

Now, if you remember correctly the main banks doing this were BNP and Paribas bank, under Nadhmi Auchi and Paul Desmarais, respectively, and they would merge into BNP-Paribas, with Auchi shifting his shares to his General Mediterranean Holdings and having the Desmarais and Frère families under their Pargesa Holding company pick up a controlling share (via their previous stake in Paribas).  Together this all winds up with Marc Rich working oil deals for Saddam in the old oil fields in which the Desmarais family has a stake to undermine US domestic oil companies by driving the price of oil low enough to force many of those domestic companies to either close up or sell of their exploration wings so as to survive.  That was testimony before the Senate in 1999 on the impact of OFF and Saddam’s dirty oil deals on the domestic industry, BTW.

Over at Kommersant they put together a lovely timeline of the Red Mafia stand-up and look at Marc Rich’s involvement in 1991:

The Swiss company Marc Rich organized tolling at the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Smelter (KrAZ). Oleg Deripaska, Mikhail Chornoi, and Yury Shlyafshtein would later be credited with inventing tolling, but in fact it was Marc Rich that brought it to Russia. The company left Russia within a year due to internal conflicts, making way for the AIOC company.

Then in 1994:

In June, Marc Rich & Co. AG, which had left the Russian aluminum business, changed owners and changed its name to Glencore International AG. Glencore gradually started returning to the Russian nonferrous metal market.

And in 1996:

Krazpa Metals NV, which was 50% owned by Glencore, was presented in London on March 28 as KrAZ’s marketing partner. Krazpa replaced AIOC, whose joint venture with KrAZ and Sibalko had collapsed at the end of the previous year after Feliks Lvov’s murder. TWG, Renova, RIAL, Trastkonsalt, and Glencore formed a “big five” of traders in the aluminum business.

Is this bringing back fond memories of the 1990’s for you, yet?

No?

Ok, how about Angolagate?  Remember that during the 1990’s?  You know, Fench government trading in Angolan debt for arms… that has to be the neatest thing, turning debt into something you normally pay for!  To get a taste of that I excerpted from an article by Francois Misser at African Business MAY 2001 at Findarticles:

Over the past few months, the French media has been smacking its lips over juicy revelations from what has been dubbed The Angolagate scandal – a series of complicated oil for arms deals. It is easy to understand the media interest. The cast of characters being sucked into the scandal is impressive enough – former US President Bill Clinton, his wife Hillary – now a New York senator, Mark Rich – on the wanted list in America before being pardoned by Bill Clinton, Francois Mitterrand’s son, Jean– Christophe -currently out bail, Angolan President Dos Santos, and the principal actor, the flamboyant Pierre Falcone currently serving a prison sentence in France.

[..]

The major headache for Luanda was that the Bicesse Peace Accord included a United Nations ban on arms sales to both sides. It was lifted in October 1992 by Russia, the United Kingdom and partially by United States – but France continued to prohibit the sale of arms to both sides in the civil war.

Enter the French-Brazilian entrepreneur extraordinary – Pierre Falcone and his partner, the Israeli-Russian businessman Arkadi Gaydamak. They came to make an offer which they knew Luanda could not refuse.

Between 1993 and 1997 they arranged the supply of Russian made weapons (including combat helicopters) by the Slovak ZTS– Osos company in an arms for oil deal worth an estimated $600m.

[..]

Angola was not ZTS-Osos’ only African client. Cameroonian officials confirmed French media reports in early 2001 that it had also imported weapons from the Slovak company in 1994, during a border conflict with Nigeria. But the same Cameroonian sources claim there was nothing illegal about the deal, also mediated by Pierre Falcone.

In Angola’s case, the situation was different. Falcone is a French citizen and his oil– backed operations aimed at facilitating the purchase of weapons for Angola were made with the financial support of the French bank, Paribas. For both these reasons, he should have asked for the French Defence and Foreign Affairs Ministries for permission before going ahead with the deals. That he did not is why the French ordered his arrest last December and held him at the La Sante prison in Paris

The French judiciary has other charges against the French-Brazilian jet-setter.

He was also involved at the time with the French government’s security equipment export company Sofremi, which was under the Former Minister of Interior, Charles Pasqua.

[..]

Angolagate has also spreads its tentacles across the Atlantic. In a report titled Crude Awakening, the British NGO Global Witness had asserted that “the financing of a $50m contract for the supply of East European weapons from the Czech Osos Praha Company and the Slovak joint stock company ZTS was arranged in 1993 by the Russian– Israeli businessman Arkadi Gaydamak and by his French-Brazilian partner Pierre Falcone, run through the Swiss oil-trading company Glencore founded by Marc Rich“. That was a year before Rich sold his shares in Glencore. At the time, neither Glencore nor Marc Rich denied the Global Witness report.

Gaydamak is currently on the run – the French having issued an international arrest warrant for him.

So far, neither Glencore or Marc Rich have been accused of violating Swiss or French laws, but the conclusion one may draw from the Global Witness report is that Marc Rich might have contributed to the Angolan government’s war effort. Should the US Justice Department find a connection between his ex-wife, singer Denise Rich, and her donation to Hillary Clinton’s New York senate campaign being linked to Bill Clinton’s decision to pardon Marc Rich over a purported $48m tax fraud, that would be more than embarrassing for the former First Lady.

The question is whether or not the former US President, who justified his decision to pardon Rich for his `positive role’ in the Middle East peace process, can seriously ignore Marc Rich’s role in Angolagate. After all, Bill Clinton, if he wanted to, could have easily accessed all intelligence reports about such an important and controversial player on the world’s oil scene.

Even assuming that Clinton did not know, it will be even harder to convince those black voters who supported Mrs Clinton in New York that she and her husband were ignorant of Marc Rich’s role as a top sanctions busters during the South Africa apartheid era. According to a book, Apartheid’s Oil Secrets Revealed, from the Dutch-based anti-apartheid group Shipping Research Bureau, which monitored violations of the 1979 UN oil embargo, the Swiss-based trader chartered 149 out of the total 865 tankers spotted by the SRB calling at South African ports between 1979 and1993.

Since oil was at the time the only strategic product which South Africa lacked, Rich can be considered as having been instrumental in supporting the apartheid state’s war machine – unleashed against those who opposed this system both inside the country and in the frontline states. The SRB book provides evidence that Rich, who is Jewish and holds an Israeli passport, managed to sell crude from the Arab states of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Brunei to South Africa, which had developed close military cooperation with Israel.

Rich also supplied crude from Nigeria, Gabon and the former Soviet Union, who were scrupulously supporting all antiapartheid resolutions at the UN. Rich, whose operations are afforded an entire chapter of the book, was from the mid 1980s South Africa’s main coal trader, finding alternative markets to those of France and Denmark in Spain, China, Chile, Portugal and Turkey.

Mrs Falcones’ Donations

The US Democratic party do not have a monopoly on receiving funding from dubious characters connected with Angola’s oil barons or the former apartheid regime. The Republicans came close to becoming a recipient when, last January, the Arizona Republic daily revealed that a Utah-based health company, Essante Corp, controlled by Falcone’s wife Sonia Montero, a former Bolivian beauty queen, contributed $100,000 in campaign money to a Republican Party committee just days after President Bush’s election victory. However, the money was returned by Republican officials who became concerned after reporters from Newsweek asked them what they knew of Falcone’s arms-dealing background.

Bush and the Republicans just managed to escape a scandal, but have failed to explain just why Mrs Falcone was quite so generous towards them. In fact, prior to this particular donation, US Federal Election Commission records show that Sonia had already contributed a modest $2,000 to the Arizona Republican Party and contributed the same amount to the Democratic National Committee in May 1999.

Ah, Bill and Hill and arms to Jonas Savimbi helped by Marc Rich… makes you pine for the good old days, doesn’t it?  Rich trading in Apartheid Oil and getting a wink and a nod from the Clintons as it goes to help the French… such sweet people, no wonder he was pardoned for his humanitarian efforts to support the Apartheid regime.  As Mr. Misser points out, it would be hard for Bill Clinton to NOT know what was going on with Marc Rich, even if Eric Holder was a complete dimwit and unable to read reports from his NY Bureau and others, plus contacts in INTERPOL.

And why he originally fled?  In Businessweek in 2005 we get this:

Traders soon learned the art of the Rich deal: Do whatever it takes. After Rich and Green left Phibro in 1973 to form their own company, they bought a house in the South of France and “stocked it with hookers from Paris and flew in oil guys who spent a week at their expense,” says a former U.S. oil executive who knows Rich. “They got the oil contracts they wanted.” A former Rich partner corroborates this. Green, who retired in 1992 after heart surgery, could not be reached for comment.

Rich is notorious for trading with Iran during the hostage crisis, South Africa during apartheid, and Cuba and Libya during U.S. trade embargoes. In 1983 he fled to Switzerland after being indicted by the Justice Dept. for racketeering, trading with the enemy (Iran), dodging a $48 million corporate tax bill, and other violations that could have resulted in 300 years of jail time. Rich’s companies pleaded guilty to some charges and paid about $200 million in fines, penalties, and taxes, but the case remained open until the pardon. “Rich’s philosophy is that no law applies to him,” says Morris “Sandy” Weinberg Jr., the former U.S. prosecutor who pursued and indicted Rich in 1983.

You know, maybe those Leftist are right and it IS all about oil… and the Democrats who look the other way while all these dealings go on.  But the big one comes further in the article, with this and the great connector of dots:

THE SADDAM CONNECTION
Some of the most compelling details to emerge from Oil-for-Food probes revolve around Rich himself. BusinessWeek has pieced together information suggesting that, despite his denials, Rich did buy Iraqi crude from several questionable companies during the program. His name appears in shipping records compiled by MEES. These show he bought from four separate companies, starting in February, 2001: Onako Oil Co., a subsidiary of Alfa Group, one of Russia’s largest conglomerates; an Egyptian company called International Company for Petroleum & Industrial Services (or INCOME, for short); and a Swiss company, Zerich, with ties to some extremist groups. The fourth, EOTC, remains a mystery. Hesham Sheta, vice-chairman of INCOME’s parent company in Cairo, Egypt, International Group for Investments, confirmed that “Marc Rich has been INCOME’s ‘agent’ [oil trader] since 1990″ and that Rich bought Iraqi crude from INCOME in 2001. Zerich has since been liquidated. Alfa denies paying surcharges.

Rich tells a different story. In March he acknowledged his company was on the U.N.’s list of “approved” crude buyers but insisted in written answers to House International Relations Committee questions that “nothing ever came of it.” A committee spokesman remarked at the time: “We believe [Rich] knows more than he wishes to acknowledge.” Marc Rich + Co.’s Frutig reiterated an earlier press statement: “Marc Rich Holdings reject all the allegations relating to its involvement in the U.N.’s Oil-for-Food program in Iraq.”

Even with the new information, it may be difficult for the authorities to prove that Rich did anything illegal. At the time, Saddam offered oil at cut-rate prices to his supporters, who would then sell it for a huge profit on the market. For two years leading up to September, 2002, the dictator demanded surcharges of up to 50 cents a barrel that he deposited in secret bank accounts, according to the CIA, the Volcker committee, and Senate documents.

[..]

Some Rich Boys were heavy hitters in Oil-for-Food. In February, 2001, for example, the U.N. Security Council reported that Glencore bought 1 million barrels of Iraqi crude destined for the U.S. The oil was diverted to Croatia, where it was sold for a $3 million premium, that went into a secret bank account. Glencore was caught by U.N. overseers, and later agreed to refund the money to the U.N. A Glencore spokeswoman says the oil was shipped to Croatia for storage and later shipment to the U.S. A CIA report alleges that Glencore paid more than $3.2 million in surcharges to Iraq, something it denies.

The numerous investigations into the U.N. program paint a complex picture of how Rich Boys allegedly work. In September, 2001, U.S. and U.N. authorities were tipped off by a Greek shipping captain, who feared his tanker chartered by Trafigura was involved in sanctions busting. Trafigura, run by former Rich traders Claude Dauphin and Eric de Turckheim, bought Iraqi oil from a Bermuda company called Ibex Energy, according to a U.N. report. Ibex was owned by another former Rich trader, Jean-Paul Cayré. SOCO’s Patrick Maugein, once a top Rich trader, was close to former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz. The CIA alleges Maugein received oil allocations that he sold through Trafigura. Maugein denies paying illegal surcharges. Maugein says he knows one of Trafigura’s founders. Investigators allege he had a contract with or a stake in Trafigura, something both the company and Maugein deny. Maugein and Trafigura also deny having commercial ties to Ibex.

Well of COURSE he is approved for OFF because two of the cronies of the regime, Auchi and Desmarais are backing the banks that Saddam APPROVED to work the money deals.  And considering that Paul Volcker worked for Desmarais before the OFF scandal, back in the 1970’s, I have some problems taking that investigation all too seriously as to its veracity and looking into details.  Even with what they *did* find, its damning.

Oh, yeah, Paul Volcker is on the Obama fast-track for some lovely position for the future Administration, no?

What a cozy circle of friends!

Eric Holder, Marc Rich, Nadhmi Auchi, Paul Volcker… too bad we can’t get any direct backing of Obama from Desmarais or we would have a closed loop on the deal.  As it is the corruption is already just neck deep by the time we get this far.

 

Now we switch to someone I haven’t taken much of a look at so far, and hope that others carry this ball as there is a lot of ball to carry, here.  This is, of course, Governor Rod Blagojevich’s scandal of trying to sell Obama’s Senate Seat, which looks like influence peddling, corruption and Pay-For-Plutocrats.  For this I will got to my article on Sen. Obama, It isn’t what you know but who you know, and John Batchelor on 03 MAR 2008 looking at the deal between Rezko, Auchi and Aiman Alsammarae who would wind up being convicted in Iraq of various forms of embezzlement on a power plant deal that Auchi was funding, and then Alsammarae was busted out of Iraqi prison and fled back to Chicago.  This would cover the time in Sen. Obama’s career when he ‘flipped’ from being anti-Iraq War to for it, before flipping back again when Alsammarae fled the scene:

In addition, in April 2005, one month before Mr. Alsammarae left his post, his Ministry of Electricity signed a contract for $50 million with Companion Security to provide training to Iraqis to guard electrical plants by flying them to Illinois for classes.

Companion Security was headed by a former Chicago policeman with a troubled history, Daniel T. Frawley, in partnership with Mr. Rezko and in association with Daniel Mahru, the lawyer for the original contract and Mr. Rezko’s former business partner. In April 2006, Mr. Frawley entered negotiations with Governor Rod Blagojevich’s staff to lease a military facility in Illinois to be a training camp. In August 2006, Mr. Frawley started negotiations with Mr. Obama’s U.S. Senate staff to complete the contract.

The discussions with Mr. Obama’s staff continued over many months, including e-mails and conferences with an Obama staffer, Seamus Ahern. Questions raised by this contact go to the issue of whether or not Mr. Obama ever favored Mr. Rezko’s commercial ties. Mr. Obama has said often that he performed no favors for Mr. Rezko.

The timeline of Companion discussions in 2006 is important to note: April 2006 Frawley speaks to governor’s office; August 2006 Frawley speaks to senator’s office; October 2006 indictment of Rezko revealed; October 2006 Rezko arrested upon return from Syria; October 2006 Alsammarae convicted in Baghdad and makes his first escape attempt; December 2006 Alsammarae escapes form Baghdad.

Did Mr. Obama’s staff and Governor Blagojevich’s staff not know how these events related to their discussions with Mr. Frawley? Importantly both Governor Blagojevich’s office and Mr. Obama’s office later explained they did not know of the link between Mr. Frawley and Mr. Rezko. Senate staffs are expected to perform due diligence on inquiries, such as is this matter about campaign contributions or unsavory activity. What was the nature of Mr Obama’s staff’s inquiry into the Ilinois resident Mr. Frawley’s ability to secure a contract with the CPA’s Ministry of Electricity in Bagdad from April, 2005?

What a list of names I had to go through for THAT article!  Still, following along in the original by Mr. Batchelor, we get to this lovely bit:

Oddly, after Mr. Alsammarae left his ministry post in 2005, he was reported that summer to be forming a Sunni political organization with participation by insurgents, some of whom threatened in public declarations to murder him. An intelligence analyst with knowledge of Syria commented that this episode may illustrate Mr. Alsammarae’s then-strong, active links to the Baathist elite in exile in Syria, who have been a major source of money and operations to the Iraqi insurgency these last years; and that Mr. Alsammarae’s freelancing rankled the so-called foreign elements in the insurgency.

The strangest of all events was not Mr. Alsammarae’s arrest for theft in August 2006, nor his conviction in a Baghdad court in October 2006, but rather the two jailbreaks in October and December 2006. In the first instance, private armed men he may have hired took him from his jail cell in the Green Zone soon after his conviction in court. A report indicates that he was stopped at the Bagdad Airport carrying a Chinese passport. American officials later returned Mr. Alsammarae to Iraqi custody. At least one American with the International Police Liaison Officer program lost his job because of this first jailbreak.

This is about the time that Mr. Alsammarae’s family in the United States sought help; there is a report that Mr. Alsammarae’s daughter appealed directly to the office of U.S. Senator Barack Obama.

Are you getting the idea that Sen. Obama isn’t being totally above-board with his dealings here?  That the work between Ahern, Frawley, Rezko, Obama and Blagojevich are not being transparent in the use of public funds?  And just how could neither Blago or Obama know what their staffers were doing in their names, or own up to the works being DONE in their names?

Look, for those on the Left, if you hated President Reagan’s entourage doing ‘plausible deniability’, as I did on the good old premise of the ‘Buck Stops Here’, then trying to cover up the exact, same thing with Barack Obama makes YOU out to be no better than the people you criticized.  That is not ‘hope & change’ but acting in the exact, same, dirty manner and then trying to excuse it because your motives are so much more lofty than those you criticized.  You are saying that the ENDS justify the MEANS and the MEANS STINK.

The Chicago Business News would put out an article in 2005 which I cite in my article Obama and Iraq, looking at the Blago-Rezko connection:

Rezmar Corp., a real estate development company controlled by Tony Rezko, a controversial confidant of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, entered into a joint venture with a British firm in a $150-million deal to build a power plant in Iraq.

The contract, signed with Iraq’s ministry of electricity, calls for the soon-to-be named joint venture to supply power to Iraq for 10 years, according to a spokesman for Chicago-based Rezmar.

The Rezmar joint venture will be based in Jordan. Construction is slated to begin this fall.

[..]

The project will be managed by one of Gov. Blagojevich’s previous top administration officials, Michael Rumman, former director of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services, the state’s internal operations real estate agency. Mr. Rumman, the former president of Peoples Energy Services, has been hired as a consultant.

He announced his resignation in April after a draft audit of CMS found problems at the agency.

Mr. Rumman, who speaks Arabic, says the project is slated to be built in northern Iraq.

This cements the earlier citation of Mr. Batchelor and further puts down the markers that this was a known project that needed work between Obama and Blagojevich.  Further along in the article:

Messrs. Rezko and Auchi were introduced several years ago by a mutual acquaintance in London. They teamed up recently on a $150 million contract to build a power plant in Iraq.

Mr. Rezko, a close confidante and fundraiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich, arranged for Mr. Auchi to meet the Governor and State Senate President Emil Jones on a visit to the U.S. last year.

A spokeswoman for General Mediterranean said Mr. Auchi was unavailable for comment. Joseph Ryan, a local attorney representing the company, would only discuss the Riverside Park project.

[..]

The odds that Mr. Rezko’s partnership would be able to pull off the project fell this year, when city officials determined that he set up a minority front to obtain a concession for two Panda Express restaurants at O’Hare International Airport. The Daley Administration would have had difficulty explaining $140 million in tax increment financing (TIF)—the most ever requested by a developer in Chicago—to someone who skirted city rules, especially with corruption allegations sweeping through City Hall.

Real estate experts also questioned whether Mr. Rezko and his partner, Daniel Mahru, had the experience to pull of such a massive project. The developers paid about $70 million for the site in 2002.

From here I trip backwards in time in my article to look at how Blagojevich and Obama got their starts in Illinois politics, and cite James L. Merriner of Chicagomag in a 2007 article, and do note that Daniel Mahru has some real problems with Rezko here, but his other views are worth noting:

Daniel Mahru was Rezko’s partner in Rezmar for 16 years until the two men had, according to Mahru, “a difference of opinion” in 2005. He says they developed more than $600 million in properties, not counting a billion-dollar deal for 62 acres in the South Loop that has been stalled for years. By Mahru’s account, Rezko initially showed little interest in the trappings of power. “Back in the eighties, Tony had an opportunity to go to the White House with Muhammad Ali,” Mahru says. (The occasion was a dinner during the December 1987 summit of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader; Ali had been invited as a guest.) “I commented to Tony, ‘Wow, that is something I would love to do, see history in the making!’ He said, ‘Dan, that doesn’t make me any money. I’m not interested.’

“That changed. I think everything went to his head. After the late nineties he was more interested in being around powerful people. He went to a Christmas party at the Bush White House.” Rezko cochaired a major fundraiser for President Bush’s campaign in 2003.

Rezko declined to comment about Mahru, likening their breakup to a divorce. “You would hear my story; you would hear his story. I wish him no harm.”

If hanging around the likes of Blagojevich and Obama went to Rezko’s head, as Mahru suggests, one reason might be that Rezko had befriended them before they became famous, forming bonds of loyalty from the start. The BGA’s Stewart says, “I would give the guy credit for being shrewd. He would identify young up-and-comers early. Fine, Obama, he’s the editor of the Harvard Law Review, but in Chicago politics, big deal, so what. But [Rezko] approached Obama. Rod Blagojevich, he’s an unimportant state legislator. What distinguishes Rezko—he didn’t just give money to established figures.”

Rezko read a newspaper article about Obama’s Law Review election and had a colleague get in touch; in 1990 Rezko offered Obama a job at Rezmar before he had graduated from Harvard Law School. Obama declined, joining a Chicago law firm instead. There he did what he has described as a minimal amount of legal work for Rezmar. Chicago Tribune reporter David Mendell, author of the recently published Obama: From Promise to Power, says, “Rezko threw an early fundraiser for Obama at his North Shore house, and that fundraiser was instrumental in providing Obama with seed money” for his U.S. Senate race in 2004.

In our conversation, Rezko was reluctant to discuss his association with Obama, except to stress that he has had no formal role in Obama’s campaigns. He would not comment on Obama’s real-estate deals.

Rezko met Blagojevich in 1995, when the future governor was a state representative from the Northwest Side. Rezko helped to finance Blagojevich’s runs for office, in 1996 for Congress and in 2002 for governor. The Chicago Sun-Times has reported that Rezko and his family, businesses, and business associates have contributed more than $675,000 to 15 prominent Illinois politicians since 1989. That sum includes $117,652 for Blagojevich.

Rezko approaches Obama in 1990, and backs Blagojevich in 1995.  These are not short-term dealings, and Rezko would shift Resmar’s work to the law offices that Obama worked in so that Obama would have some standing as a young lawyer fresh out of Harvard.

Little known about Rezko is that he served on the Muhammad Ali Foundation under Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad, with the Foundation then being sued by Muhammad Ali for unauthorized use of his name in 1999 (Source: FrontPageMag article by Andrew Walden, 11 MAR 2008).  Now if a man is involved in using a famous boxer’s good name for ill ends, is it any wonder how he would approach things going on in Iraq, as seen further along in John Batchelor’s article:

A mysterious fugitive from Iraqi justice named Aiham Alsammarae, who is also a Chicago resident, is the focus of a politically fraught episode in the association between accused political fixer Antoin “Tony” Rezko, who goes on federal trial today in Chicago for graft, and Senator Barack Obama, the most spectacular Illinois presidential candidate in half a century.

We want him back to serve his sentence of fourteen years,” said an Iraqi government official in Baghdad last week. “He stole $650 million from the people of Iraq, and from the people of the United States, and he was tried and convicted in an Iraqi court in October 2006 for his crimes. We have a four-inch-thick file of his crimes. He plundered the Ministry of Electricity. Dates, bank accounts, dummy companies, a lot of them in the States. We want him, and we want the money back.”

When asked why an American citizen with a dual Iraqi citizenship, who had served as the Iraqi Minister of Electricity from 2003 to 2005, after being convicted in an Iraqi court was living openly in Chicago in 2008 rather than in Abu Ghraib, the official said, “That’s what we want to know. Armed men broke him out of jail in the Green Zone. He escaped without his U.S. passport to Amman, Jordan, where he hid in the U.S. Embassy, and then to Turkey, where he called us up and bragged he had pizza and a cold beer in his hotel room. We’ve asked the FBI to help us. They sent us to Interpol. We filed a report. And nothing. It’s been a year. We want him back.”

Yes, you are reading that correctly: the US under President Bush is harboring a fugitive from justice in Iraq that has been working with Barack Obama, Tony Rezko, Nadhmi Auchi and Rod Blagojevich.

To anyone who wanders by wondering why I’m hitting President Bush:  I am non-partisan, I support my nation not any damned political party.

And both parties stink to high heaven at this point.

Mr. Batchelor has a very strong stomach to look at this next part of the Alsammarae-Auchi-Rezko-Blagojevich-Obama connection group:

Two months later it was reported in Chicago that as early as 2004, while Mr. Alsammarae was a minister with authority to approve contracts, he had joined with Mr. Rezko and the London-based General Mediterranean Holdings, headed by the billionaire British investor Nadhmi Auchi, in a contract to construct a 250-megawatt plant in the Kurdistani city of Chamchamal.

A member of the development team at Mr. Rezko’s Chicago-based company Rezmar said in 2005 that Mr. Rezko possessed a “formidable overseas network of business relationships” that permitted Rezmar to join together up to 30 companies in order to begin the plant’s construction as early as January 2006.

In addition, in April 2005, one month before Mr. Alsammarae left his post, his Ministry of Electricity signed a contract for $50 million with Companion Security to provide training to Iraqis to guard electrical plants by flying them to Illinois for classes.

Companion Security was headed by a former Chicago policeman with a troubled history, Daniel T. Frawley, in partnership with Mr. Rezko and in association with Daniel Mahru, the lawyer for the original contract and Mr. Rezko’s former business partner. In April 2006, Mr. Frawley entered negotiations with Governor Rod Blagojevich’s staff to lease a military facility in Illinois to be a training camp. In August 2006, Mr. Frawley started negotiations with Mr. Obama’s U.S. Senate staff to complete the contract.

The discussions with Mr. Obama’s staff continued over many months, including e-mails and conferences with an Obama staffer, Seamus Ahern. Questions raised by this contact go to the issue of whether or not Mr. Obama ever favored Mr. Rezko’s commercial ties. Mr. Obama has said often that he performed no favors for Mr. Rezko.

The timeline of Companion discussions in 2006 is important to note: April 2006 Frawley speaks to governor’s office; August 2006 Frawley speaks to senator’s office; October 2006 indictment of Rezko revealed; October 2006 Rezko arrested upon return from Syria; October 2006 Alsammarae convicted in Baghdad and makes his first escape attempt; December 2006 Alsammarae escapes form Baghdad.

[..]

Oddly, after Mr. Alsammarae left his ministry post in 2005, he was reported that summer to be forming a Sunni political organization with participation by insurgents, some of whom threatened in public declarations to murder him. An intelligence analyst with knowledge of Syria commented that this episode may illustrate Mr. Alsammarae’s then-strong, active links to the Baathist elite in exile in Syria, who have been a major source of money and operations to the Iraqi insurgency these last years; and that Mr. Alsammarae’s freelancing rankled the so-called foreign elements in the insurgency.

The strangest of all events was not Mr. Alsammarae’s arrest for theft in August 2006, nor his conviction in a Baghdad court in October 2006, but rather the two jailbreaks in October and December 2006. In the first instance, private armed men he may have hired took him from his jail cell in the Green Zone soon after his conviction in court. A report indicates that he was stopped at the Bagdad Airport carrying a Chinese passport. American officials later returned Mr. Alsammarae to Iraqi custody. At least one American with the International Police Liaison Officer program lost his job because of this first jailbreak.

This is about the time that Mr. Alsammarae’s family in the United States sought help; there is a report that Mr. Alsammarae’s daughter appealed directly to the office of U.S. Senator Barack Obama.

So let me get this straight: Alsammarae is tapped for the CPA, leaves that, heads up contracts which he embezzles money from with the help of Auchi and Rezko, seeks help from Blagojevich and Obama for other work which includes security training for un-named Iraqis when he is forming a political opposition group supporting the Sunni Insurgency in Iraq?  Gotta love Chicago politics, no?  He continues on with this:

The second man with much to lose regarding what Mr. Alsammarae knows is the mysterious and genuinely powerful Nahdmi Auchi of London, a British citizen who, born in Iraq in 1937, has been for decades closely linked with the Baathists. In 2005, Mr. Auchi was reported to have involved his company in the Chamchamal electrical generating plant deal that was used as a major ploy for the plundering of the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity. As recently as this month, Mr. Auchi’s representative denied that Mr. Auchi’s company, General Mediterranean Holding, invested in the Rezko-Alsammarae deal for Chamchamal in 2004-2005, a denial that does not explain the well-sourced 2005 published reports of the linkage.

Iraqi government officials in Baghdad speak bluntly of Mr. Auchi as a “Saddam guy,” and as a member of the Baathist gang who have beggared Iraq for 50 years, a gang that now, exiled to Damascus, Syria, and headed by men wanted for war crimes in Iraq, aims to continue plundering Iraq by using their stolen fortune to corrupt other regions and perhaps some day to return to Baghdad.

A stunning 2004 Pentagon report obtained by Bill Gertz of the Washington Times has identified Mr. Auchi not only as a man who, before the fall of Saddam, had managed to “arrange for significant theft from the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program. . . .”, who not only had, before the fall of Saddam, sought to “bribe foreign governments and individuals before Operation Iraqi Freedom to turn opinion against the American-led mission to remove Saddam Hussein,” but also since the fall of Saddam had engaged in a “conspiracy” over cell phone contracts under the CPA by “unlawful activities working closely with Iraqi intelligence operatives.”

What is most striking about this Pentagon report is that it is from the year 2004, when Mr. Auchi traveled by private aircraft to Midway Airport in Chicago and then to a fete at the Four Season Hotel, where he met with his business partner in Chicago real estate, Mr. Rezko, as well as with Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Also present that night, according to a fresh report by James Bone and Dominic Kennedy of the London Times, was State Senator Barack Obama, who had recently won the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat that next fall. Bone and Kennedy report that Mr. Auchi and Mr. Obama shook hands. Mr. Obama’s aide does not now recall the handshake but does agree that Mr. Obama was present in the hotel that evening.

It may be significant that in a snapshot from the April hotel meeting that shows Governor Blagojevich making remarks to a dinner table beside a smiling Mr. Auchi, there is a third well-dressed man in the photograph, mustachioed, jovial, receding hairline, who greatly resembles other photographs from November 2004 of Iraqi CPA Minister of Electricity Aiham Alsammarae.

Mr. Alsammarae may or may not have been in the room that night. Pictures are useful indicators but his presence is not confirmed. However, he is certainly now accused and convicted of having been in a conspiracy in Iraq with two other men in that room: Tony Rezko, who is regarded by some intelligence analysts as a money-handler for unsavory agents in his native Damascus, and Nadhmi Auchi, who is regarded by Pentagon analysts as a money-handler for Baathist-linked agents in the Middle East.

Here we have Governor Blagojevich meeting with Auchi during that same trip he met with Sen. Barack Obama, Blagojevich is at the same table with Auchi and Alsammarae?  And both these guys fingered as pro-Baathist later in the insurgency phase in Iraq?  Why yes they could!

That slips us back to my Oil For Food article and John Fund’s article on 03 MAR 2008, looking at Chicago Mores at the WSJ which starts out with Obama and Rezko’s land deal but then comes to the Blagojevich part as the connections unfold:

Mr. Auchi was also a top official in the Iraqi oil ministry in the 1970s. He has for years vigorously denied charges he had dealings with Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf War. However, an official report to the Pentagon inspector general in 2004 obtained by the Washington Times cited “significant and credible evidence” of involvement by Mr. Auchi’s companies in the Oil for Food scandal and illicit smuggling of weapons to the Hussein regime.

In 2003, Mr. Auchi began investing in Chicago real estate with Mr. Rezko. In April 2007, after his indictment, Mr. Auchi loaned another $3.5 million to Mr. Rezko, a loan that Mr. Rezko hid from U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s office. When Mr. Fitzgerald learned that the money was being parceled out to Mr. Rezko’s lawyers, family and friends, he got Mr. Rezko’s bond revoked in January and had him put in jail as a potential flight risk.

In court papers, the prosecutor noted that Mr. Rezko had traveled 26 times to the Middle East between 2002 and 2006, mostly to his native Syria and other countries that lack extradition treaties with the U.S. Curiously, Mr. Auchi has also lent an unknown sum of money to Chris Kelly, who, like Mr. Rezko, was a significant fund-raiser for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (himself under investigation by a federal grand jury as an alleged beneficiary of the Rezko shakedowns). Mr. Kelly is himself under indictment for obstructing an IRS probe into his activities.

That’s right, one of the prime fundraisers for Gov. Blagojevich received an ‘unknown sum’ , and Chris Kelly, the man who received that money, is under IRS investigation.  He was indicted on 13 DEC 2007 for tax fraud charges, according to The Capitol Fax Blog and was later named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Rezko case (Source: Chicago Sun Times blog by Natasha Koreckion, 14 APR 2008).

Pretty bad, huh?

Like I said, I didn’t have to search far to find this stuff as I had already put most of it up and linked to other articles having it.  It

Atsargiai, TEO apgaudinėja klientus

Likus porai savaičių iki TEO sutarties pabaigos, pradėjo nebeveikti TEO internetas. Po ilgų bandymų sutvarkyti per telefoną, pavyko pasikviesti meistrą į namus, kuris pasakė, kad “nusilpo modemas”, bei kad reikia pasirašyti naują sutartį (nors kaip gali nusilpti modemas, neturinti judančių dalių – mistika) ir tokiu atveju gausime naują modemą. Pasirodo, seni planai neveikia su mistiniais naujais modemais. Pasirašytoje sutartyje nurodyta, kad naują planą pajungs lapkričio penktą dieną.

Lapkričio penktą internetas neveikė. Galybė skambučių, tame tarpe ir į po du litus apmokamą konfiguravimo pagalbos numerį 1815, nepavyko pajungti. Per tą laiką priskambinau TEO apie 50 Lt. Galiausiai atvykę meistrai pasakė “ką jūs čia bandote išgaminti – Jums gi pajungs tik po poros savačių”.
Užregistravau jau n-tąją pretenziją raštu, į kurią taip niekas ir nesiteikė atsakyti.

Galiausiai, gavęs sąskaitą dar papildomai pamačiau 100 Lt “plano keitimo mokestį” (nors pasirašiau naują sutartį).
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Gyvenu bendrabutyje ir ten veikia viešasis “Zebra” belaidis internetas. Kai atsikrausčiau į bendrabutį (šiais metais rugpjūčio 30 d.) iki mano kambario nedatraukdavo “Zebra”. Skambinau 1817 ir man pasakė, kad eičiau ieškot ryšio kitoj vietoj. Kam man jo reik kažkur koridoriuje, jei aš noriu naršyt savo kambaryje.

Rugsėjo pabaigoje su kambariokais nuėjome į TEO atstovybę ir ten mums pasakė, kad stiprins signalą, kad ryšys būtų ir mūsų kambaryje. Tai labai ilgau užtruko, apie 3 savaites derėjosi su kolegijos direktoriumi (bendrabutis priklauso kolegijai), paskui užsisakė įrangą kurią siuntė irgi apie 3 savaites. Dar savaite, matyt, vyko pasiruošimas darbui. Na, o paskui išvis graudu buvo. Atėjo meistras, pradėjo gręžt sienas barake, jau apsidžiaugėm, kad tuoj bus internetas. Bet jo nebuvo, apie 3 val. pagrežęs meistras išėjo. Darbą tęsti atėjo po savaitės, padirbo valandą ir vėl išėjo, tas pats buvo kitą dieną ir dar kitą. Galiausiai įmontavo įrangą. Atvariau į bendrabutį, galvoju reik prisijungt prie interneto, bet to neišėjo padaryt, ryšys buvo, bet “Zebros” prisijungimo tinklapio neišmesdavo ir prisijungt neišėjo. Na vėlai vakare visgi išėjo prisijungt, interneto greitis buvo tragiškas, bet prie to jau pripratau. Prisijungt buvo sudėtinga ir jei prisijungdavau stengdavausi neatsijungt. Paskui ta problema dingo, aišku tragiškas greitis liko. Internetas normaliai veikė gal kelias dienas, paskui atsirado naujos problemos. Internetas pradėjo trūkinėt, atsijunginėt, o dabar išvis neįmanoma naudotis, veikia pora minučių ir atsijungia, o vėl prisijungt nelabai išeina, galima sakyt, kad interneto visai nėra. Skambinau į TEO jau ne kartą. Šiandien atėjo kažkoks meistrelis su laptopu, kažką žiūrėjo pasidėjęs jį ant palangės, bet aš neturėjau laiko su juo šnekėt.

Tokia problema yra ne vien mano kambaryje. “Zebra” mane labai nuvylė. Už tokį internetą tikrai nevertą 50 Lt mokėt, nes jis išsijungia kada nori ir jis lėtas. Jeigu žadat spartų ir patikimą belaidį internetą tai ir padarykit jį tokiu.

www.skundai.lt

Interaktyviosios GALOS nepataisomi gedimai

Labai gailiuosi, kad įsivedžiau šią televiziją. Nematau jau beveik visą savaitę pagrindinių lietuviškų kanalų. Gyvenu Ventoje. Ir gedimai yra visiems turintems šią paslaugą Ventoje. Gedimų pašalinti matyt nepavyksta. Patarkit, ką daryti? Jei jau nutariau naudotis šia paslauga, tai ir norėčiau ją ištikrųjų naudotis. Gedimas yra užregistruotas. Skambinta kelis kartus, bet, dėja, naudos jokios. el.paštas: gediminas.puidokas @ gmail.com

www.skundai.lt

Telias failed calling plans for Swedish iPhone users

When the iPhone was released in several European countries in July 11, 2008, the only carrier offering it in Sweden was Telia.

Telia is the formerly state-owned company “Televerket” which had monopoly on telecommunications.

Since Telia, given it’s history, is old, big, slow-moving and in my opinion out of touch with users, it’s usually not the carrier of choice for young people or early adopters, which most iPhone users are.

With the iPhone Telia were given a great chance to conquer new markets and gain the loyalty of a new generation of users. They blew it completely, and here’s how.

They offered the iPhone with three very ill-thought out plans called iMini, iMidi and iMaxi, each with an 18 or 24 month commitment. Each plan included an equal number of text messages, minutes and megabytes of data traffic. 100 for iMini, 250 for iMidi and 500 for iMaxi.

These plans assume that all customers use their iPhone in the same manor, just in different (round) amounts.

No plan for those who surf more and call less.
No plan for those who call more and surf less.
And most important of all – no plan for those who surf a lot! Not even the most expensive plan which costs €2400 over the two-year commitment includes flat rate data traffic.

What should Telia have done then?

Simple. To get a basic idea of what the users wanted would have gone a long way. Ten prospective users interviewed for fifteen minutes each, would have made a world of difference.
And if that was too much trouble, an hour of reading internet discussion billboards, would have yielded almost as much intel.
What people wanted and expected from their iPhones was and is all over the internet.

They should have offered plans to cater to the users’ different needs. My suggestion would have been:

  • Lots of calling and text messaging and little surfing.
  • Little calling and text messaging and lots of surfing.
  • Heavy using. Plenty of calling and text messaging and unlimited surfing.

In all fairness to Telia I will give them credit for making their three iPhone plans simple and easy to understand.

Telia could have branded themselves as the company that helped bring Sweden the iPhone. Now they’re more known as the incompetent carrier that iPhone users were forced to commit to, and will abandon the second the commitment is over.

sauceofinformation.wordpress.com