freemason hacking and Rupert Murdoch’s News International

July 23, 2011

Years ago, Jonathan Rees became a freemason. According to journalists and investigators who worked with him, he then exploited his link with the lodges to meet masonic police officers who illegally sold him information which he peddled to Fleet Street.

As one of Britain’s most prolific merchants of secrets, Rees expanded his network of sources by recruiting as his business partner Sid Fillery, a detective sergeant from the Metropolitan Police. Fillery added more officers to their network. Rees also boasted of recruiting corrupt Customs officers, a corrupt VAT inspector and two corrupt bank employees.

Other police contacts are said to have been blackmailed into providing confidential information. One of Rees’s former associates claims that Rees had compromising photographs of serving officers, including one who was caught in a drunken state with a couple of prostitutes and with a toilet seat around his neck.

It is this network of corruption which lies at the heart of yesterday’s claim in the House of Commons by Labour MP Tom Watson that Rees was targeting politicians, members of the royal family and even terrorist informers on behalf of Rupert Murdoch’s News International. The Guardian’s own inquiries suggest that Watson knows what he is talking about.

Much of what the police sources were able to sell to Rees was directly related to crime. But Rees also bought and sold confidential data on anybody who was of interest to his Fleet Street clients, to which the police often had special access. The Guardian has confirmed that Rees reinforced his official contacts with two specialist ‘blaggers’ who would telephone the Inland Revenue, the DVLA, banks and phone companies and trick them into handing over private data.

One of the blaggers who regularly worked for him, John Gunning, was responsible for obtaining details of bank accounts belonging to Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex, which were then sold to the Sunday Mirror. Gunning was later convicted of illegally obtaining confidential data from British Telecom. Rees also obtained details of accounts at Coutts Bank belonging to the Duke and Duchess of Kent. The bank accounts of Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, are also thought to have been compromised.

Confidential data

The Guardian has been told that Rees spoke openly about obtaining confidential data belonging to senior politicians and recorded their names in his paperwork. One source close to Rees claims that apart from Tony Blair, Jack Straw, Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell, he also targeted Gaynor Regan, who became the second wife of the former foreign secretary Robin Cook; the former shadow home secretary Sir Gerald Kaufman; and the former Tory cabinet minister David Mellor.

It is not yet known precisely what Rees was doing to obtain information on these political targets, although in the case of Mandelson it appears that Rees acquired confidential details of two bank accounts he held at Coutts, and his building society account at Britannia. Rees is also said to have targeted the bank accounts of members of Mandelson’s family.

An investigator who worked for Rees claims he was also occasionally commissioning burglaries of public figures to steal material for newspapers. Southern Investigations has previously been implicated in handling paperwork that was stolen by a professional burglar from the safe of Paddy Ashdown’s lawyer, when Ashdown was leader of the Liberal Democrats. The paperwork, which was eventually obtained by the News of the World, recorded Ashdown discussing his fears that newspapers might expose an affair with his secretary.

Computer hacking

The successful hacking of a computer belonging to the former British intelligence officer Ian Hurst was achieved in July 2006 by sending Hurst an email containing a Trojan programme which copied Hurst’s emails and relayed them back to the hacker. This included messages he had exchanged with at least two agents who informed on the Provisional IRA — Freddie Scappaticci, codenamed Stakeknife; and a second informant known as Kevin Fulton. Both men were regarded as high-risk targets for assassination. Hurst was one of the very few people who knew their whereabouts. The hacker cannot be named for legal reasons.

There would be further security concern if evidence finally confirms strong claims by those close to Rees that he claimed to have targeted the then Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir John [now Lord] Stevens, who would have had regular access to highly sensitive intelligence. Sir John’s successor, Sir Ian Blair, is believed to have been targeted by the News of the World’s full-time investigator, Glenn Mulcaire. Assistant commissioner John Yates was targeted by Rees when Yates was running inquiries into police corruption in the late 1990s. It appears that Yates did not realise that he himself had been a target when he was responsible for the policing of the phone-hacking affair between July 2009 and January 2011.

Targeting the Bank of England, Rees is believed to have earned thousands of pounds by penetrating the past or present mortgage accounts of the then governor, Eddie George; his deputy, Mervyn King, who is now governor; and half-a-dozen other members of the Monetary Policy Committee.

Rees carried out his trade for years. His career as a pedlar of privacy stretches back into the 1990s, when he worked assiduously for the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the News of the World.

Rees and Fillery had three key media contacts, some of whose conversations with them were recorded by a police bug in their south London office: Doug Kempster from the Sunday Mirror, who was recorded suggesting that “Asians look better dead”; Gary Jones from the Daily Mirror, who was recorded as Rees told him that some of what he was doing for the Mirror was illegal; and Alex Marunchak, the executive editor of the News of the World.

This lucrative career was crudely interrupted in September 1999 when Rees was arrested and then jailed for plotting to plant cocaine on a woman so that her ex-husband would get custody of her children. Sid Fillery similarly ran into trouble with the long of the arm of the law which he was so keen to twist. He was arrested, convicted for possession of indecent images of children and retreated to Norfolk to run a pub. Rees, however, emerged from prison in May 2004 and proceeded to carry on trading, this time exclusively for the News of the World, then being edited by Andy Coulson, who went on to become David Cameron’s media adviser.

The scale and seriousness of Rees’s activities have worrying implications for Operation Weeting, the Scotland Yard inquiry which finally — unlike its two predecessors — is making a robust attempt to get to the truth of the scandal. Weeting has been told to focus on one private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire; on one illegal technique, phone-hacking; which he deployed for the one newspaper which paid him on a full-time contract, the News of the World. That alone is consuming the full-time efforts of 45 officers.

The truth is that Mulcaire was only one of a dozen different investigators, many of whom used other illegal techniques. And the News of the World, as journalists all over Fleet Street know, was not the only enthusiastic employer of these dark arts. Mulcaire and his phone-hacking became the single focus through the simple fluke that he was clumsy enough to get caught interfering with the voicemail of the royal household — the one target which would finally move the police into taking on a Fleet Street paper. The police famously failed to look beyond him, and it is only now that the rest of the truth is beginning to emerge.

With the new disclosures of Rees’s operation there will be pressure on Weeting to expand its inquiry, which would involve recruiting still more officers. And, in the background, there is a small queue of other investigators waiting to have their names — along with their Fleet Street clients — added to Weeting’s list of suspects. High among them will be a former Metropolitan police detective who was accused of corruption in the early 1980s and forced out of his job after a disciplinary hearing.

Senior Yard sources say this detective then came up with a novel form of revenge. He acquired a press card and proceeded to act as a link between Fleet Street crime correspondents and the network of corrupt detectives he knew so well.

Former crime reporters from several national newspapers have told the Guardian that they used this detective to carry cash bribes — thousands of pounds in brown envelopes — to serving officers. Scotland Yard for years has been aware of his activity and has attempted but failed to catch him and stop him.

The crime reporters say that one reason for the Yard’s failure is that, when the Yard tried to stop the corruption, serving officers tipped them off so they could evade detection.

And there is more. The Guardian has identified a total of eleven specialist ‘blaggers’ who were paid by wealthy clients, including Fleet Street newspapers, to steal medical records, bank statements, itemised phone bills, tax files and anything else that was both confidential and newsworthy.

• This article was amended on 9 June 2011. The original referred to the then Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir John Stephens. This has been corrected. © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011

conquer your fear

October 25, 2009


Mahatma Gandhi said: ‘The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear.’

Slay this enemy.


June 29, 2009

One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. “Which road do I take?” she asked. “Where do you want to go?” was his response. “I don’t know,” Alice answered. “Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.” -Lewis Carroll

Either you’re an agent of change, or you’re destined to become a victim of change. You simply can’t survive over the long term if you insist on standing still.-Norm Brodsky, entrepreneur, “Street Smarts,” INC, February 2002, 44.

We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.-John W. Gardner

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. -George Bernard Shaw

You can analyze the past, but you need to design the future. That is the difference between suffering the future and enjoying it.-Edward de Bono

If you don’t have a hook in the water, you’re not fishing.-Old fishing saying, John McPhee, Founding Fish

Somebody has to do something, and it’s just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.-Jerry Garcia

John Stockwell

June 20, 2009


I have been reading two books by John Stockwell: In Search of Enemies (1978) and The Praetorian Guard: The U.S. Role in the New World Order (1991). Stockwell, the Director of the CIA’s Angola Task Force, is the highest-ranking CIA officer ever to quit the agency. This is part what he has to say about the assassination of JFK.

The President was perfunctorily warned of the threats against him, but the usual vigilant efforts to protect him were not taken. The Secret Service, FBI, and local police certainly can protect presidents. They do it continuously not only inside the United States but in foreign capitals around the world. Numerous, almost routine, techniques are involved, like bringing extra security forces to blanket problem areas, moving in caravans of cars at a brisk 45 miles an hour, and using, whenever possible, unannounced routes that do not include sharp, slow turns.

When President Kennedy and his wife visited Dallas on November 22, 1963, nearly all of the protections were lifted. Available Texas Guard units were not called into the city and available Dallas policemen were temporarily released from duty. The result? A team of CIA, Cuban exile, and Mafia-related renegades organized a simple military ambush in Dallas and successfully gunned him down. The ambush and its coverup were brazen and astonishingly open. In fact several plots, in Chicago, Miami, and Houston, to kill Kennedy had misfired or been thwarted. The plot that succeeded in Dealey Plaza was so open that various people were reported prior to the event to have said that Kennedy would be killed with a rifle and a patsy would be blamed for the crime. Individuals like Joseph Milteer, the “umbrella man,” and a CIA pilot Robert Plumlee went to Dealey Plaza on the 22nd of November to watch.

Obviously, most CIA personnel were not involved and did not know of the plot since sensitive operations are compartmentalized in order to protect their security. Moreover, the great majority of the coat-and-tie people inside CIA headquarters would never have put up with a hit on the President. A great deal of the success of the CIA is due to its ability to attract patriotic, good soldiers who believe in the general rightness of what they do, and then insulate them through compartmentalization from the heavier activities.

The OPMONGOOSE renegades, however, included assassins, terrorists, and people who had been involved in the drug traffic from Cuba into the United States. The team set up a military-style ambush in Dealey Plaza, with shooters on the tops of buildings and the famous grassy knoll. The route of the President’s convoy included a 120-degree turn which slowed the car to a near stop. There was cooperation of elements of the Secret Service, of the Dallas Police, and of other law enforcement agencies.

When the shooting began, the Secret Service driver put on – the brakes (home movies of the scene show the brake lights on). Anyone who has been through that kind of training-and I have been through their “bang and burn” courses-is drilled to react. When the bullets start flying in such a situation, you mash down on the gas and you get the hell out of the area; you do not slow down and look around as the seasoned Secret Service driver in fact did. In ten seconds of rifle fire, only one of the Secret Service agents in the trail car moved to the President’s aid. The one agent who did move was Jackie Kennedy’s personal guard, in Dallas at her request, not part of the team that was there to protect the President.

Kennedy was shot at very close range from firing stations, probably four of them, where the assassins fired eight to ten shots. He was hit in the back, throat, and twice in the head, two bullets each from the front and from the back. Texas Governor John Connally was hit twice. Two bullets were fired into the concrete, one on each side of the convoy. After the shooting stopped, the convoy raced away. The FBI and other branches of the government immediately launched the coverup. The new President, Lyndon Johnson, ordered the limousine in which Kennedy was killed be flown to Chicago and destroyed. The announced goal of President Johnson was to “reassure” the nation by proving that the killing was the work of lone assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. It was variously suggested that an investigation that turned up Soviet involvement might lead to nuclear war; it might embarrass the Kennedy widow; it might lead to domestic unrest. In fact; it might have led to a sizeable number of very important people and organizations being implicated in a presidential assassination. That might very well have exercised the population sufficiently to provoke a serious investigation of CIA, FBI, and Mafia activities in the country, and to demand some changes.

The evidence was extensively tampered with. The President’s body was altered; the photographs of the autopsy were altered; and over 100 witnesses were killed or died mysterious and violent deaths. To this day, despite the House Committee’s 1979 conclusion that there was a conspiracy, there has been no formal, official investigation. Neither have all the documents been released.

Even among the majority that acknowledge that there was abroad conspiracy, many find it difficult to believe that the CIA itself could have been involved. Perhaps, they reluctantly concede, “renegades” might have had something to do with it.

In fact, there is strong evidence that both the FBI and the CIA high commands had prior knowledge of and direct involvement in the conspiracy. After the Dallas Police had arrested Lee Harvey Oswald, but before they could have positively identified him (he had false identification papers in his wallet) much less interrogate him and reasonably confirm his (alleged) guilt, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover telephoned Bobby Kennedy in Washington to tell him that the assassin had been caught. Hoover gave Kennedy biographic information that he could only have had prior to the assassination. Clearly he was waiting with information about Lee Harvey Oswald, to blame him for the killing.

Similarly, CIA operatives far from Dallas were waiting with biographic information about Oswald to feed to the media. Some time after the Warren Committee hearings, journalist Seth Kantor found himself broadly suspected of being somehow a secret agent because, researchers found, the Warren Commission had classified part of his testimony. Puzzled, he checked and found that the Commission had in fact classified telephone calls he made during the afternoon of the killing. In addition to checking his own notes, he succeeded in forcing the Warren Commission to return his testimony to him, and identified the calls. One was to the managing editor of the Scripps-Howard news service bureau in Washington. Mid-afternoon, again long before the police could have interrogated Oswald, made a positive identification, concluded what had happened, and eliminated the possibility of accomplices in a conspiracy to kill the President, the editor told Kantor that Oswald had been identified as the assassin and instructed him to call Hal Hendricks, a journalist who gave Kantor detailed biographic information about Oswald. Years later, in the CIA-engineered coup in Chile, Hendricks was positively identified as a CIA operative working under journalistic cover. Moreover, the Warren Commission’s move to classify the phone calls is proof positive that it knew there was an intelligence connection with Hendricks and strongly suggests that it was willfully covering up the assassination conspiracy.

In sum, the FBI Director and CIA media operatives were waiting, primed, before the assassination to launch the coverup and pin the blame on the pre-selected patsy, Oswald.

The Cause of the Financial Crisis

May 3, 2009

01 May 2009

The Cause of the Financial Crisis

From Jesses’s Cafe America

Jamie Galbraith leaves out a couple of key component of the ramp up to this crisis.

The corruption of the political process, increasingly dependent on large campaign contributions, by the large corporate interests set the stage for the erosion of public regulation of markets and the rule of the law.

And of course, Alan Greenspan, without whom this disaster would almost certainly have not been possible.

Dr. Greenspan, at the Federal Reserve, with a bully pulpit and a printing press.

Texas Observer
Causes of the Crisis
James K. Galbraith
May 01, 2009

…This is a panel on the crisis. Mr. Moderator, you ask what is the root cause? My reply is in three parts.

First, an idea.

The idea that capitalism, for all its considerable virtues, is inherently self-stabilizing, that government and private business are adversaries rather than partners…; the idea that regulation, in financial matters especially, can be dispensed with. We tried it, and we see the result.

Second, a person.

It would not be right to blame any single person for these events, but if I had to choose one to name it would be… former Senator Phil Gramm. I’d cite specifically the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act—the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act—in 1999, after which it took less than a decade to reproduce all the pathologies that Glass-Steagall had been enacted to deal with in 1933.

I’d also cite the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, slipped into an 11,000-page appropriations bill in December 2000 as Congress was adjourning following Bush v. Gore. This measure deregulated energy futures trading, enabling Enron and legitimating credit-default swaps, and creating a massive vector for the transmission of financial risk throughout the global system. …

Third, a policy.

This was the abandonment of state responsibility for financial regulation… This abandonment was not subtle: The first head of the Office of Thrift Supervision in the George W. Bush administration came to a press conference on one occasion with a stack of copies of the Federal Register and a chainsaw. A chainsaw. The message was clear. And it led to the explosion of liars’ loans, neutron loans (which destroy people but leave buildings intact), and toxic waste. That these were terms of art in finance tells you what you need to know. …

The consequence … is a collapse of trust, a collapse of asset values, and a collapse of the financial system. That is what has happened, and what we have to deal with now.

Can “stimulus” get us out?

As a matter of economics, public spending substitutes for private spending. … But it is not self-sustaining in the absence of a viable private credit system. The idea that we will be on the road to full recovery and returning to high employment in a year or so therefore seems to me to be an illusion.

And for this reason, the emphasis on short-term, “shovel-ready” projects in the expansion package, while understandable, was a mistake. As in the New Deal, we need both the Works Progress Administration … to provide employment, and the Public Works Administration … to rebuild the country. …

The risk we run, in public policy, is not inflation. It is lack of persistence, a premature reversal of direction, and of course the fear of large numbers. If deficits in the trillions and public debt in the tens of trillions scare you, this is not a line of work you should be in.

The ultimate goals of policy are not measured by deficits or debt. They are measured by the performance of the economy itself. Here Leader Armey and I agree. He spoke with approval, in his remarks, of the goals of 3 percent unemployment and 4 percent inflation embodied in the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act of 1978. Which, as a 24-year-old member of the staff of the House Banking Committee in 1976, I drafted.

The 60s: Assassinations, a School Shooting, and Nazi Gun Contro

April 27, 2009


by Michael Gaddy

The 60s were
a tumultuous time in America. There were the Vietnam War and its
subsequent peace movement; the Kennedy assassinations; the Martin
Luther King assassination, and the mass shooting at the University
of Texas by Charles Whitman. The high-profile assassinations and
the mass shooting prompted the government to lobby for stronger
gun control, leading to the passage of the unconstitutional,
, 1968 Gun Control Act.

With the exception
of the Vietnam War and its protest activity, all of the above events
played into the hands of the state and its never-ending efforts
to disarm private citizens. While the only common denominator in
the University of Texas shooting involved the use of mind altering
drugs by the shooter, the three assassinations were similar in accusations
of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) involvement was alleged in
each of them.

It was reported
that President Lyndon Johnson was moved by the University shooting
to move for stronger gun control; the facts of the case supported
just the opposite. After Whitman killed his mother and wife by stabbing
them to death, he went to the University Tower where his next victim,
Edna Townsley, a receptionist, was butt-stroked with a rifle, which
led to her death. Whitman had in essence killed three people before
he pulled the trigger the first time.

When victims
began to fall from shots fired by Whitman from the University Tower,
several civilians secured weapons from their cars and began to return
fire at Whitman along with police on the scene. The combined efforts
of these civilians and the police forced Whitman to shoot from waterspouts,
greatly limiting his ability to acquire additional targets. Had
it not been for the deployment of private arms by civilians, the
toll of lives lost and those wounded would have been much larger.
Yet, the state used this tragedy to move for more draconian firearms
possession limitations on private citizens.

theories abound concerning the assassinations of president John
F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. As mentioned
above, the CIA is mentioned as possibly being involved in all three.
We do know the CIA
about aspects of the JFK assassination. Lies are usually
told to hide the truth; what truth was the CIA covering up for 40
years, and why? Why did the CIA withhold evidence from the Warren
Commission and defy court orders?

Did the CIA
use their "controlled" sources in the media to demonize
and ridicule any who found irregularities in the "Pablum"
force-fed to the masses concerning the assassination? An April 1st
1967, CIA dispatch, declassified through the Freedom Of Information
Act (FOIA) in 1976, advised the CIA’s "assets" in the
media on "Countering criticism of the Warren Report."
These "assets" were instructed features and book revues
to be "particularly appropriate" for this purpose. These
controlled media sources were to "answer and refute" those
critical of the state’s explanation of events by claiming "financial
interests" and to allege they were "hasty and inaccurate
in their research" and "infatuated with their own theories."
These CIA stooges in the media were instructed to emphasize in their
reporting, "no new significant evidence has emerged,"
and there was no consistency of thought among the critics. Critics
were to be discredited by claiming they were "wedded to theories
before all the evidence was in." Also used was the claim consistently
heard about all possible conspiracies involving the state: "Conspiracy
on such a large scale would be impossible to conceal."

The FBI, Secret
Service, and the Dallas Police Department withheld
from the Warren Commission. As the commission had no
investigators of its own, and depended entirely on the above-mentioned
agencies for evidence, the credibility of the report must be questioned.

If questioning
the veracity of the state’s official report on the JFK assassination
and the withholding and suppression of evidence by those tasked
with pursuing the truth makes me a "conspiracy nut," pass
the tinfoil.

Credible allegations
of CIA involvement in the Robert Kennedy assassination can be found
Please note CIA Agent George Joannides’s alleged involvement in
both the Kennedy’s assassinations.

of CIA and other state agency’s involvement in the assassination
of Martin Luther King Jr. have been made by aides and members of
the King family. Coretta Scott King said, “There is abundant
evidence of a major high level conspiracy in the assassination of
my husband…" Dexter King, son of Martin Luther King Jr., who
met with James Earl Ray before his death and stated he believed
Ray did not kill his father, also stated his father was assassinated
“because he challenged the establishment.” Dexter King also
referred to the official investigation and findings as “the most
incredible cover-up of the century.”

Martin Luther
King Jr. had been under surveillance by the FBI, CIA and Army Intelligence
for an extended period of time before his assassination because
he supposedly represented a threat to national security. His phones
were tapped, he was under continual surveillance, his rooms were
bugged and his followers infiltrated. Yet, he was assassinated in
plain sight and none of the above agencies had a clue as to the
plans or movements of the assassin.

The FBI was
assigned the task of investigating the assassination of the man
they considered a threat to national security and a subject of their
"dirty tricks" associated with COINTEL-PRO

Author Alex
Constantine, in his work, Virtual
Government: CIA Mind Control Operations in America
has exhaustively documented the CIA’s influence in the media through
Operation Mockingbird. When a government agency has the ability
to control the content of information disseminated to the masses,
is that not a form of mind control?

The state used
all of the above highly questionable events to propose and pass
the 1968 Gun Control Act. The wording of this piece of legislation
was taken almost word for word from the 1938
Nazi Gun Control Act
. The 1968 GCA is not the state’s only connection
with Nazi programs. How many are familiar with the CIA’s
with Nazi war criminals?

Let me see
now; The 1968 Gun Control Act is a re-do of the 1938 Nazi Gun Control
Act; The CIA had a Nazi war criminal connection from its very inception;
The CIA is alleged to have involvement in several high-profile assassinations
in America; The CIA uses its rented mules (Operation
) in the mainstream media (MSM) to demonize and marginalize
anyone who seeks to investigate the irregularities in the state-issued
reports of these assassinations and other possible covert actions;
Our form of government has morphed from a republic to in-your-face
fascism, and anyone who believes there is a connection between the
state and mass shootings is a conspiracy nut!

When the only
alternative Boobus utilizes in his search for truth is text messaging,
a six-pack and American Idol, what chance is there he would even
recognize the truth, or for that matter, even care?

rage against the machine

April 25, 2009

by Jim Quinn
Hat tip:

Do you know the enemy?
Do you know your enemy?
Well, gotta know the enemy

Violence is an enemy
Against the enemy
Violence is an energy

Bringing on the fury
The choir infantry
Revolt against the honor to obey

Know Your Enemy – Green Day

Do you know the enemy?

Is it Iraqis, Iran, the Taliban, terrorists, Muslims, Russia, North Korea, China, or our government? General Douglas MacArthur had a distinct point of view on the more likely threat.

“I am concerned for the security of our great Nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within.”

William Strauss and Neil Howe wrote the book The Fourth Turning in 1997. Their theory is that history is a series of repetitive 100 year cycles with four generations living through each cycle. Each cycle and generation has many similarities, only the particular events change. We are currently in the most hazardous part of the cycle with the most volatile generation in positions of power. Strauss & Howe foresaw perilous times ahead:

“Based on historical patterns, America will hit a once-in-a-century national crisis within the decade…’like winter,’ the crisis or ‘fourth turning’ cannot be averted. It will last 20 years or so and bring hardship and upheavals similar to previous fourth turnings, such as the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression and World War II. The fourth turning is a perilous time because the result could be a new ‘golden age’ for America or the beginning of the end. It all will begin with a ’sudden spark’ that catalyzes a crisis mood around the year 2005.”

We are currently in the midst of the Fourth Turning, an era of upheaval, a crisis in which our country will redefine its very nature and purpose. The sudden spark that catalyzed this crisis occurred on the beautiful sunny morning of September 11, 2001. The crisis reached an initial crescendo in late 2008. Many believe that the worst is behind us and the future has begun to brighten. This is highly unlikely. Previous crisis periods lasted fifteen to twenty years. The Civil War crisis was confined to five brutal years that resulted in 600,000 American deaths. The crisis in our past history that appears most analogous is the Great Depression/World War II crisis that lasted sixteen years. A financial depression caused by the Federal Reserve pumping too much credit into the financial system during the 1920’s had been considered the worst in U.S. history. The current financial crisis, caused by the Federal Reserve pumping too much credit into the financial system along with politicians turbo charging the effort by eliminating all regulation of the financial system, has led to the Greater Depression. We are likely only half way through this crisis, with tears and bloodshed yet to follow.

Are You a Terrorist?

Most people in America, comfortable in their manicured lawn suburban sprawl will discount the possibility of civil unrest, war, and dictatorship in this country. Could Nazi like sociopaths gain control of our government? It is inconceivable. Anyone who would bring up this possibility would be branded a lunatic. As Doug Casey recently pointed out in his article Street Fighting Man, the Germans thought the same thing.

Who would have guessed that the Germans of the last century, who had much more than their share of writers, composers, philosophers, scientists, plain middle-class shopkeepers, and a well-educated, orderly population would have bred the Nazis? It would be easy to recount dozens of recent examples of perfectly ordinary countries that have gone bonkers. The fact is that your neighbor or your mailman, who pets his dog, hugs his kids, and plays softball on the weekends, might exhibit a much less appealing, indeed an appalling, side when social conditions change. The problem arises when a society becomes highly politicized. In normal times, a sociopath stays under the radar. Perhaps he’ll commit a common crime when he thinks he can get away with it, but social mores keep him reined in.

However, once the government changes its emphasis from protecting citizens from force to initiating it with laws and taxes, those social mores break down. Peer pressure and moral opprobrium, the forces that keep a healthy society orderly and together, are replaced by regulation enforced by cops funded by taxes. And sociopaths start coming out of the woodwork and are drawn to the State, where they can get licensed and paid to do what they’ve always wanted to do. It’s very simple, really. There are two ways people can relate to each other: voluntarily or coercively. The government is pure coercion, and sociopaths are drawn to its power and force.

With the never ending lessening of our civil liberties after 9/11, the government power over our daily lives grows day by day. Recent revelations that the Department of Homeland Security considers Ron Paul and his followers, potential terrorists are disturbing. A February 20 report states:

“Due to the current economical and political situation, a lush environment for militia activity has been created. Unemployment rates are high, as well as costs of living expenses. Militia members most commonly associate with 3rd party political groups. It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitutional Party, Campaign for Liberty or Libertarian material.”

A new Department of Homeland Security report highlights security risks posed by extremist groups and disgruntled veterans. The report stated that threats could come from “military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities.” I’m sure the young men and women who risked their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan for George Bush are thrilled to find out that the organization he created to protect the homeland considers them a terrorist threat. The U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA recently put out a report titled Known Unknowns: Unconventional Strategic Shocks in Defense Strategy Development warning an economic crisis in the United States could lead to massive civil unrest that would require the military to restore order. The report states:

“Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities to defend basic domestic order and human security, in case of unforeseen economic collapse.”

Why are the government organizations that are supposed to protect and defend our citizens making plans to protect the government from the citizens? President Obama’s top advisor David Axelrod had this to say about the tax day tea parties last week.

“I think any time you have severe economic conditions there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that’s unhealthy.”

Since when did peaceful protest and free speech become unhealthy? What is unhealthy and dangerous is when the government and many in the mainstream media proclaim that what these people were doing was perilous to our country. Maybe Mr. Axelrod, Nancy Pelosi and the pundits on MSNBC should read the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Crisis – Winter of our Discontent

Don’t want to be an American idiot.
One nation controlled by the media.
Information age of hysteria.
It’s calling out to idiot America.

American Idiot – Green Day

Strauss and Howe described the similarities of most crisis phases:

A crisis arises in response to sudden threats that previously would have been ignored or deferred, but which are now perceived as dire. Great worldly perils boil off the clutter and complexity of life, leaving behind one simple imperative: The society must prevail. This requires a solid public consensus, aggressive institutions, and personal sacrifice. People support new efforts to wield public authority, whose perceived successes soon justify more of the same. Government governs, community obstacles are removed, and laws and customs that resisted change for decades are swiftly shunted aside. A grim preoccupation with civic peril causes spiritual curiosity to decline. Public order tightens, private risk-taking abates, and crime and substance abuse decline. Families strengthen, gender distinctions widen, and child-rearing reaches a smothering degree of protection and structure. The young focus their energy on worldly achievements, leaving values in the hands of the old. Wars are fought with fury and for maximum result.

On September 11, 2001 an attack by 19 Muslim terrorists using knives to hijack airliners and fly them into the Twin Towers and Pentagon plunged the United States into a state of crisis. This was an attack by a small terrorist organization of less than 10,000 members led by Osama bin Laden. It was not an attack by the Muslim world against the Christian world. The dogmatic, single minded, religiously driven George Bush, influenced by neo-con extremists, decided a worldwide war on terror was the solution. He even declared the war on terror as World War III. Using fear tactics and bullying weak Congressmen who feared losing their jobs if they showed courage, George Bush enhanced the power of the government over our lives by ramming through the U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001) and creating the Department of Homeland Security in the name of safeguarding the public from unknown phantom dangers. Section 2 of the act essentially allows the government to listen in on your private conversations or access your emails. Does this seem proportionate to the acts of 19 men with knives that could have been foiled by a $39.99 deadbolt lock from Wal-Mart?


Authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications relating to terrorism


Authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications relating to computer fraud and abuse offenses


Authority to share electronic, wire and oral interception information


Clarification of intelligence exceptions from limitations on interception and disclosure of wire, oral, and electronic communications


Roving surveillance authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.


Duration of FISA surveillance of non-United States persons who are agents of a foreign power


Seizure of voice-mail messages pursuant to warrants


Emergency disclosure of electronic communications to protect life and limb


Pen register and trap and trace authority under FISA


Access to records and other items under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.


Interception of computer trespasser communications


Foreign intelligence information


Nationwide service of search warrants for electronic evidence


Civil liability for certain unauthorized disclosures


Immunity for compliance with FISA wiretap

The fact that there have been no terrorist attacks in the U.S. since 9/11 is touted as being due to this act and the Department of Homeland Security. Therefore, sacrificing civil liberties is seen as a small price to pay for safety and security. Osama bin Laden’s 1st attempt at blowing up the World Trade Center occurred in 1993. He patiently waited eight years before his 2nd attempt. Has spending over $1 trillion since 9/11, forfeiting 4,900 American lives and sacrificing of individual liberties led to our increased security, or are the terrorists just being patient?

The perceived success of these extreme measures has now convinced a majority of the population that government can solve all of their financial troubles better than the free market. America is a minimum monthly payment nation. As long as they can make the minimum monthly payment, they can lease a BMW, buy the best furniture today and worry about the bill in 2013, and buy electronic gadgets and bling on their Capital One credit card. The American sheeple are being led to slaughter by shepherds (Obama, Geithner, Bernanke) who have convinced them that borrowing and spending at malls will save the country. The Baby Boomers are desperately hoping to be saved from their own irresponsible behavior by even more reckless behavior by their government. Boomers will never be celebrated for their willingness to sacrifice and accept the bitter medicine that is required to rebalance their lives. Ask them to buy a Rolex with someone else’s tax dollars and they are all in. I’m personally hoping the crack in my windshield will eventually convert into the likeness of Jesus Christ. I’ll turn my car into a shrine and make millions. Just classify me as a Boomer optimist.

The risk taking by entrepreneurs that has been the basis for our economic success is abating as they step aside and let government dictate how auto companies, insurance companies, and banks should be run. Government is dictating the winners and losers. They will pick the winners that will benefit government and their social agenda. Government will use this crisis to enhance their power. The 50% of Americans who pay no Federal income taxes will support any idea or program that will get them something for nothing. Politicians will frame every issue as an either or option. You either support their new spending plan or catastrophe awaits. The young allow their dogmatic parents to dictate family values. The rhetoric in our society continues to get more polarizing.

Prophets in an Alien Nation

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn’t meant to be okay.

American Idiot – Green Day

Strauss & Howe described the Prophet/Idealist generation as being born during a High, spending its rising adult years during an Awakening, spending midlife during an Unraveling, and spending old age in a Crisis. Prophetic leaders have been cerebral and principled, summoners of human sacrifice, wagers of righteous wars. Early in life, few saw combat in uniform. Late in life, most prophets come to be revered as much for their words as for their deeds. The three previous crisis periods in U.S. history were dominated by the prophetic leadership of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt. George Bush has led us through the 1st half of this crisis. It is likely that Barack Obama will lead us through the 2nd half of the crisis. I don’t think George Bush will be revered for being cerebral or making inspiring speeches. He did wage a righteous war against terrorism. Barack Obama is cerebral and principled. He is waging a righteous war in Afghanistan, though he has never seen combat. He is already known for his inspiring speeches. Will he rise to the level of Lincoln?

George Bush and Barack Obama are both Baby Boomers. The oldest boomer is 63, the youngest 45. Boomers occupy the leadership positions in government, corporations, military, and educational institutions. Boomer leaders are cocky, aggressive, and quoting Doug Casey, “quite willing to burn down the barn in order to destroy whatever rats they see.” George Bush was sure there was WMD in Iraq. He was sure that cutting taxes, sending out rebate checks, and letting banks regulate themselves was the path to prosperity. Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke were sure that TARP would save our financial system from collapse. Barack Obama was sure that if we didn’t pass his bloated stimulus bill, catastrophe awaited the country. Baby Boom leaders are always sure and often wrong. The masses are drawn to leaders who are sure of themselves. They want to believe that a wise man will lead them to the Promised Land. They won’t realize that he is leading them to hell, until it is too late.

Civil Unrest – The Great Unraveling

Overthrow the effigy
The vast majority
Burning down the foreman of control

Silence is the enemy
Against your urgency
So rally up the demons of your soul

Know Your Enemy – Green Day

Strauss & Howe explained their view of how America was feeling in 1997. They were dead on. We are a country that has been rotting from within for decades.

America feels like it’s unraveling. Though we live in an era of relative peace and comfort, we have settled into a mood of pessimism about the long-term future, fearful that our superpower nation is somehow rotting from within. The America of today feels worse, in its fundamentals, than the one many of us remember from youth, a society presided over by those of supposedly lesser consciousness. We yearn for civic character but satisfy ourselves with symbolic gestures and celebrity circuses. We perceive no greatness in our leaders, a new meanness in ourselves. Each new election brings a new jolt, its aftermath a new disappointment.

Many Americans know we are on the wrong track but are so distracted by the circus-like distractions of every day life, they choose not to think about it. It is likely that the 123 million eligible voters who chose not to vote in the 2008 Presidential election don’t even realize the country is on the wrong track. The sedated masses were easy to manipulate when unemployment was 4%. There are now 6 million more people unemployed today than just 16 months ago in November 2007. Another 2 to 3 million will lose their jobs in 2009. The government doesn’t count another 5 to 10 million people who are classified as out of the workforce, but would like to work. This means there will be 20 to 25 million people out of work by the end of this year. Unemployed people have a propensity to be angry. In the last few months there have been several mass murders committed by angry unemployed men. As the economic “solutions” rolled out by politicians and Federal Reserve bureaucrats lead to an inflationary depression similar to the Weimer Republic of the early 1930’s, civil unrest will rear its ugly head.

Doug Casey describes the likely scenario:

People believe they have little to lose, they’re eager to hang those they believe responsible for their problems, and they’ll listen to radical or violent proposals. We’re now just entering what will likely be the worst economic trough since the Industrial Revolution. A rioter is typically an angry person looking for vengeance because he blames someone else for his problem. So far, rioters seem to be directing their attention at governments. Correct target, of course, but they don’t have the rationale quite right. They’re not angry because governments inflated the currency, promoted fractional reserve banking, and nurtured all the cockamamie socialist programs that caused this crisis. Not at all; they rather liked all that. They’re angry only because their governments haven’t adequately protected them from the consequences of what they did. So as conditions worsen, we can expect governments worldwide to pull out absolutely all the stops to show they’re “doing something.” And round up scapegoats to satisfy the mob and divert anger from themselves. I fully expect civil unrest to spread everywhere, simply because the depression will spread everywhere. It will be worst in places that have been most overextended, most debt leveraged, most urban, and have the largest numbers of unemployed workers — the U.S., Europe, and China.

The civil unrest is most likely to erupt among Hispanics and African Americans. The unemployment rate of Hispanics is 11.4% versus 5.0% in November 2007. It is doubtless far worse, as many Hispanics worked “under the table” in the housing industry. The unemployment rate of African Americans is 13.3%, the highest since 1993, and up from an all-time low of 7.0% in 2000. The urban areas of the United States are a powder keg, with automatic weapons available to anyone. Policemen are being slaughtered at a record pace. Mexico is on the verge of becoming a failed state. Drug lords are running the country. Its oil fields are in rapid decline and it will no longer be an exporter of oil within 5 years. The Mexican government depends on oil for 40% of its tax revenues. The collapse of Mexico’s government, extreme power of murderous drug lords, and worldwide depression will drive millions of poor towards the U.S. border. The anti-immigrant feelings in the U.S. continue to grow as more white Americans lose their jobs. This is an explosive combination that will eventually require military and National Guard intervention.

There are two other hot button issues which will increase the anxiety in this country. Guns and ammo are selling like hotcakes. The combination of apprehension that Obama and his Democratic majority will put restrictions on gun ownership and the severe economic downturn has led to an exorbitant increase in gun sales. Ruger has a $48 million backlog of guns on order. Many citizens in the Western states live by the motto: You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers. Any effort by the Obama administration to restrict gun ownership will be met with major resistance. The Tax Day Tea Parties revealed the other hot button issue for many Americans. When the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010 and Obama institutes his Cap & Trade energy tax, the economy will receive a double whammy. At that point the failed economic policies and higher taxes will lead to consternation and resentment throughout the land. The unending economic turmoil throughout the world will result in protests and anger in many countries. The more disturbing issue is how politicians will try to divert the attention of the masses through the use of an external threat.

War – Fingers of Instability

The insurgency will rise
When the bloods been sacrificed
Don’t be blinded by the lies
In your eyes

Violence is an energy
From here to eternity
Violence is an energy
Silence is the enemy
So gimme gimme revolution

Know Your Enemy – Green Day

Back in 2006 John Mauldin wrote an article titled Fingers of Instability. It was based on a book written by Mark Buchanan called Ubiquity, Why Catastrophes Happen. It examines chaos theory, complexity theory, and critical states. Physicists, using a computer model examined what takes place when sand is continuously piled up grain by grain. They were endeavoring to understand what makes the pile ultimately collapse. Buchanan described the experiment:

“Imagine peering down on the pile from above, and coloring it in according to its steepness. Where it is relatively flat and stable, color it green; where steep and, in avalanche terms, ‘ready to go,’ color it red. What do you see? They found that at the outset the pile looked mostly green, but that, as the pile grew, the green became infiltrated with ever more red. With more grains, the scattering of red danger spots grew until a dense skeleton of instability ran through the pile. Here then was a clue to its peculiar behavior: a grain falling on a red spot can, by domino-like action, cause sliding at other nearby red spots. If the red network was sparse, and all trouble spots were well isolated one from the other, then a single grain could have only limited repercussions. But when the red spots come to riddle the pile, the consequences of the next grain become fiendishly unpredictable. It might trigger only a few tumblings, or it might instead set off a cataclysmic chain reaction involving millions. The sand pile seemed to have configured itself into a hypersensitive and peculiarly unstable condition in which the next falling grain could trigger a response of any size whatsoever.

“In this simplified setting of the sand pile, the power law also points to something else: the surprising conclusion that even the greatest of events have no special or exceptional causes. After all, every avalanche large or small starts out the same way, when a single grain falls and makes the pile just slightly too steep at one point. What makes one avalanche much larger than another has nothing to do with its original cause, and nothing to do with some special situation in the pile just before it starts. Rather, it has to do with the perpetually unstable organization of the critical state, which makes it always possible for the next grain to trigger an avalanche of any size.”

You may be wondering what sand has to do with war. The relevance is that a small seemingly minor incident could lead to a large world war. At the moment Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by Serb anarchists in 1914, no one expected a World War to result. When the war began most expected it to last a few weeks. Instead, over 15 million people died in one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. There are many known flashpoints that could lead to a broader worldwide conflict. The use of nuclear weapons seems unlikely, but the deaths of 15 million people in World War I and 70 million in World War II also seemed unlikely at the outset of each conflict. Among the possible flashpoints are:

* Israel attacks Iran nuclear facilities.
* Pakistan government collapses and conflict with India and/or Afghanistan erupts.
* Russia attempts to reacquire its former territory the Ukraine.
* China attempts to reign in its former province Taiwan.
* North Korea attacks South Korea.
* While the U.S. gets bogged down in Afghanistan, civil war breaks out again in Iraq supported by Iran and Syria.

Difficult economic periods often lead to war. The economic period ahead will be intensely difficult. Leaders of the U.S., China, and Russia will see their economic theories and solutions discredited. The natives will become restless as they are kicked out into the streets, homeless and hungry. The U.S. has completely ignored the energy crisis that is bearing down on them. The 12% of our daily oil supply from Mexico will be gone in less than five years. Our economy is still in freefall. If oil were to rocket back up into the mid-$100’s in the next year, the consequences would be dire. A conflict between Israel and Iran would immediately lead to a spike in oil prices. If Iran is attacked they would surely launch missiles at the Iraqi oil fields and attempt to block or mine the Strait of Hormuz.

The United States views China and Russia as our chief adversaries in the world. The United States is attempting to get Georgia and the Ukraine admitted into NATO. If Russia were to attack either country, the U.S. would be obligated to go to war against Russia. How would we do this with an all volunteer military that is already stretched too thin? Russia knows we are stretched thin and will push right to the edge of conflict. China knows they can not win a traditional war with the United States. Therefore, they are not preparing for a traditional war. As the U.S. spends $765 billion per year on F-22s, aircraft carriers, and tanks, the Chinese use our dollars to buy up commodities and natural resources in Africa, South America, Australia, and the Middle East. The next war will be a resource war and a cyber war. China is already winning the resource war. Russia has vast reserves of oil and natural gas. Worldwide turmoil is beneficial to the price of their major assets. The United States is dependent on foreign nations to the tune of 5.1 billion barrels of oil per year. Who will be more desperate when the oil tap is shut off?

As the U.S. is bogged down in Iraq, Afghanistan and our Mexican border, further world conflict would stretch U.S. military capacity to the breaking point. As the U.S. economy falls further and the price of oil skyrockets, American leaders will grow increasingly desperate. They will be looking for an opportunity to flex their muscles and prove to the American people that they aren’t really failures. This will be the dangerous time where the fingers of instability could be triggered by one grain of sand. Suppose China decided to take advantage of our weakness and attacked Taiwan. We would steam our aircraft carrier fleets towards the conflict. Suppose China launched a nuclear missile 100 miles from our fleet at sea as a warning. Would we launch a nuclear missile at China? If cyber war broke out and the Chinese or Russians were able to disable our electric grid and or satellites, we would be unable to detect a nuclear strike. Would we launch our nuclear missiles in response? Who knows? If Russia and China can disable our satellites, we can surely do the same. Uncertainty, pressure and panic never lead to a positive result. Could the end of earth as we know it be over in a matter of moments due to the miscalculations of inept politicians?

You know the enemy.

“Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.”

Winston Churchill

The current crisis does not have to end this way. If the American people can wake up from their materialistic stupor in time, this crisis could lead to a new beginning for the Great American Republic. This crisis will inflict enormous pain on many Americans. If we continue on the current path, violence is in our future. If we permit the country to re-balance to a sustainable level of spending, address our future liabilities, and develop an energy plan, there is hope.

The choice is ours.

James Quinn is a senior director of strategic planning for a major university. James has held financial positions with a retailer, homebuilder and university in his 22-year career. Those positions included treasurer, controller, and head of strategic planning. He is married with three boys and is writing these articles because he cares about their future. He earned a BS in accounting from Drexel University and an MBA from Villanova University. He is a certified public accountant and a certified cash manager. These articles reflect the personal views of James Quinn. They do not necessarily represent the views of his employer, and are not sponsored or endorsed by his employer.

need to get a new dog

April 20, 2009

I don’t mind the ferret, I do like the bee

All witches familiars’ are friendly to me

I’d share my last crust with a pigeon-toed rat

and some of my closest relations are cats

– Nancy Willard _Pish, Posh, said Hieronymus Bosch

AHERF’s ex-chief bitter about his fall

April 20, 2009

Sunday, November 04, 2007
By Dan Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Before his dramatic fall, Sherif Abdelhak sat atop the largest health system in Pennsylvania, an empire builder responsible for nearly 30,000 employees and $2 billion in annual revenue.

Almost a decade later, the former chief executive of the Allegheny Health, Education and Research Foundation spends his days in Kentucky, still believing his life and reputation were “destroyed completely” in 1998 when the AHERF ousted him and then filed for bankruptcy. It was the biggest nonprofit insolvency in U.S. history.

“I don’t have a life,” he said. “They managed to destroy it 10 years ago.”

For Mr. Abdelhak, the period after the demise of AHERF has included jail time, a divorce, an aborted oil-buying venture, a personal bankruptcy filing and a recent U.S. Tax Court order that he pay more than $500,000 in back taxes.

Reached by phone last week, Mr. Abdelhak remains reluctant to speak at length about what transpired or how the blowup in Pittsburgh informed his current existence.

Asked if he has enough money to pay the back taxes, he said, “Absolutely not. I have nothing. They never paid me my contract. I never got a penny that I was owed. … There has been so much damage to me.”

The Egyptian-born Mr. Abdelhak was the central figure in AHERF’s astonishing and rapid expansion, which at one point stretched across two states and included 14 hospitals, two Philadelphia medical schools and hundreds of physicians’ offices. But the system expanded too fast and began to bleed red, with losses of nearly $1 million a day. Creditors were owed nearly $1.5 billion.

The bankruptcy, still winding down nine years later, allowed rival University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to emerge as the region’s dominant health care provider by a wide margin. AHERF flagship Allegheny General Hospital escaped the parent’s bankruptcy only by merging with West Penn Hospital in Bloomfield; now both are part of the West Penn Allegheny Health System, the region’s second-largest health care provider. West Penn Allegheny lost $78.8 million during fiscal 2007, while UPMC recorded a net gain of $618 million.

At one time, Mr. Abdelhak faced more than 1,500 criminal charges as a result of the collapse. In August 2002, he pleaded no contest to a single misdemeanor count of misusing charitable funds, and Common Pleas Senior Judge Raymond Novak sentenced him to 111/2 to 23 months in the Allegheny County Jail, with a provision that his time could be served in alternate housing. Records show that Mr. Abdelhak was inside the Allegheny County Jail from Sept. 3 through Dec. 9, 2002, according to a jail official.

Lost connections

Even in the good times, Mr. Abdelhak was a mystery to colleagues and associates. And that remains the case almost a decade after he left AHERF.

“I have no idea where he is,” said attorney Judith Olson, a partner with Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, who once represented Mr. Abdelhak. “He really just fell of the face of the Earth.” Asked if there were anyone in Pittsburgh still close to him, she said, “He didn’t have a lot of friends. …I never learned anything personal about him at all. He was very quiet.”

Added John Lewis II, another Pittsburgh attorney who performed work for Mr. Abdelhak: “Nobody ever got that close to him.”

It appears that Mr. Abdelhak did attempt a business comeback after exiting AHERF. In February 1999, he started Sewickley-based Global Trading Group, records show, to buy and resell oil, oil products and precious minerals. One early client was California company Dynoil Refining LLC, which tried to buy 800,000 metric tons of petroleum products, according to court documents. Mr. Abdelhak offered two life insurance policies as collateral to secure the deal.

The relationship soured, however, and resulted in lawsuits filed in Pittsburgh and California. Dynoil claimed in court documents that Mr. Abdelhak tried to sell embargoed oil from Iran or possibly Iraq in violation of a presidential executive order — a charge that Mr. Abdelhak denied. The cases eventually were settled and Mr. Abdelhak now claims the Global Trading Group is “closed” as a business.

In 2002, Mr. Abdelhak and Marlynn Singleton, an ex-KDKA-TV anchor and now a physician, divorced, according to court documents. At one time Ms. Singleton was the hospital’s director of public relations. Another ex-wife, Dr. Mervat Abdelhak, said she has lost contact with her former husband.

In May 2003, Mr. Abdelhak filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in Kentucky, listing a post office box in the town of Goshen as his address. He also listed two other aliases — “Samuel Aaron” and “Sherif Samy Abel.” Among the creditors was the Internal Revenue Service, with a claim of $615,344, and his ex-wife Ms. Singleton, with a claim of $10.2 million. In that filing, Mr. Abdelhak described himself as “married,” with a 9-year-old stepson as a dependent. As an occupation, he listed “sales associate” for “Yudofskys” — perhaps a reference to Yudofsky Furriers, a Louisville retailer. At the time of the filing, Mr. Abdelhak listed a monthly income of $1,325, after taxes. He listed monthly expenses of $1,213.

In 2005, Mr. Abdelhak filed a petition with the U.S. Tax Court to dispute tax deficiencies cited by the IRS for the years 1998, 1999 and 2000. Mr. Abdelhak argued that he should be able to claim a $435,000 charitable contribution deduction for the 1998 tax year; that he should be able to claim a $2.2 million “theft loss” deduction in 2000 relating to the loss of two insurance policies and a deferred compensation account; and that he should be allowed to deduct certain amounts of travel, meal and entertainment expenses relating to Global Trading Group in 1999 and 2000.

But a tax court judge ruled against Mr. Abdelhak on almost every count — the only victories being a charitable deduction of $12,713 for 1998 and the waiver of more than $40,000 in accuracy-related penalties.

Mr. Abdelhak said he no longer lives in Prospect, but still resides elsewhere in the same state.

Why Kentucky?

“It’s not Pittsburgh,” he said.
Dan Fitzpatrick can be reached at or 412-263-1752.


April 13, 2009

Leading derivatives trader and expert Satiyajit Das wrote a must-read article today pointing out the falsity of the justifications used by both buyers and sellers of credit default swaps and other complex forms of “financial innovation”.

Here’s the most important excerpt:

The unpalatable reality that very few, self interested industry participants are prepared to admit is that much of what passed for financial innovation was specifically designed to conceal risk, obfuscate investors and reduce transparency. The process was entirely deliberate. Efficiency and transparency are not consistent with the high profit margins that are much sought after on Wall Street. Financial products need to be opaque and priced inefficiently to produce excessive profits or economic rents.