View from the Trenches – from My Perspective — by Todd Macfarlane

First Question: What is the Difference Between Occupy Malheur and a Rainbow Family Gathering?

Before turning to my piece about why it will be such a challenge for anyone involved in the Malheur Occupation to get a fair hearing in what I often refer to as the so-called justice system, there’s something else I’ve got to get off my chest. Although I’ve been buried with pre-existing work, and now the aftermath of LaVoy Finicum’s death, there is something I do have to get off my chest, and it has to do with the hypocrisy and discrimination involved in our Governments’ approach to the Malheur Occupation.

To help put this discussion in context, back in April, 2015 I wrote a guest editorial for the Southern Utah Spectrum asking about the difference between how the BLM was treating Cliven Bundy’s cattle, versus how they were treating and managing their own wild horses.  The piece suggested gross hypocrisy in federal policy and approach.

I suggest the same is true regarding the state and federal handling of the occupation at the Malheur Wildlife refuge, that the occupants renamed the Harney County Resource Center.

To help explore this thought process, I want to compare the Malheur occupation with several things, including lengthy annual occupations of “public land” by the “Rainbow Family” involving thousands, even tens of thousands of people. I also want to compare it to forced government occupations, where the federal government commandeers a school, for example, in an armed occupation, to use as a command center; or the armed occupation of a whole community, as in the town of Burns, with hundreds of agents, officers, operatives, and contractors involved, scaring and disrupting the entire community.  Or more benignly, when under the guise of wildfire management, they take over even private property to occupy and use as a massive encampment and staging area for watching wildfires burn out of control.

Back to Rainbow Family gatherings. For years the Rainbow Family has been engaging in large annual occupations of federal – BLM and Forest Service Lands. Maybe I live in a cave, but despite this regular occurrence I really knew nothing about the Rainbow Family and their annual gatherings until the Spring of 2014.

On Saturday, May 10, 2014 (I remember the date because the following day was Mothers Day – and because of other reasons I’ll explain later), one of my friends came by and asked me if I wanted to go check out the folks camped out in Corn Creek Canyon, on the Forest Service, just up the creek from our family ranch. Most people in the very conservative little community where I live would have been very uncomfortable in that crowd, but not this friend.  He is a modern mountain man, who frequents Mountain Man Rendezvous, and in those places goes by the name “Three Stones.”  He is an excellent primitive archer, master woodworker, and he and his family are all renowned fiber (as in wool) artists.

He said he was headed up to check out some “Rainbow Scouts” camped in the canyon, and wanted to know if I wanted to join him. “Rainbow what?” I asked.  He tried to explain briefly, and then said, “just get in; it will be easier to show you than to try to explain it.”  Boy was he right.

They had a good-sized encampment in the trees along Corn Creek, several miles above the Forest Service line. It was not at all unlike the situation at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.  There were multiple vehicles hidden in the trees, including a big self-sufficient bus that would probably make the military jealous.  After we finally made it past their own checkpoint, just off the road, we were led to a campfire where eventually we were joined by 20+ people.  We visited for a while.  Three Stones knew how to speak their language.  I mostly just listened and observed.  They said that Utah had been chosen for that year’s Rainbow Family Gathering, so they and groups like them were scouting for locations to hold both their “Spring Council,” in June, and the main gathering the first week of July.  They told us about the Rainbow Family’s history, activities, and a fair amount about their collective, communal “kitchens.”  And they offered us food – good food.  In 50 years I had never received as much education about that counter-culture movement as I got that afternoon.

The next morning, on Mothers Day, Sunday, May 11th, we woke up to the results of an unprecedented late spring snow storm that dumped 15” of heavy, wet snow on the area overnight.  Because trees in the area were already fully leafed-out, and the snow was so heavy, it had broken down trees all over town.  The whole town looked and sounded like a combat zone, as tree branches were cracking, snapping and breaking off.  Since none of us “locals” were even very well prepared for what happened, I knew the Rainbow Scouts would be in trouble.   After getting our own situations somewhat under control, Three Stones recruited some friends, including me, to go check on the Rainbow folks.  And boy were they glad to see us.  We brought food, dry firewood, and dry clothes.  We also brought chainsaws to help clear the roads, paths and trails in the area so they could get out.  It took us the rest of the day to do that.  They were thankful for our help.

Although the Rainbow Family had never even been on my radar screen before that weekend, after that I kind of paid attention to what they were up to, and noticed that they ultimately decided to hold their main annual gathering that year near Heber City, Utah.

A Rainbow Family gathering is what you could legitimately call an “occupation.” They come in droves – thousands, even tens of thousands.  And from the beginning to the end, they probably physically occupy the spot they choose – on BLM or Forest Service land -- for at least 60 days.  They don’t get any permits.  They don’t ask anyone’s permission.  They just do it.  It’s “public” land.  They are members of the public, and they believe they have a right to be there.  If what they do is anything, it is, at the very least, an occupation.

And make no mistake, I have since heard that federal and state governments don’t like them and what they do, and there is indeed plenty of friction between them. In fact, it is my understanding that there is a special Rainbow Family task force that deploys to whatever locations they choose to hold their gathering each year.

But to my knowledge, no one has ever made the kind of fuss about Rainbow Family gatherings as has been made about the occupation at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Why?  To my knowledge, state and federal governments have never felt like it was worth killing anyone over it.  If Bundys and company can be charged with “impeding federal officers,” and conspiring to do it, can’t the same be said of the Rainbow Family?  What is the difference? Very good question.

The only real difference that I can think of boils down to one word: “guns.”  The Rainbow Family are known to be pacifists who loath guns and firearms.  Make no mistake, most people consider them to fit the bill of “crazy nutjobs” every bit as much as people like Ammon Bundy and LaVoy Finicum, but apparently they are perceived to be less dangerous in some senses.  In places like Utah, however, locals are even more worried about how they will affect the local “morals,” etc.  In fact, in most conservative, rural areas in the West, like the area where I live, local populations are probably much more alarmed by the Rainbow Family’s presence, and would feel much more comfortable with, and much less threatened by, the likes of Ammon Bundy, even if they are fully armed, than they do about the Rainbow Family.

Although plenty of long hair, tattoos, body piercings, nudity, contraband, and other such perceived “craziness” abounds in a Rainbow situation, I have no reservation saying that I had no fear or concern for my own personal safety when I visited the Rainbow scout encampment; but neither did I have any fear when I visited the occupied Malheur Wildlife Refuge. And I would like to think that I’m not the only person around who isn’t  afraid of their own shadow.  In fact, what I observed at the Malheur Refuge was that there were many more Harney County locals coming and going, visiting, and getting to know the occupiers than there had been people in my area visiting the Rainbow Scouts.  Although Harney County locals may have been apprehensive at first about visiting the refuge and its occupants, once they were there and saw what was going on, they seemed to lose all fear and concern about safety and security.  Under the occupation, at least during the time I was there, there was a steady flow of locals coming to visit, and the place had a very peaceful, comfortable feel to it.  On that score, local rancher Rodney Johnson stated on several occasions that when he learned that the schools were going to be closed for a week, he told his wife to take their children on a field trip to the refuge.

And why weren’t the kids in school? The school district announced that the schools would be closed for the whole week out of concern for public safety. The minute I heard that I knew something was fishy.  The wildlife refuge was out in the middle of nowhere, at least 30 miles from town.  When I learned that the FBI wanted to use the Jr. High School as a command center, it all made sense. Now that is truly an armed occupation.  Eventually the entire town of Burns became completely occupied by armed outsiders, state and federal agents, officers, contractors and officers, who have completely taken over the community in what is truly the epitome of an armed occupation.

So in light of all this, aside from the most basic hypocrisy of the whole thing, why was Oregon Governor Kate Brown completely freaking out about what was going on at Malheur? What was the real issue?  What was the big problem? Why was she treating this situation differently than a Rainbow Family Gathering that in almost every case is much bigger, more intrusive, and more “impeding” than anything that has happened at Malheur?

Obviously, it is the massive build-up of federal agents in the area that has had many locals more scared and concerned about than anything. And just who is it that this state-sponsored army is supposed to be protecting the locals from? For weeks now the locals have just wanted the whole thing to end so the feds would leave, and they can get back to normal.  But there is no question that full responsibility for the over-the-top – and ultimately violent – reaction rests entirely with the government – including the current local government, the federal government, certainly the FBI, and the State of Oregon, with Governor Brown issuing the orders to shoot on sight, sooner rather than later.

But to be fair, the media has also played a role. They were chomping at the bit for a real story.  They knew the news cycle only lasts about two weeks, so they hoped to see it all wrapped up in about that amount of time, and they put a lot of pressure on Governor Brown to see if she could help make that happen, and help deliver a real story, so the whole thing would not end up fizzling out with an anti-climactic ending, as happened with, say, Sugar Pine Mine.  So, the media seemed to do everything in its power to fan the flames.  Plus it was getting really cold and boring hanging out day after day at Malheur, waiting for something to actually happen.  So they were pushing for something to happen sooner rather than later.  And there is no question, the media shares primary responsibility for the malicious branding that has occurred.

But there is no question, the biggest difference in the whole equation is that word “guns.” Because this group of people at the wildlife refuge were known to be exercising their Second Amendment right to bear arms, they were discriminated against six ways from Sunday, and treated very differently – just based on their exercise of a fundamental constitutional right.   And in that malicious branding, the media has led the charge.  In terms of basic mode of operation, there doesn’t’ really seem to be much actual difference between what Bundys did and what the Rainbow Family does over and over again.  Yet because Bundys wear cowboy hats and believe in the Second Amendment, they have been labeled by the mainstream media as armed militants and terrorists.  Their defensive sidearms are portrayed as the root of all evil, while the governments’ Bearcats and .50 caliber machine guns are completely ignored.  And let’s not forget, that in two of these so-called armed standoffs now, out of thousands of so-called redneck militia, not a single one of them has actually “pulled” a gun on anyone, or had an “accident,” let alone killed anyone, while law enforcement has now apparently fired hundreds of shots for the express purpose of terrorizing Americans.

It used to be that the media was considered the quasi-governmental fourth branch of government – the accountability branch. But for the most part, those days seem to be long since past.  Now, the mainstream media is complicit with government to do its bidding, and in this case, the marching orders have been to brand the Malheur occupiers as domestic terrorists, while giving the state-sponsored terrorists a free pass.

And the discrimination that is occurring in that regard reminds me of a case I handled a few years ago. In a future piece I will explain in more detail what happened in that case, but let it suffice to say it involved the law enforcement shooting death of a young Native American man by the name of Brandon Chief, in West Valley City, Utah.

Because law enforcement erroneously believed there might be a .22 rifle in the home where Brandon lived with his parents and family, the responding officers shot first and asked questions later, and ended his life in just a matter of seconds. It was the perfect case to test this theory that people are treated very differently and actively discriminated against by law enforcement when they exercise their most fundamental right to bear arms.  Unfortunately, I inherited the case mid-stream, and the attorney who had handled the case before me (and was killed in a car accident), had not thought to include such a claim in the original complaint.  When I recognized the possibilities, and asked permission from the court to amend the complaint to assert that claim, my request to amend was denied, and the case was ultimately dismissed on the basis of qualified immunity – a fancy phrase for no accountability.

Having now viewed this whole scenario from several different angles, the hypocrisy of the governments’ overreaction, response and approach to the Malheur occupation is more than obvious. Once again, I want to emphasize that I know for a fact that a peaceful resolution was in the works.  Because these particular kooks happened to be wearing cowboy hats and bearing arms, however, instead of rocking ponytails and baring the rest of their bodies, impatient Governor Kate Brown, the FBI, and apparently plenty of others, were more than willing to engage in an armed occupation of their own, and way too eager to resort to violence, with no apparent reservation about spilling the occupants’ blood, sooner rather than later.

In my view their actions are the epitome of governmental hypocrisy and discrimination.

A View from the Trenches – from my Perspective by Todd Macfarlane

This past week has been one of the hardest, saddest weeks of my life.

As many know, I am an attorney, and I represent the family of LaVoy Finicum. On Tuesday, LaVoy was ambushed and killed by the FBI and Oregon State Police in a roadblock as he was attempting to travel to an adjoining county.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown just couldn’t wait any longer. So after less than a week of attempted negotiations, the agencies involved were out for blood. To that end, from what I understand, Governor Brown authorized the use of any force necessary to end it – regardless of the consequences.

What she and others, including federal officials and local Harney County officials obviously don’t understand is that if they had just simply ignored Ammon Bundy and his followers at the refuge, eventually the whole thing would have just shriveled up and died. But an approach like that would require too much common sense. So instead, they pretended that it was some kind of really big thing -- that by being at the refuge the occupiers were allegedly “impeding federal officers” in their duties, and “disrupting local community,” when in reality it seems fairly clear that it is the government’s own actions and personnel that are causing virtually all the disruption.

And what a mess their decision to escalate has now caused. Does anyone remember the movie “First Blood?” Now there are literally legions of federal agents and “contractors” in Burns. Someone I know, a local rancher, tried to strike up a conversation with one of the fancily uniformed agents in a sandwich shop. He was clearly a big husky federal operative. The rancher first asked him what he was doing here, the agent said “security” then he was asked “for which side of the fence” to which the agent answered “the right side, I hope” he was then asked if he was a 3%er?. “no”, national guard?, “no”, OSP? …Uh, “yes”. When asked where he was from he said “Up North.” The rancher said, “where, Hermiston or Pendleton?, ”the agent said uh, Hermiston, yes. The rancher said, “that’s interesting because I grew up in Hermiston, and my mother still lives there. At that the agent stuttered and stammered around and said no more. End of conversation. The rancher then thought, “right!!. . that’s why there’s a half dozen black stretch suburbans with Minnesota private plates out front that you guys got out of. And why did you look me in the eye and have to lie about it. Is that what this is coming to?”. The rancher thought , “how stupid do you think we are here and if you aren’t subversives, then why do you need to lie?

After weeks of people being able to come and go at the Malheur Wildlife refuge for weeks – from what I saw, I swear the federal employees could have gone out there and done whatever work really needed doing -- now that there are only four people left, there are heavily armed, militarized check points on all the roads around the refuge. And you should see what happens at those checkpoints.

From what I understand, it’s not just a matter of showing your papers and explaining your business. If you approach one of the checkpoints, you are warned that you will be shot if you do anything other than exactly what you are told. From what I understand, these checkpoints are fortified with multiple vehicles, including Bearcats, with .50 caliber machine guns. To determine whether anyone who approaches a checkpoint has any business there, they make people get out of their vehicles – obviously at gunpoint, with the .50 cals always ready. Then they make people lay down on the ground, and they handcuff them before engaging in invasive, heavy-handed searches for weapons and other contraband.

That’s what another rancher I know encountered when he tried to go feed his cows. When he pulled up to the checkpoint, someone on a bullhorn threatened to shoot him if he made any misstep, before searching him as described, before finally allowing him to pass to do his chores. This is what locals are experiencing at the hands of the fully militarized police forces restricting their travel and activities in the area.

And thanks to the spin the government is putting on all of it, with the help of the mainstream media, this heavy-handed approach is all more than justified because a bunch of batshit crazy nutjobs camped out at the wildlife refuge.

Thanks to all the distortions, even if the protestors have any legitimate points – like the injustices to the Hammond Family – it’s all lost in the spin, and they don’t stand a chance in the court of public opinion, or in the court system.

Which reminds me, I was arguing a case last week before the Utah Court of Appeals in Cedar City. They were visiting Southern Utah University for this court session, so it was kind of a special occasion, and a big deal (at least to some). A number of local attorneys and judges were present to observe the proceedings. A couple of them are very good, long-time friends of mine. One is a guy I went to college and law school with who is now a vice president at SUU. The other is one of my former law partners, who is now a judge. He was one of my mentors as an attorney, and one of the best lawyers I have ever known. I have always had a lot of respect for him, and hold him in high regard. They were sitting together.

Afterward, as I was visiting with my law school buddy-turned-university administrator, he said that while I was arguing or during my comings and goings associated with the proceedings, our friend the judge leaned over and asked him if he had been seeing me on TV. My friend had to admit that he hadn’t and asked what that was all about. Our friend, the judge said “he’s been up there with those ‘nutcases’ in Oregon.”

Now, let’s just think a little bit about all of that. I think it’s fair to say that his statement probably reflected the views of about 90% of all Americans. It’s all about labels. By letting labels do most of the thinking, it keeps things a lot simpler in most people’s minds. That way they don’t have to try to understand the real issues.

But here’s the even bigger concern: it’s probably the view of about 99% of all judges. So, can you imagine anyone involved in this whole affair getting any kind of fair and impartial hearing before any judge -- state or federal? What a comforting thought.

In the meantime, I’m going to be working on a piece about the realities of the Federal Court System when it comes to Western land & resource use cases.

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Todd Macfarlane is an attorney, rancher, writer and political activist. He and his family own and operate the Turkey Track Ranch, near the small town of Kanosh, Utah. Todd is a veteran from earlier dust-ups in the sagebrush rebellion, having represented Mary Bullock and other ranchers in long-standing struggles with the federal government.  He currently represents the LaVoy Finicum Family. 

An Independent Perspective from the Rally in Burns by an Anonymous Activist

It was a blistering cold day as we arose at 6:30 to head to Burns, Oregon.  We had never physically protested before, but this case was different.  It was clear to any lay person reading the information that the Feds (and the various agencies involved) were out to take Hammond's property, any way they had to.

As the drive went on, I realized I had never really cared about what it meant to see or understand what a healthy range of land looked like. I was raised a city girl, and while I had some limited exposure to horses, I never really had time or took the time to ponder it all.

When we arrived (about an hour early), I was so pleased to see many American (and other flags) in the corner of the parking lot at Safeway in Burns. I glanced up at our car temperature gage, burr, 9 degrees. I thought, it's gonna be cold! My eyes were drawn to the many people already gathered next to those flags.  A sense of long-missed pride filled my heart.

We pulled into the parking lot and saw there was no place to park, already! My Husband dropped me off at the entrance so I could purchase some flowers and water for the walk.

He went off and checked into the motel, parked our car and walked back to Safeway. He met me inside the store. We picked out our things and checked out.  Everyone in the store was friendly and helpful.  I stood in the entry way, taking off my coat to add my hoodie.  The walk in was cold, and I had on a tank, a Tshirt over that and 2 pairs of pants. I added my hoodie, put on my hat and gloves and we headed outside.

Some background information on The Rally.... It was always clearly communicated to me, and the Residents of Harney County, that this was to be a peaceful Rally. We were all doing this to support The Hammond Family, and to protest not only the Cruel and Unusual Sentence they received, but their special designation as Terrorists for burning grass.  Anyone with common sense knows that you aren't a terrorist for burning grass, especially where no structures were damaged, nor were any monies or resources expended for putting the fires out (for background information, people were encouraged to read  I was told no "militia" insignia, no open carrying of long guns (rifles) and that if you were going to carry a weapon, carry concealed, it was a matter of respect.

As I looked around the crowd I did see some insignia, but most of it was on hats, a few jackets. I saw a couple of long guns (but they were not seen on the walk), some side arms (some of that was clearly plain clothes Law Enforcement) and I was pretty impressed. I thought, really, getting approximately 300 people to all do the same thing was nearly impossible, and maybe some did not get the instructions I did.

Speakers started to Rally the crowd. We Prayed.  Law Enforcement kind of had a look like "I drew the easy assignment today".

Ammon Bundy did speak at the podium, and a short time later passed me on the way up the hill..he seemed distracted, serious. I did not see Blaine Cooper or Jon Ritzheimer yesterday, though from their videos on YouTube they said they were here. I just figured there were so many people I just did not see them.

Dwight and Susie Hammond's house was on the route the protesters took (their ranch is about 50 miles away, their son Steven and his wife live there) and they came out to greet and thank them. The protestors left their flowers. The Rally was over. It was great and it was successful because it was peaceful and respectful, from the main group.  No disruptions occurred en route.

The 'After Rally Meeting' was set up where the other community meetings were held, at the county Fairgrounds. We arrived, and we could feel things were not right, clear out in the parking lot.  When we got inside, Pete Santilli (a YouTuber with a Radio Show, who was also at Bundy Ranch), had the microphone.  I whispered to a friend "What's going on"? They replied "Ammon, Jon, Blaine and some others captured the BLM Building out at The Preserve".

We listened to several speakers, each trying to explain to angry participants what happened. "We don't know why".  "No, we did not know they were going to do this."  "We have no idea why they chose The Preserve as their location, please be patient while we try to find out.". My Husband said "I'm uncomfortable".  We walked out.

It is a shame really. Several people, inside Harney County and out, had concerns about a different agenda evolving.  Some of the Patriots could see the possibility that there was an "undercurrent" of another agenda at play, but each time it was asked about - to various people, it was denied that it was happening.  One man I give a lot of credit to is Bj Soper.  I do not believe that it would have been as respectable as it was (most did not know about the other plan until well into the 1.2 mile planned route), had he not made a concerted effort to communicate with residents, militia and participants alike.  There are quite a few others, but I think he was exceptional here.  The problem is.. No matter your great, respectful, peaceful intentions, someone always has to be different...this time it is a doozy.

Many Patriots are feeling deceived and manipulated by what happened. Many question the motives or true agenda of those who chose to take the "hard stand" and what will be accomplished with this "hard stand".  Some believe this was a maneuver to force other Patriots to take a "hard stand” too.  Others believe it is a PSYOP.

What this Patriot knows? Good Question...

I know I am embarrassed for The Hammond's. Their name is being dragged through the National Press..not to bring their name and story to the public at large, but as a "reason" for why "other terrorists" have latched on to this if their case and name confirms they must be terrorists because they "attract other terrorists" to them.  What hogwash!

I do believe this for much for sure; This president thinks that it is acceptable to write Executive Orders limiting or taking away "rights" that are codified in our Constitution as Creator-Given Rights, that no government can take away. Congress is not doing its job to reign him in. The Supreme Court thinks it writes law/usurps states' individually enacted laws.  A Formal Redress of Grievance was provided to local and state officials, asking them to investigate The Hammond's Case. They are required by law to reply.  No reply was given by any officials.  We wrote letters, signed petitions.  At what point, as a people, do we acknowledge that our government is irreversibly no longer functioning in a workable manner? Remember, any law or authority not given specifically in our Constitution is to be considered Null and Void.  I would recommend people start reading our Founding Documents, to really understand what they say.

As we traveled home, I was again looking at the Open Range...noticing how there were very few trees. As we drove into Central Oregon, where our trees are allowed to grow, our land is "settled" with lawns and peppered with non-indigenous trees, I noticed something profound.  Our settled, un-razed (a controlled burn is called razing) land did not look nearly as healthy as the land that clearly was "handled" (intentionally or not) by fire.

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Deadly Sarin Gas Delivered to Syria Was Provided by Certain Western Countries (AKA NATO)

The following is very good coverage by Spiro: A treason investigation has been launched against a Turkish MP who alleged in an exclusive interview with RT that Islamic State jihadists delivered deadly sarin gas to Syria through Turkey.

Turkish MP faces treason charges after telling RT ISIS used Turkey for transiting sarin

BFP Exclusive- Developing Story: Hundreds of US-NATO Soldiers Arrive & Begin Operations on the Jordan-Syria Border

BFP Exclusive: Syria- Secret US-NATO Training & Support Camp to Oust Current Syrian President

US Media: Distorters of Reality & Gravediggers of Truth

NarcoNews: DEA Prostitute Scandal Isn’t Agency’s Only Trick

Drug-War Agency’s Latin America Operations Tarnished by a Pattern of Unaddressed Corruption Allegations

Bill Conroy

The current scandal over Colombian narco-traffickers paying prostitutes to provide sex services to DEA agents has an even deeper footprint in the agency than the current head of the DEA has conceded, court records stemming from past DEA operations reveal.

A March report by the Department of Justice Inspector General’s office that first revealed the allegations publicly indicates the sex parties with DEA agents and prostitutes in Colombia played out between 2005 and 2008. DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart wasn’t made aware of those activities until around 2012, according to the IG report.

“This has been a very difficult week for DEA, with members of Congress and the media asking tough questions and sharing our outrage about the disgraceful conduct of a few individuals several years ago,” DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart states in an email sent to employees earlier this month.“This employee misconduct has upset me for many reasons, but especially because it calls into question the incredible reputation DEA has built over more than 40 years.”

The House Oversight Committee, which is investigating the charges, recently released a report based on DEA documents that indicates some of the illicit activities in Colombia actually date back to 2001 but involved only a handful of agents.

Court records reviewed by Narco News, however, show DEA agents in Latin America were hooking up with prostitutes as far back as the late 1990s as part of a much broader pattern of alleged corruption involving DEA’s operations in Colombia.

A 2002 internal DEA report filed as an exhibit in a DEA agent’s wrongful termination lawsuit includes claims that a narco-trafficker and money launder turned DEA informant “prepaid the services of prostitutes” for as many as five DEA agents in Panama in the late 1990s. Those agents were assisting an operation that was making use of one of the more interesting characters in the shadows of the drug war.

That individual, Baruch Vega, served as a “foreign intelligence source” for the CIA, litigation documents reveal, while also doing work for the DEA and FBI in Latin America. As part of his work for the DEA in the late 1990s, Vega played the role of a broker of sorts charged with convincing key narco-trafficking figures in Colombia to negotiate favorable plea deals with the US government, court records reveal. Some of those narco-traffickers then went on to serve as cooperating sources for U.S. agencies, according to Vega.

Many of the negotiations with the Colombian narco-traffickers took place in Panama with DEA agents present, Vega claims. He described the DEA agents’ liaisons with prostitutes as a “very normal” part of the process.

“We would go for dinner with these narco-traffickers to negotiate their surrender to DEA, and after they would say, ‘Lets invite some girls,” Vega recounted in a recent interview with Narco News. “Then everyone would go out somewhere and the narco-traffickers would hire prostitutes to mingle with the agents, and the narco-traffickers would pay for it. This happened on several occasions in Panama, and in Colombia as well.”

Vega said the prostitutes didn’t know their clients were DEA agents, “but it’s possible when the narco-traffickers hired the girls, they told them they were agents.” He added that the ironic part of the arrangement was that the narco-traffickers would be “dating beautiful models” while the DEA agents would “be with the prostitutes.”

The 2002 DEA internal report is a small puzzle piece in a much larger web of intrigue and alleged corruption involving DEA’s operations in Colombia. Another piece of the puzzle surfaced in a leaked memo drafted in 2004 by a DOJ attorney named Thomas Kent. In that memo, Kent referred to DEA operations carried out in Colombia in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He alleged that DEA agents in Bogota were on the payroll of narco-traffickers, engaging in money laundering for Colombia’s right-wing paramilitary groups, and conspiring to murder their own informants to protect their corrupt schemes.

Mike Levine, a former deep undercover DEA agent who now serves as an expert court witness, said the rot inside DEA is far deeper than the current “sexcapade” scandal. In a legal case involving Colombian narco-traffickers as DEA targets that Levine recently investigated as an expert witness, he said he “documented something like $20 million in funds stolen by DEA and/or task force agents.” …

You can read the complete investigative report here @ NarcoNews

NarcoNews: CIA Veteran Sees Big Hole in Sterling Espionage Conviction

Retired Counterintelligence Officer Claims Intelligence Agency’s Office of Security Dropped the Ball

By Bill Conroy

A former CIA spy manager is raising a serious question about the way the intelligence agency handled the national-security risk raised in the case of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer who was recently convicted on espionage charges for leaking classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen.

Leutrell Osborne is a 27-year veteran of the CIA who as a case officer oversaw spies and assets in 30 countries. He said he befriended Sterling, who like Osborne is African American, during the course of a discrimination lawsuit Sterling initiated against the CIA in 2000. That litigation was ultimately dismissed by the courts in early 2006 due to the government’s national security claims.

“I decided to assist Jeffrey [Sterling] in his discrimination case because I had respect for him because he was a black man, an attorney and a spy manager, and part of the reason I worked at the CIA was so people like him could follow me,” said Osborne, a CIA employee from 1957-1984. [Video: Leutrell Osborne: Black Man in the CIA]

Osborne, who now runs a business-consulting firm, had numerous interactions and conversations with Sterling, which he said should have been of interest to the CIA’s Office of Security in the course of any internal agency investigation of potential classified-information leaks.

However, Osborne said the CIA never contacted him about Sterling, prior to or during the course of the criminal investigation targeting Sterling. That criminal investigation, which led to Sterling’s indictment in 2010, was initiated by at least 2008 — when reporter Risen was first subpoenaed in the case. Osborne also said that, to date, the CIA has not returned a call he made to the agency shortly after Sterling’s conviction in late January.

If the CIA was truly concerned that Sterling was leaking classified information, then the agency should have vetted anyone who had his confidence, particularly current and former CIA personnel, to determine the extent of his alleged espionage activities, Osborne contends.

“The CIA investigated Sterling, and they knew I knew him, or should have known, yet they did not talk to me,” Osborne said. “Is the CIA that incompetent in security? The CIA is supposedly the best security organization in the world, and yet they didn’t care that there were holes in their investigation? That raises a red flag for me.”

A federal court jury in Virginia found Sterling guilty earlier this year on nine criminal counts related to charges that he provided classified documents to Risen sometime between 2001 and 2005 that were made public in a book that the journalist published in early 2006. Risen’s tome, “State of War,” included a chapter detailing a CIA covert plan to derail Iran’s nuclear-weapons development capabilities.  Sterling, now 47, was assigned from 1998 to mid-2000 as an operational officer in the unit overseeing that Iran program, dubbed Operation Merlin in court records.

The government’s case against Sterling was made with circumstantial evidence — primarily records of phone calls and emails exchanged between Sterling and Risen between 2003 and 2005, none of which contained a smoking gun proving conclusively that Sterling leaked classified information. Sterling’s lawyers argued that the trail of emails and phone calls dovetailed in time with his discrimination lawsuit against the CIA and dealt with that matter, which Risen had written about in the New York Times previously. In addition, the defense argued that there were a number of other potential sources for Risen’s book, including Senate Select Intelligence Committee staffers, given Sterling in 2003 provided information to them legally as a whistleblower on what he deemed flaws in the covert Iran program.

The Department of Justice engaged in a controversial battle across the Bush and Obama administrations to force Risen to reveal his sources on Operation Merlin. Ultimately, though, the Department of Justice backed down as Sterling’s trial got underway in mid-January and did not call Risen to testify. Government attorneys argue that Sterling was a disgruntled former CIA employee motivated to strike back at the agency and that convictions based on strong circumstantial evidence are not out of the ordinary in the judicial system.

But Osborne’s criticism has more to do with CIA internal procedures than Sterling’s criminal case itself, though he argues that there is some pause for concern that the agency may have pushed the criminal case against Sterling in retaliation for his whistleblowing and discrimination lawsuit against the agency.

Attorney Mark Zaid, who represented Sterling in the discrimination case, said Osborne “gave media interviews” during the course of Sterling’s discrimination litigation, including for national outlets such as CNN, “and was very supportive of Jeff [Sterling],” though he never testified in the case. Osborne said the CIA certainly was aware of his relationship with Sterling, or at least should have been as the world’s premier intelligence agency. In addition, Osborne said he placed a call to the CIA in early February, shortly after Sterling’s conviction, but still has not been contacted by the agency.

Osborne points out that CIA attorneys do not try criminal cases and the CIA itself has no arrest powers. Once a suspect in a classified-information leak is identified, he said, the case is normally turned over to the FBI and Department of Justice attorney’s to pursue via the criminal justice system.

However, that does not absolve the CIA, he said, of conducting its own thorough internal investigation to determine the extent of the leak and how extensive the problem is and what other agency operations might have been affected or compromised. Because he had a relationship with Sterling, the CIA should have had an interest in determining what information was exchanged between them, Osborne said.

The CIA unit responsible for protecting classified information from disclosure, and for investigating such breaches, is the Office of Security.

“That unit [the Office of Security] should have been on the job. I was a potential hole in the security, and yet no one from CIA contacted me,” Osborne stressed. “The Office of Security’s job is to look for the dirty laundry, and possibly share what they find with the FBI. I should have been contacted.”

Osborne said the fact that CIA investigators did not question him prompts a suspicion that Sterling was not the national-security threat the agency portrayed him to be and that some individuals at the CIA may have “manipulated” the Department of Justice into pursuing an espionage case against him. Alternatively, another possible implication of the agency’s failure to vet Osborne is equally troubling. That lapse, he said, points to a potential serious weakness in the CIA’s internal “security protocols” for containing espionage threats.

Dean Boyd, director of the CIA Office of Public Affairs, when asked about Osborne’s allegations, provided the following response via email:

“The criminal investigation of Jeffrey Sterling and his unauthorized disclosure of classified information was conducted by the FBI. The criminal prosecution was handled by the Department of Justice. As you may know, determinations on potential witnesses or interviews to be conducted in connection with a criminal investigation and prosecution are the purview of the FBI and Department of Justice.”

When asked in a follow-up email to address the specific concern Osborne raised about the failure of CIA investigators to contact him as part of the agency’s internal security protocols, Boyd replied: “We have no further information for you.”

“There are valleys between DOJ, FBI and the CIA,” Osborne said. “CIA uses DOJ attorneys for criminal cases, but it doesn’t’ make sense that CIA did not contact me or that DOJ should have handled that,” given any compromise of classified information potentially threatens broader CIA operations possibly not even known to DOJ. Osborne added that neither the DOJ or FBI contacted him about Sterling — nor did he reach out to them.

“This discussion just accentuates how stupid this situation is,” Osborne added.

For the record, Osborne said Sterling never shared any classified information with him.

“I did not inquire about what he did for the CIA,” Osborne said. “And he had too much respect for me to involve me in his garbage. Sterling never shared with me anything he did clandestinely for the CIA.”

Past Deceptions

This isn’t the first time the CIA Office of Security has been called out for failing to do its job properly.

In March of last year, US Sen. Dianne Feinstein, then chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), lashed out publicly at the CIA, accusing the agency and its top lawyer of illegally spying on the Senate staff charged with investigating the George W. Bush-era terrorism practices. She accused the CIA of seeking to intimidate the Senate committee by asking the Justice Department to investigate those same staffers based on what she described as “inaccurate information” provided to the Justice Department.

Although Feinstein did not then publicly identify the CIA lawyer she accused of helping to orchestrate the alleged attack on the Senate staff — via his referral of charges to DOJ — White House spokesman Jay Carney subsequently confirmed that it was then-Acting CIA General Counsel Robert Eatinger.

The Senate staff was utilizing secure computers set up by the CIA that allowed them to examine millions of documents to prepare a 6,000-page report on the terrorism-detention and interrogation program. An abbreviated version of that report, some 500 pages long and released in December of last year, determined the CIA’s use of torture to obtain information from suspects held in secret prisons didn’t work, yet the agency lied repeatedly in claiming it was effective.

In the course of preparing their report for Feinstein’s committee, the CIA alleges the Senate staffers illegally hacked into the agency’s computers to obtain information — creating the basis for Eatinger’s request for a DOJ criminal investigation. Senate staffers maintain the information in question was contained in trove of records made available to them by CIA for examination.

A five-member CIA Accountability Board, which included three CIA officials, was assembled to investigate the matter and determined in findings issued this past January that CIA personnel did nothing illegal, that it was all essentially an honest misunderstanding.

However, Feinstein took issue with the findings of the board and issued a blistering critique.

“Regardless of the extent of the violation or intent of those involved, someone should be held accountable,” she said in a press release published on Jan. 27. “…The CIA IG [Inspector General, in a separate report] found the CIA criminal referral against SSCI staff was based on inaccurate information provided to Acting General Counsel Bob Eatinger by personnel in CIA’s Office of Security. The actions of these individuals were ignored by the CIA Accountability Board, which is shocking and unacceptable.” [Emphasis added.]

So, essentially, a US senator claims the CIA’s Office of Security lied to the Department of Justice as part of an effort to launch a criminal investigation into Senate staffers


You can read the complete investigative report here @ NarcoNews

Jim Hogue Interviews Sibel Edmonds- Classified Woman, Lone Gladio, Government Secrecy & Much More

A recent interview conducted by Jim Hogue for WGDH-91.7 FM: House at Pooh Corner, a public affairs program focused on vents and themes which are most significant in their impact on peace, justice, legality, democracy and monetary policy. We discuss the journey writing and publishing Classified Woman and The Lone Gladio, government secrecy, espionage, 9/11, apathy, citizen responsibility, and much more during this hour long interview.

*For the direct link to the interview site click here.

Dr. Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD: Measles vs. MMR Vaccine- Risks & Benefits

“The risks of the MMR vaccine are greater than the risks of having measles. This fact is gradually coming to light.”

Here are a few excerpts from an excellent article written by Dr. Miller at . I encourage you to read the full article, and get that critical thinking juice going:

MMR vaccination for measles provides immunity against the virus that causes this disease, and people are spared having to suffer through its debilitating manifestations and be subject to possible complications. The MMR shot, however, does not confer lifelong immunity against measles. It only lasts for several years. Booster shots are required, which studies show to be less effective than the initial one.

Health officials, both in the U.S. and UK, blame unvaccinated people and the “anti-vaxxers” for these outbreaks. Assisted by a compliant media, they downplay the fact that the vast majority of people who are contracting measles have been fully vaccinated against it—more than 95 percent in some outbreaks

The key question, of course, which officials and pundits do not ask (preferring instead to censure “anti-vaxxers”), is: Why would an unvaccinated person pose a danger to the vaccinated population if the vaccine they had is effective and really works?

One benefit of having measles is that a person so infected will then have lifelong, permanent immunity to it. Mothers transfer antibodies against measles to their babies, which protect them from this disease during their early critical months of life. The MMR shot, however, does not provide lifelong immunity to measles. It only lasts several years, and successively less effective booster shots are required

There is a second, major benefit of measles that health authorities overlook. Measles helps a child’s immune system grow strong and mature

Could the fact that cancer has now become a leading cause of death in children be connected to vaccinations? Only a well-controlled, randomized, blinded, long-term scientific trial would be able to conclusively answer this question. But societal entities that could fund such a study, like the government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH), drug companies that make the vaccine, or the CDC do not feel that it is necessary to conduct one

Read the article @ LRC: Click Here

*Donald Miller (send him mail) is a retired cardiac surgeon and Emeritus Professor of Surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He is a member of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness and writes articles on a variety of subjects for . His web site is

NarcoNews: Torture Report Reveals CIA’s Manipulation of US Media

Agency Used Classified Information as Currency for Deception
By Bill Conroy

The recently released Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report pillorying the CIA’s Bush-era detention and interrogation program is replete with lurid details of what would commonly be called torture, if those practices were carried out on you or me.

Waterboarding, rectal feeding, sleep deprivation, coffin-size cells and forcing detainees to stand in stress positions, even with broken bones, is the stuff of a horror movie. But there is another revelation in the long-awaited, and controversial, Senate committee report that so far seems to have slipped past much examination in the public spotlight.

The Senate report makes clear that CIA officials attempted to play the media like a fiddle by selectively releasing classified information about the detention and interrogation program.

“The CIA manipulated rules on classified information to serve its own interests,” Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy, said. “And the Senate report cites several examples of that.”

In fact, one of the findings of the report is quite blunt on that front:

“The CIA's Office of Public Affairs and senior CIA officials coordinated to share classified information on the CIA' s Detention and Interrogation Program to select members of the media to counter public criticism, shape public opinion, and avoid potential congressional action to restrict the CIA's … authorities and budget. These disclosures occurred when the program was a classified covert action program.”

This finding is troubling in light of the ongoing efforts to prosecute well-known whistleblowers, such as Edward Snowden of NSA-leak fame, and some half dozen others in separate cases, all of whom could face (or are facing) years in prison for allegedly disclosing classified information to the media. To be sure, there are nuances in each of the cases and the comparison is not perfect, but at the heart of it all is a set of rules on the release of classified information that are marked with double standards.

“If you have no security clearance, and there is not a need to know, then you’re not supposed to get classified information,” Aftergood said. “The Senate committee found that CIA officials leaked classified information [to the media] and no further investigation was conducted.”

The Senate report describes the practice as follows:

“In seeking to shape press reporting on the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program, CIA officers and the CIA's Office of Public Affairs (OPA) provided unattributed background information on the program to journalists for books, articles, and broadcasts, including when the existence of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program was still classified. When the journalists to whom the CIA had provided background information published classified information, the CIA did not, as a matter of policy, submit crimes reports.”

One example illustrative of the practice, cited in the report, is found in correspondence penned by the deputy director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center in 2005, as the torture program was beginning to unravel:

“We either get out and sell, or we get hammered, which has implications beyond the media. [C]ongress reads it, cuts our authorities. messes up our budget. …We either put out our story or we get eaten. [T]here is no middle ground.”

The same CIA officer explained to a colleague that "when the [Washington Post]/[New York T]imes quotes ‘senior intelligence official,’ it’s us ... authorized and directed by opa [CIA's Office of Public Affairs].”

And much of the information leaked to the media via these authorized leaks “on the operation of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program and the effectiveness of its enhanced interrogation techniques was inaccurate…,” the Senate report states.

So, in essence, the CIA operated as a propaganda machine, utilizing classified information as part of a larger effort to deceive the American public about the shortcomings of its torture program, if the Senate report is to be believed. Now, none of this is really new in the big picture of how the government and the media work with respect to classified information. The simple rule to remember is that the higher up in the government the leaker is, the less risk they face.

As far back as 1974, politicians were pointing out this basic flaw in the system. A Congressional Research Service (CRS) report released last year touches on the reality:

You can read the complete investigative report here @ NarcoNews

NarcoNews: US Military’s Training of Mexican Security Forces Continues as Human-Rights Abuses Mount in Mexico

DoD Officials Claim Training is Part of the Solution, Not the Problem

By Bill Conroy

The U.S. government has spent more than $62 million since fiscal year 2010 providing highly specialized training to Mexican security forces, including some $16.3 million in fiscal 2013, as part of an effort to help Mexico better prosecute its war on drugs, records made public under the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act show.

The spending has continued even as Mexico’s military and police forces continue to face accusations of pervasive human-rights abuses committed against Mexican citizens, leading some experts to question whether the U.S.-funded training is resulting in some deadly unintended consequences.

The news of the disappearance in late September of 43 students who attended a rural teachers college in Ayotzinapa, located in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, has sparked massive protests in Mexico. The students were allegedly turned over to a criminal gang after being abducted by Mexican police and they remain missing. The police fired on the three buses transporting the students along a stretch of road near Iguala, about 130 kilometers north of Ayotiznapa, and the abduction was carried out near a Mexican military base, according to Human Rights Watch.

The Ayotzinapa incident was preceded by a lesser-known attack this past June during which Mexican soldiers killed 22 people inside a warehouse in Tlatlaya, 238 kilometers southwest of Mexico City. At least 12 of those homicides were deemed extrajudicial executions, according to Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission[CNDH in its Spanish initials].

Last year, the Mexican government conceded that at least 26,000 people had gone missing, or been disappeared, in Mexico since 2006 — the year the war on the “cartels” in that nation was launched. Over that same period, INEGI (the Mexican State Statistics Agency) reports, there were some 155,000 homicides in Mexico, most with a nexus to the drug war.

The U.S. Department of Defense insists that the relationship it has with Mexican security forces is based on “trust and confidence and mutual respect” and is critical to helping to reduce the violence sparked by criminal organizations in Mexico.

The U.S. training, funded through the DoD and to a lesser extent the U.S. Department of State, encompasses a wide range of military strategy and tactics and is carried out at locations in the United States and inside Mexico. Among the course topics on the menu are asymmetrical conflict, counter intelligence, international counterterrorism, psychological operations, counter-drug operations and urban operations. The training is being provided to a broad spectrum of Mexican security forces, including the Army, Navy and the federal police, according to data provided to Congress under the requirements of the Foreign Assistance Act and is current through fiscal year 2013.

Adam Isacson, senior associate for regional security policy with the Washington Office on Latin America, a nongovernmental organization promoting human rights and democracy in Latin America, says there is a lack of reliable public data on the fate of Mexican security forces after they receive U.S. military training.

“What happens to these trainees a year or two down the road after they are placed in areas dominated by organized crime?” Isacson asks. “We simply don’t have good after-training tacking of these people, and the amount they are paid can’t compete with the drug money. Plus, the risk of getting caught is small. The biggest risk for them isn’t jail, but rather running afoul of the drug organizations.”

From fiscal 2010 through 2013, U.S. military training was provided to some 8,300 members of Mexico’s security forces, according to Foreign Assistance Act data. That training is overseen by U.S Northern Command (Northcom), a Department of Defense branch created in 2002 that is responsible for U.S. homeland defense as well as security cooperation efforts with the Bahamas, Canada and Mexico.

Northcom officials contend that all Mexican security forces receiving U.S. training are well vetted and that data is maintained on all participants. The training is designed to compliment Mexico’s existing efforts to maintain security and stability in the country.

You can read the complete investigative report here @ NarcoNews

ClandesTime: Sibel Edmonds on “The Lone Gladio”

Tom Secker of SpyCulture Interviews Sibel Edmonds

Today I welcome to the show FBI whistleblower and author Sibel Edmonds of and we talk about her new book The Lone Gladio.  We discussed how the novel subverts the usual spy genre, not just through its uncompromising look at the deep state but also in its treatment of women, its portrayal of black operatives and how it responds to the question of what do we do with people like those in the Gladio network?  We also touched on the recreation of Sibel’s real life story in the CIA-sponsored TV show Homeland.

Full-segment podcast clip

*Visit these links to purchase The Lone Gladio in Kindle, paperback and Nook formats. You can also purchase a signed copy (can be shipped to anywhere in the world!) from the author at The Lone Gladio website or here

The Lone Gladio- Operation Gladio B: NATO-CIA-MI6 Recipe for Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Grand Chessboard

James Corbett Interviewed by Jim Hogue on “The Lone Gladio”

Tune in to this extraordinary interview. James Corbett discusses The Lone Gladio, and provides an incredible analysis of the Deep State, Shadow Government, Operation Gladio B, Zbigniew Brzezinski's Grand Chessboard, the New Cold War, Synthetic Terrorism, Perpetual Wars and much more!

Many thanks to the informed and articulate host, Jim Hogue, for providing this forum to inform and induce needed critical thinking!

*Visit these links to purchase The Lone Gladio in Kindle, paperback and Nook formats. You can also purchase a signed copy (can be shipped to anywhere in the world!) from the author at The Lone Gladio website or here

**Visit this page for all previous reviews, analyses and interviews on “The Lone Gladio”: ClickHere

NarcoNews: Millions Missing From DEA Money-Laundering Operation

… But No One With the Power to Investigate Seems to Care

By Bill Conroy

At least $20 million went missing from money seizures by law enforcers, critical evidence was destroyed by a federal agency, a key informant was outed by a US prosecutor — contributing to her being kidnapped and nearly killed — and at the end of the day not a single narco-trafficker was prosecuted in this four-year-long DEA undercover operation gone awry.

Those revelations surfaced in a recently decided court case filed in the US Court of Federal Claims in Washington, DC.

“Throughout this protracted litigation, the agency [DEA] delayed producing documents until the 11th hour and destroyed potentially relevant evidence,“ states Judge Mary Ellen Coster Williams in an Aug. 30 ruling awarding the informant in the case, with the code name “Princess,” more than $1.1 million. “…The conclusion that there were missing trafficker funds is supported by … DEA documents, including a statement by [a] DEA confidential informant.”

The Princess, a former airline stewardess and mother of two, lived in the US but hailed from an upper-crust Colombian family. Though her two former husbands had ties to the drug trade, she had a clean record and was essentially “scammed” into working as an informant by the threat of prosecution, court records reveal. Consequently, she was completely out of her league in taking on an extremely dangerous undercover role in the world of transnational crime, where she was charged with posing as a money launder to rope in high-level Colombian narco-traffickers for the DEA.

During the course of her undercover assignment, which played out in the early to mid-1990s, she was the target of death threats and even a foiled plot on her life after her cover was compromised. It was blown both by DEA negligence in money-seizing operations and as a result of an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago disclosing her “status as a confidential informant to a criminal defendant whom the Princess had lured to the United States to be arrested,” the judge’s ruling reveals.

Even after all that, her DEA handlers still sent the Princess back into Colombia to meet with narco-traffickers, with her cover blown, leading to her being kidnapped and held for ransom for some three months “in a windowless, dirt-floor room where she slept on a straw mattress,” court records indicate.

She narrowly averted death due to the intervention of a “criminal associate of many high-level Cali mafia members” who also was a DEA cooperating source in Colombia. The source negotiated her release with a payment of $350,000 from his own funds, because DEA refused to negotiate officially with “terrorists.”

But the subtext to this story goes far deeper than a tale of a botched DEA operation — one that allegedly laundered in excess of $60 million for the narco-traffickers, with more than $20 million still missing, and which, in the end, produced no prosecutions (other than that of a Florida DEA agent, who was convicted of skimming some $700,000 from a money pick-up location in Houston and received a two-year sentence.)

Mike Levine, a former deep undercover DEA agent and supervisor who examined copious DEA documents related to this case as an expert witness for Princess’ lawyers, goes as far as to say in his report to the court that the law enforcers involved with the operation were likely stealing millions from the narco-trafficker funds seized in the operation and may well have been complicit in Princess’ kidnapping.

Princess’ [the informant's] undercover role posing as a money launderer made her the responsible party for money shortages, of which a large number were noted in reporting, including the theft of … trafficker funds by a corrupt DEA agent, Rene De La Cova, and likely other corrupt agents whom, due to an absence of DEA oversight, have managed to thus far elude identification. Each of these [money] shortages placed Princess, the one whom the traffickers would blame for the missing money, in clear and present danger of homicide and/or kidnapping, unless resolved.

… The Princess Operation, as a result of lax and/or non-existent oversight by DEA Headquarters, was utilized by corrupt [US law] officers to steal trafficker funds, pad expense accounts, indulge in heavy drinking and the taking of high-expense boondoggle trips, while the safety and security of Princess went entirely ignored, resulting with her predictable kidnapping.

Levine, when asked about the case by Narco News, also provided the following details concerning his testimony before the court:

At one point, the prosecutor cross-examined me by asking if I thought the agents handling Princess were plotting to kill Princess by exposing her to one deadly situation after the other until she was killed. I testified (paraphrased according to my memory) that with more than $20 million missing and unaccounted for, and in consideration of the way they were handling her, it was a reasonable possibility.

The judge later that day ordered that the case be investigated by the US Attorney General's office. …As you can see, the secrecy surrounding this thing is astonishing. I mean it is certainly not to protect Princess.

Fox Guarding the Chicken Coop

The so-called Operation Princess was overseen by the assistant special agent in charge of DEA’s Fort Lauderdale, Fla., office and was a US Attorney General-sanctioned money-laundering sting. The DEA agents, operating in conjunction with local law enforcers via a task force, used Princess to convince Colombian narco-traffickers to provide her money to launder through her accounts. Princess would charge a fee (a percentage) for the service, and after taking that cut would deliver the laundered cash to accounts controlled by the narco-traffickers.

That was the pretense. In reality, the cash was being picked up at numerous points in the US by the DEA task-force agents and deposited in undercover bank accounts controlled by DEA and then sent to the narco-traffickers after extracting the fees, which were used to fund the DEA operation. Essentially, DEA was in the money-laundering business. The ostensible goal was to follow the money and build evidence to prosecute key figures in the narco-trafficking network.

The way it played out, though, according to Levine and court records, is despite the four years that the money-laundering operation was in play, from late 1991 to 1995, no prosecutions resulted and at least $20 million went missing, unaccounted for in DEA documents — which were either destroyed or nonexistent. Yet only one DEA agent was prosecuted — allegedly for skimming a tiny fraction of the missing cash, $700,000.

To date, DEA has failed to account for that missing money, Levine stresses, hence the judge’s request for an inquiry by the US Attorney General’s office, which oversees the Department of Justice under which DEA operates.

Princess’ lawsuit sought damages from DEA for the long-term serious consequences that her kidnapping had on her health. She claims the ordeal sparked a serious nervous-system disorder that has left her debilitated. The judge’s August ruling found in her favor, ordering DEA to pay out in excess of $1.1 million to cover the cost of the now-former informant’s future health-care costs.

One former federal agent explains that money-laundering operations, such as Operation Princess, are supposed to be under strict controls to prevent skimming. He says absent those controls, which include auditing the books regularly and assuring money from pick-ups or seizures is counted promptly and accurately, it’s not difficult for a greedy agent to skim money off the top.

“When you’re chasing people who are moving cash, and there’s two or three bags of money [at a pick-up location], it’s real easy to stick a bundle of cash in a brief case,” the federal agent explains.

And no one is the wiser — other than the narco-traffickers who provided the money in the first place. Once they check their accounts, after the money is laundered (by DEA), and see the amount is light by $1 million or $2 million, who are they going to blame? In this case, Levine says, they blamed the Princess, figuring she was either a thief or a DEA informant, or both.

It’s the perfect crime, so long as DEA brass decides to look the other way, for fear of embarrassing the agency or undermining a big-budget operation.

The Kent Memo

This isn’t the first time that alleged corruption within DEA has surfaced in relation to Colombian narco-traffickers, informants and money laundering. Similar allegations of DEA corruption were alleged in what is now known as the Kent Memo.

Narco News broke that story in 2006, based on a leaked memo drafted by Department of Justice attorney Thomas M. Kent that referred to DEA operations carried out in Colombia and the US in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In the memo, written in December 2004, Kent alleges that DEA agents in Bogotá, Colombia, assisted narco-traffickers, engaged in money laundering for Colombia’s right-wing paramilitary groups, and conspired to murder informants.

Kent’s memo also alleges that investigations into the alleged corruption carried out by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) and DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) were derailed and whitewashed by officials within those watchdog agencies.

A CIA “foreign-intelligence source” named Baruch Vega, key to DEA operations at the center of the Kent Memo, also says some of his informants, were, in fact, murdered due to leaks inside DEA and the US Embassy in Bogotá.

Vega claims he was used by multiple US law enforcement agencies simultaneously in the late 1990s and early 2000s to infiltrate and flip key narco-trafficking figures in Colombia — by convincing them to negotiate favorable plea deals with the US government. Some of those narco-traffickers went on to serve as assets for US agencies.

“I know exactly her [the Princess’] whole case.,” Vega claimed, in an interview with Narco News. “It’s exactly the same group [of allegedly corrupt US law enforcers involved]. Nothing changed at all. That was beginning of the North Valley Cartel [in Colombia]. The North Valley Cartel became very powerful immediately after the Cali Cartel was jeopardized by the same group [of US agents].”

Vega contends that the North Valley Cartel was a union of corrupt US law enforcers, including DEA agents; corrupt Colombian National Police; paramilitaries known as the AUC; and Colombian narco-traffickers. The NVC rose to dominance in Colombia in the late1990s and beyond with the demise of the Cali Cartel and traces its roots back to Los Pepes …

You can read the complete investigative report here @ NarcoNews

The Lone Gladio: An Edge-of-Your-Seat Thriller

“A globetrotting, Crichton-esque narrative unfolds, from Baku to the jungles of Vietnam, in true page-turning fashion!”

By Tom Secker

This morning I finished reading Sibel Edmonds’ debut novel The Lone Gladio, less than 24 hours after I started reading the book.  A more considered review will come later but my initial reaction is thus:

Great spy novels are rare.  Great books about state terrorism and geopolitics are even rarer.  In The Lone Gladio Sibel Edmonds gives you both – an edge-of-your-seat thriller combined with a devastating exposé of some of NATO’s very worst crimes, among them the terror attacks of 9/11.  Suppressed by the mainstream media and gagged by the federal government, former FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds has not only set up her own media platform at Boiling Frogs Post, and published her own autobiography Classified Woman, she has now added top-rate fiction to her arsenal of weapons in her ongoing fight with the NATO establishment.

In typical thriller fashion the story follows a wide web of interconnected characters across multiple agencies and spheres of life.  From FBI translator and analyst Elsie Simon via ex black ops specialist Greg McPhearson to renowned terrorist commando Yousef Mahmoud – this is a tale set in the deep state, and based on real people and true events.  Two agents are forced out of the FBI for getting too close to an international network responsible for false flag terrorism, assassinations, drug running and child prostitution.  They pursue their investigation, carrying us along with them for the ride.  And it is a wild ride.  A globetrotting, Crichton-esque narrative unfolds, from Baku to the jungles of Vietnam, in true page-turning fashion.

And yet, the book is no typical glorification of spies and secret agents.  Even when circumstances force Elsie to team up first with a billionaire obsessed with the murder of his son and then with the rampaging torturer/assassin OG 68, she still voices powerful and articulate moral objections.  It is these, rather than the satisfying array of revenge attacks carried out by OG 68, that are left ringing in the mind of the reader.  What is most impressive about this novel is that while it effortlessly apes all the usual bells and whistles of spy thrillers it is a very subversive book.  I have read literally hundreds of spy stories and I cannot think of another that offers the reader as much as The Lone Gladio.  For a dozen different reasons, I could not put this book down, and you won’t be able to either.

The Lone Gladio is available in Kindle, paperback and Nook formats.  You can also buy a signed copy from the author at The Lone Gladio website.  Sibel will hopefully be appearing on ClandesTime next month to talk about her new book, so we can all look forward to that.

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*To read the complete review visit Tom Secker’s site here @ SpyCulture.

A Review by Corbett Report: “The Lone Gladio” Blows the Lid Off Of Gladio B

“Eat your heart out, Fleming, Clancy, Le Carré; “The Lone Gladio” boldly goes where no mere spy yarn would dare!”

By James Corbett

null The Lone Gladio,” the new novel by FBI whistleblower and founder Sibel Edmonds, is not just another spy novel. Yes, it is about spies…of a sort. And clandestine missions. And double-crosses and unsure loyalties. But that’s where the similarity ends.

“The Lone Gladio” derives its name from Operation Gladio. As even the most mainstream source (read: Wikipedia) will tell you, Operation Gladio was a NATO-led “stay-behind” operation to build up paramilitary forces that could resist Soviet occupation in the event of a Soviet invasion of Europe. It operated in many countries but is most closely associated with Italy where the program was first exposed in spectacular fashion by Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti in October, 1990. The scale of the scandal involved with the revelation of this program is hard to overstate; Gladio stay-behind operatives were intimately involved with some of the worst atrocities of Italy’s so-called “Years of Lead” including the Bologna Massacre, a bombing of the Bologna railway station that left 85 dead and over 200 wounded.

What the mainstream sources do not tell you about Operation Gladio is that it is not merely a NATO-led operation, but a CIA-sponsored and Pentagon-connected one; that it is not merely operative in Europe but throughout the world; that its main area of operations is not Italy but Turkey; and that it did not end operations after the fall of the Soviet Union, but merely changed tactics, from fostering right-wing paramilitary groups (original Gladio) to fostering Islamic terrorist groups (Gladio “B”).

All of this is documented fact, although for the deeper analysis of these facts and how they relate to the current “war on terror” you’ll have to invest the time in my landmark interview series with Sibel Edmonds on Gladio B that was conducted last year. In that series, Sibel Edmonds went further than ever before in laying out what she gathered in her time as a translator in the Washington Field Office of the FBI, including: US State Department / Gladio operative’s liaison with Osama Bin Laden’s right-hand man throughout the 1990s; the NATO takeover of Afghan poppy fields after 9/11 and Gladio-protected drug running and money laundering operations; the dramatic life (and death) of drug trafficker, assassin and Turkish government collaborator Abdullah Çatlı; the direction of billionaire Imam Fethullah Gulen’s mysterious fortune and his 600 madrasas from his Pennsylvania castle with his CIA backers; Gladio-sponsored false flag terror operations in Central Asia and the Caucasus; and much more.

Any way you slice it, the information packed into the Gladio B series is explosive, pun intended. But as deeply involved as it is with characters, names, places and events that most in the Western world have little or no familiarity with, it can be difficult to see the forest for the trees. “The Lone Gladio” is a work of ‘fiction’ that steps back from the trees to show you the forest.

The central conceit of the novel is that a high-ranking Gladio operative, stung by the incidental killing of his lover (“collateral damage” as he himself would have termed it), goes rogue, setting in motion a series of events that threatens to expose the entire Gladio B operation. Caught up along the way are a high-ranking Congressman on a child sex tour of Cambodia; the CIA team that is surveilling and blackmailing him; an American reporter caught in the crossfire; a US mogul searching for his son’s killers; the Russian operatives who have penetrated his organization; and Elsie Simon, a plucky 5 foot 3 inch 105 pound FBI translator haunted by the disappearance of her father.

The novel has all the twists and turns of any spy thriller, and then some. There is action, suspense, high-tech spy gadgetry, violence, and a love story. But what sets this book apart is that, unlike a Tom Clancy or John Le Carré novel, “The Lone Gladio” is not escapism. In fact, it is exactly the opposite: it is a vehicle for revealing the shocking reality underneath the surface of the mundane picture of the world we are presented with on the nightly news. No jingoistic patriotism and good guys in service to the president bunkum here. Consider this description of the shadow government from “OG 68″ aka Greg MacPhearson, the high-ranking Gladio operative gone rogue:

“There are others outside the government, and they are the ones on top. They are the true power that controls the second tier: the government front system—because government is a front. The CIA too sets up front companies; it’s strikingly similar. The real power—the Deep State, let’s call it—is out and above the actual visible government.”

The true power of this novel is that, although it is a work of fiction with fictional characters and fictional license is taken (the 9/11 false flag is revealed as a hoax on national television, after all), it is still a tale told by an insider with an insider’s knowledge of this system and how it functions. We would be fools not to take this book and the message it is desperately trying to impart seriously. And that message is that there is a deep state, that it has been functioning a long time, and that it is puppeteering the events we see playing out across the nightly news.

Eat your heart out, Fleming, Ludlow, Clancy, Le Carré; “The Lone Gladio” boldly goes where no mere spy yarn would dare.

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*This review was originally written and published here @ Corbett Report.

**Visit these links to purchase The Lone Gladio in Kindle, paperback and Nook formats. Or you can purchase a signed copy from the author at The Lone Gladio website