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Edward Snowden

June 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

In the course of his professional life in the world of national security Edward Snowden must have gone through numerous probing interviews, lie detector examinations, and exceedingly detailed background checks, as well as filling out endless forms carefully designed to catch any kind of falsehood or inconsistency. The Washington Post (June 10) reported that “several officials said the CIA will now undoubtedly begin reviewing the process by which Snowden may have been hired, seeking to determine whether there were any missed signs that he might one day betray national secrets.”

Yes, there was a sign they missed – Edward Snowden had something inside him shaped like a conscience, just waiting for a cause.

It was the same with me. I went to work at the State Department, planning to become a Foreign Service Officer, with the best – the most patriotic – of intentions, going to do my best to slay the beast of the International Communist Conspiracy. But then the horror, on a daily basis, of what the United States was doing to the people of Vietnam was brought home to me in every form of media; it was making me sick at heart. My conscience had found its cause, and nothing that I could have been asked in a pre-employment interview would have alerted my interrogators of the possible danger I posed because I didn’t know of the danger myself. No questioning of my friends and relatives could have turned up the slightest hint of the radical anti-war activist I was to become. My friends and relatives were to be as surprised as I was to be. There was simply no way for the State Department security office to know that I should not be hired and given a Secret Clearance. 1

So what is a poor National Security State to do? Well, they might consider behaving themselves. Stop doing all the terrible things that grieve people like me and Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning and so many others. Stop the bombings, the invasions, the endless wars, the torture, the sanctions, the overthrows, the support of dictatorships, the unmitigated support of Israel; stop all the things that make the United States so hated, that create all the anti-American terrorists, that compel the National Security State – in pure self defense – to spy on the entire world.

Eavesdropping on the planet

The above is the title of an essay that I wrote in 2000 that appeared as a chapter in my book Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower. Here are some excerpts that may help to put the current revelations surrounding Edward Snowden into perspective …

Can people in the 21st century imagine a greater invasion of privacy on all of earth, in all of history? If so, they merely have to wait for technology to catch up with their imagination.

Like a mammoth vacuum cleaner in the sky, the National Security Agency (NSA) sucks it all up: home phone, office phone, cellular phone, email, fax, telex … satellite transmissions, fiber-optic communications traffic, microwave links … voice, text, images … captured by satellites continuously orbiting the earth, then processed by high-powered computers … if it runs on electromagnetic energy, NSA is there, with high high tech. Twenty-four hours a day. Perhaps billions of messages sucked up each day. No one escapes. Not presidents, prime ministers, the UN Secretary-General, the pope, the Queen of England, embassies, transnational corporation CEOs, friend, foe, your Aunt Lena … if God has a phone, it’s being monitored … maybe your dog isn’t being tapped. The oceans will not protect you. American submarines have been attaching tapping pods to deep underwater cables for decades.

Under a system codenamed ECHELON, launched in the 1970s, the NSA and its junior partners in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada operate a network of massive, highly automated interception stations, covering the globe amongst them. Any of the partners can ask any of the others to intercept its own domestic communications. It can then truthfully say it does not spy on its own citizens.

Apart from specifically-targeted individuals and institutions, the ECHELON system works by indiscriminately intercepting huge quantities of communications and using computers to identify and extract messages of interest from the mass of unwanted ones. Every intercepted message – all the embassy cables, the business deals, the sex talk, the birthday greetings – is searched for keywords, which could be anything the searchers think might be of interest. All it takes to flag a communication is for one of the parties to use a couple or so of the key words in the ECHELON “dictionary” – “He lives in a lovely old white house on Bush Street, right near me. I can shoot over there in two minutes.” Within limitations, computers can “listen” to telephone calls and recognize when keywords are spoken. Those calls are extracted and recorded separately, to be listened to in full by humans. The list of specific targets at any given time is undoubtedly wide ranging, at one point including the likes of Amnesty International and Christian Aid.

ECHELON is carried out without official acknowledgment of its existence, let alone any democratic oversight or public or legislative debate as to whether it serves a decent purpose. The extensiveness of the ECHELON global network is a product of decades of intense Cold War activity. Yet with the end of the Cold War, its budget – far from being greatly reduced – was increased, and the network has grown in both power and reach; yet another piece of evidence that the Cold War was not a battle against something called “the international communist conspiracy”.

The European Parliament in the late 1990s began to wake up to this intrusion into the continent’s affairs. The parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee commissioned a report, which appeared in 1998 and recommended a variety of measures for dealing with the increasing power of the technologies of surveillance. It bluntly advised: “The European Parliament should reject proposals from the United States for making private messages via the global communications network [Internet] accessible to US intelligence agencies.” The report denounced Britain’s role as a double-agent, spying on its own European partners.

Despite these concerns the US has continued to expand ECHELON surveillance in Europe, partly because of heightened interest in commercial espionage – to uncover industrial information that would provide American corporations with an advantage over foreign rivals.

German security experts discovered several years ago that ECHELON was engaged in heavy commercial spying in Europe. Victims included such German firms as the wind generator manufacturer Enercon. In 1998, Enercon developed what it thought was a secret invention, enabling it to generate electricity from wind power at a far cheaper rate than before. However, when the company tried to market its invention in the United States, it was confronted by its American rival, Kenetech, which announced that it had already patented a near-identical development. Kenetech then brought a court order against Enercon to ban the sale of its equipment in the US. In a rare public disclosure, an NSA employee, who refused to be named, agreed to appear in silhouette on German television to reveal how he had stolen Enercon’s secrets by tapping the telephone and computer link lines that ran between Enercon’s research laboratory and its production unit some 12 miles away. Detailed plans of the company’s invention were then passed on to Kenetech.

In 1994, Thomson S.A., located in Paris, and Airbus Industrie, based in Blagnac Cedex, France, also lost lucrative contracts, snatched away by American rivals aided by information covertly collected by NSA and CIA. The same agencies also eavesdropped on Japanese representatives during negotiations with the United States in 1995 over auto parts trade.

German industry has complained that it is in a particularly vulnerable position because the government forbids its security services from conducting similar industrial espionage. “German politicians still support the rather naive idea that political allies should not spy on each other’s businesses. The Americans and the British do not have such illusions,” said journalist Udo Ulfkotte, a specialist in European industrial espionage, in 1999.

That same year, Germany demanded that the United States recall three CIA operatives for their activities in Germany involving economic espionage. The news report stated that the Germans “have long been suspicious of the eavesdropping capabilities of the enormous U.S. radar and communications complex at Bad Aibling, near Munich”, which is in fact an NSA intercept station. “The Americans tell us it is used solely to monitor communications by potential enemies, but how can we be entirely sure that they are not picking up pieces of information that we think should remain completely secret?” asked a senior German official. Japanese officials most likely have been told a similar story by Washington about the more than a dozen signals intelligence bases which Japan has allowed to be located on its territory.

In their quest to gain access to more and more private information, the NSA, the FBI, and other components of the US national security establishment have been engaged for years in a campaign to require American telecommunications manufacturers and carriers to design their equipment and networks to optimize the authorities’ wiretapping ability. Some industry insiders say they believe that some US machines approved for export contain NSA “back doors” (also called “trap doors”).

The United States has been trying to persuade European Union countries as well to allow it “back-door” access to encryption programs, claiming that this was to serve the needs of law-enforcement agencies. However, a report released by the European Parliament in May 1999 asserted that Washington’s plans for controlling encryption software in Europe had nothing to do with law enforcement and everything to do with US industrial espionage. The NSA has also dispatched FBI agents on break-in missions to snatch code books from foreign facilities in the United States, and CIA officers to recruit foreign communications clerks abroad and buy their code secrets, according to veteran intelligence officials.

For decades, beginning in the 1950s, the Swiss company Crypto AG sold the world’s most sophisticated and secure encryption technology. The firm staked its reputation and the security concerns of its clients on its neutrality in the Cold War or any other war. The purchasing nations, some 120 of them – including prime US intelligence targets such as Iran, Iraq, Libya and Yugoslavia – confident that their communications were protected, sent messages from their capitals to their embassies, military missions, trade offices, and espionage dens around the world, via telex, radio, and fax. And all the while, because of a secret agreement between the company and NSA, these governments might as well have been hand delivering the messages to Washington, uncoded. For their Crypto AG machines had been rigged before being sold to them, so that when they used them the random encryption key could be automatically and clandestinely transmitted along with the enciphered message. NSA analysts could read the messages as easily as they could the morning newspaper.

In 1986, because of US public statements concerning the La Belle disco bombing in West Berlin, the Libyans began to suspect that something was rotten with Crypto AG’s machines and switched to another Swiss firm, Gretag Data Systems AG. But it appears that NSA had that base covered as well. In 1992, after a series of suspicious circumstances over the previous few years, Iran came to a conclusion similar to Libya’s, and arrested a Crypto AG employee who was in Iran on a business trip. He was eventually ransomed, but the incident became well known and the scam began to unravel in earnest.

In September 1999 it was revealed that NSA had arranged with Microsoft to insert special “keys” into Windows software, in all versions from 95-OSR2 onwards. An American computer scientist, Andrew Fernandez of Cryptonym in North Carolina, had disassembled parts of the Windows instruction code and found the smoking gun – Microsoft’s developers had failed to remove the debugging symbols used to test this software before they released it. Inside the code were the labels for two keys. One was called “KEY”. The other was called “NSAKEY”. Fernandez presented his finding at a conference at which some Windows developers were also in attendance. The developers did not deny that the NSA key was built into their software, but they refused to talk about what the key did, or why it had been put there without users’ knowledge. Fernandez says that NSA’s “back door” in the world’s most commonly used operating system makes it “orders of magnitude easier for the US government to access your computer.”

In February 2000, it was disclosed that the Strategic Affairs Delegation (DAS), the intelligence arm of the French Defense Ministry, had prepared a report in 1999 which also asserted that NSA had helped to install secret programs in Microsoft software. According to the DAS report, “it would seem that the creation of Microsoft was largely supported, not least financially, by the NSA, and that IBM was made to accept the [Microsoft] MS-DOS operating system by the same administration.” The report stated that there had been a “strong suspicion of a lack of security fed by insistent rumors about the existence of spy programs on Microsoft, and by the presence of NSA personnel in Bill Gates’ development teams.” The Pentagon, said the report, was Microsoft’s biggest client in the world.

Recent years have seen disclosures that in the countdown to their invasion of Iraq in 2003, the United States had listened in on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, and all the members of the UN Security Council during a period when they were deliberating about what action to take in Iraq.

It’s as if the American national security establishment feels that it has an inalienable right to listen in; as if there had been a constitutional amendment, applicable to the entire world, stating that “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the government to intercept the personal communications of anyone.” And the Fourth Amendment had been changed to read: “Persons shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, except in cases of national security, real or alleged.” 2

The leading whistleblower of all time: Philip Agee

Before there was Edward Snowden, William Binney and Thomas Drake … before there was Bradley Manning, Sibel Edmonds and Jesselyn Radack … there was Philip Agee. What Agee revealed is still the most startling and important information about US foreign policy that any American government whistleblower has ever revealed.

Philip Agee spent 12 years (1957-69) as a CIA case officer, most of it in Latin America. His first book, Inside the Company: CIA Diary, published in 1974 – a pioneering work on the Agency’s methods and their devastating consequences – appeared in about 30 languages around the world and was a best seller in many countries; it included a 23-page appendix with the names of hundreds of undercover Agency operatives and organizations.

Under CIA manipulation, direction and, usually, their payroll, were past and present presidents of Mexico, Colombia, Uruguay, and Costa Rica, “our minister of labor”, “our vice-president”, “my police”, journalists, labor leaders, student leaders, diplomats, and many others. If the Agency wished to disseminate anti-communist propaganda, cause dissension in leftist ranks, or have Communist embassy personnel expelled, it need only prepare some phoney documents, present them to the appropriate government ministers and journalists, and – presto! – instant scandal.

Agee’s goal in naming all these individuals, quite simply, was to make it as difficult as he could for the CIA to continue doing its dirty work.

A common Agency tactic was writing editorials and phoney news stories to be knowingly published by Latin American media with no indication of the CIA authorship or CIA payment to the media. The propaganda value of such a “news” item might be multiplied by being picked up by other CIA stations in Latin America who would disseminate it through a CIA-owned news agency or a CIA-owned radio station. Some of these stories made their way back to the United States to be read or heard by unknowing North Americans.

Wooing the working class came in for special treatment. Labor organizations by the dozen, sometimes hardly more than names on stationery, were created, altered, combined, liquidated, and new ones created again, in an almost frenzied attempt to find the right combination to compete with existing left-oriented unions and take national leadership away from them.

In 1975 these revelations were new and shocking; for many readers it was the first hint that American foreign policy was not quite what their high-school textbooks had told them nor what theNew York Times had reported.

“As complete an account of spy work as is likely to be published anywhere, an authentic account of how an ordinary American or British ‘case officer’ operates … All of it … presented with deadly accuracy,” wrote Miles Copeland, a former CIA station chief, and ardent foe of Agee. (There’s no former CIA officer more hated by members of the intelligence establishment than Agee; no one’s even close; due in part to his traveling to Cuba and having long-term contact with Cuban intelligence.)

In contrast to Agee, WikiLeaks withheld the names of hundreds of informants from the nearly 400,000 Iraq war documents it released.

In 1969, Agee resigned from the CIA (and colleagues who “long ago ceased to believe in what they are doing”).

While on the run from the CIA as he was writing Inside the Company – at times literally running for his life – Agee was expelled from, or refused admittance to, Italy, Britain, France, West Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway. (West Germany eventually gave him asylum because his wife was a leading ballerina in the country.) Agee’s account of his period on the run can be found detailed in his book On the Run (1987). It’s an exciting read.

Notes

  1. To read about my State Department and other adventures, see my book West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold war Memoir (2002) ↩
  2. See Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, chapter 21, for the notes for the above. ↩


William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire


Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org

Email to bblum6@aol.com

Website: WilliamBlum.org

William Blum is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

NYSERDA – Agenda 21 Sustainability In Action

March 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

With all the caustic New World Order climate change and land use plans, and in spite of public outrage stemming from the global warming fraud, the bureaucratic juggernaut rolls on. Especially in New York State, the home of the sinister United Nations, the plotters against rational conservation, efficient energy policy and prudent economic growth, are destroying the very nature of sound environmentalism. Hard at work are the brain dead toady bureaucrats and the “true believers” in total denial meltdown mode. Turning the concept of ‘self-sufficiency’ into a dirty word – ‘sustainability’ – is the new catch phrase to distinguish vogue ignorance, in order to save the planet you need to destroy it, crowd.

Ordinary citizens need to rally and put an end to central control government. Start with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation efforts in there, Sustainability Plan Guidance A Regional Plan. This outline adopts the objectives of imposing an Agenda 21 program as official NYS policy. “The core of the plan is the regional focus that enables a consortium of municipalities to create a shared vision and then pool their resources towards achieving that vision.”

Efforts and criticism from the like of John W. Wallace need to multiply across the state and caution their neighbors. Now is the time to stop, GOVERNOR ANDREW COUMO TO IMPLEMENT UNITED NATIONS’ AGENDA 21 IN NEW YORK STATE VIA REGIONAL PLANNING GROUPS.

“Of course, the county and local government officials are unaware that by signing an agreement to participate in this new regional program, that they have actually signed onto Agenda 21 and that their town, city, village or county will now appear on the ICLEIwebsite. Most local residents will remain unaware of the implications of the new comprehensive plan and Agenda 21 until after it is promulgated in their own backyards in the form of a regional draft comprehensive plan that is intended to supersede local planning boards and zoning laws.”

In order to appreciate the scope and intrusion into local communities, the destructive role of the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority, NYSERDA becomes required understanding. A recent case study assessment provides a firsthand testimonial of an attendee at a regional gathering. Please review the source links for supporting evidence.

The following is the summary of activist Mary Kay Barton.

On January 26, 2012, I attended the final meeting in Batavia, NY for the Finger Lakes “Regional ‘Sustainability’ Plan”  – part of NYSERDA’s $10,000,000 expenditure state-wide to have regional Planning Departments orchestrate plans that coincide with the “sustainability” initiative described in NYSERDA’s “Cleaner, Greener Communities” Program.  Following is my take on what is going on in regard to this extensive plan in the works across New York State.

As those who have done their homework regarding the United Nation’s ‘Agenda 21′ plan are very well-aware, “Sustainability” is a key buzzword that is part and parcel of the UN’s ‘Agenda 21′.  There is no doubt that the “Sustainability” Plan currently being devised by Planning Departments across the state, who are acting “under NYSERDA’s thumb” (as one Planner phrased it at their first meeting in Batavia), IS ‘Agenda 21′ in the works (think carbon taxes, ‘green’ energy transfer-of-wealth schemes, and one-world governance).

While at the “open-house style” meeting in Batavia last evening, folks were asked to read the poster boards relevant to each part of the overall plan: Land Use, Water Use, Agriculture, Forestry, Waste Management, Economic Development, and Energy — and to then use sticky notes to post their comments on the boards for each particular segment of the plan.

Many will say they see nothing wrong with developing a good overall plan like this, and there certainly are many aspects of the extensive plan that look good at first glance.  However, as they say – the devil is in the details.

The fact that NYSERDA is the bureaucracy over-seeing this process is the tell-tale warning sign, as the development of renewable energy across the state and ways to regulate carbon emissions is the overarching goal in each area of the plan.  This should leave everyone very wary about the remaining $90,000,000 – that came from RGGI ratepayer dollars, that will be offered as ‘grants’ (the proverbial ‘carrots’ used to lead the sheep) to guide our communities into “compliance” with the overall underlying agenda – that of ‘Agenda 21′.  Who knows where the money will come from for Governor Cuomo’s proposed $BILLION dollar “Green Bank”, and $1.5 Billion dollar Solar fund?  One thing is for sure — Who needs Cap & Trade legislation when these kinds of “Sustainability Plans” are in the works!

One of the biggest warning flags I noted last evening (besides the obvious HUGE “green” energy push and carbon regulation goals) was on the chart regarding ‘Land Use’. I noted one line that said, “Home Rule” interferes with inter-municipal cooperation…” The obvious subliminal message here is that “Home Rule” is a BAD thing.

Our municipalities’ long-held, Constitutional-right to “Home Rule” is being progressively undermined in this whole process of State-led planning.  We are unwittingly, slowly and methodically giving over total control to unelected bureaucrats and planners who are devising these “green”, “sustainability” plans — which are part and parcel of ‘Agenda 21′ (which many officials and bureaucrats say they still know nothing about).

The sad reality – that most of these planners are not at all educated about energy and power, became evident just as I was getting ready to leave the meeting.  One of the FL Planners asked me what I had thought of the display.  I told him straight out that the obvious push for “Unreliables” (what the ‘greens’ refer to as ‘renewables’) like wind is a complete waste of our tax- and rate-payer dollars.  I told him that while I am certainly all for scientifically-vettedeconomically-sound energy-innovation, industrial wind was the biggest scam to ever come down the pike.  Not surprisingly, he did not like my response.

Sadly, he responded with the decades-old propaganda line, “Well, we have to do something.  Oil is responsible for so much of our pollution.”

I responded, “I’m not talking about oil – which is used for transportation.  I’m talking about unreliable wind power – which is used for electricity!

He tried to argue that eventually we would end up going to all electric vehicles. I just laughed, and said, “Sir, I’m afraid you’ve drank the Kool-Aid!  I couldn’t even make it home and back in an electric car.” Thankfully, a local guy who does get it, stepped in and said that even if electric vehicles became more prevalent, they could never be used to do the kind of heavy work required on our farms.

As our conversation proceeded, we had the attention of the entire small crowd that was in the room – which played out great, as the facts totally destroyed this planner’s entire argument.

Not one of the five planners who were there knew what “Capacity Value” was, nor that wind provided virtually NONE.  I told him that wind is NOT the future, and in all actuality,there is a direct correlation between RELIABLE, AFFORDABLE power, and increased health and longevity in this country, which he could verify by doing a little research.

I ended up leaving a copy of The Wind Farm Scam and Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future with one of the head planners there.  Hopefully, they will actually read them.

What is transpiring in New York State regarding the push for United Nation’s recommended “Sustainability” plans by Governor Andrew Cuomo and his cohorts at NYSERDA, is described by Dr. Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance in the article, “Is your church bowing to the ‘Green Dragon’?” Dr. Beisner discusses how “Environmentalism” has become the world’s new religion. Global Warming Alarmism and the push for all things “green” is all about worshiping the earth and protecting the earth from evil men — rather than worshiping and trusting in God and being good stewards of the earth in order to better serve all mankind, as God intended it to be. Dr. Beisner is exactly right!

NYSERDA is a scalawag outfit that does harm to New York State residents. It is a government agency based upon deceit and pseudo energy research, corrupt cronyism and fake environmentalism. The article, Agenda 21 in New York State – Home Rule and Article X, provides relevant details on the way the technical process of administrative agencies erode the basic property rights of landowners and authority of local communities.The limited powers and narrow influence of elected representatives on the actual governance by bureaus is the worst of all worlds. The globalist master deceivers, game and work the system to circumvent traditional safeguards and legitimate home rule jurisdiction.

The value of insights gained from attending such meetings as the Finger Lakes “Regional ‘Sustainability’ Plan”, clearly document and expose, the true intent and consequences of Agenda 21. Sustainability really means sustain instability for the consumer, while enriching the benefactors of the Cap and Trade rip off scheme.


Sartre is the publisher, editor, and writer for Breaking All The Rules. He can be reached at: BATR

Sartre is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Top 10 Corporate Tax Dodgers & Their Paid Politicians

April 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Between 2008 and 2011, 26 major American corporations paid no net federal income taxes despite bringing in billions in profits, according to a new report (PDF) from the nonprofit research group Citizens for Tax Justice. CTJ calculates that if the companies had paid the full 35 percent corporate tax rate, they would have put more than $78 billion into government coffers.

Here’s a look at the 10 most profitable tax evaders and the politicians their CEOs, employees, and PACs give the most money to.

Verizon Communications
Profits: $19.8 billion    Effective tax rate: -3.8%

Top recipients, 2011-2012
President Barack Obama: $51,493
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.): $24,450
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): $23,700
Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio): $22,500
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.): $15,000

General Electric
Profits: $19.6 billion    Effective tax rate: -18.9%

Top recipients, 2011-2012
Mitt Romney: $53,750
President Barack Obama (D): $30,493
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.): $23,900
Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.): $21,860
Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.): $19,750

Boeing
Profits: $14.8 billion    Effective tax rate:-5.5%
Top recipients, 2011-2012
Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.): $31,750
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.): $25,000
Former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.): $23,500
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.): $23,125
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas): $20,986

NextEra Energy: North America’s largest solar and wind power operator, based in Florida
Profits: $8.8 billion    Effective tax rate:-2%
Top recipients, 2011-2012
George LeMieux (R-Fla.): $9,500
Mike Haridopolos (R-Fla.): $4,800
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.): $2,000
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas): $2,000
Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.): $2,000

American Electric Power: Electric utility based in Columbus, Ohio
Profits: $8.2 billion    Effective tax rate: -6.4%
Top recipients, 2011-2012
Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio): $34,750
Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio): $34,050
Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio): $21,700
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.): $19,750
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio): $18,450

Pacific Gas & Electric: California electrical utility
Profits: $6 billion    Effective tax rate: -8.4%
Top recipients, 2011-2012
President Barack Obama (D): $6,250
Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.): $5,000
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.): $5,500
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.): $5,000
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.): $3,500

Apache: Houston-based oil and gas company
Profits: $6 billion    Effective tax rate: -0.3%
Top recipients, 2011-2012
David Dewhurst (R-Texas): $25,000
Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.): $5,000
Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.): $2,500
Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas): $2,500
Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas): $2,500
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): $2,500
Brendan Doherty (R-R.I.): $2,500

Consolidated Edison: New York energy company
Profits: $5.9 billion    Effective tax rate: -1.3%
Top recipients, 2011-2012
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.): $15,050
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.): $8,000
Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.): $6,650
Then-Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.): $2,500
Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.): $1,500
Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.): $1,500
Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.): $1,500

El Paso: Houston-based energy company that operates the country’s largest natural gas pipeline
Profits: $4.6 billion    Effective tax rate: -0.9%
Top recipients, 2011-2012
David Dewhurst (R-Texas): $7,500
Mitt Romney (R): $5,000
Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.): $3,000
Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.): $2,750
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.): $2,500
Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.): $2,500
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): $2,500
Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas): $2,500
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.): $2,500
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.): $2,500

CenterPoint Energy: Electric and gas utility company based in Houston
Profits: $3.1 billion    Effective tax rate: -11.3%
Top recipients, 2011-2012
David Dewhurst (R-Texas): $22,050
Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas): $13,458
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): $10,299
Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.): $7,000
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas): $4,000

Giving data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Includes all 2011-12 campaign donations from each company’s employees and corporate PACs.

Source: Mother Jones

The Prepping Pyramid: A Culture of Preparedness

March 15, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

The term “prepping” refers to the process by which you incrementally increase your level of preparedness for emergency/disaster on a continuum from short-term self-reliance to long-term self-sufficiency.

The term “preps” can be defined as tangible items or systems that you acquire or build and use in prepping. While some people may include intangible things such as weapons training, drills, skill development, etc. in their definition of preps, for the purpose of this piece, the focus is on physical items.

The stereotype that survivalists live in underground bunkers in the middle of nowhere is rarely accurate. The media sensationalizes the extreme cases, but the reality is that a holistic survival plan involves several locations and several different scales. I’ve organized the list below in order of scale from the smallest to the largest caches of preps in a pyramidal model to represent overlapping zones.

  1. Body
  2. Bug Out Bag
  3. Bug Out Vehicle
  4. Workplace/School
  5. Home
  6. Bug Out Location

Body

Preppers promote taking some level of responsibility for your safety and security by not only developing self-defense, first-aid, and other survival skills sets, but by carrying implements, tools, devices, and supplies on your person at all times. Having preps on your person isn’t only so you can help yourself and your family, it’s also so you can help others in need.

What you carry on your person is often referred to as “Every Day Carry” or “EDC”.  On this scale your preps will include an array of smaller survival gear items. The number of items you carry will be determined by the amount of pockets, belt accessories, carabiners, etc. you’re comfortable with. Fashion and function can be hard to reconcile, but it’s worth an attempt. Many people walk through the world without care or thought of the potential for anything to go wrong. The expectation that something bad will “never happen to me” is a symptom of what is clinically called “normalcy bias”. This is a psychological tendency to avoid considering and logically preparing for disruptions in modern business-as-usual life.

Unfortunately if we encounter bad guys on the street, chances are police won’t arrive on the scene until the incident is over. If we’re in a disaster situation, emergency medical responders may not be able to get to us in the time it takes to die or become seriously ill from preventable causes such as bleeding, dehydration, infection, etc.

Items often carried every day by preppers may include some of the following:

cutting tool, fire making tool, multi-tool, parachute cord, led light, compass, first-aid items (band-aids, alcohol pads), whistle, water purification tablets, emergency medical info card, list of emergency contacts, bandana, cell phone with additional charged battery, flash drive, notepad, writing utensil, “forever” postage stamps, prepaid phone card, cash, checks, herbal energy pills, p38 can opener, water bottle, pepper spray, misc. legal self-defense implements…

Bug Out Bag (BOB)

The “Bug out Bag”, aka “BOB”, is the survivalist slang for what is more officially known as a 72-hour emergency kit. However, the critical distinction is that a BOB must be in the form of a back-pack that can allow you to move on foot, hands-free.

On this scale of preps, you may have some of the same items that you’d have for EDC, however in greater lengths, quantities, container sizes, etc. as you’ll have the main column of the bag, plus many extra pockets, compartments, straps, clips, etc.

Here’s a list of some of the items often found in or attached to BOBs.

More fire making tools, more parachute cord, flashlight, batteries, candles, first aid kit, extra medications, hand crank/solar emergency weather radio, signal mirror, toilet paper, tweezers, toothbrush, misc. toiletries, sun block, bug spray, warm clothes (kept dry in a large zip lock bag), rain gear, gloves, hat, sun glasses, mess kit (eating dish/utensils), lightweight pot for cooking/boiling water, salt/spices, three days worth of dry food, hooks/sinkers, wild edible plant identification books, bigger water bottle, water filtration device, 5 gallon collapsible water jug, small bottle of bleach, folding shovel, wire saw, sewing needles and floss, pen or pencil wrapped with duct tape, pen or pencil wrapped with fishing line, full size notebook, envelopes, plastic bags, garbage bags, survival manuals, entertainment devices such as books or games, documentation package (including emergency contacts, local emergency service provider phone numbers, evacuation procedures/plans/packing checklists, multiple evacuation routes, encrypted bank account, social security, etc. numbers, list of family medications/medical conditions, etc.), maps, sleeping bag, space blanket, tube tent, therma-rest pad, tarp, poly sheeting, legal self-defense tools carried in accordance with local law…

It helps to separate and categorize your items into zip-lock bags and distribute the bags into to different pockets and compartments for easy access. The bags also help keep your gear dry.

This sounds like a lot of stuff but if properly organized and compacted a lot of it can comfortably fit in/on a large camping pack. Depending on the nature of the situation, you may want to drop a lot of weight so you can cover more ground on foot. In Saving Private Ryan, the scene in which the translator joins the unit shows how a combat-inexperienced soldier tries to pack everything he was issued in his bag for the mission, and is made to leave most of it behind by his fellow soldiers. This is a useful bit of insight demonstrating that “the more you know the less you need,” and that you have to be realistic about your ability to haul more than the bare minimum.

Your normal commuting vehicle (which may or not be your “Bug Out Vehicle”) should always contain your BOB so that it will be accessible wherever you drive. Storing it in the trunk also ensures you’ll never forget it at home, and when you need to lighten the load and take a few items out, you can lock them in your trunk or locked box in a flat bed truck.

Of course if you’re riding a bus, if you are a passenger in someone else’s vehicle, or riding a bike, it won’t be feasible to bring your BOB with you. In those situations you’ll be relying on EDC, or a smaller backpack with a selection of items from your BOB depending on the situation. For example, if you’re hiking, you’d want to grab a selection of items from your BOB and put them in your day pack.

Most importantly, every member of your family should have a BOB, and every BOB should contain the same version of the documentation package. In an emergency you’ll then be able to co-ordinate your response based on documented protocols that everyone has the current printed version of.

Bug Out Vehicle (BOV)

Your “Bug Out Vehicle” may be a huge 4-wheel-drive monster or a compact car.

Older diesel trucks are preferable as they have less electrical components that can fail, and they can be converted to run on veggie oil.

Whatever you prefer and have the means to acquire can serve as your BOV, though traditionally it’s a truck or SUV. All that’s required is that it be stocked with extra preps and be equipped with accessories that will optimize performance and provide redundancies in evacuation scenarios.

Besides simply scaling up some of your preps (such as a 5 gallon bucket of dry food that preferably doesn’t require cooking, one or more gallons of water, a larger first aid kit, etc. the following are some preps specific to the BOV:

Flares, basic tools, spare parts (headlights, belts, bulbs, etc.), quarts of oil, extra fluids, map books, solar power system, power inverter, spare tire, snow chains, jack, blankets, tent, boots, trench tool, books, gas can (keep empty unless it can be stored safely and securely), more legal self-defense tools transported in accordance with local law, any other large utility/emergency items that don’t fit in or are not appropriate for your BOB.

Every family vehicle should be to some degree prepped to function as a BOV, even if there’s one larger vehicle that’s designated as the main BOV.

Workplace/School

This refers to the place where most of your time is spent outside of the home, wherever that may be. The goal would be to get your colleagues or co-workers on-board with prepping so that they collaborate and pool resources to ensure that there are preps on-site. Whether in a basement, storage closet, or under your desk you should try to get some amount of food/water/medical supply storage set up. If nothing else, try to convince whoever’s in charge to at least have emergency kits on-site that are sized appropriately for the number of people in your office, dorm, etc.

Most likely if done right, you can store a lot without it being a nuisance and have some sense of security knowing that if you end up stuck there, you won’t die of dehydration, starvation, or mild injuries.

Home

Without being too extreme, you should see your home as your fort. It’s the place where you let down your guard at night and go to sleep. It’s the place where you raise your family, or are being raised by your family. It’s where you should feel the most safe and secure, and where you should have the most control of your survival. Again, many of the prep items you’ll want at home have been listed above, but here are some preps that are unique to the home:

large water tanks, rain water catchment systems, months to years worth of long term food storage in the form of canned foods and dry foods including your favorite grains, legumes, seeds (for eating, sprouting, and planting), nuts, spices, dried herbs, dried fruits, etc. in 5 gallon bucket/mylar bag/oxygen absorber kits on a rotation system so you “eat what you store and store what you eat”, sprout jars, green house, permaculture garden (food forest if possible), irrigation systems, herbal medicine cabinet, organic recycling center (i.e. compost, vermiculture, humanure, etc), guard dog(s), livestock, food dehydrator, canning equipment, solar power system with battery bank, more legal weapons, low and high tech security systems, toiletry reserves, fuel reserves (gas, firewood, etc.), generator, full camping gear for the whole family, bigger/more specialized hand/power tools, fire-proof lock box for important documents, back up computers, back up external hard drives, lots of useful practical/instructional books and videos, cash, precious metal reserves, large self-assembled or store bought emergency kits…

Bug Out Location (BOL) 

The “Bug Out Location” aka “BOL” or “survival retreat” is your ultimate destination in the case of forced or voluntary evacuation from your normal place of residence. Ideally it would be far out of the urban and suburban zones though not necessarily totally isolated. For those who can afford the luxury, the BOL is a piece of rural land that you own and have put some kind of legal temporary or permanent inhabitable structure on (trailer, teepee, yurt, cabin, house, natural building, etc.)

If you don’t have the luxury to buy land, you may discover that you have relatives living in the countryside, or friends living on farms with whom you can pre-arrange to stay with under an agreement that you’ll pay rent, or do work-trade.

No matter how you gain access to a temporary or permanent living situation for you and your family, what matters is that you have a plan in place. The plan should ensure that you have a main BOL and several fall back locations if the main location is inaccessible, and have multiple routes to each location. It’s also important to work out a system whereby if members of your family or group reach a certain rally point, there’s a predefined way to “post” inconspicuous communications about who’s reached that point, when the got there, and where they left to.

In terms of the scales of preps, the main BOL will often have the largest stockpile of preps when you factor in the ability to hide or bury large caches and the ability to establish permaculture edible forest gardens, ponds, springs, streams, swales, wood lots, wind power, solar power, micro-hydro systems, etc.  Ultimately the ideal BOL would be a rural homestead. However the extent to which it’s developed by the time you need it will be determined by how much time, energy, and money you can afford to put into it while you’re not actually living on it.

In rural zones, the land itself is a prep. The more you do to prep the landscape, the more yields you’ll produce that are regenerative. In an apartment or small urban lot, you’re usually not able to access and produce renewable resources on the scale needed to be fully self-sufficient (of course in co-operation with neighboring food producers). Thus urban preps are generally only going to serve for a finite period of self-reliance until the supplies run out.

Ideally if you’re “bugging out” to your BOL, you’ll have taken as many of the preps from the smaller levels of the pyramid with you so you’ll be combining preps as well.

The BOL is typically seen as the end point of the game where if you’re successful at making it there alive you’ll be relatively safe, secure, and supplied. However, most preppers acknowledge to varying degrees and extremes that to be prepared while being surrounded by the unprepared is a recipe for disaster. Generally, the higher the population density, the greater the risk of being jumped, besieged, or raided. So the more remote you are, the less likely the zombie hordes will be to expend the energy to hunt you down in the sticks. There’s a trade-off though which is that the further you are from at least a small town, the less services are available to you and the less functional interdependence you’ll have with neighbors who you may need to rely on to save your life someday, or even just to barter with.

Re-establishing a Culture of Preparedness

No individual, family, or group is an island. Ideally the largest step of the prepping pyramid would be a culture of preparedness wherein redundancy is built into every system that the population relies on for basic survival. It’s not utopian, a hundred years ago it was common sense. According to prominent prepper Stewart Rhodes in episode 602 of The Survival Podcast, “during the Cold War, this country had enough grain to feed all of its people for three years in the event of a nuclear winter, now they have enough to feed all of us half a loaf of bread.”

Our ancient and recent ancestors had the wisdom to live by the ways of the ant, not the grasshopper (see Aesop’s fable “The Ant and the Grasshopper”). In the modern survivalist movement, it’s accepted that winter is coming again as it has in the past and will in the future.

Apocalypse would be an easy way out, but I believe the world will continue, not end. We’ll have to choose to be prepared. Moreover, it doesn’t take TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) for any individual or family to experience an acute localized disaster.  Be it a job loss, an injury, death of a loved one, etc, when the s**t his hit your fan, it’s your preps that will carry you through in a state of relative comfort and help buffer desperation.

Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast has provided numerous planning and strategy tools such as the “threat probability matrix” and notion of “disaster commonality” (see episode 166) to help people identify the threats that are most likely to occur in their personal lives, location, climate, etc. and understand that in many ways the fundamental preps and planning needed to survive anything from the “mundane to the insane” are the generally the same.

It’s important while prepping to be creative and make it fun-based not fear-based. Thanks to the modern survival movement there’s a fail safe principle built-in which essentially states that whatever you do to be prepared for disaster should improve your quality of life whether or not s**t hits the fan! The best example is growing some portion of your own food.

Just avoid panic buying. As with Permaculture the best solutions are small and slow. Continually incrementally add to your preps when grocery items go on sale, when you get extra cash, when you can score something on Craigslist, when there’s a yard sale, etc. Start small, make it fun, get into the groove and you’ll enjoy having a more sensible lifestyle that actually empowers you to be a more safe, secure, confident, and dutiful cosmic citizen, community member, and family member.

Source: Ben Lawson | RealitySandwich.com

Agenda 21 in New York State – Home Rule and Article X

July 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Numerous critics condemn the insidious nature of Agenda 21. Usually the arguments are based upon the intrusion of the United Nations to mismanage the planet and reduce people to a sinister petri dish experiment. Their reach and methods used by this octopus that is strangling the globe, include specific actions that force their agenda down the throats of government entities. The recent passage of Article X in New York State illustrates a direct assault on the treasured principle of Home Rule. Connecting the dots and tying the links together forecast a grim reality that is ready to explode into a vicious turf fight.

The United Nations publication for Sustainable Development describes their objectives and announcements.

Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.

Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests were adopted by more than 178 Governments at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992.

The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was created in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up of UNCED, to monitor and report on implementation of the agreements at the local, national, regional and international levels. It was agreed that a five year review of Earth Summit progress would be made in 1997 by the United Nations General Assembly meeting in special session.

The full implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Commitments to the Rio principles, were strongly reaffirmed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 26 August to 4 September 2002.

The video Agenda 21 For Dummies is an excellent background overview.

New York State is a “Home Rule” jurisdiction, dating back to 1923. New York Municipal Home Rule – Article 2 – § 10 General Powers of Local Governments to Adopt and Amend Local Laws, provides the authority for the cherished prerogative of communities to control their destinies. The stark conflict of local self-determination and the arbitrary imposition of bureaucratic fiats outlined in Agenda 21 are self-evident. Under the guise of streamlining energy siting and land use, New York State has jumped to the tune of the globalist marching band orders. In the darkness of midnight in a closed room, the new governor Andrew Cuomo pushed a secret version of Article X, and the legislature voted approval for the Power NY Act.

NY Senator Patricia Ritchie’s opposition explains the violation on Home Rule. Assembly representative Sean Hanna passionate argument against this attempt to diminish Home Rule, echoes the sentiment. But, when it comes to lining the pockets of the latest robber barons, the role of corporatist power broker law firms, like Albany’s Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP, is quite evident.

The new Article X also makes provision for post decision challenges and imposes procedural and substantive limits on potential claims. The bill prohibits the use of intervenor funds for litigation purposes. It also provides that aggrieved parties must seek rehearing at the Siting Board before approaching the courts. Judicial challenges must be brought in the courts of the Appellate Division, bypassing the trial court level, within 30 days from the issuance of the Board’s decision on the application for rehearing. The bill also provides for deferential review under the “substantial evidence” standard. Finally, the new law largely divests the state courts of jurisdiction to determine any cases that seek to stop or delay construction of a generation facility that has received a certificate from the Siting Board.

The video of developer Ecogen’s Testimony before the NYS Public Service Commission clearly demonstrate how citizen participation is surgically removed from the rush to rape the land and bury the serfs under the cover of a green canopy. This example of a bogus Agenda 21 corporate welfare scheme to defraud the public and feed the greed of foreign plutocrats stands squarely against the property rights of individuals and local communities.

The Wind Power Law Blog identifies salient elements in the legislation.

The famous (or infamous depending on one’s point of view) Article X, which provided for the streamlined siting of power plants, expired in 2003.  The old Article X covered plants with 80MW or more of generational capacity. The new law should permit much faster siting of power plants of only 25MW or greater capacity. It passed both the Assembly and Senate with overwhelming margins.

Governor Cuomo styles the new law as “An Investment to Create More Power in New York

Streamline the permitting process for power plants greater than 25 megawatts by creating a “one-stop” multi-agency siting board that will make siting decisions

Empower communities to participate in the process by requiring power plant applicants to provide “intervenor funding” for the community affected by the proposed plant to hire experts and lawyers

Improve the environment and public health by requiring the siting board to determine whether a proposed facility will create a disproportionate environmental impact in a community and, if so, requires applicant to minimize or avoid those impacts

The Community Environmental legal Defense Fund recognizes the inherent conflict in fast tracking unbridled and reckless land development exploration for inefficient energy projects.

We believe that we are in the midst of an escalating ecological crisis, and that the crisis is the result of decisions made by a relatively few people who run corporations and government. In doing so, communities must challenge and overturn legal doctrines that have been concocted to eliminate their right to self-government, including the doctrines of corporate constitutional rights, preemption, and limitations on local legislative authority. Inseparable from the right to local self-government – and its sole limitation – are the rights of human and natural communities; they are the implicit and enumerated premises on which local self-government must be built.

Article X has another deceptive purpose. Hydrofracking drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale region of NYS is the immediate underlying motive to obviate Home Rule. A Frack Alert video from the Home Rule Forum makes the case for the danger of losing local control of land use. Citizen community indignation is brewing up all over the state. Watch the reaction and outrage from ordinary people, who are in danger of being forced off their land. When the potable water from the aquifer is no longer fit for human use, because of chemical pollution from the fracking process, who will adjudicate relief?

Another legislative appeal why the State Should Respect “Home Rule” On Drilling, comes from State Senator James L. Seward:

“The topic of drilling in the Marcellus Shale has elicited an overwhelming response with varied opinions on all sides of the issue.  One thing that cannot be discounted moving forward is the desire of local residents,” said Senator Seward.  “That is why I am co-sponsoring legislation (S.3472) that would empower local governments and allow them to regulate natural gas drilling through local planning and zoning.”

If the political intrigue in New York State does not move you to action for protecting your own homestead, maybe you should focus upon the linkage that this brutal policy of usurping local authority, has within the Agenda 21 plans for all of us. Tom DeWeese identifies, Who is behind it?

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (formally, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives). Communities pay ICLEI dues to provide “local” community plans, software, training, etc. Addition groups include American Planning Council, The Renaissance Planning Group, International City/ County Management Group, aided by US Mayors Conference, National Governors Association, National League of Cities, National Association of County Administrators and many more private organizations and official government agencies. Foundation and government grants drive the process.

The entire substructure of alphabet soup, state and federal agencies, are on notice to facilitate and implement the systematic purging of local independence. Governor Cuomo left out the true meaning of the Power NY Act. “An Investment to Create More Power in New York” is designed to consolidate central planning under the control of Agenda 21 dictates. This bill has little to do with fostering cheap dependable energy, but has everything to do with neutering your local town board. This policy is not about energy. Look into why New York State rejected the low cost guaranteed electricity proposal from Canada.

“New York backed out of a long term contract with Hydro Quebec – a contract that was needed to justify the construction of the “project of the century,” the James Bay II project. As a consequence, Hydro Quebec put its planned James Bay development “sur la glace” (“on ice”) and activists celebrated the victory and moved on to other issues.”

The Wall Street criminal syndicate lusts for their cap and trade mandates so that the next financial bubble can start the next cycle of fleecing the public. Remember that your own local government is viewed as an impediment to the Agenda 21. Soon your town board will be inoperative, iced in the same manner as economical energy from O Canada .


Sartre is the publisher, editor, and writer for Breaking All The Rules. He can be reached at: BATR

Sartre is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

An Ill First Wind Hits the Public in the Pocketbook

June 1, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

PocketbookThe promises of alternative energy generated from industrial wind turbines are suspect when examined on the facts. The basis for justification for the entire industry is that electricity generated from uneconomical technology is environmentally friendly. The public is supposed to accept higher costs from inefficient and unreliable generation just because it is “green”. Touting wind as a free source of energy is dishonest. This old technology from skyscraper size industrial machines is anything but free. The media seldom reports that industrial wind does not produce cost effective reliable electricity. Cowardly politicians who dare not oppose the industry ignore indisputable and inescapable facts about wind.

Rational reasons against spending public expenditures for subsidizing a technology that has never yet replaced a fossil fuel power plant is overwhelming. If industrial wind factories were a real solution, why will not entrepreneurs develop their projects the old fashion way, with their own money?

Government policy that favors and protects the economic failure of wind projects is essential for the deception to continue. Even proponents of the most radical global warming myths are taxpayers and consume electricity. Where is their outrage when costs increase at exponential rates, from ill-conceived wind projects, with no ceiling in sight? For answers, an examination of the First Wind Company provides a window on a culture of corruption that is indefensible.

First Wind has an application pending before the SEC for an IPO. A review of their S1, S1A and additional supplement filings paints a very dire picture. Prospectus disclosures, must describe risky conditions for a security offered to participants and buyers. The Boston Business Journal report, “In its latest Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the Boston-based company reiterated it could default on an $80 million loan due next month. First Wind currently is negotiating with a consortium of banks to receive $240 million in financing that would pay off a turbine loan that matures June 30.”

Part of First Wind’s financial woes is the failed Cohocton, NY project. Original admission that the 50-turbine development cost of $265,000,000 have escalated by tens of millions after three seasons of refitting, repairs and substitutions. Clipper Windpower Liberty 2.5 MG turbine is a total bust as a viable generating unit. Clipper stock (CWP.L) traded on the London exchange; hit a new low this week. The NYISO lists the Canandaigua Power Partners, LLC (entity of ownership for the Cohocton First Wind project) as having a 2008 net energy production of 10,155 MWh and zero kilowatt capacity for 2009. When pushed the NYISO admits that the project is “In Service”, which really means it is in the testing stage. No verified proof is available that any electricity generated by this project is going into the grid for sale to consumers.

Leaseholder’s agreements have a minimum payment amount with an extra small percentage for production. If First Wind were really selling electric into the grid, leaseholders are owed money on that production. The fact that Cohocton leaseholders have not received any funds on generated electricity is proof that the project is a failure.

Actually, the project consumes significant energy when not producing usable electricity. Energy consumption in wind facilities lays out the different requirements of a wind turbine that eats up significant portions of electricity generated. When the wind is not blowing or a project is not set up for the grid to accept energy, the facility is a net user of electricity.

In June 2008, First Wind filed a complaint against the NYISO with FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) to exempt CPP from the Open Access Transmission Tariff that had been previously agreed upon. The point is that First Wind seeks to transfer normal development costs onto the backs of the ratepayer.

First Wind received in the fall of 2009, $74.6 million in federal stimulus grants through the Department of Energy. These funds had no restriction for use and no accounting disclosure followed. Democratic and Chronicle reporter Steve Orr wrote on September 2, 2009 about First Wind’s compliance with the NYS AG ethic agreement. “First Wind was one of at least two clean-energy firms that state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo investigated last year after complaints about collusion between companies and improper dealings with local government officials.”

Former U.S. Rep. Eric J. Massa (D-N.Y.) wrote to President Barack Obama, calling the grants “very alarming” and saying the company “abused the public trust” and had problems with U.S. tax dollars going to what he called “shell companies” for First Wind. Massa noted, “First Wind is under investigation by the New York Attorney General’s office for alleged corruption. The actual appropriation is going to Canandaigua Power Partners and Canandaigua Power Partners II, subsidiaries of First Wind.”

“This is one of the most volatile issues in Western New York, and the award of $74.6 million dollars to corrupt companies that have changed names time and again, forming new LLCs and new Inc’s but maintaining their business model of lie, cheat, and corrupt at the expense of taxpayers, has stirred great unrest in New York’s 29th Congressional District,” Massa wrote to the president.

First Wind CEO Paul Gaynor, a former Enron executive, responded in a letter to Obama, saying that First Wind’s New York wind farms have produced 133,370-megawatt hours of clean, renewable energy, but never provided any proof of his claim.

How does a company like First Wind gain favorable benefits and access to energy policy?

Reporter Naomi Schalit of the Maine Center for Public Interest provided some insights in the article, Ex-PUC head enriched by utility company. “While he was Maine’s chief utilities regulator, Kurt Adams accepted an ownership interest in a leading wind energy company . . . A recent First Wind filing with the federal SEC for 2009 shows Adams’ $1.3 million compensation included $315,000 in salary, $658,000 in stock awards, $29,000 of “other” compensation and $315,000 in “nonequity incentives.”

The latest First Wind SEC filing attempts to downplay the conflict of interests and breach of ethical conduct of Mr. Adams. Their explanation does not pass the smell test. Such suspect business practices are standard behavior for First Wind. It has a long history of using political insiders to gain special treatment.

Documented in the Citizen Power Alliance essay, Industrial Wind and the Wall Street Cap and Trade Fraud is the dark origins of First Wind, previously called UPC. The Boston Herald asked Brian Caffyn, founder of UPC/First Wind, about the arrest for fraud of his former Italian wind developer partner Oreste Vigorito. “I read about it in the papers, and I was very surprised,” Brian Caffyn said from Hong Kong where he is in business with Chinese interests.

The political cronyism between First Wind and the Obama administration extends to Rahm Emanuel and Larry Summers and their involvement with the primary ownership interests of First Wind, hedge fund DE Shaw and private equity firm Madison Dearborn. Documented sources within the CPA article substantiate the trail of money and influence that flows from this wind developer to the highest levels of government.

New York State a den of thieves

NYS operates as if it is a suburb of Chicago. IDA (industrial development agencies) sell tax exemptions, state agencies ignore their own policy regulations to advance wind development, the attorney general office looks the other way when conflict of interest practices lead to criminal conduct and local public officials routinely take bribes for their vote and support of specific projects.

With each complaint to the Public Service Commission, the PSC bends over backward to have First Wind cover their paper trail discrepancies or modify their filings.

Governor Paterson’s State Energy Plan calls for a ” ’45 by 15′ clean energy goal would reduce the amount of electricity used in 2015 by 15 percent below forecasted levels, while simultaneously meeting 30 percent of the State’s remaining electricity needs through renewable resources.”

First Wind is in business to claim their share of the booty. REC credits (renewal energy certificates) are the new coin of the realm. It makes little difference if actual electricity is generated into the grid for sale to reap the financial rewards of this slight of hand deception.

Carved in stone is a history of NYS favoring NYC over upstate. The latest insult is the Power for Jobs hoax. The Buffalo News describes this initiative, “The agreement between Paterson and the Senate leaders would set aside slightly less than a third of the electricity — at least 300 megawatts of the 910 megawatts available through the expanded Power for Jobs program — for upstate businesses served by National Grid, New York State Electric & Gas Corp. and Rochester Gas & Electric.” The allocation difference goes to NYC. Assembly representative Joseph Morelle, opposition states, “it takes low-cost hydropower from Rochester and Upstate New York and ships it downstate . . . This proposed shift would result in an increase of approximately $80 to $125 per year on the bill of the average RG&E residential customer.”

What does Western NY get out of this shady deal? You guessed it, more industrial wind turbine disasters from developers like First Wind so they can erect their unsuccessful projects using out of state labor or even undocumented foreign workers.

The fallout from the Cohocton Project is a horror story in its own right. Real estate values plummet; sales of properties are non-existent, “Wind Syndrome” health issues abound, an OSHA investigation of a construction crane collapse and final abandonment of residences because of low frequency noise, shadow flicker and safety risks prevent continued use of one home.

The tragic destruction of pastoral communities from insane government policy would fill volumes of books. Most people will never show concern for rural areas or even the corrupt business practices of crooked wind developers. First Wind is just the best example of the unholy alliance and revolving door of crony capitalism that is driving up the costs of electricity beneath the lies of “Greening America” and job promotion. The public is asleep. Their righteous outrage is long overdue. It is time to clean up the system from the dishonesty of industrial wind developers.

“Although our name has changed, our core values remain the same” said Paul Gaynor, President and CEO of First Wind.


Sartre is the publisher, editor, and writer for Breaking All The Rules. He can be reached at: BATR

Sartre is a regular columnist for Novakeo.com

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