Sunday, June 30, 2013

It’s not just Whitey Bulger: Meet another Mafia killer aided for decades by the FBI

It’s not just Whitey Bulger: Meet another Mafia killer aided for decades by the FBI

The Colombo family killer stopped counting after 50 murders. A deal with the feds helped him get away with it all

It's not just Whitey Bulger: Meet another Mafia killer aided for decades by the FBI
Gregory Scarpa Sr. was a study in complication. A peacock dresser, he carried a wad of $5,000 in cash at all times. He wore a seven-carat pinky ring and a diamond-studded watch. He made millions from drug dealing, hijackings, loan sharking, high-end jewelry scores, bank heists, and stolen securities. He owned homes in Las Vegas, Brooklyn, Florida, and Staten Island, and a co-op apartment on Manhattan’s exclusive Sutton Place. He was the biggest trafficker in stolen credit cards in New York and ran an international auto theft ring. A single bank robbery by his notorious Bypass Gang on the July 4 weekend in 1974 netted $15 million in thirteen duffel bags full of cash and jewels. His sports betting operation made $2.5 million a year. His crew grossed $70,000 weekly in drug sales. And yet, fifteen years after becoming a “made” member of the Colombo crime family, while he was a senior capo, Scarpa was arrested for “pilfering” coins from a pay phone. He simply couldn’t resist a chance to steal—even a handful of change from the phone company.
Five foot ten, two hundred and twenty pounds, Scarpa was described by one of his FBI contacting agents as “an ox of a man; like a short piano mover [with a] thick neck and huge biceps.” For more than forty-two years, as capo of the Colombo family (or borgata), he roamed the streets of Brooklyn like a feudal lord, earning the nicknames “the Grim Reaper,” “the Mad Hatter,” “Hannibal Lecter,” and “the Killing Machine.” He even signed personal letters with the initials “KM.”
But Scarpa was also a homebody with three separate families. In 1949 he married Connie Forrest. They had four children, including Gregory Jr., who started doing crimes for his father at the age of sixteen. Then, while still married to Connie, whom he shipped off to New Jersey, Scarpa moved in with Linda Diana, a gorgeous brunette nineteen years younger, who had been dating wiseguys since her mid-teens. Scarpa had two children with Linda, but in an effort to hide the fact that they were Greg’s, she married a man named Schiro, who believed the kids were his own. Then, in 1975, while still married to Forrest and living as Linda’s common-law husband, Scarpa ran off to Las Vegas and married Lili Dajani, a thirty-five-year-old former Miss Israel. Years later, Dajani’s lover, an ex-abortion doctor named Eli Shkolnik, was murdered on Scarpa’s orders. Yet in 1979 Scarpa agreed to let Linda carry on a torrid sexual relationship with Larry Mazza, a handsome eighteen-year-old delivery boy—and later made Mazza his protégé, schooling him in the crimes of loan sharking, bank robbery, and homicide.

“I started out one way and ended up with the devil,” Mazza later said. The former grocery worker expressed shock when Scarpa once suggested to him that they kill the mother of a mob turncoat in order to demonstrate “what happens to rats.”
Still, Scarpa, who bragged that he “loved the smell of gunpowder,” had no compunctions about killing women. When he heard that Mary Bari, the beautiful mistress of the family underboss, might talk to authorities, he had her lured to a club, then shot her in the head point-blank and dumped her body in a rolled-up canvas two miles away. Later, when the dog of one of his crew members’ wives found a piece of the dead woman’s ear, Scarpa joked about it over dinner. “He was just a vicious, violent animal,” said Mazza. “Unscrupulous and treacherous . . . just a horrible human being.”
And yet Scarpa’s daughter, “Little Linda” Schiro, described him as “incredibly loving—the kind of dad who was there for us every night for dinner at five o’clock. Whatever he was on the outside, he was really gentle at home.” Like a true sociopath, Scarpa was apparently capable of shifting at will from brutal murderer to loyal dad. After one bloody rubout, when Mazza and Scarpa shot a rival in the head, they went home to play with Greg’s infant grandson, drink wine, and watch Seinfeld on TV.
“He could transform himself,” says Little Linda. “He could go kill someone and five minutes later he’d be home watching Wheel of Fortune with my brother and me.”
The Grim Reaper ruled Thirteenth Avenue in Bensonhurst with an iron fist. He was responsible for more than twenty-five separate homicides between 1980 and 1992. With Mazza’s help, Scarpa killed three people in one four-week period. He shot one of his victims with a rifle while he was stringing Christmas lights with his wife. He killed a seventy-eight-year-old member of the Genovese family because the old man happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then, a few weeks later, after FBI and NYPD surveillance had been pulled away from a Mafia social club, he rolled up next to Colombo capo Nicholas Grancio, and when his own rifle jammed, he ordered him shot. Grancio’s nose was blown off and one of his teeth was later found in a nearby building At another point, tipped that Cosmo Catanzano, one of his crew members, might talk to the Feds, Scarpa ordered his grave dug in advance of the murder, but Catanzano escaped when DEA agents arrested him before the execution could take place.
“The man was the master of the unpredictable and he knew absolutely no bounds of fear,” said Joseph Benfante, one of Scarpa’s former lawyers. “If he’d lived four hundred years ago, he would have been a pirate.” The brazen Scarpa even gave himself a reason to wear an eye patch. In 1992, after being diagnosed with HIV and given only months to live, he broke house arrest and went after a pair of local drug dealers who had threatened his younger son. In the ensuing gun battle, Scarpa got his right eye shot out, but he walked home and downed a glass of scotch before Larry Mazza was summoned and drove him to the hospital.
“Scarpa had an action jones,” one former assistant district attorney recalled. Another investigator described the killer’s need to stay on the edge: “Capos ain’t supposed to be out on the street hijacking trucks, doing drug deals,” he said. “I mean, that’s why you have a crew. But Greg was there. He always had to walk point.”
And yet, even as he openly disparaged “rats,” Scarpa devoted more than three decades off and on to betraying his larger “family,” the Colombos.
The Secret Files
More than eleven hundred pages of files, uncovered in the course of investigating Scarpa’s career, demonstrate that his relationship with federal law enforcement dates back to the Kennedy administration. More than two years before celebrated Mafia turncoat Joseph Valachi “sang” to the McClellan rackets committee in a historic series of hearings televised from coast to coast, Scarpa was already coughing up the family’s most intimate secrets to the FBI.
The detailed multi-page memos, called airtels (later designated as FBI 209 reports) show that Scarpa, whose code designation was NY 3461-C-TE, met two or three times a month with agents from the FBI’s New York Office. During these secret sessions, conducted in hotel rooms, automobiles, and Scarpa’s various homes in Brooklyn, he fed them the kind of inside-the-family dirt that J. Edgar Hoover craved. Every one of those airtels went straight to the Director himself, and as we’ll see, while many of the debriefings contained detailed intelligence on the organizational structure of the Mafia, “34,” as Scarpa was known, also gave the Bureau reams of disinformation.
A brilliant Machiavellian strategist, Scarpa not only stayed on the street for forty-two years, avoiding prison after fourteen separate arrests or indictments for his crimes, but he repeatedly “ratted out” his competition in the family—literally eliminating many of the capos above him along with the two family bosses: Joseph Colombo and Carmine Persico. He also succeeded in fomenting a series of internal conflicts or wars that tore the borgata apart.
It was Scarpa whose duplicity paved the way for the notorious assassination attempt on Joseph Colombo at an Italian-American Civil Rights League rally in front of fifty thousand people in 1971. It was Scarpa whose backdoor machinations ignited the second Colombo war between wiseguys loyal to Persico and the violent Gallo brothers in the early 1970s, and it was Scarpa who fueled the battle that led to the infamous rubout of Crazy Joe Gallo in 1972. Most important to the Feds, it was Scarpa who provided the probable cause that led to the Title III wiretaps in the historic Mafia Commission case in the mid-1980s, sending Persico and two other New York bosses to prison for life.
In 1989, Everett Hatcher, a decorated DEA agent, was gunned down by Scarpa’s nephew Gus Farace, who was a member of Greg’s Wimpy Boys crew. That cold-blooded shooting led to the formation of a five-hundred-man FBI/DEA task force and an international manhunt that lasted more than nine months. New evidence now suggests that it was Scarpa who set up his own nephew’s murder to take the heat off the other New York families.
Scarpa was such a master chess player that he used his position as a Top Echelon informant to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars, beyond the millions he made from racketeering. Not only did the FBI pay him $158,000 in fees and bonuses for his services, but his control agent from the mid-1960s to the early ’70s, Anthony Villano, brokered kickbacks from insurance companies for some of the high-end hijackings Scarpa was executing. Those “rewards,” amounting to tens of thousands of dollars, went back to Scarpa for his own thefts of “swag” ranging from liquor to negotiable stocks to gold bullion, jewelry, and mercury. Scarpa even got a cut of a reward for the return of the Regina Pacis jewels after a gang of junkies stole the coveted items from a Brooklyn church. That led to national headlines for the Bureau after Villano negotiated the recovery.
The Killing Machine also worked for the government in a series of “black bag jobs” that he performed off the books. The first was his well-known trip to Mississippi in the summer of 1964, when he tortured a Ku Klux Klan member in order to solve the mystery of the MISSBURN case—locating the bodies of slain civil rights workers Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney when FBI agents assigned to the probe came up empty.
After breaking a second civil rights murder in 1966 as an FBI “special” asset, Scarpa traveled to Costa Rica in the early 1980s to extradite fugitive Colombo capo Anthony Peraino, the notorious porn king who had made millions from the production of the film Deep Throat.
In return for his assistance to the Feds, Scarpa collected in spades, using his influence with the FBI to avoid prosecution on three separate indictments by organized crime strike forces over the years. Not only did he beat a 1974 indictment for stealing $520,000 in securities and conspiring to counterfeit, transport, and sell $4 million in IBM stock, but when Secret Service agents arrested him in 1986 for credit card fraud, on charges that could have led to seven years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the FBI intervened and helped him get his sentence reduced to probation and a $10,000 fine.
By that time, Scarpa had been infected with HIV after a tainted blood transfusion and was given only months to live. At least that’s what the government told the sentencing judge. If he’d gone to prison then, Scarpa would never have been on the street to foment his last great conspiracy: the third Colombo war. But he lived for another six years.
The man who vouched for him during the time was Roy Lindley DeVecchio, known in the Bureau as “Mr. Organized Crime” for his purported success putting wiseguys away. After officially reopening Scarpa in 1980 following a five-year hiatus, Lin, as he was known, quickly rose through the Bureau ranks, commanding two organized crime squads. He also taught informant development at the FBI Academy and became supervising case agent on the Mafia Commission case, due in large part to his “management” of Informant NY-3461-C-TE, a.k.a. “34.”
But defense attorneys would later allege that Lin’s relationship with Scarpa was an “unholy alliance.” In 1994, the FBI opened an Office of Professional Responsibility internal affairs investigation after four agents under DeVecchio effectively accused him of leaking key intelligence to the Mafia killer. DeVecchio, who refused to take a polygraph test, was nevertheless granted immunity during the probe, making it virtually impossible for the Justice Department to indict him. In 1996, he retired with a full pension. Later, he was granted immunity a second time, but he answered “I don’t recall,” or words to that effect, more than fifty times at a 1997 hearing as defense lawyers tried to peel back the layers on his clandestine dealings with Scarpa.
In March 2006, the Brooklyn district attorney unsealed an indictment charging Lin DeVecchio with four counts of murder stemming from his twelve-year relationship with Gregory Scarpa Sr. The following year, after an aborted two-week trial, those charges were dismissed. But not before Scarpa’s protégé Larry Mazza testified that his homicidal mentor had “stopped counting” after fifty executions. Said his own daughter, “Little Linda” Schiro, “It was like growing up with a serial killer.”
The Killing Machine’s most violent period came during that third Colombo war, which he incited. The death toll during that conflict was fourteen, and the evidence demonstrates that Scarpa was personally responsible for at least six of the hits. Each time he executed a significant rubout, Scarpa would punch the satanic digits 6-6-6 into the pager of his consigliere to let him know that the job was done.
A final murder he committed four days after Christmas in 1992 brought the number of homicides he’d ordered or executed on Lin DeVecchio’s watch to twenty-six. That figure amounted to half the murders Mazza says Scarpa committed before he quit keeping track. (Mazza later reaffirmed the number in a 2012 interview with the New York Post.) Those fifty homicides made the Grim Reaper perhaps the most prolific hit man in the history of organized crime and put him in the ranks of the world’s top serial killers. The fact that most of those deaths occurred while he was being paid as a virtual agent provocateur by the Feds is a testament to the FBI’s willingness to make “a deal with the devil,” as DeVecchio’s trial judge put it.
A Month in Jail over More than Four Decades
In more than forty-two years as a hyper-violent gangster, Gregory Scarpa Sr. served only thirty days in jail—and that was during the years when he was “closed” as an FBI source. The rest of that time, a series of FBI agents intervened to keep the so-called Mad Hatter on the street. But that wasn’t the most disturbing aspect of Scarpa’s relationship with the government. In light of the 1,150-plus pages of FBI files on Scarpa we’ve now accessed, it can be fairly argued that the FBI’s very playbook against “La Cosa Nostra” was defined and shaped by what Scarpa fed them—particularly in the years from 1961 to 1972, when J. Edgar Hoover himself was on the receiving end of “34”’s airtels. Given the Bureau’s relationship with Scarpa, it’s no surprise that a senior federal judge sentenced one minor Colombo capo convicted in 1992 to multiple life terms for crimes far less repugnant than Scarpa’s.
Even as he was being ravaged by the HIV virus—shrinking from 220 pounds to an emaciated 116 toward the end of his life—Scarpa beat the real grim reaper by many years, staying alive to commit multiple homicides as he schemed to take over the family in the phony war he’d engineered. Few figures in the annals of organized crime have operated with such tenacity, deviousness, and reckless disregard for human life.
Today, as suspicion of governmental ethics and competence runs higher than ever, the fact that the FBI used such a known murderer as its secret weapon against what Lin DeVecchio calls “the Mafia enemy” underscores the moral ambiguity that colors so much federal law enforcement in the United States. From the time J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI forged its alliance with Gregory Scarpa Sr., a young capo for the Profaci crime family, there was no turning back. “They enlisted a violent killer to stop much less capable murderers,” says defense lawyer Ellen Resnick, whose work helped to expose this unholy alliance. “It was the ultimate ends-justify-the-means relationship.”
Excerpted from “Deal With the Devil: The FBI’s Thirty-Year Relationship With a Mafia Killer” by Peter Lance. Published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright 2013 by Tenacity Media Group Ltd. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
Peter Lance is the author of three previous works of investigative journalism, "1000 Years For Revenge," "Cover Up" and "Triple Cross." He is a former correspondent for ABC News.

James Bond and the killer bag lady

James Bond and the killer bag lady

DOD Blocks NSA Leak Chatter From Entire Computer Network

Edward Snowden, former NSA and CIA technical contractor responsible for leaking “classified intelligence programs, including the interception of US and European telephone metadata and the PRISM and Tempora Internet surveillance programs” to the The Guardian (London) according to sources, has done well at capturing the attention of the American people and others worldwide.

ARLINGTON, VA - Newly sworn in U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks to service members and employees of the Department of Defense during a daily staff meeting at the Pentagon February 27, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia. After a tumultuous confirmation hearing in the Senate, Hagel was sworn in during a small private ceremony on his first day at the Department of Defense. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, VA – Newly sworn in U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks to service members and employees of the Department of Defense during a daily staff meeting at the Pentagon February 27, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia. After a tumultuous confirmation hearing in the Senate, Hagel was sworn in during a small private ceremony on his first day at the Department of Defense. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)


By Shepard Ambellas

June 28, 2013
The cat is now out of the bag so to speak. However, as a country we are not out of the woods yet.
The establishment has seized on the moment. The whole Snowden leak can be used as a great opportunity to program the masses.
It shouldn’t surprise you that your government would spy on you, your private communications, logging your body print, biometric signatures, and don’t forget face and gate recognition technologies.
After all, you have heard people say this for years, you knew they were watching. Although with the new Snowden leak, staged or not, the establishment is programing the masses. They are telling us that, yes indeed we are being spied on by our government, but it’s for our safety. As with everything else, this is how it always starts.
Look at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), ever since the attacks on the World Trade Center complex in September of 2001, they have been crawling around airports, bus terminals, and even high school proms.
But why all of the security in the name of terror when more people die in car accidents each year? If one were to run a comparison we would find that car accidents are a much worse problem then terror attacks. In fact we ought to be focusing our resources on making vehicular travel safer, rather than locking down America in the name of terror.
In 2011, there were 32, 367 deaths reported in the United States caused by traffic accidents. This number clearly outweighs the number of deaths in the US per year by terror attacks.
In fact, here is a list of some of the largest terror attacks from 1921 on, and the number of fatalities incurred according to the
The 9/11 attacks are number 34; numbers 35-67 are post-9/11 strikes. The deadliest strikes were numbers 34, 58, 5, 44, 10, and 20. Strikes in Iraq since the U.S. invasion in 2003 are numbers 37-38, 41, 43, 45-47, 50-55, 57-58, 62-63, and 65-66.
  1. 13 Dec 1921: bombing of Bolgard palace in Bessarabia (modern Moldova) (100)
  2. 16 Apr 1925: bombing of cathedral in Sophia, Bulgaria (160)
  3. 18 May 1973: mid-air bombing of Aeroflot airliner, Siberia (100)
  4. 4 Dec 1977: crash of hijacked Malaysian airliner near Malaysia (100)
  5. 20 Aug 1978: arson of theater in Abadan, Iran (477)
  6. 20 Nov-5 Dec 1979: hostage taking at Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia (includes 87 terrorists killed) (240)
  7. 23 Sep 1983: crash of Gulf Air flight following mid-air bombing over the UAE (112)
  8. 23 Oct 1983: truck bombings of U.S. Marine and French barracks, Beirut, Lebanon (301)
  9. 14 May 1985: armed attack on crowds in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka (150)
  10. 23 Jun 1985: mid-air bombing of Air India flight off Ireland, and attempted bombing of second flight in Canada (331)
  11. 18 Apr 1987: roadway ambush near Alut Oya, Sri Lanka (127)
  12. 21 Apr 1987: bombing of bus depot in Columbo, Sri Lanka (106)
  13. 29 Nov 1987: mid-air bombing of Korean Air flight near Burma (115)
  14. 21 Dec 1988: mid-air bombing of Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland (270)
  15. 19 Sep 1989: mid-air bombing of French UTA flight near Bilma, Niger (171)
  16. 27 Nov 1989: mid-air bombing of Avianca flight in Bogota, Columbia (110)
  17. 3 Aug 1990: armed attack at two mosques in Kathankudy, Sri Lanka (140)
  18. 13 Aug 1990: armed attack at mosque in Eravur, Sri Lanka (122)
  19. 2 Oct 1990: crash of hijacked PRC airliner in Guangzhou, PRC (132)
  20. 12 Mar 1993: 15 bombings in Bombay, India (317)
  21. 22 Sep 1993: crash of airliner struck by missile in Sukhumi, Georgia (106)
  22. 19 Apr 1995: truck bombing of federal building, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA (169)
  23. 14-19 June 1996: hostage taking in Budennovsk, Russia, and two failed rescue attempts (143)
  24. 23 Nov 1996: crash of hijacked Ethiopian Air flight off Comoros (127)
  25. 29 Aug 1997: attacks at Sidi Moussa and Hais Rais, Algeria (238)
  26. 22 Sep 1997: attack at Ben Talha, Algeria (277)
  27. 30 Dec 1997: attack at Ami Moussa, Algeria (272)
  28. 4 Jan 1998: attacks at Had Chekala, Remka, and Ain Tarik, Algeria (172)
  29. 11 Jan 1998: attack on movie theater and mosque at Sidi Hamed, Algeria (103)
  30. 8 Aug 1998: truck bombings of U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Saalam, Tanzania (303)
  31. 13 Sep 1999: bombing of apartment building in Moscow, Russia (130)
  32. 31 Oct 1999: intentional crash of Egypt Air flight off Massachusetts, USA, by pilot (217)
  33. 10 Aug 2001: attack on train south of Luanda, Angola (152)
  34. 11 Sep 2001: crashing of hijacked planes into World Trade Center, New York City, New York, Pentagon in Alexandria, Virginia, and site in Pennsylvania, USA (2,993)
  35. 12 Oct 2002: car bombing outside nightclub in Kuta, Indonesia (202)
  36. 26 Oct 2002: hostage taking and attempted rescue in theater in Moscow, Russia (includes 41 terrorists killed) (170)
  37. 29 Aug 2003: car bombing outside mosque in Najaf, Iraq (125)
  38. 1 Feb 2004: two suicide bombings of political party offices in Irbil, Iraq (109)
  39. 21 Feb 2004: armed attack and arson at refugee camp, Uganda (239)
  40. 27 Feb 2004: bombing and fire on ferry near Manila, Philippines (118)
  41. 2 Mar 2004: multiple suicide bombings at shrines in Kadhimiya and Karbala, Iraq (188)
  42. 11 Mar 2004: bombings of four trains in Madrid, Spain (191)
  43. 24 Jun 2004: multiple bombings and armed attacks in several cities in Iraq (103)
  44. 1-3 Sep 2004: hostage taking at school in Beslan, Russia (includes 30 terrorists killed) (366)
  45. 28 Feb 2005: car bombing outside medical clinic in Hilla, Iraq (135)
  46. 14 Sep 2005: multiple suicide bombings and shooting attacks in Baghdad, Iraq (182)
  47. 5 Jan 2006: bombings in Karbala, Ramadi, and Baghdad, Iraq (124)
  48. 11 Jul 2006: multiple bombings on commuter trains in Mumbai, India (200)
  49. 16 Oct 2006: truck bombing of military convoy near Habarana, Sri Lanka (103)
  50. 23 Nov 2006: multiple car bombings in Baghdad, Iraq (202)
  51. 22 Jan 2007: multiple bombings in Baghdad area, Iraq (101)
  52. 3 Feb 2007: truck bombing in market place in Baghdad, Iraq (137)
  53. 6 Mar 2007: two bombings and other attacks on pilgrims, Hilla, Iraq (137)
  54. 27 Mar 2007: two truck bombings in Tal Afar, Iraq (152)
  55. 18 Apr 2007: bombings in Baghdad, Iraq (193)
  56. 3-10 Jul 2007: hostage taking and subsequent storming of mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan (102)
  57. 7 Jul 2007: bombings in Baghdad and Armili, Iraq (182)
  58. 14 Aug 2007: multiple truck bombings in Al-Qataniyah and Al-Adnaniyah, Iraq (520)
  59. 18 Oct 2007: bombing of motorcade in Karachi, Pakistan (137)
  60. 17 Feb 2008: bombing at dogfighting festival in Kandahar, Afghanistan (105)
  61. 26-29 Nov 2008: multiple gun and grenade attacks and hostage takings in Mumbai, India (174)
  62. 19 Aug 2009: multiple bombings at government sites in Baghdad, Iraq (102)
  63. 25 Oct 2009: two vehicle bombings at government buildings in Baghdad, Iraq (155)
  64. 28 Oct 2009: bombing at marketplace in Pakistan (118)
  65. 8 Dec 2009: five car bombings in Baghdad, Iraq (127)
  66. 10 May 2010: multiple bombings in Hilla, Basra, al-Suwayra, and other cities, Iraq (102)
  67. 20 Jan 2012: multiple bombings in Kano, Nigeria (178)
So when one steps back and takes a look at what we really have sitting in front of us here we must ask ourselves: What is the true danger to our country?
Now, even though this NSA surveillance of the American people was leaked and we all know about it; we are learning to live with it and accept it. Nothing is going to change. The movies out of Hollywood you have been watching for years showed us the police state. They showed us our future, exactly how it would be. Films like “The Running Man”, “Demolition Man”, and others depict exactly that.
However, there must be some validity to Edward Snowden as the Department of Defense (DOD) has blocked all information (news) pertaining to the spying scandal from appearing on any of the DOD’s network wide computer systems. In fact reported, “Any website that runs information that the Department of Defense still considers classified” is affected, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart told U.S. News in a phone interview.
According to Pickart, news websites that re-report information first published by The Guardian or other primary sources are also affected.
“If that particular website runs an article that our filters determine has classified information… the particular content on that website will remain inaccessible,” he said.
Pickart said the blackout affects “millions” of computers on “all Department of Defense networks and systems.”
This signifies that the DOD is actually scarred that the information has made it into the hands of the general public and they likely don’t wan’t any of their employees browsing at work.


Shepard Ambellas is the founder & director of (a popular alternative news website), researcher, investigative journalist, radio talk show host, activist, and filmmaker.

Snowden: An exercise in disinformation

BREAKINGOur Man In Iceland: ‘Snowden was bound for Reykjavik’

Stuart J. Hooper

21st Century Wire
Over the past week, many have embraced Edward Snowden as a ‘hero’, including a vast majority of people who purport to be in the ‘alternative media’ – all of whom would usually question what the mainstream news corporations present to them.

Numerous questions and concerns have been raised, albeit by a vocal minority, about the reality of what Snowden represents. Those who would usually be the ones to join this vocal minority in search for real answers, namely the aforementioned majority of alternative media personalities, appear to have been duped into jumping onto the latest staged bandwagon hero, along with large numbers of a naïve general public.
Edward Snowden’s leaks and scandals can be explained as a highly sophisticated, disinformation project of the highest order. Disinformation being defined as false information deliberately, and covertly, spread in order to influence public opinion (Merriam-Webster, 2013).

Historian Dr. Webster Tarpley (2013) has already noted that in 1620 a Venetian intelligence official recommended ‘saying something good about a person or institution while pretending to say something bad’. Tarpley provides the example of ‘criticizing a bloody dictator for beating his dog – the real dimensions of his crimes are thus totally underplayed’. So, we should be against the bloody dictator beating his dog, but ought to be more concerned with the more substantial crimes the ‘bloody dictator’ is known for. The scandals provided by Snowden are of an equivalent standard to the example of the dictator beating a dog. While we should be against unwarranted spying, this new scandal looks to distract us from the greater, and significantly more important, context of global affairs that are currently focused on Syria.
Snowden can be described here as an actor in a ‘limited hangout’ operation. Limited hangouts are described as when an intelligence agency resorts ‘to admitting, sometimes even volunteering, some of the truth while still managing to withhold the key and damaging facts in the case’ (Marchetti, 1978). This coincides with the first of Tarpley’s (2013) three conceptual identifiers for a limited hangout operation – the revelation of little information that is actually new. Simply put, Snowden has told us that the NSA is spying on emails and telephone calls (Drury and Robinson, 2013), along with revelations that international super powers spy on one another (Chen, 2013). While this may be shocking to some, these revelations can hardly be detailed as ‘new’ or ‘ground-breaking’. Snowden has simply provided a name, PRISM, for what has already been understood to be going on for some time. This is somewhat similar to how Julian Assange of Wikileaks rose to fame after providing the graphic video for an already acknowledged incident. These new slivers of information can, however, be particularly impactful as Marchetti (1978) notes, ‘the public is usually so intrigued by the new information that it never thinks to pursue the matter further’. Not pursuing Snowden further may have disastrous consequences for world peace and security.

For the press, it all makes perfect sense on the surface, and the surface is where the press operates. A deeper look, however, reveals the full picture…
The second conceptual identifier Tarpley (2013) provides for recognising a limited hangout operation is that the actors involved, Snowden and Assange for example, will become ‘instant media darlings’. A naïve view would suggest that this occurs due to the magnitude of information the person is presenting. Reality would show that when providing a critique of controversial issues that truly matter to the ‘Wall Street centered US ruling class’ (Tarpley, 2013), such a 9/11, that these critics are slandered, attacked and denigrated. It is also interesting to note that these limited hangout actors have themselves participated in the attacking of 9/11 truth activists. Assange has provided the most scolding attack stating ‘I’m constantly annoyed that people are distracted by false conspiracies such as 9/11’ (Bell, 2010). Glenn Greenwald, who brought Snowden forward, is not interested in veering from the official 9/11 story and instead focuses on ‘blowback’ being the cause of terrorism (Greenwald, 2013). Norman Solomon, a former U.S. State Department asset who is now supporting Snowden, ‘was notorious ten years ago as a determined enemy of 9/11 truth’ (Tarpley, 2013). The magnitude of the 9/11 issue is reflected in the authoritative status of those who question the official story such as: Andreas von Bülow, the former secretary of state for the German Federal Ministry of Defence, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former president of Iran. It must be asked why these ‘whistle-blowers’ seem so vehemently opposed to the issue of questioning the biggest elephant in the room per say – 9/11, and why they never have any new information to reveal regarding the event. They all appear to agree with the establishment, that they proclaim to be fighting against, on what is arguable the most important and controversial event in recent history; which provides much cause for concern.
These concerns are somewhat amplified when the characteristics of Snowden are looked at in detail. Naomi Wolf (2013) has stated that during his interview he looked like ‘someone who had learned his talking points’ and his message promoted fears that an oppressive government would want to instil in other would-be whistle-blowers; such as the idea that you will lose everything by standing up against it, in effect, demonstrating the omnipotent capacity of said government. Doubts have also been raised about whether Snowden had the ability to wiretap the president and shut down the NSA in a few hours, as he has claimed (Rappoport, 2013). These claims might be attributed to Snowden’s apparent narcissistic tendencies, most evident in modelling photographs and an online biography of his that have now been published (Reilly, 2013). Snowden is known to have enlisted in the U.S. Army in May 2004 where he wanted to fight for freedom in a Special Forces unit. Tarpley (2013) states that this ‘shift from militarist to civil libertarian remains unexplained and highly suspicious’, a conclusion that is substantiated by the other added character concerns.
One can also judge a man by the company he keeps and in Snowden’s case that means Wikileaks (Shane and Savage, 2013). Before shooting into mainstream fame, Wikileaks received an endorsement from Cass Sunstein suggesting that ‘they have immense potential’ (Sunstein, 2007). This should be of immediate concern to anyone looking for legitimacy in leaked information, as Sunstein is the author of a 2008 paper where he advocated the ‘main policy idea’ and ‘promising tactic’ of using ‘cognitive infiltration’ to disrupt and break up ‘ideological and epistemological complexes’ that investigate and promote anti-government conspiracy theories. He notes that ‘direct government rebuttals…will prove ineffective’ and therefore external government ‘allies’ will need to be used (Sunstein, 2008). Assange appears to fit perfectly into the role of an external government ‘ally’. His attack on 9/11 conspiracy theories, as documented earlier, appears to be an example of Sunstein’s ‘cognitive infiltration’ tactic in action as the information he ‘leaks’ looks to distract from greater areas of inquiry. Now that the organization is said to be working with Snowden, more questions of his legitimacy are inevitably raised. It’s also worth noting that the founder of Cryptome and mentor of Assange, John Young, denounced Wikileaks in 2007 as a CIA front (Tarpley, 2013).
Tarpley’s third and final identifier for a limited hangout operation is when they are used to prepare large covert operations, which in the case of Snowden would be to advance an attack on Syria. This is evident from a number of key points. The first being that Snowden’s initial revelations came on the same day that Qusayr, a crucial rebel stronghold, fell to the Syrian army; enraging British and French imperialist warmongers. Here we must remember the critical contextual point that Obama has refrained from an all out attack on Syria; something that those in London and Paris have been pushing for heavily over the past few months. Snowden’s revelations triggered what Tarpley (2013) described as ‘a firestorm of criticism’ specifically aimed at Obama. The London Guardian does not only publish the new ‘scandal’ that caused this uproar, but they also like to point out how it is causing damage to Obama by putting his approval rating at ‘its lowest point since last November’s election’ and has caused a ‘collapse in trust’ (Enten, 2013). Attacking Obama pushes him to a point where he must conform to the will of the establishment, to attack Syria outright, or be ousted.
For further evidence of The Guardian’s push for war in Syria, we can find an article titled ‘A Political Ploy: The Guardian Editors Swallow US Claims On Syrian WMD’ (Edwards, 2013). It documents the stunning comments from Guardian editors including: ‘that use (of Chemical Weapons) is an outrage and is against international agreements. It adds to the charge sheet against the Assad regime’. The article’s author states that these are ‘among the most shocking comments we have ever seen in the Guardian’, that they ‘endorse the latest claims on Syria’ and that ‘the Guardian editors are on-message, on-side and boosting war propaganda’. We can now understand why The Guardian would use Snowden to attack Obama as a means to fulfil the agenda, which they support, of a more open war against Syria.

IMAGE: The international press campaign against the Assad regime is currently in its second year.
It is possible to provide a real world example for another limited hangout operation that has prepared similar attacks by looking to none other than Wikileaks. As an organisation, they have never destroyed the career of a British, American or Israeli politician, but instead a laundry list of people that ‘bears a striking resemblance to the CIA enemies’ list’ (Tarpley, 2013). Their attack against Assad of Syria, through a somewhat pathetic email-sex scandal (Taher and Slater, 2012), should make it immediately clear whose interests they represent: the same ones who also control the direction of The Guardian. With both The Guardian and Wikileaks supporting Snowden, we can almost be certain of whose interests he too represents: those who are aiming for war. Therefore, the armies of dupes currently attacking Obama for what Snowden has revealed, many of who should know better, are in actual fact facilitating the establishment’s agenda for a wider war in Syria by weakening the anti-open war president.
While this is in no way seeks to aggrandise or apologise for Obama, the fact that he has not initiated a wider war in Syria must be recognised as a positive policy direction. We can see a similar direction during the attack on Libya where Obama officials refused to call the attack a ‘war’, they instead insisted on calling it ‘kinetic military action’ (York, 2011). To add to this anti-open war course, Obama’s actions against Iran do not include bombing runs and tactical nuclear strikes, but instead, methods of economic warfare that look to make Iran’s currency, the Rial, useless (Klimasinska and Katz, 2013). Articles are now emerging stating that ‘Obama needs to act now on Syria’ from those who clearly understand what Snowden represents: the manufactured opportunity to fulfil the agenda of war with Syria. They state that ‘lives have been lost, and battlefield gains the insurgents enjoyed six months ago have been squandered’ thanks to Obama not acting sooner (Doran and O’Hanlon, 2013). Are we really going to allow this new limited hangout operation to bring us into another war?
It is disappointing that so many are unable to understand the complexities of the disinformation, and limited hangout capacity, that Snowden symbolizes. But what is more worrying is the fact that many should simply know better when it comes to such matters. What is particularly interesting is how it was broadcast that Ed Snowden had been a supporter of, and donor to, libertarian Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign. The use of the name ‘Ron Paul’ appears to be an indispensable tool for ensnaring the support of the libertarian audience, an audience that is substantial in both physical size and influence particularly in the alternative media. Do libertarians have an almost childlike trust in anyone who supports Ron Paul? Would they allow this to blind themselves from the reality of a situation? It appears so, and also that the cunning minds behind the Snowden limited hangout are well aware of this. To what degree could this phenomenon be truly exploited? This is surely the question on the minds of those with nefarious intentions for future disinformation and limited hangout campaigns.
While we must be against warrantless spying, we must recognise the wider global context in which such scandals are presented to us. Remember the analogy of the brutal dictator beating the dog. This new limited hangout operation must be exposed as such in order to alleviate pressure on Obama, who is evidently attempting to maintain his Peace-Prize-Winner image. Hopefully, that can reverse the current trend of forcing both him, and the world, into yet another unnecessary conflict. Snowden is, at best, a fool who was deceived into his current position. At worst, he may be said to be a double agent who is fully aware of the wider consequences of his ‘leaks’. Interestingly enough, Snowden recently came out and stated that Britain’s ‘GCHQ (the NSA of the UK) is worse than the US’ (McDermott, 2013). Is this an attempt to shake the claims that Snowden is in fact a British sponsored limited hangout agent? Possibly. It would appear, therefore, as if we are on the right track. Following this line of enquiry may not only pull us away from war, but also remove many people from a state of what can currently only be termed as terminal naïveté or gullibility.

Audio presentation of this article can be heard here:    

1,000 IRS Employees Abused Government Credit Cards & Wrote Bad Checks

what's the plan folks ! ..we just gonna let em piss ALL our $$$  away until America looks like the Moon ?   that it ,the best we can come up with ?    We The People do this shit ?  we go the fuck to jail !      How about We The People kick "their" asses & throw em outta there own party.            

1,000 IRS Employees Abused Government Credit Cards & Wrote Bad Checks

The Treasury Inspector General for the Internal Revenue Service recently released the results of an audit of the IRS finding that thousands of IRS agents have used government credit cards illicitly and at least 325 were caught writing bad checks to cover the expenditures.
Just as we’ve learned of the IRS intimidation scandal we find that a thousand agents don’t care much about paying their own bills! The report reviewed employees of the IRS between 2010 and 2011 and found that fully 1,000 employees misused the credit cards issued to the IRS by Citibank, that 325 tried to pay their bills with checks written on accounts with insufficient funds and that Citibank suspended dozens of accounts for failure to pay balances. The report also determined that the IRS was far too lenient in disciplining those responsible.
Regardless, though, the report claims that the IRS did a “generally effective” job keeping tabs on employee use of credit cards.
The IRS employees who abused the “company” credit cards included an executive-level official, one criminal investigator, and multiple employees with high security clearances.
I guess this isn’t surprising after we found out that Obama’s IRS stooges were doing their best to oppress conservatives even as the IRS is spending millions upon millions for lavish parties at the taxpayer’s expense. The arrogance is overwhelming.
The IG report went on: “We found that 15 cardholders with either secret or top-secret clearances had their travel accounts suspended due to their failure to pay outstanding balances. Two other cardholders with secret and top-secret clearances presented NSF [non-sufficient funds] checks to Citibank for payment of their travel card balance.”
“In addition, 94 cardholders serving public trust positions requiring moderate and high-level background checks wrote one or more NSF checks, and 36 had their accounts charged off [written off as a loss by Citibank] due to their failure to pay outstanding balances.”
“For example a tax compliance officer wrote seven NSF checks in FY 2011 while occupying a position that required a moderate-risk background investigation.”
Government credit cards are issued in two basic types. Centrally billed cards which the U.S. government pays for directly, and individually billed cards, where employees pay the bills and submit a voucher to their bosses reimbursement. The cards in question here are of the latter type.
The IG reported that the IRS charged over $121 million for expenses claimed by the 51,974 employees using the individual travel cards in the time period under review.
This is in keeping with these other 60 insane ways your government is wasting your tax money, of course.
But the IG also found that the punishment for these abuses was too lenient.
“While the CCS Branch correctly referred misuse cases to Labor Relations, disciplinary actions against employees were typically less severe than those recommended by the IRS’s penalty guidelines in approximately half of the 30 cases reviewed,” the report said.
In addition, the IRS lacked standard policies for referring employees who misused their travel cards to security personnel to determine if background checks, security clearances, and suitability for employment determinations required reevaluation. As a result, employees who wrote NSF checks or had suspended or charged-off accounts received little or no disciplinary action in response to their misuse and did not have their background clearances reevaluated for suitability for employment.”
“However, we determined that an overly lenient approach was taken in approximately half of the 30 cases we reviewed. The lack of aggressive steps taken to address travel card misuse and the lack of a subsequent reevaluation of employee background checks and clearances reduces the overall effectiveness of controls over the travel card program and provides a reduced deterrent factor for travel card misuse.”
The IG report concluded that these abuses hurts the agency’s reputation.
“Of particular concern is the fact that the IRS ask taxpayers to voluntarily pay taxes owed in a timely manner and yet was more tolerant when its employees became delinquent and defaulted on outstanding payments, violated the terms of the Citibank contract, abused a Government-provided resource (travel funding), and compromised the integrity of the IRS.”
Now there’s an understatement.
Yet, as Obama’s IRS wastes millions on fancy hotel rooms and endless, unnecessary “conferences,” to pamper employees not to mention abusing government credit cads, Obama is demanding brand new types of taxes!

Open Letter by UK Doctors on Health and Safety of Wi-Fi, Mobile Phones 

From Safe Schools Information Technology Alliance
Original letter (PDF)
26th June 2013
Health and safety of Wi-Fi and mobile phones
We wish to highlight our concern over the safety of exposure to microwave radiation from wireless technology, particularly for vulnerable groups like children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with compromised health.

There is growing concern that chronic (long-term) exposure to radiofrequency/microwave radiation from wireless technologies causes damage, particularly genetic damage, cognitive damage, cancer and decreased fertility. There is now substantial evidence of a link between mobile phone use and brain cancer. This was recognised by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)’s 30-strong panel of scientists, which in 2011 classed radiofrequency radiation as “possibly carcinogenic”.
Additionally, doctors are encountering a significant and growing number of people presenting with a range of acute(short-term) symptoms from wireless radiation, including headaches, palpitations, rashes, fatigue, sleep disturbance, allergies and memory and concentration problems.
International medical agencies have recognised the evidence of harm (see appended list) but these rulings may take many years to be reflected in public health policy. This controversy is a common characteristic of scientific understanding when environmental exposures are new.
New technologies and substances often come with scientific conflict, which can continue for several decades before consensus is achieved. Commercial pressures often delay the acceptance of health risks, even when scientific evidence is compelling. In the case of tobacco, asbestos, x-rays and leaded petrol, for example, it took many decades before damage was established and accepted by health agencies and during those decades millions of people suffered ill health and death as a result of the delay. Now, despite evidence of harm, wireless technology is being rolled out widely.
We urge health agencies and the public to act immediately to reduce exposure to radiofrequency/ microwave radiation. This is especially important for children, who are physiologically more vulnerable to this exposure and for whom adults have a safeguarding responsibility. Children’s health should be put ahead of convenience and commercial benefits. Children should not use mobile phones except in an emergency, and WiFi should be replaced with wired alternatives in schools and other settings where children spend considerable time.
Yours faithfully,
Dr Elizabeth Evans MA (Cantab), MBBS (Lond), DRCOG – medical doctor
Dr Andrew Tresidder MRCGP (1989), MBBS (Lond) – medical doctor
Dr Erica Mallery Blythe BM – medical doctor
Appendix – International Rulings
1. In 2011 the World Health Organization’s scientific panel, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), reviewed all the evidence on carcinogenesis (cancer-causing) and categorised electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones and Wi-Fi as Possibly Carcinogenic (Class 2B). See
2. The Council of Europe has called for member states to take measures to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields and give preference to wired internet connections for children, particularly in schools and classrooms. The Parliamentary Assembly stated that “the Assembly regrets that, despite calls for the respect of the precautionary principle and despite all the recommendations, declarations and a number of statutory and legislative advances, there is still a lack of reaction to known or emerging environmental and health risks and virtually systematic delays in adopting and implementing effective preventive measures. Waiting for high levels of scientific and clinical proof before taking action to prevent well-known risks can lead to very high health and economic costs, as was the case with asbestos, leaded petrol and tobacco.”
3. The BioInitiative Report, updated in 2012 by 29 scientists, states that biological effects are clearly established and occur at very low levels of exposure to electromagnetic fields and radiofrequency radiation from just minutes of exposure to mobile phone masts (cell towers), WI-FI, and wireless utility ‘smart’ meters.
4. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine stated in a 2012 Position Paper that “Multiple studies correlate RF exposure with diseases such as cancer, neurological disease, reproductive disorders, immune dysfunction, and electromagnetic hypersensitivity.” See
5. The Safe Schools Report 2012 lists statements by other doctors and medical associations raising concerns over children’s exposure to electromagnetic fields from Wi-Fi and other wireless technology.
6. International Society of Doctors for the environment (ISDE) and Irish Doctors’ Environmental Association (IDEA) state that “there is sufficient scientific evidence to warrant more stringent controls on the level and distribution of electromagnetic radiation [EMR]. The joint statement and recommendations are part of a call by medical and scientific experts for safe technologies in schools.” See
See related post: “Occupy Your Home”: Confronting Smart Meter Toxification

Bulls Eye: Smith and Wesson Sales Sky Rocket: “We Are At Maximum Capacity”

Mac Slavo
June 26th, 2013
Economic growth from the first quarter may have just gone boom as American wages collapse and the prospects for jobs continue to deteriorate, but one industry is breaking records without fail every month.
Firearms manufacturer Smith and Wesson reported a 37% increase in sales year-over-year, with President James Debney noting that demand for product isn’t waning and production capacity is the only bottleneck (so, if they had more manufacturing plants, sales would be even higher).
President James Debney:
“…gains over the year were driven by strong consumer demand for our products, which we believe is due to heightened awareness paired with our ability to significantly increase our manufacturing capacity. Full year sales growth of nearly 43% was driven in large part by our increased M&P production. Demand remains strong across our product portfolio…
“While we significantly increased our production capacity in fiscal 2013, we remained capacity constrained as we have in the past five quarters. We plan to continue intelligently increasing capacity in fiscal 2014.
“…Sales for the quarter rose 37.6% year-over-year. Gross margins in the high 30s continue to expand …”
According to the report, Smith and Wesson manufacturing operations are running at maximum capacity.
He may be destroying the broader economy and impoverishing America, but we can’t deny that President Barrack Obama is without a doubt the greatest gun salesman of all time.
gun-sales-obama(Infographic via The Gateway Pundit)
Hattip VRF added
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Hidden Tariff On American Citizens In New Immigration Bill: Millions More Stand To Lose Their Jobs

Mac Slavo
June 26th, 2013
Leave it to the best and brightest in Congress to craft legislation that does more harm than good.
Amid a national employment crisis that has left one in every three Americans near poverty and on government welfare, our dear leaders have taken it upon themselves to legislate millions more out of jobs.
The Obamacare mandates slated to go into effect next year will force employers to provide health care coverage, or pay a fine to the government of $3000 per employee if they fail to do so. This is a job killer in and of itself, but it doesn’t stop there.
Under the immigration legislation making its way through Congress right now there exists a provision that will allow illegal immigrants residing in the United States the option of being classified as “registered provisional immigrants,” which means they can work legally within the United States. It sounds like a great idea to the progressive-minded.
Here’s the problem.
“Under Obamacare, businesses with over 50 workers that employ American citizens without offering them qualifying health insurance could be subject to fines of up to $3,000 per worker. But because newly legalized immigrants wouldn’t be eligible for subsidies on the Obamacare exchanges until after they become citizens – at least 13 years under the Senate bill – businesses could avoid such fines by hiring the new immigrants instead.”
What the new legislation essentially does is place a tariff on hiring American citizens.
Estimates suggest that well over thirty million immigrants, perhaps more, will benefit from the law.
Who won’t benefit?
That’d be the 23% of Americans who have lost their jobs over the last five years, and the millions more who are struggling to stay gainfully employed in the worst labor market since the great depression.
You see, coupled with Obamacare the immigration bill gives employers absolutely no incentive to hire Americans. In fact, it punishes them for doing so by mandating company sponsored medical coverage or forcing them to pay a tax for failure to provide their employees with healthcare.
By hiring a provisional immigrant, they can avoid those taxes for up to thirteen years.
Businesses across the country are barley staying afloat and Congress will leave them no choice but to lay off employees who will cost them more money under the new healthcare mandates.
It’s basic economics, something our Congressional membership fails to understand.
This is what happens when you don’t read the bills before you pass them.             
As you may have guessed, it’s likely that not a single one of the representatives who are in support of the immigration overhaul have read the 1,200 page legislation.
Here are a few responses from the bill sponsors when they were pressed to address the provisional immigrant issue:
“We’re trying to solve that right now. I don’t know if that’s been solved,” Senator Max Baucus of Montana (chief author of Obamacare) told The Weekly Standard.

“I don’t know. I’d have to look at it closely,” said Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. “I just haven’t read it that closely to know.”

Senator Tom Carper of Delaware said he was too busy to answer the question. “I don’t have the time to drill down on it right now.”
Congress is a vote away from vaporizing millions of jobs because of the ignorance and complacency of the majority of  its members.
It really makes you wonder… are they doing this intentionally?
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Global Power Project, Part 1: Exposing the Transnational Capitalist Class

By Andrew Gavin Marshall,
The Global Power Project, an investigative series produced by, aims to identify and connect the worldwide institutions and individuals who comprise today’s global power oligarchy. By studying the relationships and varying levels of leadership that govern our planet’s most influential institutions — from banks, corporations and financial institutions to think tanks, foundations and universities — this project seeks to expose the complex, highly integrated network of influence wielded by relatively few individuals on a national and transnational basis. This is not a study of wealth, but a study of power.
Many now know the rhetoric of the 1% very well: the imagery of a small elite owning most of the wealth while the 99% take the table scraps. This rhetoric and imagery was made popular by the growth of the Occupy movement, so it seems appropriate that a project of should expand on this understanding and bring the activities of the global elite further to light.
In 2006, a UN report revealed that the world’s richest 1% own 40% of the world’s wealth, with those in the financial and internet sectors comprising the “super rich.” More than a third of the world’s super-rich live in the U.S., with roughly 27% in Japan, 6% in the U.K., and 5% in France. The world’s richest 10% accounted for roughly 85% of the planet’s total assets, while the bottom half of the population – more than 3 billion people – owned less than 1% of the world’s wealth.
Looking specifically at the United States, the top 1% own more than 36% of the national wealth and more than the combined wealth of the bottom 95%. Almost all of the wealth gains over the previous decade went to the top 1%. In the mid-1970s, the top 1% earned 8% of all national income; this number rose to 21% by 2010. At the highest sliver at the top, the 400 wealthiest individuals in America have more wealth than the bottom 150 million.

A 2005 report from Citigroup coined the term “plutonomy” to describe countries “where economic growth is powered by and largely consumed by the wealthy few.” The report specifically identified the U.K., Canada, Australia and the United States as four plutonomies. Published three years before the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, the Citigroup report stated: “Asset booms, a rising profit share and favorable treatment by market-friendly governments have allowed the rich to prosper and become a greater share of the economy in the plutonomy countries.”
“The rich,” said the report, “are in great shape, financially.”
In early 2013, Oxfam reported that the fortunes made by the world’s 100 richest people over the course of 2012 – roughly $240 billion – would be enough to lift the world’s poorest people out of poverty four times over. In the Oxfam report, “The Cost of Inequality: How Wealth and Income Extremes Hurt Us All,” the international charity noted that in the past 20 years, the richest 1% had increased their incomes by 60%. Barbara Stocking, an Oxfam executive, noted that this type of extreme wealth is “economically inefficient, politically corrosive, socially divisive and environmentally destructive…We can no longer pretend that the creation of wealth for a few will inevitably benefit the many – too often the reverse is true.”
The report added: “In the UK, inequality is rapidly returning to levels not seen since the time of Charles Dickens. In China the top 10% now take home nearly 60% of the income. Chinese inequality levels are now similar to those in South Africa, which is now the most unequal country on Earth and significantly more unequal than at the end of apartheid.” In the United States, the share of national income going to the top 1% has doubled from 10 to 20% since 1980, and for the top 0.01% in the United States, “the share of national income is above levels last seen in the 1920s.”
Previously, in July of 2012, James Henry, a former chief economist at McKinsey, a major global consultancy, published a major report on tax havens for the Tax Justice Network which compiled data from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the IMF and other private sector entities to reveal that the world’s super-rich have hidden between $21 and $32 trillion offshore to avoid taxation.
Henry stated: “This offshore economy is large enough to have a major impact on estimates of inequality of wealth and income; on estimates of national income and debt ratios; and – most importantly – to have very significant negative impacts on the domestic tax bases of ‘source’ countries.” John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network further commented that “Inequality is much, much worse than official statistics show, but politicians are still relying on trickle-down to transfer wealth to poorer people… This new data shows the exact opposite has happened: for three decades extraordinary wealth has been cascading into the offshore accounts of a tiny number of super-rich.”
With roughly half of the world’s offshore wealth, or some $10 trillion, belonging to 92,000 of the planet’s richest individuals —representing not the top 1% but the top 0.001% — we see a far more extreme global disparity taking shape than the one invoked by the Occupy movement. Henry commented: “The very existence of the global offshore industry, and the tax-free status of the enormous sums invested by their wealthy clients, is predicated on secrecy.”
In his 2008 book, “Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making,” David Rothkopf, a man firmly entrenched within the institutions of global power and the elites which run them, compiled a census of roughly 6,000 individuals whom he referred to as the “superclass.” They were defined not simply by their wealth, he said, but by the influence they exercised within the realms of business, finance, politics, military, culture, the arts and beyond.
Rothkopf noted: “Each member is set apart by his ability to regularly influence the lives of millions of people in multiple countries worldwide. Each actively exercises this power and often amplifies it through the development of relationships with other superclass members.”
The global elite are of course not defined by their wealth alone, but through the institutional, ideological and individual connections and networks in which they wield their influence. The most obvious example of these types of institutions are the multinational banks and corporations which dominate the global economy. In the first scientific study of its kind, Swiss researchers analyzed the relationship between 43,000 transnational corporations and “identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.”
In their report, “The Network of Global Corporate Control, researchers noted that this network – which they defined as “ownership” by a person or firm over another firm, whether partially or entirely – “is much more unequally distributed than wealth” and that “the top ranked actors hold a control ten times bigger than what could be expected based on their wealth.” The “core” of this network – which consists of the world’s top 737 corporations – control 80% of all transnational corporations (TNCs).
Even more extreme, the top 147 transnational corporations control roughly 40% of the entire economic value of the world’s TNCs, forming their own network known as the “super-entity.” The super-entity conglomerates all control each other, and thus control a significant portion of the rest of the world’s corporations with the “core” of the global corporate network consisting primarily of financial corporations and intermediaries.
In December of 2011, the former deputy secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton administration, Roger Altman, wrote an article for the Financial Times in which he described financial markets as “a global supra-government” which can “oust entrenched regimes… force austerity, banking bail-outs and other major policy changes.” Altman said bluntly that the influence of this entity “dwarfs multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund” as “they have become the most powerful force on earth.”
With the formation of this “super-entity” – a veritable global supra-government – made up of the world’s largest banks and corporations exerting immense influence over all other corporations, a new global class structure has evolved. It is this rarefied group of individuals and firms, and the relations they hold with one another, that we wish to further understand.

According to the 2012 report, “Corporate Clout Distributed: The Influence of the World’s Largest 100 Economic Entities,” of the world’s 100 largest economic entities in 2010, 42% were corporations while the rest were governments. Among the largest 150 economic entities, 58% were corporations. Wal-Mart was the largest corporation in 2010 and the 25th largest economic entity on earth, with greater revenue than the GDPs of no less than 171 countries.
According to the Fortune Global 500 list of corporations for 2011, Royal Dutch Shell next became the largest conglomerate on earth, followed by Exxon, Wal-Mart, and BP. The Global 500 made record revenue in 2011 totaling some $29.5 trillion — more than a 13% increase from 2010.
With such massive wealth and power held by these institutions and “networks” of corporations, those individuals who sit on the boards, executive committees and advisory groups to the largest corporations and banks wield significant influence on their own. But their influence does not stand in isolation from other elites, nor do the institutions of banks and corporations function in isolation from other entities such as state, educational, cultural or media institutions.
Largely facilitated by the cross-membership that exists between boards of corporations, think tanks, foundations, educational institutions and advisory groups — not to mention the continual “revolving door” between the state and corporate sectors — these elites become a highly integrated, organized and evolved social group. This is as true for the formation of national elites as it is for transnational, or global, elites.
The rise of corporations and banks to a truly global scale – what is popularly referred to as the process of “globalization” – was facilitated by the growth of other transnational networks and institutions such as think tanks and foundations, which sought to facilitate these ideological and institutional structures of globalization. A wealth of research and analysis has been undertaken in academic literature over the past couple of decades to understand the development of this phenomenon, examining the emergence of what is often referred to as the “Transnational Capitalist Class” (TCC). In various political science and sociology journals, researchers and academics reject a conspiratorial thesis and instead advance a social analysis of what is viewed as a powerful social system and group.
As Val Burris and Clifford L. Staples argued in an article for the International Journal of Comparative Sociology (Vol. 53, No. 4, 2012), “as transnational corporations become increasingly global in their operations, the elites who own and control those corporations will also cease to be organized or divided along national lines.” They added: “We are witnessing the formation of a ‘transnational capitalist class’ (TCC) whose social networks, affiliations, and identities will no longer be embedded primarily in the roles they occupy as citizens of specific nations.” To properly understand this TCC, it is necessary to study what the authors call “interlocking directorates,” defined as “the structure of interpersonal or interorganizational relations that is created whenever a director of one corporation sits on the governing board of another corporation.”
The growth of “interlocking directorates” is primarily confined to European and North American conglomerates, whereas those in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East largely remain “isolated from the global interlock network.” Thus, the “transnationalization” of corporate directorates and, ultimately, of global class structures “is more a manifestation of the process of European integration – or, perhaps, of the emergence of a North Atlantic ruling class.”
The conclusion of these researchers was that the ruling class is not “global” as such, but rather “a supra-national capitalist class that has gone a considerable way toward transcending national divisions,” notably in the industrialized countries of Western Europe and North America; in their words, “the regional locus of transnational class formation is more accurately described as the North Atlantic region.” However, with the rise of the “East” – notably the economic might of Japan, China, India, and other East Asian nations – the interlocks and interconnections among elites are likely to expand as various other networks of institutions seek to integrate these regions.
The influence wielded by banks and corporations is not simply through their direct wealth or operations, but through the affiliations, interactions and integration by those who run the institutions with political and social elites, both nationally and globally. While we can identify a global elite as a wealth percentage (the top 1% or, more accurately, the top 0.001%), this does not account for the more indirect and institutionalized influence that corporate and financial leaders exert over politics and society as a whole.
To further understand this, we must identify and explore the dominant institutions which facilitate the integration of these elites from an array of corporations, banks, academia, the media, military, intelligence, political and cultural spheres. This will be the subject of the second installment in the series, appearing next week.
Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada.
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Global Power Project, Part 2: Identifying the Institutions of Control

By Andrew Gavin Marshall,

The Global Power Project, an investigative series produced by, aims to identify and connect the worldwide institutions and individuals who comprise today’s global power oligarchy. In Part 1, which appeared last week, I provided an overview examining who and what constitute the global ruling elite – often referred to as the Transnational Capitalist Class (TCC). In this second part, I will attempt to identify some of the key, dominant institutions that have facilitated and have in turn been supported by the development of this oligarchic class. This is not a study of wealth, but a study of power.
In an article for the journal International Sociology, William K. Carroll and Jean Philippe Sapinski examined the relationship between the corporate elite and the emergence of a “transnational policy-planning network,” beginning with its formation in the decades following World War II and speeding up in the 1970s with the creation of “global policy groups” and think tanks such as the World Economic Forum, in 1971, and the Trilateral Commission, in 1973, among many others.
The function of such institutions was to help mobilize and integrate the corporate elite beyond national borders, constructing a politically “organized minority.” These policy-planning organizations came to exist as “venues for discussion, strategic planning, discourse production and consensus formation on specific issues,” as well as “places where responses to crises of legitimacy are crafted,” such as managing economic, political, or environmental crises where elite interests might be threatened. These groups also often acted as “advocates for specific projects of integration, often on a regional basis.” Perhaps most importantly, the organizations “provide bridges connecting business elites to political actors (heads of states, politicians, high-ranking public servants) and elites and organic intellectuals in other fields (international organizations, military, media, academia).”
One important industry association, according to researchers Carroll and Carson in the journal Global Networks (Vol. 3, No. 1, 2003), is the International Chamber of Commerce. Launched by investment bankers in 1919, immediately following WWI, the Paris-based Chamber groups roughly 7,000 member corporations together across 130 countries, adhering to largely conservative, “free market” ideology. The “primary function” of the ICC, write Carroll and Carson, “is to institutionalize an international business perspective by providing a forum where capitalists and related professionals… can assemble and forge a common international policy framework.”
Another policy group with outsized global influence is the Bilderberg group, founded between 1952 and 1954, which provided “a context for more comprehensive international capitalist coordination and planning.” Bringing together roughly 130 elites from Western Europe and North America at annual closed meetings, “Bilderberg conferences have furnished a confidential platform for corporate, political, intellectual, military and even trade-union elites from the North Atlantic heartland to reach mutual understanding.”
As Valerie Aubourg examined in an article for the journal Intelligence and National Security (Vol. 18, No. 2, 2003), the Bilderberg meetings were organized largely at the initiative of a handful of European elites, with heavy financial backing from select American institutions including the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the CIA. The meetings incorporate leadership from the most prominent national think tanks, such as the Council on Foreign Relations, Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment and others from across the North Atlantic ‘community.’
Hugh Wilford, writing in the journal Diplomacy & Statecraft (Vol. 14, No. 3, 2003), identified major philanthropic foundations such as the Rockefeller, Ford, and Carnegie foundations as not only major sources of funding but also providers for much of the leadership of the Bilderberg meetings, which saw the participation of major industrial and financial firms in line with those foundations (David Rockefeller of Chase Manhattan is a good example). Bilderberg was a major force in helping to create the political, economic and strategic consensus behind constructing a common European market.
With the support of these major foundations and their leadership, the Bilderberg meetings became a powerful global tool of the elites, not only in creating the European Union but in designing the process of globalization itself. Will Hutton, a former Bilderberg member, once referred to the group as “the high priests of globalization,” and a former Bilderberg steering committee member, Denis Healey,once noted: “To say we were striving for a one-world government is exaggerated, but not wholly unfair…we felt that a single community throughout the world would be a good thing.”
The large industrial foundations have played a truly profound – and largely overlooked – role in the shaping of modern society. The ‘Robber Baron’ industrial fortunes of the late 19th century – those of Morgan, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Harriman, Vanderbilt, etc. – sought to shape a new order in which they would maintain a dominant influence throughout society. They founded major American universities (often named after themselves) such as Vanderbilt, or the University of Chicago which was founded by John D. Rockefeller.

It was through their institutions that they sought to produce new elites to manage a new society, atop of which they sat. These universities became the harbingers of modern social sciences, seeking to “reform” society to fit the needs of those who dominated it; to engage in social engineering with the purpose of social control. It was in this context that the Carnegie Corporation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and later the Ford Foundation and others were founded: as engines of social engineering. One of their principal aims was to shape the development of the social sciences – and their exportation around the world to other industrial and imperial powers like Great Britain, and beyond. The social sciences were to facilitate the “scientific management” of society, and the foundations were the patrons of “social control.”
The Rockefeller, Carnegie and Ford foundations were instrumental in providing funding, organization and personnel for the development of major American and international think tanks such as the Council on Foreign Relations, which became essential to the emergence of a dominant and entrenched U.S. business class linking academia, political, strategic, corporate and financial elites. The Rockefeller and Ford foundations in particular constructed the field of modern political science and “Area Studies” with a view to educating a class of people who would be prepared to help manage a global empire.
They were also prominent in developing the educational system for black Americans designed to keep them relegated to labor and “vocational” training. They helped found many prominent universities in Africa, Asia and Latin America to train indigenous elites with a “Western” education in the social sciences, to ensure continuity between a domestic and international elite, between core and periphery, empire and protectorate.
Another major policy planning group is the Trilateral Commission, created out of the Bilderberg meetings as a separate transnational think tank and founded by Chase Manhattan CEO (and Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations) David Rockefeller along with academic-turned-policymaker Zbigniew Brzezinski in 1973. The Trilateral Commission linked the elites from Western Europe, North America and Japan (hence “trilateral”), and it now also includes members from China, India and a range of other Pacific-East Asian countries.
Consisting of a membership of roughly 350 individuals from finance, corporations, media, think tanks, foundations, academia and political circles, the Trilateral Commission (TC) has been immensely influential as a forum facilitating the development and integration of a “transnational elite.” The aim of the TC was “to foster closer cooperation among these core industrialized areas of the world with shared leadership responsibilities in the wider international system.”
The most famous report issued by the Trilateral Commission in the mid-1970s suggested that due to the popular activism of the 1960s, there was a “crisis of democracy” that it defined as an “excess of democracy,” which needed to be reduced in order for “democracy to function effectively.” According to the Trilateral Commission, what was needed was increased “apathy and noninvolvement on the part of some individuals and groups” to counter the “crisis” being caused by “a highly educated, mobilized, and participant society.”
Moving elsewhere, the World Economic Forum, founded in 1971, convenes annually in Davos, Switzerland and was originally designed “to secure the patronage of the Commission of European Communities, as well as the encouragement of Europe’s industry associations” and “to discuss European strategy in an international marketplace.” The WEF has since expanded its membership and mandate, as Carroll and Carson noted, “organized around a highly elite core of transnational capitalists (the ‘Foundation Membership’) – which it currently limits to ’1000 of the foremost global enterprises’.” The meetings include prominent individuals from the scientific community, academics, the media, NGOs and many other policy groups.
Another major policy planning group emerged in the mid-1990s with an increased focus on environmental issues, called the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), which “instantly became the pre-eminent business voice on the environment” with a 1997 membership of 123 top corporate executives, tasked with bringing the “voice” of big business to the process of international efforts to address environmental concerns (and thus, to secure their own interests).
Among other prominent think tanks and policy-planning boards helping to facilitate and integrate a transnational network of elites are many nation-based organizations, particularly in the United States, such as with the Council on Foreign Relations, the Brookings Institution and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), among many others. The advisory boards to these organizations provide an important forum through which transnational elites may help to influence the policies of many separate nations, and most importantly, the world’s most powerful nation: the United States.
The Council on Foreign Relations, founded in 1921, refers to itself as “an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher,” with roughly 4,700 members. It is largely based in New York with affiliate offices in Washington D.C. and elsewhere. The CFR is, and has been, at the heart of the American foreign policy establishment, bringing together elites from academia, government, the media, intelligence, military, financial and corporate institutions.
The CFR worked in close cooperation with the U.S. government during World War II to design the post-War world over which America would reign supreme. The Council was active in establishing the “Grand Areas” of the American Empire, and in maintaining extensive influence over the foreign policy of the United States.
As Carroll and Carson noted, there is a prominent relationship between those individuals who sit on multiple corporate boards and those who sit on the boards of prominent national and transnational policy-planning groups, “suggesting a highly centralized corporate-policy network.”
Studying 622 corporate directors and 302 organizations (five of which were the major policy-planning groups: ICC, Bilderberg, Trilateral Commission, World Economic Forum and World Business Council for Sustainable Development), Carroll and Carson assessed this network of transnational elites with data leading up to 1996, and concluded: “The international network is primarily a configuration of national corporate networks, integrated for the most part through the affiliations of a few dozen individuals who either hold transnational corporate directorships or serve on two or more policy boards.”
Out of the sample of 622 individuals, they found roughly 105 individuals (94 “transnational corporate linkers” and 11 others “whose corporate affiliations are not transnational but who sit on multiple global policy boards”) making up “the most immediate structural contributions to transnational class formation.” At the “core” of this network were 17 corporate directors, primarily European and North American, largely linked by the transnational policy groups, with the Trilateral Commission as “the most centrally positioned.” This network, they noted, “is highly centralized in terms of the individuals and organizations that participate in it.”
In undertaking a follow-up study of data between 1996 and 2006, published in the journal International Sociology (Vol. 25, No. 4, 2010), Carroll and Sapinski expanded the number of policy-planning groups from five to 11, including the original five (ICC, Bilderberg, TC, WEF, and WBCSD), but adding to them the Council on Foreign Relations (through its International Advisory Board), the UN Global Compact (through its advisory board), the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT), founded in 1983, the EU-Japan Business Round Table, the Transatlantic Business Dialogue, and the North American Competitiveness Council.
The results of their research found that among the corporate directors, “policy-board membership has shifted towards the transnationalists, who come to comprise a larger segment of the global corporate elite,” and that there was a growing group of elites “made up of individuals with one or more transnational policy-board affiliations.” As Carroll and Sapinski concluded:
“The corporate-policy network is highly centralized, at both the level of individuals and that of organizations. Its inner circle is a tightly interwoven ensemble of politically active business leaders; its organizational core includes the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Conference, the European Round Table of Industrialists and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, surrounded by other policy boards and by the directorates of leading industrial corporations and financial institutions based in capitalism’s core regions.”
Organizations like the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) are not think tanks, but rather, industry organizations (exclusively representing the interests and individuals of major corporations), wielding significant influence over political and social elites. As Bastiaan van Apeldoorn wrote in the journal New Political Economy (Vol. 5, No. 2, 2000), the ERT “developed into an elite platform for an emergent European transnational capitalist class from which it can formulate a common strategy and – on the basis of that strategy – seek to shape European socioeconomic governance through its privileged access to the European institutions.”

In 1983, the ERT was formed as an organization of 17 major European industrialists (which has since expanded to several dozen members), with the proclaimed objective being “to revitalize European industry and make it competitive again, and to speed up the process of unification of the European common market.” Wisse Dekker, former Chairman of the ERT, once stated: “I would consider the Round Table to be more than a lobby group as it helps to shape policies. The Round Table’s relationship with Brussels [the EU] is one of strong co-operation. It is a dialogue which often begins at a very early stage in the development of policies and directives.”
The ERT was a central institution in the re-launching of European integration from the 1980s onward, and as former European Commissioner (and former ERT member) Peter Sutherland stated, “one can argue that the whole completion of the internal market project was initiated not by governments but by the Round Table, and by members of it… And I think it played a fairly consistent role subsequently in dialoguing with the Commission on practical steps to implement market liberalization.” Sutherland also explained that the ERT and its members “have to be at the highest levels of companies and virtually all of them have unimpeded access to government leaders because of the position of their companies… So, by definition, each member of the ERT has access at the highest level to government.”
Other notable industry associations include the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), formerly called the Business Council on National Issues (BCNI), a group comprised of Canada’s top 150 CEOs who were a major force for the promotion and implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The CCCE remains one of the most influential “interest groups” in Canada.
In the United States there are prominent industry associations like the Business Council, the Business Roundtable, and the Financial Services Forum. The Business Council describes itself as “a voluntary association of business leaders whose members meet several times a year for the free exchange of ideas both among themselves and with thought leaders from many sectors.”
Likewise, the Business Roundtable describes itself as “an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with more than $7.3 trillion in annual revenues,” which believes that “businesses should play an active and effective role in the formation of public policy.”
Finally, the Financial Services Forum proclaims itself to be “a non-partisan financial and economic policy organization” which aims “to pursue policies that encourage savings and investment, promote an open and competitive global marketplace, and ensure the opportunity of people everywhere to participate fully and productively in the 21st-century global economy.”
These are among some of the many institutions which will be researched and examined in greater detail throughout the Global Power Project. In the next installment, I will be examining not only the societal and economic results of these dominant institutions of power, but the specific individuals — and in some cases family dynasties — that wield significant influence nationally and globally.
Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada. He is Project Manager of The People’s Book Project, head of the Geopolitics Division of the Hampton Institute, Research Director for’s Global Power Project and host of a weekly podcast show at BoilingFrogsPost.