The Entire MEDIA MAFIA Series, Parts 1-11
Part One – 1972: The Cable Guy and the Bribe
” … As for Kahn, after serving 20 months in federal prison on the Johnstown bribery charges, he started another cable television business that he sold to The New York Times Co. for $82.7 million in 1981. He went to his grave in 1994 insisting that American pols always approached him about payoffs. … ”
1972: The cable guy and the alleged bribe
By PAUL MICKLE
Many American towns were wired for cable television in the 1960s. So by 1972, Trentonians were clamoring for the new technology, which promised to take static and snow out of television pictures that in those days were picked up strictly by antenna.
What was taking cable so long – and why it would be another decade before Trenton was finally wired up – came out at the Mercer County Courthouse in the winter of 1972 during a sensational trial that starred a few characters whose names still ring today.
There was charismatic young Councilman Martin J. Hillman, on trial for allegedly demanding a $50,000 bribe from a cable company magnate four year earlier, telling him: “This is the way business is done in Trenton.”
Hillman’s alleged accomplice was former Council President Peter W. Radice, a popular banker who said he met secretly in 1967 with the cable bigshot’s lieutenants only because one of them was a boyhood friend: “I’ve dedicated my life to helping my fellow man,” he told the jury.
Another suspect was the nervous head of Trenton’s housing authority, Joseph Tysowski, who was so loosely tied to the alleged conspiracy the judge summarily acquitted him in mid-trial. Tysowski promptly fainted.
Never seen at the trial but on the mind of many was an indicted cohort best known as a former star city athlete, lawyer Richard Gray, who allegedly was the “bagman” for the bribery scheme.
Bill Mathesius, who would go on to become Mercer County executive, was the 30-year-old prosecutor. One of the defense lawyers was George Pellettieri Jr., whose trial performance and death at an early age helped make him a legend in Mercer legal circles.
And, hardly least, there was Irving Berlin Kahn, the famed composer’s namesake nephew, who owned the company that developed automatic cue cards for television actors and anchormen and was predicting that all America would be wired for cable by the end of the 1970s.
The case pitted the word of the popular local figures against the testimony of out-of-town tycoon Kahn, who had been convicted of bribing an official in Johnstown, Pa., to get his company a monopoly on cable television service there.
The trial centered on what took place at Hamilton’s Homestead Inn on Sept. 19, 1967, when Hillman and Radice allegedly cut a deal to get $50,000 for the four council votes the visionary millionaire needed to bring cable to Trenton.
Radice and Hillman maintain to this day that they met with representatives of Kahn’s giant TelePrompTer Corp. in the restaurant kitchen that day merely to gather information. But Kahn’s lieutenants, including a boyhood friend of Radice, testified that a payoff of $50,000 was negotiated after the men broke bread.
Only days later, for whatever the reason, four city councilmen voted to award TelePrompTer the lucrative right to be the only cable television distributor in Trenton.
By the end of the 1960s, however, nothing in Trenton had been wired for cable, even though there were rumblings that the skids had been plenty greased for the project.
Enter Mathesius, a young former assistant U.S. attorney for Trenton who was interested in fighting political corruption and, if the defense lawyers were right, making a name for himself so he could get into politics.
“There had been talk on the street about possible payoffs for some time,” Mathesius recalled last week. “So when I came in I started subpoenaing people to come in and talk to see if we could get anywhere.”
By March 24, 1971, after a few stories about the scandal showed up in Trenton’s newspapers, Mathesius was ready with his indictments. They alleged that Radice and Hillman had negotiated the bribe, that Tysowski showed he was in on it by calling the councilmen at the restaurant that day, and that the payoffs were funneled through popular lawyer Gray.
News reports said Mathesius had grand jury statements from Kahn about Hillman coming to his New York City office on Oct. 30, 1967, to insist that, to get the contract, he’d have to submit the best bid, plus the $50,000 under the table.
“This is it,” Kahn said the then-30-year-old Hillman told him. “‘This is the way business is done in Trenton. You’ll have to pay $50,000 and put in the best bid.”
Mathesius also had the testimony of the two Kahn lieutenants who were at the meet at the Homestead, Robert S. Symons, a TelePrompTer vice president, and Thomas Moscarello, a friend of Radice’s since childhood who was a Hamilton representative for the company.
Symons told the grand jury that Hillman and Radice never spoke about money to him, but he sensed that’s what they wanted from their talk in the Homestead kitchen. After they all stepped outside, Symons said he suggested Moscarello offer them $75,000.
Symons said Moscarello told him $50,000 would suffice and that, after stepping away from him to consult with the officials huddled nearby, he returned and told him Hillman and Radice had agreed.
From there, Moscarello told the grand jury, he and the councilmen went to his Hamilton home, where Hillman explained that Tysowski had called him at the restaurant earlier because he “wants in on the deal.” He said Tysowski showed at his home soon after and seemed annoyed with Hillman and Radice until they spoke to him privately and he started smiling.
With help from TelePrompTer, Mathesius also got records showing more than $100,000 in payments for not much work to lawyer Gray, a former Trenton commissioner and state assemblyman whom the prosecutor had indicted in the hope of grilling him on the witness stand about where all the money went.
Weeks before the trial started, however, Gray, 50, fell ill with kidney problems, which prevented his testimony and prompted Judge George Schoch to order him tried separately from the others later. Gray died before coming to trial.
The prosecution’s case was hurt, but Mathesius said he pressed on confident that the trial testimony of Kahn, Symons and Moscarello would convince the jury the three Trenton officials were crooked. Mathesius also wasn’t concerned that, months earlier, star witness Kahn had been convicted of paying a $15,000 bribe to the mayor of Johnstown, Pa., and then lying about it to investigators.
In late January, 55-year-old Kahn took the stand and said he got mad when Symons told him about the deal that allegedly had been cut at the Homestead. When Hillman came to his New York office on Oct. 30, 1967, five weeks after the meet at the Homestead, Kahn said he tried to convince him that TelePrompTer should be selected because it was the best in the cable business.
Hillman cut him off, Kahn testified, telling him about “how business is done in Trenton.” Kahn said he reluctantly agreed to pay the $50,000 bribe. As they headed out, Kahn testified, the councilman told him “a Mr. Gray will be getting in touch with you” about the payment. Weeks later, Dick Gray showed at his office for a meeting to work out the details, Kahn said.
On cross-examination, Pellettieri attacked Kahn as a briber and liar. In addition to getting the magnate to admit that he had been convicted in connection with the Johnstown case, Pellettieri brought out that Kahn stood to lose millions of dollars if TelePrompTer failed due to this and other investigations of corruption in the cable industry.
Pellettieri also brought out that Mathesius, Mercer’s first assistant prosecutor, was handling the case because county Prosecutor Bruce Schragger feared his past representation of a company competing for Trenton’s cable monopoly would pose a conflict.
The suggestion at the trial, repeated last week by Radice, was that the officials were targeted because competitors like Schragger’s former client wanted the TelePrompTer deal tossed out.Then, according to the defense theory, other firms could get another shot at the Trenton market, which was so lucrative 11 companies had put in bids.
n his closing argument, Mathesius scoffed at the notion that TelePrompTer competitors had worked behind the scenes to get Hillman and Radice because of the millions of dollars at stake. To believe this, jurors would have to believe the authorities had joined in a giant conspiracy with the cable competitors, Mathesius said.
Pellettieri responded by saying in his closing that Kahn and TelePrompTer were hoping their allegations about what happened in Trenton would convince the feds handling the Johnstown case that, far from seeking out officials to bribe, the company was being extorted right and left by municipal leaders all over the country.
“Can you take the word of this man Kahn, whose God is money, and ruin the life of Marty Hillman and take him away from his wife and children?” Pellettieri asked. “Ask TelePrompter if they didn’t have a motive to lie to you.”
As the jury went out to deliberate, it had only the fate of Hillman and Radice to consider. A week before, the judge acquitted Tysowki, based on his lawyer’s argument that prosecutors simply didn’t have enough linking him to the bribe.
Tysowski, visibly shaken as his lawyer made the motion, collapsed in what appeared to be a heart attack when Schoch announced he was a free man.
On Feb. 4, after seven hours of deliberation, the jury came and announced the verdicts: Not guilty on all counts. The officials emerged from the courthouse and, after accepting the cheers and pats on the back from family and friends, headed to the Homestead for a celebration.
“I feel sorry for the people of Trenton,” Mathesius said after the verdict came in. But last week, he said it wasn’t a total loss: “We ended the careers of a couple of politicians whose careers should have been ended.”
But Radice, Hillman and Tysowski weren’t really ruined.
Radice got back his job as a vice president at a Ewing bank and moved to Lawrence, where he was tapped by local officials to head a charter study commission on changing the form of government, as he had done in the early 1960s in Trenton to get his start in politics.
“When you’re in politics, you’re in a fishbowl and someone is always trying to catch you,” Radice, 71, waxed philosophically last week. His ordeal never turned him off to politics, Radice said, but he expressed disappointment that none of his six children are interested in government service now because of what he went through while they were youngsters.
Hillman, now 62, remained on City Council for another three years after his acquittal and worked as an administrator for the housing authority until appointed to the director’s post in 1979. Hillman, who could not be reached for comment, held the top housing authority job into the 1990s.
Tysowski, who died several years ago, spent a few days in a hospital recovering from what was diagnosed as extremely high blood pressure after his collapse at the trial. Then he returned to work at the housing authority and his position as a director at a local bank.
Mathesius went on to become Mercer prosecutor and county executive, a job he decided not to seek reelection to in 1991 after it came out that he had put an inmate on the county payroll as a way to save money on prison maintenance and renovation jobs.
Radice, calling his trial “political,” last week admitted he was glad years later when Mathesius got in trouble over the payroll flap, which an investigating grand jury criticized but found short of criminal. Said Radice: “All I want to know is, why wasn’t Mathesius indicted?”
As for Kahn, after serving 20 months in federal prison on the Johnstown bribery charges, he started another cable television business that he sold to The New York Times Co. for $82.7 million in 1981. He went to his grave in 1994 insisting that American pols always approached him about payoffs. Last year, Kahn was named to the cable industry’s hall of fame.
Part Two – The Looting of Adelphia
” … A World War II veteran and the son of Greek immigrants, Rigas grew up in Wellsville, N.Y. After graduation from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute … “
RIGAS DIDN’T RUN AT ‘HIGH NOON’
John Rigas compares himself to character in old western movie
During several media interviews and casual conversations, John Rigas has compared himself to actor Gary Cooper’s character in the classic western movie, “High Noon.”
In that 1952 film, Cooper portrays Will Kane, a retiring lawman who receives assurances from townspeople that they’ll show up at noon to help him take on a gang of ruffians coming in on a train.
As the train rounds the bend into town, Marshal Kane discovers that he is all alone.
“As former Adelphia employees, and the auditors, and the legal advisors all abandoned us, I felt like I was Gary Cooper,” Rigas said. “All of this time, people were saying, ‘You can depend on us.’ But when you really needed them to help you get the truth out, they were nowhere to be found.”
A World War II veteran and the son of Greek immigrants, Rigas grew up in Wellsville, N.Y. After graduation from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rigas began his professional career at Emporium’s thriving Sylvania electronics plant in the early 1950s.
In 1953, he began building a small community cable company in Coudersport that would become Adelphia Communications Corp., one of the nation’s largest cable operators, with more than 5 million customers in 30 states.
Adelphia’s payroll in Coudersport was close to 2,000 at the company’s peak. In 2002, however, Adelphia spiraled into Chapter 11 bankruptcy after revelations of alleged accounting fraud caused its stock price to plummet.
Time Warner and Comcast bought Adelphia’s assets for about $17.6 billion in 2006. After initially keeping hundreds of employees working in Coudersport, Time Warner shut down most of its local operations in February.
“… To better understand the Marting mess and the swindle Clayton Johnson has nearly completed with the complicity of the Portsmouth City Council, it helps to look at the so-called Adelphia building, at 807 Washington St., which Johnson made part of the package he told the city it must accept if it hopes to get back any part of the $2 million he illegally obtained from the city for the Marting building. … The elder Rigas is reportedly down to his last $76 million. … “
” … Adelphia was once one of the largest cable television companies in the country before it was forced into bankruptcy in 2002. … “
Judge Throws Out Adelphia Claims
WASHINGTON – Shareholders of Adelphia Communications Corp. who sued Wall Street banks in the wake of the cable company’s collapse suffered a heavy blow on Friday when nearly all of their claims were rejected.
Judge Robert E. Gerber of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan dismissed all but one claim from the shareholders, who accused investment and commercial banks of fraud and violations of the federal anti-racketeering law.
Gerber threw out every claim brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO. The judge wrote those charges, “which are plainly the most dramatic, in many respects push the envelope the most.”
The committee representing Adelphia’s equity security holders accused the banks of conspiring with the Rigas family, who ran the cable company before its collapse, to steal more than $3 billion from the company. Those banks included Bank of America, Citibank and Chase, now JPMorgan Chase & Co.
The shareholders’ RICO claims fell short, in part because they failed to provide facts to support allegations that the banks exercised control over the Rigas family or Adelphia.
While the court’s decision deals a near-fatal blow to the shareholders, a lawsuit from creditors of Adelphia alleging similar violations is ongoing. The shareholder committee, which didn’t have standing to bring the lawsuit on its own, added its complaints to the creditors’ lawsuit as an intervenor.
Adelphia was once one of the largest cable television companies in the country before it was forced into bankruptcy in 2002. Founder John Rigas and his son Timothy began serving prison terms on Monday after being convicted in 2004 of looting the company. Adelphia has since sold its cable assets to Time Warner Inc. and Comcast Corp.
Gerber didn’t dismiss a negligence claim against Salomon Smith Barney, now Smith Barney. The shareholders accused the firm of negligence when it issued opinions on the the fairness of Adelphia’s share price when it sold equity.
In addition to the claim against Smith Barney, Gerber gave the plaintiffs a chance to come back to the court with new claims of fraud and fraudulent concealment.
“Cablevision Systems Corporation is an American cable television company. It is the 5th largest cable provider in the USA, with most customers residing in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.  Cablevision also offers high-speed Internet connections (Optimum Online), as well as digital cable (iO), and VoIP phone service (Optimum Voice) through its Optimum brand name. Furthermore, Cablevision now offers Optimum Online Wi-Fi, which is available throughout the country to existing Optimum Online customers. … “
” … Cablevision controls Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers, plus Radio City Music Hall. Cablevision pulled plans to spin off its cable network unit, Rainbow Media Holdings, and closed that company’s money-losing satellite TV assets. … “
CABLEVISION IS A MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL PROPAGANDA MACHINE: JP Morgan Chase, U.S. Military Imperialism & the CableVision Board
” … The “Independent” Film Channel (IFC), wholly owned by Cablevision, is distributing the movie in the U.S. Once a family-owned, third-rate media outlet, Cablevision has fallen into the hands of the major rulers. Two years ago, when, in order to compete, Cablevision began borrowing more than $1.5 billion from banks like JP Morgan and Citigroup, the big boys took over. In a classic case of the rulers’ exercising control through finance capital, JP Morgan Chase became the company’s financial advisor. The rulers put an ex-JP Morgan managing director, Thomas Reifenheiser, and a U.S. Navy admiral, John Ryan, on Cablevision’s board, to ensure the firm’s imperialist orientation. A major figure in the U.S. killing machine, Ryan has headed both the Sixth Fleet and the Naval Academy. The warmakers putting “Fahrenheit” on movie screens want Bush to ship out if, as it seems, he can’t shape up. … “
CABLEVISION NAZI KIRK LYONS FEATURED ON ASHEVILLE TV SHOW
ADVERTISEMENT ALONG WITH CHRISTIAN IDENTITY PREACHER: “Uncensored Truth” began airing on TCI Cablevision Channel 10 on July 1 with a show in which Kirk Lyons defended himself and referred to his detractors as “insidious insects”. Later shows included ‘sermons’ by Rev. Pete Peters of the Christian Identity church. That church, to which Lyons’ in-laws belonged in Idaho, preaches that people of color belong to sub-human “mud races”, that Jews are “Satan’s spawn”, and that Anglo-Saxons are the Bible’s real covenant people.
According to the Coalition For Human Dignity, Peters’ book, The Death Penalty for Homosexuals Is Prescribed In The Bible, advocates the systematic murder of gay and lesbian people. “Uncensored Truth” is being aired Saturdays at 11:30 am on the channel that was set aside in Asheville’s 1967 cable charter as being free-of-charge for “the exclusive use” of the Asheville City School System. The school system only uses a few hours each week allowing TCI Cablevision to operate the remaining hours on a “local origination” commercial basis with income going to TCI Cablevision. According to the charter, the channel is supposed “to carry only educational information about the schools and programs of an educational nature…”
School officials indicate that the school board has voluntarily relinquished programming decisions to TCI Cablevision. According to TCI Cablevision, “Isrealite(sic) Productions”, producers of “Uncensored Truth” pay $100 per week for air time and another $100 plus for production work, mainly editing Peters’ talks. Ads for “Uncensored Truth” featuring Lyons and Peters appeared in local newspapers and on a billboard on US Highway 19/23 west of Asheville.
Another Cablevision Investment in the Far-Right
… Most of the programming on Channel 84 … is from that creepy, ultra right-wing, gay-bashing, Christian fundamentalist media empire, Focus On the Family. Shame on Cablevision for giving them this kind of exposure on the tube. True, FOF has the right of free speech, even when they preach their gospel of hate, but, then, so does the KKK. (FOF is run by Dr. James Dobson. You’ll recall that he’s the one who put the squeeze on Spongebob Squarepants for “promoting homosexuality.”)
US Cable Channel Whitewashes the CIA
Into the Shadows: The CIA in Hollywood, written, produced and directed by Charles C. Stuart
By Joanne Laurier 12 December 2001
The US cable television channel American Movie Classics (AMC), devoted to broadcasting Hollywood films of the past, aired its own special on December 4. Into the Shadows: The CIA in Hollywood is as revealing for what it omits as what it presents. From its title and the breathless quality of the narration, the viewer might have reasonably expected an exposé of the filthy deeds of the spy outfit and its connections to the American film industry. Instead, however, the show, with its pseudo- film noir veneer, essentially depicts the CIA as a life-saving, humanitarian entity. The program amounts to little more than a propaganda piece to improve the agency’s image at a time when it is playing a central role in the US war drive.
Indeed the show might rightfully be considered an element in one of the agency’s own “disinformation” campaigns.
Against a background of “suspenseful” music, the narration, read by prominent liberal Democrat actor Alec Baldwin, initially tantalizes by suggesting that the CIA has involved the entertainment industry in clandestine and sometimes “sordid” operations. The tone then quickly shifts and becomes sycophantic toward one of the world’s most hated and discredited organizations.
The program is more or less given over to Tony Mendez, introduced as the former CIA chief of disguise. Needing some Mission Impossible -style help in the 1960s, Mendez approached Disney Studios, founded by right-winger Walt Disney, and enlisted the help of an award-winning makeup specialist, John Chambers. Chambers’ skills were used to put together “disguise kits” with which CIA operatives went into the field. A company that Chambers later formed with fellow makeup expert Tom Burman was called upon to design masks, concoct fake personas and phony companies for CIA missions in Laos, Poland, the USSR and Iran.
The show provides only two or three examples of these missions. In one case Hollywood talent was used to effect the 1979 escape from Iran of six American diplomats. The latter had taken refuge in the Canadian embassy during the student takeover of the US embassy following the overthrow of the shah. Every detail of this rather trivial enterprise is discussed. No mention is made, of course, of the bloody repression carried out by the secret police, the notorious SAVAK, which the CIA helped set up and train, under the shah’s regime.
In order to appease the angry Iranian populace and perhaps win the release of the American hostages held by the students, thought was also given at the time to a scheme to fake the death of the shah, who was in the US undergoing cancer treatment. An individual was hired and work was done to prepare him to impersonate the shah. The “fake shah caper” came to naught, but the tale was told to highlight the “extraordinary work” of the CIA. The other story concerns the production of masks for a black CIA operative in Laos during the Vietnam War so that he could pass through checkpoints undetected.
This is all very sanitized and unreal. The program fails to answer the obvious question: how often were Hollywood talents put to use in the course of assassination plots, the overthrowing of governments and mass killings?
In fact, Mendez explains that his hope is that the program will counteract Hollywood’s too-often portrayal of “the CIA as the bad guy, and give a more balanced view of what spies do; that they are not the dregs of humanity.” In the not-so-distant past, it would have been unthinkable for film industry technicians and artists to openly acknowledge collaboration with these “dregs of humanity.” The agency’s crimes in Iran, Chile, Central America, Vietnam and elsewhere were too well known. It is not the CIA and its assets who have changed, but the liberal and media establishment, which now chooses to portray Mendez and the others as “unsung heroes.”
In the second portion of Into the Shadows, entitled Hollywood Goes to War—referring to the present conflict in Afghanistan —the program’s makers interview figures such as Michael Bay, director of Pearl Harbor, and Steven E. de Souza, scriptwriter for Die Hard. In the light of current efforts to enlist Hollywood’s support for the new war drive, the show’s producers apparently want to make clear that there is a precedent for such government use of the entertainment industry.
In a cursory review of the postwar period, the program notes that President Eisenhower set up a department of “psychological warfare” which availed itself of the talents of screenwriter Howard Hunt, among others, who was later to become a Watergate burglar. It also reveals, significantly, that an unnamed CIA mole was charged with changing Hollywood scripts during the 1950s and removing any portrayals of Americans as “racist, drunk or trigger-happy”! This is passed over rather quickly. In other words, at the same time as the US government was denouncing the Soviet Stalinist state-run “propaganda” machinery, it was employing spies to monitor and alter the content of American films. (This was necessary to finish whatever was left undone by the blacklist and the anticommunist witch-hunt.)
In regard to the present situation, the program glowingly explains how Hollywood technology is used to aid the US war effort. Like a scene out of Wag the Dog, we are shown a soldier being trained with virtual reality technology at the Institute for Creative Technologies near Los Angeles. The show also makes reference to the two meetings between Hollywood executives and representatives from the Bush administration in October and November [See: Hollywood enlists Bush’s war drive]. De Souza (Die Hard) talks about the government “brainstorming with Hollywood about future terrorist threats.” There is consensus among the talking heads on the need to “balance patriotism and creativity and still make blockbusters.”
Into the Shadows unwittingly reveals the astonishingly low level of principle and morality that dominates the Hollywood scene. Fittingly, all the “artists” interviewed for the program were creators of dreadful films—Pearl Harbor, Independence Day, Die Hard, Armageddon, The Patriot. In summing up, Jonathan Hensleigh, screenwriter for Armageddon, explained his reason for altering a recent script that “showed the CIA as bad guys. My first instinct was not patriotism. I thought the script was in trouble commercially, that [Disney chief Michael] Eisner would not produce it.”
According to the AMC special the question that keeps the “patriotic” studio executives, screenwriters and directors awake at night, following September 11, is: “how can Hollywood embrace the new spirit of America and still succeed at the box office?” Director Ridley Scott’s soon-to-be-released Black Hawk Down about the US incursion into Somalia, a “humanitarian mission” in which thousands of Somalis died, received mention, presumably as a test of the new formula. The concerns in Hollywood, in their own way, have a certain legitimacy. It remains to be seen whether there will be serious popular interest in jingoistic, warmongering films.
Movies Directed by Charles C. Stuart
Abstinence Comes to Albuquerque (2006) (TV)
“The New Heroes” (4 episodes, 2005)
– Dreams of Sanctuary (2005) TV Episode
– Power of Enterprise (2005) TV Episode
– Technology of Freedom (2005) TV Episode
– The Power of Knowledge (2005) TV Episode
Hollywood and the Muslim World (2003) (TV)
Into the Shadows: The CIA in Hollywood (2001) (TV)
Robert F. Kennedy: A Memoir (1998) (TV)
Beyond T-Rex (1997) (TV)
“Frontline” (1 episode, 1992)
– JFK, Hoffa and the Mob (1992) TV Episode
My Mother’s Murder (1992) (TV)
Cablevision …….. $106,850
John McCain in Cablevision’s Pocket, too
” … Some months back, when Cablevision sought approval for a pricing change from the Senate Commerce Committee, then chaired by McCain, the company developed a sudden interest in campaign-finance reform and gave the Reform Institute a $200,000 “soft” donation. Looks fishy, no? … “
March 9, 2005 by Doug Ireland
John McCain, Hypocrite
by Doug Ireland
John McCain, the media’s darling, has found a clever way around his own campaign finance reform law to take big corporate bucks in furtherance of his political ambitions while carrying water for the corporate mammoth providing the dough. But the national press is ignoring the story.
The Associated Press first ran the story of John McCain’s odorous but lucrative Senatorial service to the communications giant Cablevision on the afternoon of March 7. But, while some local papers in McCain’s home state (like the East Valley Tribune) have run the story, nothing has as yet made it into the print editions of the New York Times, the L.A. Times, the Washington Post, or any of the half-dozen other big city dailies I checked (although, if one searches the hundreds of AP stories available on the Post’s website on its Politics page by clicking on “Latest Wire Reports,” one can find it there–but how many readers would bother to do that?) One notable exception: the Kansas City Star.
Here’s what the AP’s investigation found:
McCain repeatedly intervened on behalf of a policy Cablevision favored — one which “congressional and private studies conclude could make cable more expensive” — while his chief political adviser, Rick Davis (who’s masterminding McCain’s probable ’08 presidential rerun) solicited $200,000 in contributions from Cablevision to an institute that promotes McCain and pays Davis a $110,000 annual salary.
The Reform Institute was set up to promote McCain and his issues–especially campaign finance reform, embodied in the famous McCain-Feingold law. This Institute is “a tax-exempt group that touts McCain’s views and has showcased him at events since his unsuccessful 2000 presidential campaign,” and it “often uses the senator’s name in press releases and fund-raising letters and includes him at press conferences,” the AP says. And, of course, it provides a cushy sinecure with no heavy lifting for McCain’s main man, Davis, as he prepares the pontificating Senator’s next presidential run. Cablevision’s contributions account for a whopping 15% of the Institute’s budget.
Now, let’s be clear about the phony McCain-Feingold law, which I denounced as “campaign deform” before its passage. The myth is that McCain-Feingold abolished so-called soft money in politics. That’s nonsense. It does forbid the national party committees (the RNC and the DNC) from taking soft money–but it leaves a loophole large enough to drive an invading army through, because soft money contributions to state parties are still legal. And, as anyone who closely followed the investigations of the 1996 campaign finance scandals knows, some of the most screamingly unethical influence peddling-and-buying then went on when, to conceal the contributions from a lazy national press corps, millions and millions of dollars in soft money were channeled to state parties by corporate fat-cats seeking to influence government policy and Congressional votes.
Moreover, McCain-Feingold put more corrupting hard money than ever before into the ’04 presidential election by doubling the cap on hard money. This provision of McCain-Feingold motored the mushrooming of the practice known as “bundling,” by which special interest influence-seekers — like the lawyer-lobbyists of D.C.’s “Gucci Gulch” and their corporate clients — get a large number of cronies to max out under the raised McCain-Feingold caps, the individual checks thus collected totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. Thanks in part to McCain-Feingold, then, the ’04 presidential cycle was the most expensive ever in the nation’s history. McCain-Feingold was, and is, a fraud.
Why did McCain, a standard-issue Republican conservative, lead the charge for the campaign “deform” law that bears his name? Why, because he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. McCain was one of the infamous Keating 5, the band of Senators–greedy for campaign cash–who sold their favors to jailed Savings and Loan kingpin and junk-bond racketeer Charles Keating in the S&L scandals that rocked Congress in the early ’90s. (The S&L scandals were the most expensive corporate fraud in history, costing citizens and taxpayers some $600 billion. There is a pile of good books on the S&L Scandals, especially those by Steve Pizzo–who helped break the story; Pete Brewton; and Martin Mayer.) McCain was whitewashed by a complicitous Senate “ethics” committee, after which the Arizona Senator decided to refurbish his image and become a so-called “reformer”–hence the fraudulent McCain-Feingold bill, which was designed to make people forget his boot-licking service to Keating.
Now, McCain is back at the same old game, this time on behalf of Cablevision and its campaign for an “a la carte” provision, which would allow cable customers to pick the channels they want rather than buy packages of channels. McCain has continued to campaign for this provision even after the independent General Accounting Office — in a study requested by McCain himself — concluded that the a la carte provision would considerably raise cable rates for consumers. This is a neat hat trick by McCain: he adds another “reformist” feather to his cap by promoting a populist-sounding measure which, in fact, benefits industry and costs the consumer a packet. And, at the same time he takes money from Cablevision in the form of contributions to a pet group of the Senator’s which furthers McCain’s presidential ambitions.
The AP investigation found that McCain’s assiduous services to Cablevision included “letting its CEO testify before his Senate committee, writing a letter of support to the Federal Communication Commission, and asking other cable companies to support so-called a la carte pricing.” Davis solicited the first of two $100,00 installments Cablevision paid to McCain’s pet Institute just “one week after [the conglomerate’s chief, Charles] Dolan testified before McCain’s Senate Commerce Committee in May 2003 in favor of a la carte pricing. And it wasn’t until after Cablevision paid up that McCain intervened on behalf of the policy the company sought with the FCC.
There’s a lot more detail, but you get the picture. You can read the entire AP story about its investigation of McCain by clicking here.
Just as the media bought McCain’s cosmetic makeover when he became a “reformer” — while its kissy coverage of McCain in 2000 turned the Arizonan into a major national figure, thanks to a fit of collective amnesia — our leading organs of information are now turning a blind eye to the AP’s revelation that McCain is an unethical recidivist who is once again mired in a putrid conflict of interest scandal with a major corporate player. Most of the Inside-the-Beltway press corps seems not to care about this latest McCain chicanery–so you are kept in the dark about it. A free press is a great thing, isn’t it?
I Date This From 1994
Dan Glickman, Democrat from the 4th District in Kansas, sponsored a Bill to continue the expiring regulation of the Cable Industry in the same way as it had been regulated from its inception. Cablevision (the franchisee in Wichita & its suburbs, where 95% of the population of the 4th District lives) decided to fight Rep. Glickman in the most direct way possible, both running anti-Glickman ads of their own & by providing free ads to Todd Tiahart, an extreme right-wing anti-choice Republican. Cablevision was fined by the FCC, of course, but not until after Todd Tiahart had been elected. He then, of course, joined with the Gingrich Gang in de-regulating the Cable Industry.
I know only about the case of Dan Glickman, having experienced it first hand. I wonder how many other victims of Gringrich’s “Contract On America” suffered similarly at the hands of the Cable Industry. …
DAN GLICKMAN & the Motion Picture Association of America
Daniel Robert “Dan” Glickman (born November 24, 1944) is an American politician. He served as the United States Secretary of Agriculture from 1995 until 2001, prior to which he represented the Fourth Congressional District of Kansas as a Democrat in Congress for 18 years. He is currently the president of the Motion Picture Association of America.
All Movie Channel. aMC is owned by Rainbow Media Holdings, LLC, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation, and signed on October 1, 1984. … aMC officially became available in Canada for cable customers of Shaw Cable and satellite customers of StarChoice on September 1, 2006, marking the first time the network was made available outside of the United States. Rogers Cable followed suit on December 12, 2006.
Annals of Incentive Pay
In this case, an obvious incentive to rise from the dead:
In a regulatory filing made Thursday, Cablevision disclosed that it had granted options to an executive after his death, but improperly recorded the date of the grant to an earlier time when the executive was still alive.
Cablevision didn’t identify the executive but The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the situation, said the options were given to Vice Chairman Marc Lustgarten, who died in 1999. The Journal said Lustgarten’s estate was entitled to exercise the options upon his death.
I challenge the laissez-faire business blawgosphere: defend this compensation practice!
Cablevision Backs Spending Amendment
Cablevision Gives $500,000 To Budget Amendment Effort: WNBC
The Dolan family should find a new hobby.
Records on file with the state Board of Elections on Wednesday showed Cablevision subsidiary CSC Holdings gave the huge contribution late last week to Budget Reform Now! The group is financing an effort to have New Yorkers approve Proposition 1 on the Nov. 8 ballot, a state constitutional amendment that would shift state budget-making power to the Legislature at the governor’s expense.
Cablevision must need a law passed in Albany.
It’s not budget reform.
Perhaps New York’s voters will resist being conned over the next six days. I’m skeptical. Frankly, I don’t believe the taxpayers of New York fully fully grasp what’s ahead. If they did, people would be rioting.
Next year, people will be rioting.
We’re edging closer to a statewide tax revolt.
A Fictional Exposé of Cablevision and the Industry
Cable Land Confidential
SEPTEMBER 10, 2007
The first thing you need to know about the novel New Bedlam is that its author, Bill Flanagan, travels the world as a top executive for MTV Networks and is also the monotone-voiced music commentator on CBS (CBS ) News Sunday Morning. Both are pretty sweet gigs. The second thing you need to know is that Flanagan apparently doesn’t really care about that. For he has written a biting and hilarious satire of the pressure-filled TV business, with a bevy of rich characters—eccentric, egotistical, and some practically insane—whose real-life counterparts must surely have inspired Flanagan to spoof the industry that feeds him.
The star of New Bedlam is Bobby Kahn, a hard-charging programming executive for a major broadcast network. Kahn made his career by spotting a daytime game show called I’ll Eat Anything! and putting it in prime time. It became a summer-replacement phenomenon and cemented Kahn’s reputation as a genius. “The more pundits howled about a new low in America’s public discourse, the bigger the ratings grew,” writes Flanagan.
But Kahn, we learn in the first pages, is now being canned as the fall guy in a reality-show scandal. He rushes to save face before the network publicly announces his departure. Hoping to land a job that will look as if he dictated the terms—a business turnaround in fast-growing cable, perhaps—Kahn finds his way to New Bedlam, a fictional town in Flanagan’s native Rhode Island. His new employer: King Cable, a bit player with franchises in several New England states. Kahn is hired to bring new life to King’s three fledgling channels, each of which is supervised by a different offspring of cable patriarch Dominic King. A malicious curmudgeon (after sleeping with a rival’s wife who later reunites with her husband, he “wished he’d had gonorrhea so he could have passed it along to them”), Dom made a fortune running garages, used-car dealerships, and car washes throughout New England before he began buying up local cable franchises at the dawn of subscription TV. As Flanagan takes the reader deep into Dom’s stubborn mind, you can’t help but think how much the character’s ambitions mirror those of real-life media moguls, including Flanagan’s own boss, Sumner Redstone, the octogenarian chairman of MTV parent Viacom (VIA ), who was running movie theaters before getting into cable TV. There’s also a resemblance to other cable patriarchs, including Chuck Dolan of Cablevision (CVC ) (is his son Jimmy the model for Dom’s contentious son Kenny?), John Rigas, formerly of Adelphia (he ran his business from the New Bedlamesque backwater of Coudersport, Pa.), and Comcast (CMCSA ) founder Ralph Roberts (he was selling belts and suspenders when he bought his first cable franchise in the early 1960s).
The three King channels that Kahn must fix include Eureka, which strives way too hard to be a high-minded arts channel; BoomerBox, a sitcom rerun channel; and the Comic Book Channel, which is fixated on superheroes. The scenes involving Eureka offer some of New Bedlam’s biggest guffaws.
At one point, Kahn learns that Eureka has aired a show about old curtains in Sunday prime time. He calls a meeting and lambastes the channel’s staff: “Well, folks…in all my time in television that is the first prime time show on any channel I have ever seen achieve a total zero. Not a rounded zero. Not zero point zero two four. I chased this down. Tapestries: A History of Old Curtains achieved the rarely seen perfect box of eggs—zero point zero zero zero. If anybody left their TV on to keep the cat company and that thing came on, the cat got up and changed the channel.”
Tapestries is just the first of many surprises awaiting Kahn as he tries to navigate family politics and the subtle and not-so-subtle goings-on at King Cable. (One King employee passes gas in meetings as a form of passive-aggressive protest.) Not unlike the frenetic pace of a TV executive trying to stay competitive, New Bedlam is a quick read composed of short, lively chapters. That may have something to do with Flanagan’s having written the book at airports and hotels while on the fly for his TV day job.
Lots of New Bedlam’s material is insidey, but you don’t have to be a Variety subscriber to be drawn in. Fun interludes include quirky characters who hatch schemes to steal old Indian bones, clean out the family’s scummy pond with bacteria-eating carp, and attempt to drown a raccoon that had been eating Kenny King’s precious comic book collection. And who knows? Flanagan’s jab at his own business could even boost his career. Maybe some hotshot programmer in the mold of Bobby Kahn will read New Bedlam and see it as a weekly TV show—on cable, of course.
Part Three – Introduction to CABLEVISION
THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Merger of Law Shows Seen
“Time Warner Inc. and the Cablevision Systems Corporation are preparing to merge their planned cable channels dealing with the legal profession, people close to both companies said yesterday, Time Warner has been planning to start a service in 1991 tentatively called The Legal Channel. It is to be run by Steven Brill, founder of The American Lawyer, the magazine in which Time Warner bought a stake last year. The service would cover trials in the 44 states in which television cameras are permitted. … “
DEAL WITH LIBERTY MEDIA, NBC
Liberty Media Inc. is planning to create a national sports network together with NBC and the Cablevision Systems Corporation. The three companies announced plans yesterday for the creation of Prime Sports Channel Networks. If the network appeals to audiences, it could present an alternative to ESPN, the sports network that is owned by Capital Cities/ABC Inc. January 7, 1993 NEWS
“NEAR MONOPOLIZATION” OF NEW YORK SPORTING EVENTS
March 25, 2005
How much is that tax subsidy in the window? There’s nothing like cash: anonymous, a little grimy, but everyone takes it, and doesn’t ask questions. Except for Mr. Clean Hands, Mike Bloomberg, who is still turning up his nose at the cold, hard green that Cablevision plunked down.
Those Cablevision folks are playing this one like Karl Rove. I foolishy predicted that they would be braying all over town if they topped the Jets. Turns out, they didn’t and they did, offering the truly staggering sum of $760 million, cash, to tell the Jets to get stuffed. Their offer is noncontingent, meaning that if they never get around to building anything, the MTA keeps the scratch.
The cash is still a gross number, and includes the cost of building the platform over the rail yards, so it’s likely that Cablevision would deliver about $450 million upfront, which, by someone’s calculation, is the value of their near-monopoly of sports and large-arena events in the city.
Given how much they have dragged their heels on renovating the Garden, this is likely one of those Enron moments, where a craven decision to dump cash now (that may be less than the costs of renovations and lost opportunity dollars for displaced events during the renovation period) in most expeditious way to protect the monopoly and its likely extraordinary margins. Plus there’s that $12 million a year in tax breaks.
Part Four – A “Natural Monopoly” and the Cost of Broadband Services
THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPETITION AND DEREGULATION ACT
Senate – June 09, 1995
Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I understand that some negotiations were going on while we were in the quorum call.
I would like to note some of my feelings on this bill, because I will have a number of amendments and will be joining with others on amendments, including, for example, the amendment of the Senator from North Dakota, on VIII(c) and others.
Mr. President, the telecommunications bill that we are considering will have an enormous impact on multibillion-dollar cable, phone, and broadcast industries. …
Senator Thurmond, the chairman of the Antitrust Subcommittee, and I held a hearing on this bill a few weeks ago. One witness pointed out there are only two things standing between a monopolist and the consumer’s wallet: Competition or regulation. You need one or the other, because if you get rid of both, the consumer may as well just hand over his wallet.
Some of the efforts made in doing away with regulation give some of the telecommunications giants a license to print money. They certainly will not reduce prices–if all regulation is done away with, and there is no competition there. What is their incentive? To lower costs? Of course not. That is as apt to happen as a belief in the Easter bunny. The fact is, they will raise costs.
So I have a number of questions. I hope with some amendments we can address some concerns I have with the bill.
First, the bill would permit our local phone monopoly to buy out our local cable monopoly so the consumers have even less choice. If you have just one monopoly cable company and one monopoly telephone company, and that telephone company buys out the cable company, do you really think rates are going to go down for your cable service? Of course not. We have not found any cable companies by themselves that have been eager to lower rates, and they do not. Suddenly, if there is no regulation and no possibility of competition, one company owns both the telephone and the cable, it does not take a genius to know what happens. The price goes up. In fact it is a new version of Willie Sutton, go to that monopoly because `that is where the money is.’
So, as we stand on a precipice between a new world of healthy competition between telephone and cable companies to serve all consumers, let us not go back to a one-wire world, where one monopoly company does both cable and phone service.
” … When the Consumers Union goes on a tear about a consumer issue, it’s something worth listening to. And they’ve gone on a tear about your cable bill. Want to know why your cable bill is so high? The Consumers Union, in a report, CABLE MERGERS, MONOPOLY POWER AND PRICE INCREASES, tells you in no uncertain terms why: The cable companies are a local monopoly and they charge monopoly rents. (In a sense, it’s not their fault. They are natural monopolies–but the effect it has on your pocketbook is the same.) … “
Cable TV Reregulation: The Episodes You Didn’t See on C-SPAN
Thomas W. Hazlett
Thomas W. Hazlett is an associate professor of agricultural economics at the University of California, Davis. From 1991 to 1992 he was chief economist at the Federal Communications Commission.
The story seemed so simple that headlines told it all: “Rising Rates Bring Cable Firms Static from Public,” asserted the Los Angeles Times. Greedy cable companies were gouging customers with “an annual overcharge of $6 billion,” Rep. Ed Markey contended. Federal legislation to deregulate cable in 1984 had led to skyrocketing rates—up 61 percent in the first four-and-a-half years—as this uncontrolled industry was “arrogantly [flexing its] raw, unbridled monopoly power” according to then-Sen. Albert Gore. Reagan-era reforms allowed the free market its chance, and consumers soon concluded that the industry could not police itself.
It was clearly time for government reregulation to correct the free-market excesses of the 1980s. Even the cable operators, who argued that years of rate regulation had “artificially” kept cable rates low, unwittingly conceded that deregulation had led to a surge in prices. The industry, denying that cable companies held monopoly positions, struck a pose as defenders of free enterprise. That could have played well on the Comedy Channel.
What came out of the Beltway clash between the forces of good and evil was the Cable Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992. This omnibus regulatory measure ostensi-bly permits local governments to again control cable rates, instructs municipalities to stop awarding monopoly franchises, strikes down predatory tactics of incumbent cable operators, and allows broadcasters to charge cable companies for retransmitting their off-the-air signals. The bill’s chief proponent, Ed Markey, chairman of the House Finance and Telecommunications Subcommittee, confidently argued that the legislation would roll back basic cable rates by one-half. With analytical minimalism he asserted, “This is a very simple debate. A yes vote is for the consumer, a no vote is for the cable industry, make no bones about it.” …
Cable Companies Come Under Fire For Antitrust Actions
from the trouble-in-monopoly-land dept
As we’ve stated (yes, ad nauseum by this point), the real issue in the net neutrality/broadband world is the lack of real competition in the space.
The telcos and their lobbyists hit back claiming that there’s “plenty” of competition — and usually trot out the FCC’s misleading stats that only look at broadband on at the zip code level (so if a provider offers broadband to a single house in a zip code, the stats claim it offers it to all houses in that zip code). There’s also a question about whether or not two competitors (telco and cable, in most cases) represent real competition or not.
However, it appears that both telcos and cable companies are facing legal challenges concerning monopolistic behavior in various markets.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that accuses the telcos of collusion in not competing in local markets following the Telecom Act of 1996. That Act was supposed to encourage competition, though it’s since been gutted. However, even when it was fully in place, the regional telcos still chose not to move to get into the markets that the others ran — thereby leaving them each with a local monopoly.
The telcos claim that since there’s no evidence of overt collusion, there’s no truth to the collusion claim. Meanwhile, in the cable world, Arizona is looking at fining Cox $2 million for arranging special deals that would prevent any competitors (including telcos) from offering service in new developments. So, whether or not you believe that there really is a competitive market in these services — it certainly looks like the companies in this space are doing everything they can to keep as monopolistic a position as possible.
Cable Companies Monopoly Equals Lower Service and Higher Prices
The effectiveness of capitalism requires the safeguarding of the fundamental principles of free markets and competition. If these principles are disregarded and not properly protected, the consequences are undesirable imbalances that lead to lower service and higher prices. Without competition, companies can charge whatever they feel they are entitled to and there is no incentive to improve their service.
Just recently I have experience this first hand and would like to report this unfortunate event so that, united, consumers can fight with the best weapon available to us: how we spend our money. In the area where I live, cable service used to be provided by Time Warner Cable. There is no other cable service provider in the area, so if you want cable TV or high-speed internet through cable your only choice was to sign up with Time Warner. Time Warner’s prices in my opinion were high for the service they provided.
But the real problem with the lack of competition in this market became really apparent when Comcast acquired Time Warner and moved in the area. Suddenly, I started experiencing constant service interruptions unlike anything I had experienced before. The internet connection was noticeably slower, and the lack of connection was frequent enough to the point where it became annoying. Other people in the area seemed to be experiencing similar problems.
To make matters worse, this month Comcast increased the price of their internet service from $44.95 a month to $52.95 a month. This corresponds to a 17.8% increase, or the equivalent of approximately 6 times the rate of inflation! And that is not all. The $52.95 rate will only be available for 6 months. Comcast has been “kind enough” to give a $10 discount for the first 6 months to previous Time Warner customers. What this means is that in 6 months the price will be $62.95 per month, AN INCREASE OF 40% OVER THE ORIGINAL PRICE!
This may seem naïve on my part, but I could not simply accept this without at least calling them to express my discontent. When I complained about the higher prices for lower service their response was to call Technical Support if I was experiencing technical difficulties. Then they asked if I had any other questions. What they were really saying is that they don’t care about my dissatisfaction with their worse-service-higher-prices business model.
Although the alternatives to cable companies’ poor and overpriced service are limited, there are alternatives. If you want premium channels, instead of cable use satellite services such as Direct TV or Dish Network. Instead of cable, DSL may be an acceptable alternative for high speed internet. In the future, telephone companies may also provide video service. I am definitely considering transitioning to DSL. I cannot fathom paying $62.95 a month or $755 per year for internet service that is at best unreliable.
Deregulation of cable monopoly leads to more options in “black boxes”
The Market Economy vs. The Monopoly
Consumers must stand strong and fight back against these types of abuses from monopolistic enterprises. If consumers refuse to pay these outrageous prices for poor service, companies like Comcast will have to change their ways in order to survive. There is only one way to respond to a situation like this. Refuse to give them your business.
NEVADA CONSUMERS NEED AN END TO CABLE-TV MONOPOLY
LV Business Press
BY CHUCK MUTH
March 20, 2006
Most of us in Nevada aren’t fans of Big Government.
When we grumble about trigger-happy bureaucrats and excessive regulation controlling our lives, we tend to blame federal officials in far-away Washington, D.C. Typically, Westerners think of local government as less government, more in touch with reality because it’s run by people we can actually look in the eye – or at least get on the phone.
But when it comes to the issue of bringing competition to the cable-TV market, all bets are off. The bureaucrats fighting against letting me pick the cable-TV provider I want are at the local level and the voices demanding less regulation and more competition are in Washington. How’s that for a turnaround?
I’m proud to say one of those voices belongs to Sen. John Ensign. He was among a bipartisan group of senators that recently issued a set of “Video Competition Principles” that call for a streamlining of local cable-TV franchising regulations that will “promote broadband deployment” while making sure that “core state and local interests” are protected.
NEGOTIATING A FRANCHISE
Under the outdated franchise regulations in effect today in Nevada, and
most every other state but Texas, a new competitor can’t come to town
and make me a better offer for cable service without first negotiating
a “franchise” with my local government.
There are no fewer than 33,000 local governments with video franchising
authority, and a company that wants to offer cable-TV service
nationwide has to negotiate separate agreements with every blessed one
This system was developed 30 long years ago – and it’s been used ever
since to preserve the practice of granting exclusive cable franchises
(monopolies) in each local jurisdiction.
It seems to me this system’s sole purpose today is to discourage new
competition to the entrenched cable-TV companies. But unlike 30 years
ago, there are actually viable competitors ready to give the cable
monopoly a competitive run for your money. Phone companies like Verizon
and AT&T have invested billions in Internet-based, high-speed networks
that will let them compete head-to-head with the cable companies – not
just for cable-TV, but for high-speed Internet access and voice-over Internet phone service as well.
HURTING IN POCKETBOOK
Delaying these new competitors from entering the market is hitting us all in the wallet. A study by the Phoenix Center think-tank calculates that one year of delay in competition will cost Nevada consumers $103 million in lost savings from price reductions, and almost $441 million over four years. In terms of losses per household, Nevada will take the biggest hit. A year’s delay of competition will cost the average household between $136 and $582 over five years.
By contrast, consumers are enjoying big savings in markets where new competitors have managed to sluice their way around the mountain of local franchise requirements. It’s no surprise that the cable companies have room to cut rates. According to Sen. Ensign and the other signers of the “Video Competition Principles,” since 1999 cable companies have raised their prices by 60 percent. During that same period, prices for long distance calls went down by 30 percent, and wireless phone service prices dropped by 20 percent.
We’d all welcome the bargains that cable competition would bring. And if I want to get that bargain from a new company, I don’t see it as the cable company’s or the government’s role to tell me I can’t. Nevadans themselves should be able to make the decision and not have it made for them.
AS CABLE RATES RISE AGAIN, CONSUMER GROUPS SAY COMPANIES ARE USING MONOPOLY POWER TO UNFAIR ADVANTAGE
New report takes critical look at how cable companies try to justify large rate hikes
WASHINGTON, DC — This month, cable television companies are raising basic cable rates substantially for consumers in every region of the United States. For example, as of January 1:
· Cablevision in Long Island, NY raised standard cable TV rates by 10 percent.
· Comcast in Washington, DC raised standard rates by 9 percent, including an “upgrade fee” last fall.
· Time Warner Cable systems in Orlando, FL and San Antonio, TX raised standard rates by 7 percent.
· AT&T Broadband systems in St. Paul, MN, Chicago, IL, and Boston, MA, raised standard rates by 7 percent.
When cable companies raise rates, they often blame the cost of programming, such as sports channels, and the expense of upgrading systems. But a new report by two of the nation’s leading consumer groups says that these reasons do not stand up to scrutiny.
Consumer Federation of America and Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, state that the primary reason that cable rates have skyrocketed in recent years is that cable companies are taking advantage of their monopoly power. The groups say that exorbitant cable rate hikes are largely due to the lack of direct competition that exists for the vast majority of cable companies nationwide.
The report, entitled “Cable Mergers, Monopoly Power, and Price Increases,” says that industry and government data show that cable revenues are rising much faster than industry costs. Revenues from advertising, digital cable, and other add-on services are enough to cover the expense of upgrades and programming costs. The latest round of large rate hikes is not justified.
The report also points out that approximately 40 percent of the top cable channels (as measured by subscriptions or prime time ratings), which command the highest prices, are owned in whole or in part by cable operators or companies that have large ownership stakes in cable companies. In other words, for a substantial part of the cable industry, rising programming prices is just a transfer from one division of the cable company to another, which comes out of the consumer’s pocket.
“Cable companies would not be able to raise prices nearly as much if they did not have monopoly power,” said Mark Cooper, Research Director of Consumer Federation of America and the author of the report.
The groups criticized the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for failing to do enough to encourage competition in the cable and satellite markets and failing to protect consumers from the cable industry’s abusive pricing. They urged Congress to take a hard look at the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the law that initiated the deregulation of the cable industry.
Since the law was approved, cable rates have increased 45 percent, or nearly three times the rate of inflation. The groups said Congress should overhaul the law in order to deliver the benefits of competition and lower prices that the law originally promised. They said Congress must empower state governments to hold down prices and treat cable monopolies the same way they treat telephone monopolies.
“If Congress restores state power to prevent cable price gouging, it can correct its mistake of allowing cable monopolies to abuse consumers and thwart the growth of video competition,” said Gene Kimmelman, senior director of public policy and advocacy for Consumers Union.
For consumers frustrated with higher cable rates, there are not many direct alternatives. 95 percent of American homes have only one cable company, while the 5 percent who have choice between two cable companies that compete head-to-head pay about 17 percent less on average. Satellite TV is one choice worth investigating. Satellite companies offer TV channels at rates that are comparable to cable in some areas, but the overall cost of satellite is often more expensive when installation and equipment costs are added. Furthermore, satellite TV does not offer local channels in some areas due to technical limits, and satellite dishes do not work unless they have a clear view of the southern sky.
For more information about cable television prices, visit the Consumer Federation of America website at www.consumerfed.org and Consumers Union’s web site at www.consumersunion.org
Save $$$: End the Cable TV Monopoly
Sunday 14 January 2007, by admin
For many years the Simi Valley City Council gave a monopoly for cable TV to Comcast, arguably the worst cable operator in the nation.
Then Comcast, sold out to Adelphia, and they were worse than Comcast—but government continued the monopoly.
Now, Adelphia has been taken over by Time-Warner—they give you bad equipment, have worse service, but it does make its subscribers religious! Every time to try to turn TV connected to Time-Warner on or off you must pray it works.
Of course the Simi Valley City Council continues the monopoly. Happily we now have phone companies barging into the mix, along with Direct and Dish TV in town.
You would think Time-Warner would want to provide better service, but they don’t and the City Council says there is nothing they can do. Of course, they could end the monopoly and say that the free market will control service, not government.
April 28, 2005
Cable Needs Competition, Not Monopolies
A look at the telecom debate in Texas.
By Wayne T. Brough, Ph.D.
A considerable debate has emerged surrounding Rep. Phil King’s recent bill, H.B. 3179, which has become the fault line in a battle between those trying to preserve a government-granted monopoly and the would-be competitors seeking to break into the market. Much of the early rhetoric targeted the “communications fee” in the bill, but this is just a sideshow to the much more important question of whether or not cable television will face new competitors in the marketplace.
To be sure, the communications fee has been a key concern for municipalities desperate for revenues, but in an emerging competitive market that is based on risk rather than monopoly privilege, it may no longer make sense to deputize communications providers as tax collectors. The revenues fund the general budgets of these municipalities and have little to do with the provision of communications services. The fees may better be viewed like any other tax that individuals must pay, and, as such, they should be put forward to allow taxpayers an opportunity to vote on what they view as the appropriate tax burden. This may be why the section on communications fees was stripped from the bill that ultimately passed the House Regulated Industries Committee by a 5 to 0 vote.
This shifts the focus of attention to the heart of the bill, which determines the ability of phone companies and other video service providers to offer video services in markets where cable television claims a monopoly. The revolution in telecommunications is breaking down barriers and monopoly providers no longer have the protection and guaranteed profits that once existed. Wireless telephone service is surpassing land lines, cable companies are providing telephone services, and now phone companies want to provide video services. Given the degree of competition, entering new markets entails a risk that did not exist when each monopolist tended its own fields and paid the state or local government for the opportunity to do so in a risk-free monopoly environment.
In today’s market the lines have blurred. Testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives about competing against phone companies in the broadband market, Robert Sachs, President of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association. stated the FCC “should adopt ‘deregulatory parity’—that is, the Commission should remove regulatory constraints, not add new ones.” When discussing whether cable companies should be required to comply with regulations that applied only to phone companies, Sachs went on to say, “Imposing those legacy regulations—and the costs associated with them—on cable for no reason other than to achieve regulatory parity will harm consumers by raising the price or lowering the quality of cable modem service. It would provide a disincentive for new investment (emphasis added). …
The CIA/Mafia’s Rupert Murdoch, Jim Cownie, et al
” … the charmless bureacratic tools of Operation Mockingbird … ” – Theresa Duncan
By Alex Constantine
Revised and updated (continuously)
MEDIA REPORTS on the heart-breaking deaths of Theresa Duncan & Jeremy Blake were dominated early on by News Corp.’s KATE COE, a producer for A Current Affair, whose acclaimed story on “The Suicide Duo” in the LA WEEKLY has drawn high praise from fascist enablers in the blogoshphere for its graphic presentation of silly conspiracy theory “paranoia.” …
RUPERT MURDOCH’s wunderkind, Ms. Coe – who chides “politically correct” liberals and, well, those of the JEWISH PERSUASION (see below) – neglected to mention that she worked for the CIA-Mafia’s RUPERT MURDOCH (see CIA-Nugan Hand section below) in the Weekly story … probably an oversight.
AS A MATTER OF FACT, there are a few OTHER significant details that KATE COE did not find NEWSWORTHY – such as the background of JIM COWNIE – whom Duncan feared to the depths of her silly, “paranoid” soul (see her entry below) – and his many connections to Coe’s employer, the CIA-MAFIA’s RUPERT MURDOCH.
WELL, now …
To fill the GAP, the connections are documented here in excruciating detail, speaking very eloquently for themselves. Apart from a few explanatory notes here and there, I’ve kept out of it.
Murdoch knows how Theresa Duncan died and who killed her – his business partner Jim Cownie knows, as well. They made it look like a suicide to silence her and stanch her investigations of Cownie, and are using her death to discredit opposition researchers – like myself, but also like the many silly “paranoid” researchers who have come along since 9/11. …
Jim Cownie, founder of Iowa’s Heritage Communications, on video:
Children of scurrilous CIA mind control operations, meet Jim Cownie …
THE FOUNDING OF HERITAGE COMMUNICATIONS: “Heritage was formed in 1971 by two long-time, hometown friends, James Hoak Jr. and James Cownie. They had virtually no experience in operating a cable television system but were encouraged by the support of Hoak’s father, the founder of a local construction materials company. Hoak and Cownie launched a bid for the Des Moines cable television franchise under the name Hawkeye Cablevision. Hawkeye suffered a temporary setback when the Des Moines City Council recommended awarding the contract to a rival applicant. Iowa law required an election to officially award the franchise, however, and Hoak and Cownie blitzed the media with the rallying cry, “Des Moines has its own experts,” winning the election by a landslide. … “
ON JOE ROSENFIELD, IOWA ENTREPRENEUR, OF THE WARREN BUFFETT CIRCLE AND THE FOUNDING OF HERITAGE COMMUNICATIONS: “Joe was chairman of Younker Brothers Inc, which was the largest department store chain in Iowa and Nebraska by 1987. Three brothers Lipman, Samuel and Marcus started the business in 1856 after they came out from Poland. It listed on the Nasdaq in 1992, but today it is part of the Saks Department Store Group after Proffitt’s purchased it in 1996. Its story can be found here http://www.saksincorporated.com/our_stores/store_histories/YNKhistory.html
” … Then there is Jim Hoak from Heritage Communications (Des Moines, Iowa), which got coaxed into the communications business by Joe. Joe hung out with BUFFETT, Buffett hung out with TOM MURPHY [MURPHY WAS A FOUNDER OF CAP CITIES/ABC – A PRIMARY CIA PROPAGANDA OUTLET. THE MEDIA INFILTRATION PROGRAM HAS INCORPORATED ELEMENTS OF CIA MIND CONTROL PROGRAMMING SINCE ITS INCEPTION UNDER ALLEN DULLES, AS DOCUMENTED BY DEBORAH DAVIS IN KATHARINE THE GREAT: KATHARINE GRAHAM AND HER WASHINGTON POST EMPIRE, AND ELSEWHERE. – ALEX CONSTANTINE NOTE] and the next thing you know, Jim Hoak was hanging out with Tom Murphy. Also mixed in with all of this is the Hubbells. Then again just about everyone in Des Moines know the Hubbells, because they are one of Iowa’s most prominent families. This is mainly due to Frederick M. Hubbell, who accumulated tremendous wealth in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Frederick M. Hubbell is another subject worthy of research. … “
JOE ROSENFIELD “INVESTED IN WARREN BUFFETT’S FUTURE” (& INTEL, SEQUOIA FUND):
” … In 1967, mutual friends introduced Mr. Rosenfield to Warren Buffett and the two became close friends. Investments in Mr. Buffet’s future, as well as an investment in Grinnell graduate Robert Noyce’s startup company, NM Electronics – the forerunner of INTEL – were the cornerstones of Grinnell College’s endowment growth. … During his career, Mr. Rosenfield was committed to a number of institutions, including the Democratic Party. His support of such organizations throughout Iowa as Equitable Life Insurance Company, Northern Natural Gas, Bankers Trust, General Management Corporation, and Northwestern Bell, is legendary. … “
Re: The CIA’s Tom Murphy & Cap Cities/ABC (and the Mafia)
The Seizing of the
American Broadcasting Company
Excerpt from an article on ABC that ran in the February 20-27, 1987 issue of The LA Weekly: ” … At issue in the ABC situation in particular is an extraordinary story overlooked by most of the press and never taken up by congressional investigators: Who actually took over ABC when Capital Cities Communications bought it in March 1985? For ‘Cap Cities’ is no ordinary company, and the takeover was no ordinary case of corporate wheeling and dealing. Specifically, an L.A. Weekly investigation has found that: Cap Cities’ primary executive THOMAS MURPHY, his family and some of Cap Cities’ founders had or have a relationship with another firm known to have excellent connections in the INTELLIGENCE community through one of its subsidiaries. The same firm has also been accused of MAFIA ties. … “
THE BASS FAMILY BUYS INTO HERITAGE COMMUNICATIONS
[Robert Bass is the nephew of SID RICHARDSON, whose role in the Kennedy assassination is well known. Robert’s brother Ed was a classmate of George W. Bush at Yale. The Bass family of Fort Worth are major financial supporters of Bush. – A. Constantine]
NEW YORK TIMES, December 8, 1986
“An investment group led by Robert M. Bass of Forth Worth has purchased 5.8 percent of Heritage Communications Inc. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Friday, the Bass group said that it bought the Heritage shares for investment purposes, ”without any view to control or influence management” of the Des Moines-based cable television system operator … “
For more political background on the Bass family, see:
FY 2004 DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE CONTRACTORS
” … HERITAGE COMMUNICATIONS … “
REPUBLICAN INSIDER “JIM [COWNIE] IS IN PLAY” – “… If you don’t think gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle is sucking up to the Christian conservatives in hope of stimulating the far-right come November, read the second installment of Nussle biting the hand that feeds him. Nussle, you’ll recall, kissed off Bill Krause (can he escape press coverage?) by saying he would sign any bill to kill the TouchPlay program after Krause gave him $25,000. Now we’ve heard that Nussle has dismissed Jim Cownie. Cownie, records show, gave the Congressman $50,000 for his campaign and asked that Nussle simply “consider Libby Jacobs” as his lieutenant governor candidate. Nussle promised Cownie he would. Nussle, however, never even contacted Jacobs, and when Cownie found out and wasn’t pleased, Nussle called Cownie and told him he was thinking about asking Bob Vander Plaats to join his ticket, and would Cownie like to weigh in. Only one problem, though. The Vander Plaats announcement had been made public the day before. Cownie, a Republican insider told us, “would never abandon his party,” while a Blouin staffer told us, ‘Jim (Cownie) is in play.'”
JIM COWNIE PLAYS HOST TO KARL ROVE
Des Moines City View
” … Last weekend, Ankeny real estate magnate Denny Elwell hosted a fundraiser for Congressional Republican candidate Jeff Lamberti. The featured guest speaker was KARL ROVE and included ‘hosts’ Marvin Pomerantz, JIM COWNIE, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Gary Kirke and Don Lamberti. When the Dems got word of the event, they quickly organized a rally. But because it was in a residential area, protesters were warned to keep the gathering small.”
SHARE THE NEWS [broadcast ministry]
Share the News Program
P.O. Box 24135
Federal Way, WA 98093
HOAK MEDIA CORP.: “Jim Hoak — Chairman. Mr. Hoak has spent his entire business career as a founder and senior executive of communications companies. He began in the communications business after serving as a legal assistant to a Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission in 1969-70. He co-founded HERITAGE COMMUNICATIONS, Inc. in 1971 and was CEO from its inception. HCI was a cable television company, which later expanded into television and radio, outdoor advertising, and other media businesses. It was sold to Tele-Communications, Inc. for $1.5 billion in 1987. He then co-founded Heritage Media Corporation in 1987, purchasing the radio and television properties of Heritage Communications, Inc., where he served as Chairman.
These television stations were in similar markets to those sought by Hoak Media Corporation. Heritage Media expanded into other advertising-based communications businesses and was sold to NewsCorporation for $1.4 billion in 1997. Both companies were traded on the NYSE. Mr. Hoak has formed and operated other communications businesses, including Crown Media, Inc., a cable television company in partnership with Hallmark Cards, Inc., in 1991. It was sold in 1995. In addition, he has been a principal of Hoak Capital Corporation, a private equity firm with investments in the communications field from 1991 to the present. He currently serves as a director of three public companies (PanAmSat Corporation, Pier 1 Imports, Inc., and Texas Industries, Inc.) and several private firms. Mr. Hoak graduated from Yale University in 1966 and from Stanford University School of Law in 1969.”
RUPERT MURDOCH ENTERS THE PICTURE
Hoak Media’s Eric D. Van den Branden profile from the company web site:
” … Eric D. Van den Branden — President & Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Van den Branden has worked with Jim Hoak since he joined Heritage Media Corporation in 1995. At Heritage Media, he served as Vice President of Development managing the company’s developmental efforts by seeking out complementary acquisition opportunities that broadened the Company’s exposure to the advertising and marketing industry. With senior management, Mr. Van den Branden assisted in the Company’s entry into the direct marketing industry through the acquisition of DIMAC Corporation for $260 million, and in the ultimate SALE OF HERITAGE MEDIA TO THE NEWS CORPORATION IN AUGUST OF 1997. … “
LOST CHAPTER IN CIA HISTORY: PETER ABELES, RUPERT MURDOCH’S BUSINESS PARTNER, AND THE ORIGIN OF THE CIA’S NUGAN HAND (DRUG MONEY LAUNDERING) BANK
THE BIRTH OF HULU: JIM HOAK (HALLMARK CHANNEL) AND RUPERT MURDOCH (NEWS CORP.) ARE BUSINESS PARTNERS:
” … NBC Universal and NEWS CORP. announced the Interbrand- selected name for their joint video portal: Hulu. … NBCU also confirmed it’s buying UK-based Sparrowhawk Holdings, making it the proud owner of the HALLMARK Channel outside the U.S. Terms weren’t disclosed, but the Guardian estimates the sale at around $350 million (£174 million). NBCU now owns more than 30 international channels including the 18 Hallmark Channel feeds reaching 53 million viewers in 152 territories, and plans to have more than 50 global networks by 2010. NBCU is acquiring Sparrowhawk from a consortium that includes Providence Equity Partners, which earlier this month acquired a 10% stake for $100 million in the NBCU/News Corp. site now known as Hulu … “
The Education Forum _ JFK Assassination Debate _ Michael J. Hand
Posted by: John Simkin
Aug 1 2006
There is not a great deal on the web on Michael J. Hand. He has not been seen since disappearing from Australia after the death of his partner, Frank Nugan. It is believed that the CIA arranged for him to start a new life in the US. Anyone know anything about him?
Michael Jon Hand, the son of a civil servant, was born in the Bronx on 8th December, 1941. According to Jonathan Kwitny in his book The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money, and the CIA: “Hand passed every class he took, and was noted for exceptional character, courtesy, cooperation, and appearance. His IQ registered an also exceptional 131.”
In 1959 his mother died after falling or jumping from a third-floor window. Soon afterwards he attended a one-year course at the New York State Ranger School. This was followed by a year managing a sports school in Los Angeles.
In May 1963 Hand joined the US Army and started his training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. During the Vietnam War he won the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC). According to the DSC citation he almost single-handedly held off a fourteen-hour Vietcong attack on the Special Forces compound at Dong Xaoi.
In 1966 he left the army to work “directly for the U.S, Government”. Friends of Michael Hand have suggested that he was employed on undercover missions for the Central Intelligence Agency in Vietnam and Laos. One reported that he “helped train the mountain people – Montagnards – and worked closely with the Air America crews that supplied them”. According to Jonathan Kwitny Hand worked under William Colby during the Vietnam War.
Michael Hand moved to Australia in September, 1967. At first Hand went to work selling development lots along the Australian coast. The company, Ocean Shores Development, was run by lawyer Fred Miller, a senior executive for the shipping empire owned by Sir Peter Abeles, the longtime business partner, Rupert Murdoch. One of the largest investors in this scheme was the singer Pat Boone. The registered directors included Boone of Beverly Hills, California and Patricia Swan of Sydney, Australia. Swan was Frank Nugan’s secretary. … “
MICHAEL HAND JOINS THE CIA
[Michael Hand was murdered, like Theresa Duncan, by Rupert Murdoch’s CIA-Mafia business partners. Hand’s partner Frank Nugan was also murdered by Murdoch’s CIA-Mafia business partners. Many others have been murdered by Murdoch’s CIA-Mafia business partners. The murders by Murdoch’s CIA-Mafia business partners are often disguised as “suicides.”- AC]
” … In May 1963 Hand joined the US Army and started his training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. During the Vietnam War he won the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC). According to the DSC citation he almost single-handedly held off a fourteen-hour Vietcong attack on the Special Forces compound at Dong Xaoi. In 1966 he left the army to work “directly for the U.S, Government”. Friends of Michael Hand have suggested that he was employed on undercover missions for the CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY in Vietnam and Laos. … “
THE CIA’S HAND WORKED FOR PETER ABELES IN AUSTRALIA – ABELES, MURDOCH’S BUSINESS PARTNER, WAS A MAFIA KINGPIN:
” … Bob Hawk’s (Australian Prime Minister from 11th March, 1983 until 20th December, 1991) little mate SIR PETER ABELES was the US MAFIA representative in Australia for many years and is known to have attempted to bribe well known anti-corruption journalist Bob Bottom. Of course Bottom refused but it was well known that Abeles would tie someone up in court for years if they dared to print anything derogatory about him … “
RUPERT MURDOCH, NARCOTICS KINGPIN
” … Abeles and RUPERT MURDOCH (I seem to have heard that name before) just happened to own 55% of Australia’s second biggest domestic airline – ANSETT. Ansett in turn just happened to own a 20% share in another airline – AMERICA WEST Airline. One of their planes was caught in the US chock a block full of DRUGS in the US. The result was intertesting to say the least. … “
MORE ON MURDOCH, NUGAN HAND, THE CIA, DRUGS:
” … Twenty percent of the stock of AMERICA WEST was owned by ANSETT AIRLINES of Australia and 55% of ANSETT was held by Sir Peter Ables and Rupert Murdock. We know from Jonathan Kwitney’s book THE CRIMES OF PATRIOTS that Burny Houghton, perhaps the key figure in the founding of the CIA drug money laundering bank NUGAN)HAND in Australia, had coffee with Sir Peter Ables the night of his first day in Australia. … “
CIA’s Paul Helliwell meets Michael Hand and Frank Nugan
When Frank Nugan was found dead in Australia in 1980, it was accepted as a suicide and the sighs of relief could almost be heard in Langley, on the other side of the globe. But then William Colby’s business card was found in Nugan’s wallet, and Nugan’s partner, Michael Hand, had been a contract agent for the CIA in Vietnam. Australian authorities began tracking Nugan Hand Bank, which developed into the most fun story of Golden Triangle drugs, money-laundering, profiteering, corporate shell games, and financial fraud that has yet surfaced in the CIA’s unofficial history.
The most intriguing aspect of Nugan Hand Bank was the list of Yankees who were in on the scam. Theodore Shackley, Richard Secord, Thomas Clines, and Edwin Wilson played peripheral roles, while Gen. Edwin Black ran the Nugan Hand Hawaii office, Gen. Erle Cocke ran the Washington office, Gen. LeRoy Manor ran the Philippine office, Colby was their lawyer, former CIA deputy director Walter McDonald was a consultant, Adm. Earl Yates was president of Nugan Hand, and Robert Jantzen, a former CIA station chief in Thailand, got out of Nugan Hand when he smelled drugs. He needn’t have bothered; apart from Kwitny’s Wall Street Journal articles in 1982, Nugan Hand received little coverage and no official interest in the U.S., perhaps because evidence was lacking that it was a direct CIA proprietary.
Donald Mackay Murder – Twenty Five Years On
16 July 2002
Presenter: James O’Brien
25 years ago, the people of Griffith in Southern NSW were coming to grips with news anti-drugs campaigner, Donald Mackay has been shot & killed by well-known Mafia Figures.
It’s believed he was murdered outside the Griffith Hotel at about 6 o’clock on the evening of July 15, 1977, although his body has never been found.
The case, the country’s first major drug crime, captured the nation’s attention, and led to the international police hunt for Robert Trimboli, who ordered the killing.
Amongst those reporting on the event was a young cadet journalist with the local paper, “The Area News”, Mike Donaldson, who now works for ABC Radio News in Canberra.
James O’Brien from Statewide Drive spoke with Mike Donaldson about his memories of the time, growing up and working in Griffith when this all occured.
Ex-cop killed Mackay’
Latest book details new theory on murder
DONALD Mackay was killed by a corrupt ex-cop on the orders of a member of the Nugan family, an explosive new book has claimed.
The theory – floated in John Jiggens’ book The Sydney Connection – Nugan Hand, Murray Riley and the murder of Donald Mackay – flies in the face of popular belief Mr Mackay’s death was linked to local organised crime figures.
According to Mr Jiggens, the head of the Nugan Hand Bank, Frank Nugan, ordered the hit out of fear Mr Mackay would expose a money trail leading from the bank to several notorious Griffith marijuana growers.
He turned to Fred Krahe, the book claims, a former detective sergeant nicknamed the “Killer Cop”.
Krahe, an alleged contract killer suspected of a number of other murders, was in Griffith working for Frank Nugan in 1977, the year of Mr Mackay’s murder.
In the book, Mr Jiggens claims secret accounts in the names of local marijuana growers were found at the Nugan Group packing shed for hundreds of thousands of dollars. He claims Mr Mackay found out about the secret accounts scandal in the week before he was murdered.
“The man who ordered the hit was Frank Nugan,” Mr Jiggens said.
“Through the Nugan Hand Bank, he was at the centre of the drug trade, not only in Australia, but also at an international level.
“He was a man who believed he had a licence to kill,” Mr Jiggens said.
Mr Jiggens, a Brisbane academic, also speculates Bob Trimbole’s Griffith Mob, with the nod from NSW Police, may have been working for Nugan Hand at the time. Donald Mackay disappeared from outside the Griffith Hotel on July 15, 1977.
A Melbourne heavy, James Bazley, got life in 1986 for conspiring to kill him.
Bazley has always maintained his innocence, fingering Fred Krahe for the murder.
The dogs have been barking for years that a NSW policeman killed Don Mackay. That policeman was Fred Krahe,” Bazley said in the early ’80s.
The price for the hit was said to be $10,000, but Dr Bert Weiner, an anti-corruption campaigner with vast knowledge of Victorian criminals at that time, told Mr Jiggens, “Jim Bazley would not break your arm for $10,000”.
Frank Nugan committed suicide at Lithgow in January 1980.
In a recent article, investigative journalist Evan Whitton agreed Fred Krahe may have been responsible for Mr Mackay’s murder.
But not everyone supports the theory.
Author of Shadow of Shame Bob Bottom, one of the nation’s foremost authorities on the Mackay murder, said it was “highly unlikely” either Fred Krahe or Frank Nugan were involved.
“I’m very sceptical about the theory … no way,” Mr Bottom said.
“Nobody did more at the time to investigate Fred Krahe than me and let me say I never thought he was involved in the murder.
“With no body found and no confession, the murder has always provided fertile grounds for all manner of conclusions.
“Remember at the time there were theories Mr Mackay had taken off with another woman and even the nonsense that his family were behind the murder.”
Jan 27 Sydney: Co-founder of the Nugan Hand Bank, Francis John Nugan, found dead with a bullet wound to his head.
“… As a co-conspirator in the Mackay disappearance and alleged murder, Bazley was sentenced to nine years in prison and four years for the theft of $260,000 from the security van. He was also found guilty of murdering the Wilsons and given a life sentence.
“He appealed against the murder convictions in 1986 but the appeal was subsequently dismissed.
“In an interview with Tom Prior from the Sydney Sun newspaper in 1987, Bazley denied the charges saying: “I didn’t kill Mackay and I didn’t kill the Wilsons.” …
The RUPERT MURDOCH-owned Foxtel (Australian pay-TV) Version – “Mafia did it” (no mention of Frank Nugan or the CIA):
“MARKING the 30th anniversary of the murder of popular Griffith anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay will be the world premiere of The Disappearance of Donald Mackay.
“Crime Investigation Australia: The Disappearance of Donald Mackay retraces the events of his shocking Australian underworld murder on Foxtel’s Crime and Investigation Network premiering tonight at 7.30pm.
“Hosted by Steve Liebmann, this home-grown compelling documentary retells the sensational events that occurred in the NSW town of Griffith in July 1977 when Mafia drug dealers took revenge on drug informant Donald Mackay. … “
NO OBJECTIONS SEEN IN NEWS CORP.’S HERITAGE BID
New York Times
August 9, 1997
“The antitrust division of the Justice Department has decided against raising objections to the News Corporation’s $1.3 billion deal to buy the Dallas-based Heritage Media Corporation, the companies said yesterday. With that hurdle crossed, Heritage Media plans to hold a special shareholders meeting on Monday to consider the proposed merger. The News Corporation is controlled by Rupert Murdoch and among its most prominent holdings are the Fox television network, 20th Century Fox studios, and major newspapers in Australia and in Britain. Heritage owns 6 television stations, 24 radio stations and also operates electronic coupon-dispensing machines inside about 40,000 stores. News Corporation has agreed to sell Heritage’s TV and radio stations to the Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcast Group for $630 million, but that deal is contingent upon approval of News Corporation’s purchase of Heritage. … “
COLLECT THE ORIGINAL HERITAGE MEDIA STOCK ISSUE: Heritage Media Corporation (Now News Corp.)
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RUPERT MURDOCH AND THE NEWS CORPORATION
News Corporation (abbreviated to News Corp) (NYSE: NWS, NYSE: NWSa, ASX: NWS, LSE: NCRA) is one of the world’s largest Media conglomerates. Its chief executive officer is Rupert Murdoch.
News Corporation is a public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Australian Stock Exchange and as a secondary listing on the London Stock Exchange. Formerly incorporated in Adelaide, Australia, the company was re-incorporated in the United States state of Delaware after a majority of shareholders approved the move on November 12, 2004.
News Corporation’s headquarters is at 1211 Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Ave.), in New York City, in the newer 1960s-1970s corridor of the Rockefeller Center complex.
Revenue for the year ended June 30, 2005 was US$23.859 billion. …
MEDIA CONSOLIDATION: LIBERTY MEDIA CORP., LIKE HERITAGE COMMUNICATIONS, IS A TCI SUBSIDIARY, AND OWNS A PIECE OF MURDOCH’S NEWS CORPORATION. (SEE “LIBERTY MEDIA’S JOHN MALONE BUYS 18 PERCENT OF NEWS CORP.,” BELOW.)
“Liberty Media Corporation is a holding company that owns interests in a broad range of electronic retailing, media, communications and entertainment businesses. Those interests are attributed to two tracking stock groups: Liberty Interactive, which includes Liberty Media’s interests in QVC, Provide Commerce, BUYSEASONS, IAC/InterActiveCorp and Expedia, and Liberty Capital, which includes all of Liberty Media’s assets that are not attributed to Liberty Interactive, including Liberty Media’s interests in Starz Entertainment and NEWS CORPORATION. …”
INCESTUOUS PARTNERS: TCI/NEWS CORP.’S JOHN MALONE IS INVESTMENT PARTNER OF JIM COWNIE’S IN PRAIRIE INET:
” … In addition to UtiliCorp Communications Services (UCS), other investors in Prairie iNet include Gateway Computers co-founder Norman Waitt, Jr.; Liberty Satellite and Technology, a publicly held subsidiary of JOHN MALONE’s Liberty Media Group; the New York City investment banking firm of Allen & Company; Las Vegas Sun Newspaper publisher Brian Greenspun; the Megunticook Fund of Boston, Massachusetts; Denver-based real estate investor Bruce Deifik; the commodity trading firm FCStone of West Des Moines, Iowa; CoBank and Janco Partners of Denver; and Des Moines, Iowa, businessman JAMES S. COWNIE. … “
THE CHARMLESS TCI/CAPCOM/BCCI SCANDAL*
THE BCCI AFFAIR – EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1. BCCI CONSTITUTED INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CRIME ON A MASSIVE AND GLOBAL SCALE.
… BCCI’s commodities affiliate, Capcom, based in Chicago, London and Cairo, was principally staffed by former BCCI bankers, capitalized by BCCI and BCCI customers, and owned by BCCI, BCCI shareholders, and front-men. Capcom employed many of the same practices as BCCI, especially the use of nominees and front companies to disguise ownership and the movement of money. Four U.S. citizens — none of whom had any experience or expertise in the commodities markets — played important and varied roles as Capcom front men in the United States.
While investigation information concerning Capcom is incomplete, its activities appear to have included misappropriation of BCCI assets; the laundering of billions of dollars from the Middle East to the US and other parts of the world; and the siphoning of assets from BCCI to create a safe haven for them outside of the official BCCI empire.
Capcom’s majority shareholders, Kamal Adham and A.R. Khalil, were both former senior Saudi government officials and successively acted as Saudi Arabia’s principal liaisons to the Central Intelligence Agency during the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Its U.S. front men included Robert Magness, the CEO of the largest U.S. cable telecommunications company, TCI; a vice-President of TCI, Larry Romrell; and two other Americans, Kerry Fox and Robert Powell, with long-standing business interests in the Middle East. Magness, Romrell and Fox received loans from BCCI for real estate ventures in the U.S., and Magness and Romrell discussed numerous business ventures between BCCI and TCI, some of which involved the possible purchase of U.S. telecommunications stock and substantial lending by BCCI.
[See appendix for more on BCCI and TCI*]
“Time Warner, one of whose major shareholders is TCI, controls Warner Brothers and Warner Brothers Animated film distributors. It owns cable franchises with almost 12 million subscribers; Cinemax and HBO cable networks; HBO Direct Broadcast; and has partial control of Comedy Central, CNN/SI, E, and the Sega channel. It controls Time-Life Video, HBO Home Video, and the Warner Home Video companies; and also owns Turner Home Entertainment, Domestic Home Video, and Turner Home Satellite. It owns over 20 magazines including Time, Fortune, Life, Sports Illustrated, and People; and such publishing houses as Sunset Books, Little, Brown & Co., Time-Life Books, Turner Publishing, and the Book-of-the Month Club. Among its program facilities are World Championship Wrestling, New Line Cinema, Turner Entertainment, and Turner Pictures. Its cable operations also include the TBS Superstation, Turner Classic Movies, TNT, the Cartoon Network; and through its ownership of CNN, it controls CNNfn, Headline News, CNN Radio, the CNN Airport Network, and CNN International.”
WHO SPINS ‘PARANOID” CONSPIRACY THEORIES? – TCI & THE ORIGIN OF DISINFORMATION.COM
” … Disinformation was designed to be the search service of choice for individuals looking for information on current affairs, politics, new science and the ‘hidden information,’ that seldom seems to slip through the cracks of the corporate-owned media conglomerates. Ironically, it was funded by one of the largest media companies in the world (TeleCommunications, Inc. (TCI), now part of AT&T), who paid for placement on Netscape’s then ubiquitous search page. … “
(COWNIE’S HERITAGE COMMUNICATIONS IS 100% OWNED BY TCI, AND IS NOW AT&T CABLE SERVICES):
Why is TCI so Powerful?
“TCI will generate more cash flow this year than all three major networks combined.33 It now controls directly or indirectly nearly one out of every four subscribers in the US.34
“It has acquired numerous systems over the past fifteen years and now commands over 11 million subscribers.35 These are subscribers of systems wholly owned by TCI and systems in which it has significant ownership positions. For example, TCI owns 45.9 percent of United Cable (1.2 million subscribers), 100 percent of HERITAGE COMMUNICATIONS (over 1 million subscribers), 63.5 percent of United Artists Cable (803,615 subscribers), 57
percent of West-Marc Communications (340,000 subscribers), as well as portions of many other cable MSOs. … “
July 2006 Archives
Wed Jul 19, 2006
Ever heard of Hoak Media? No? Me neither. Not till this morning, anyway. It’s a Dallas-based broadcasting company that, according to its Web site, acquires and operates TV and radio stations in “small and medium-sized markets…that rank 75 to 200,” as ranked by the A.C. Nielsen Company. Hoak Media, which offices out of the Crescent Court, is named for its chairman, Jim Hoak, whose bio is impressive: legal assistant to a commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission in the late ’60s; co-founder and CEO of Heritage Communications Inc. in the early ’70s, before it grew into one of the 20 largest cable television providers in the country. Sold HCI to Tele-Communications Inc. for $1.5 billion in 1987. Started Heritage Media Corp. after that.
Rupert Murdoch, chairman of Fox News Corp.
Sold that to RUPERT MURDOCH’s NewsCorporation for $1.4 billion in 1997.
Started Crown Media Inc., a cable television company that partnered with Hallmark Cards Inc. in 1991. It was sold in 1995. Serves as a director of three public companies: PanAmSat Corporation, Pier 1 Imports Inc., and Texas Industries Inc. Started Hoak Media in 2003. Now owns seven network affiliates in such markets as Wichita Falls; Grand Junction, Colorado; and Hastings, Nebraska. Only Dallas Morning News reference I can find to a Jim Hoak is the chairman of Hockaday’s board of trustees. Really, when did I miss all this?
Anyway, says here the man bought three television stations and their affiliates in North Dakota and South Dakota: KVLY-TV of Fargo and KFYR-TV of Bismarck, both NBC affiliates, and KSFY-TV of Sioux Falls, which is an ABC affiliate. Doesn’t say for how much. The deal has to be approved by the FCC; it will be. Seriously, who the hell is Jim Hoak? – Robert Wilonsky
HOAK, JAMES – DALLAS, TX 75201 – HOAK MEDIA CORPORATION/CHAIRMAN FRIENDS OF JOE LIEBERMAN – $1,000 – LIEBERMAN, JOSEPH I (D) Senate – CT – 10/23/06
HOAK, JAMES – DALLAS , TX 75201 – HOAK MEDIA CORPORATION/CHAIRMAN OF MARTINEZ, MEL (R) Senate – FL – $500 – MARTINEZ FOR SENATE – 10/25/04
LIBERTY MEDIA’S JOHN MALONE BUYS 18 PERCENT OF NEWS CORP.
News Corp. Shareholders Express Dissent
NEW YORK, Oct. 21, 2005
(AP) In a show of dissent against Rupert Murdoch, shareholders of News Corp. withheld as much as 15 percent of their vote to re-elect four directors at the media conglomerate’s annual meeting Friday to protest the company’s failure to consult them on a takeover defense measure.
Even though the directors were still re-elected by a large majority, the fact that some shareholders withheld their support indicated a significant level of dissatisfaction with the company’s handling of the “poison pill” plan, analysts said.
The company reversed itself on a pledge to seek a shareholder vote on extending a takeover defense plan that was put in place last year after JOHN, a powerful media investor who is a longtime friend and occasional rival of Murdoch’s, unexpectedly accumulated a large block of voting shares in the company. Malone’s block stands at about 18 PERCENT, versus the 30 percent held by Chief Executive Murdoch. …
“You Just have to be opportunistic.” – John Malone
A Conversation with John Malone (Ken Auletta Interview)
” … John Malone’s Liberty Media owns a piece of five of the six largest media companies in the world. And he’s also, by the way, the holder of the largest number of cable systems in all of Europe. … “
Sponsored by: The Newhouse School at Syracuse University, The New Yorker, Cushman & Wakefield, UBS Warburg, and Booz Allen Hamilton
RUPERT MURDOCH, TCI’S JOHN MALONE & THE CATO INSTITUTE
Media Moguls on Board
Murdoch, Malone and the Cato Institute
By Norman Solomon
Last fall, when News Corporation owner Rupert Murdoch joined the board of directors at the Cato Institute, the announcement went unreported in major media. Perhaps it seemed routine for one of the world’s most powerful media moguls to take a leadership post at one of the most influential think tanks in Washington.
At future meetings, Murdoch can count on rubbing elbows with his fellow media titan, John C. Malone – president and CEO of Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI), the largest U.S. cable operator – who has been on the Cato board since 1995. The two men are well acquainted, and their companies have long been intertwined in media deals involving satellite television, cable TV, program distribution and other big telecommunications ventures. Now the heads of both firms are formally helping to run a think tank which boasts that it has “actively promoted the deregulation of the television and telephone industries.”
In recent years, the Cato Institute has neared the top tier of think tanks in the United States—on Capitol Hill and in the nation’s news media. In the 1996 book No Mercy: How Conservative Think Tanks and Foundations Changed America’s Social Agenda, Jean Stefancic and Richard Delgado write that the Cato Institute “played a key role in forming the ideas and policies of the new Republican majority in Congress.” These days, “congressional committee chairmen increasingly look to Cato scholars for testimony.”
FAIR’s search of major newspaper and broadcast media in the Nexis computer database found that Cato was one of four think tanks with more than 1,000 citations in 1995 and again in 1996 (see Extra!, 7–8/97). The Brookings Institution and Heritage Foundation were in a virtual tie for first place; Cato followed closely behind third-place American Enterprise Institute.
By the time the Cato Institute celebrated its 20th anniversary at a Washington Hilton bash with 2,000 guests last spring, the Washington Post (5/2/97) was declaring that “Cato is now the hot policy shop.” The Post quoted one of the enthusiastic guests, ABC News correspondent John Stossel: “I have no official political affiliation, but I sure seem to be agreeing with them on a lot of things.” (A year earlier, Stossel had been the keynote speaker at a Cato “City Seminar” in New York.) For corporations eager to stoke the pro-privatization and anti-regulation fervor of the Cato Institute, it’s clearly a good investment.
Broadcasters like Murdoch benefit greatly from federal giveaways. Holding frequency licenses worth fortunes, they’re now receiving free slices of a digital spectrum valued at up to $70 billion. Likewise, cable TV conglomerates—with Malone’s TCI in the lead—continue to expand under the protection of federal regulations that place severe limits on the power of municipalities to charge franchise fees for the use of public rights-of-way. While lauding the “free market,” Murdoch and Malone rely on the federal government’s aid in their quest for media monopolization. The contradiction doesn’t seem to bother the Cato Institute at all.
While it has criticized “corporate welfare,” Cato is much more intent on eliminating government programs for the poor. (See p. 22.) The annual report for 1996 trumpets a statement by Cato’s director of health and welfare studies, Michael Tanner, that “welfare has failed and cannot be reformed. It is time to end it. In its place, the civil society would rely on a reinvigorated network of private charity.”
One of Cato’s luminaries is José Piñera, co-chair of its Project on Social Security Privatization. According to Cato’s latest annual report, “the project’s work was cited by nearly every major newspaper in the United States, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal.” The report says that Piñera, a former minister of labor and welfare in Chile, “oversaw the privatization of Chile’s pension system in the early 1980s”– but does not mention that at the time the Chilean government was under the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Cato’s concern about intrusive government evidently does not extend to torture and murder.
In terms of commitment to human rights, Cato has found a kindred spirit in Rupert Murdoch, who is fond of floating lofty rhetoric about his Star TV satellite network. “Satellite broadcasting makes it possible for information-hungry residents of many closed societies to bypass state-controlled television,” said Murdoch, who touted new media technology as a “threat to totalitarian regimes everywhere.” But Murdoch quickly kowtowed to China’s totalitarian regime when Beijing objected to Star TV transmissions of BBC News reports about Chinese human rights abuses. In 1994, Murdoch’s network dropped the BBC from its broadcasts to Asia. “The BBC was driving them nuts,” Murdoch said (New Yorker, 11/13/95). “It’s not worth it.”
Announcing that Murdoch had joined its board, a Cato news release (9/22/97) praised him as “a strong advocate of the free market” and quoted his stirring words: “I start from a simple principle: In every area of economic activity in which competition is attainable, it is much to be preferred to monopoly.” (This from someone with 70 percent penetration of the newspaper market in Australia.)
Smoking hired guns
Murdoch sits on the board of directors of Philip Morris, the tobacco giant recently inducted into INFACT’s Hall of Shame “for exerting undue influence over public policy-making” with the help of 240 registered federal and state lobbyists—spending as much as $2 million per month to lobby federal officials. Murdoch publications such as TV Guide reap enormous profits from cigarette ads. And Murdoch’s Fox Broadcasting is cozy with Philip Morris subsidiary Miller Brewing Co., which recently boosted its advertising account with Fox to about $75 million per year for sports and primetime programs (Advertising Age, 6/16/97).
But Murdoch is just one of many Cato links to Big Tobacco. Although news reporting and media commentaries often include the Cato Institute’s assessments of tobacco-related issues, Cato’s direct ties to tobacco rarely get mentioned. For years, the list of Cato’s large contributors has included Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds.
As it happens, Cato is a fierce tiger when it comes to advocating for oppressed tobacco firms. Last summer, a Cato “Policy Analysis” by senior fellow Robert A. Levy denounced state lawsuits against tobacco companies to recover Medicaid costs for treating people with smoking-related diseases. He claimed that anti-tobacco politicians were “willing to deny due process to a single industry selected for its deep pockets and public image rather than its legal culpability.”
A month later, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee (7/16/97), Levy sounded a similar theme, calling a proposed tobacco settlement “a shameful document, extorted by public officials who have perverted the rule of law to tap the deep pockets of a feckless and friendless industry.” For good measure, Levy excoriated newly proposed restrictions on tobacco advertising as “draconian.” And he went ballistic over the idea that tobacco firms should provide funds for the health care of children without insurance: “To hold a single industry financially liable is no more than a bald transfer of wealth from a disfavored to a favored group.”
Such pronouncements from the lips of tobacco company lawyers are likely to be taken with outsized grains of salt by the public. But Levy has consistently received respectful media coverage—without reference to the links between the tobacco industry he defends and the think tank that employs him.
So, in a news article that appeared a week before Levy testified on Capitol Hill, the Chicago Tribune (7/10/97) devoted several paragraphs to Levy’s views, quoting his claims that federal efforts to regulate tobacco have been counterproductive. The article identified the Cato Institute only as “a libertarian think tank in the capital”—though it could have just as accurately been described as an advocacy group paid by the tobacco industry.
The next month, when the San Diego Union-Tribune published a 1,100-word op-ed article by Levy under the headline “Rule of Law Is a Loser in Tobacco War” (8/31/97), the identifying blurb mentioned Levy’s post at Cato—but not Cato’s relationship with tobacco companies. In that piece, Levy (“a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute”) lambasted “an $11 billion settlement of Florida’s war against the tobacco industry.” He called the settlement “shameful” because “it strips a currently unfashionable industry of basic protections the rest of us take for granted.” Ten days later, in USA Today (9/10/97), Levy surfaced again as a concerned legal scholar writing an opinion piece that decried the persecution of tobacco firms and blasted “our pervasive regulatory state.”
Major media outlets have routinely turned a blind eye to the corporate financial backing for Cato and other large think tanks in Washington. Few reporters or pundits focus on the conflicts of interest involved.
A report by Public Citizen illuminated the industry money behind the major think tanks campaigning to strip regulatory authority from the Food and Drug Administration: “Seven think tanks—the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foun-dation, the Hudson Institute, the Progress and Freedom Foundation and the Washington Legal Foundation–received at least $3.5 million between 1992 and 1995 from drug, medical device, biotechnology and tobacco manufacturers and their corporate foundations.” But mainstream journalists paid scant attention to who was paying the piper. “Some of the country’s most renowned think tanks, frequently cited by the American media, are carrying water for the drug, medical device, biotechnology and tobacco industries,” the public interest group reported (Public Citizen, Fall/96).
Not all media outlets have given short shrift to those realities. Under the headline “FDA’s Detractors Get Funny Funding,” the Tennessean newspaper editorialized (7/29/96): “The think tanks named in the report, including the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, have produced a steady stream of anti-FDA sentiment, including op-ed pieces and reports over the last several years.” The newspaper noted “a tremendous difference between an independent think tank, which does legitimate research, and a quasi-academic mouthpiece financed by a regulated industry.”
Clearly, the Cato Institute falls in the latter category. The Institute’s yearly funding has climbed above $8 million, more than twice what it was in 1992. The organization’s most recent annual report exults: “We’ve moved into a beautiful new $13.7 million headquarters at 1000 Massachusetts Avenue and have only $1 million in debt remaining on it as we enter 1997.” Dozens of huge corporations, eager to roll back government regulatory powers, are among Cato’s largest donors.
In their book No Mercy, University of Colorado Law School scholars Stefancic and Delgado describe a shift in Cato’s patron base over the years. Cato’s main philanthropic backing has come from the right-wing Koch, Lambe and Sarah Scaife foundations. But today, Cato “receives most of its financial support from entrepreneurs, securities and commodities traders, and corporations such as oil and gas companies, Federal Express, and Philip Morris that abhor government regulation.”
Financial firms now kicking in big checks to Cato include American Express, Chase Manhattan Bank, Chemical Bank, Citicorp/Citibank, Commonwealth Fund, Prudential Securities and Salomon Brothers. Energy conglomerates include: Chevron Companies, Exxon Company, Shell Oil Company and Tenneco Gas, as well as the American Petroleum Institute, Amoco Foundation and Atlantic Richfield Foundation. Cato’s pharmaceutical donors include Eli Lilly & Company, Merck & Company and Pfizer, Inc.
Friends in the Media
While serving on Cato’s board and making personal donations, TCI’s John Malone is among many other media and telecommunications heavies behind Cato. Big donors include Bell Atlantic Network Services, BellSouth Corporation, Digital Equipment Corporation, GTE Corporation, Microsoft Corp- oration, Netscape Communications Corporation, NYNEX Corporation, Sun Microsystems and Viacom Interna-tional. It’s understandable that Cato’s news releases—while constantly urging privatization of the Internet and other communications systems—do not mention where Cato money is coming from. But it’s inexcusable that media coverage seldom includes such information.
Even when Malone makes a public appearance for the Cato Institute, reporters seem uninclined to shed light on the array of corporate funding that makes Cato possible. When Malone spoke on “Telecommunications in the 21st Century” at a Cato seminar luncheon in Denver, a pair of articles in the next day’s Denver Post (11/15/96) gave extensive coverage to Malone’s comments–and identified Cato only as “a libertarian think tank.”
Cato’s newest board member, Rupert Murdoch, is a global media giant whose U.S. possessions include the Fox television network, TV Guide, the tabloid New York Post, HarperCollins book publishers and the Twentieth Century Fox movie studios. Along the way, lax federal regulation has swelled the profits of Murdoch’s News Corp., now a $28 billion conglomerate. As a 1997 New York Times article noted (3/31/97), his 10-year-old Fox TV network “could never have succeeded if it had not received generous treatment at the Federal Communications Commission.”
Naturally, turning such big governmental wheels requires lots of political grease. In 1996, Murdoch donated $1 million to the California Republican Party, while News Corp. gave another $654,700 in “soft money” to the national GOP. In Murdoch’s native Australia, News Corp. dominates the mass media. In Britain, Murdoch controls more than a third of daily newspaper circulation along with much of cable and satellite television. While using his media outlets to push for the slashing of government social services, Murdoch was a pioneer in union-busting within the newspaper industry.
Murdoch is likely to have a long and harmonious presence on the Cato Institute’s board of directors.
Heritage Communications Expands Voice over IP Services to Guatemala
[August 12, 2004]
“MELBOURNE, Fla., Aug. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Heritage Communications Corporation (HCC) announced today it has formed a joint venture called “MundoTel” with two of its Guatemala partners: Confiansa and LA-MA sa. The MundoTel joint venture was formed to provide competitively priced, enhanced telephony services to the Guatemala market. … “
Jim Cownie Contribution to Iowa Republican Party:
Mr. James S. Cownie – 10000.00
West Des Moines, IA 50266-8223
141 37th Street
Campaign contribution to GW Bush from J. Cownie’s wife Patty:
MRS. PATRICIA H COWNIE, HOMEMAKER – $2,000
141 37TH StDES MOINES, IA 50312
Charles E. Grassley Campaign Contributions:
Heritage Communications…………………………….. $6,500 PAC
TCI and Heritage Communications
The Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 effectively deregulated the cable television industry and set the stage for an intense period of consolidation and acquisition among marginal cable operators, much to TCI’s benefit. Buffalo, Dallas, and Miami were added to the TCI fold. Through its District Cablevision system, TCI provided the first cable television service to the White House.
The next major expansion of the company occurred toward the end of 1986, when TCI acquired a controlling interest in United Artists Communications after a three-year courtship. Principally engaged in the construction, acquisition, ownership, and operation of motion picture theaters but also owner of the eleventh largest cable television system in the U.S., United Artists provided TCI with access to one of the nation’s largest theatrical exhibition circuits and to 23 cable systems serving 750,000 basic programming subscribers. Two years later, United Artists and the United Cable Television Corporation, a 49-system organization serving 17 states, became wholly-owned subsidiaries of a new company, United Artists Entertainment Company, a majority of which was owned by TCI.
Since 1985, Malone has spent more than $3 billion acquiring interests in more than 150 cable companies, representing three million subscribers. In 1987, TCI entered into a merger with Heritage Communications, a cable operator based in Des Moines, Iowa, with a similar reputation for independence, managerial aggressiveness, and risk-taking.
Jim Cownie’s corporate photo
Heritage was formed in 1971 by two long-time, hometown friends, James Hoak Jr. and James Cownie. They had virtually no experience in operating a cable television system but were encouraged by the support of Hoak’s father, the founder of a local construction materials company. Hoak and Cownie launched a bid for the Des Moines cable television franchise under the name Hawkeye Cablevision. Hawkeye suffered a temporary setback when the Des Moines City Council recommended awarding the contract to a rival applicant. Iowa law required an election to officially award the franchise, however, and Hoak and Cownie blitzed the media with the rallying cry, “Des Moines has its own experts,” winning the election by a landslide.
Des Moines, Iowa
The victory was short-lived. A lack of original programming to attract subscribers, combined with technical problems, including two natural disasters–a tornado destroyed the plant and a lightning storm interrupted service on launch night–severely damaged whatever interest and loyalty the company had developed.
Desperate but not defeated, Hoak and Cownie persevered. They were quick learners, and by the early 1980s, they had renamed their company Heritage and expanded its influence beyond Iowa’s borders, concentrating in farm belt and oil patch areas where reception, rather than programming, was the key to winning contracts. As a result, Heritage, like TCI, was relatively unaffected by the problems of other operators who had oversold and overstated their services to obtain urban franchises.
In 1985 the company entered the big-city market when it spent $110 million for Warner-Amex’s failing Dallas franchise, a system plagued by unreliable service and low customer demand. Convinced that its operations prowess would turn the franchise around, Heritage invested another $50 million in a back-to-basics approach–replacing equipment and making other technical improvements, increasing customer service training, and improving programming–in an attempt to increase the number of subscribers and restore consumer confidence in the concept of cable television.
Heritage then made two other major deals: the $43 million purchase of 51% of Gill Industries, in San Jose, and the $630 million purchase of Rollins Communications. The Rollins deal, in particular, expanded Heritage TV holdings from five to 11 stations in areas outside the economically depressed Midwest and prompted diversification into radio and outdoor advertising. Soon TCI was interested in taking over Heritage, which it did in 1987, adding 500,000 subscribers to its stable.
Video – The Rise of Cable
… In 1983, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. quietly acquired 7% of Warner Communications in several trades on the open market. Murdoch claimed no hostile intentions, but Warner president Steve Ross was not convinced and looked for a white knight. To protect itself from being taken over, Warner swapped 20% of its stock with Chris-Craft, the ex-boat manufacturer turned television station holding company.
The owner of Chris-Craft [A CIA FRONT, see Psychic Dictatorship in the USA,
by Alex Constantine – AC note] was Herb Siegel. The fact that Chris-Craft owned television stations implied that Warner, as owner of Chris-Craft stock, also owned television stations. FCC rules prohibited any foreign entity from owning more than 20% of a television or radio station. Murdoch was an Australian citizen.
Although keeping Warner away from Murdoch was very important to Ross, life with Chris-Craft was hardly pleasant. Siegel and Ross were at constant odds. Siegel personally owned more stock than Ross, and on more than one occasion threatened to call a shareholder vote for a new slate of directors.
Both Ross and Siegel recognized the benefit of owning cable, but American Express was not as convinced. Amex was willing to accept a joint bid from TCI and Time for its half of Warner-Amex Cable. Ross was ready to invoke Warner’s first right of refusal and match the bid, but Siegel refused to let the company increase its debt.
The solution would be costly in the long run for Warner. To raise the $440 million to buy back the Amex half of cable, Ross was forced to sell two-thirds of MTV and 19% of both Showtime and The Movie Channel to Viacon for $1.1 billion. But since Amex owned half of those networks, it exited cable with $990 million in cash.
Shortly after TCI failed to acquire the Amex cable properties, Malone formed a partnership to make the largest cable acquisition in the industry’s history. TCI put up about one-third of the $1.7 billion offer for Group W Cable and its 630,000 subscribers. The other partners were Time, Comcast, Daniels & Associates and Century Communications.
A year later, TCI would add 700,000 subscribers through the acquisition of United Artists Communications. Very little of the $1.3 billion paid was in cash, which left Malone with enough leverage to acquire HERITAGE COMMUNICATIONS and its one million subscribers for another $1.3 billion.
In 1985, Malone had lost out in the bidding for Storer Cable to Kohlberg, Kravit Roberts. KKR borrowed $2.5 billion to buy the 1.5 million Storer subscribers. Three years later, Malone would team up with Comcast to assume that debt and pay more than $1.5 billion cash. After closing, TCI was more than twice as large as its nearest competitor, Time, Inc.
While Malone borrowed billions to buy systems, Ted Turner surprisingly raised $5.4 billion to make a bid in 1985 for CBS, the Tiffany Network. Junk bond financier Ivan Boesky had acquired a stake approaching 15% in the network and had essentially put it into play. Drexel Burnham arranged the financing for Turner, but there was no chance that the likes of Dan Rather or Mike Wallace would ever work for Ted Turner. Potential investigation by 60 Minutes may have influenced Drexel Burnham to pull out, but CBS eventually found a white knight in the Loews Corporation and its owner Laurence Tisch ….
Crown Media Holdings, Inc.
6430 S. Fiddlers Green Circle, Suite 500
Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111
Telephone: (303) 220-7990
Toll Free: 800-820-7990
Fax: (303) 220-7660
Public Subsidiary of Hallmark Entertainment, Inc.
Incorporated: 1991 as Crown Media Inc.
Sales: $66.8 million (2000)
Stock Exchanges: NASDAQ
Ticker Symbol: CRWN
NAIC: 512120 Motion Picture and Video Distribution; 513210 Cable Networks; 513220 Cable and Other Program Distribution
Crown Media Holdings, Inc. owns and operates pay television channels dedicated to high quality, broad appeal, entertainment programming. The company currently operates and distributes the Hallmark Channel in the U.S. and the Hallmark Channel in more than 100 international markets. The combined channels have more than 73 million subscribers worldwide.
Our channels benefit from a long-term program agreement with a subsidiary of Hallmark Entertainment, Inc., our parent company. These program agreements generally provide exclusive pay television access to Hallmark Entertainment, Inc.’s first-run presentations and extensive library of original made-for-television movies and miniseries. Hallmark Entertainment, Inc.’s library consists of more than 4,000 hours of programming, including eight of the 10 most highly rated made-for-television movies for the 1993 through 1999 television seasons, based on A.C. Nielsen ratings. Programs contained in the library have won more than 110 Emmy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and Peabody Awards.
1991: Crown Media Inc. is formed by Hallmark Cards to acquire cable television systems and programming ventures.
1994: Cable systems owned by Crown Media Inc. are sold to Charter Communications and Marcus Cable; Hallmark Cards acquires RHI Entertainment Inc. and forms Hallmark Entertainment, Inc.
1995: Hallmark Entertainment, Inc. establishes Hallmark Entertainment Network, Inc. and launches its first pay television channel.
1998: Hallmark Entertainment Network acquires a 22.5 percent interest in Odyssey Holdings, the operator of the Odyssey Network.
2000: Hallmark Entertainment, Inc. creates Crown Media Holdings as a public subsidiary.
2001: The Odyssey Network is rebranded and relaunched as the Hallmark Channel.
THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF SPAIN?
NEWS CORPORATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS
K. Rupert Murdoch
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
José María Aznar
FAES – Foundation for Social Studies and Analysis
Former President of Spain
Wit of the Staircase – Theresa Duncan on Jim Cownie and Heritage Foudation/Heritage Communications
Cownie is a major Republican donor with ties to the Midwest’s Heritage Groups, founded by the ultraconservative Adolph Coors with money from his brainchild The Heritage Foundation. Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Heritage Foundation’s support for the Nicaraguan contras and Angola’s Savimbi proved extremely influential with the United States government, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Council and other governmental agencies. The Heritage Foundation presented its case for armed support for these movements, and United States support soon followed.
According to this website at media transparency.org, “among other Heritage efforts have been the publications Beware of the Union Label, The Case for Plant Closures, Upsetting the Balance of U.S. Labor Law: The Striker Replacement Bill and In Praise of Corporate Radiers: Junking Three Fallacies About Hostile Takeovers.
The site further reports: “The U.S. labor movement is a particular target for Heritage. Ronald Reagan’s first appointment to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was Robert Hunter, a conservative activist who wrote the chapter on the Labor Department for the foundation’s ‘Mandate for Leadership.’ In that paper, Hunter called for increasing the use of NLRB injunctions against unions, gutting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and drastically cutting the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
Mr. Cownie is such an admirer of the Heritage Foundation’s political program that he apparently went so far as to name the company from which his mysterious fortune emanates “Heritage Communications.” Despite Mr. Cownie’s funding of Anna Gaskell’s Des Moines Museum vanity project and his keen interest in Mr. Wit’s Winchester Series, he and now most of the younger male members of his family are professionally devoted to using Homeland Security pork to overturn decades of social progress and subverting values that the art coummunity struggles to represent and uphold. For example, author Russ Bellant states in his book The Coors Connection that The Heritage Groups “will continue to be a key element in the phalanx of rightist groups with an agenda of austerity for the poor, hostility to minorities and women, upward distribution of wealth for the rich, economic domination of the Third World, with repression and bloodletting for those who rebel.”
In addition to his business bona fides, Cownie also has a more colorful side behind the cryptic Bruce Wayneian businessman front. According to Mr. Wit of the Staircase, aka artist Jeremy Blake, (who briefly dated Ms. Gaskell for a year or so as an undergrad in art school and who as such was more than once a personal guest of Mr. Cownie’s in the early 1990s) Jim Cownie has an oddly vast collection of firearms–an entire out building devoted to them in fact. Mr. Cownie also had a Hummer in 1992, way before they were a common sight. Then there were the mobster “friends” in Las Vegas who comped Mr. Wit and Ms. Gaskell with an eye roll and a groan when they mentioned Cownie’s name at the front desk, as he had instructed them to do. In addition to the Gaskell orphans, Cownie has four or five children of his own. The oldest male Cownie child, then a teenager, even bragged to Mr. Wit during one visit “My Dad’s going to get me in the CIA!”
Once the harassment of The Wits began, these disparate old Anna Gaskell anecdotes, which up to the late summer of 2006 had been completely unknown to me, began to suddenly bob up in Mr. Wit’s memory. Mr. Wit’s recollection was further jarred after we repeatedly witnessed Ms. Gaskell’s brother Zach mysteriously pacing in front of our Venice California home. Then there were the many cars with Iowa license plates following us around Los Angeles at the time. (We took photos of these, naturally.) Mr. Wit during this time also suddenly remembered that busy Cownie often travelled to South Dakota to attend some of the Midwest’s more unsavory biker rallies. But I guess being friends with ex-con bikers and Vegas mobsters doesn’t necessarily point to somebody who would, like, hire thugs to harass, threaten or–wow–maybe even kill people.
Much of the harassment of me and Mr. Wit was also conducted by the Church Of Scientology in L. A., who Cownie also no doubt also “does business with.” U.S. Intelligence “black ops” and “psyops” have long relied on (or just outright invented) religious cults (including the Manson Family–Charles Manson received 150 hours of in-prison Scientology “auditing”), biker gangs, and the like in Federal Counterintelligence prorgrams in order to disrupt the counterculture since the 1960s. Read more about the CIA and cults here and couch jumping, Katie kidnapping mind controlled movie star Tom Crusie’s meeting with Scooter Libby and State Department head Richard Armitage here.
While this ongoing illegal harassment of Wit using Federal employees (or their “cut-out” counterparts) and Federal funding (your Homeland Security tax dollars at work!) is meant to deprive us of work and our livelihoods and even sanity, the harassment also has a curious sexual focus on Wit that mirrors this J. Edgar Hoover campaign against Black Panther organizer and actress Jean Seberg.
Like the Federal “Cointelpro” campaign that deliberately drove Seberg to suicide, the smear campaign against Wit and Mr. Wit uses as its basis pre-existing, completely invented smears started by married art professor Ralph Rugoff and his student girlfriend Hilary Chartrand in order to cover up their 2000 affair while both worked at the California College of Arts And Crafts. This is something that sharp-eyed Wit accidentally discovered during one particularly dreary art dinner in November of that year. Hilary Chartrand is friends with Anna Gaskell, who is also known for carrying on affairs with her married professors in order to have access to ethics-challenged art world log rollers like NY Times critic Roberta Smith and her husband Jerry Saltz. (See article below.)
To add the final dessert topping to this apocalyptic art world sundae, Mr. Wit says that normally dour Cownie frequently made jokes about child molestation as a “training” tool. This wouldn’t be so fucking spooky, friends of the Staircase, if Des Moines wasn’t the land of the Project Monarch/U.S. Intelligence rumored disappearance of Johnny Gosch and the odd resemblance of poor little Johnny to Bush White House gay hooker-psychological operative Jeff Gannon.
Anyway, Ms. Gaskell and I don’t seem to have much in common besides her very brief intersection with the life of Jeremy Blake, a period about which Mr. Wit says “She was so dumb, so arrogant and so mysteriously smug. She really thought she had some sort of advantage in every situation. I could never, ever figure out where that came from, because it sure wasn’t coming from anything she did. But I guess now I know.”)
This is a pretty ugly set of circumstances, and a weirder true tale than even Wit usually presents. But, as usual from what I hear, Ms. Gaskell has gotten somebody else to do the work of articulating and then cleaning up her mental messes for her. If you’re reading this, Anna, here’s some free advice: Stop accepting payoffs from Cownie immediately, get your younger brothers away from him, get a lawyer using only your own money, and have the lawyer get Cownie to answer a few questions about your mother and father.
If I were you, I’d even take a job in a factory in order to do it.
JIM COWNIE AND FRANKLIN RITUAL CHILD ABUSE COVER-UP
Doug Adams said: “Mr. and Mrs. Wit were not crazy. In fact they were pretty damn smart. A little too smart.
“Just a bit of ‘Des Moines’ digging in documents unavailable over the internet will show you that ‘The Trouble with Anna Gaskell’ is that her legal guardian, JIM COWNIE, was eyeballed by the SENATE committee overseeing the investigation into the FRANKLIN COVER UP.
“And Mrs. Wit made the connection.
“It would appear that Anna Gaskell is a butterfly bought and sold.”
” … Cownie became the legal guardian of New York-based artist Gaskell and her siblings following the early deaths of her parents (her father was Cownie’s business partner). While an undergraduate she dated Jeremy Blake for about a year. It was during that time that Blake got to know Cownie as well. … “
THE ART OF ANNA GASKELL – From the Guggenheim catalogue:
“Anna Gaskell crafts foreboding photographic tableaux of pre-adolescent girls that reference children’s games, literature, and psychology…. In untitled #9 of the wonder series, a wet bar of soap has been dragged along a wooden floor. In untitled #17 it appears again, forced into a girl’s mouth, with no explanation of how or why. This suspension of time and causality lends Gaskell’s images a remarkable ambiguity that she uses to evoke a vivid and dreamlike world.
“Gaskell’s girls do not represent individuals, but act out the contradictions and desires of a single psyche. While their unity is suggested by their identical clothing, the mysterious and often cruel rituals they act out upon each other may be metaphors for disorientation and mental illness. In wonder and override, the character collectively evoked is Alice, perhaps lost in the Wonderland of her own mind, unable to determine whether the bizarre things happening to her are real or the result of her imagination…. Gaskell addresses this psychologically loaded subject matter with images of girls wandering in a gothic mansion illuminated by candlelight. Here the psyche in question has been fractured and fraught with terror by a perverse father’s look, a voyeuristic gaze.” …
Ron Rosenbaum: “According to sources I checked with in the New York City Police Department and the City Medical Examiner’s Office, the death of Theresa Duncan which has been almost without exception called ‘a suicide’ in the local papers has NOT YET BEEN OFFICIALLY RULED A SUICIDE. … “
[Those accustomed to allowing their opinions to be shaped by vicious psychological operations in the media – appealing to the worst in human nature (envy, herd instincts, sadism, etc.) – are unaware that the press has smeared Theresa Duncan, a slanted post-mortem assault on her character … based on psychological projection. – AC]
She observed in her blog pre-mortem that it isn’t the first time:
Theresa’s “paranoia?”: “Wit and Mr. Wit have experienced theft, intimidation, illegal wiretapping, a 1950s-style SMEAR campaign based on utter psychological projection, damage to our property, verbal and physical harassment and death threats from New York ‘artist’ Anna Gaskell’s murderous Midwestern thug [Cownie] family for years”:
Link: The Wit of the Staircase: The Trouble With Anna Gaskell.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Some confirmation of Theresa’s statement from Rigorous Intuition AND the LA Weekly article by Kate Coe caught in the act of slanting the story to depict Theresa as a mentally ill paranoiac:
“… Duncan felt that artist Anna Gaskell, who briefly had dated Blake a 13 years or so ago, was in a family controlled by just such a ‘Monarch’ [CIA mind control program]. Gaskell and her siblings were given to Jim Cownie in guardianship after their mother died, following some years after the mysterious death of their father. Duncan implied, but did not state outright…that Gaskell was a victim of Monarch style abuse by Cownie. For some reason, Coe’s article doesn’t touch on that. … “
Look what one member of the Gaskell family DOES DO:
“Remember the Johnny Gosch [“disappeared” by an organized pedophile network, it’s presumed] story by Des Moines journalist Tim Schmitt published in the alternative weekly Pointblank, and how Pointblank went out of business the same day? Pointblank’s founder and editor was Jon Gaskell, Anna’s younger brother, who was immediately handed the job of editing its replacement, Cityview, while Schmitt, who had been Pointblank’s managing editor, was fired. Gaskell has apparently since claimed that the Gosch story was an ‘April Fool’s joke,’ allegedly intended to whip ‘conspiracy theorists into a lathered frenzy.’ (From a Gaskell email: ‘It was an April Fool’s prank. Those are some pretty strange people.’)
JON GASKELL STARTS AN ALTERNATIVE NEWSPAPER
New Alt-Weekly Debuts in Des Moines
By John Dicker and Amanda Pierre
July 30, 2002
… On June 26, the first issue of Pointblank hit the streets of Iowa’s capital. From the back, Pointblank looks exactly like Cityview. They have the same square format and identical revenue-producing advertisements. But the guts of the papers are a different story.
Pointblank is helmed by three former Cityview staffers, most notably Publisher and Executive Editor Jon Gaskell, who resigned as Cityview’s editor last November. …
Gaskell walked out of Cityview in November 2001, refusing to work under Wagner, who was new to the paper. Wagner, who has more than 20 years of newspaper experience, was also in charge when Schmitt and Kabel were fired in March. Since Wagner arrived at the publication, there has been 100 percent turnover of the four-person Cityview editorial staff.
Gaskell, who has a master’s in media studies and journalism from Drake University, at first went on to do an on-line Des Moines alternative weekly called Pointblank. …
Gaskell is the recipient of a trust account set up by his late father. His father, a prominent Des Moines stock-broker, died of a heart attack when Gaskell was 20. His mother was killed in a car accident when he was 11. He and his two brothers and sister, renowned artist and photographer Anna Gaskell, split the property of the elder Jon Gaskell.
Gaskell worked at small local papers and wrote a book before getting a job at Cityview. He also has a creative writing degree from Lake Forest College in Illinois. …
FOR BACKGROUND ON SATANISM AND RITUAL ABUSE censored by the “mainstream” media, SEE: “Satanism and Ritual Abuse – Case-by-Case Documentation”
FULL CIRCLE DEPT.: HOWARD BUFFETT – A CENTRAL FIGURE IN FRANKLIN COVER-UP AND CHILD SEXUAL SLAVERY/TRAFFICKING CHARGES – BUYS INTO MURDOCH’S WALL STREET JOURNAL
What might Theresa Duncan have learned that drove Murdoch and his fellow Mockingbirds to fear her? At the time of her death, the owner of News Corp. was nearing completion of the WSJ takeover. Unbeknownst to Wall Street, Warren Buffett had bought a share of the Journal in anticipation of a negotiated deal. If Theresa Duncan had learned about this, she would have gone on to write about Buffett and Murdoch in the context of the Franklin
case with its high casualty rate of peculiar “suicides,” fatal accidents”
(including the break-up of investigator Gary Caradori’s plane in mid-air) and convenient murders, because Buffett was central to author John DeCamp’s organized child sex trafficking charges. – AC
Buffett bet on Dow Jones pays off
Andrew Clark in New York
Wednesday August 15, 2007
The world’s third-richest man, Warren Buffett, is making millions out of an opportunistic punt on Rupert Murdoch’s takeover of the Wall Street Journal.
In a regulatory filing his Berkshire Hathaway investment empire has revealed it bought 2.78m shares in the Journal’s publisher, Dow Jones, during the second quarter of the year.
The Sage of Omaha has made it clear he feels Mr Murdoch is paying a high price for Dow Jones – three months ago Mr Buffett described the $60-a-share offer as “non-economic”. “I think Rupert would acknowledge that part of his interest in the Wall Street Journal goes beyond economics,” he said in May, adding that the paper was second only to the New York Times in prestige value.
As the exact date of Berkshire Hathaway’s share purchase has not been disclosed, it is not clear whether Mr Buffett dipped into the market before or after the price of News Corporation’s offer became public on May 1. Either way, the investment was highly lucrative. In the days before Mr Murdoch showed his hand, Dow Jones shares cost about $36 (£18). Over the following weeks, the price hovered around the low to mid-50s before News Corp tied up the deal by persuading Dow Jones’s controlling Bancroft family to sell for $60 at the end of July.
News of Mr Buffett’s quiet profit is unlikely to thrill members of the Dow Jones union, the Independent Association of Publishing Employees, which spent part of the takeover battle trying to enlist Mr Buffett to launch a “white knight” bid.
His investment empire includes one newspaper, the Buffalo News in New York state. He is a newspaper addict, reading five a day, but he believes the future for print is bleak. In his 2007 letter to shareholders, he warned that the days of “lush profits” from newspapers were over.
“If cable and satellite broadcasting, as well as the internet, had come along first, newspapers as we know them probably would never have existed,” he said.
A BLOGGER’S FEAR THAT THERESA DUNCAN AND JEREMY BLAKE WOULD DIE AFTER “DISSING” JIM COWNIE:
” … When I saw the entry on Anna Gaskell and her spook dad Jim Cownie posted on the May 13, 2007 Wit, I immediately feared that Theresa and Jeremy’s lives were in danger. That they might be ‘disappeared.’ That the people they were dissing, and their assorted CIA compadres, would not allow the challenge to go unanswered. All reports indicate a double suicide, first Theresa and then Jeremy. But I wonder…. “
 Posted by: guest | July 21, 2007 8:54 PM
“SUICIDE DUO’S FALL FROM ARTIST ELITE TO MANIC BELIEVERS IN A ‘SATANIC PLOT,’ NEW YORK POST, August 5, 2007, by CHRIS LEE, CATHY BURKE and LARRY CELONAON.
This site has vanished from the Net, uncachéd:
franklinfiles.org – The Pedophocracy, Part V: It Couldn’t Happen Here
Had he been, there is no telling where the investigation might have led; his wife had once run … Who is Jim Cownie? by Pablo. July 27, 2007, 12:38:34 PM …
Come to find that Coe – who has shaped public opinion on the case, found flaws in Theresa Duncan’s character – has adopted a few Nazi beliefs herself:
Gabriel, Don’t Blind Me With Your Charisma
“Kate Coe says that when her chef husband worked at a restaurant in Santa Monica, food got sent back all the time [because of all the picky Jews]. When he moved to a restaurant in South Pasadena, that almost never happened.
“Kate writes: ‘Oh, Luke, I’M THE ANTI-SEMITE in my household. My husband thought the sending back was due to the insidious influence of show-biz, not Judism. He’d never say anything mean about anyone–that’s why he married me.'”
More CIA-Media Smears of Theresa Duncan & “Conspiracy Theorists” in the blender – Alex Constantine
Now the CIA’s Anderson Cooper is getting into the act … to kill “paranoid” Theresa Duncan all over again, and turn the public off to those attention-getting “conspiracy theories” involving the CIA and cults, the CIA and the media, mind control, political murders, 9/11, and so on.
For background on Cooper, see “Anderson Cooper’s CIA Secret”:
a Fox TV producer, with credits on “A Current Affair,” another CIA Mockingbird franchise, and Jackie Collins Presents (?) From her resumé:
Producer: A Current Affair/FOX
Producer: Jackie Collins Presents
Coe is a CIA propagandist. Her job is to discredit anyone targeted by the Agency, ala Chavez. So she smeared Duncan for writing about mind control and the CIA:
01 August 2007
“The wit of the suicide: Did Theresa Duncan lie about her B.A.?
“Turns out Theresa Duncan, who committed suicide in New York a few weeks ago and was followed into the afterlife by her boyfriend Jeremy Blake in the utterly Shakespearean method of death-by-ocean, was totally paranoid and a compulsive liar, as laid out by Kate Coe in the LA Weekly.”
“Kate Coe gets jump on artist suicide mystery”
“Paranoia. Lies. Dark pasts. Strange rants. The [Coe] article paints a very personal, surprising picture of the couple (Kate knew Duncan) and could very well be the outline for a book.”
Kate Coe published the Duncan “suicide” story in the liberal LA Weekly, but she is a right-winger – with Mockingbird friends who work for other CIA franchises, like National Review, which has recieved generous Agency funding since the magazine was launched by the CIA’s William Buckley in the 1950s:
LA Press Club Party With Sandra Tsing Loh
“… Kate Coe, who incorrectly ‘corrected’ me on two different sites about the word gauauauauntlet, introduces herself, expressing the possibility that I could have hit her (I never hit women unless they hit first). She seems nice, though I can’t quite get her to admit I was right. She mentions that she knows a girl who might be right for me — said girl’s major qualities are that she’s RIGHT WING and a drug addict, apparently. Why this would suit me, I have no idea.”
producer at PBS
researcher/writer at TIME-LIFE BOOKS
Kate Coe is frequently described by friends as enchantingly witty, delightfully acerbic, and never unintentionally rude. … Educated at an Ivy League university, which rather regrets that fact …
Kate Coe writes about her past: “I have a great love of archival film as well as stills and artwork, and know all the ins and outs of film research, clip clearance, and securing of rights and have worked closely with many Legal Affairs departments. … “
This was a CIA Mockingbird propaganda stunt:
October 21, 2005, 8:29 a.m.
Wither Public TV?
“I helped organize and moderate a series of panels about public television last weekend in Los Angeles for the American Cinema Foundation, with sponsorship by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The CPB, which funds public television and radio programming, is otherwise known (at least here on the Left Coast) as ‘Those Evil Republicans Who Are Trying To Move Big Bird to the Right.’ …
[Note on CIA/PBS propaganda: Hollywood producer Lionel Chetwynd’s Wiki entry: ” … In 2001, Lionel Chetwynd was appointed by President GEORGE W. BUSH to serve on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. In 2003, Chetwynd wrote and produced DC 9/11: TIME OF CRISIS, a docudrama for Showtime Networks recounting the nine days in the Bush administration between the time of the September 11, 2001 ATTACKS ON THE WORLD TRADE CENTER AND THE PENTAGON and the PRESIDENT’S TELEVISED ADDRESS to the nation before Congress. … ” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lionel_Chetwynd – AC]
“On my panels, screenwriter/director Lionel Chetwynd said that PBS generally reflects a ‘leftwing European perspective’ — that is, anti-Israel — except for six weeks each year during fundraising, and then it’s ‘Jews are great.”…
Give To HBO, Not PBS?
From: Kate Coe
RE: Public Broadcasting: How Much Do You Care? (TV Board, 06/20)
Why should PBS get a subsidy from taxpayers to keep producing mediocre programming? I’d rather give my money to HBO. When PBS produces “The Sopranos” or “Six Feet Under,” then we can talk …
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT DEPT.: ” … Holy stratosphere, is that Moxie with ANN COULTER at CATHY SEIPP’S party for her daughter Maia? … And SANDRA TSING LOH was there too? … “
RE: KATE COE’S FRIEND, THE LATE CATHY SEIPP, FRIEND OF ANN COULTER, WAS ANOTHER CIA MOCKINGBIRD (NATIONAL REVIEW):
National Review Online
PBS does indeed like old people, but I wonder if that’s always such an excellent thing. I decided to correct this a bit on my own when my daughter was small and we watched so much Sesame Street that I felt I really should donate something. But I also felt that as a single mother, I was far poorer than their average elderly viewer; yet they offered a senior citizen’s discount but not an impoverished single mother one. So I checked off that I was a senior citizen and sent in my donation (getting the free program guide) under that cheaper rate. I got cruise-ship brochures in the mail for years.
“I’m horrified that Mel Stuart basically wants PBS to continue so he can sell his work,” Kate Coe, a producer who’s worked for public and commercial TV, e-mailed me about the PBS panels. “Why not just have the Feds write him a check? Why do all these geezers think they’re entitled to a life-time career at public expense? I can’t believe how many of these guys (and they’re all guys) think PBS should continue because they can sell shows.”
Cathy Seipp, 49, Noted Columnist and Blogger, Dies
By DENNIS HEVESI
Cathy Seipp, a columnist and blogger who became widely known for poking fun at the liberal leanings popularly associated with her hometown, Los Angeles, died there on Wednesday. She was 49 and lived in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles.
The cause was lung cancer, said her daughter, Maia Lazar.
Ms. Seipp was widely read on her blog, “Cathy’s World,” which she started in 2003; in a weekly column for National Review Online called “From the Left Coast,” and in a monthly column for the conservative online magazine Independent Women’s Forum.
She also wrote for Mediaweek and Salon and made guest appearances on Dennis Miller’s talk show on CNBC.
Her favorite targets included political correctness, global warming, same-sex marriage, abortion and gun control — and the Hollywood luminaries who espoused those causes.
“She would laugh about being to the right of Attila the Hun,” Kate Coe, a blogger at Mediabistro.com, said yesterday, “but she wasn’t really that doctrinaire.” …
KATE COE TAKES AIM AT A “CONSPIRACY THEORIST”
Any public sympathy for Duncan is history now. Coe knows her work. Leave the impression that the victim was mentally ill and deserved to die.
A smear job always follows CIA murders, and the smear always dwells on unsavory characteristics of the victim’s personality. We have to keep hearing about John Kennedy’s philandering, for instance. And Saddam Hussein had it coming when he lost his head (the CIA didn’t give him a list of political enemies to kill? The CIA didn’t arm him? The CIA didn’t make him vice-president and further his fascist career?), because he was a vicious killer (the CIA isn’t?).
Theresa Duncan had faults. Human. Any one of us could be murdered for political reasons – and made by Kate Coe to appear deserving of it for lying on our resumés, as Theresa Duncan admitted that she did, according to Coe.
This is one more cynical thought control piece intended to program public opinion concerning allegations made by Duncan – and possibly the cause of her death – who was very concerned about mind control – and that’s what you get with the Coe story, mind control, a typical piece of Mockingbird droppings. I imagine that 90 percent of Ms. Coe’s readers will end up loathing Theresa Duncan, and that’s the idea.
If there is no sympathy for her, no one will take her allegations concerning the CIA, Heritage Foundation or mind control seriously.
Anti-Semitic, anti-liberal Kate Coe from Fox News Corp. is dominating and manipulating coverage of Theresa’s death to turn it against blogging “conspiracy theorists”:
“Stories about the recent suicide deaths of writer Theresa Duncan (Tylenol and alcohol) and then her boyfriend Jeremy Blake (walking into the sea like Sterling Hayden did in The Long Goodbye) are all over the place. L.A. Fishbowl’s KATE COE has an L.A. Weekly story in this week’s issue, Chris Lee has an 8.3 story about the tragic duo in the L.A. Times, and Lee says in an online chat with Coe that Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, New York magazine and CNN’s ANDERSON COOPER are also preparing reports.”
Alex Constantine Notes on the Duncan family and the FBI:
Los Angeles Times’ Chris Lee returns …. Heavy emphasis is placed on Theresa’s “paranoia,” as reflected in the headline: “The world as Jeremy Blake and Theresa Duncan saw it – Friends sift through the clues left behind by a glittering ‘It’ couple who had wrapped themselves in a cocoon of paranoia.”
We keep hearing of the phantom Scientologists, but other very credible allegations made by Duncan are written out of the epitaph.
There is no trace of “paranoia” in blog statements preceding her death: “This would be regrettable, but of no personal consequence to The Wit Of The Staircase if it had not been for the extremely coordinated and professional physical and psychological harassment Mr. Wit Of The Staircase (Jeremy Blake) and I underwent subsequent to Mr. Wit creating an artwork entitled Winchester, a video trilogy based on the violence and guilt in the life of gun-company heiress Sarah Winchester … ”
The entry does not ring with “paranoia”: “The harassment Mr. Wit and I are still enduring featured as its centerpiece an FBI file I earned as an undergrad in Detroit for protesting the plant closings there and doing other labor organizing.”
Is this one of her “paranoid conspiracy theories?” There are books written by reputable scholars detailing this sort of activity. It’s not exactly a face-on-Mars delusion …
“I also wrote several eloquent articles for Wayne State University’s student newspaper demanding a Federal investigation into the Iran-Contra cover up when I was a freshman.”
The FBI must have opened a file on Duncan at this time, per Bureau policy. She was obviously a “person of interest”: “Wit’s [Duncan’s] family has generations of working class factory workers on my father’s side, and generations of academic specialists in radical political movements on my mother’s side.”
We’ll have to to file an FOIA request on that …
Duncan: “My mother, who currently works at Wayne State University and has a PhD in political science that is focused on Black Panther and other radical movements in the Midwest, also recently received harassing phone calls, as did my younger brother.”
Question: Are Theresa’s mother and brother also “paranoid” conspiracy theorists? The FBI murdered 29 Black Panthers in cold blood – or am I subscribing to “looney” theories for stating this fact. On the Net there is a post in which I debate neo-con David Horowitz into a corner on this historical fact. But to any interest vested in suppressing progressive politics, FBI murders are “crazy conspiracy theory.”
Theresa Duncan wasn’t crazy. She was a typical enemy of the state – smarter than the average programmed prole. And she knew all about Operation Mockingbird and CIA mind control and cults – this makes her my student. I’m not a “conspiracy theorist,” either, although the ignorant describe me in these condescending terms. I am, in fact, about ten years ahead of the pack, so the pack scratches its head and wonders what I’m about. So it was with Theresa Duncan.
She wrote about Operation Mockingbird – CIA control of the media. THAT didn’t turn up in Chris Lee’s smear job, either.
The crazy mind cotrolled types are in the pressroom, those who do the intelligence underground’s bidding. You know, the Gestapo … who do the killing (see archive) …
Was there a reason the FBI would be interested in Theresa Duncan’s mother, who was receiving hang-up calls at the time her daughter died – or was that Theresa’s famous “paranoia?” I was unable to download the entire dissertation on the Black Panthers written by Mary Duncan, but this is an abstract.
Mary Duncan examines the language of Black Liberation – a struggle that has seen the FBI and other sectors of the intelligence underground MURDERING every legitimate and uncompromised leader who comes along – and white discrimination – to find that the master-slave relationship is still embedded in American culture:
The language of liberation: Emory Douglas and the art of the Black Panther Party (2004)
There is a myth in America of a homogeneous citizenry with shared ideals and a common understanding of the dominant white political language. In fact there is a multiplicity of voices and historical narratives among American subgroups. The field of semiotics has provided a model to better understand how political and cultural messages are communicated through the various mediums of popular culture. In this essay I will examine the visual language of symbols and images that go essentially unrecognized and unexamined in political research, a language that affects everyday perceptions of political reality. It is within the context of the use of symbols and images in meaning production that I will explore the incommensurability in political understanding between the dominant white idiom and the black language of liberation that is based in a common history and the experience of slavery and discrimination.
Publisher Digital Commons@Wayne State University
Repository Digital Commons@Wayne State University (United States)
Keywords AMERICAN STUDIES (0323), POLITICAL SCIENCE, GENERAL (0615)
THE “SUICIDE” OF THERESA DUNCAN CAME AT AN OPPORTUNE TIME FOR MURDOCH – THE NEW YORK TIMES HAD, A COUPLE OF WEEKS BEFORE HER BODY WAS FOUND, LAUNCHED AN INVESTIGATION INTO MURDOCH’S GLOBAL BUSINESS DEALINGS – AND HE’D JUST SEEN ANOTHER MEDIA MAGNATE, CONRAD BLACK, FALL FROM OLYMPUS:
Times Undertakes Multi-Bureau Rupert Murdoch Investigation
by Michael Calderone
New York Observer
June 25, 2007.
The New York Times is currently undertaking a major news investigation, led by managing editor Jill Abramson, into News Corp.’s business dealings throughout the world, according to a source with knowledge of the project.
Currently, Ms. Abramson is working outside of the newsroom, recovering from injuries sustained during a traffic accident last month.
But, as she told The Observer in an e-mail on May 26, executive editor Bill Keller has kept her quite busy.
“Bill has asked me to lead an investigative project for the next month, which I’ll mainly do from home,” Ms. Abramson wrote at the time. “It involves a group of domestic and foreign reporters, but I obviously can’t tell you what it is.”
Well, the group includes one obvious choice: media reporter Richard Siklos, who authored Shades of Black, the 1995 biography of disgraced press baron Conrad Black.
Although Mr. Siklos is currently covering the Black trial in Chicago, he’s also been busy reporting on Mr. Black’s fellow media mogul, Rupert Murdoch: He has had nine bylined pieces, including a 3,300-word cover story in the Sunday Business section, since News Corp.’s bid for Dow Jones was announced on May 1.
The investigative project also includes, according to a source at The Times, investigative editor Matt Purdy and reporters Jo Becker (in New York), Jane Perlez (in London) and Joseph Kahn (in Beijing).
Mr. Purdy did not confirm there was an investigative project underway, and referred this reporter’s questions to Ms. Abramson—who declined to comment. Mr. Siklos also declined to comment. Ms. Becker did not return calls seeking comment. Ms. Perlez and Mr. Kahn could not be reached at press time.
A News Corp. spokesperson confirmed that they knew of The Times’ investigative project, but declined to comment.
RE: MURDOCH, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL BUY-OUT, CIA, LIBBY LEAK CASE & THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION
Theresa Duncan died in the amid Murdoch’s widely-reported takeover of the Wall Street Journal …
Another good reason why Rupert Murdoch should not get Dow Jones
by margieburns on Wed 27 Jun 2007
… Dow Jones engages in other activities besides publishing.
For example: in the past two years’ worth of motions filed by attorneys back and forth in the CIA leak case, specifically in Judith Miller and Matt Cooper’s unsuccessful efforts to quash a subpoena, several of those motions have been filed by Dow Jones.
Dow Jones, you see, has filed several times as an amicus curiae – “friend of the court” – asking the courts to unseal parts of the court record in the Miller and Cooper matters that remain sealed because they contain classified material.
The short story here is that every time Dow Jones files a motion to unseal classified material, Americans have to pay for the process. With Rupert Murdoch’s news empire, reportedly worth $68B, behind these efforts, there will be deeper pockets than ever to bleed the taxpayers.
Here’s how the process works: the high-dollar amici – friends of the court – file their motion to unseal, opposed by several government agencies including the CIA. Then the prosecution team has to file a motion in response to the pleading, taking time away from other government prosecutions. To date, the prosecution has responded by offering to unseal some further parts of the record but not those still unrevealed publicly, and the courts have acceded. Then judges have to rule on the motions, which as said have so far been partly granted and partly turned down by the courts.
All of this takes place in courts and using court personnel provided by the taxpayers, and in the name of the public’s right to know – somewhat ironically, looking at the WSJ editorial page. Indeed, one wonders why that zeal to inform the public didn’t turn up back in 2002 and early 2003, when the White House was boosting mythical Iraq WMD, mythical Iraqi complicity in 9/11, and a mythical partnership between Saddam and Islamist partisans.
In any case, with the politics of Rupert Murdoch behind these efforts – he of Fox News – they are unlikely to lighten up.
The timing of the amici filings in the Miller and Cooper matters already suggests that political considerations have been part of the mix. When then-New York Times reporter Miller and Time Magazine reporter Cooper were subpoenaed by the Special Counsel in the CIA leak case and lost their round in federal District Court (Judge Hogan), they appealed their subpoenas in the appellate court in Washington, D.C. The appeals court turned them down on February 15, 2005, with some parts of the court’s ruling classified.
Dow Jones filed to release classified parts of the ruling in the subpoena case on November 2, 2005 – more than nine months after the court’s ruling, but only five days after the October 28, 2005, indictment of Scooter Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice. In other words, the sequence suggests that Dow Jones’ amicus brief was impelled less by the classification of some parts of the subpoena ruling than by progress in the CIA leak case.
Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald responded that a redacted version of the court’s ruling should be unsealed, and the appeals court ordered the redacted version published on February 6, 2006.
Dow Jones again filed an amicus motion to unseal the remaining sealed parts of the ruling, on December 6, 2006 – ten months after the court’s ruling, but shortly before the January 16, 2007, beginning of jury selection in the trial of Lewis Scooter Libby.
Again the amicus filing looks more like a response to developments in the CIA leak case – the Libby trial – than to three appellate judges’ classifying part of their ruling. In fact, it looks as though Dow Jones felt an interest in overloading the prosecution as much as possible during the Libby proceeding; basically the amicus filings to unseal – all destined to lose – chronologically paralleled flurries of motions by the Libby defense team.
The second motion to unseal by Dow Jones, this time joined by the Associate Press, was denied by the court on February 9, 2007. Obviously the prosecution had to respond to the motion to unseal while working on the Libby trial. Dow Jones then renewed its motion to unseal on March 7, 2007 – the day after Libby was convicted on four of five counts of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements, and while appeals were being prepared by the Libby defense team and responded to by the government.
The government responded to the renewed motion, again offering part disclosure and part redaction, on March 22; Dow Jones and the AP filed a reply to the government motion on March 30 and a supplemental memorandum on June 1, 2007 (all three most recent Dow Jones amicus briefs for some reason dated 2006 rather than 2007, though the Certificate of Service gets it right); and the government filed a sealed motion on June 19, 2007. There has been no ruling yet on the most recent filings.
The even shorter story here is that Dow Jones’ legal actions seem to have fallen quietly in line with the interests of its editorial page, while publicly professing alignment with the interests of its reporters.
Let’s just hope all this wasn’t part of what attracted Murdoch to Dow Jones in the first place. Worse, let’s hope that this process wasn’t concocted or designed to make Dow Jones attractive to Murdoch in the first place.
While all this behind-the-scenes maneuvering has gone on, rightwing ‘noise machine’ outlets, including Murdoch’s media, have complained in print and on air about the time and expense consumed in these legal actions – without ever quite getting around to telling the public how much of that drain on the polity has been caused by their own little white-collar goon squads.
KILL THEM AGAIN!: THE NEW YORKER vs. DUNCAN AND BLAKE
The New Yorker has published a story on the deaths of Duncan and Blake by 23-year old “hipster” (he generally writes about teenage sex, trendy nightspots, the senior prom, his coked-out father, etc.) David Amsden, a 23-year old novelist who admits – even boasts – that he scores zero on the credibility scale:
A Book that Doesn’t Matter – “It’s amazing, the lies you can get away with.”
New York Press
“After 200 pages of playing the damaged kid, David Amsden comes clean: ‘It’s amazing, the lies you can get away with. That’s the problem with me, I’m always telling these sort of half lies to people.’
“Well, at least he admits it. Amsden is a classic American ambition machine who lied and schmoozed his way to fame while coyly pretending to be a naïve outsider. … ” (http://www.nypress.com/16/27/books/books.cfm)
Amsden is still “lying his way to the top.” And “pretending to be an outsider,” too.
His publisher is HarperCollins, one of the leading book publishers in the world, a News Corp. appendage headquartered in New York, owned by RUPERT MURDOCH, WHO I HAVE ACCUSED OF INVOLVEMENT IN THE MURDER OF THERESA DUNCAN AND COVER-UP OF THE SAME. SEE: http://alexconstantine.blogspot.com/2007/08/murder-of-theresa-duncan-jim-cownie.html
Description of Business
HarperCollins Publishers is one of the world’s leading English-language publishers, with headquarters in New York and operations in Canada, the U.K., Australia/New Zealand and India. Its publishing groups include the HarperCollins General Books Group, HarperCollins Children’s Books Group, Zondervan, HarperCollins UK, HarperCollins Canada, HarperCollins Australia/New Zealand and HarperCollins India. HarperCollins is a broad-based publisher with strengths in literary and commercial fiction, business books, children’s books, cookbooks, mystery, romance, religious and spiritual books.
See the following web pages:
David Amsden’s take on Duncan and Blake rehashes the used tortured-culturati/crazed-conspiracists of prior reports churned out by Murdoch producer Kate Coe, and the propaganda mavens of Murdoch’s New York Post and Chris Lee – a “ringer” brought to the newsroom shortly before the death of Theresa Duncan, convenient author of the NY Post’s smear of Duncan and Blake – at the Los Angeles Times. In fact, these stories are all the same, nearly identical: The chic but doomed lovers – saucy blogger literatum and famed artist consort – dreaded non-existent, “dark government forces.” The grip of “paranoia” drove them crazy. What Amsden knows about those forces is anyone’s guess, but he immediately dismisses the deepest fears of Dunan and Blake as mental aberrations.
Evidently, Amsden never looked too closely at his own publisher, Conde Nast, which publishes the New Yorker.
Conde Nast is owned by Advance Communications
Advance Communications is owned by Samuel Newhouse – the best friend of ROY COHN until AIDS took him out:
” … By the fall of ’85 Roy was having trouble breathing and was suffering from short-term memory loss. The Roy Cohn barter-and-swap exchange, specializing in deals, favors and reciprocities of all kinds, was in abeyance. When Si Newhouse’s son Sam wanted the impossible-a berth for his yacht at the East 23rd Street marina-the chore fell to one of Roy’s law partners, Stanley Friedman. (Friedman was later to be convicted on unrelated corruption charges.) For 40 years Roy had been taking care of the Newhouses, billionaire owners of newspapers and magazines, and for 40 years the Newhouses had been taking care of Roy. … ” (Source: Carol Felsenthal, Citizen Newhouse – Portrait of a Media Merchant)
Theresa Duncan was investigating cable industry pioneer Jim Cownie at the time of her death. She tied Cownie to the doings of the Franklin Case in Omaha, which involved the CIA and satanism, a child sexual slavery network, the knock-off of an S&L, etc. The Newhouse network has covered up – misrepresented – the Franklin case in Omaha (see appended summary) in the past. But I don’t want to be side-tracked and will reserve that story for another time …
The important factor is that Newhouse has extensive CABLE interests. THERESA DUNCAN, BY GETTING INTO JIM COWNIE (who founded the company that is now AT&T Cable), WAS INVESTIGATING THE DARK SIDE OF THE CABLE INDUSTRY, INCLUDING COWNIE’S PARTNER JIM HOAK (STARTED IN BUSINESS BY CAP CITIES/CIA’S TOM MURPHY, CROWN MEDIA), RUPERT MURDOCH (NEWS CORP.), AND THE NEWHOUSE CLAN.
HER DEATH IS ABOUT THE CORRUPTION OF THE CABLE INDUSTRY.
AT THE HEART OF THE INDUSTRY IS THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY, OPERATION MOCKINGBIRD – ONE OF THERESA’S PRINCIPAL INTERESTS – ORGANIZED CRIME, COVERT OPERATIONS, POWERFUL FASCIST NETWORKS …
The Boss of Bosses
” … Many men in his tax bracket are Republicans, and much is made of Si Newhouse’s friendship with the infamous Roy Cohn; but Cohn put power before party. Should we assume Newhouse does, too? … “
“A little known fact is that Wired was bankrolled virtually from its first issue by the Newhouse family which eventually swallowed it after they bungled their IPO.”
Cohn and Newhouse Give Reagan a Second Term
Death Factories –
The Biology Of Doom
Review By Timothy Naftali – From The NY Times
… Newhouse gave us Ronald Reagan’s second term. After the disastrous first debate with Mondale in which the public got its first uncensored look at the extent of Reagan’s mental impairments, Roy Cohn called the campaign on behalf of the family offering its services.
Within a week there was a photoshoot at the Santa Barbara ranch showing Reagan cutting wood and riding horses. It was the cover story of the very next issue of Parade Magazine, the insert that appears in tens of millions of Sunday newspaper across the country.
Ed Rollins, now a flack for the Chinese, then a Reagan campaign strategist, recounts the story proudly in his autobiography.
Advance and Time Warner, Cable Industry Partners
Advance owns Bright House Cable
2002 – Advance and AOL Time Warner disband their cable partnership. Advance changes the name of its cable operations to Bright House cable.
Bright House Networks
Bright House Networks is a cable company owned by Advance/Newhouse, headquartered in Syracuse, New York. This cable service currently serves cable in Indianapolis, Central Florida (Orlando area), Tampa Bay area, Birmingham, west suburban Detroit and Bakersfield. Most of its business is concentrated in Central Florida, where Bright House is the dominant cable system in the Tampa and Orlando TV markets.
These systems were all owned by the Time Warner Entertainment – Advance/Newhouse Partnership but, under a deal struck in 2003, Advance/Newhouse took direct management and operational responsibility for portion of the partnership cable systems roughly equal to their equity. Ostensibly, this was due to A/N’s dissatisfaction with Time Warner Cable’s strategic direction. Time Warner still owns a stake in Bright House Networks even though Advance/Newhouse runs the day to day operation of the company.
Before 1994, some of these systems were fully owned by A/N under the names Vision Cable and Cable Vision (no relation to Cablevision Systems). In some areas, Bright House is the successor to Teleprompter Cable TV, Group W Cable, Strategic Cable, Paragon Cable and the Time Warner Cable systems in Florida.
Cable television: Adelphia | Advanced Cable Communications | Alameda Power and Telecom | Allegiance Communications | Blue Ridge Communications | Bright House Networks | CableOne | Cablevision | Champion Broadband | Charter Communications | Comcast Corporation | Cox Communications | Crestview Cable | Fairpoint Communications | Full Channel Communications | General Communications | Graceba Total Communications | Insight Communications | King Videocable | MCV Broadband | Mediacom | Midcontinent Communications | Millennium Digital Media | Muscatine Power and Water | Northland Cable Television | Qwest Communications | RCN Corporation | Rogers Communications | Satview Broadband Ltd | Seaport Capital | Service Electric | Suddenlink Communications | SuperTV | Tele-Communications Inc. | Time Warner Cable | Truvista Communications | Verizon Communications | Western Broadband | WOW! Internet Cable Phone
Advance and Cable
Samuel I. Newhouse Jr. $7.3 billion Publishing. New York City. 78. Divorced, remarried; 3 children
Donald Newhouse $7.3 billion Publishing. Somerset County, N.J. 76. Married, 3 children
Brothers run massive privately held media conglomerate Advance Publications, built up from newspaper properties their father Sam started buying in the 1930s. Pair took over after Sam’s death in 1979, expanded and diversified. Now run Bright House Cable (2 million subscribers) and own pieces of the Discovery Channel and Learning Channel. “Si” heads magazines (New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue) under Condé Nast.
SAMUEL NEWHOUSE JR, and DONALD NEWHOUSE own Newhouse Publications, includes 26 newspapers in 22 cities; the Conde Nast magazine group, includes The New Yorker; Parade, the Sunday newspaper supplement; American City Business Journals, business newspapers published in more than 30 major cities in America; and interests in cable television programming and cable systems serving 1 million homes.
DONALD NEWHOUSE, chairman of the board of directors, Associated Press.
The Media is the Enemy
29 Nov 2005
By Eric Hufschmid
President Bush may have committed a lot of crimes, but the most important criminals are Edgar Bronfman, Sumner Redstone, Samuel Newhouse, and other people who control Hollywood, television, school textbooks, and other sources of information.
They are allowing wars and corruption on a phenomenal scale
The September 11 attack, the Oklahoma City bombing, the attack on the USS Liberty, the sex slave trade, the raping of children at Boystown, and other horrendous crimes would have been exposed long ago if it were not for their suppression of people such as myself, John DeCamp, Michael Collins Piper, and who knows how many hundreds of other people.
Newhouse publications and J. Edgar Hoover
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, led by J. Edgar Hoover from 1924 to 1972, had long cultivated sympathetic contacts in the media. These included journalists such as Hearst society columnist Walter Winchell, Sam Newhouse, Reader’s Digest editor Fulton Oursler, and Jeremiah O’Leary of the Washington Star.
THE NEWHOUSE CHAIN AND THE FBI
That Sam courted the good opinion of FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover is not surprising, nor is it surprising that Hoover kept an active file on Sam
Four days later, Hoover wrote to Newhouse at his Park Avenue apartment, regretting that he had been unable to attend the party. … the file is stuffed with assurances by various FBI functionaries that J. Edgar Hoover couldn’t ask for friendlier cooperation than that given by Sam Newhouse and his editors. On February 3, 1939, according to an internal FBI memo, Sam Newhouse wrote a personal letter to Hoover “stating that the Editorial Council of the Newark Ledger had for some time been enthusiastic admirers of the work done by the bureau. He requested that the Director send material which would be helpful in preparing editorials and news items.” Others in the Newhouse organization also approached the FBI. A memo dated April 10, 1951, noted that “[Name blacked out], who represents several newspapers. A memo dated April 10, 1951, noted that “[Name blacked out], who represents several newspapers in the Newhouse chain, called” and that he is “very friendly.” [Hoover] wanted to know if the Bureau would furnish answers to the following questions: How many Communists there are in Queens County, New York?
July 9, 2005
Newspaper Withholding Two Articles After Jailing
By ROBERT D. McFADDEN
The editor of The Cleveland Plain Dealer said last night that the newspaper, acting on the advice of its lawyers, was withholding publication of two major investigative articles because they were based on illegally leaked documents and could lead to penalties against the paper and the jailing of reporters.
The editor, Doug Clifton, said lawyers for The Plain Dealer had concluded that the newspaper, Ohio’s largest daily, would probably be found culpable if the authorities were to investigate the leaks and that reporters might be forced to identify confidential sources to a grand jury or go to jail.
“Basically, we have come by material leaked to us that would be problematical for the person who leaked it,” Mr. Clifton said in a telephone interview. “The material was under seal or something along those lines.”
In an earlier interview with the trade journal Editor & Publisher, which published an article on its Web site late yesterday, Mr. Clifton said that lawyers for The Plain Dealer and its owner, Newhouse Newspapers, had strongly recommended against publication of the articles.
“They’ve said, This is a super, super high-risk endeavor and you would, you know, you’d lose,” Mr. Clifton told Editor & Publisher. “The reporters say, ‘Well, we’re willing to go to jail,’ and I’m willing to go to jail if it gets laid on me, but the newspaper isn’t willing to go to jail.”
Mr. Clifton likened the situation to the cases of Judith Miller, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, who was sent to jail by a federal judge on Wednesday for refusing to divulge the identity of a confidential source, and of Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, who was spared jail after his source released him from a promise of confidentiality, freeing him to testify before the grand jury.
In the most serious confrontation between the press and the government since the Pentagon Papers case in 1971, Ms. Miller and Mr. Cooper were held in civil contempt last year for not cooperating with a federal prosecutor’s inquiry into the illegal disclosure of the identity of a covert operative for the Central Intelligence Agency. The Supreme Court refused to hear the reporters’ appeals on June 27.
If anything, Mr. Clifton said, The Plain Dealer’s potential legal problem with the leaked documents was “even more pointed” than the cases of Ms. Miller and Mr. Cooper.
“These are documents that someone had and should not have released to anyone else,” he said. If an investigation were pursued, the newspaper, its reporters and their sources could all face court penalties for unauthorized disclosures.
Mr. Clifton declined to provide details about the two investigative articles being withheld, but he characterized them as “profoundly important,” adding, “They would have been of significant interest to the public.” Asked if they might be published at some later date, he said, “Not in the short term.”
The Plain Dealer, founded in 1842, is a distinguished name in American journalism and was listed last year as the nation’s 21st largest daily.
Mr. Clifton noted that he had first disclosed his newspaper’s decision to withhold publication of the two articles in a column he wrote for The Plain Dealer on June 30 in defense of journalists like Ms. Miller and Mr. Cooper who refuse to name confidential sources.
“Take away a reporter’s ability to protect a tipster’s anonymity and you deny the public vital information,” Mr. Clifton wrote. And to dramatize the point, he concluded his column by telling readers that The Plain Dealer was itself obliged to withhold stories based on illegal disclosures for fear of the legal consequences.
“As I write this, two stories of profound importance languish in our hands,” Mr. Clifton wrote. “The public would be well-served to know them, but both are based on documents leaked to us by people who would face deep trouble for having leaked them. Publishing the stories would almost certainly lead to a leak investigation and the ultimate choice: talk or go to jail. Because talking isn’t an option and jail is too high a price to pay, these two stories will go untold for now. How many more are out there?”
Mr. Clifton said he was surprised that there had been so little public reaction to his disclosure of “something that newspapers typically don’t reveal – that real live news had been stifled.”
“I hoped the public would be bothered by that,” he said.
Correction: Monday, July 11, 2005:
An article on Saturday about a decision by The Cleveland Plain Dealer to withhold two articles that were based on illegally leaked documents misstated the name of the paper’s owner. It is Advance Publications
Reflections of a Newsosaur
Musings and (occasional urgent warnings) of a veteran media executive, who fears our news-gathering companies are stumbling to extinction
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Not-so-plain dealing in Cleveland
The newspaper “is the court of last resort for anyone who’s been backed into a corner,” the editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer told his readers a few days ago. Doug Clifton knows about being backed in a corner, because that’s exactly where he is.
At the end of mildly discursive column arguing that journalists ought to be legally protected from being forced by courts to reveal their confidential sources, Doug casually mentioned his newspaper is sitting on “two stories of profound importance” that his company’s lawyers won’t let him print.
This appears to be the first official example of how the press is being chilled by the confounding prosecution of Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper for not identifying the sources they interviewed for stories they never wrote about a crime that evidently wasn’t committed and for which no one but Ms. Miller appears likely to do any time.
The Plain Dealer’s decision to sit on the two stories also clearly illustrates that media companies now, more than ever, will be forced to choose between protecting the public interest and, well, weaseldom.
Saying “the public would be well served to know” about the spiked stories, Doug described them only as being “based on documents leaked to us by people who would face deep trouble for having leaked them.”
The problem with such stories, as undoubtedly noted by the lawyers called upon to scrutinize them, is that the reporters, the Plain Dealer and its parent, Advance Publications, might be hauled into court and told to reveal the confidential sources — or else. In the case of the reporters, “or else” means jail for contempt of court. In the case of the publishing companies, “or else” means many thousands of dollars in fines.
The attorneys said “this is a super, super high-risk endeavor, and you would, you know, you’d lose,” Doug told Mark Fitzgerald of Editor and Publisher, who first brought national attention to the Plain Dealer’s less-than-plain dealing with its readers. “The reporters say, ‘Well, we’re willing to go to jail,’ and I’m willing to go to jail if it gets laid on me,” Clifton told E&P. “But the newspaper isn’t willing to go to jail. That’s what the lawyers have told us. So, this is a Time Inc. sort of situation.”
Facing $270,000 in fines for contempt or court, Time Inc. chose the path of weaseldom last week when it turned over documents requested by the special prosecutor trying to learn who outed Valerie Plame, the former covert CIA operative. Although Time correspondent Cooper vowed to go to jail instead of naming the people he interviewed, he reversed course as the gavel was about to fall, saying his source had released him to testify.
In decided contrast, the New York Times and Judith Miller stuck by their sources and stuck by their guns. Which is how Ms. Miller landed in a federal lockup and the NYT is facing fines of $1,000 a day for as long as the grand jury sits. (A back-of-the-envelope calculation puts the potential fines for NYT at around $350k, plus considerably more for its army of attorneys.)
After battling for months alongside the New York Times to protect their respective confidential sources, Time Inc. surprisingly decided to give up Cooper’s notes when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the final legal challenge to the lower court’s persistent insistence that the media start naming names.
“We believe that the Supreme Court has limited press freedom in ways that will have a chilling effect on our work and that may damage the free flow of information that is so necessary in a democratic society,” said top Time editor Norman Pearlstine when he announced the decision to identify the confidential sources. “The same Constitution that protects the freedom of the press requires obedience to final decisions of the courts and respect for their rulings and judgments. That Time Inc. strongly disagrees with the courts provides no immunity.’
The New York Times sharply, and wisely, disagreed.
“We do not see how a newspaper, magazine or television station can support a reporter’s decision to protect confidential sources, even if the potential price is lost liberty, and then hand over the notes or documents that make the reporter’s sacrifice meaningless,” said its must-read editorial. “The point of this struggle is to make sure that people with critical information can feel confident that if they speak to a reporter on the condition of anonymity, their identities will be protected. No journalist’s promise will be worth much if the employer that stands behind him or her is prepared to undercut such a vow of secrecy.”
True to its word, the New York Times has a proud record of standing up to legal and political pressure in matters ranging from the successsful battle to publish of the Pentagon papers to the case of J.W. Simonton, an editorial writer jailed for 19 days in 1857 for refusing to tell who told him about bribery in Congress.
How could two leading news organizations facing an almost identical set of facts come to such different decisions? Reasonable men and women, of course, may differ. But perhaps Time feels more economically vulnerable than the NYT.
Even though both are publicly held corporations, Publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. and other members of the founding family happen to control enough NYT shares to comfortably operate the business as a public trust. Because they represent a significant percentage of the shareholders who ultimately govern the business, they can spend the money and run the risks they think are necessary.
Not so at Time Inc. As a large company owned by financial institutions managed by people with a variety of social, political and commercial agendas – not the least of which is getting the most bang for their bucks – Time Inc. and its individual executives face far more legal and economic exposure than the folks who run the NYT. Like, for instance, losing their lucrative jobs.
If the executives at Time Inc. have a reason, if not an excuse, for their behavior, what’s the story at Advance Publications, a private company owned by the wealthy Newhouse family?
Advance is a sprawling empire including 20 newspapers (Newark, New Orleans, Portland, OR), the 26 Conde Nast magazines (New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, etc.), Parade Magazine, the Fairchild trade publications (Women’s Wear Daily and several more), American City Business Journals, the Golf Digest Companies and “extensive interests” in cable television.
If Doug Clifton and his colleagues are willing to put their personal freedom on the line to report their stories of “profound importance,” isn’t the Plain Dealer obliged to publish them in the interests of fulfilling and defending its role as a public trust? From a strictly commercial point of view, isn’t the unique position of the newspaper as a public trust a major component of its formidable economic value?
As Judith Miller was packing a toothbrush for her extreme makeover as a federal prisoner, Doug wrote as fine a description of newspaper work as any you will see.
“All over this newspaper, phone calls, e-mails and letters pour in with their tales of bad things happening to good people, tales of gross governmental inefficiency or official misconduct,” he wrote. “It happens routinely in every newspaper in America, because, in the end, the newspaper, with its reporters, is the court of last resort for anyone who’s been backed into a corner.”
Now, the editor has been backed into a corner, being forced, evidently, to suppress stories he believes to be of compelling public interest.
“Some people might argue that you’re being chicken-shit,” Clifton told E&P in discussing his dilemma. “Well, I, I can respect that.”
But can he respect himself in the morning?
ADVANCE PUBLICATIONS, parent of Star-Ledger, THE TIMES of Trenton and JERSEY JOURNAL, announced July 2000 acquisition of BRIDGETON EVENING NEWS, TODAY’S SUNBEAM and GLOUCESTER COUNTY TIMES> Advance launched NJ Online Internet information service January 1996; also operates, in joint venture with Cablevision, NEWS 12 NJ 24-hour cable TV service based in Edison> Newhouse family remain in top management at Ledger, other Newhouse papers, with Donald Newhouse Ledger president> General Manager Mark Newhouse, key industry spokesman in unsuccessful effort to block 1992 NJ legislation authorizing $1 billion fiberoptic cable telecommunications network> Largest State House reporting staff, extensive government coverage, with Star-Ledger coverage, editorial positions key factor in setting NJ public policy agenda
Advance is a player in global media market
… The global media market is rounded out by a second tier of four or five dozen firms that are national or regional powerhouses, or which have strong holds over niche markets, such as business or trade publishing. About one-half of these second-tier firms come from North America ; most of the rest, from western Europe and Japan. Each of these second tier firms is a giant in its own right, often ranking among the 1,000 largest firms in the world and doing over $1 billion per year in business. The list of second tier media firms includes, among others, from North America: Dow Jones, Gannett, Knight-Ridder, Newhouse, Comcast, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Hearst, McGraw Hill, Cox Enterprises, CBS, Advance Publications, Hicks Muse, Times-Mirror, Reader’s Digest, Tribune Company, Thomson, Hollinger, and Rogers Communication. From Europe the list of second tier firms includes, among others, Kirch, Havas, Mediaset, Hachette, Prisa, Canal Plus, Pearson, Carlton, Granada, United News & Media, Reuters, Reed Elsevier, Wolters Kluher, Axel Springer, Mediaset, Kinnevik, and CLT.
THE NEWHOUSE GROUP
The Newhouse media empire provides an example of the lack of real competition among America’s daily newspapers. The Newhouse Group owns 26 daily newspapers, including several large and important ones, such as the Cleveland Plain Dealer; the Newark Star-Ledger; and the New Orleans Times-Picayune; Newhouse Broadcasting, consisting of 12 television broadcasting stations and 87 cable-TV systems, including some of the country’s largest cable networks
CROWN BOOKS CONNECTION
Jim Cownie’s closest business partner is Jim Hoak, CEO at Crown.
In the news: Si Newhouse – The man from Vogue who cares little for
Independent, The (London), Mar 24, 1998
… Newhouse is successful indeed. His personal worth has been put at $4.5bn (pounds 2.7bn) by Forbes magazine, two places ahead of Rupert Murdoch in its list of the world’s rich. He inherited a middling newspaper business from his father Sam in 1979 and turned it into a $13bn empire which to this day is owned by the Newhouse family. It includes 29 newspapers, Conde Nast magazines, until yesterday the publishing firms of Random House, Knopf and CROWN, the New Yorker magazine and American TV cable franchises with 1 million subscribers.
“The current editor of The New Yorker is David Remnick, who took over in 1998 from Brown. The magazine was acquired by Advance Publications in 1985, the media company owned by S.I. Newhouse.”
David Remnick (born October 29, 1958 in Hackensack, New Jersey) is an American journalist, writer, and magazine editor. As a reporter for the Washington Post, he also served as the paper’s Moscow correspondent. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for his book Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire. He has been editor of The New Yorker magazine since 1998.
The Franklin Case Summary
* indicates an alias namin** indicates an alias name
-The Creation of a Credit Union-
In December of 1968 The Franklin Credit Union was founded in Omaha, Nebraska. In a district represented by Senator Ernie Chambers, the community credit union stated the goal of making credit available for businesses and individuals in the African-American community of North Omaha.
In August of 1970 Lawrence E. King Jr. became the Credit Union’s new Bank Manager. Lawrence E. King Jr., known best as Larry King, is a large African-American man, and early in his career had made friends with the Democratic Party. King however, came to the conclusion that if he were to swap political parties he might achieve his desires at a much faster rate. Jumping into the Republican Party boat, Larry King began climbing the rungs to the top. By 1984 Larry King had been quoted in Newsweek Magazine as The fastest rising black star in the Republican Party. That same year, in August, King sang the National Anthem at the Republican GOP Convention in Dallas, Texas. After the convention King threw a lavish party for the entire Republican Party on the TV set of the show Dallas.
About a year later, and 25 miles outside of Omaha, the Washington County Sheriff’s Department of Nebraska contacted the Nebraska Department of Social Services (DSS). The Sheriff’s Department informed the DSS office that they had picked up two foster children from their foster parent’s home. The Sheriff’s Department had acted after complaints had been made by two foster children who were in the care of Jarrett and Barbara Webb. One of the children, Sean McArthur* had welts and scratches he said had been inflicted by the Webbs. The Sheriff’s Department had also picked up Joey Patterson*, who complained of having been beaten by the Webbs. The Webbs however, were not the only ones named, and were well connected to Larry King; Jarrett Webb was a board member at the Franklin Credit Union, and Barbara Webb is Larry King’s cousin. (1)
In November of 1985 a third child, Nelly Patterson,* had also fled from the Webb’s care after claiming she, too, had been abused. A short time later the DSS reported that they in conjunction with a Nebraska State Deputy had interviewed Nelly* and her sister Kimberly*. The two girls reported that they had been beaten numerous times by both Jarrett and Barbara Webb, and that they refused to go back to the Webbs’.
But Nelly’s* story didn’t stop there. After she had fled from the Webbs she was put under the foster care of Ron and Kathleen Sorensen. While under their care, Nelly* told a State Patrol Investigator that she had not only been physically abused by the Webbs but she had also been sexually abused by Jarrett Webb. State Patrol Investigator, Jane F. Tooley, wrote in her report on January 30 1986:
Nelly stated that when she was approximately nine or ten years of age, that Jarrett Webb kissed her for a long time and that she pulled away because she couldn’t breathe and it was nasty. ……Nelly stated again that when she was approximately nine or ten years old that on one occasion Jarrett Webb made her take a nap with him in his bed and she stated “he played with all my body parts.” (2)
By February of 1986 DSS requested that two other children in the foster care of the Webbs be removed immediately as an emergency action. The emergency listed eight different concerns that DSS had about Jarrett and Barbara Webb. Once allegations began to surface against the Webbs, lie detector tests were administered by the Nebraska State Patrol to ensure that the children were telling the truth. Accompanying the tests came a report from a Nebraska state youth worker named Julie Walters. Walter’s report included the names of Larry King, Fort Calhoun’s School Superintendent Deward Finch, and Fort Calhoun’s High School Principal Kent Miller, as possible child abuse perpetrators. (3)
But the Webbs had an edge in their defense; Washington County Prosecutor Pat Tripp, representing Nelly Patterson,* was good friends with both Deward Finch and Kent Miller. Tripp later dismissed all charges against the Webbs, even though Nelly* had passed multiple lie detector tests. Furthermore, other children under the Webb’s care had corroborated Nelly’s* testimony. For the present moment King was able to skip a rap, but eventually this case and others would come back to haunt him.
-A Young Man Comes Forward-
While Pat Tripp was ensuring that all of the charges against the Webb’s were cleared, 17 year old, Omaha native, Paul Bonacci had come forward to reveal his history of physical sexual abuse. Bonacci opened up to Omaha Northwest High School officials giving them names of his abusers. Names including: Larry King, Alan Baer (a wealthy business tycoon), and Harold Andersen, (former publisher of the Omaha World Herald). Bonacci would go on to list dozens of other prominent local and national business and political figures.
Even before Larry King’s name came up surrounding child abuse allegations, King had found himself entangled in a web of unethical business practice. Most public officials felt that they couldn’t scrutinize King’s “extra” spending, because they didn’t want to seem like The big bad white guy jumping on the tiny, Black Credit Union. But this didn’t hold back everybody from speaking out. In February of 1984 Franklin Credit Union Teller Edward Hobbs wrote a memo alleging embezzlement and other improprieties at the Franklin Credit Union. Hobbs gave a letter to Larry King and sent a copy to Nebraska State Legislator Peter Hoagland, and the Nebraska State Banking Director, Roger Beverage. The day after Hobbs gave the letter to King he was fired. Later, Roger Beverage replied to Hobbs stating that they had been watching Larry King for some time, and that they were aware of his living beyond his means. Unfortunately their “watching” didn’t get Hobbs his job back. But Hobb’s letter may have aided the IRS in launching an investigation into Larry King and his wife Alice’s personal tax returns. (4)
To say Larry King was “living beyond his means,” was putting it lightly. King’s annual salary at the Credit Union was about $17,000. King was also invested in Omaha clubs and restaurants, including: the Carnivale and the Showcase Lounge, however these investments generated little to no profits. Yet, King managed to drive a variety of luxury cars, live in a quarter-million dollar house in Omaha, and rent a $5,000/month penthouse in Washington D.C. King’s donations to various organizations and people included the Omaha Press Club, Lobbyists for Gay and Lesbian Rights, and the Republican Party, and totaled into the thousands each year. King was not just living beyond his means; he was openly showcasing his wealth, assuming he was invincible to scrutiny.
-The Millionaire Heir-
One of Larry King’s top “customers” was Alan Baer, a business tycoon, who was heir to the Brandeis department store chain, and was invested in Ak-Sar-Ben, AA Lancer Hockey Team, the Baer Law Firm, and Baer Media. On the surface Baer and King seemed to be business friends, but their relationship went to a much darker place. Baer would often stay at a suite in the Twin Tower penthouse in Omaha. At the penthouse, Baer threw parties where business and political leaders of the Nebraska area would come. At the parties cocaine would be served on a large tray as if it was an ordure. Victim-witnesses said they were “passed around” for the guest’s sexual pleasure. Victim witnesses at these parties included Paul Bonacci, Alisha Owen, as well as, Troy Boner. Troy Boner had met Baer in 1983 at one of his parties at the Twin Towers suite. While at the suite, Baer paid Troy to perform oral sex on him. Troy later became a child prostitute for Baer and Larry King.
Alan Baer was just one of Larry King’s dozens of customers. Allegations of King’s other unlikely customers included: Eugene Mahoney (former Nebraska State Game & Parks Commissioner), Peter Citron (former Omaha World Herald Columnist), Harold Andersen, (former Omaha Judge) – Theodore Carlson, and Thomas McKinney (Omaha Lawyer). But King’s clientele didn’t stop in Omaha. King flew children to cities all over the nation dozens of times for sex parties. Victim-witnesses also testified that children had been taken from Boys Town by Larry King, and later taken to some of the same sex parties. In 1988 King repeated his recital of the National Anthem at the Republican GOP Convention. But even with his powerful connections King couldn’t avoid indictment forever. (5)
After a long investigation the IRS was finally able to catch up with King. On November 4, 1988 the FBI and the IRS raided the Franklin Credit Union. The closing had come as a response to an investigation conducted on King’s personal tax returns. By the end of the day, the Franklin Credit Union’s doors would be permanently closed for business, and the beginning of a massive cover-up would begin to construct itself.
Two weeks after the Franklin Credit Union was closed Larry King was handed down a lawsuit from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) in the sum of $4 million. (6) Officials alleged that King diverted the funds directly from the Franklin Credit Union, using the money for personal expenses and other business interests.
Days after King’s lawsuit articles started pouring out of media outlets disclosing King’s lavish lifestyle. Reports detailed how King had spent the money diverted from the Credit Union. King had rented a penthouse in Washington D.C., had driven a Mercedes, and traveled in chartered limousines and jets. (7)
By December the NCUA had totaled King’s stolen assets to the tune of $34 Million. King initially denied the charges of diverting funds from the Franklin Credit Union for personal use. King had wondered if any money was missing at all, saying “I don’t think there’s that much money missing – if there’s money missing.”
Throughout the month of November and December reports began being made public about a link between the Omaha Franklin Credit Union collapse and child sexual and physical abuse. Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers, of Omaha, who had initially helped start the Franklin Credit Union in 1968, came forward and said he had received numerous reports, to which he clearly gave credence, that instances of child sexual and physical abuse were linked to the scandal. (8)
As a result of such broad allegations multiple agencies began to launch investigations, committees were formed, and court hearings were scheduled.
Nicholas O’Hara, acting head of the F.B.I. in Omaha, said his investigation centered around money laundering. Later, courts would hear that laundered funds from the Franklin Credit Union had been used in a transaction between Lieutenant Colonel Michael Aquino and Larry King, diverted funds that were used for and Iran Contra exchange.
Days before Christmas of 1988, local Omaha TV stations began reporting that the Franklin investigation was now looking into allegations of drug trafficking and various types of abuse. Investigators working on the Franklin Case began to widen their inquiries. Investigators would later find key victim-witnesses who testified about their histories of sexual and physical abuse. These same key-witnesses also provided investigators with information pertaining to drug trafficking and a nationwide ring of child prostitution.
-The Start of an Investigation and the Forming of a Committee-
Shortly after Franklin’s closing, two Nebraska State Senators stepped forward to take leadership of the investigation, Senator Ernie Chambers, of North Omaha, and Senator Loran Schmit, of Bellwood. (9)
Ernie Chambers had been the local Senator when the Franklin Credit Union had been founded in 1968. Chambers had received numerous complaints about Larry King’s lifestyle leading up to Franklin’s closing. Throughout 1988 Chambers received reports from the Foster Care Review Board in which abused children had named Larry King as a perpetrator.
Loran Schmit had heard of King while still in the early stages of his career in Omaha, while King was a democratic activist. Former State Senator John DeCamp was Loran Schmit’s personal attorney throughout the course of the Franklin Investigation. DeCamp informed Schmit of his own recollections of King’s past. DeCamp spoke of King’s copious parties after the 1984 and 1988 Republican GOP conventions where DeCamp had been in attendance.
-Early Court Sessions-
After the first session in front of the Legislature’s Executive Board Senator Ernie Chambers made an important announcement regarding the nature of the Franklin Investigation. Chambers told the public that the investigation would not only look into financial wrongdoing, but would also focus on physical and sexual abuse of children.
Later that week on December 19, 1988, Carol Stitt, Dennis Carlson, and Burrell Williams, of the Foster Care Review Board, summarized abuse complaints involving Franklin in front of the Legislature’s Executive Board. The Review Board would go on to transpire a host of allegations that would shock most people especially those in the Omaha Community.
Dennis Carlson told the Board that allegations included cult activities, sacrifices of small children, and sexual abuse. The Foster Care Review also presented their files on the Webb foster home. And considering Larry King’s name had surfaced surrounding the investigation into child abuse at the Webb home, prosecutors felt they had built a case against the former Franklin Manager.
After the December 19th session Chambers and Schmit both concluded that a more rapid investigation into abuse allegations must be conducted. Following the session an immediate response came from the Nebraska State Legislature. The Legislature would respond by forming the Franklin Committee, conducting their inaugural session in January of 1989. The committee would conduct a full ranging and in-depth investigation into allegations of child abuse, sex abuse, drug running, and prostitution immediate to those in the Franklin Case.
In February of 1989 the Franklin Committee hired Jerry Lowe, a former Lincoln, Nebraska, police officer, as their lead investigator. On February 15, 1989 the Committee received their first results from Lowe’s evaluation on the Franklin case.
Lowe painted a picture of a tangled web of bureaucracies, power, money, and sex. Lowe went on to question negligence by Law Agencies in instances of misconduct that dated back years.
Lowe continued sending the committee new reports on his investigation. Throughout the course of his reports Lowe communicated that the investigation was hot due to King’s wealthy connections and political ties. He also communicated that King seemed to have been involved in transactions dealing with guns and money between Nicaragua involving the CIA. Lowe’s investigation would continue to deepen, reporting on King’s acquaintances. (10)
-Contradictions Between Investigators-
During the same time Lowe was conducting his investigation into King’s web, Police Chief Wadman, and others surrounding the Franklin Case were wrapping up their investigations.
An article in the Omaha World Herald, dated February 5th, 1989, summed up the F.B.I.‘s and the Omaha Police’s findings. Both concluded that there was no substance to the allegations.
In an interview earlier that week, Nicholas O’Hara, special agent in charge for the FBI in Nebraska and Iowa, said, “At this point, I’m satisfied there is no substance to the allegations as far as federal criminal statutes go. We are almost at the end of that point in the investigation.” (11)
-The Other Investigator, Spire-
Attorney General Robert Spire had been conducting an investigation on Larry King and others since July of 1988. The investigation centered around reports given to Spire from the Nebraska Foster Care Review Board on the insistence of Carol Stitt. The reports were a copulation of testimony taken by the Foster Care Review Board from child victims and witnesses.
Stitt and others at the Foster Care Review Board assumed Spire would take the allegations from the children’s testimony seriously. But when they met with Spire months later in December of 88,’ they were surprised to see that little had been done to look into the reports.
By the next time Spire testified in front of the Franklin Committee it was June of 1989. Spire concluded that he agreed with the findings of the Omaha Police and F.B.I., and that there was no substance to the allegations. Spire had succeeded for the time being in sidestepping any type of investigation that might damage his career and others around him.
Money Trails Shake Things Up
In a July meeting between Franklin Committee members, Senator Loran Schmit announced that the Franklin investigation would be taking a new direction. Schmit continued by telling the committee that the investigation would now be focused on following the money trail. Schmit asserted that no important crime could be committed without spending money. Schmit also suggested there was insufficient evidence concerning the abuse allegations.
Schmit’s announcement seemed to have taken most committee members aback. Senator Ernie Chambers, Special Counsel Kirk Naylor, and investigator Jerry Lowe, all abruptly resigned concluding Schmit’s announcement. Shortly thereafter Senator McFarland also resigned from the Committee, leaving only 5 of the 10 members on the committee on board. (12)
The Investigation Continues
After the resignations the Franklin Committee regrouped. In August of 89’ the committee hired Gary Caradori as their new investigator. Caradori who had little experience as a private investigator initially found himself in over his head. Caradori recalled his first impressions of the case saying, “From the onset it was apparent that I was up against a barrier regarding mistrust of the Franklin Legislative Committee.” (13)
Caradori, however, would prove himself to be an extremely adept investigator. His investigation would uncover many of the mysteries surrounding Franklin, and ultimately he would make the definitive sacrifice for it.
-Caradori takes Videotaped Testimony-
While Loran Schmit followed the money trail, recently hired investigator Gary Caradori took another approach to the Franklin investigation; he went in search of victim-witnesses. Caradori’s search was successful and by the end of his investigation he had collected over 30 hours of video testimony from four victim-witnesses: Paul Bonacci, Alisha Owen, Troy Boner, and Danny King.
The interviews connected the dots for Caradori where other trails had run cold. The interviews described in detail allegations of sexual abuse, drug use, and other crimes connected to the Franklin Credit Union, Larry King, and prominent businessmen in the Omaha area.
The allegations from the testimony would become a central matter in the Franklin Case. Unfortunately few were allowed to personally view the taped testimonies. Small segments of the testimonies were shown on Omaha TV networks, but much of the testimony was kept private, and subjected to rumors and speculation. (14)
In the “Franklin Cover-Up,” Senator John DeCamp transcribes Gary Caradori’s personal notes concerning the videotaped testimonies taken from the victim-witnesses. In October 30, 1989 Caradori wrote the following notes after hearing Alisha Owen’s testimony,
“Ms. Owens indicated, after a three-hour interview, that she had been heavily Involved with various individuals in Omaha, including former members of the Franklin Credit Union.” (15)
On November 7, Caradori followed up with a second interview from victim-witness Alisha Owen.Caradori made an annotated transcript along with the video taped testimony. The following are excerpts from Caradori’s transcript,
“During the course of the statement, Alisha stated that she became involved with Larry King in August of 1983. Alisha was 14 years old at the time. She indicated that she met Larry King through some boys from Boys’ Town” (Omaha, NE). (16)Alisha Owen went on to describe a party that she attended at a Twin Towers penthouse in Omaha, in August of 1983:“Present when they arrived at the party were Larry King, [sic], Alan Baer, Harold Andersen, and other adult that Alisha did not identify at this time. Alisha estimated that there were approximately six adults and 20 minors.”
Owen’s also described some of the other activities she conducted on behalf of Larry King and others:
“Alisha took numerous trips at the direction of Larry King for sexual purposes. These trips include trips to Los Angeles, Kansas City, & Pasadena, CA. On these flights were other minors.
When Alisha was asked who participated and who was aware of the transportation of kids across state lines for sexual purposes, she said that Larry King and Alan Baer were aware of this.” (17)
After Caradori added it all up he had recommended 62 individuals and documents to be subpoenaed on the basis of Alicia’s testimony. (18)
Alisha Owen had given Caradori the name of another victim-witness named Troy Boner who could attest to her testimony. Caradori received a call from Troy on November 25, in which Troy spent nearly five hours telling his story to Caradori.
Troy told Caradori that he initially met Larry King through Alan Baer in July of 1984, and that he had been giving Alan Baer sexual favors in return for money since August of 1983. Troy also spoke of Larry King, and how he too, began performing sexual favors for King in return for money and drugs. By the end of the phone call Caradori had corroborated five names with Alisha’s testimony: Larry King, Alan Baer, P.J. Morgan, [sic], and Harold Andersen.
-A Committee Response-
At a press conference held on December 18, 1989, Loran Schmit announced that the Franklin Committee had viewed videotaped testimonies from Alisha Owen, Troy Boner, and Danny King. Schmit said that “members of our committee are dismayed.” (19) Schmit went on to concede that the new evidence from the taped testimonies had made the committee members very concerned about the abuse allegations.
-The DeCamp Memo-
Shortly after the start of the New Year, a memo was released to the public written by former Nebraska State Senator and lawyer John DeCamp. The memo became infamously known as “The DeCamp Memo.” DeCamp publicly named for the first time central characters that were being investigated in response to child and sexual abuse allegations.
DeCamp said that you had to turn a blind eye not to be seeing what was going on surrounding the Franklin investigation. Central figures named in the memo included: Larry King, Alan Baer, Harold Andersen, and Peter Citron. DeCamp went on to say that the central figures named “were some of the centerpieces in a coordinated program of child abuse, drug abuse, and abuse of their various public positions of trust and honor.” (20)
DeCamp’s memo infuriated some while others were empowered by the confirmation to the rumors. As a clash arose between the two sides, the Kansas City Star summed up their feelings on the memo:“Hardly modest, DeCamp takes credit for the conveying of the grand juries. “If it had not been for that memo, there would not even be a grand jury investigation today,” DeCamp contends….DeCamp had the audacity to name among others, Harold Andersen, former publisher of the “Omaha World Herald.” DeCamp left the implication that Andersen, an icon of journalism who lunches with President Bush, had a fetish for children. Said one politician, “It was like insulting God.” (21)
The Omaha World Herald also lashed out against the DeCamp memo. The paper claimed that the memo was both irresponsible and condemning. Along with the criticism from the Omaha World Herald, DeCamp was handed down a lawsuit from one of the paper’s columnists, Peter Citron. Citron’s lawsuit, however, fell by the wayside after he found himself charged with multiple counts of child abuse in February of 1990.
In April of 1990 a federal magistrate ruled that Larry King was mentally incompetent to stand trial and that he should be hospitalized for what a psychiatrist called “probable delusional paranoid disorder-grandiose type.”
Prosecutors had compiled 40 counts of fraud to charge King with, however with the incompetent ruling prosecutors were unsure of any sort of trial at all. While the financial investigation ran into snags, Caradori’s investigation was picking up, and by May of 1990 he had met his fourth victim witness, Paul Bonacci. (22)
In May of 1990 Gary Caradori met with victim-witness, Paul Bonacci for the first time. Paul had already spoken to multiple city officials regarding his history of sexual and physical abuse. Paul’s story helped Caradori put together the missing pieces of the Franklin puzzle. Through Paul’s abuse and trauma he had developed multiple personality disorder. One of Paul’s personalities used his mind as if it were a computer, storing information: names, dates, and places. Paul’s ability to remember exact places, dates, and names helped Caradori corroborate much of Alisha Troy, and Danny’s testimonies.
On May 10, 1990 Caradori met with Paul Bonacci for the first time at the Douglas County Jail. Paul was being held under charges of fondling one of his relatives. The following are excerpts from Caradori’s personal notes taken the day he met with Paul,
“Upon having Mr. Bonacci meet me in an interviewing room, Bonacci related to this writer that he knew Troy Boner, Danny King, and Alicia [sic] Owen. He further advised that he had been a victim of Alan Baer, Peter Citron, and Larry King, and had some knowledge of [sic], Harold Andersen, and a judge he later on referred to as Carlson.
The subject stated that he had been on at least one to two-hundred trips and had been involved in extensive homosexual activity as a child and as a young adult, with his homosexual activity starting when he was approximately 8-10 years old.
The Subject then stated that between the years of 1982 and 1986 he had probably been on at least 200-300 trips. The subject stated that he made at least 15-20 trips to various parts of California, a couple of trips to Washington D.C., and also trips to Des Moines, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Austin Houston, Dallas, St Louis, Miami, Pasadena, Tampa, Lincoln, and Grand Island.
Some of those trips he thought involved politicians from Washington D.C., however, he didn’t know anyone by name because of his young age.
When questioned about Alan Baer, he stated that he first met him in the “Milk Run,” an area near and surrounding the Correctional Center. He stated that he was approximately 12 years old and that this occurred possibly in 1979. He stated that Alan Baer would pay him $20 for oral sex. He stated the last time he had sex with Alan Baer was, he believed, around November 15, 1989, In Alan Baer’s apartment at the Twin Towers.
Paul Bonacci went on to state that he had gone on many “scavenger hunts” for Alan Baer. He defined “scavenger hunts” as an activity in which he would go out and recruit young boys for Alan Baer.” (23)
The following week Caradori returned to the county jail to take a videotaped testimony of Paul Bonacci. Paul’s testimony reaffirmed and amplified Alisha and Troy’s testimonies for Caradori.
Caradori, though, needed more hard evidence to help present his case to the Franklin Jury.
-A Franklin Martyr-
In July of 1990 Gary Caradori took a trip to Chicago with his 8 year-old Son, Andrew. While on the trip Caradori and his son enjoyed the MLB All-Star game at Wrigley Field, but the trip had other intentions. Caradori’s investigation had led him to Russell “Rusty” Nelson. Rusty had been Larry King’s personal photographer for years, and had taken hundreds of photographs at various functions hosted by Larry King. While in Chicago Caradori met Rusty, Rusty gave Caradori photos from some of King’s “sex” parties. The photos were the insurance Caradori had been in search of. After meeting with Rusty, Caradori contacted his home office, informing the office he now had the smoking gun to his investigation. (24)
The following day on July 11, 1990, Caradori and his son left Chicago for Omaha in Gary’s small engine plane. Minutes after their departure Caradori’s plane crashed into a field near Aurora, Illinois, instantly killing Gary and his son. Eyewitnesses to the crash said that they saw the plane break apart in the air, and watched as the pieces fell to the ground. When local authorities arrived on the scene of the crash much of the plane was missing. Additionally, former Omaha Police Chief Robert Wadman had been appointed as the police chief in Aurora, Illinois, shortly before Caradori’s fateful crash. A federal investigation later concluded that there was no sign of foul play.
Caradori’s death sent a shockwave of fear through those close to the Franklin investigation. Most felt that Caradori’s crash was no accident at all; that those responsible for the crash would stop at no ends to block any further investigation into the Franklin matter.
-The Hoax Raises its Ugly Head-
The fear summoned by Caradori’s death encouraged two of the victim-witnesses to recant their testimonies. First Danny King, and later Troy Boner, both claiming that Caradori had fed them answers while conducting their videotaped interviews.
Caradori’s tragic departure to the investigation and the recantations by Danny King and Troy Boner left the Franklin Committee and Prosecutors between a rock and a hard place. Within hours of Caradori’s death F.B.I. officers had issued a subpoena to obtain all of Caradori’s records. By the time it was all said and done Franklin Prosecutors had lost invaluable records and testimonies desperately needed for their case. (25)
Two and half years after Franklin’s doors had been closed in November of 1988 the Grand Jury finally issued its Franklin Case Report. Only twelve days after Caradori’s death, the Grand Jury testified that the entire case was “A Carefully Crafted Hoax.” The 42-page report largely disregarded facts surrounding the Franklin investigation as a whole. And went on to detail their findings using pretentious language to discount points they did not agree with. (26)
The Report acknowledged that Larry King had used money and other possessions to entice young men into sexual relationships; but concluded that these men were of consensual age. The Grand Jury also reported they would leave the financial investigation in the hands of the National Credit Union Association.
The Grand Jury did find Alan Baer guilty of pandering, and handed down an indictment to the millionaire; however the Report concluded that none of Baer’s sexual activities were related to the Franklin Credit Union or Larry King. (27) The Grand Jury also found Peter Citron to be guilty of child sexual abuse, but linked in no way to Franklin or King.
More shocking than Baer and Citron’s indictments, though, were the indictments handed down to Alisha Owen and Paul Bonacci. The Grand Jury conceded that both Alisha and Paul had lied under oath, and that they would be tried under multiple perjury charges. Alisha was later indicted on 8 counts of perjury, and Paul on 3 counts. Both were later convicted of all charges, and sentenced stiff jail time.
Paul and Alisha’s sentences came as a shock to their lawyers. John DeCamp argued he had never heard of such stiff sentences handed down to anyone of such young age. Alisha and Paul’s prison sentences was the knockout blow to the Franklin Committee. But not everyone was knocked down, and the fight for justice marched on.
Even though the Grand Jury had already made a decision on the abuse allegations, there was still a whole host of outstanding trials related to the Franklin matter. In October of 1990 six psychiatrists testified that Larry King was (finally) fit to stand trial. In a case that was moving dramatically slow, this came as a huge aid to lawmakers seeking prosecution against King.
King was facing 40 counts of conspiracy, fraud and federal income-tax violations, which involved the disappearance of $39 million from the Franklin Credit Union. (28) Defense attorneys hoped the Judge presiding over the case would re-rule King incompetent for trial, however that winter the fatal blow was handed to King. On December 7, U.S. District Judge William Cambridge ruled Lawrence E. King Jr. was indeed mentally competent to stand trial for all 40 criminal charges stemming from the Franklin investigation. (29)
By February of 1991 Both Larry King, and his wife Alice had entered a plea-bargain, pleading guilty to certain charges. King’s agreement included testimony that helped charge seven other conspirators related to Franklin’s collapse. Included were: E. Thomas Harvey Jr., Franklin’s chief accountant, and his mother, Mary Jane Harvey, Noel Seltzer, Robert F. Morley, Larry J. Murray, Sandra Rhode Prucha, administrative assistant to King at Franklin, and Jerry Quintero, a bookkeeper at Franklin. (30)
-DeCamp, Still On the Beat-
John DeCamp, who had fought alongside Senator Loran Schmit in the Franklin abuse trials had now found himself representing victim witnesses Paul Bonacci and Alisha Owen. In February of 1991 DeCamp filed a $110 Million Civil Rights suit on behalf of Paul Bonacci, against the Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha, Lawrence King, Peter Citron, Alan Baer, Harold Andersen, Robert Wadman, Michael Hoch, Kenneth Bovasso, and other key Nebraska Institutions.
In it’s usual manor the Omaha World Herald published an article ostracizing DeCamp’s civil suit filed on behalf of Bonnaci. In the article Catholic Archdiocese defense attorney Daniel Hortz claimed he had looked into the allegations surrounding the diocese saying:
“They are absolutely frivolous. They were made without any investigation [on DeCamp’s part] that we can tell.” (31)
Throughout the spring and into the summer of 1991 DeCamp sought testimony and evidence that might help him in his fight for Paul Bonacci and the truth. But as the civil suit lagged on both Alisha Owen and Paul Bonacci stood trial for their perjury charges.
In a tearful testimony Alisha Owen testified her own defense, repeating her previous allegations. Unfortunately neither Alisha nor Paul had the same comforts of their alleged abusers. The Judge ruled in favor of prosecutors, charging Alisha and Paul in all counts. (32)
Nevertheless DeCamp continued his fight for Bonacci and others. DeCamp wouldn’t find victory in court until 1999 when Judge Urbon finally awarded Bonacci $1 Million in damages against Larry King. But in the eight years between Omaha would find itself as a backdrop to ever evolving scandals.
-The Johnny Gosch Thread-
In July of 1991 The Des Moines Register broke a news story that victim-witness Paul Bonacci had handed over evidence to investigators who had been in search of Johnny Gosch. Johnny had been kidnapped in Des Moines, Iowa, while on his paper route in September of 1982.
Bonacci’s testimony matched up to evidence that had not yet been released to the public, establishing his honesty and integrity. Bonacci’s assistance to the case hadn’t come as an accident, though. John DeCamp had noted that one of the events described by Bonacci had striking similarities to the Johnny Gosh abduction. After DeCamp established Bonnaci’s story with information collected at the public library he contacted the Gosch family. Initially the Gosch family was hesitant to listen to Bonacci, but after a couple weeks Mr. Gosch made a trip to Omaha to hear Bonacci’s account.
Bonacci’s testimony shocked Mr. Gosch. Bonacci told Gosch about Johnny’s birthmark, information that had never made it to the public audience. Bonnaci went on to tell Mr. Gosch that he helped in kidnapping Johnny, using himself as lure to get Johnny into the kidnapper’s car. Bonacci also recalled pictures taken of Johnny days before the kidnapping, which was confirmed by a woman who saw the photographers, and reported it to the police. (33)
Noreen Gosch and others continued their search for Johnny over the next twenty years, when in 2005 there was a huge break.
Jeff Gannon, a reporter with fake credentials, had been publicly ridiculed and ousted after presenting a question to President Bush at a Washington press conference in February of 2005. Investigators found this hadn’t been Jeff Gannon’s first visit to the White House. White House records showed that Gannon had made dozens of trips to the White House. But Gannon’s wild story was only beginning.
Investigators also found that Jeff Gannon had been serving the Washington D.C. community as a homosexual male prostitute, complete with his own website describing himself and his services. Following the revelation that Gannon had been a prostitute online bloggers made an interesting observation. It seemed as though a picture collected from Gannon’s escort site pictured Gannon with a birthmark, perfectly resembling that of Johnny Gosch’s. Immediately bloggers began to hypothesize a theory into the Gannon-Gosch connection.
Jeff Gannon became a media spotlight in the world of conspiracy theorists. It seemed as though everybody had a take on who Jeff Gannon was, and his secret agenda. Some theorized Gannon was a spy for another country, while others claimed famous journalist, Hunter S. Thompson’s suicide came as a result of Gannon’s public ousting. But when Noreen Gosch was contacted the story finally began to take shape.
Noreen looked over the photos taken from Jeff Gannon’s site, and concluded that there was indeed physical similarities to those of her son. Gannon, however, continuously denies any connection the Gosch family. Noreen has contacted Gannon numerous times seeking a blood test to prove her case, but each time Gannon has either declined or backed out at the last minute. Just like DeCamp, Noreen Gosch continues her search for justice, and to finally be re-united with her son. You can read more on Gosch at http://www.johnnygosch.com.
-DeCamp Tells All-
By 1992 most of Omaha had all but forgotten the Franklin mystery. Nevertheless, DeCamp and others marched forward. But DeCamp wasn’t sure what direction to take next, so he sought counsel from his long time friend and mentor William Colby (former Director of the CIA). Colby thoughtfully advised DeCamp to tell his entire story. Colby asserted that by telling every last detail, with nothing left to hide, DeCamp could evade his adversaries, and finally get the entire truth out to the public.
In May of 1992 DeCamp self published The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska. DeCamp continued his story by updating the book six times, with two editions. The second edition came as a response to the tragic death of DeCamp’s mentor William Colby. In the second edition DeCamp dedicates the last chapter of the book to his long time friend. DeCamp contended that Colby’s death was no accident at all. In the book DeCamp points out Colby’s meticulous habits, always keeping everything perfectly organized, and never missing a beat. So when news outlets reported that Colby’s residence was found with the door open and a meal on the table, DeCamp began to contemplate another theory into Colby’s death. And adding to the fact that Colby had fallen victim to a “robbery” just a week earlier, DeCamp began to doubt the official story.
Immediately after DeCamp published his book he was threatened with lawsuits. DeCamp, however, who was a veteran lawyer, knew that truth was always a defense, holding by his accounts in the book. DeCamp watched as multiple threats never materialized. The Franklin Cover-Up, which can be found at most local Omaha bookstores and libraries serves as the ultimate tool in understanding the full story of the Franklin matter. To get your copy click here to visit out Franklin Cover-Up page.
-The Silence Doesn’t Break-
In 1993 the Yorkshire Television Group sent a small team to Omaha, Nebraska to investigate what was left of the Franklin Case. After spending nearly a year in Omaha collecting footage and interviews, the crew felt they had a documentary that may even win awards. With nearly half a million dollars spent on production, Conspiracy of Silence was set to shatter the silence that had shrouded the case.
In May of 1994 when the ground-breaking documentary was scheduled to air thousands tuned in to find that once again the powers that be had silenced the Franklin story. Later DeCamp was told that cable companies had struck a deal with Congress to not impede on their programming if they pulled Conspiracy of Silence. An unknown purchaser bought all of the copies of the program, and reimbursed Yorkshire Television the production costs. But not all copies were destroyed. In 1995 John DeCamp received a cutting room copy of the documentary. Click here to visit our media page to view Conspiracy of Silence for yourself.
-The Never-ending Story-
In 1999 DeCamp and Paul Bonacci saw their first legal victory in the Franklin matter when Judge Urbom awarded Bonacci $1 Million, to be paid by Larry King.(34) Though the lawsuit had come more than a decade after Franklin’s doors had closed, justice seemed to be finally pervading. But the settlement didn’t seem to open any more doors into Franklin matter, leaving DeCamp, Bonacci, and others in search of more.
A time progressed, old age finally caught up with those related to the Franklin Case. In November of 2002 Alan Baer died of cancer. After leaving much of his Ak-Sar-Ben legacy behind him, Baer had purchased the Omaha Reader (a local media paper) in 1999. Throughout the following three years Baer shepherded the paper’s growth.
Old age, though, wasn’t everyone’s nemesis. For years the Franklin matter had haunted Troy Boner. Following his interviews with the Yorkshire TV crew Boner fell off the radar until 2003. After running into a New Mexico hospital in 2003, waving the Franklin Cover-Up book, and screaming that they were out to get him because of the book, Boner was sedated. The next day when hospital workers went to check on Boner he was found dead. The death was never publicly investigated, and remains a mystery.
Large media groups have continuously overlooked the Franklin story, but this doesn’t mean the word isn’t getting out. With help from others, such as Ted Gunderson (former FBI agent), and Jimmy Rothstein (former NY Police Detective), DeCamp has gotten the Franklin Story out to thousands. Those of us fighting for justice, continue our fight to educate those who are still in the dark, knowing one day we will finally stand in the light of truth.
1 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 5
2 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 7
3John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 9
4 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 181
5 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, pages 71-74
6 Omaha World Herald, November 15, 1988
7Omaha World Herald, November 20, 1988
8 Omaha World Herald, December 18, 1988
9 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 53
10 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, pages 59-61
11 Omaha World Herald, February 5, 1989
12 Omaha World Herald, July 14, 1989
13 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 66
14 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 67
15 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 68
16 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 69
17 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, pages 73-74
18 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 77
19 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 83
20 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 92
21 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, pages 93-94
22 Washington Post, April 4, 1990
23 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, pages 100-102
24 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 221
25 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 188
26 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, pages 106-107
27 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 107
28 Omaha World Herald, October 13, 1990
29 Omaha World Herald, February 11, 1991
30 Omaha World Herald, February 11, 1991
31 Omaha World Herald, February 8, 1991
32 Omaha World Herald, June 14, 1991
33 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, pages 230-232
34 Omaha World Herald, February 24, 1999
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DES MOINES,IA 50312
Republican Party of Iowa
DES MOINES,IA 50312
DES MOINES,IA 50312
SELF/REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
DES MOINES,IA 50312
DES MOINES,IA 50312
COWNIE, JAMES S
DES MOINES,IA 50312
SELF/REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
COWNIE, JAMES S
DES MOINES,IA 50312
SELF/REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
Robert V. Johnson has been employed as the chief financial officer of the Company since 1987. Prior to his position with the Company, Mr. Johnson was the corporate controller for Heritage Communications, Inc. a publicly traded cable television company. Mr. Johnson is a member of Financial Executives International, the Iowa Society of CPAs, and the American Institute of CPAs.
Heritage Media Corp.
“Jim Hoak co-founded Heritage Media Corporation in 1987, purchasing the radio and television properties of Heritage Communications, Inc., where he served as Chairman.”
Heritage Communications and Mind Control
James M. Hoak, Jr. – Chr, Heritage Communications
FCStone Group, Inc.
Amendment No. 3 to the
… Robert V. Johnson has been employed as our Chief Financial Officer since 1987. Mr. Johnson previously was the corporate controller for Heritage Communications, Inc. a publicly-traded cable television company. …
DAVID OMAN OF BLACKHAWK BROADCASTING/CHILD INSTITUTE
David Oman’s professional work includes government, business, and media experience – coupled with extensive volunteer leadership and a strong commitment to family. He is presently Chief Administrator of the Iowa CHILD Institute, which is creating a 21st century environmental/education facility in the Iowa City area.
David is a native of Cedar Falls and a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa. He served as an anchorman and sports reporter at KWWL-TV in Waterloo from 1972-74.
David was Press Secretary to former Governor Robert Ray and later became his Chief of Staff – a position he also held during Governor Terry Branstad’s first term. He is the only person to have served as Chief of Staff for two Iowa governors.
After leaving state government, David was an executive in the cable television industry from 1985 to 2001 with HERITAGE Communications and its successor companies – TCI and AT&T Broadband. In the early 90’s he was also an owner of radio station KBBM-FM in Winterset, Iowa’s first all-news radio station.
David was elected Co-Chair of the Iowa Republican Party in 1985 and re-elected in ’87, ’89 and ’91. He was a candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor of Iowa in 1998. David served as Chairman of the Governor Vilsack’s bipartisan Strategic Planning Council, which produced a blueprint for Iowa’s growth out to the year 2010. He co-chaired the Mayor’s Task Force on Consolidation for the City of Des Moines and Polk County during 2001. …
MEREDITH COMMUNICATIONS & HERITAGE
THE MEDIA BUSINESS
September 5, 1991
Cable Plans For Meredith
The Meredith Corporation, which publishes magazines that include The Ladies’ Home Journal and Better Homes and Gardens, announced today that it would invest $100 million in a partnership to buy cable television companies.
The partnership will be managed by New Heritage Associates, a group of former executives at Heritage Communications Inc., a cable television company in Des Moines that was sold to Tele-Communications Inc. of Denver in 1987. New Heritage will contribute $4 million to the venture.
The partnership will soon announce the purchase of its first system, a 22,000-customer company in the Midwest, said Dave Lundquist, vice chairman of New Heritage. He said that Meredith’s investment, and $200 million to $300 million in borrowed money, would be used to buy cable companies that will serve a total of about 150,000 customers. That number would make the partnership at least the 50th-largest cable system in the country.
Meredith, which has about 2,600 employees, reported income of $83.1 million in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, compared with a loss of $26.4 million the year before.
COWNIE, HOAK & MACERICH CO. [investments]
The Macerich Company (NYSE: MAC)
401 Wilshire Boulevard Suite 700
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: (310) 394-6000
Fax: (310) 393-6834
The Macerich Company, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a fully integrated self-managed and self-administered real estate investment trust, which focuses on the acquisition, leasing, management and redevelopment of regional malls and community centers throughout the United States. The. More
The Macerich Company (NYSE: MAC)
President and Chief Executive Officer
New Heritage Associates
President In Charge of Cable Television Operations
Heritage Communications , Inc.
Macerich SEC FIle:
James S. Cownie: Cownie has served as a director since 1989. For the past five years he has been self-employed as an investor. Previously, Mr. Cownie was President and Chief Executive Officer of New Heritage Associates (an operator of cable television systems) and President in charge of cable television operations of Heritage Communications, Inc.
Cownie currently serves as a director of The Macerich Company.
James M. Hoak: Hoak has served as Chairman of Hoak Media, LLC (a television broadcaster) since its formation in August 2003. He also has served as Chairman and a Principal of Hoak Capital Corporation (a private equity investment firm) since September 1991. He served as Chairman of Heritage Media Corporation (a broadcasting and marketing services firm) from its inception in August 1987 to its sale in August 1997. From February 1991 to January 1995, he served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Crown Media, Inc. (a cable television company). From 1971 to 1987, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Communications, Inc. (a diversified cable television and communications company), and as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from August 1987 to December 1990. He is also a Director of Chaparral Steel Company, Inc. (non-executive Chairman) and Pier 1 Imports, Inc. …
MACERICH’S COPPOLA TESTIFIES ON NEED FOR PERMANENT, PUBLIC-PRIVATE TERRORISM INSURANCE PROGRAM
Washington, D.C. – President and CEO of The Macerich Company Arthur M. Coppola, chairman of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts®, called on Congress today to establish a long-term, public-private terrorism risk insurance partnership.
Testifying on behalf of the Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism (CIAT) before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Coppolaemphasized CIAT’s principles for modernizing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA). CIAT believes the Federal role should focus most heavily on what the private markets have been unwilling or unable to do: enabling policyholders to purchase insurance for the most catastrophic conventional terrorism risks; ensuring adequate capacity in high risk, urban areas; and providing meaningful insurance for nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological (NBCR) risks. A permanent program should also seek over
time to reduce the Federal role in conventional terrorism markets and maximize long-term private capacity by facilitating entry of new capital.
Coppola said that CIAT stands ready to assist Congress in introducing and passing a bill that will extend TRIA permanently and improve it to keep the economy running smoothly in the face of the ongoing threat of terrorist attacks.
Coppola’s complete testimony is included on the following pages. Some of the key points from his testimony were:
• “Without terrorism insurance, the nation’s economic infrastructure is totally exposed to large-scale business disruptions after an attack, and to a retarded recovery from the damage that is caused by the attack.”
• “Primary insurers remain largely averse to exposing themselves to potentially catastrophic terrorism losses without adequate reinsurance, and the current private reinsurance market provides only a fraction of the capacity needed.” …
* KERRY INVESTIGATION OF THE BCCI SCANDAL AND TCI
In the entire BCCI affair, perhaps no entity is more mysterious and yet more central to BCCI’s collapse and criminality than Capcom, a London and Chicago based commodities futures firm which operated between 1984 and 1988. Capcom is vital to understanding BCCI because BCCI’s top management and most important Saudi shareholders were involved with the firm. Moreover, Capcom moved huge amounts of money — billions of dollars — which passed through the future’s markets in a largely anonymous fashion.
Capcom was created by the former head of BCCI’s Treasury Department, Ziauddin Ali Akbar, who capitalized it with funds from BCCI and BCCI customers. The company was staffed, primarily, by former BCCI bankers, many of whom had worked with Akbar in Oman and few of whom had any experience in the commodities markets. The major investors in the company were almost exclusively Saudi and were largely controlled by Sheik AR Khalil, the chief of Saudi intelligence. Additionally, the company employed many of the same practices as BCCI, especially the use of nominees and front companies to disguise ownership and the movement of money. Four Americans, Larry Romrell, Robert Magness, Kerry Fox and Robert Powell — none of whom had any experience or expertise in the commodities markets — played important and varied roles as frontmen.
While the Subcommittee has been able to piece together the history of Capcom and can point to many unusual and even criminal acts committed by the firm, it still has not been able to determine satisfactorily the reason Capcom was created and the purposes it served for the various parties connected to the BCCI scandal. It appears from the available evidence that Akbar, BCCI, and the Saudis all may have pursued different goals through Capcom, including:
• misappropriation of BCCI assets for personal enrichment.
• laundering billions of dollars from the Middle East to the US and other parts of the world.
• siphoning off assets from BCCI to create a safe haven for them outside of the official BCCI empire.
Conditions At BCCI Which Spawned Capcom
By early 1985, BCCI was on the verge of financial collapse as the result of losses in the commodities markets executed by the head of the bank’s Treasury Department, Mr. Z.A. Akbar.(1) Akbar, a young Pakistani and protege of Swaleh Naqvi, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, had been plucked from his job at National Bank of Oman in 1981 to manage BCCI’s investments from its headquarters in London. Despite the fact that Akbar had no apparent experience in the commodities, foreign exchange or securities markets, by 1984 he was managing over $5.5 billion at BCCI Treasury.(2)
As Akbar invested heavily in the futures’ markets, losses at BCCI treasury began to mount. According to Masihur Rahman, BCCI’s former chief financial officer, Akbar made highly unusual investments based on unsound assumptions:
He [Akbar] was taking positions on silver and 20 year bonds, suggesting that 20 year bonds would be 7% or 6.8%, and things like that,, which anybody who understands treasury knows how deeply discounted it would be if you project that sort of thing for 20 years. And he was taking those sorts of positions for a premium.(3)
As the losses increased to staggering levels, Akbar created a maze of artificial accounting. According to a 1991 Price Waterhouse report, Akbar split the department’s functions into normal Treasury activities and ‘Number Two’ account activities” . . . outside the scope of external audit . . . in the name of private clients but for [BCCI]. . .”(4) The report explained that the “Number Two” accounts derived from:
“misappropriation of external funds deposited under trust with [BCCI] to be managed on behalf of a few prominent people who are also shareholders of Holdings, and maintaining a pool of funds in the private named accounts of A. R. Khalil which were used freely by Z. Akbar to fund adjustments. . .”(5)
In other words, Akbar inflated BCCI Treasury profits through the use of unrecorded deposits in the accounts of important BCCI “customers”, such as Khalil.
By 1985, Akbar’s treasury department had accumulated losses approaching $1 billion, leading to a near collapse of the bank.(6) Akbar and, presumably Naqvi, recognized that the off-balance sheet accounting in the “Number Two” accounts could no longer adequately hide the massive losses. Accordingly, “out-of-book” or unrecorded deposits were moved “out-of-bank” to a new financial entity — Capcom Financial Services, Ltd.
At Capcom, Akbar and Naqvi reasoned, the phony BCCI accounts could be further disguised and placed beyond the reach of bank auditors. In short, Capcom afforded BCCI a wider scope of options for the manipulation of accounts, the continuation of frauds and, perhaps, a last ditch attempt at fiscal recovery.
Creation of Capcom 1984-1985
On April 26, 1984 Akbar registered an obscure company named Hourcharm, Ltd, at his home address in London. On May 22, 1984, Hourcharm was renamed Capital Commodity Dealers, Ltd., and then in July, Capcom Financial Services. Capcom was funded with a capital of 1 million which during the first year was augmented to 10,00,000 pounds and then increased to 25,000,000 pounds (approximately $37,000,000).
Capcom commenced trading in London on September 17, 1984. According to the June 22, 1991 Price Waterhouse Report to the Bank of England, “Capcom … rapidly became one of the most significant of the brokers used by Treasury [BCCI].”(7) Indeed, within the first year customer accounts bulged to over 100,000,000 (approximately $160,000,000), inordinately large sums for a fledgling commodities brokerage company.(8) According to Masihur Rahman, “Capcom was given an official credit line” by BCCI.(9)
A 1991 documentary on BCCI, produced in London, featured Jehangir Masud, a former employee of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and Shahid Suleri, a former BCCI employee, commenting on the connections between Capcom and BCCI. Masud claimed, “the [BCCI] Treasury put huge volumes of business through generating large brokerage fees for Capcom.” Suleri recounted that Capcom allocated profits to their own account, losses to BCCI, using BCCI funds as margin deposits.(10) In testimony to the Subcommittee, Rahman concurred, noting that “many of the transactions that the bank was doing [were] being routed through Capcom, who obviously was scaling out the differentials ….and passing on the heavy losses and things to the bank.”(11)
Capcom operated as a broker in the London and Chicago commodities markets. Commodities markets should be distinguished from the stock markets, which are more or less “cash markets” designed for “direct investment.” As author Martin Mayer has explained, “you own what you buy and your success is a function of the success of the company in which you have purchased shares.”(12) According to Mayer, futures markets, in contrast to cash markets, do not offer the investor the “commodity that underlies the activity.” Mayer has written that futures investors:
“trade contracts to purchase or sell that commodity on a future date. The contract is inescapable. Those who purchase must stand ready to receive the commodity at a specified delivery point at this price on a specified date (or to buy an offsetting obligation from someone who has a contract to deliver to that point on that date, thus permitting the “clearing corporation” that serves the exchange to extinguish both contracts.) Those who sell futures contracts must stand ready to deliver the commodity to the delivery point for this price on the specified date (or buy in someone else’s contract to accept delivery.) As a result future’s markets are not situations where everyone can win.(13)
The commodities markets in the U.K. and the U.S. are not restricted, regulated or supervised as stringently as the banking industry or the securities markets.(14)
Moreover, the commodities markets can sustain almost limitless volume, a necessary prerequisite for crime on the scale of that contemplated by BCCI since fraudulent transactions may be hidden in a multitude of legitimate ones. In a letter to the directors, the Chairman of Capcom, Larry Romrell, reported that 165 million in trading during the first four months of operation, and profits of 883,393. That trend continued until 1988 leading Akbar to boast to agent Mazur: “We have contracted 165,000 contracts totalling $53 billion with Drexel Burnham,” and later, “we have done over $90 billion total in 1988.”(15)
While the number of contracts and dollar volume seems unbelievable, a commodities company can artificially create massive volume by many small or no-risk trading methods. Indeed, the volume generated by Capcom helped it to generate respectability and acceptance with reputable banks and brokers.(16) For example, listed under “Auditors and Advisers” in Capcom’s 1987 Annual Report were the following major international banks: Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company, London, National Westminster Bank Plc, Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company, New York, Deutsche Westminster Bank, A.G., and National Westminster Bank, plc. Elsewhere, Capcom noted its ties to Dean Witter Reynolds, American Express Bank, Refco, Prudential Bache Trading Corp., and Sumitomo Trust and Banking, Ltd.(17) Like BCCI, Capcom attempted to buy legitimacy to assist its rapid expansion.
Capcom’s expansion took it to the United States where it opened Capcom Futures in late 1984.(18) Mohammed Saghir, born in the same town in India as Abedi, and a former cohort of Akbar’s at the National Bank of Oman, was brought in to run the Chicago operations. The American Board of Directors mirrored that of London with Larry Romrell serving as the Chairman.
In testimony before the Subcommittee, Wendy Gramm, the Chairperson of the Commodities Futures Trading Association (CFTC) described the relationship between Capcom US and Capcom UK:
Capcom UK and Capcom US were intertwined. Both companies had common directors and shareholders. Capcom UK owned 82% of Capcom US from May 1985 until June 30, 1987.
BCCI Pulls Out
In July, 1985 the BCCI accounts were ostensibly withdrawn from Capcom, apparently on the advice of the firm’s auditors who counseled that the bank should not be engaged in the kind of speculation intrinsic to the commodities markets.(19) With all visible BCCI accounts closed, Chairman Larry Romrell observed in Capcom’s annual report: “The cessation of BCCI business obviously had an impact upon our volume.”(20)
However, according to the 1991 Price Waterhouse report, at the same time that BCCI withdrew from Capcom an amount of $68 million was paid by BCCI Treasury to Brenchase, Ltd, a subsidiary of Capcom, controlled by Akbar, raising the question of whether or not BCCI had really withdrawn from the firm.(21) Moreover, the Price Waterhouse report notes that, “…despite an apparent cessation of trading links with Capcom …two payments of $50 million were made to Capcom in March, 1986 out of external funds for which no liability for repayment was recorded.”(22) These and other comparable payments clearly suggest that Naqvi and Akbar continued to use Capcom to shield BCCI funds and perhaps to move money.
Moreover, as late as 1989 the client list for Capcom Futures, the US subsidiary of London-based Capcom Financial Services, consists of several apparent BCCI accounts in the names of BCCI employees controlled by Z.A. Akbar.
It is not clear why Naqvi and Akbar chose to maintain the public facade of a split between Capcom and BCCI. One possible explanation is that Naqvi and Akbar profited from BCCI losses both at BCCI treasury and later at Capcom. When Senator Kerry asked Mr. Rahman if Mr. Naqvi had profited from the BCCI losses, the former BCCI manager responded, “since only two, three people are involved …somebody has profited a lot.”(23)
Akbar and Capcom
In 1986, after the discovery of BCCI losses on cotton trading, Akbar left the BCCI Treasury to join Capcom. According to Masihur Rahman, Akbar “was released” from BCCI, taking “his company car and other benefits.”(24)
Upon moving to Capcom, Akbar formed Financial Advisory Services (FAS), an introducing broker, or marketing arm for Capcom. FAS was owned by Akbar’s Panamanian-registered, Liechtenstein operated nominee company, ZASK Trading and Investments, Ltd.
Akbar did not immediately become a Director of Capcom, sitting instead in the FAS offices which adjoined Capcom. Akbar explained to Mazur his reasons for not joining Capcom’s Board of Directors:
when I left the bank, BCCI people, they said ‘Mr. Akbar, for, for at least a couple of years you don’t go and sit in the office…it doesn’t look nice that you leave the bank…and establish your own company’… they said ‘please keep away’…(25)
But it was Akbar, nevertheless, who directed operations at Capcom. With the freedom of singular control over a vast pool of BCCI’s “out-of-book”, “Number Two” Treasury funds deposited at Capcom, Akbar manipulated to enrich himself. The Subcommittee has concluded that with Akbar at the helm, Capcom engaged in blackmail, bogus loans, “bucket shop” trading, use of nominee frontmen, artificial mirror-image trades, co-mingling of funds, money-laundering, theft, skimming of accounts, and kickbacks to insiders.
For example, Akbar arranged for kickbacks to Peniel Investments, a Liechtenstein-based, Panamanian-registered company that he owned. This arrangement, and others, specified commissions that he paid to himself of between $5.00 and $12.00 per contract on business he had introduced to Capcom, specifying “BCCI Overseas” as a qualifying account. In the months during which BCCI lost $430 million at Capcom, Akbar paid himself a total kickback of 4,671,579.86 (approximately $7,000,000).(26) It is not clear whether Naqvi and anyone else at BCCI knew about or participated in these kickback schemes. …
BCCI AND TCI
Documents provided to the Subcommittee also indicate that BCCI may have been a shareholder in TCI, the largest cable company in the United States.(50) All TCI shareholders were issued WTCI stock when the latter was spun-off from TCI as a separate company. The WTCI stock was then listed independently and was publicly traded on its own. In a letter to Akbar, Romrell wrote:
“I am enclosing an Information Statement which has just become available this morning covering the distribution to the TCI shareholders of all the outstanding shares of WTCI…the stock will be distributed by today by mail along with the enclosed Information Statement to all TCI shareholders…there is a possibility that the WTCI stock price will sell for a price upwards from $8.00. I still intend to buy for our accounts at the best possible price somewhere between $2 to $4.50. If you have any comments or require any additional information, please give me a call.”(51)
Six months later, Romrell wrote Akbar about an apparent agreement:
“I understand the WTCI stock will officially start trading at opening of business tomorrow, March 20. I want to confirm my understanding that I have established pursuant to my conversation with you a $100,000 credit line with which to purchase stock and, in addition, that you have authorized me to purchase stock in your behalf up to a $100,000 limit. The combined credit line would then be $200,000, except that I would reduce my credit line within 30 days from $100,000 to $85,000. If this is not your understanding or does not meet with your approval, please contact me immediately.(52)
Romrell has told the Subcommittee that, in fact, there was no agreement and no combined credit line. He acknowledged that the wording of the letter “did not sound good”.(53)
Perhaps the most provocative document suggests that Romrell was seeking a $200 million credit line from BCCI for TCI:
“…the TCI finance group that they are interested in obtaining a loan facility…I asked Bob Magness…he asked me to determine whether there would be any interest ion the part of BCCI…I believe the credit facility that TCI is looking for is around $200,000,000…as a separate matter, WTCI will soon be looking for approximately $50,000,000 to construct a new microwave route…there may be an opportunity to put this deal together with BCCI if you are interested.”(54)
According to TCI’s lawyers, the company has never had any relationship of any kind with BCCI:
[There is] no evidence that the TCI or the Related companies had any business dealings with Capcom, BCCI, or any currently identified related entity or person… (55)
Romrell, Magness and Capcom
During the period that Romrell is passing on WTCI information to Akbar, he is also contemplating an investment in Capcom: “Magness and I have discussed your proposal to invest in a U.S. brokerage firm in Chicago or New York and to participate in the ownership and operation to the mutual benefit of BCCI and ourselves.”(56) To entice the participation of Romrell and Magness in Capcom, Akbar represented to the Americans that the firm would earn a minimum of $4 million per year, and potentially as much as $10 to $15 million.(57)
Despite the fact that neither of them had any experience or expertise in the futures markets, Magness and Romrell agreed to become directors on May 27, 1984.(58) They also decided to make a financial investment in the firm. Magness, in a notarized statement dated May 12, 1992, explained to the Subcommittee:
“…I agreed to buy a 1 percent interest for approximately $15,000.”(59)
“I was not offered anything for my investment beyond the [above stated 1 percent] interest in Capcom. Nor was I offered anything as an inducement to become a member of Capcom’s board of directors.”(60)
However, Magness and Romrell also purchased a stake in Capcom with funds provided by BCCI. In a “Note for file” written November 9, 1984, Romrell scribbled:
“Bob and I” funded our share capital and loan stock as follows: “We agreed to fund $14,744(61)
and borrow $75,000 each from BCCI London…Balance of current amount due was funded from our Credit Lines at BCCI, London.”(62)
The Subcommittee has obtained documents which appear to show that, in fact there were other loans beyond those provided by BCCI. Magness and Romrell executed no-risk loans to purchase Capcom stock in a September 17, 1984 agreement with a Panamanian company secretly owned by Akbar, managed in Liechtenstein by a Dr. Franz Pucher. The company was named “Peniel Investments, Inc.”(63) Akbar provided Romrell and Magness with subordinated Loan Stock in the amounts of 330,000 (approximately $450,000) for Romrell and 69,300 (approximately $90,000) for Magness.(64) A very unusual aspect of the loans is that they were self-liquidating: funds paid into Romrell’s and Magness’ loan accounts from profits in their “managed investment” accounts would be used to pay down the loan principal. (65) In other words, these loans resembled the standard issue BCCI no-risk loans provided to those who acted as nominees for the bank.
Another set of documents dating some months later shows additional loans to Magness and Romrell from Paten Holdings, Inc., a different Panamanian company, operated out of Geneva by Mme. Cecile Ringenberg, and again, secretly owned by Akbar. (66)
Romrell has told the Subcommittee that “at the time I understood Paten Holdings to be a Swiss bank.”(67)
On May 23, 1985, the Capcom directors used Paten Holdings to increase the capital base in Capcom from L10,000,000 to L25,000,000. By increasing the capital base of the firm, Romrell’s and Magness’ overall holdings were also increased. Romrell, who had placed only $15,000 of his own money into the firm, found himself with holdings valued in excess of $2 million.(68)
The Loan Agreement, dated June 17, 1985, between Paten Holdings, Inc. and Romrell and Magness provides both men with 169,500 (approx. $250,000). The terms require payment no later than June 17, 1987. The collateral for the loans was the shares secured by an attached memorandum of deposit and dividends and interest were to be retained in order to reduce the outstanding balance of the loans. As Romrell explained: “…with regard to Paten Holdings, Inc…we had originally planned to reduce that loan with dividends from Capcom.”(69)
Indeed two years later, in July 1987, Romrell proposed a 30 percent dividend in a letter to Khalil, Adham, and Jawhary.(70) However, upset from the events surrounding the CBOT investigation, the Saudi Group refused to allow the dividends. In order to accommodate the Americans, Akbar arranged for Romrell and Magness to enter into replacement loan agreements with Paten Holdings, Inc. The new loans were for an increased amount, 221,157.93 (approx. $330,000) and were secured by the Capcom shares. (71)
The year-end 1987 audit of Capcom in London by Arthur Anderson raised the issue of disclosure of the Paten and Peniel loans:
“All transactions with related or associated parties have, where material and appropriate for the presentation of a true and fair view…There are no agreements whereby the directors could receive benefit from dealing transactions either directly or indirectly through agency agreements…In respect of the agency agreements between Capcom Financial Services, Ltd and the following companies: a) Peniel Investments, Ltd, and b) Paten Holdings, Inc. …In addition, we confirm that the agreements were entered into at arms length and that no director or shareholder has an interest in either agent company. The company and its subsidiaries have at no time during the period entered into any arrangement, transaction or agreement to provide credit facilities (including loans, quasi-loans, credit transactions, mutually beneficial arrangements or guarantees or security for liabilities for any directors, shadow directors, officers or their connected persons (except as permitted by the Companies Act 1985 and as disclosed in the accounts.)(72)
The Paten and Peniel loan documents show this statement by the auditors to be completely false. Either the auditors colluded with Capcom management, or more likely, they were misled as to Paten and Peniel by the management of Capcom.
Ultimately, Romrell tried to sever his connection to Paten. According to Cecile Ringenberg, an emergency meeting was called in London by Sheik Khalil. At that meeting, control of Paten passed from Romrell to Akbar. Romrell has indicated to the Subcommittee that he has never met Cecile Ringenberg, although a xerox of her calling card was provided by him to the Subcommittee.(73) …
Part Six – The Pizza Connection (and Alberto Gonzalez, too)
Page 129: “Members of organized crime groups are reported to be owners of restaurants, coffee shops, nightclubs, movie companies, CABLE television companies … “
The Rouse House Revisited:
Unraveling the Enigma of Murder,
Police Corruption, and Organized Crime
By Terry M. Mors, Ph.D.
Many organized crime articles and textbooks have made reference to the Rouse Casino or the Rouse House. However, those publications did not fully explain the Rouse Casino. It was more than the typical back room parlor. The Rouse mansion was a classic case of organized crime co-existing with police corruption. Crooked police officials and organized crime figures cashed in on a family tragedy. This article explains the history of the Rouse Casino and how organized crime gained a foothold in Libertyville, Illinois.
Libertyville is a sleepy little bedroom community located in the heart of Lake County, Illinois. One of the most affluent counties in Illinois, Lake County is located in the northeast corner of the state. Residents of the tiny town of Libertyville are not accustomed to violent crime. So when the brutal murder of two of their most prominent residents occurred, it sent shock waves through the community. As shocking as the double murders were, no one expected what else was about to be uncovered.
Bruce Rouse, age 44 at the time of his death, was a self-made millionaire. He earned his money through the ownership of four gasoline service stations, numerous real estate transactions, and PART OWNERSHIP IN A CABLE TELEVISION COMPANY. He lived in a mansion on the north side of unincorporated Libertyville with his wife Darlene, age 38 at the time of her death, and their three children. The oldest child was a son, Kurt, age 20. Kurt resided in a coach house located behind the main house. Their daughter, Robin age 16, and son, Billy age 15, lived in the main house. Their bedrooms were on the second floor of the mansion.
At 8:30 on the morning of June 6, 1980, Robin answered the ringing telephone. It was the manager of one of her father’s gas stations. He was calling to get the combination to the safe, as Bruce Rouse had not shown up for work. Robin entered her parents’ bedroom only to find a grisly murder scene. Bruce and Darlene had each been shot in the face at close range with a shotgun. Bruce had also been bludgeoned about the head and repeatedly stabbed in the chest. Robin immediately got her brother, Billy, who telephoned police.
On the night their parents were brutally murdered, Kurt claimed to have been with his girlfriend in the coach house. Robin was at a party in Lake Forest, and claimed to have returned home around midnight. Billy was allegedly home all night watching television in a downstairs room. The coroner established the time of death as being around 2:30 in the morning. Despite being home at the time of their parents’ death, none of the children claimed to have heard the gunshots. Attorneys for the children were quick to point out that a thunderstorm that night explained why the children didn’t hear the gunshots. The Lake County Sheriff’s Police Department was called in to conduct the homicide investigation. Police stated there were no signs of forced entry, and no murder weapons were found at the scene. A 16-gauge shotgun and several knives were missing from Mr. Rouse’s personal gun collection. Police suspected the missing 16-gauge shotgun was the murder weapon Robbery was ruled out as a motive, because the murder(s) took nothing with them, except for the shotgun and knives. In fact, Bruce Rouse’s wallet still contained $300 in cash. Lake County Sheriff, Tom Brown, was quoted as saying the murders were “an act of hatred”.
A coroner’s inquest ruled that the deaths were a result of homicide, and ordered the Rouse mansion sealed. Lake County Sheriff’s deputies provided around the clock security for the crime scene while the investigation proceeded. Several theories for the murders emerged, including organized crime being responsible. However, the Sheriff’s Department began to focus on the Rouse children. The three children invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination at the inquest, refusing to answer questions. They also refused to take a lie detector test offered by the Sheriff’s Police. The Sheriff’s Police had searched nearby fields, ponds, gravel pits, and the Des Plaines River for the murder weapons with no luck. With no new leads, the investigation bogged down to a standstill. Private security replaced the Sheriff’s department, who had been keeping a steady vigil over the crime scene.
Gloss Guard and Investigative Services, Incorporated of Waukegan was hired by the Rouse estate to provide security. Security guard Richard Vogel, 18, was allegedly attacked one Tuesday about 10:40 at night. Vogel was struck over the head from behind with a blunt object. He lost consciousness temporarily. He was taken to Condell Hospital for observation and treatment of head wounds. The attack was never solved, and it remains unknown if it was directly related to the Rouse murders. With the investigation going nowhere, the Coroner’s Office ordered the crime scene could be released. The private security was withdrawn.
Smile – You’re on Candid Cable Surveillance Camera!
The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C., August 10, 2007: “How do they watch you? Let me count the ways. With the new surveillance law being voted in by a weak-kneed Congress, the useless AG, Gonzales can now listen to any conversation or read any email without a court order. I have several additional comments to be made on this subject. Let’ s consider a means by which you can be spied on without a warrant. The first is by using your very own television set to listen to you. Sounds fantastic? Another nutty blog idea? Think again. Here I am quoting from an in-house memorandum: ‘The methodology of using a commercial television set connected to a cable network system being used as a transmitter as well as a receive, allowing other parties to hear conversations conducted in the vicinity of the set utilizes the medium of a digital oscillator installed in television sets. This use is only for a set itself connected to a cable system. The additional use of a cable box connected to the television set is the only means by which the set can be used to listen to nearby conversations because these boxes are designed to feed back information through the cable system. This feedback makes it possible for a subscriber to cable to use his telephone to call the cable company for the inclusion of a special program to the subscriber’s system. The cable company is automatically able to ascertain the telephone number from the call and using that information, send the desired program to the television set via their network and the box. The subscriber code of the subscriber matches the data on the subscriber’s box. This makes the use of the box as an instrument of clandestine surveillance possible.. It is then possible for such information to be fed into other channels, including investigative ones. The use by private parties of the cable system to obtain clandestine information in this manner would be difficult if not impossible but the NSA and FBI techniques in other electronic surveillance matters are more than sufficient to ensure electronic eavesdropping.
Fred Thompson, CableAmerica & the Mob
Following his shaky response to allegations that he lobbied for an abortion rights group, Fred Thompson was rocked today by allegations that he also lobbied for pornographers and organizations with long-suspected ties to organized crime. An old story in a previously obscure publication revealed that Thompson’s former clients include soft-core porn provider CableAmerica…. Senator Thompson has thus far failed to comment either on the amount of money he earned from the cable porn industry…. Fred Thompson lobbied for cable providers and for the Teamsters, but does that mean that he should be shamed as a lobbyist for the porn industry or the mob? …
An Italian Story
April 26, 2001
Milano 2 gave birth to Mr Berlusconi’s television empire. In 1978, he launched a local cable-television station for Milano 2, called Telemilano. This scheme became far grander. Mr Berlusconi’s ambition was to challenge RAI’s monopoly on national television advertising, for which there was huge pent-up demand. Telemilano became Canale 5 in 1980.There was one major snag: only RAI was permitted by law to broadcast nationally.
Although private commercial television was unregulated in most respects, a court ruling in 1980 allowed private television stations to broadcast only on a local basis.But Mr Berlusconi soon found a way round this ruling. He bought programmes, especially American films and soaps, and offered them at very low prices to small, regional television stations. Mr Berlusconi collected the revenue from pre-recorded advertising slots that he inserted. Each station in the Canale 5 circuit agreed to broadcast the same programmes at the same time. In this way, he secured his national audience.
How did Mr Berlusconi finance his budding television empire? Part of the answer is with bank debt. He had a large helping hand from public-sector banks, which provided bigger loans than Fininvest’s creditworthiness seemed to merit. But the rest of the answer is not clear at all. In 1978, at the birth of his television group, Mr Berlusconi set up the 22 holding companies that control Fininvest. From 1978 to 1985, 93.9 billion lire (387 billion lire in today’s money) flowed into the 22 companies, ostensibly from Mr Berlusconi.
In 1997, a financier with links to the Mafia alleged to magistrates in Sicily that Mr Berlusconi had used 20 billion lire of Mafia money to build up his television interests. The magistrates asked the Bank of Italy to help the anti-Mafia division investigate. Two officials spent 18 months combing the shareholder, banking and accounting records of the 22 companies. The Economist has a copy of their reports, which run to over 700 pages. The two main findings are startling.
The first is Mr Berlusconi’s lack of openness with the two trust companies that he instructed to be the registered holder of his shares in the 22 companies. The trust companies were subsidiaries of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL), a large bank. Mr Berlusconi put money into the holding companies through two little-known Italian banks, rather than through BNL itself. Thus, BNL’s trust companies had no clear picture of the ultimate source of these funds. In 1994, BNL’s managers were so concerned about this that they carried out two inspections of BNL’s relations with the 22 companies.
These inspections revealed other anomalies, such as share sales that were registered solely on Mr Berlusconi’s word, and with no documentary evidence. For instance, when he sold shares in one of the holding companies to a Fininvest subsidiary for 165 billion lire, the funds bypassed the trust companies altogether. So they had no idea how, or even whether, the buyer had paid for the shares.
The second finding is that the ultimate source of the money put into the 22 companies cannot be traced. There were three reasons for this. First, 29.7 billion lire had been paid in cash, or cash equivalents. Second, the investigators had found no extant supporting documents in the records of the trust companies, banks or holding companies for 20.6 billion lire. Third, Mr Berlusconi had been adept at sending funds round in circles.
Why did Mr Berlusconi want to do this? The investigators were baffled. One company, Palina, ostensibly a third party, had sent 27.7 billion lire to the trust companies, which had then transferred this sum to the holding companies. From there, the funds went to Fininvest, and then, through a Fininvest subsidiary, back to Palina. All these transactions took place on the same day and at the same bank. The investigators found that hidden behind Palina was Mr Berlusconi. He had used a 75-year-old stroke-victim to front for him. Soon after the transactions took place, Palina was liquidated. Its books had been kept blank.
So the true source of the 93.9 billion lire that flowed into the 22 companies in 1978-85 remains a mystery that only Mr Berlusconi can solve. We have sent him questions about this, in writing, but he has declined to answer. A close reading of the reports suggests that the possibility of money-laundering in the 22 companies cannot be ruled out. Banca Rasini, one of the little-known banks used by Mr Berlusconi and once his father’s employer, cropped up in trials of several money-launderers in the 1980s. But the anti-Mafia investigators found no evidence to support the allegation that had triggered their work.
They clearly hoped to produce a second report, but the time limit for the investigation had by then expired.
A friend in need
After he bought his two largest private competitors, Italia 1, in 1983, and Retequattro, in 1984, Mr Berlusconi had secured a virtual monopoly in private television. To skirt round the law and broadcast nationwide, he needed help from political friends. None helped more than Bettino Craxi, who became leader of the Socialist Party in 1976 and prime minister in 1983. Mr Berlusconi, through his two main networks, had a powerful political weapon to offer.
In October 1984, officials in several Italian cities shut down his television stations for broadcasting illegally. This spelled potential disaster for the heavily indebted Fininvest group. Within days, Craxi, who died in Tunisia last year after being sentenced in absentia to prison for corruption, signed a decree that allowed Mr Berlusconi’s stations to stay on air. After some parliamentary tussles, this decree became law. Craxi’s decree did nothing to prevent concentration of ownership. But neither did the Mammi law (named after Oscar Mammi, the telecoms minister), passed in 1990. Tailor-made to suit Mr Berlusconi with his three national networks, it said that no single group could own more than three out of the 12 networks that would be licensed. The coalition government of the day, which depended heavily on Craxi’s Socialist Party, pushed through this controversial measure despite the resignation of five ministers in protest. In effect, this law entrenched the duopoly between Mediaset and RAI. In 1991 and 1992, Mr Berlusconi paid a total of 23 billion lire into Craxi’s offshore bank accounts from a clandestine part of his Fininvest empire, known as All Iberian. …
Part Seven – The Networks & the National Security State
Edited by Alex Constantine
Cable News Lies Website:
CNN tells reporters: No propaganda, except American
By Patrick Martin 6 November 2001
In an extraordinary directive to its staff, Cable News Network has instructed reporters and anchormen to tailor their coverage of the US war against Afghanistan to downplay the toll of death and destruction caused by American bombing, for fear that such coverage will undermine popular support for the US military effort.
A memo from CNN Chairman Walter Isaacson to international correspondents for the network declares: “As we get good reports from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, we must redouble our efforts to make sure we do not seem to be simply reporting from their vantage or perspective. We must talk about how the Taliban are using civilian shields and how the Taliban have harbored the terrorists responsible for killing close to 5,000 innocent people.”
“I want to make sure we’re not used as a propaganda platform,” Isaacson declared in an interview with the Washington Post, adding that it “seems perverse to focus too much on the casualties or hardship in Afghanistan.”
“We’re entering a period in which there’s a lot more reporting and video from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan,” he said. “You want to make sure people understand that when they see civilian suffering there, it’s in the context of a terrorist attack that caused enormous suffering in the United States.”
In a second memo leaked to the Post, CNN’s head of standards and practices, Rick Davis, expressed concern about reports on the bombing of Afghanistan filed by on-the-spot reporters. Davis noted that it “may be hard for the correspondent in these dangerous areas to make the points clearly” about the reasons for the US bombing. In other words, the CNN official feared that overseas correspondents might be intimidated by local opposition to the US military intervention and allow such sentiments to influence their reports.
To ensure that every CNN report always includes a justification of the war, Davis prescribed specific language for anchors to read after each account of civilian casualties and other bomb damage. He suggested three alternative formulations:
* “We must keep in mind, after seeing reports like this from Taliban-controlled areas, that these US military actions are in response to a terrorist attack that killed close to 5,000 innocent people in the US.”
* “We must keep in mind, after seeing reports like this, that the Taliban regime in Afghanistan continues to harbor terrorists who have praised the September 11 attacks that killed close to 5,000 innocent people in the US.”
* “The Pentagon has repeatedly stressed that it is trying to minimize civilian casualties in Afghanistan, even as the Taliban regime continues to harbor terrorists who are connected to the September 11 attacks that claimed thousands of innocent lives in the US.”
Davis concluded with an ultimatum to journalists concerned that they may sound like parrots for the White House: “Even though it may start sounding rote, it is important that we make this point each time.”
The Origin of Roger Ailes
Ailes is the president of Fox News, but before that, the producer of the television version of The Rush Limbaugh Show and a Republican Party strategist. In the early 1990s, Ailes adopted a populist mantra of “Us versus Them” in his various programming initiatives (with Limbaugh, but also as president of a cable network that preceded MSNBC).
Ailes role in the media industry includes:
in 1991 persuading “a syndicator to bring Rush Limbaugh from radio to television and became executive producer of the late-night show”
In 1993 was appointed President of NBC’s cable channel CNBC
introduced NBC cable channel, America’s Talking in 1994
in January 1996 was appointed as chief executive officer of Fox News and the FOX News Channel and, according to his biographical note, “also serves as a senior advisor to Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of the News Corporation Limited.”
The news czar is revamping Rupe’s station group, and your local newscast will never be the same
By MICHAEL LEARMONTH
Two months after Lachlan Murdoch’s abrupt resignation as News Corp. deputy chief operations officer, cable news impresario Roger Ailes is wasting no time bringing the conglom’s network of 35 TV stations into the Fox News fold. … Ailes added CBS exec Dennis Swanson to a group of Fox News Channel hands to run the group, including CEO Jack Abernethy and senior veep of news operations Sharri Berg in what amounts to a grafting of the Fox cable news operation onto its network of 35 local stations.
Now, with the stations and 20th Television under his wing, suddenly Ailes becomes one of the most powerful execs in television with the ability to see his vision writ large across the broadcast landscape. At the stations, some staff expressed concern that Ailes’ army would politicize the news operations.
Few would deny that Ailes knows how to create compelling TV and identify charismatic news talent. What local news director wouldn’t want dozens more Shepard Smiths to bloom in Orlando, Chicago or Kansas City?
News Corp. owns both a Fox and a UPN affiliate in the top three media markets –New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — and other duopolies in six more of the top 20 markets, including Dallas, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. News Corp. owns stations in 26 markets in all, reaching 45% of the country. ….
Murdoch’s MySpace expands data collection/ad targeting, including on whether users say they smoke, drink, religious beliefs, etc.
August 27th, 2007
The powerful commercial forces shaping new media platforms like MySpace–so they can better reap big dollars from powerful brand advertisers– should raise user alarm bells. MySpace is going to [our italics] “leverage the data input by each MySpace user into their profile from a group of predefined menu choices (related to questions such as […]
DOCUMENTARY FILM REVEALS THAT THE CABLE NETWORKS ALL CARRIED PENTAGON PROPAGANDA IN BUILT-UP TO IRAQ WAR
Backspin for War: The Convenience of Denial
Asset A03245 Posted By anthony
The man who ran CNN’s news operation during the invasion of Iraq is now doing damage control in response to a new documentary’s evidence that he kowtowed to the Pentagon on behalf of the cable network. His current denial says a lot about how “liberal media” outlets remain deeply embedded in the mindsets of pro-military conformity.
Days ago, the former CNN executive publicly defended himself against a portion of the War Made Easy film (based on my book of the same name) that has drawn much comment from viewers since the documentary’s release earlier this summer. As Inter Press Service reported, the movie shows “a news clip of Eason Jordan, a CNN News chief executive who, in an interview with CNN, boasts of the network’s cadre of professional ‘military experts.’ In fact, CNN’s retired military generals turned war analysts were so good, Eason said, that they had all been vetted and approved by the U.S. government.” …
he film provides a wide range of evidence that “all of the cable networks were actively complicit in promoting the war” — the result of chronic biases rather than “journalistic laziness.” And CNN, like the rest of the cable news operations, comes in for plenty of tough scrutiny in the documentary. As the magazine Variety noted in a review of “War Made Easy” a few days ago, “Fox News is predictably bashed here, but supposedly neutral CNN gets it even harder.”
CNN is among the news outlets at the core of the myth of “the liberal media” — perpetuated, in part, by the fact that people are often overly impressed by the significance of rhetorical attacks on some media organizations by more conservative outlets. (Before his resignation from CNN in 2005, Eason Jordan was himself subjected to denunciations from the right — for allegedly skewing news coverage to curry favor with the Baghdad government during Saddam’s rule and, after the invasion, for reportedly stating that U.S. troops had targeted some journalists in Iraq.) But antipathy from right-wing pundits is hardly an indication of journalistic independence. …
The Pentagon Channel
April 14, 2006
The Propaganda Channel and the Net Neutrality Debate
If you haven’t seen the “Pentagon Channel” produced by the Department of Defense, you’re missing a classic—and outrageous–propaganda effort aimed for U.S. audiences. This 24/7 “video news” network, as it calls itself, outshines even Fox News in its fealty to the official U.S. government line about Iraq. But since one of the channel’s star “talents” is Don Rumsfeld himself, it’s not surprising. What is shocking is that the U.S. is producing a channel for domestic use that is clearly propaganda—and should be taken off the many U.S. cable systems and satellite services that carry it.
With a program line-up that includes the daily “Freedom Journal Iraq” and “Around the Services” (from the Pentagon “NewsCenter-daily…military news from top Defense officials”) to “Inside Afghanistan,” and the “Stallion Report” ( “a bi-weekly news program from Mosul, Iraq”), the Pentagon Channel airs the official view. We are all fighting for “freedom.” We are winning the “hearts and minds” of the Iraq people, says one reporter for “Freedom Journal Iraq.” Scenes of “hunting bad guys,” and “missions of good will” are shown (including pictures of renovated schools displaying posters of Disney characters).
Major cable, satellite and telephone companies have given the U.S. government channel free carriage, including Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, Cox, and Echostar. The channel reaches about 12 million cable and satellite viewers; it’s also distributed in the U.S. and around the world on military bases. The channel is working to expand its distribution, including going after space reserved for public access channels (which were created to promote free speech—not governmental PR). This week the channel launched itself as a video and audio podcast via the Internet. Secretary of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld declared that he was “…pleased that we are using video casting and other increasingly important technologies to reach our global audience…”
The Voice of America is prohibited from airing its service in the U.S. The Pentagon Channel should also be similarly banned. We hope the Pentagon Channel will be scrutinized by more media critics and policymakers. Having a taxpayer-backed channel that promotes itself as “news” when it’s really about pushing an Administration’s political agenda should clearly be unacceptable policy.
But—now for the connection with network neutrality. In a world where the big cable and phone companies can dominate the U.S. broadband and TV market—expect more favorable treatment for such official government PR efforts. Whether it’s giving the Department of Defense a helping hand with its propaganda channel or turning over to the NSA and other agencies our personal communications—the big cable/telco broadband monopoly will strive to please officials. That’s where the quid pro quo deal making—let’s us control the network and we will treat you `right,’ is likely to occur. You can be sure that when Ed Whitacre of AT&T charges a Google for using what it considers its “pipes,” it will give the official view–such as the Pentagon Channel–a free, high-speed broadband ride.
FRANK CARLUCCI, THE LUMUMBA ASSASSINATION & AN INSTANCE OF HBO CENSORSHIP
“Carlucci” bleeped from HBO version of Lumumba
Ex-CIA official threatened lawsuit
By Joanne Laurier
15 March 2002
Home Box Office (HBO), the US cable television network, is currently broadcasting a censored version of Lumumba, the award-winning film about Patrice Lumumba, the first prime minister of independent Congo, assassinated by imperialist agents in January 1961.
Haitian-born director Raoul Peck’s work fictionally reconstructs Lumumba’s coming to power in 1960 and the intrigues which led to his brutal murder. The film shown on HBO is a version of the French-language original dubbed into English, which bleeps out the name of Frank Carlucci, a future deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and secretary of defense, in the dialogue and masks his name in the credits. At the time of Lumumba’s death, Carlucci was the second secretary at the US embassy in the Congo and, covertly, a CIA agent.
This attempt to keep Carlucci’s role in the Congo from television audiences follows the release of US government documents revealing that President Dwight Eisenhower ordered the CIA to murder Lumumba. Minutes of an August 1960 National Security Council meeting confirm that Eisenhower told CIA chief Allen Dulles to “eliminate” the Congolese leader. The official note taker, Robert H. Johnson, testified to this before the Senate Intelligence Committee in 1975, but no documentary evidence had been previously available to back up his claim.
Carlucci’s lawyers threatened Peck and distribution company Zeitgeist Films with legal action if the name of the former US official was not bleeped out of a scene that shows American Ambassador Clare Timberlake and Carlucci, along with Belgian and Congolese officials, plotting Lumumba’s assassination. Carlucci insisted that only the altered version of the film, with his name missing, could be used for mass market venues, such as television, video and DVD, allowing the original track to remain intact for theater showings. Zeitgeist officials said they were too small and weak financially to fight a case in court.
Carlucci is an immensely wealthy individual, with connections at the highest levels of the US government. Deputy chief of the CIA under Jimmy Carter and secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan, Carlucci is now chairman of the Carlyle Group, a private equity investment group with billions of dollars of assets in the defense industry. The company employs prominent ex-officeholders, such as former president George Bush, former British prime minister John Major and former president of the Philippines Fidel Ramos. Carlucci has the closest financial, political and personal ties to the Bush family. Other figures involved in Carlyle Group operations include former secretary of state James Baker, who headed up George W. Bush’s effort to block vote recounts in Florida in 2000 and hijack the presidential election. Carlucci has a long-term political relationship with his former classmate and wrestling buddy from Princeton, the present secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld.
At a January 24 screening of the film in New York held at the Council on Foreign Relations (CRF), publisher of Foreign Affairs magazine, Peck confirmed that the film had been changed in response to Carlucci’s legal threats. Despite considerable media presence at the event, during which Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, for one, raised a question about Carlucci’s name being removed, virtually nothing has appeared in the mainstream media about the issue.
The WSWS spoke with freelance journalist Lucy Komisar, who attended the screening and wrote an article about Carlucci’s action for the Pacific News Service. She commented: “This is censorship. This is a story that he [Carlucci] does not want to talk about. Although he was not in charge [of the CIA’s Congo activities in 1960], he was involved in what was going on. It is a part of his history. The honorable thing to do would have been to acknowledge that the Americans helped in doing away with a man who could have helped that region—that they supported Mobutu, who for decades led a brutal dictatorship which caused enormous suffering. I think the incident shows the extremes to which people like Carlucci will go to cover up actions they know were wrong—even to censoring a movie.”
The panel at the CFR screening included Brian Urquhart, chief assistant to Ralph Bunche, who headed up the United Nations (UN) mission in Congo during the Lumumba crisis. According to Urquhart’s own account of the affair recently published in the New York Review of Books, he was in touch with Lumumba on nearly a daily basis until the latter broke off relations with Bunche. Urquhart’s article, as his statements at the film screening, depicted the UN as an independent, neutral force that was, albeit reluctantly, helping Lumumba.
Contrary to Urquhart’s version of events, Peck’s film depicts the UN as an instrument of the US and Belgium and an accessory to the campaign of subversion mounted by the imperialist powers against Lumumba and the newly indepdendent Congolese government. Lumumba invited in the UN “peacekeepers,” but broke contact with them when their role became clear. UN officials and troops, in turn, refused to take any action to prevent his murder.
Carlucci’s attack on the film dates back at least to last summer. At a July 25 screening of Lumumba in Washington, DC, he was a panelist along with Howard Wolpe, the former congressman and chairman of the House subcommittee on Africa. Carlucci called the subsequently censored scene in the movie “a cheap shot.” He did make a mild—and thoroughly cynical—criticism of the US role. “Did [the United States] handle him [Lumumba] right?” Carlucci asked. “It’s clear we were too strident,” he replied.
In an interview with Komisar, Carlucci claimed that the US had “no role whatsoever” in plotting Lumumba’s death. He referred to Madeleine Kalb’s book, The Congo Cables, and asserted, “You’ll find no references to me.” As Komisar notes, “Carlucci has a bad memory.” Not only does Kalb’s book refer to Carlucci, it describes “the efforts by the US Embassy and the CIA to topple Lumumba.” The book, she writes, “contains documents by [US ambassador] Timberlake and CIA chief Lawrence Devlin talking about their desire and efforts to stop Lumumba, and even Devlin’s unhappiness [about] one leader’s refusal to commit murder. The State Department’s official ‘Analytical Chronology of the Congo Crisis’ talks about a plan ‘to bring about the overthrow of Lumumba and install a pro-western government…Operations under this plan were gradually put into effect by the CIA.’”
In a letter to Peck, Belgian Ludo De Witte—author of the recent book, The Assassination of Lumumba —also made clear that Timberlake, Devlin and Carlucci worked together “on Congolese efforts to get rid of Lumumba.” De Witte further commented: “We know that Devlin and other US personnel in the capital were informed about the transfer of Lumumba to the Kasai or Katanga… Everybody knew that there were waiting some subcontractors to do the dirty job, and, given the rank and involvement of Carlucci in Lumumba-related activities from the US embassy, we may assume (although it’s not proven) that Carlucci knew of what equaled a death sentence for Lumumba.”
After leaving the Congo, Carlucci was in Brazil at the time of CIA and US State Department efforts to overthrow the Goulart government, which lead to a military coup in March/April 1964. He was the US ambassador to Portugal during the years of intense revolutionary crisis in 1974-77, before returning to Washington and assuming top posts in the military and intelligence apparatus.
Carlucci’s efforts to suppress his role demonstrates that US complicity in Lumumba’s death remains a sensitive issue. The American establishment does not care for anyone to know that its interventions—past, present and future—are guided by the economic and political interests of US capitalism and often carried out by criminal and bloody means.
The bleeping of Carlucci’s name from Lumumba is not simply a matter of covering up the past. Carlucci remains a major figure in both the US state and the American corporate world, as well as within the Republican Party. The US, moreover, is intensifying its intrigues in Africa, and a reminder of its dirty past complicates its present-day activities on the continent.
The crude censorship of the film underscores as well the increasingly open assault on democratic rights and freedom of expression in the US.
Part Eight – Back to Cablevision: Conspiracy, Stock Fraud & Statutory Rape as Competitive Strategies
Continuing to lay out the world’s dirtiest laundry – you find it in the cable industry, not only stateside, but globally. In Peru, Australia, the UK, Pakistan … everywhere it’s the same repulsive picture: cable television is an instrument of criminal dictatorships. …
“Founded in 1973 as a cable television operator with 1,500 Long Island customers, today, Cablevision operates the nation’s single largest cable cluster, passing more than 4.5 million households and 600,000 businesses in the New York metropolitan area with our state-of-the-art fiber-rich network.” – http://www.cablevision.com/about/index.jsp
Attended John Carroll University …. Served briefly in the U.S. Air Force at the end of World War II.
Headquartered in Long Island, New York, Dolan organized Cablevision Systems in 1973. He had started in the cable TV business a decade earlier with Sterling Television, an equipment supplier. During the 1960s Sterling acquired the franchise for Manhattan Island and when Time, Inc. purchased Sterling, Dolan used the substantial proceeds to buy some Long Island systems that he turned into Cablevision Systems. … He also purchased and/or built cable TV systems across the United States, in Arkansas and Illinois, in Maine and Michigan, in Missouri and Ohio.
In 1988 Dolan added NBC as a minority partner. General Electric had recently purchased NBC, and prior to that had helped Dolan finance the expansion of Cablevision Systems. Thereafter Dolan, with help from NBC, moved into cable network programming in a major way.
The District Cablevision Scandal – On Marion Barry, Political Graft & the Hidden Hand of TCI
Origin of the company from the Cablevision Timeline: ” … 1985 establishes District Cablevision Limited Partnership (Washington DC cable tv unit, 75% owned by AT&T [originally Heritage Communications, founded by Jim Cownie], 25% by Cablevision) … “
How to make a killing in cable.
Thomas W. Hazlett | February 2000
Back in 1985, the bidding for the cable TV franchise in the nation’s capital brought out 100 brave entrepreneurs who invested $1.4 million in a company called District Cablevision. In November 1999, those selfless risk-takers finally cashed out. When the register stopped cha-chinging, they had ended up with $41 million–a whopping 29-to-1 markup. To understand just how fat a return that is, consider that over the same time the S&P 500 has grown a relatively lean 7-to-1.
To get into a deal as superb as the District Cablevision scam, you had to know someone. To be precise, you had to know Mayor Marion Barry–and know him well. The District Cablevision “investment team” included Barry’s advisers, friends in government, pals in business, and associates in politics–including a city department head, a Democratic National Committee member, and a big contributor to the mayor’s campaigns. These important folks were given 25 percent of the District Cablevision franchise, a $130-million investment, in exchange for about 1 percent of the actual capital cost.
This sort of deal–typical of the arrangements that helped wire America for cable–sanctioned a form of graft in the name of “the public interest.” In the late 1970s, when the feds finally allowed cities to issue cable franchises, it took only an instant for local bigwigs and cable operators to realize that they could combine forces and end up really rich.
District Cablevision and Subterfuge
Washington Business Journal – July 12, 1996
Word that the District of Columbia has closed its eyes to the true nature of District Cablevision’s ownership and management is highly disturbing, but not surprising. (See story, Page 1.)
The cable television operator has a virtual monopoly on cable television services in the District, yet it enjoys minority status under the city’s 1981 cable television law.
Indeed, a company wrapped in the cloak of a minority business is sending 99 percent of its profits to its real owner — TeleCommunications Inc. in Colorado.
This was not a blatant violation of the city law. TCI, a financial partner of the titular minority business, Robert Johnson’s D.C.-based BET Holdings, gained control of District Cablevision piece by piece, in full view of the D.C. city council.
Ownership and financing — even the board — are controlled by TCI, one of the largest communications companies in America. (Perhaps you remember the company for its billion-dollar bid to buy Time Inc. not too long ago.)
Each new level of control was approved by the city council, which was either asleep at the switch or so unaware of business that its members wouldn’t know a deficit from a hole in the ground.
We think both of the above council excuses were at work in the case of the District Cablevision subterfuge.
The company is clearly violating the spirit of the District’s 1981 law, which says that “rent-a-citizens” are specifically and strongly discouraged from fronting for other businesses.
Sanctions should be imposed against District Cablevision: It has been granted the right to operate a business with virtually no competition in our nation’s capital.
It’s time for an independent audit and for the council to unplug this sorry situation.
Hearst/Cablevision Newschannel – Lucrative Marriage
” … Hearst [for decades a fascist propaganda outlet; see esp. the books of George Seldes] participates in … a joint investment in the New England Newschannel with Cablevision, Inc. one of the country’s largest Multiple System Operators … ”
Cablevision and GE
” … Rainbow Programming Holdings [is] a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation. … Twenty-five percent of Rainbow is owned by General Electric’s NBC division. … “
Cablevision, RCA & GE Media Monopolization & Ronald Reagan
Che-Lives E-Zine: Fueling the Conservative Propaganda Machine – Media and Entertainment – January 10 @ 00:00:00 UTC
” .. the support of large corporations by the Reagan presidency allowed the reversal of anti-trust laws that led to the merger of General Electric and RCA, the two largest defense suppliers, during which the parties involved purchased nearly 2.7 billion dollars of broadcasting media including cable television channels and provider Cablevision. This excessive corporate power and cooperation with government elites threatens the act of self-government of the people that is guaranteed with a democracy. How can a truly ‘Free Press’ emerge from corporate system aided by the government? … “
Cablevision and the Oyston Affair
Owen Oyston is a multi-millionaire liberal publisher in the UK. He is a convicted statutory rapist. Oyston was also a left-wing media magnate, an associate of Tony Blair (see below), the grist of many tabloid scandal stories in the UK. A Cablevision executive in cahoots with the ultra-con Thatcher government engineered the “conspiracy,” as Oyston referred to it, to imprison him.
From the Lancashire Evening Telegraph (May 9, 1997): ” … tapes were handed over to Oyston by Murrin to support legal action against Lord Blaker [and Thatcherites] Atkins and Bill Harrison. On one tape, Lord Blaker is recorded as saying he wanted Oyston ‘behind bars.’ After Oyston was sent to prison, Lord Blaker’s solicitors issued a statement on his behalf in which he denied Oyston’s allegations and said he would have been prepared to give evidence in the trial of Oyston, if asked.The accised claimed complete innocence, but was forced to admit that some of the charges against him had merit.”
Owen Oyston served three years hard time as a result of Cablevision’s “conspiracy” against a feared competitor. The charges weren’t all false, but they weren’t all true, either. He had an affair with a 16-year old girl. It’s certain, however, that the conviction of Oyston benefited Cablevision and the Thatcher government greatly:
Our Friends in the North West: The Owen Oyston Affair [Lobster, issue 34 – 1998]
” … the fifties, a cold war warrior as Tory MP for Blackpool South from 1964, a junior Defence Minister and a Foreign Office Minister in the Thatcher governments. He has listed directorships in Central Lancashire Television, East Lancshire Cablevision, East Coast Cablevision and a consultancy with BT. LORD BLAKER has said his interests in these firms, which were rival bidders against Oyston for licences, prompted his moral and financial support for Murrin’s investigations into Oyston. Bill Harrison was a grocer who became one of Lancashire’s most successful property developers. … “
Wikipedia on Lord Blaker: “Sir Peter Allan Renshaw Blaker, Baron Blaker KCMG PC (born 4 October 1922) is a British Conservative politician. In parliament, he served as a Minister for the Army (1972-74), Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1974 and 1979-81) and the Armed Forces (1979-81). He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1983. He was MP for Blackpool South from 1964 until he retired in 1992. In 1994 he accepted a life peerage and became Baron Blaker, of Blackpool in the County of Lancaster and of Lindfield in the County of West Sussex.”
Oyston names conspirators
From the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, first published Thursday 9th May 1996.
MILLIONAIRE Owen Oyston told police he had been subjected to a “very nasty and vicious” campaign for 10 to 12 years.
In court this week, he named Lord Blaker – formerly Blackpool South MP Sir Peter Blaker – and ex-sports minister Robert Atkins, MP for South Ribble, as having mounted the conspiracy against him.
The colourful chairman of Blackpool Football Club, a life-long Labour supporter, told Liverpool Crown Court that he had 48 hours of tape recordings of conversations between Lord Blaker, Mr Atkins, Blackpool businessman William Harrison, a man named Michael Murrin “and a whole range of other senior people in the Conservative party”.
Oyston, 62, said the tapes showed Blaker, Harrison and Atkins “were running a conspiracy against me and members of the North West Labour Party.”
Earlier, Det Con Martyn Hughes had told the court, where Oyston denies raping two teenagers, that at the start of an interview in February last year the accused had told him he believed his arrest was linked to the alleged conspiracy.
The officer said Oyston had told him on his arrest at his home, Claughton Hall, near Lancaster, that it had come only three weeks before a civil case against the two politicians had been due to come before the High Court.
The civil action did not come to court because of “a lawyer’s mistake,” but was now being pursued through the European Court of Human Rights.
Oyston told the jury that at one time he was being investigated by the Fraud Squad, the Inland Revenue, the Drugs Squad, the City’s regulatory takeover body IMRO, international private investigators, the Insight team from the Sunday Times, and other newspapers.
“They tried to bring the world down upon me and others associated with me,” he said.
Replying to his defence counsel, Anthony Scrivener QC, he said he had been cleared of wrong-doing by all those bodies.
Yesterday (May 8) – the ninth day of the trial – Oyston repeated claims that the two Tory politicians had co-ordinated attacks on his business activities.
Oyston also spoke of staying frequently at the Hilton Hotel with the first girl in the case.
The girl, a model and former beauty queen, has told the trial Oyston raped her on the second occasion she met him.
Oyston told the court that he had spent thousands in cash and clothes on the girl over a period of years, adding: “I am embarrassed about the sums involved. I gave her money for a car, money for clothes.”
Oyston denies raping the woman at his home in 1989, when she was 18.
He also denies raping and indecently assaulting the second young woman when she was 16.
The tycoon and his wife Vicki divorced in 1982 and remarried six years later.
He said that in the intervening period, when he was chief executive of the Miss World group, he had “a lot of girlfriends”.
He added: “I have always had a great respect for women.
“I have never had this kind of problem. My character is totally without blemish. That is why I am so deeply distressed and I am also angry – that is the only thing that has kept me going.”
Oyston jailed for six years.
From the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, first published Thursday 23rd May 1996.
OWEN Oyston was last night (May 22) sentenced to a total of six years in jail after being found guilty of raping a young model and indecently assaulting her.
The judge, Mr Justice McCullough, told the 62-year-old Blackpool Football Club chairman: “She was young and vulnerable.
“I don’t believe she led you on in any way. It is impossible to know to what extent she has been traumatised by her experiences on that night.”
Oyston stood impassive in the dock at Liverpoool Crown Court as sentenced was passed. His wife Vicki smiled at him as he was taken down.
A few minutes earlier, after more than seven hours of deliberations, the jury had found Oyston not guilty of the rape of another young model, Girl A.
The judge said of Oyston’s attitude towards Girl B: “You have consistently placed your interests above hers and shown no remorse.”
He had denied raping Girl A in 1989 and Girl B in 1991 at his home, Claughton Hall, near Lancaster. The indecent assault took place in the back of a sports car as they were being driven to the castle.
Mr McCullough said: “You were 58: Miss B was 16. You were rich and powerful with a strong personality.”
He said Oyston had in many ways been generous to the community – but that was of minor relevance. “You thought you had got away with it.”
Oyston was sentenced to six years for the rape and three years for the indecent assault, both sentences to run concurrently.
Mrs Oyston spent five minutes with her husband in the cells, then left the court flanked by her family. Son Adam had a comforting arm around her, but she made no comment to the press.
A few minutes later they were followed by Gill Bridge, managing director of Blackpool Football Club, and family friend Louise Ellman, leader of Lancashire County Council.
Mr Michael Burne, solicitor for Oyston, said: “We will be looking carefully at grounds for an appeal.”
Earlier, the court had heard Mr Justice McCullough, in his summing-up, tell the jury that lies had undoubtedly been told from the witness box during the 16-day trial. But he reminded them that it was not a court of morals.
“In each case the evidence of the person making the allegations and the defendant differs starkly,” said the judge.
“Can it be explained by mistaken recollection or by imagination or is it that you have been told lies, indeed lie after lie after lie, in the form of deliberate perjury designed to mislead you into delivering a false verdict?”
He said the jury must use its common sense, knowledge of human nature and experience of life. It was not for him to suggest which witness or witnesses had lied but he added: “Lies, you may think, have undoubtedly been told.”
The judge said there were a number of similarities between the rape accounts given by the two models and asked if it was possible that they had put their heads together or that a third party had put them up to making false allegations against him.
“Might the similarities simply be explained by coincidence, or is the only realistic explanation that the defendant did behave in the circumstances and in the way they have described?”
The judge warned the jury to try the case without regard to their feelings.
“This is not a court of morals,” he said. “You must not let your feelings cloud your judgment.”
Wiki: … Oyston, who had a financial interest in a modelling agency, was accused of raping around six girls. However, he was acquitted on all but one of the charges after he admitted having relationships with his accusers. Much was made of the fact that Oyston’s only high-profile TV appearance during his acting career was in the 1970s TV series Crown Court. In the final case, relating to a girl who was around 16 years of age at the time of the offence in the early 1990s, he did not admit having intercourse with her and was convicted of a single offence of rape, for which he was jailed for six years. Oyston continued to insist on his innocence, claiming that he had been framed in an elaborate conspiracy involving business rivals and government ministers. The case and the preceding police investigation saw questions raised in the House of Commons, particularly by MP, Dale Campbell-Savours.
After his appeal against conviction failed, the Radio Authority ruled in December 1998 that he was not a fit person to own a radio station, and he was forced to relinquish control of The Bay (Morecambe Bay), Heart Beat 1521 (Craigavon), Gold Beat (Cookstown) and City Beat 96.7 (Belfast). He also stood down as chairman of Blackpool F.C.
He was released from prison in December 1999, thanks to a judicial review of the Parole Board’s refusal to grant parole. In the twelve months after his release, he was not seen in public, and became a recluse in his Claughton Hall home.
He continued to operate his various businesses, although he quit the position of director of the football club. He returned to estate agencies and to glossy magazines. He relaunched the “Oystons” estate agency and has revived two previously low-profile Ridings Publications titles, The Lancashire Magazine and The Yorkshire Magazine, with managers and journalists who previously worked with him on the “Life” series of county magazines.
Oyston was the subject of controversy again in 2007, when he was invited to a Labour Party fundraising event held by newly-appointed Prime Minister Gordon Brown on 12th July. A spokesman for Brown said, “Mr Brown did not meet Mr Oyston, nor was he aware of his presence in advance. Mr Brown has asked the general secretary of the Labour Party to investigate the circumstances, but he has already instructed him that any donation from Mr Oyston should not be accepted.”
Millionaire rapist Owen Oyston released on parole
Wednesday December 8, 1999
Owen Oyston, the millionaire businessman jailed for the rape and indecent assault of a 16-year old girl, was released from prison yesterday after serving 3 years of a six-year sentence.
Oyston, 65, was released on parole after a successful high court appeal against a parole board decision in October to deny him early release because he had not admitted the offences. He will have to sign the sex offenders’ register as part of the conditions of release. …
Oyston forced the girl to have oral sex with him in the back of a car before raping her at Claughton Hall in 1991 while another girl was present.
The girl brought a civil action against Oyston in March for psychological damage, which he settled out of court. She still receives help from the victim support scheme.
Oyston, who at one time owned the Miss World group, met the girl through a model agency run by his former friend, Peter Martin, an ex-policeman serving 20 years for the systematic rape and sexual abuse of girls put in his care by their parents.
At the time of the trial Oyston claimed he had been the victim of a dirty tricks campaign, and distributed a 72-page glossy booklet – “the Oyston file” – detailing the allegations to reporters as the jury considered its verdict. In it he claimed former Conservative ministers and a businessman had conspired against him. Yesterday he repeated allegations of a conspiracy, claiming police had been told by a businessman in the West Midlands three months before his arrest that he had paid £5,000 to a woman to “set Owen up”.
Oyston has appealed to the European court for his conviction to be overturned.
On Oyston and Tony Blair
Item from: Balding Celebrities, 20 September, 2007 – ” … a fundraising dinner for the Labour Party this week, alongside Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and a string of celebrities. Owen Oyston, who served three-and-a-half years in jail for attacking a 16-year-old girl, was invited by party chiefs to the 1,000-ahead. when their name is placed on a register of those formally under investigation. … “
More Lord Blaker and Conspiracy Accusations
‘Dirty tricks’ activist backs court bid
1999 | October | 15
From the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, first published Friday 15th Oct 1999.
FRANK MCGRATH, Deputy leader of Preston Council in the Thatcher years, is getting help from the political activist who spent 13 years trying to wreck his career in ‘a truly fiendish plot’.
Michael Murrin, a Preston insurance agent and former owner of a fish and chip shop in Longridge, ran an undercover campaign from his home in Goodwood Avenue, Fulwood, against the Labour councillor and his friend the millionaire tycoon, Owen Oyston.
But last week, over cups of tea at McGrath’s home in Fulwood, the two men agreed to co-operate on a case in which McGrath has been given legal aid to sue, among others, the chief constables of Lancashire and Merseyside and two former Tory government ministers over the theft of his income tax secrets.
The meeting between McGrath and Murrin followed the sudden death in hospital in August of the Blackpool property millionaire, Bill Harrison.
Murrin said his campaign against McGrath and Oyston had been partly-funded by Harrison, who had hosted Mrs Thatcher at his home on several occasions.
“I have been trying for years to find out who and what was behind this plot”, said McGrath. “During one of the many court cases, I learned from the Crown Prosecution Service that my political opponents had been reading my personal income tax files. I believe this was a breach of the Official Secrets Acts and that my records were illegally bought and sold.”
Initially, Murrin’s name was included with former Blackpool MP Lord Blaker and MEP, former South Ribble MP Sir Robert Atkins and Bill Harrison on the list of people being sued by McGrath.
“But”, said McGrath, “Michael Murrin agreed to come and talk to me about the dirty tricks campaign and show me his documents and tape recordings which reveal how a truly fiendish plot was mounted against me and my associates.
“The meeting went well and I have promised Michael that in view of the help he is giving me, I will be indemnifying him against any actions brought against him in the case.
“Although he was a persistent and dangerous political opponent I have discovered that I like him. It was just an accident that we ended on opposite sides of the political battle lines.”
For years Murrin campaigned to prove that McGrath, his leader Harold Parker, a former Mayor of Preston, and the Labour leader of Lancashire County Council, Mrs Louise Ellman were being influenced by friendship with the “socialist millionaire” Owen Oyston.
In 1987 McGrath had become a millionaire through his personal investment in Oyston’s Red Rose Radio. However, on August 7, 1991, a 20-man team of police detectives on “Operation Angel” conducted 19 raids on Preston Town Hall, the business offices and homes of Frank McGrath and Harold Parker and council officials.
Police revealed later that Murrin was one of the informants behind “Operation Angel”.
Twenty-one people, including Preston’s chief executive, deputy chief executive and deputy Labour leader were charged with various offences of corruption, conspiracy and theft.
But in the six years since the Angel raids, the only people convicted of any offences have been the owners of four small businesses and two minor council officials, all but one of whom had already been reported to police by the council before the police operations began. Lord Justice Nolan found that all the raids and searches on the council leaders were unlawful and all those charged under Angel with deception, corruption and conspiracy to defraud have had the charges dropped by the CPS or have been found not guilty in court and awarded defence costs out of public funds.
Deputy Chief Executive Hugh McClorry, who was sacked and charged with conspiring to defraud the Department of the Environment of £650,00, had the case against him dropped at Crown Court, won compensation for unfair dismissal and got a declaration from the council that there was “no incompetence and no misconduct” in his work. He is now the Town Clerk of Kendal.
When the CPS withdrew charges against Deputy Labour leader McGrath at Liverpool Crown Court, Mr Justice Forbes determined that all charges against the councillor had been “concluded in Mr McGrath’s favour”. No councillor was convicted of any offence.
McGrath said: “In December 1993, I was told that the cost of the investigations into my cases alone had passed the figure of £7.8 million. Angel police salaries alone, paid out by a hard-pressed force which has had to make many budget sacrifices, must have cost more than £3.5 million.”
He said the Angel team, which has run under two Chief Constables and three Commerce Branch chiefs, at times included 36 detectives, who visited Germany, Spain, Jersey and the Isle of Man in their investigations. “The amazing size of the investigation and its paltry fruit demand explanations from those in authority.”
This week Murrin said his long investigations had “cost me 14 years of my life and two businesses; I have been involved in three sets of bankruptcy proceedings. I haven’t a penny to hire lawyers.” It was time, he said, for “a full inquiry” and promised McGrath every assistance.
McGrath said : “The death of Mr Harrison will not seriously affect my legal action. I will sue his estate.”
Cablevision Receives DOJ Subpoena
Two directors resign from the audit committee
Stephen Taub, CFO.com
September 21, 2006
Cablevision Systems said it has received a grand jury subpoena from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York seeking documents related to its stock options issues. The company also said in a regulatory filing that it received a document request from the Securities and Exchange commission relating to its informal investigation into these matters. The company assured stockholders it intends to fully cooperate with the investigations.
In addition, the company said that Richard Hochman resigned from the board’s compensation committee and the audit committee, and Victor Oristano resigned from the audit committee. Hochman and Oristano said in their respective letters that they believe it is in the best interest of the company for them to step down from these positions in light of the public attention generated by the company’s restatement tied to the stock option review, as well as “the numerous shareholder lawsuits filed in the wake of that decision naming them, among others, as defendants.”
The company also announced that it has restated its financial statements for the three years ended 2005, all quarterly periods in 2004 and 2005 and the first quarter of 2006. As a result, the company adjusted its net loss by more than $89 million for the period January 1, 1997 through March 31, 2006.
Cablevision also reported that derivative lawsuits have been filed in New York State Supreme Court, Nassau County, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and Delaware Chancery Court, by shareholders acting on behalf of the company. The lawsuits name as defendants certain present and former members of Cablevision’s board and certain present and former executive officers, alleging breaches of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment relating to practices with respect to the dating of stock options, recordation and accounting for stock options, financial statements and SEC filings, according to the company’s regulatory filing.
In early August, the company said it had undertaken a voluntary review of its past practices in connection with grants of stock options and Stock Appreciation Rights (SARs). As a result of the review, the company determined that the date and exercise price assigned to a number of its stock option and SAR grants during the 1997 to 2002 period did not correspond to the actual grant date and the closing price of the company’s common stock on the actual grant date, it stated.
In addition to grant dating issues, the company’s review identified certain modifications made to outstanding stock option grants prior to 2002, principally extensions of expiration dates that were not accounted for properly, it reported in its filing.
Also, two awards of options and one option modification were incorrectly accounted for as having been granted to employees or modified for employees, it said. One of these two awards was to the company’s former compensation consultant (which was subsequently cancelled in 2003) and the other award related to an executive officer whose death occurred after the stated grant date of the award and before the actual grant date, the company noted.
“The company’s Board of Directors and senior management believe that the practices related to the granting of options … are contrary to the high ethical standards they believe should apply to all of the Company’s business practices,” Cablevision stated in its filing.
Cablevision Investors Sue Comp Advisor – Backdating backlash hits Cablevision’s former compensation
Consultant in what may be a first-of-a-kind lawsuit.
Stephen Taub, CFO.com – November 28, 2006
The options backdating scandal may be entering a new phase. Shareholders, suing Cablevision over its options practices, have filed an amended complaint alleging that the media company’s outside compensation consultant, Lyons Benenson & Co., knowingly participated in the illegal backdating of options. Reportedly, this is one of the first cases that accuses a compensation firm of playing a direct role in the scandal.
The amended suit, filed by Grant & Eisenhofer on behalf of shareholders led by the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana, alleges that Lyons Benenson attended compensation committee meetings during which backdated options were granted in violation of the company’s employee option plan, and that the consultant provided the committee with advice and documentation to facilitate the grants, according to a press release fired off by the law firm. …
“Just as shocking as the fact that these blatant violations occurred in the first place is that they took place under the watch of a supposedly independent compensation consultant,” said Stuart Grant, lead counsel to the plaintiffs’ group, in a statement. “As with the disclosure that the company had awarded options to its deceased vice chairman, the fact that a benefits consultant may have had a direct hand in the illegal backdating is another example of how Cablevision’s compensation practices reached some singular lows.”
In August, the cable giant said it plans to restate all of its financials dating back to 1997 stemming from a review of its stock options practices.
Part Nine – Fascism, Opinion Formation and Murdoch’s Use of Soccer as a Tool of Globalization
” … All you Muslims who have sat on your frickin’ hands the whole time and have not been marching in the streets and have not been saying, ‘Hey, you know what? There are good Muslims and bad Muslims. We need to be the first ones in the recruitment office lining up to shoot the bad Muslims in the head.’ I’m telling you, with God as my witness… human beings are not strong enough, unfortunately, to restrain themselves from putting up razor wire and putting you on one side of it. When things—when people become hungry, when people see that their way of life is on the edge of being over, they will put razor wire up and just based on the way you look or just based on your religion, they will round you up. Is that wrong? Oh my gosh, it is Nazi, World War II wrong, but society has proved it time and time again: It will happen. … “
Full story: http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3014
Mussolini in a Nutshell: Corporate Deregulation = Fascism
Deregulation is the third stage of cable development:
“… The involvement of governments in determining the course of development of cable systems has comprised three main stages. In the first stage, governments tried to ignore cable and prevent the establishment of cable infrastructure. In the second stage, governments regulated the technology in order to promote a national cable policy and encourage the overall development of the broadcasting media. In the third stage, although at different speeds and perceptions, governments deregulated cable by giving permission to market forces to dominate cable’s development and abandoning the social goals of cable policy.” – Yaron Katz, “The diminishing role of governments in cable policy,” European Journal of Political Research, Volume 38 Issue 2 Page 285-302, October 2000
Opinion Formation: Exactly How Low are the Cable Networks Willing to Go?:
Chris from Ohio Says – ” … Then there was that woman who sat there and said that lead on our toys and poison in our food is good b/c it means low prices at Wal-Mart. The cable news networks should have their funds cut off now. … ” – September 20th, 2007 at 10:27 AM – PDT
by David Neiwert
… Newspeak permeates the political environment right now. The core agenda of the Bush administration, mouthed by a hundred talking heads on cable TV, is now neatly summed up by two of the core truisms of Newspeak:
“War is peace.” [The purpose of the Iraq war, and the War on Terror generally, is to ensure peace and security at home, we are told.]
“Ignorance is strength.” [Consider the way Bush’s fumbled syntax and express anti-intellectualism is integral to his crafted image of homespun integrity.]
A Whiff of Fascism
by Carla Binion Online Journal Contributing Editor
Online Journal, April 7, 2003
… Lets focus on corporate/government control of the press, specifically corporate control of U.S. television news networks. According to a March 24 article, Protests Turn Off Viewers’by Harry A. Jessell, 45 percent of Americans rely on cable channels as their primary source of news, and 22 percent get most of their news from broadcast networks evening newscasts.
Only 11 percent rely on other forms of media as their principle source of war news.
Our corporate controlled TV networks might as well be state controlled, because they promote the war and Bush policies fairly consistently and have virtually eliminated all dissenting voices. … If youve spent much time watching the pro-Bush, pro-war cable television news programs, you cant help but notice they manipulate (whether deliberately or not) the viewing audiences emotions rather than appealing to viewers’ logic. …
According to Klaus Fisher, the Nazis eliminated from state media any ideas that clashed with official views. He writes that permissible media topics for public consumption included war itself and the Nazi movement; support of Nazi soldiers; praise for Hitler and celebrating the thrill of combat and the sacredness of death when it is in the service of the fatherland.
Todays Bush-friendly TV networks have also deemed only certain subjects permissible,’as evidenced by the irrefutable fact that they only cover a narrow range of subjects. Coincidentally, the proverbial network list’would read virtually the same as the list in the paragraph above. Permissible topics include praise for the war;’praise for the administrations policies; support for our soldiers; praise for Bush and the celebrating the thrill of combat and the sacredness of death when it is in the service of'(in this case) the homeland, even though there is no rational link between attacking Iraq and defending our soil.
Of course, who needs rationality or facts from TV news when the American public already has enough information about world events? In a March 26 article for Editor and Publisher, Polls Suggest Media Failure in Pre-War Coverage,’reporter Ari Berman refers to a Knight Ridder/Princeton Research poll. This poll showed 44 percent of respondents believed most’or some’of the September 11 hijackers were Iraqis. Only 17 percent gave the correct answer: none.
In the same poll, 41 percent said they believed Iraq definitely has nuclear weapons. As Berman points out, not even the Bush administration has claimed that.
Berman also refers to a Pew Research Center/Council on Foreign Relations survey showing that almost two-thirds of people polled believed U. N. weapons inspectors had found proof that Iraq is trying to hide weapons of mass destruction.’This claim was never made by Hans Blix or Mohammed ElBaradei.
The same survey found 57 percent of those polled falsely believed Saddam Hussein assisted the 9/11 terrorists, and a March 79 New York Times/CBS News Poll revealed that 45 percent of respondents believed Saddam Hussein was directly involved in the 9/11 attacks.
TV news reporters have done little to correct the publics misconceptions. On the contrary, network reporters and their guests have often helped bolster the false impressions by mentioning September 11, or the threat of terrorism by al Qaeda, and the threat’posed by Saddam in the same breath.
Individual TV reporters aren’t always free to choose the information they pass along to the public. CNN now has a relatively new script approval system, whereby journalists send their copy in to CNN chiefs for sanitizing.
The policy says, All reporters preparing package scripts must submit the scripts for approval . . . Packages may not be edited until the scripts are approved . . . All packages originating outside Washington, LA or NY, including all international bureaus, must come to the ROW [a group of script editors] in Atlanta for approval.
William Shirer comments on the Nazi party’s control of press, radio and film, Every morning the editors of the Berlin daily newspapers and the correspondents of those published elsewhere in the Reich gathered at the Propaganda Ministry to be told by Dr. Goebbels or by one of his aides what news to print and suppress, how to write the news and headline it, what campaigns to call off or institute and what editorials were desired for the day. In case of any misunderstanding, a daily directive was furnished along with the oral instructions. …
The content of television news lacks range and diversity, but the way the news is presented is also disturbing. Television reporters often deliver news of the war’with apparent breathless excitement, as if they’re giving play-by-play descriptions of football games. People are dying in this conflict.
Civilians are caught in the middle, being blown to pieces or losing loved ones. Children are left behind when their soldier-parents are killed. Instead of presenting news of this war’with giddiness, wouldnt it be more appropriate, more human, for network reporters to take a somber, respectful approach? …
Marie Cocco: Return of Cable TV’s ‘Experts’
Aug 21, 2006
By Marie Cocco
WASHINGTON—The voice on my phone tape was unmistakably young, and carried an undertone of panic. The caller said she’d heard from someone in New York that I knew John F. Kennedy Jr., and so could I possibly—please?—go on her cable-TV network that afternoon to talk about the tragic disappearance of his plane?
Befuddlement set in. Not only had I never met the son of the late president, but I couldn’t imagine how my name could be even loosely thrown about as someone who may have rubbed elbows with the handsome prince of tabloid dreams.
Was it because I’d worked as a journalist in New York, where the papers dutifully chronicled JFK Jr.’s life and loves? Or because I knew prosecutors at the Manhattan district attorney’s office, where Kennedy once had worked? It couldn’t possibly be my journalistic association with his uncle Ted, since even that consists—as it does for hundreds of others in the news business—of trailing the Massachusetts senator around Capitol Hill when he is in the thick of some legislative maneuver.
Well, maybe it had something to do with growing up in Boston, having a liberal political outlook and being Catholic—attributes, after all, that only a few million potential Kennedy family “experts’’ can claim. In truth, the closest I’ve ever come to Hyannisport was on a tourist boat that plied the waters off Cape Cod, the guide pointing out the beachfront that runs along the Kennedys’ iconic summer home.
No, I was sorry to tell the young producer when I belatedly returned her call, I didn’t know JFK Jr. Like most everyone else in July 1999, I merely watched in stunned sadness as yet another Kennedy family tragedy unfolded before us.
The odd exchange comes fresh to mind now because another summer has descended into delirious coverage of a made-for-tabloid-TV story. The arrest of a suspect in the decade-old murder of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey has rejuvenated the Roman circus of cable coverage—just when the infotainment industry had bored itself covering the apparently less titillating war in the Middle East.
They’re back—all back: the legal “experts,’’ most of whom have seen precisely none of the evidence compiled by the police, the district attorney’s office or the Thai authorities who picked up John Mark Karr; the shrinks who specialize in plumbing the darkness of the criminal mind, though none have probed Karr’s; the DNA specialists who admit they don’t know if Karr’s DNA sample matches the biological evidence found at the girl’s murder scene—but if it does, of course, then the case against him is a slam-dunk.
American journalism always has had a taste for the sensational—the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby and the over-the-top coverage of it predated the coming of cable by decades. But the loose standard for news that marks the era of cable television has no precedent.
Cable news organizations, unlike the broadcast networks, are faced with feeding the beast of round-the-clock airtime. But short of natural disasters and plane crashes, little genuine “news’’ breaks out 24 hours a day. So airtime is filled with an endless lineup of questionable commentators with limited claim on hard information. Thus did my name somehow turn up as a potential JFK Jr. acquaintance. After all, there seemed to be only six degrees of separation between us, when really there were about 6 million.
It is impossible for viewers to determine which “experts’’ are experts and which are peddlers of uninformed bunk who go on television because the appearances provide free advertising for lawyers, private eyes, psychiatric consultants, jury experts and others who might gain from some association with a high-profile crime. Not a few of these types wrongly convicted John and Patsy Ramsey of their daughter’s murder a decade ago, just as they concluded in 2001 that Gary Condit, then a member of Congress, must have been complicit in the murder of Chandra Levy, an intern with whom he’d had an affair. Levy apparently was the victim of a random assault.
Cable news routinely transforms local crimes into national crises—convincing a fair number of people that there really are terrible scourges afoot in which pregnant women such as Laci Peterson are brutally murdered, and teenagers on graduation trips disappear. The transformation of news into voyeuristic spectacle is a distraction from societal and political rot that isn’t given similar seriousness of coverage. And this will, one day when the circus is over, catch up with us.
Rupert Murdoch and the Politics of Soccer
From: “Television leaves the Broadcast Age”
New Politics Institute
… Rupert Murdoch, owner of Skynews, Fox and so many other media outlets has a global footprint, and is using soccer to create a global, universal product that can transcend cultural boundries.
This globalization of the English Premiere League has had a huge impact on the League itself. Seeking a global audience its teams have been much more aggressive about signing players from all the over world. You see many more Africans, Americans and Asians in England than any other European league. Yes the Spanish have their Brazilians, but most of the European teams still draw heavily from players in their home countries. They are not yet truly globalized. But I expect that will come.
As this globalized 21st century media platform emerges, sports is increasingly becoming the lingua franca, the media experience that binds people together in a much more fragmented and personal media world. Remarkable soccer goals often make the top 10 on YouTube. ESPN is emerging as the most powerful cable channel among the hundreds now available. Mastery of the emerging media of this century will mean many things, but one thing it will mean for sure is the ability to connect one’s values to sport, as the Republicans have with NASCAR and the NFL. What is the progressive response? We tried soccer last year, with great success. But there is clearly much more to be learned and tried in the years to come.
This is the html version of the file http://www.outfoxed.org/docs/outfoxed_storms_theatres_press_notes_7-30.doc.
OUTFOXED: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism
A Robert Greenwald Film
Produced and Directed by Robert Greenwald
Laurel Busby, Jim Gilliam, Kate McArdle and Devin Smith
Running Time: 77 Minutes
LOS ANGELES PUBLICITY CONTACT:
CINEMA LIBRE STUDIO
8328 DE SOTO AVENUE
CANOGA PARK, CA 91304
CINEMA LIBRE DISTRIBUTION
8328 DE SOTO AVENUE
CANOGA PARK, CA 91304
THE DIRECTOR’S INTRODUCTION
Making films can certainly take a toll on one’s physical and mental health. I don’t know how to describe the pain of watching hours and hours of Fox news. For myself, our great media monitors around the country, and the dedicated crew working on the film, it actually became physically painful as the hours of watching turned into weeks and then months. The combination of abrasive attack mode all the time, fear mongering 24/7 and gross amounts of overstatement and bias… well, it was no picnic.
We all owe a debt of gratitude to the media monitors (see the behind the scenes on the dvd to get a sense of their work) who were glued to the television for hours at a time, watching, noting, sending me thousands of pages of comments. Without them we could not have made the film.
There are some wonderful media activist groups working to change things. My most passionate wish is that you will see the film and then decide which groups to work with, support, or start your own, in order to effect change. We must change the media, to get the kind of country we want.
Finally, encourage all of you to take a look at the other films that I am part of that are raising issues for our country, the “Un series”, Unprecedented about the Florida 2000 election directed by Joan Sekler and Richard Perez, Uncovered: The War on Iraq, about the reasons for the war in Iraq, and Unconstitutional, about civil liberties after 9.11, directed by Nonny de la Pena.
The wondrous MoveOn.org and the critically important Center for American Progress helped bring these films to life. Please support both of these critical organizations.
ABOUT THE FILM
OUTFOXED examines how media empires, led by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, have been running a “race to the bottom” in television news. This film provides an in-depth look at Fox News and the dangers of ever-enlarging corporations taking control of the public’s right to know.
The film explores Murdoch’s burgeoning kingdom and the impact on society when a broad swath of media is controlled by one person.
Media experts, including Jeff Cohen (FAIR) Bob McChesney (Free Press), Chellie Pingree (Common Cause), Jeff Chester (Center for Digital Democracy) and David Brock (Media Matters) provide context and guidance for the story of Fox News and its effect on society.
This documentary also reveals the secrets of Former Fox news producers, reporters, bookers and writers who expose what it’s like to work for Fox News. These former Fox employees talk about how they were forced to push a “right-wing” point of view or risk their jobs. Some have even chosen to remain anonymous in order to protect their current livelihoods. As one employee said “There’s no sense of integrity as far as having a line that can’t be crossed.”
Director/Producer Robert Greenwald has produced and/or directed 53 television movies, miniseries and features. He is the director of UNCOVERED: THE WAR ON IRAQ and the Executive Producer of the UN series – Unprecedented, Uncovered and the soon to be released Unconstitutional.
Media Mafia Supplemental – Former Safety Board Official Joins Call to Stop CNN ‘Propaganda’
Former National Transportation Safety Board member Dr. Vernon Grose joined an independent group’s call to stop CNN from airing its controversial show on the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800. Dr. Grose called the CNN Presents show “a travesty for objective truth” when signing a petition sponsored by the Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization (FIRO).
FIRO’s petition calls on CNN to stop re-airing the show due to the group’s claim that it contains serious factual errors to support government conclusions. Dr. Grose, who appeared on CNN regularly in the days and months following the crash initially backed the government investigation. But that changed when he was briefed by military personnel, including an Air National Guard helicopter pilot in the air at the time of the crash.
Major Fred Meyer, a decorated Vietnam veteran who flew overland rescues during his tour told Grose he is certain a missile brought down Flight 800. Meyer saw missiles flying in Vietnam and says he saw one hit Flight 800.
CNN didn’t interview Major Meyer, but did interview eyewitness Naneen Levine. Although not a rescue pilot, Levine agrees with Major Meyer and thinks she saw a missile take out Flight 800. But CNN let an FBI official assert that she must have seen Flight 800 climbing sharply in the air after it exploded, and that the climbing aircraft looked like a missile. But Levine said that the missile traveled from the surface up to Flight 800, and arcing west. Flight 800 was already 2.6 miles up and heading east when it exploded, according to federal investigators.
And according to FIRO, this and other discrepancies spurred them to launch the petition. The most irresponsible segment in the show, according to FIRO and aerodynamics experts, was CNN’s animation of Flight 800 climbing sharply after exploding. The government’s own documents apparently refute this climb.
FIRO references the Safety Board’s “Main Wreckage Flight Path Study,” which compares FAA radar data of Flight 800 crashing to government simulations of Flight 800 climbing. If Flight 800 climbed sharply, it would have slowed down quickly due to the law of conservation of energy, like a bicyclist climbing a steep hill according to FIRO.
And if Flight 800, in reality, didn’t climb, the simulation data from a climbing aircraft would have quickly dropped behind the radar data of Flight 800 maintaining altitude or descending. And this is what the Flight Path Study shows: the simulations fall behind Flight 800’s true, radar-tracked course by a quarter mile in about eight seconds.
CNN has defended its decision to include an animation of the plane climbing sharply, saying that it cited the government as the source of the data used to create it. But CNN has not explained why the show did not discuss their animation’s conflict with Flight 800’s radar-tracked course or the implications to the government’s explanation of the eyewitness accounts if, as the radar record apparently shows, Flight 800 did not climb at all.
FIRO’s petition can be viewed or signed here: http://tinyurl.com/39e5gb
Part 10 – Hookers, Thugs and Lies at Time Warner
TIM ARANGO, DAN MANGAN and HEATHER GILMORE
Time Warner (TWX) yesterday said it’s probing whether its chief financial officer used company funds to act as a “sugar daddy” for a buxom young Brazilian woman accused of running a high-end Manhattan call-girl ring.
The probe was spurred by alleged madam Andrea Schwartz’s claims that the married Wayne Pace, 56, showered her with gifts, clothes and cash, and even helped her buy an apartment during a four-year relationship that began after he met her in the bar of the Four Seasons hotel.
“While there have been no allegations of illegal behavior regarding Mr. Pace, and this appears to be a personal matter, we are taking appropriate steps to confirm, and Mr. Pace has assured us, that there was no misuse of corporate assets or other improprieties with respect to this matter that would affect Time Warner and its shareholders,” the company said in a statement.
Schwartz, 31, denies charges that she operated a prostitution ring out of her $1.2 million West 58th Street condo, where police said clients were charged between $700 and $1,500 for a variety of sexual services. She remains jailed on Rikers Island. Pace’s lawyer said Time Warner’s investigation will not uncover any financial misdeeds by the executive, who last year earned $3.7 million in salary and bonus at the company, which owns CNN, Time Warner Cable, People magazine and other media entities.
“This matter is purely personal and has nothing to do with Time Warner, Time Warner funds or with Mr. Pace’s position at Time Warner. Mr. Pace was not involved in any illegal conduct, and he was unaware of the alleged improper conduct now attributed to Ms. Schwartz,” said Mark Pomerantz, Pace’s lawyer.
“Mr. Pace deeply regrets the embarrassment he has caused his family and his employer,” said Pomerantz, who has admitted his client knows Schwartz.
Pace’s wife, Bobbi, was asked about the scandal yesterday outside a grocery store in Atlanta, where she and her husband of 35 years are pillars of local society.
“I have no comment whatsoever. Please leave me alone,” a visibly shaken Bobbi Pace said frostily before climbing into her Mercedes-Benz and driving back to the couple’s gated mansion in the exclusive neighborhood of Buckhead.
Meanwhile, the halls of the world’s largest media company were abuzz with chatter about the weekend revelations that Pace, who showed up for work at the Time Warner Center, had been Schwartz’s “sugar daddy.”
“I’m pretty friggin’ shocked,” said one Time Warner insider. “Obviously he knew this woman. Obviously they had some kind of relationship.”
Pace’s lawyer has denied their relationship was “inappropriate.”
Time Warner brass did not formally communicate with employees yesterday about the scandal.
“We’re all sort of amazed about the lack of response from Time Warner,” the insider said.
Sources said company boss Dick Parsons is sticking by Pace for the moment, pending the outcome of the internal probe.
Pace already had been expected to retire by the end of 2007.
If the probe clears Pace of any wrongdoing involving company funds, he would likely keep his job.
“The first thing he has to do is a mea culpa,” said another insider. “What’s incredibly sad about it is that he’s such a great guy. He’s a sweet, Southern guy.”
Time Warner Assault Case
HBO chief executive Chris Albrecht was forced out by Time Warner following his weekend arrest on suspicion of assaulting his girlfriend in Las Vegas.
Albrecht, who said Tuesday he was taking a leave of absence to regain control of his alcoholism, said a day later that he was resigning as chairman and CEO “at the request of Time Warner.”
His resignation also came after the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday that HBO in 1991 paid a settlement of at least $400,000 to a subordinate and former lover of Albrecht’s after she accused him of shoving and choking her.
“This is the right decision for the company,” said Time Warner chairman and CEO Richard Parsons. “We thank Chris for all his contributions to Home Box Office over the years.”
Albrecht had been chief of programming at HBO since 1995 and became CEO in 2002. He presided over the company’s greatest successes with “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City,” but the company was having trouble developing its next generation of hits.
Bill Nelson, HBO’s chief operating officer, will run the company until a permanent chairman is selected, Time Warner said.
Albrecht was arrested for assault outside the MGM Grand’s valet parking lot shortly after 3 a.m. on Sunday, after officers reported seeing him fight with a woman identified as his girlfriend. On Tuesday, Albrecht said he had a drinking problem and, though he had been sober for 13 years, had recently slipped back into drinking.
Of his resignation on Wednesday, Albrecht said that he did it “for the benefit of my Home Box Office colleagues, recognizing that I cannot allow my personal circumstances to distract them from the business.”
The Los Angeles Times story about the 1991 incident said Albrecht had been involved with a woman who worked for him at the time at HBO Independent Productions. The company reportedly paid the settlement following an encounter that occurred after the woman told Albrecht she was dating someone else.
When the Coalition Kills and CNN Lies
Thursday, 27 March 2003, 10:24 am
Column: Firas Al-Atraqchi
When the Coalition Kills and CNN Lies
By Firas Al-Atraqchi
The images of carnage and severed bodies are quite telling. On Wednesday, coalition fighter jets bombed what they claimed were missile launchers located ‘near’ civilian areas in Baghdad. Instead, they hit a bustling marketplace in the heart of Baghdad.
The BBC’s Rageh Omar was one of the first western journalists to reach the area: “I saw human remains, bits of severed hands, bits of skull. Al-Shaab is a residential district. I saw people in apartment blocks throwing out their belongings attempting to leave. It was a scene of confusion as emergency services tried to rush to the scene.Our correspondents were unable to find an obvious military target in the area.” ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2888429.stm)
Al Jazeera also made it to the scene and was able to film dead bodies being removed from the rubble, some dismembered, others covered entirely in dust and blood.
Images that were broadcast into the homes of more than 50 million Arabs in the Middle East and around the world.
CNN would not budge. They refused to acknowledge that such civilian deaths had occurred. Instead, they persisted in one of their banner headlines that “Iraqi civilians are being killed by Iraqis, not coalition”.
They didn’t show footage.
Al Jazeera reports that some 40 civilians have been killed with 300 wounded.
No such report from CNN. Instead, we are privy to regurgitated reports from ’embedded’ journalists.
Finally, by the afternoon CNN dedicated a whole four seconds of coverage to the marketplace massacre.
Nevertheless, Al Jazeera continues to bring the impact of coalition ‘precision’ bombing on Iraqi civilians. An Al Jazeera crew in Basra filmed women and children being brought into a Basra hospital for treatment. Most were covered in blood. One child had his shoulder severed. This is the uprising the coalition has been talking about.
(Someone is irked by Al Jazeera. The Al Jazeera website has come under heavy hacker and denial of service attacks and effectively shut down. There are unconfirmed reports at this time that certain agencies may have been involved in the Al Jazeera attacks)
These images are incensing Arab public opinion, turning Arab populations against their leaders, and directly threatening U.S. and U.K. interests in the region.
For their part, the Pentagon says: “Any casualty that occurs, any death that occurs, is a direct result of Saddam Hussein’s policies”.
The Iraqis who once opposed Saddam, but have now vowed to oppose the coalition forces might disagree.
– Firas Al-Atraqchi can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
TIME WARNER CEO RICHARD PARSONS COVERUP OF MURDER-FRAUD & CORRUPTION
TIME WARNER-CNN-FBI HARASMENT AGAINST THE WATCHDOG GROUP
TIME WARNER ENTERTAINMENT CEO RICHARD PARSONS (212)-484-8000
The Watchdog group website:
COMPLAINT against Time Warner for damages in the amount of two billion, six hundred twenty million, eight hundred thousand lawful United States dollars ($2,620,800,000.00). See Seventh Amendment. HEE HEE
TIME WARNER ENTERTAINMENT CORRUPTION & COVER-UPS
“It also appears that CEO Parsons is now using his political influence with President Bush to head off a government investigation looking into the failed murder attempt of filmmaker Gyorgy Fodor, as well as bank frauds and corrupt influence on a large number of U.S. federal judges, including the Chief Justice of the United States, all perpetrated by AOL Time Warner executives, during Parsons’ tenure as President of the Company. No wonder that CEO Persons is calling the murderous Gerald Levin “a teacher, and a mentor.”
Years before the Enron scandal broke, Filmmaker Gyorgy Fodor provided proof to Chief Justice Rehnquist that one of AOL Time Warner Inc’s banks, Morgan Guaranty Trust, A J. P. Morgan subsidiary, conspired with AOL Time Warner to forge back dated, bogus checks, purportedly showing non-existent financial transactions, submitted into evidence in a Federal court case, to help AOL Time Warner Inc. to avoid a fifty million dollar liability.
Here is what Dr. David Crown, former Chief of the CIA’s Questioned Document Laboratory, stated under oath regarding one of the checks forged by AOL Time Warner Inc.: “Incredible. Banks don’t change their bank stamps from the 19th to the 22nd, and if they accept money on the 20th, they don’t process it the day before.”
MUST READ LINKS
Pull CNN’s Plug!
By Gary Aldrich (04/18/03)
Imagine you’re living in a totalitarian state where a dictator controls what you see or hear. Imagine being held captive in a room for a minimum of an hour while being forced to watch and listen to whatever the dictator decides is “news.”
You have no choice because you’re not allowed to change the channel. You can’t turn the sound up, down, or off. Becoming alarmed, you find that there is nobody present who knows how to turn it off.
Even in an emergency, when people need to be paying close attention to other information, the dictator’s propaganda drones on and on.
Becoming annoyed, you wonder if your glassy-eyed neighbors are aware that the dictator and his state controlled media are lying to them. …
Corruption Perception Index #12
Public Campaign. Posted October 24, 2000.
* Date that Time Warner announced that the company would no longer make soft money contributions to the political parties: 11/17/99.
* Date that Timothy Boggs, the company’s senior vice president for global public policy, gave $20,000 in soft money to the Democratic National Committee (DNC): 2/28/2000.
* Number of issues where, because of foregoing soft money contributions, Time Warner lobbyist Timothy Boggs then said “we’re going to have to work harder to make our case on the merits”: “a few.”
* The amount at stake in Time Warner’s proposed merger with AOL: $183 billion.
* Date of announcement of planned merger: 1/10/2000.
* Date that Timothy Boggs, the company’s senior vice president for global public policy, gave $20,000 in soft money to the Democratic National Committee (DNC): 2/28/2000.
* Date that the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hosted a hearing on the Time Warner/AOL merger: 3/2/2000.
* Date that Robert A. Daly, an executive with Time Warner’s Warner Brothers subsidiary, gave $50,000 in soft money to the DNC: 4/28/2000.
* Date that Richard Parsons, Time Warner’s president, gave $50,000 in soft money to the Republican National Committee: 6/30/2000.
* Total reported Time Warner campaign contributions — PAC, individual, and soft — to federal candidates and parties for the 2000 elections, with several months left to go: $1.3 million.
* Total amount Time Warner contributed in the entire 1996 election cycle, before company took pledge not to give soft money — $1.4 million.
* Status of planned merger, which needs federal regulatory approval: pending.
For more information (and for detailed sourcing on these statistics) go to www.publicampaign.org.
Time Warner To Comply With Wiretap Law
Mar 17, ’04
rekkanoryo writes “Time Warner Cable is taking steps to comply with the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act, which requires telecommunications providers ‘to help police conduct electronic surveilance.’ Note that broadband providers are not yet required to comply with the law, but the FBI has stated its desire to force broadband providers under the law’s jurisdiction. Invasion of privacy anyone?”
Link to Scandal Lays Low AOL Time Warner
By Simon English in New York
A barrage of fresh allegations against AOL Time Warner sent the shares plunging yesterday as it emerged that investigators are probing links between the media giant and two of America’s disgraced telecom companies.
AOL Time Warner executives are also under scrutiny for cashing in millions of dollars in shares at a time when the company now admits it might have exaggerated advertising revenues. There were rumours on Wall Street that the internet-to-magazine behemoth might also be forced to make another writedown in the value of its assets. …
Democrats, Corruption and Loopholes
… Democrats must have a cadre of people working “round the clock” to find ways to skirt the state Ethics Laws.
Take this example.
Lobbyists in North Carolina for Time Warner Cable – just to pick an example mentioned in The News and Observer – are banned from contributing to Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue’s campaign for Governor.
So, Perdue motors up I-40 and solicits their ‘brothers-in-law’ in Washington. Time Warner’s lobbyists in Congress. All legal. But pretty clearly undercutting the law banning lobbyist donations Perdue supports. …
CNN COMMITS FRAUD AGAINST ADVERTISERS BROADCASTING FALSE NEWS STORIES
‘Bert Kinzey Tells The “Truth” About CNN – BreakTheChain.org
I explained how the news media, particularly CNN, inaccurately reported the war, misstating the facts, and in many cases deliberately telling outright lies. I dedicated an entire chapter to a dishonest CNN report about the B-1 bomber and evaluated its inaccuracies line by line. I illustrated that the report was full of lies, and these were about clearly established facts and not about someone’s opinion.
When the Coalition Kills and CNN Lies
CNN would not budge. They refused to acknowledge that such civilian deaths had occurred. Instead, they persisted in one of their banner headlines that “Iraqi civilians are being killed by Iraqis, not coalition”.
They didn’t show footage.
The 3,500 people at the Reclaim the Streets rally just didn’t count. The 8,000-10,000+ people (including RTS) at the Another World Is Possible(AWIP) march also didn’t count. The police storming the crowd without provacation isn’t worth mentioning. The 1,000-2,000 Falun Gong protesters didn’t matter! Only the ANSWER folk seemed to have been counted! Outrageous and ridiculous! The NY Times is slightly better.
in my part of the world, cnn and other mainstream u.s media are considered (popularly) as giving a skewed and judgemental view of most issues… considering how cnn is basically a corporate organization, one shouldnt expect all so much… corporate journalism and journalists will not stake anything in the search for truth and other such baloney
Pull CNN’s Plug!
CNN continually lies to that audience who are no less captive than zoo chimpanzees. CNN admits that they lie about important things; matters that can and do impact on our national security. I think that CNN mostly lies about corrupt and abusive dictators and politicians in faraway lands, and sometimes right here at home. CNN tends to accept lies told by Hard-Left politicians, government officials and dictators like Saddam Hussein, and Fidel Castro. They say they do this to keep access, and to protect their reporters.
How CNN edited Blix’s transcript (UPDATED)(a MUST READ )
For comparison, here is the text of the report at the UN and Fox News. Those who are entertaining the notion that perhaps the BBC’s version is the inaccurate one can rest easy that CNN’s transcript also differs from that made available at the UN. For posterity, there’s a cached copy of the CNN article here, in case it’s updated over at CNN.
THE CNN SEMANTIC STING
The most trusted name in news, but not the most trustworthy!
Lesson learned: The viewing public must think for themselves. They must begin to ask the right questions and expect credible answers. Americans have the right to re-discover what true journalism is all about. It has been missing for so long that millions upon millions of Americans trust a pathetic organization like CNN to keep them informed.
Lies, More Lies, and CNN’s Lies
I believe that CNN’s actions have been as damaging to democracy and the free world as any of the vilest propaganda ever spread by Josef Goebbels, Josef Stalin, the Grand Mufti, Yasser Arafat, or Saddam Hussein. For twelve years CNN hid the truth, covered-up facts, and fabricated ridiculous moral-equivalency scenarios. Millions of people around the world have been influenced by these lies and deceptions.
MOSAIC OF LIES
Tracing the pattern of WMD lies back to the source
The author of the Post piece was silent on the question of which foreign government. However, CNN was quick to cite government officials who said:
“They got the documents from the intelligence service of another country, which was not Britain and was not Israel, which they will not name.”
That was another lie.
NPR Criticizes Own Reporter – UN Journalist Took Money from Ted Turner
March 3, 2005
WASHINGTON — In response to criticism from Accuracy in Media (AIM), taxpayer-funded National Public Radio (NPR) has announced that its U.N. correspondent, Linda Fasulo, acted inappropriately in accepting money from Ted Turner to write a pro-U.N. book. NPR spokesman David Umansky says that “no reporter will be able to accept similar subsidies in the future,” the network reported. NPR noted that “critics say the deal proves she’s too cozy with the UN.” Fasulo also covers the U.N. for NBC News and MSNBC.
AIM editor Cliff Kincaid said that a total of $26,000 from pro-U.N. sources went to Fasulo, a reporter who is supposed to objectively cover the U.N., in “a conflict of interest that calls into question her coverage of U.N. issues.”
The NPR News Code of Ethics and Practices requires that its reporters avoid “actual and apparent conflicts of interest or engaging in outside activities, public comment or writing that calls into question our ability to report fairly on a subject.” In Fasulo’s case, she was reporting on the U.N. for NPR as she was accepting money from Ted Turner’s U.N. Foundation to do her pro-U.N. book.
During a February 8 appearance on Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor Kincaid said, “The problem is that any news organization that is expected to cover the United Nations objectively should not have a U.N. correspondent taking money…” Kincaid continued, “the acknowledgement section of the book only says that she acknowledges generous financial support from the U.N. Foundation set-up by Turner and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. No amounts were given.” He continued, “When The New York Sun followed up on [AIM’s] original report by asking how much money she actually got, she didn’t want to say.”
May 12th, 2007…12:18 am
UPDATED:New postal rate scheme written by Time Warner threatens existence of small magazines
This 30-40% rate increase for small magazines is yet another assault on the intent of the founding fathers and long-standing American tradition. It is also a blow to the small business man, to our literary and political discourse, and to freedom of speech. This will be the knockout punch to many small but important journals.
A great Bushco/GOP twofer: Cosmo, Forbes, People and the corporate profits will be spared, and the liberal exchange of ideas will be stifled. We have to get Congress to act.
In late April, the 26-year-old publisher of the independent music and fiction magazine Verbicide got word that starting on July 15, his shipping rates would increase by somewhere between 30 and 40 percent. [while the large-circulation publications will pay perhaps 10% more]
“It’s not going be the thing that kills me,” he says via phone from his office in Vermont, “but coupled with the lack of advertisements and the general slump in print publications, it could be the thing that pushes me over the edge….
Ellis’s sentiment is shared by plenty of other independent publications such as the Nation, the National Review and Mother Jones, who are stupefied that they’ll be paying more in periodical postage while larger publications will pay only around 10 percent more. Then again, maybe it’s not all that surprising once you learn where the proposal originated: Time Warner.
The proposal was accepted by the Postal Regulatory Commission on March 19, in lieu of a universal increase that the U.S. Postal Service suggested — an unprecedented milestone that implies something even scarier: the privatization of the Postal Service, which could, in effect, undo 215 years of universal postal policy…
“They got lobbied by these billionaire publishers — and that said enough to them.” He continues: “They aren’t concerned with free press and keeping it affordable. Whether or not the postal rates are high or low, at least they’ve always gone up the same amount for everyone until now, whether you’re Time Warner or my company, Scissor Press.”
And that’s not the only problem for small publishers. In addition to the price of stamps increasing from 39 to 41 cents, the Postal Service is also discontinuing international surface mail and raising the rates for media mail, both of which were created to make the distribution of information affordable and accessible.
Last year, the last independent magazine distributor, Independent Press Association, went out of business and took many smaller magazines off the newsstands — and now these latest post hikes could make the prospect of independent publishing even more dismal. “I don’t think we deserve this,” Ellis admits with a sigh. “I feel like I’ve worked really hard, and I’ve been running a really honest business for a long time, and instead of getting some respect, the industry and the government are turning their back on me.”
In fact, at this point, he’s considering giving up the magazine altogether — a sentiment that’s likely to be echoed by many of his peers who also lack six-digit circulation numbers or parent companies. “
This is very bad, and very un-American; the founding fathers intended that the postal service would play an important role in disseminating information, and by that they didn’t mean the shit that TimeWarner turns out. This is another blow to the publishing industry, particularly that part that makes ideas and literature available.
Please write to your Congresspeople to get this reversed.
UPDATE: From the Boston Globe:
The Nation says its costs could jump by $500,000. But this isn’t just whining about the rising costs of doing business. This is a clash pitting big-time publishers against small journals that enrich the public debate far more than their modest budgets suggest. …
The Postal Service’s mission, set by federal law, is to “bind the nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people.” It has a history of protecting the spread of information. So whether grandma lives down the street or in another time zone, a stamp for her birthday card costs the same.
Price protection has also been crucial for small magazines, helping them to add politically and socially diverse voices to the public arena. “In short, the post office and press together constituted the most important mechanism for the dissemination of public information at least until the Civil War,” Richard B. Kielbowicz writes in his book “News in the Mail: The Press, Post Office, and Public Information, 1700-1860s.”
Now, of course, there’s the Internet, which makes publishing seem easy and cheap. But as The Nation’s president, Teresa Stack, says, mailing out copies to paying subscribers is still largely how small magazines make money. Web content is often an extra that doesn’t generate income. Without income these publications can’t survive, and the public loses out when those voices are silenced.
Congress should take a fresh look, and pursue a more public -minded rate plan. The post office is no longer a federal agency, and it does have to support itself. But the country still needs a mail service that protects public access to as much information as possible.
Media Mafia Supplemental – Hearst CEO Sues His Mother
Also see re the Hearst-owned cable network: “ESPN Honors Media Coverup of Jonestown Murders”
Hearst CEO Sues His Mommy
Exclusive: Esquire’s owner isn’t playing nice with his 84-year-old Florida retiree mother
by Kelly Cramer
October 9th, 2007
Victor Ganzi has done well for himself, so why is he suing his mom?
The lawyer is president and CEO of the Hearst Corporation, which is headquartered in the zigzag-shaped Hearst Tower on West 57th Street and owns magazines ( Esquire, Cosmopolitan), newspapers (the San Francisco Chronicle, the Albany Times Union) and, with Disney, several television networks (ESPN, Lifetime).
If Ganzi isn’t quite the modern equivalent of the company’s media-tycoon founder, William Randolph Hearst, he’s still come a long way from the days when his dad, Walter Ganzi, was a humble bartender at the Palm, the family’s Italian restaurant on Second Avenue.
Walter’s father, John Ganzi, co-founded the restaurant in 1926, and Walter went on to manage the Palm as it became one of the most prestigious steakhouses in the country (Walter died of a heart attack in 1994). Today, his four sons are doing quite well. Walter Jr. now runs the Palm empire, which extends from Denver to Miami. John Ganzi is a banker, and Frederick Ganzi is a doctor. And Victor runs his media empire from Hearst Tower, no doubt grateful for his dad’s way with steaks.
It’s his mother, however, that’s giving him heartburn.
Gertrude Ganzi, 84, lives in a condominium in Hallandale Beach, Florida, about 15 miles north of Miami, with her 59-year-old second husband, Daniel Vola, who was once her driver. Vola used to chauffeur Gert around her Long Island neighborhood in a Town Car.
After her 50-year marriage to Walt Ganzi, Gert says she was lonely. Vola, she says, breathed life back into her existence.
“People ask about the age difference all the time, and I tell them that is none of their damn business,” she tells the Voice. “Dan is a sweet guy. I’m lucky—I’ve had two good husbands. I’m very lucky.”
But during the 10 years that they courted before finally marrying in 2005, Gert says her sons repeatedly expressed their dislike for Vola.
The family feud escalated after the 2004 season of hurricanes that battered Florida and Gert’s condo. She asked for extra money from her trust account to fix water and wind damage, and she and Vola also decided to move into a larger, nicer condo than the aging one she and Walter had bought in 1982.
But Victor Ganzi, administrator of the trust, refused to release the funds. She began suspecting that her sons were raiding her multimillion-dollar trust, and she hired an attorney, who began sending Victor and his brothers letters accusing them of civil theft, as well as other legal notices.
In August 2006, Gert’s four sons sued their mother in New York Superior Court in Suffolk County. They asked a judge to declare that they had done nothing wrong in handling their mother’s trust. And they contended that Vola had only married their mother for her money.
“Dan’s not that kind of person,” Gert says. Last month, Gert filed her own lawsuit against her four sons, demanding control of her own funds and the return of any money they may have taken.
Fredric Zinober of Tampa, one of at least five attorneys working for the Ganzi sons, called Gert’s claims baseless and says, “We intend to litigate aggressively.” Through another attorney, Victor Ganzi declined to comment.
“I was close to my children all the way down the line,” Gert says. “I really, truly don’t know what went wrong. . . . Sometimes I think they’re jealous.”
Gert and Vola did manage to move into the nicer condo after her attorney negotiated the release of some money from her trust fund, but she won’t go into any further detail about her finances.
On a recent sunny day in Hallandale Beach, Vola steered the couple’s silver Mercedes SUV as they showed a reporter the neighborhood and the new condo. Afterward, the couple was going out for a bite to eat.
But not at the Palm. Although family members are supposed to eat for free, the last time Gert and Vola visited the chain’s Miami restaurant, she says the manager told them that Walter Jr. wanted them arrested if they didn’t pay for their meal.
They haven’t been back since.
Afterword: Ganzi etal. Keen On Condoleezza
THERE were so many black cars in front of the American Express headquarters downtown Monday morning, some CEOs actually had to walk a couple of blocks to get to the New York City Partnership power breakfast with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Spellbound were Rep. Charles Rangel, Rupert Murdoch, AmEx chief Kenneth Che nault, p.r. giant Howard Rubenstein, former Rep. Harold Ford, Richard Nixon son-in-law Ed Cox, mayoral hopeful John Catsimatidis, Rudy Giuliani best friend Peter Powers, Black stone Group boss Steve Schwarzman and Hearst Corp. CEO Victor Ganzi. “No one left early,” said one participant.
In a new lawsuit, former book publisher Judith Regan, who ran HarperCollins, claims that an unnamed executive at her parent-company, News Corporation, “encouraged her to lie to federal investigators about her past affair with Bernard B. Kerik.” Regan says the “executive wanted to protect the presidential aspirations of Rudolph W. Giuliani.”
Though a News Corp. spokesperson dismissed the lawsuit as having “no merit,” Giuliani and the company — specifically its subsidiary Fox News — have a long-history of friendship and preferential treatment. In fact, Fox’s start was directly aided by Giuliani when, as mayor of New York City, he “intervened” after the company was “blocked from securing a cable station in the city”:
In 1996, when Mr. Ailes and Rupert Murdoch started Fox News, Mr. Giuliani intervened as mayor after Time Warner cable refused to carry the new station in the city. Time Warner, which had 1.1 million subscribers in the city, said it had room for only one more news station, which it had just awarded to MSNBC.
Fox accused Time Warner of trying to protect CNN, which Time Warner was buying. On Sept. 20, 1996, Mr. Ailes called Mr. Giuliani to ask for help. A flurry of meetings followed, but Time Warner did not budge. Three weeks later, the Giuliani administration said it would broadcast Fox News on a municipal-run station, citing the benefits of offering diverse news sources and protecting the 600 jobs Fox had created. […]
But a federal judge blocked his plan, calling it “special advocacy” to “reward a friend and to further a particular viewpoint.” The companies came to terms the next year.
As the New York Times noted in August, that friendly relationship has resulted in lopsided, favorable coverage by the cable news channel of Giuliani’s presidential campaign:
So far this year, one political journal found, Mr. Giuliani has logged more time on Fox interview programs than any other candidate. Most of the time has been spent with Sean Hannity, an acknowledged admirer of the former mayor, according to the data compiled by the journal, known as The Hotline. […]
Mr. Giuliani’s on-air time on Fox was 25 percent greater than that of his Republican competitor Mitt Romney, and nearly double that of Senator John McCain of Arizona. Fred D. Thompson, who has yet to formally announce his candidacy, came in second to Mr. Giuliani with 101 minutes of Fox interviews.
Fox’s Hannity, who has a prime-time show Monday through Friday and an hour-long show on Sunday nights, is such a big Giuliani booster that he has even taken to helping the former mayor raise money by introducing him at a fundraiser in Ohio.
Most recently, Fox’s Neil Cavuto hosted Giuliani for an “exclusive” interview in which Cavuto endearingly referred to Giuliani as “America’s Mayor.”
UPDATE: In July, the New York Daily News reported that Regan has “secret tapes of phone calls” between herself and News Corp. executives.
Giuliani And Fox: The Romance Continues
Unctuous politician finds love with unctuous network
The Judith Regan lawsuit conjured up some disturbing mental images of the former editrix and Bernard Kerik. But less unsettling was the allegation that News Corp. was trying to protect “America’s Mayor,” Rudy Giuliani.
Indeed the two have long ties. Roger Ailes and Giuliani go way back to his first failed run for mayor in 1989. In 1994, for a reception honoring Ailes, Giuliani prepared a speech where he wrote, “Roger has played an important role in my own career.” Aw, thanks Rog.
When Fox News first started, it was Giuliani who made the calls (and allegedly threats) to get the network on Time Warner. Now that he’s running for President, Giuliani has also been on Fox News more than any other presidential candidate.
Well, it’s the same people who find Fox News “Fair & Balanced” who buy that Giuliani really has always supported the NRA. The two deserve each other.
Nov 15, 2007
November 14, 2007
Ex-Publisher’s Suit Plays a Giuliani-Kerik Angle
By RUSS BUETTNER
Judith Regan, the former book publisher, says in a lawsuit filed yesterday protesting her dismissal by the News Corporation, the media conglomerate, that a senior executive there encouraged her to lie to federal investigators about her past affair with Bernard B. Kerik after he had been nominated to become homeland security secretary in late 2004.
The lawsuit asserts that the News Corporation executive wanted to protect the presidential aspirations of Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Kerik’s mentor, who had appointed him New York City police commissioner and had recommended him for the federal post.
Ms. Regan makes the charge at the start of a 70-page filing that seeks $100 million in damages for what she says was a campaign to smear and discredit her by her bosses at HarperCollins and its parent company, News Corporation, after her project to publish a book with O. J. Simpson was abandoned amid a storm of protest.
In the civil complaint filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Ms. Regan says the company has long sought to promote Mr. Giuliani’s ambitions. But the lawsuit does not elaborate on that charge, identify the executive who she says pressured her to mislead investigators, or offer details to support her claim.
In fact, the allegation about the executive makes up a small part of a much broader array of claims about what she says was her improper removal from a job atop one of the more commercially successful book publishing operations.
A News Corporation spokeswoman who declined to be named said that the company saw no merit in the filing. A spokeswoman for Mr. Giuliani declined to comment.
Ms. Regan had an affair with Mr. Kerik, who is married, beginning in the spring of 2001, when her imprint, ReganBooks, began work on his memoir, “The Lost Son.” In December 2004, after the relationship had ended and shortly after Mr. Kerik’s homeland security nomination fell apart, newspapers reported that the two had carried on the affair at an apartment near ground zero that had been donated as a haven for rescue and recovery workers.
Mr. Kerik claimed in 2004 that he had withdrawn his nomination because of problems with the hiring of a nanny. He was indicted last week on federal tax fraud and other charges.
“Defendants were well aware that Regan had a personal relationship with Kerik,” the complaint says. “In fact, a senior executive in the News Corporation organization told Regan that he believed she had information about Kerik that, if disclosed, would harm Giuliani’s presidential campaign. This executive advised Regan to lie to, and to withhold information from, investigators concerning Kerik.”
One of Ms. Regan’s lawyers, Brian C. Kerr of the firm of Dreier L.L.P., said she had evidence to support her claim that she had been advised to lie to federal investigators who were vetting Mr. Kerik and who might have sought to question her about their romantic involvement. But Mr. Kerr declined to discuss the nature of the evidence.
The lawsuit does not say whether Ms. Regan was, in fact, interviewed as part of the inquiry into Mr. Kerik’s fitness for the federal post, and if she was what she told investigators.
The News Corporation controls many media outlets worldwide, including Twentieth Century Fox, The New York Post and the Fox News Channel, where Ms. Regan was once host of a talk show.
The Fox News Channel’s coverage of the presidential race has been a topic of some discussion within rival campaigns because the channel is directed by Mr. Giuliani’s friend of 20 years, Roger Ailes. But the network has strongly defended the balance of its coverage under Mr. Ailes, who served as media consultant to Mr. Giuliani’s first mayoral campaign in 1989. Mr. Giuliani, as mayor, later officiated at Mr. Ailes’s wedding.
Ms. Regan was fired on Dec. 15, 2006, after a month of withering publicity surrounding her plan to publish a hypothetical confession of O. J. Simpson to the murders of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald L. Goldman. The release of the book, “If I Did It,” was to be tied to the broadcasting of Ms. Regan’s interview of Mr. Simpson on Fox.
A second book, a novel that imagined drunken and lascivious escapades by Mickey Mantle, drew another round of outrage.
At the time, Rupert Murdoch, the head of News Corporation, called the Simpson book “ill considered.” Ms. Regan was fired and her imprint shut down after a HarperCollins lawyer, Mark Jackson, claimed she had used an anti-Semitic remark in describing the internal campaign to fire her as a “Jewish cabal.”
It was a tremendous fall for a woman who had, over a dozen years, built her own imprint into a best-seller juggernaut. It captured headlines by printing memoirs and other books by popular figures like Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, and the porn star Jenna Jameson that were often overlooked by old-line publishing houses, as well as more traditional offerings, like “The Zero,” a novel set in the aftermath of 9/11, which was a finalist for a National Book Award in 2006.
Ms. Regan asserts in her lawsuit that she never used the term “Jewish cabal” and that both the Mantle book and the Simpson project were approved by a range of HarperCollins executives.
Mr. Murdoch himself, the suit says, signed off on the Simpson book during a dinner with Ms. Regan on Feb. 14, 2006.
Most of the complaint explores what Ms. Regan says was an effort to discredit and defame her starting in November 2006, including the release of what she calls false and defamatory statements by company executives to The New York Post, which is owned by the News Corporation, and to The New York Times.
“We are fully confident that the evidence will show that Judith Regan was the victim of a vicious smear campaign engineered by News Corporation and HarperCollins,” Mr. Kerr said.
The assertion that the News Corporation has sought to protect Mr. Giuliani appears in the opening page of the filing. The document later revisits aspects of the assertion without providing a full account of what is alleged to have occurred or how it might be substantiated in court.
Ms. Regan says in the suit, though, that when she realized the company had been assembling material with which to justify firing her she called a company lawyer. She says she wanted to confirm that accusations she had made about executives’ creating a hostile workplace had been included in her personnel file. One of those accusations was that an executive had advised her to lie about Mr. Kerik to protect Mr. Giuliani.
“This smear campaign was necessary to advance News Corp.’s political agenda, which has long centered on protecting Rudy Giuliani’s presidential ambitions,” the court papers say.
In 2004, Mr. Giuliani was being discussed as a potential presidential contender in 2008 but was more than two years away from openly talking about a run.
The complaint asserts that a second unnamed executive advised her “not to produce clearly relevant documents in connection with the government’s investigation of Kerik.”
“Thus, because of the damaging information that defendants believed Regan possessed, defendants knew they would be protecting Giuliani if they could pre-emptively discredit her,” the lawsuit says.
Nate Schweber contributed reporting.
Regan opens Fox’s can of worms
Guardian Unlimited, UK – Nov 15, 2007
OJ Simpson in a TV interview with Judith Regan about how the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman would have taken place had he actually …
Regan: I was asked to protect Giuliani
Seattle Times, United States – Nov 15, 2007
By Los Angeles Times and AP
Judith Regan was fired from her job at harpercollins, which is owned by News Corp. NEW YORK — Former publisher Judith Regan …
Publisher says she was told to lie
CNN – Nov 14, 2007
NEW YORK (CNN) — Senior executives at News Corp. urged publisher Judith Regan to lie to investigators about ex-New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik …
The Buzz: Judith Regan files $100 million suit against Murdoch empire
Kansas City Star, MO – Nov 14, 2007
Remember Judith Regan, canned by News Corp.’s harpercollins last year after she championed OJ Simpson’s alleged tell-all If I Did It? …
harpercollins sued over OJ book fallout
Guardian Unlimited, UK – Nov 14, 2007
Stir up Rupert Murdoch, OJ Simpson, Rudy Giuliani, add a pinch of antisemitism, throw in a porn star and voilà, you have the lawsuit filed in New York by …
Should Bernard Kerik’s problem be Rudy Giuliani’s problem?
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Should Bernard Kerik’s problem be Rudy Giuliani’s problem?
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